Second Brown Bag of the Semester – February 6, 2015

 

Mona Malacane, PhD student, and Sean Connolly, PhD Student, Department of Telecommunications, Media School

Women’s Role in Action Movie Trailers: A Content Analysis Examining Sexual and Agentic Portrayals, 1982-2013

A content analysis of 155 theatrical trailers for action movies was conducted to examine the frequency and nature of women’s role in promotional materials and how this role has evolved over the past 30 years. The results show that fewer women were included in early action movie trailers (i.e. before 2000). When women were observed in action movie trailers, they were often physically sexualized and, in later years, more likely to be shown participating in the action elements of the trailer. Female agency and physical sexualization peaked at the turn of the century and has been followed by several blockbuster female-lead action films. Implications for how women in action movie trailers can affect box office sales are discussed.

 

Sometimes, Research Can Be Profitable

By Edo Steinberg

Sean Connolly, who is pursuing a dual degree in Telecommunications and Informatics, designed a new search engine as part of his studies. Together with Brent Kievit-Kylar of the Cognitive Science Program, he created Daedalus, which uses semantic associations to improve search results. Sean describes it as an “interface that should make searching through data more like searching through your own thoughts as opposed to filling out forms and getting form results back.”

When you search for a term, a map of semantically related terms appears, together with search results. Terms can be dragged closer or further from the center, depending on their relevance. This immediately changes the search results, increasing their relevance.

When Sean showed his new innovation to Harmeet Sawhney, Harmeet encouraged him to bring it to the IU Research and Technology Corporation, which helps to protect and commercialize inventions born out of research conducted at the university. The university owns the fruits of faculty members’ labor, but gives them and their labs a certain percentage of revenues. As it turned out, undergraduate and graduate students, on the other hand, fully own their inventions. However, the IURTC is dedicated to faculty research only. Sean turned to the organization dedicated to helping IU students commercialize their research projects, Innovate Indiana, a fund established by successful IU graduates.

Sean and Brent are also competing in the Kelley School of Business’s Building Entrepreneurs in Software and Technology (BEST) competition this week. They have reached the final round. The winners will receive $200,000. Even those who will not win money will have learned how to present their ideas to potential investors. Daedalus has also earned Sean a scholarship to attend IU’s Velocity Conference, a venture capital conference geared for MBA students.

Sean hopes to use the money to get to clients. Then, as people start using Daedalus, he will be able to further build and tweak it.

Sean isn’t used to the world of business. “It has been a learning experience,” he says. “I feel that I know so much about start-ups now, but it isn’t my skill-set.”

He has noticed a big difference between presenting projects before businesspeople and academics. Sean and Brent were criticized for spending too much time explaining how their new search engine works rather than presenting its market opportunities and revenue potential.

Good luck, Sean!

Demystifying the ICR

by Ken Rosenberg

Lab meetings are a good way to keep current on everyone’s projects … and a great way to make sure YOU keep current on your own!

Last Wednesday, our resident satirist, Edo Steinberg, wrote about weekly lab meetings as if they were a coping group for social science junkies. There is always that haunting nugget of truth at the core of all comedy but, generally speaking, it’s not so bad to be a lab rat. The Institute for Communication Research (ICR) is open to all Telecom grad students. It’s a unique facility and a precious resource for those looking for an appropriate workspace – regardless of career trajectory, chosen methodologies, or level of current expertise. It is run by ICR Director Professor Rob Potter and Lab Manager Sharon Mayell.  Even though it’s practically on the other side of campus, it’s worth the trip.

Professor Rob Potter attaches electrodes to the face of Telecom grad Sean Connolly … without IRB approval! *gasp* (It’s not necessary for fun little demonstrations like this.)

The lab is open to all graduate students and can be a resource for all kinds of scholarship. This includes:

People who are new to lab research. As long as you have IRB approval, you can observe any study in progress. Go behind the scenes and watch researchers collect data from participants – just ask the principal investigator on the study, first.

People who are curious enough to pretest. If you have a research question, you might have a study. Still, it could be wasteful to go forward with a full-fledged IRB-approved experiment without first conducting a smaller version with a handful of people. Fun fact: you don’t need IRB approval to hook up your colleagues to equipment and expose them to media. If you have a few friends in the department who, in turn, have a couple of hours to spare, bring them to the ICR and pre-test your hypotheses … or just have fun learning how to use the equipment. Rob believes that the lab can and should always be running. With plenty of time between ongoing studies, there’s always an opening for curious minds.

