Wednesday, December 27, 2006

60 Minutes goes digital....and YOU'RE the producer!

Sixty Minutes wants to know what you think, care about, or want to see on news television (OK, Web). And who better to produce it than you?

There doesn't seem to be a deadline for submissions, but sooner would probably be better than later if you want to get on the list of regular contributors.

To: Interested students
From: Don Hewitt

When I first came up with the idea for “60 Minutes,” I was convinced that a show with concise, well-told stories could succeed on television where hour-long documentaries didn’t. I now believe the time is right for a news magazine produced by and for your generation and presented on your medium, the Internet. If you’d like to produce stories for it, what follows should answer your questions.

Who we are: The Hewitt Group, LLC was founded by Don Hewitt, the creator and long-time executive producer of “60 Minutes,” the longest running and most successful news magazine in broadcast history. Don’s colleagues include Steven
Hewitt, former president of Hallmark Entertainment and executive producer of Showtime Networks, and Harry Moses, who has produced documentaries for every network and almost 100 stories for “60 Minutes.”

What the show’s about: In the simplest terms, it’s a news magazine produced - at least for now - by journalism and film students and broadcast on the Web to an audience of their contemporaries. There will be a full menu of stories but because we don’t expect everyone to stay tuned from beginning to end, our viewers will be able to pick and choose what interests them from about 30 minutes of content.

What kind of stories are we looking for? Whatever you think is important in the world, or are mad as hell about, or are moved or amused by. We’re wide open as to style and content as long as the stories employ sound reporting. Stories shouldn’t be much longer than three minutes and can be as short as one minute. We’re also looking for what newspapers call “op-ed” pieces in which you can sound off on a subject of your choice. Even if we and you think you’re brilliant on camera, op-eds should not exceed 60 seconds.

What’s in it for you? If your work is chosen for the pilot or shows promise, you will join a short list of regular contributors to the magazine. Once the series appears on the Web, you’ll be paid for your contributions.

A helpful hint: Strong characters can save a weak story. Weak characters can sink the strongest of stories. So try to cast your story with people whose personas make you pay attention. . . people who are forceful, animated, quirky,
whatever - -you’ll know it when you see it.

Technical stuff: We don’t care what you shoot your stories on; even cell phone cameras are okay as long as the image is clear and the sound is clean. Videos can be sent to us over the Internet by using to send the file to our e-mail address: Be sure to keep files under 100mb. Or you can put your stories on DVD or VHS and snail mail them to Don Hewitt, 555 W. 57th Street, 8th floor, New York, N.Y. 10019.

The Ithacan does it again!

The Columbia Scholastic Press Association has announced the finalists for the 2007 Crown Awards and The Ithacan is includled for both Fall 2005 and Spring 2006 (they do it by semesters).

The winners will be announced at the CSPA's national convention March 17 in New York.

Tropiano makes the news....

Park's own Dr. Stephen Tropiano, director of the LA Center, is quoted extensively in a recent newspaper story about a new transgendered character on the soap opera "All My Children." Check it out:

Through Zarf’s eyes (Gay)
Actor Jeffrey Carlson tackles trans role on ‘All My Children’

Friday, December 22, 2006

Jeffrey Carlson has been connected to ABC’s soap opera “All My Children” since birth, when his mother named him after Dr. Jeff Martin, a character on the show whom she found handsome. So when the soap asked him to appear on the show for one day this past summer, he jumped at the chance.

“I had a blast, and I thought it was over,” Carlson says in an interview with the Blade. But the producers weren’t finished with Carlson yet.

“Later they called and said, we’d like to write your character onto the show,” Carlson said. But the writers had a surprise for him. They asked Carlson to come in to discuss his character, who was being written now as a transgender person transitioning from male to female.

“I was so moved by [producer] Julie’s [Hannan Caruther’s] storytelling and sensitivity and research,” Carlson says. “I said, ‘Oh, absolutely.’

“I’ve played many different characters, but I’ve never played a woman. And I felt very privileged and honored that they would trust me with a storyline that was representing a community that may perhaps be underrepresented.”

Carlson’s character, Zarf, is a Bowie-esque rock star who is under suspicion for the killing of another character. Zarf, who is transitioning to Zoe, is also falling in love with Bianca, “All My Children’s” longtime lesbian character, who is confused by the attention.

So is Stephen Tropiano, the director of the communications department at Ithaca College in Los Angeles. Tropiano studies gay themes in television and wrote “The Prime Time Closet: A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV.”

