Tag Archives: towson university

Designed to Fail: Pokemon Fandom Produces Culture

[This article was originally published on March 25, 2014 at Hidden Baltimore. It is co-written by Mary Metelski.]

Chris Betts, 21, and his roommates walked around Towson’s CVS Pharmacy late on a Sunday night, not seeking out a pack of cigarettes, but a pack of children’s sidewalk chalk.

They headed to Towson University’s Freedom Square, hoping to create a work of art capable of viral Internet distribution.

After hearing about “Twitch Plays Pokemon Red,” an Internet-based live stream that allowed a massive number of players to simultaneously control one character, Betts was enthralled by the potential inherent in the platform.

“It was more than just this novelty of a bunch of people fervently mashing commands into a game from my childhood,” Betts said. “There was this whole culture behind it. It was exciting, hilarious and altogether just this fascinating thing to me from that point onward.” Continue reading Designed to Fail: Pokemon Fandom Produces Culture

The Crossroads of Science, Art and Storytelling

So I came across this article in my Facebook Newsfeed and was intrigued by the headline. I wasn’t expecting much, but was quickly blown away.

It wasn’t till after reading it that I went back saw that it was written by Robert Krulwich, the gentleman who inspired me to practice journalism. There is a beautiful and engaging crossroads of art, science, storytelling and journalism that he taps into.

In my sophomore year, my Towson professor Dr. Peter Lev introduced my class to NPR’s Radiolab, which Krulwich co-hosts. The strength of his storytelling ability inspired an audio documentary project on Sleep Paralysis that I co-wrote with James Ficklin, seen below.

My hope is that come graduation, I’ll have some free time to continue merging my interests in the sciences and arts, whether that be in documentary, journalism, or otherwise. I’m forever indebted to Krulwich’s awesome examples and I hope that you find his writing as unique as I do!

A Brotherhood of Boards

(Featured image courtesy of Katie Simmons-Barth).

Where most people saw a paved road on a steep hill, Towson’s longboarding community saw an opportunity.

“3 am, when the sun goes down and there is no one on Cross Campus, we own that street,” said Kevin Abelmann, 20, a psychology major.

Abelmann brought a group of friends together one evening to longboard down Cross Campus Drive, and he invited spectators to watch and cheer them on. The response to their downhill venture was immediate.

“I mean the other day, my goodness. We had people texting us,” Abelmann said. He pointed at his enthusiastic grin and laughed.

“This was our reaction for like an hour long.”

Abelmann is the vice president of Towson University’s Glider Alliance, a group of students united in their love for longboards.

Continue reading A Brotherhood of Boards

New Social Media Allow for Online Dating, Collaboration

[Originally posted on Dec. 12, 2013 at my Journalism II Blog]

As she attempts to negotiate the rules of online relationships, Towson University student Katie Palmer, 22, prepares for an entirely different kind of dating game.

“One guy I was talking to I thought was 23, who was really 46. I found that out by cyberstalking,” Palmer said.

The recently divorced father was using his son’s Facebook account to talk to younger women, Palmer said. That was when she realized that online dating was something you couldn’t just “jump into.”

Palmer said that she spent time googling what someone should do when they meet someone online for the first time. She has since had two successful relationships develop from social media networks.

Palmer said that the perceived shame surrounding online dating is beginning to fall away as more and more people use social networks to meet and communicate online.

Continue reading New Social Media Allow for Online Dating, Collaboration

Towson EMF alumnus premieres latest film

[Originally posted on Oct. 22, 2013 at my Journalism II Blog]
Between rushing to premiere his found footage horror film and slaving at the editing bay on his most recent productions, Towson University Electronic Media and Film alumnus Chris LaMartina, 28, is tired.

On top of his 40 hour workweek at 15four Video Strategy, LaMartina has committed an additional 20 to 30 hours per week on his own productions. It’s 9 p.m., and sitting alone in the dark at 15four’s office, he reviews footage that a colleague edited earlier that day.

LaMartina works as a editor and producer for 15four. But on his own feature films, he wears many hats, including writer, director, producer, composer and editor.

“I’ve always sort of joked and called editing the dark night of the soul, because you’re forced to look at your mistakes and you regret some of the decisions you’ve made and you only see the negative because it’s a very judgmental phase,” LaMartina said.

Chris LaMartina
Chris LaMartina reviews a colleague’s edited footage at 15four Video Strategy. (Photo By: Mark Burchick/TU Student).

As a 2007 graduate of Towson University, LaMartina and his producing partner Jimmy George, 33, have produced seven feature length horror films, all of which have received DVD and Video On Demand distribution.

With the premiere of WNUF Halloween Special, his latest found footage work, LaMartina will once again share with the world one of the few things that makes him happy. Continue reading Towson EMF alumnus premieres latest film

Preparation for the “WNUF Halloween Special” Premiere at the Creative Alliance

[Originally posted on Oct. 8th, 2013 at baltimorefilmguide.wordpress.com]

On Oct 18th, The Creative Alliance will screen a “re-discovered” Halloween TV special from the late 1980’s. WNUF Halloween Special is a television broadcast which captured an investigation of the haunting of the Webber household, as told by WNUF TV reporters. The gentlemen who discovered the VHS recording of the broadcast and brought it to light will be introducing the film for its first public premiere.

What may come as a surprise to those who have seen the broadcast is how authentically 80’s it feels. So authentic, in fact, that reviewers have been stupefied to find that the film was made by former Towson University students early last year. I was fortunate enough to speak with Jimmy George, 33, the producer on this “literally found footage” film over the phone this week, as he and Director Chris LaMartina, 28, prepare for their Creative Alliance premiere.

Continue reading Preparation for the “WNUF Halloween Special” Premiere at the Creative Alliance

As Shamus Kelley puts it: Power Ranger series is ‘so bad, it’s good’

[The following article was my final Feature Story project in this semester’s MCOM 257 journalism class]

Shamus Kelley shifts in his chair, first to the left, then to the right, as he mocks the performances in an episode of “Power Rangers RPM.”

As he describes a brief fight sequence, he shakes his fists and tugs at his shaggy, disordered hair. A shield pendant necklace bounces off of his red tie-dyed shirt, flailing madly with each accusatory finger-point.

“They throw Ziggy on a table and they’re like, ‘We’re going to make an example out of you!’ They have this giant kung fu fight over this Jell-O. It’s completely ridiculous,” Kelley said.

Shamus Kelley, looking exactly as he did the day I met him.

The 22-year-old Towson University senior has been a devoted fan of “Power Rangers,” typically considered children’s fare for an after school viewing audience, since he was young. The series, now in its 20th season, follows a group of teenagers, such as RPM’s Ziggy, Flynn, and Summer, who fight evil alien forces.

Kelley said his love for the show is hard to explain. “For all intensive purposes, ‘Power Rangers’ is this awful show. But there is a certain charm to it,” Kelley said.

Continue reading As Shamus Kelley puts it: Power Ranger series is ‘so bad, it’s good’