People who don’t use physiological measures. The ICR is great for all grads, regardless of their preferred methodologies. The ICR uses MediaLab, which is a great software tool for administering basic audiovisual treatments and questionnaires. Lab software can even be used for content analysis. A multipurpose room can serve as a neutral setting for some in-depth interviews. There are computer labs for research with stacks of methodology handbooks.

People who are new to the program. Don’t have a solidified research question? Need to know how to craft a solid survey? Not sure which classes to take next semester? As they get further into the program, many Telecom grads make the ICR their second home. Even if you’re not there to use the facilities, you can bet that someone will be there – someone with experience and good advice. Seek them out!

People who just need a break. The grad-only rooms in RTV are wonderful havens.  However, if you need an even quieter setting with fewer distractions and a slightly more serious tonality, ask Rob for a key to the ICR and have just the right place to study.

People who want to go places.  Sharon has been long helping people conduct their studies.  Recently, her contributions led to her first publication as a co-author. Rob, an alumnus of our PhD program, went to his first lab meeting at IU a long time ago and met with Professor Annie Lang and a few grad-level colleagues. Now, he is a tenured professor who literally wrote the book on psychophysiological measures in communications research.

If you want to find out more about the ICR, check out the website (props to grad Nic Matthews for his assistance in the design). Rob is also happy to give tours. Additionally, attending the brown bags on Fridays can provide glimpses into the ongoing research at the ICR and the forthcoming publications.

Rob sends out an email at the beginning of each semester. Sharon recommends getting on the mailing list, even and especially if you don’t intend to regularly attend lab meetings (she sends out notes from each meeting).

The ICR is not some imposing laboratory, it’s a resource for all Telecom students. So, head over to Eigenmann Hall (6th floor—take the elevators on the right) and see what the ICR can do for your academic career. Who knows … maybe, in time, you could be running the lab!

Students in Rob’s psychophysiology course begin to turn the tables and test his eye-blink startle response.

Super Sundays, Mark Bell’s Teaching Honor, Russell’s Movie Collection, Brown Bag

 A Sunday to Remember, by Mike Lang

On Super Bowl Sunday MA student Sean Connolly received a text message. In town for the baptism of his friend’s firstborn son, he jokingly thought he would be the only person in Indianapolis not at the Super Bowl. When the message sunk in, he didn’t know how to respond. Someone was offering him a Super Bowl ticket. A friend of his in advertising had purchased a block of tickets and overbought in case someone important might want to come along at the last minute. As kickoff inched closer and she realized nobody that fit the bill was coming she sent out an email to her friends back in L.A. “Do you know anybody in Indiana who might want to go the Super Bowl.,” to which she received the response, “Isn’t Sean in Indiana?”

Always looking out for others, Sean inquired about scoring a ticket for his friend. He was celebrating the baptism of his first born son after all and what better way to celebrate than with Super Bowl tickets. At 4 o’clock the call came in. They were both Super Bowl bound.

Inside the stadium MS student Sophie Parkison was hard at work. An opportunist at heart, Sophie had stumbled across an opportunity too good to pass up. In early October IU careers posted an announcement about a merchandising job at the Super Bowl. The details were vague. But the chance at getting to a hometown Super Bowl without the astronomical price tag was too good to pass up.

In January the company held an informational meeting. The team would man the merchandise booths inside the stadium during, before, and after the game. The day would start at 6 am and end 20 hours later, well after the teams had loaded into their buses and departed. Instead of an hourly wage, the workers would split 1% of the total profit. The math would work out well below minimum wage, but it’s the Super Bowl.

Sophie crashed at her sister’s place in Speedway Saturday night and braced for an early rise and the long day ahead. The alarm sounded at 4:30, and they left with enough time to catch the 6 o’clock shuttle from the airport which would bus them into Super Bowl Village. The morning was slow and allowed plenty of time for exploring the scene. She never had she seen so many different jerseys in one place. She even managed to talk her way onto the NBC set.

As the game inched closer Sophie made her way to her assigned merchandise booth where the line grew longer and longer. Expecting a bunch of well-off East Coasters willing to spend some money, she happily directed their attention to various products which they snapped up with fervor. One guy spent over a $1,000 on merchandise between two trips.

