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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, April 21, 2005

LIVE from The Weirdest Place On The Planet!!

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usWell, I actually haven’t been to every place on the planet, but Las Vegas certainly qualifies as the weirdest places I’ve ever been to.

I’m here for a few days, speaking on two panels at the Broadcast Educators Association, a conference which overlaps with the last day of NAB, the huge (I mean H-U-G-E) convention for radio, television and film nerds.

I spent some time at both the Avid and Apple booths, chatting about the latest developments. I actually no longer think that Soundtrack is the most evil software package on the planet. It’s turned into a very nice, low budget, sound editing tool. It’s no longer just about creating music or sound loops for video (a practice which made me worry for the future of intelligent film music). Avid is behind on the move to HDV, but were showing some really cool ways of moving from low to high end seamlessly. They are also the neatest people at the show who also sell geeky software toys. Ask me about the “splodge vectors” someday.

So, then I needed to get to the Hard Rock Hotel to meet some of the people on my panel. I left the convention center with about an hour to spare getting over there. I waited for fifteen minutes on the taxi line and it had barely moved at all. I then trotted over to the monorail only to be told to take the busses because there was a “suspicious package at the station” and they shut everything down. Needless to say, the busses were also not running, so I got back on the monorail which was running by then. Only to wait forever at another station. The coolest thing about waiting in the station was that, after about ten minutes of waiting, a recorded bing-bing-bing musical sound was followed by a cool female voice telling us that there were delays and she hoped that we weren’t being inconvenienced.

No, I felt like telling the recorded voice. I actually wanted to sit at monorail station as part of my Las Vegas sightseeing plans.

And then the bing-bing-bing came up again (immediately after the voice stopped talking). And then the voice repeated the same announcement. And then, bing-bing-bing, and the voice again. And again. And again.

I fled the monorail in pain and grabbed a cab to the hotel where I arrived fifteen minutes late, after a 75 minute ride.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThe panel was very interesting… Joe Byron from the LA Film School, Fritz Gerald from NYU and Tim Merigan from Frontline (the PBS news show) and I talked about the New Directions in Teaching with the New Technology. Merigan said a few very interesting things, including the statement that most editors who he interviews aren’t trained in the fundamentals – how to black a tape, for instance, but that he would rather take someone who knew how to tell a story and then he could teach them the rest. A degree is very useful for him.

He also does an internship program for those willing to relocate to Boston for a semester. It sound great.

And now, I’m back in my hotel, blogging. In a few minutes I’m going to step out onto Las Vegas Blvd and join the throng of overweight Americans, the impossibly skinny and blond women just in “for a short break and a little fun” (as one claimed on the monorail today), and the under minimum wage guys (and one woman) handing out the postcards for strip clubs and “escort services.”

Hmmm, maybe I’ll eat in the hotel. That’s possible since it looks like the hotel (the Monte Carlo), like all of the major hotels here, was designed to prevent people from ever leaving. There’s everything in this hotel except an airplane landing strip. Restaurants, overprice shops, a food court, a spa, and – oh yeah – enough gambling to fill three or four Las Vegases.

Oh well, wish me luck.