“What is unusual is him falling in love with Bianca, the lesbian character, which I don’t quite understand,” says Tropiano, who is gay.

Zoe identifies as both a lesbian and transgender person, according to Carlson, which is part of the benefit of having her as a character — she can be used to encourage discussion.

“We’re [talking] on the show about labels and how labels can restrict outlook and even within the gay and lesbian community, there needs to be a conversation about the transgender community because gender identification has nothing to do with sexual orientation,” Carlson says.

His own sexual orientation, however, is a subject Carlson chooses not to discuss publicly.

“My personal life is personal,” Carlson says. “I feel that all the energy should be focused on the transgender community and telling the story properly.”

CARLSON, 31, ORIGINALLY studied animal science at the University of California at Davis, but ended up switching to drama, a field that he never left. After graduating from UC-Davis, Carlson studied drama further at Julliard. He’s worked extensively in theater, including a stint in Washington, D.C., in “Lorenzaccio” at the Shakespeare Theatre in January of 2005. Carlson will return to D.C., which he says is one of his favorite cities, in June to play Hamlet at the Shakespeare Theatre.

Carlson says he was no more nervous to play Zarf than any other character he’s portrayed.

“I was nervous just to be on the soap,” Carlson says “I’d never done daytime television before, except for one day. I think with any character, I feel pressure. All I can do is hope that the character and work that ‘All My Children’ is doing is embraced by the transgender community.”

Ratings for daytime television have been down in recent years. “All My Children’s” viewership fell from 8.2 million in the 1991-92 season to 3.1 million last year. The show has introduced a rash of new characters and plotlines in an effort to stop the downward spiral.

“They’re trying really hard and they’re throwing a whole lot of desperate stuff against the wall to see what sticks,” says Carolyn Hinsey, editor of Soap Opera Weekly, about the addition of Zarf to the cast, according to the Associated Press.

Carlson disagrees with the notion that the decision to introduce a transgender character was motivated by ratings.

“We want to tell it with dignity,” Carlson says. “We had a whole conversation about making sure that the character would be 3-D. I think it’s so important that people try to wrap their brain around the fact that ‘All My Children’ is not doing this to be sensational and not doing this for shock factor. I know that this story’s been in the mix for quite some time, so now was just the opportunity to do it.”

Tropiano points out that exploring new options is essential for a soap opera’s survival.

“The number of people watching soaps is going down,” Tropiano says. “Soap operas are always battling with the idea of doing something fresh and trying to break new ground. I think they’re trying to capture a new audience, especially a younger audience, which I think is a little more used to having gay and lesbian characters.”

TO PREPARE THE CAST to talk about a transgender character, “All My Children’s” creators brought in a representative from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

“They just offered their time to answer any questions, as well as how to speak about it with the media — how the transgender community should be properly represented, even coming down to pronoun use and proper terminology,” Carlson says.

Although the preparation helped the cast discuss the story with the media, the pre-show blitz eliminated some of the dramatic reveal.

“They leaked all the information out beforehand, so you kind of knew before you met this person that this was all going to happen,” Tropiano says. “It would be nice if things were more like anybody who comes out on a TV show.”

Although “All My Children” seems to have approached the situation carefully, Zarf struck Tropiano as a bizarre character — writing him as a murder suspect isn’t helpful, although it’s not the first time a transgender character has been portrayed as a criminal and/or mentally ill (witness “Silence of the Lambs” and the cross-dressing Anthony Perkins in “Psycho”).

“I think that they probably had very good intentions and I’m all for inclusion,” Tropiano says. “I’m a little surprised with some of the direction they went with it — one is to make this character so odd. They kind of made him a fish out of water already — even if he wasn’t going to be revealed that he was transgender. It was my hope that they had created another character that kind of seemed more like everyone else in Pine Valley.”

The other characters seemed annoyed by Zarf, Tropiano says.

“They kind of set him up when they introduced him that he wasn’t particularly likable, “ Tropiano says. “He was annoying. He was so from another planet. I think, though, it’s been toned down somewhat, which is a good thing.”

Few transgender characters exist on television, and most of them, as Tropiano points out, have been relegated to medical shows, which puts a significant amount of pressure on “All My Children” to represent Zarf fairly.

“The only difference with this [character] is I’m representing a community,” Carlson says. “Seeing the world through her eyes certainly is opening mine. It’s just interesting how you can go through life and you don’t know the barriers that you go through to protect yourself. Getting the chance to knock those down through a beautiful woman’s eyes is quite beautiful and fascinating to me. Zoe is becoming my friend, too.”