By the time Sean made it into the stadium, Kelly Clarkson was belting out the national anthem. Seated in Section 404, five rows back from the banister, Sean had a premiere view of the North Endzone. As one of America’s premiere cultural events, many of the attendees could care less about football. It’s a place to see people and be seen. The crowd indeed seemed a bit more placid than a typical regular season game.

For those disinterested in the game, the Super Bowl offered plenty in terms of multimedia entertainment. The Super Bowl commercials were pumped in over the jumbotron for those worried about missing them. Likewise, the scoreboard broadcast Twitter pics taken by fans at the game as well as brief shots of celebrities.

However, no Super Bowl event creates a stir like the halftime show.  Fans, as usual, took their halftime bathroom/food/drink break a few minutes early so they wouldn’t miss the show featuring Madonna and a slew of guests including Cee-Loo Green, LMFAO, MIA, and Nicky Minaj. They missed seeing Patriots drive down the field in the final four minutes of the half.  But the halftime show was worth it. “It blew anything live out of the water that I’ve ever seen. It was so well done.”

During the game the lines died down and Sophie had brief moments of downtime and she discovered the camaraderie among Super Bowl workers.  At the beginning of the game, the concession stand workers approached her and her team to let them know that workers get a free drink, and if they wanted one, they just needed to come and ask. A security guard told them they they could pop over to his section and watch the game. While she wasn’t able to watch much of the game, she did get to watch kickoff and halftime.

The final seconds ticked off the clock in the 3rd quarter and the place transformed. Sean, pulling for the Giants, joined the crowd as the dignity and the reservation disappeared and the crowd turned into a bunch of hardcore football fans. With every big play the crowd roared louder and louder.  Those not quite sure who to root for or why started feeling the tension and began pulling for a team. Down 21-17 with 9 seconds left Tom Brady chucked up a desperate 55-yard Hail Mary pass into the end zone. Sitting on the opposite side Sean heard the crowd erupt but couldn’t tell what happened. He was too far away. Had the Patriots pulled the upset? Had the Giants taken down the Patriots again? As the jumbotron played the replay, the crowd roared its approval. This was a Giants crowd.

Everyone stuck around for the Lombardi trophy presentation and the confetti dropped from the ceiling. Shouts of “Go Giants” echoed through the stadium as happy football fans filed out of the stadium. Even though broken hearted Patriots left with their heads hanging, they weren’t harassed by the Giants faithful. The crowd was overwhelmingly positive, a stark departure from most football games where visiting fans have to keep their head down win or lose.  “I was surprised. I was expecting Brady hate. I know Boston. I know New York. I was expecting a rumble” Sean said.

Sophie watched the confetti fall as she tallied up her credit card receipts and cash from her booth. It was 1:30 in the morning and the game had been over for hours. She descended the stadium steps to find a number of people in suits down on the field kicking field goals, drinking, and making snow angels in the confetti. It was an adult playground.  Following suit shedropped to the Lucas Oil field turf and made snow angels in the confetti commerating the Giants for winning Super Bowl XLVI.

With a Little Help From My Friends, by Mike Lang

Last Semester Ph.D candidate Mark Bell had the honor of serving as the instructor of record for T205: Introduction to Media and Society and his exceptional work in the classroom did not go unnoticed. In December Tamera sent out an email alerting Telecom grad students to the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award. Teaching has always been a source of pride for Mark, and figuring he had done a fairly good job in T205, he decided to apply. Maybe he could be the department’s nominee. That would be a nice line for the CV.

Because the application process required immediate attention, Mark went to work assembling his package as quickly as possible. He worked with Tamera to get his student evaluations back before the application deadline. He also leaned on friends and family. Working with his business professor wife and a slew of friends who have won teaching awards, he composed a teaching statement, something he had never done before.

He submitted the application and promptly forgot about it until Rob Potter, member of the Graduate Committee’s Awards and Fellowships Subcommittee,  sent him an email informing him that he had been selected as the department’s nominee. Mission accomplished.

Mark then got another email from Harmeet Sawhney, grad director. Don’t forget to have your video ready.  Currently an AI for T101: Media Life, he conspired with co-AI Ratan Suri and “borrowed” his class to record a short 10-minute video. He set up the video recording gear and proceeded to give his mini-lecture. By Mark’s admission it was just ok, he could have done better but at least he had his video. Sitting down outside of Ratan’s classroom he set his video camera to playback to see how had done. Nothing. He had forgotten to hit record. Sheepishly he approached Ratan after class and told him he needed to do it again. Much happier with his second take than his first, he rushed home to upload the video in accordance with the application’s strict instructions. He then moved on to other things thinking no way would he be a contender at the University level.

