Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Kerry Cassidy is broke

        "We basically have run out of money," says Kerrynote 1 in this update video dated March 17th. The caption reads "We are totally out of funds .. please help." Well, that's straightforward enough, anyway.

        To me, the surprise is that this didn't happen years ago. In my opinion, running the kind of wild and woolly operation Kerry does, and expecting your audience to support you 100% financially, is foolhardy. It might work for PBS (just barely,) but PBS's audience is mostly professional people with what they call discretionary income. My picture of Kerry's core audience is of people who barely have jobs, let alone money to throw around to enable Kerry to jet off to Gobekli Tepe with her paramour and stay in a nice hotel.

        So she may have managed to swing the Gobekli Tepe boondoggle, but the more general evidence is that I'm right. Late last year Kerry announced an Indiegogo campaign, with a $100,000 goal. The campaign wound up on November 28th having raised $5,850 -- just 6% of the target. This despite the fact that a $5,000 contribution would get you a perk of a dinner with Kerry (Good luck getting a word in edgeways there.)

Down and out
        I'm not unsympathetic. It's tough being broke, and believe me I know. But I just think Kerry's ambitions are totally unrealistic. She works hard, no doubt about that, but her product really isn't very good. She claims to have done a year of film school at UCLA Extension, but I see very few signs of a professional approach to videography. Her IMDB page includes no credits whatsoever as director, producer, writer, editor or director of photography. It lists just two credits as "herself." (I won't brag about my own IMDB credits, but they're... er, a lot.)

        This 25-minute video from Kerry's May 2013 trip to Washington DC serves to illustrate Kerry's shortcomings as a videographer. She starts with a minute of establishing shots of the city, setting up the venue (The National Press Building.) OK, a perfectly decent idea. But what she gives us is a minute of the camera waving around, finding focus, passing over some recognizable stuff then moving right along. This is not what you do to establish a location. What you do, as a professional, is to capture enough scenes from the tripod to offer your editor so that he or she can cut together a montage of the appropriate length. You do not use the out-of-focus shots or the wavey-waveys.note 2 Then you write a script that fits the picturenote 3, record it, and dub it on. Optionally, mix in a little M&E (Music and Effects.)

        In practice the editor may be the same person as the producer and camera operator, as I'm sure it is in the world of Kerry. Makes no diff. And I'm not saying the occasional whip-pan or crash-zoom is verboten -- just that everything shouldn't be on the move all the time. It's dizzying, and it serves its intentions very poorly.

        Her framing during interviews isn't too bad, actually. I was trained to keep the interviewee's eyes between 2/3 and 3/4 up the screen height, and Kerry pretty-much follows that. But from 06:58 to 07:28 in this piece she keeps the camera trained on the interviewee's lapel as she introduces herself for half a minute. CHOP IT OUT, Kerry. A professional would never allow that dreck into the cut story. She doesn't shoot enough cutaways to edit the interviews tightly -- she seems to be content to let them drone on at full length, and that applies to her entire oeuvre as far as I've seen. To my mind, she simply doesn't have the instinct for what works to create watchable documentaries.

        Her pieces to camera run the range from so-so to frighteningly bad. She doesn't light herself, so we get an ultra-low contrast picture. She doesn't seem to believe in learning a script, or teleprompting one, so we get plenty of ers and ums, and she has the devastating habit of shaking her head every so often, as though getting her hair out of her eyes (check the appeal for support video, at 01:45.) Her editing is at times inaccurate (again, check the appeal vid at 09:57 for a double-cut.) I hear you say this is all part of her down-home appeal, but I don't buy it. UNPROFESSIONAL is the word that comes to mind.

Awake and Aware
        So my suggestion to Kerry would be to give up on it. Maintain your library of however-many-thousand over-length interviews you have, but stop prancing around the world making more of them and expecting volunteers to foot the bill. Perhaps stick to conference organizing — that surely generates plenty of cash. The punters who pay good money to attend the Awake and Aware conferences aren't interested in Kerry specifically, but in the speakers she comes up with. She's pretty good at that, and of course these days she could always have a great new career as an Uber driver.

Update March 24
        Since declaring that she's skint and cannot continue "this important work," Kerry has produced and released the following videos:

Same day: Richard Bartlett & Melissa Joy: Matrix Energetics (whatever those are)
A day later: Chris Kehler: Quantum Energy Healing (whatever that is)

And today, "The Brussels bombings were a False Flag." Oh yes of course they were. Everything tragic is. That way we can all admire Kerry's brilliant access to THE REAL STORY and forget about wasting sympathy on the 30+ fake families who are pretending to have lost fake loved ones. Terrific job, Kerry.

Update March 31
Announcements that tell their own story: Today Kerry announced that she's putting together a tour of Europe, to take place sometime this Spring. She doesn't say she'll be hitchhiking and staying in youth hostels, either.

If that announcement had come a day later I'd have thought "Yeah, yeah, Kerry. April fool, right?"

[1] For those who have NFI who Kerry is, here's a briefing.
[2] Unless you're Dennis Hopper. Sorry, Easy Rider is one of my pet hates.
[3] In the newsgathering business they tend to start with a narration track and cut to it. Fine, that works too (but in my opinion is less creative.)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Yes, we have no Mike Bara

        I had earnestly intended to blog Mike's lecture at Conscious Life, but the audio quality is so appalling I can't stand to listen to it. Here's the link in case anyone wants to torture their ears in addition to their brain. I think his main topics were Planet 9 and Mars anomalies, which I already covered here and here respectively.

        Instead, give yourselves a treat and go read  Bob Zimmerman's scholarly (and very well illustrated) analysis of Curiosity's slow progress toward Sharp Mountain. When Gale crater was first announced as MSL's destination, Richard Hoagland announced on C2C-AM that Sharp Mountain was obviously an artificial construct, and that everyone at JPL knew that. Even President Obama knew it.

        I guess, according to Zimmerman's projections, he can hang onto that ridiculous fantasy for a while yet. When Curiosity finally reveals Sharp to be just a mountain, what will he say then? Why, NOTHING, of course. Glad you asked.

        Perhaps we may have some Mike Bara after all -- or, yet another example of Bara's abject ignorance of sciency things and inability to carry out relatively simple research.

        As Bill Belcher pointed out in comments right here, this misshapen planet IS NOT, as Mike Bara told his audience (17 minutes in,) what Planet Earth would look like if the oceans were removed. Even the deepest part of the oceans (Mariana Trench, 11 kM) is only 0.0017 of the radius of the Earth.

        This model, created by Ales Bezdek, represents the variable gravitational field of Earth. And even that is deliberately exaggerated. Phil Plait blogged more details last September.

Will Mike Bara ever get any science right?