Like Moving a Stone

BY ERIN POWERS AND ANDREW BLOM // APRIL 13, 2012 //

With a number of things working against him, one Curry student will stop at nothing to finish what he has started. Chris Dolan, a senior communication major, is in the process of putting together his independent film Moving Stone, but the process has been nothing short of rocky.

Although Dolan wrote the script in six months and is directing the film through an independent study at Curry, the college has refused to allow him to film on campus. Dolan says he was told it’s because of the “content of the script,” which includes a kiss between two women in a bathroom.

No blanket policy exists that bans filming on campus, but the college won’t support art that is violent or sexually suggestive, Dolan says he was told by college administrators. “What strikes me as odd about this is that this is a credited student-based project, and regardless of the subject matter, the film doesn’t require the Curry image to film,” he says, adding that numerous film and literature classes show films with violence and sexuality.

Chris Dolan drives his U-Haul truck full of film equipment back from a 12-hour day of filming in Quincy for his independent film “Moving Stone.”

Since Dolan was turned down, he has created a petition and acquired nearly 100 signatures. He has also exchanged numerous emails with President Ken Quigley, who personally donated $100 to the movie but won’t budge on the issue of filming on campus, Dolan says.

Dolan discovered his passion for filmmaking at a young age when he acquired a Sony hand-cam and began making videos for fun. He gained more structure in high school and came to Curry in 2009 to study filmmaking. Now, with a growing network of professors, students and professionals behind him, he hopes to truly launch his career.

“Chris’s project is significant in many ways, but primarily because Chris is such an exceptional young man who is totally committed to the production,” said Professor Dorria DiManno, who heads the film concentration at Curry. “Where another student might have scaled back on the scope and quality of the production at this point—or even given up—Chris has just kept at it.”

The film is about a female captain of a bowling league team who removes a player days before the league championship game. She’s willing to do most anything to win, including losing her lover.

Casting and finding a crew for the film began in late fall. Dolan teamed up with junior communication major Connell Wise, who became the film’s producer. Wise says his job is to manage the movie’s Web site (movingstonefilm.com), finances and legal needs. Curry alumnus and independent filmmaker Dan Lovetere joined on as assistant director, and a pair of industry professionals is contributing services as cinematographer and camera operator. Dolan estimates his cast and crew—including a number of Curry students—total about 30 people.

“We needed all of them because, even with all I’ve learned here, I didn’t have the experience,” says Dolan. “When you do something this big you need people who know what they’re doing.”

Much of the film is to be shot at Olindy’s Bowling Ally in Quincy, which is allowing Dolan to film there for free. Dolan says the movie will likely cost approximately $4,000 to make, in large part due to equipment and insurance. “Everything we are using is standard equipment,” says Dolan. “With renting the equipment, it’s $1,800 just for two days of filming.” Communication professor Jerry Gibbs, coordinator of the TV and digital film concentration at Curry, has let Dolan borrow other pieces of equipment.

Dolan says his hope is to have the movie filmed and edited by the end of the semester. Dolan shot his first scenes March 23 and 24 at the bowling ally. Both days consisted of 12 hours of preparation and shooting. Dolan says he fully intends to finish this film, with or without the full support of the college.

“I’ve devoted so much time here and on this project,” says Dolan, who is graduating this spring, after only three years. “The school turned down someone who has a future, and they might have burned one of their [alumni] bridges.”

Apps, apps and more apps

BY SEBASTIAN HUMBERT // MARCH 23, 2012 //

There are thousands upon thousands of iPhone, Android and Blackberry applications to download. Yet, there exist the better ones, the top-tier apps. Even with the thousands of apps available, almost everyone with a smart phone seems to have at least one of the more popular ones—and if you don’t, you’re missing out.

The poster child for popular apps is, without a doubt, Angry Birds. Everyone has at least played the game, where you fling birds at carefully stacked objects with the intent of destruction. Now the game cost $1, so people who limit themselves to free apps can’t join in on the fun. However, there are new kids on the app market block.

Besides Angry Birds, the most popular game app for college kids this semester has been Temple Run. In the game, you play a man running through ruined temples collecting tokens and dodging obstacles, like narrow running space, flaming limbo installations trees hollowed out at the base for the easy passage of very short people. If you mess up, large black monsters—or monkeys, I’m not totally sure—chase you.

Zynga's Words With Friends dominated smartphone gaming world during the fall semester // PHOTO COURTESY ZYNGA

If you are more intellectual, land miss virtual social interaction, then Words With Friends, Scramble with Friends or Hanging with friends might be your deal. Words was another high ranking app this semester. Kind of like scrabble, you get letters and have to make words on a board and there are bonus tiles. Scrabble is timed, and that means you have to dedicate more time to the game. So, if you’re like me, you don’t have that kind of extra time.

I still go back to Words every now and then, (and the people in the middle of games with me there won’t like this post,) but since Draw Something has taken off in popularity, that “every now and then” is slowly morphing into something even less frequent. In Draw Something, your opponent draws an object and you guess what it is. You given three options of objects to draw, and letters to guess what that object is. It can get very hilarious, and is harder than it sounds.

But apps aren’t all fun and games. (Well, almost all are fun, but not all are games.) Postgram—not to be confused with the popular Instagram, which almost everyone has and is now a staple in the app world—is an app where you can take a picture, edit it, and then send it as a real, physical postcard to any U.S. address for $1. That’s right, you could send a picture, as a postcard, of you and your sibling right to the mailbox of your grandmother for just a buck and in only two screens. We know you wouldn’t use it for anything less scrupulous, so I won’t even go there.

I Want All the Channels, and I Want Them Now

BY SEBASTIAN HUMBERT // FEB. 23, 2012 //

I don’t watch a lot of TV. It’s not necessarily because my roommate and I have never gotten around to hooking the cable up, or because I’m taking more credits than I know what to do with. At the end of it all, it’s just easier to watch the shows I want to watch from the ease of my laptop.

I want to watch what I want to watch, when I want to watch it and without restrictions or payments. I want to be able to pause a show or a sports game and then go back to it. I want to watch indi flicks, and sometimes crave a dose of b-movies. But none of this is possible through the Curry cable plan or on most student-budget television sets anywhere.

While most people have a site they rely on for popular movies-on-demand—and feel free to tout the one you use, below in the comments section—a good, reliable source is Movie2k.to. Based out of the tiny island nation of Tonga, the massive database of TV shows and flicks old and new, popular and clandestine, is completely free and totally legal.

But if you feel more comfortable exchanging money for goods, then there are sites for old-fashioned Internet explorers. Netflix.com is the classic, and at this point in the semester, you could stream movies and shows legally for the rest of the year for a little more than $20. I have access to an account here, but I’m not too happy with it. Netflix doesn’t update access to the new seasons of all the TV series I want, and they still don’t have access to any Criterion Collection film…the last straw for me. Hulu Plus, an online streaming service like Netflix, but better, is better. They have all the popular films plus Criterion Collection films. Like Netflix, it is $7.99 a month.

But if you crave the live-TV feel of cable, and still want the laptop convenience, then hit up Veetle.com. The online service works more like cable or satellite than an online streaming service. The site relies on users to stream live feeds of networks like ESPN and CNN, as well as their own content. So, if you crave watching the Tennis Channel, and then want to take a break and watch back-to-back “Two and a Half Men” or “Friends” re-runs, you can. Users also provide themed movie channels, like the Action Movies, 2011 movies or the Horror channel.

We’re all busy, and most of us are living on student budgets. Watching video online is the easiest way for me to get the content I want while still being able to spend my money on the things I really need.