Awhile later, Mark had to attend a funeral in Columbus for a distant relative. He got home to an email from Tamera at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon.  The University Graduate School needed department chair Walt Gantz’s signature on his application form – an important detail he had overlooked.  No problem, he would be on campus all day Tuesday and could do it then. He sent out the reply, changed into workout clothes, and went for a run. He returned sweaty and out of breath to another email. Tuesday was too late, the form needed to be turned in today. The clock was ticking. Still in his workout clothes he jumped in his car and raced to campus. Tamera worked her magic and got the form signed, and told Mark the form had to be turned in to the graduate school, which was located behind the Union. Mark hopped back in his car and parked in front of the HPER. He cut through the Union and thought he would sneak through the back of the bookstore. No luck, that exit doesn’t exist anymore.  He ran back out of the bookstore and into the Union again. Time was ticking. The office closed at 5. He ran through the Union to the Starbucks exit. Relief, the graduate school was in front of him and he had 5 minutes.

As he exited the Union, the form flew out of his hand and flew down the street on the gusts of wind blowing that way like a scene out of a movie. Fortunate for Mark, IU is full of considerate undergrads who helped chase down that important piece of paper. He asked one of the undergrads for directions to the office and ran over.

As the clock ticked 5 o’clock he submitted the form to Yvonne Dwigans, fellowships coordinator in the graduate office. Completely oblivious to the entire procedure, he asked what the next step was. Surely the candidates needed to be evaluated and he could forget about this until then. He was told that the candidates had already been evaluated. He was confused. If the candidates had been evaluated why had he just raced around campus trying to turn in this form?  Much to Mark’s surprise, Yvonne informed him that he was the nominee, not just for the department but for IU. Out of all the talented grad students on campus he had been selected as IU’s nominee!

Soon Mark will get an email from somebody telling him he needs to go to somewhere to do something for the next stage of the competition where he has to compete with students teachers from 60 schools. Here is to hoping the process goes a bit smoother.

Russell’s massive movie collection, by Ken Rosenberg

If you want to talk about film history in a serious sense, or just rattle off your list of favorite productions, there is someone you should stop in the halls for some good discussion. Master’s student Russell McGee collects comic books and plays video games, but his biggest passion is cinema. As evidence, consider his movie collection, which he estimates contains somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 films and television series. Media scholars are guaranteed, almost by definition, to have more than a passing interest in audiovisual entertainment, but Russell takes this axiom to its furthest extent. “I easily spend over a thousand dollars a year on DVDs,” he said. Think of a classic movie, fun cartoon, or cheesy B-movie. Without knowing your choice, I can practically guarantee that Russell has a copy of it. He has almost everything with Dracula star Bela Lugosi, including the obscure 1923 film The Silent Command. Every available Hitchcock film is in this aficionado’s massive stock of movies, including various alternate versions from France and Germany.

Russell really likes Godzilla…

Russell’s first love, though, was with older horror and science fiction films; his favorite movie is the 1960 version of The Time Machine. With his grandmother, he would watch movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers on a tiny television at her home in New Jersey. Russell also remembers watching horror movies on Indiana’s Channel 4, during the “Nightmare Theater” block hosted by personality Sammy Terry, who would dress up as a ghoulish figure to introduce such classics as Godzilla and King Kong. “As a kid, they weren’t really that cheesy,” Russell explained. Of course, as he got older, the ‘quality’ of some of these movies became readily apparent. However, that does not diminish his love for these low-budget gems. In fact, it just gives Russell another way to enjoy them, by having weekly screenings with friends to enjoy the company, a drink or two, and the resultant roasting of campy flicks. For the past seven years, Russell has started off his Monday evenings by pulling out a stack of selections from his collection, to be whittled down to the night’s viewing list by his cohorts. Ironically, as a filmmaker, Russell is not interested in making anything related to horror or science fiction. As the artistic director of Starrynight Productions, he focuses on drama and other more serious fare.