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ha! Ha! Ha! A buck a joke?!? (Ten bucks?)

This just in from Steve Ginsberg, our Professional in Residence in LA this year:


ICLA student Mike Gainey got his first big break this semester as an
intern on “Last Call with Carson Daly.” During the course of his
internship duties, Mike was overheard “kidding around” with one of the
other interns. The executive producer of the show happened to be
walking by and instead of reading Mike out for slacking, he told him
he thought he was funny and asked him to try writing some jokes for
Carson to tell on the show. He also promised that he’d be paid for
every joke used on-air. Mike quickly went to his computer and within
a few weeks has gotten three jokes on TV and his first paid writing
gig. Way to go, Mike!

Talk about multimedia! Quabble goes digital...


It's one thing to create a great television show.

It's another thing to design an ad campaign that promotes a product.

And it's something else again to create and post a great Web site.

(OK, OK, so you know where this is headed....)

But it's just business as usual here in the Park School.

A group of students in our Mass Media class (including Heather Newberger, Luke Elmers, Ivana Lebron, Elise Stevens and Dominique
Manzione) got together to design a promotional campaign, including a poster and a Web site, to draw public attention to one of ICTV's most popular programs: Quabble.

The result is ...well, it's Park. All over the place.

Take a look: Quabble.

Cool, eh? Very.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

This one made me cry...and I say that in the nicest possible way...

Many of you may remember Michelle Cuthrell, a 2004 grad whose husband left for Iraq eight days after their son was born.

Take a few minutes to read her email to Michael Serino about her husband's return, and the column she wrote about the moment she first saw him after sixteen months. They're an amazing reminder of the sacrifices so many Americans are making in the name of patriotism...and of the importance of family.


From: Michelle Cuthrell
> Date: December 10, 2006 7:43:21 PM EST
> Subject: MY HUBBY IS HOME!!!
> Hey all,
> I know I promised no more mass e-mails, well, ever, but I'm
> breaking the rules because MY HUSBAND IS HOME FROM IRAQ!!! :)
> Matt returned from the longest deployment on the face of the Earth
> on Tuesday night, and we have been enjoying the most amazing family
> time ever! Check out my column about our homecoming at http://
>, and see attachments for pictures
> from the homecoming at the AHA, the first time Connor and Matt got
> to play and our first few days together as a family. You can also
> check out the News-Miner Web site ( next Friday
> for my final deployment column about reintegration. (Sidenote: Four
> different people have asked me why I'm ending my column now. Did I
> somehow forget to mention the title of my column? It's called
> "Until they come home." That means I write until they come home.
> They're home. I'm done. I'm not starting a column called "Now that
> he's back" anytime soon.)
> Many of you have sent e-mails asking how Matt is doing, how Connor
> is doing with Matt and how Matt is doing with Connor. In an act of
> God, Connor took to Matt INSTANTLY, as if he'd always been around.
> They played together all night his first night home, and they
> chummed around all day long the following day. Connor is LOVING
> having TWO playmates in the house instead of just one tired Mommy
> playmate, and he doesn't even flinch when I hand him to Matt. All
> day yesterday he was even reaching his arms out to Matt when I was
> holding him. Of course, Daddy cheats and gives him treats to win
> over his affection, so I don't let my feelings get hurt when Connor
> wants to go to Daddy. Matt had to buy his love in veggie puffs and
> afternoon snacks. I earned it in emergency room visits and
> sleepless nights. :)
> I joke, but Matt is really doing so well with CJ. He's such a
> natural dad, and so good with him. They roughhouse between naps and
> "walk" through the house. They play pattycake on the floor and
> airplane in the sky. CJ lets Matt put him down for all his naps,
> and even smiles when Matt changes his diapers, which, you know,
> increases Matt's Daddy rating by about 500 points. (Hey, I have
> changed 6-8 diapers a day for more than 240 days, or anywhere
> between 1440 and 1920 diapers. I don't feel bad about handing off
> the duty for a few days, so don't start pulling out the "Poor Matt,
> he just came home from Iraq and Michelle is already putting him on
> diaper duty." After battling insurgents for 483 days, diaper duty
> is like a privilege! Really, I'm honoring him. I wouldn't want him
> to feel useless upon returning home!)
> And Matt, well, he is the same old Matt--more aware, more outgoing
> and more adventurous in his food choices (he eats pineapple now!
> Where was he on that one during pregnancy?!)--but the same fun,
> adorable, chiding, amazing man I said goodbye to 16 months ago.
> He's just a little more tired from a 12-hour time zone change and a
> five-day flight home with little sleep, but I think he's finally
> starting to get on a regular schedule. He slept until 4am this
> morning, which is an improvement over the 2am "Let's go watch a
> movie! Come play! Come play!" wakeup calls I've gotten the last
> three nights in a row.
> But really, I don't care. We've had so much fun, and I absolutely
> LOVE that I CAN wake up to my husband at 2am and get dragged out of
> bed to go watch another episode of CSI or Smallville. My heart is
> healed, and my family is whole. I really cannot remember a happier
> week in my entire life.
> Thank you so much for all your support, prayers and encouragement
> over the last 16 months, for both of us. You have been such a
> source of strength. God bless you, and enjoy your families. You
> have no idea just how long you will get to enjoy that precious,
> precious time. Make the most of it.
> Much love,
> Matt, Michelle and CJ

