GPAC 2-Day Artist grants info session

Categories Thoughts, Video
Amy Smith talking with part of the main group about elevator pitches.
Amy Smith talking with part of the main group about elevator pitches.

I was invited by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) to attend a 2 day session called “Nuts & Bolts“, a talk given by Seth Lepore and Amy Smith (of – two very funny and informative artists from Philadelphia. I like what GPAC is doing for artists. They weren’t even charging that much for entry – I believe it was a donate what you can afford event. They served breakfast and lunch and even had a nice selection of healthy foods – which I’m very happy about, the way to my heart is most often food related. And I’ve been steadily (*slowly) moving my food selection to be more healthy.

Plenty of vegan food options were provided.

Anyway, I happened to bring my camera to the event and decided to create this video to help the organization out and expose artists to a local and potentially very helpful nonprofit. As I continue to live in Pittsburgh, my goal is to contribute to the culture in this city by using my voice & perspective.

Link to the video. (Additional Facebook version.)

You’ll notice I’m not speaking at all in this video because on that day my energy and feeling to do it was zapped.

Believe it or not, I really beat myself up over it the rest of that day because I feel like I gave in to my comfort zone. There was a sense of obligation in my mind to have more of a presence for the video, but I really wasn’t feeling it. No idea what could’ve been said on camera that would have made the video any better either. Looking back, everything was completely fine- that’s how I felt, after all. But internally, there was a battle of negative self-talk there that was felt the whole day.

A huge desire of mine is to push to make my camera presence better (a challenge) but it’s easy for me to confuse that with my perfectionism.

If I hadn’t made it how I perceived to be imperfect at the time, there wouldn’t be a video at all. As if to say “all or nothing!” which is a big part of me at this time that I’m actively working to improve. I only just realized a few weeks ago from Brené Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” that perfectionism is actually a toxic beast. Turns out, it’s not a good thing at all. Here’s how she defines it in her book & I’ll let this finish the blog post:

Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame. Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Additionally, perfectionism is more about perception—we want to be perceived as perfect. Again, this is unattainable—there is no way to control perception, regardless of how much time and energy we spend trying.


Costumes of The Wiz Live Pittsburgh debut

Categories Spotlight, Video

New video alert. I’m also back in action with my blog. Costumes from The Wiz Live will be on display at the August Wilson Center from now until November 30th. Here’s me covering the premiere of the exhibit.

I’m very happy with the way it came out. Here’s the version uploaded directly to Facebook and Instagram. You’ll probably notice I’ve…

  • Made it square. The exact dimensions are 1,000px by 1,000px. This uses more screen real estate and is more noticeable when users are scrolling by on Facebook. You’ve probably seen this done by companies like Buzzfeed.
  • Added a title above it. This is my attempt to catch more attention using all that extra white space, although if I were to redo this I’d probably put a banner similar to the “Costumes of the Wiz” ads they ran in the Post-Gazette.
  • Subtitles below it. This makes it very convenient on mobile, which accounts for 90% of Facebook’s traffic. You bet your sweet butt I’ve added subtitles.

I’m not completely certain at this moment as to whether or not it drove up engagement rates. The aim is just to connect with the people who would be interested in The Wiz or things going on in Pittsburgh and potentially want to see more videos like mine.

I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to interview Paul Tazewell, Kiya Tomlin, and Darieth Chisholm that day. Natalie Bencivenga with the Post-Gazette was also there, it was my first time meeting her and she’s a real go-getter. Here’s the SEEN section that she’s the editor of – she covers the city’s social life.

Thanks for your time.

P. S. For those paying close attention, both Robyn Greer and Demeatria Boccella were in another video I’ve shot earlier this year in April. Here’s the blog post on it.

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What Pittsburgh thinks of bike lanes?

Categories Thoughts, Video

I’ve been wanting to make a video like this for over a year now so I decided to stop making excuses and go make it.

I’m gauging people’s opinion on the format and content for this video. I put it out on my Facebook page first to drive more traffic there. The response has been overwhelmingly positive with a few people voicing their opinion that they feel more bike lane opposers should have been represented in the video. A number of them accused it of being fixed, that the answers were selectively picked to promote bike lanes: I assure everyone that these were people picked at random and everyone I interviewed that day appeared in the video. It may be selection bias, too. Many of the detractors seem to be drivers and the people interviewed were walking downtown and could have been more likely to support bike lanes.

It definitely would have been more ideal to have the opposing opinion present as I believe it would have driven more dialogue in the comments.

Continue reading “What Pittsburgh thinks of bike lanes?”