Russell has engaged with films in a variety of roles. He started collecting movies in high school and cringed when he had to make the transition from VHS to DVD.  But now he has embraced the battle to keep his collection on the sharpest possible format – while still judiciously deciding which titles deserve the Blu-Ray double-dip. In his youth he worked for Suncoast Video, whose employee discount only provided further encouragement for his hobby. While at Suncoast, Russell vehemently explained that the widescreen format, while appearing to crop the image, actually shows more of the picture. “I did my part in the conversion,” Russell affirmed like a proud civil servant. As part of the projection and management teams at Spencer’s Cinema 67 drive-in theater, he got to know the owners, who allowed him to perform live tributes to Charlie Chaplin before screenings.

Russell (far right) and Emily (far left) on the set of “Popping the Question and Tying the Knot.”

Reprising his role as a lovable tramp earlier this year, Russell wrote and co-starred in a short film for a Hugo-related film contest. With the help of fellow graduate student Shannon Schenck, he edited a second of the film which he will use in lieu of the traditional “save the date” cards, entitled Popping the Question and Tying the Knot. This summer Russell will be getting married to opera singer and Ph.D. student in the music school Emily Solt. Their engagement photos will look like old lobby cards. She is definitely onboard with his stylistic choice. “I hit the motherload,” Emily thought to herself when first setting eyes upon Russell’s ridiculously large amassment of movies. She estimates that her collection of DVDs –impressive, but meager in comparison – has contributed a little less than 10% to their now-shared stock.

Those shelves are layered–there are twice as many movies than are visible in this shot. (Plus, there’s an entire third one off-camera!)

Upon merging both their movies and their lives, Russell set out to build the massive shelving system that houses their media. To make sure it was a lasting edifice, he eschewed nails and screws in favor of drilling holes and using wood pegs to lock everything into place—a laborious and time-consuming process that cost him almost six months. As helpful as those units have been, Russell might have to build more soon; they already have a surplus that has trickled into other rooms in the house. Off to the side of the home theater setup, Russell has resurrected a bit of his past: a “theater corner” of sorts where he keeps memorabilia, like his old hand-crank film projector from the 1920s and an old-fashioned popcorn machine. After making popcorn the “right” way at the drive-in for so long, Russell wanted something more authentic and better-tasting than the microwaveable stuff.

Movie buffs, beware – if you sit down with Russell, prepare to meet your match. After all, do you have the Laserdisc copy of the 1985 version of Godzilla? Didn’t think so.

Brown bag 

Where social and technological forces collide: New protest tools reveal authoritarian regimes fumbling to maintain political power

Lindsay Ems (Presenter), Hans Ibold and Joe DiGrazi (Discussants)

Due to the recent proliferation and impact of protest events in the Middle East, northern Africa, and the recent development of a worldwide Occupy Wall Street movement, scholars in a number of disciplines are beginning to examine the people, social structures and technologies that help give these social movements form.  Some theorists have focused on communication technologies, some on social forces and others argue that both of these two perspectives are essential to understanding recent phenomena. Interestingly, all authors (even those who call for a more holistic approach) view these two entities as separate. In this paper, it is suggested, that by side-stepping this distinction, a different kind of inquiry can occur – one which sees the use of a technology as a local artifact which reveals individual and institutional motivations. Aiding this analysis is the presentation of three 2009 cases in which Twitter was used as a tool for expressing political dissent by protesters around the world.

Bios:

Lindsay Ems is a doctoral student at Indiana University in the Department of Telecommunications. Her research topics deal generally with exploring how social and cultural values are expressed in the use of technologies in small groups of people. She examines media technologies and their adoption and impact on and in subcultures. Her recent work explores manifestations of political dissent, anarchy and systemic breakdown in the use of technologies in power struggles between protesters and governments. Her studies also aim to uncover cultural forces at work in shaping the use of technologies in groups of users like the Amish.

Hans Ibold is an assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Journalism in Bloomington. His research and teaching explore the ways in which the Internet is transforming journalism and social life. Previously, Hans was technology reporter for the Los Angeles Business Journal, arts editor for the Idaho Mountain Express in Sun Valley, Idaho, and online editor for the J. Paul Getty Trust¹s Getty.edu in Los Angeles. He earned a bachelor¹s degree from The Evergreen State College, a master¹s degree in communication studies from Shippensburg University, and a doctorate in journalism from the University of
Missouri.

Joe DiGrazia is a PhD candidate in the department of sociology at Indiana University and is engaged in research at the intersections of social movements, political participation, public discourse and the media.  His current research focuses on the Tea Party movement and the role of social media in organizing Tea Party activities and mobilizing participants.

