This is where thoughts become things.

Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

Tag : south-bronx

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On My Radar: GFS (Ghetto Film School) MasterClass Series, live Google+ Hangout with Lee Daniels

You can find inspiration anywhere — if your intention is to seek it. Just a few blocks away from my converted piano factory loft-hipsterfied digs in the South Bronx is Ghetto Film School HQ. Their mission is to educate, develop and celebrate the next generation of great American storytellers and are supported by a wide network of corporate sponsors, government agencies, and filmmaking professionals.

I’m super psyched that GFS is taking their services to the next level. The upcoming MasterClass Series and Google+ Hangouts integration should be a must-follow event for all film students and DIY filmmakers. Starting January 31, aspiring (and established) filmmakers of color will have the opportunity to engage with leading POC filmmakers and industry allies to discuss their craft and to build community.

From the release:

GFS MasterClass brings creative education to a global scale, connecting professional film directors with young storytellers around the world in a new Google+ Hangout series.

With “Pariah” garnering so many accolades and several Latino-directed films generating buzz at the 2012 Sundance fest, this series is perfect timing for those looking to be inspired and to learn more about the resources available to tell their own stories.

The first MasterClass, which is set to launch live 6PM EST Tuesday, January 31st at Ghetto Film School’s South Bronx Post House (SBPH), features acclaimed filmmaker Lee Daniels, who will be joined by 8 young filmmakers from around the world (Venezuela, Rwanda, Ukraine, Israel, Belfast, Haiti, Sweden and Los Angeles) , as well as series moderator (and GFS Fellows Program graduate) Gloria Alvarez.

“I’ve been with Ghetto Film School from the early days, their students interned at my Harlem brownstone office, and I’m thrilled now to bring the invaluable GFS experience to young filmmakers all over the world,” said Lee Daniels.

More from the release:

GFS MasterClass is a monthly series hosted on Google+ Hangouts throughout the year. Sessions will stream live in hour-long segments on Google+, and will be available for viewing as 15-minute modules on YouTube. Each episode features a top director leading a discussion about a specific topic (e.g. “Working with Actors,” “The Core of the Story”), with series moderator Gloria Alvarez (GFS Fellows Program graduate) and 8 young filmmakers from around the world. Participants for each episode are given creative assignments to complete and then share on Google+ and YouTube.

MasterClass takes place in a virtual environment, with directors filmed on location at various sites throughout the US, including the South Bronx Post House (Bronx, NY), the Film Society of Lincoln Center (New York, NY) and the Googleplex (Mountainview, CA).

Other directors involved include Spike Jonze, (Where the Wild Things Are), David O. Russell (The Fighter), Jim Jarmusch (The Limits of Control), Tamra Davis (Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child), Ed Burns (Newlyweds), Peter Sollett (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Paola Mendoza (Entre Nos), Barry Jenkins (Remigration), David Robert Mitchell (Myth of the American Sleepover), John Singleton (Abduction) and Jason Reitman (Up in the Air).

To join the MasterClass, be sure to follow Ghetto Film School on Google+.

In Dreams: Being my own conjoined twin

According to several “reputable” websites (har), this is what it means if you dream you are your own twin:

A bond between two individuals (emotional bond, family bond, marital bond, etc.)—for better or for worse, taking the good (companionship, support, etc.) with the bad (disagreements, irritations, etc.). It can also indicate a major conflict in your life and that you do not know what direction to take. The dream may be telling you that your decision will directly affect another.

The other night I dreamed that I was a conjoined twin. I had two heads and I was singing “Bag Lady” by Erykah Badu to myself. My twin and I were singing the harmony parts together but for some reason the sound was only in our heads. We were either mute or choosing to sing silently, but the music inside our heads was deafening.

My intuition tells me that this dream means I am getting more in tune with myself and less threatened by my dual nature. It could also mean I ate too many chips and salsa, or watched too much ST:TNG, or any number of things. But I choose to take it as a sign that my two sides are becoming more harmonious, and that I am on my way towards wonderful experiences and opportunities to make a difference.

It was also very cool to have two heads. I kind of miss it. When I was a little girl, I fantasized about having a conjoined twin of my own. I probably spent way more time thinking about Chang and Eng than anyone else on my block, that’s for sure. I had a dog-eared copy of their book that I finally threw out because the binding disintegrated.

Making this video felt a little silly, but I really wanted to share what the experience in my dream was like. I am going to be making a video a day in September and if I don’t get used to the camera now, I’ll just have to do it then. So the weirdness starts today… 😉

Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you

Snaps: Follow The Light [Red Candle Meditations]

I’ve reached a point in my life where I am choosing to full embrace this saying:

“Things are not always as they seem; the first appearance deceives many.” – Phaedrus, a Roman poet

When I first moved to New York from California in 2004, some unwanted baggage managed to come along with me; my many fears, self-loathing, and a sense of disconnect from the world. Luckily, my personality compels me to attack my fears head-on even if I am feeling hopeless, so I was able to put myself out there and network, find work, and eventually feel comfortable with calling NYC my home.

But I’ve since realized that, in the process of overcoming so much culture shock and repressed fear, an unhealthy part of me continued to approach everything like a situated that needed to be attacked.

That attitude narrowed my world view. To everyone around me, I did my best to present this “Self” who had everything together and was relentlessly ambitious. But inside, I was always secretly on guard, waiting for something terrible to happen. I didn’t really trust myself and – by extension – anyone else. I always saw the worst in people and in myself. It was exhausting and I’m surprised I’ve achieved as much as I did with that lens tainting everything & everyone around me, including my own family and significant others.

Now, as I mentally kick-off the countdown to my 30th birthday in September, I’m happy to realize that I am finally able to look at a person or a situation and see beyond the surface. The things that once triggered fear or anger rarely do so anymore. And when they do, I can step back and not give those negative feelings the fuel they require to eat me alive. I put my attention elsewhere, and the feelings subside.

My fears don’t rule me anymore, I see them for what they are: just ghosts from the past. I can tell myself, “This is nothing worth stressing out all day over. I will not let these old thoughts and feelings drag me down.” Everyday it gets easier to do this.