Win $100 and a great resume entry: "Brand" the new Park Design House!

Create a graphic element to brand the Park Design House -- Win $100 gift certificate and have your design used on all PDH pieces!

The challenge: Design a one-color graphic element (or "logo") that will translate well to as small as less a half-inch; the Park Design House graphic element can use the entire name or the three letters "PDH" in its design. The graphic element will be used on all publications designed by students in the Park Design House to showcase the talents of PDH.

Submit: As many times as you want! E-mail your design to Melissa Gattine ( no later than January 26, 2007. The submitted design(s) should be a final version and ready to use.

The winning design will be chosen by representatives of the Park School and Marketing Communications, and will be seen on all posters, postcards, ads, etc. designed by students in PDH. The winning designer will win a $100 gift certificate to the Ithaca College Bookstore. A winner will be announced on or about February 1, 2007.

This just in: There IS life (and work) after college...

Amy Buglass, who graduated in May, just checked in to let us know how things are going -- darned well, as it turns out!

Well I moved to State College PA a week after graduation to work as a morning co-host at a top40 radio station. In short, the station ended up getting pulled off the air, I was moved to another then laid off, then picked up by another company to do solo mornings but my boss was a nightmare and I had to get out! I've sent out 30 (I kept count) demos since Hot103 got pulled off the air in July, but my perseverance paid off! As of January 1 I'll be working as the LEAD morning co-host at a 50,000 watt top 40 station in Lafayette IN, one of the oldest chr stations in the country, WAZY. But what gets more exciting that on my fourth phone interview with people there, I was speaking to the GM, Rick Pressader who told me that HE WAS GOOD FRIENDS WITH ROY PARK! it was so cool to hear him tell some anecdotal stories about him and to hear how he bought his first radio stations with the money from Roy Park's nephew's inheritance. I can't wait to get out to Indiana and hear more stories, I'll be sure to pass them along! You just never know when that IC connection is going to work in your favor, and I'm so glad it did in mine! Hope all is well :)

Don'tcha just love it when being a Parkie makes a difference? And isn't it amazing how often that happens? bad

Sorry, everybody: I made a typo when I posted the URL of the entertainment blog (next post).

Here's the correction:
The Silver Screen Blog's site is

I corrected it in the original posting, too, but wanted to draw your attention to it...even deans make mistakes (sigh....)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Parkies create Entertainment Blog: Take a look!

Some of your fellow Parkies devoted long hours and lots of energy to creating a new blog that focuses on entertainment media. "The Silver Screen" will tell you everything you want to know about....well, the silver screen.

Nate More, Tom Pardee, and Laura Caccevo are hoping you'll take a minute to take a look (me, too):

Here are the links (for reasons I can't explain, Blogger doesn't seem to be posting links this morning, you'll have to copy and paste, or click on the headline....)



Sunday, December 03, 2006

Erase the Hate, A Documentary

Matthew Chilelli will screen his experimental film "Erased" on campus on Tuesday December 5 at 7 pm in Textor 102.

The film documents the campus Erase the Hate rally of April 2005, and features interviews with students and faculty who were involved both at the time of the events, and then several months later. After the screening, Matthew and some of the film's interviewees will discuss their involvement with the film, with the hope that this event might assist in continuing campus dialogue toward identifying positive avenues for exploration and growth, as well as strategies for continuing to move forward.