The audio to last Friday’s seminar can be found here: Brown bag 4 (Feb 10, 2012 – Lindsay, Hans, and Joe)


The Year of Spinning, Three in a Row, 3D@IU, Brown Bag

Welcome to Annie’s Wool Land

Professor Annie Lang has a special activity in her life… and it has not only taken on a life of it’s own, but an entire room in her home.  While she has been knitting since she was 9 years old, it is only recently that she began spinning her own yarn.  Annie is now not only a dedicated knitter, but a confirmed spinner and fiber maker.

Once she caught the spinning bug, she became interested in not only making yarn but in following the process all the way back to the animal from which the wool comes from.  Her sitting room now holds containers of wool, fiber from animals besides sheep, and fleece in various stages of processing.  Her most recently acquired batch of wool came from a sheep named Scooter, a fleece she got for free. Once the wool is sheared from the sheep, it goes through a washing process (called scouring)

in order to “desheep”, or remove the oils, dirt, and vegetable matter from the fiber.  The oils in the wool serve to waterproof the fabric, so “desheeping” can clean the wool to a wide range of textures.  “The wool sweater that I knitted for my son was intended to be warm and somewhat waterproof, so I didn’t completely ‘desheep’ the fiber.”  After  the wool has dried completely, it can either be dyed or left as is.  Annie has used food coloring or Kool-Aid packets to dye her wool.  After the drying and dying stage, the wool must be carded, or brushed free of knots and debris.  This part of the process can be done with hand paddles or a mechanical carder.  Annie owns one of the simplest types of machine carders, called a hand crank drum carder.  After the wool is carded, the spinning can begin.

Spinning is the process by which single strands of carded fiber are twisted together to a desired thickness.  Annie has experimented with different fibers and weights to produce different textures in the knitted fabric, including beaded yarns that she strings by hand.  She enjoys working with silk fiber because it not only lightens and softens the fabric, but it also drapes much better.  The spinning wheel that Annie uses was a Christmas gift last year, which commenced the Year of Spinning.  “This year is the Year of Spinning.  Next year will be the Year of Weaving.  I’m interested in making woven rather than knitted fabric and in the fact that one can spin the fibers used to make woven fabric.”  She often spins projects while listening to audio books or while watching Green Bay Packers football games.  Yes, the spinning wheel is mobile enough to move in front of her television.

Annie is also becoming more familiar with the textures of a variety of fibers.  Wool, nylons, and plant fibers all offer varying weights and feel.  She also owns a book that details the differences in the weight, length, and feel of the fleece for many sheep breeds.  But, she’s not restricted
herself to sheep alone.  At the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival, she purchased a fleece for $20, wool that came from an alpaca goat named Stormy.  She explains that the investment will be well worth it, as alpaca yarn is often more expensive and much finer and softer than most wool yarns.  Annie continues her search for other interesting wools and fibers.  But what about the original, Scooter the sheep?  “I don’t know where Scooter is.  I know his parents moved to Indianapolis, so he may have followed them there.”

Fletcher Bell’s Three in a Row

PhD student Mark Bell always tells his students to finish things.  Unfortunately, doling out that kind of advice normally requires the one doling it out to actually follow it. As it applies to Mark Bell it also applies to his novelist alter-ego, Fletcher Bell.

Bell graduated college with an English degree and aspirations of becoming a novelist. He wrote a few books, but none really measured up. Motto in mind, he recently revisited some of his old writings. If they were good enough, he decided he would finish them. While most didn’t make the cut, one book stood out – Three in a Row, a detective story.  As Bell read through the pages, he was unable to put it down, even though he knew the ending.  In Bell’s words, “Oh crap, its not bad.” Determined to finish it, Bell had his book professionally edited, a friend of his designed the cover, and he recruited a group of students to put together a trailer to be posted on Youtube. Bell decided to take the self-publishing route largely because he wanted to test its viability and learn a bit more about the community. Much to his surprise, he discovered a huge community of self-published writers who were incredibly supportive and willing to help. In addition to finding a supportive network, he also found a willing audience. Thus far the sales of Three in a Row have largely come from those involved in the self-publishing community.

Three in a Row is a detective story set in a college town in Indiana. Ben Hudson, a campus policeman, discovers the body of a dead girl, naked, with a game of tic-tac-toe carved on her torso. Teaming up with professor Tristan Clarke, the two set out to find the murderer. The mood of the book is dark, incredibly dark. In addition to the story, Three in a Row has a corresponding soundtrack written by Bell exclusively for the book. Written in D minor, “because that is the saddest most depressing key of all time,” the music sets a mood familiar to anyone who has survived a Bloomington winter; cold, wet, and claustrophobic. In the process of writing, Bell would play the soundtrack over and over again for inspiration. As Bell states, “the book is meant to be read with the soundtrack playing.”

So why the pseudonym? The answer is pretty simple. Mark Bell has a publishing track record in both the academy and in the software business (he has sold over 25,000 books). Dropping his first name in favor of his middle name, allows Bell to separate work from play and prevent any confusion on part of his readers. That said, Fletcher Bell is not just a publishing name. With a website, and a twitter page that boasts over 1,000 Fletcher Bell has taken on a life of his own.

You can purchase a kindle copy of Three in a Row from Amazon here. If you feel inclined don’t be shy about leaving a review on Amazon. They are more important for the sale of self-published books than you might think.

An Update on 3D@IU

When not busy with classes, Chris Eller and Sean Connolly are busy turning IU into one of the premiere 3D destinations in the country. 3D@IU, their unofficial title for all the activities going on around campus that relate to the production of 3D, is slowly but steadily growing. In the spring the department once again plans on offering a special section of T452 that focuses exclusively on 3D production and storytelling. So far 28 students have been through the class, and their work has been featured at the IU Cinema, the Hoosier Heartland Film festival, ESPN 3D, and Beijing’s 3d China Experience Center.

Recently, Connolly was invited to serve on a panel at the 4th annual 3D Entertainment Summit with some of the biggest names in 3D including Bill Chapman, director of 3D production at Turner Studios, Buzz Hays, director of Sony’s 3D technology center, and Howard Postley, COO & CTO of 3ality Digital.

On the production end, Eller has installed a 50 megapixel video wall in the advanced visualization lab.

Brown Bag 

This week’s brown bag presentation featured new Telecom faculty member Paul Wright and Professor Bill Yarber from School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation and The Kinsey Institute.  Their presentations focused on male pornography in the United States; what it is, how it is consumed, and what it predicts.  You can listen to the complete audio of the session here.

Paul Wright: “U.S. males and pornography, 1973-2010: Consumption, predictors, correlates.”

Paul Wright joined IU this year as Assistant Professor. Graduate education: California State University, Fullerton; University of  Arizona. Teaching interests include sex in the media, telecommunications processes and effects, media and health, and communication technology theory. Research interests include media effects and health communication, particularly sexual socialization and sexual health. Some representative publications of his work in this field have appeared in The Journal of Sex Research, the American Journal of Media Psychology, the Journal of Family Communication, and Sexuality & Culture.

Bill Yarber: “What is pornography?”

William L. Yarber has authored or co-authored over 130 scientific reports on sexual risk behavior and AIDS/STD prevention in professional journals. He and colleagues from The Kinsey Institute, the University of Kentucky, University of Guelph, and Oxford University are currently focusing on research concerning male condom use errors and problems. At the request of the U.S. federal government, Bill published the country’s first secondary school AIDS prevention curriculum, AIDS: What Young People Should Know (1987). His secondary school curriculum, STD: A Guide for Today’s Young Adults (1985), is considered to have set the standard for a new health behavior approach to school STD prevention education. He is co-author of the textbook: Yarber, W. L., Sayad, B. W., & Strong, B. (2010). Human Sexuality: Diversity in Contemporary America, New York: McGraw-Hill. This text is used in over 250 colleges and university throughout the United States. Bill chaired the National Guidelines Task Force which developed the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Kindergarten – 12th Grade, published by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). Bill is past president of The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) and past chair of SIECUS board of directors. His awards include the Professional Standard of Excellence from the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists; the SSSS Award of Distinguished Scientific Achievement; the Research Council Award from the American School Health Association; and the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Graduate Student Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award at Indiana University.

Random Quote of the Week

“A dirty book is never a dusty one.” – Bill Yarber, at this week’s Brown Bag Presentation

Credits

Nicky Lewis:  Welcome to Annie’s Wool Land, Brown Bag

Mike Lang:  Fletcher Bell’s Three in a Row, An Update on 3D@IU