Tag Archives: Big Dig

This Is For All The Single Women Out There

By: Daniela Franco

Looking for love in 2012 for the first time in over 20 years, Michelle Ortega decided to pack-up and move across the country from San Francisco to New York City.

Ortega found herself a recent divorcee from a 13-year marriage and decided that moving to New York City would be her perfect fresh start. Ortega says “I was simply talking to my friend and she pointed out that I had always wanted to live in New York, so I decided right there and then ‘I’m going to move to New York.’” But being single in an unknown place was more daunting than she could have ever imagined. When talking about how she felt Ortega said, “I didn’t even know how to be single, I hadn’t flirted in 13 years. What was I supposed to do? Was I supposed to go to a bar by myself? It was awful!”

Overwhelmed by the ever-changing dating scene in the 21st century, Ortega began to navigate through online dating and learning what it meant to be single over 40 in a city known for its youth.

“I talked to girlfriends and heard all these stories and disappointments, and frustrations and some joys. I decided we needed to figure this out. There has to be a better way, there has to be some inspiration. We can learn things from people. How do you put yourself out there and find a special someone?” said Ortega.

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Sex, the City, and Second Chances: Lessons in Kickstarting & Kicking Butt in the Dating Game

by Kathryn Jones

Michelle

Filmmaker Michelle Ortega finds it better to interview her subjects in their natural setting. She sits on the couch of her apartment, where she crafts the concepts and rough cuts of her films – her own natural setting.

For Michelle Ortega, being a single teenager seemed much easier than getting back into the dating world as a middle-aged woman. Cheesy romance movies from the 1970s seemed realistic. Life would be complete if she married any of the members of Duran Duran. Drinking 3 a.m. peppermint shots, passing out, and being carried home by a teenage playboy to her angry mother counted as a first date. Charmingly picking up the “sweet, good-looking” guy who worked at the deli led to her first boyfriend at age 16. And for Ortega, as longtime best friend Christy Dobbs said, older guys embodied the ideal.

“Growing up, Michelle was always beautiful and always being flirted with, pursued and had lots of choices about what boys to date,” said Dobbs.

Today, most of Ortega’s dating history consists of her high school days dating boys in and around her hometown of Felton in Santa Cruz, California and while studying Radio and Television at San Francisco State University where she met her college sweetheart and now-ex-husband.

While working on school video projects at SFSU, project partner Jason Blatt became her boyfriend of five years, fiancé, and then husband. The two founded video production company North Beach Digital in 2009 in San Francisco, where they lived together until the couple’s split in 2012. While still working as an award-winning video producer for Google and co-owning North Beach Digital, Ortega made the decision to move across the country to New York City shortly after.

28 years after her first date and in a new city, Ortega finds herself looking for her second chance at love. The native Californian realized she did not gain as much dating experience as her peers by marrying out of college.

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PLAY–Seeing from the Children’s Eyes

By Wendy (Tzu-Shu) Shyu

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POV shot from the GoPro camera strapped on child’s chest

“When [Nate] was four, I remember he was getting super social and he really liked playing with other kids, he at first had a little bit difficult time of introducing himself, and he would get sort of nervous about it, and a little embarrassed. He would ask us to help him.” Recalling this story about his son, Chris Mohney talks about how this kind of “nervous[ness] about rejection” is the “social dynamic” that he finds interesting in children.

Mohney’s short documentary in planning stages, PLAY, aims at video recording children in New York City playgrounds, injecting a new idea into film production: making a dozen children wear GoPro cameras in front of their chests. As the producer of PLAY, Mohney hopes to capture the interaction children present from their point of view.

Currently the VP of programming at Maker Studios, an entertainment company based in Culver City, California, Mohney started a campaign on Kickstarter.com to fund PLAY, his independent project. Using lots of POV shots, he hopes to “re-live” childhood experience.

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Charlie Reeves: The Storyteller

by Ananya Bhattacharya

Charlie Reeves

Photo Courtesy: Charlie Reeves

Charlie Reeves had the script, cast and crew ready to shoot the first episode of his new web series, Peacekeepers. Excited to begin production the next day, Reeves faced one of the greatest challenges- the private investor funding the project decided to postpone the financing. With locations and schedules set, panic struck the Peacekeepers team because losing essential time was equivalent to losing money and potentially, shutting down the project.

At the age of 27, he may have been through his fair share of day jobs as an accountant in production firms, working 9 to 7 every day, but his goal is centered on TV writing and Peacekeepers is his step towards making his dream a reality. Reeves’ script for an entire season is ready and his plans for the next two seasons are too. He says, “I like a beginning, a middle and an end so I have three seasons planned out and that’s how long the show will be.” Focused and determined, he has 20-minute episodes mapped out and his cast is supportive, yet he continues to struggle with funding.

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Musician Ian Fiedorek: Bridging the Gap Between Indie Rock and Classical Music

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by Megan Zhang

Being in an amateur garage band marks the childhood of many an aspiring musician. But so few of these young instrumentalists grow up to actively pursue their musical dreams. Twenty-nine year old Ian Fiedorek’s interest in music also began at a young age in an amateur garage band, and now, as an adult, Ian has released a solo indie rock album, as well as a 40-minute symphony that he calls his masterpiece. But what makes Fiedorek’s musical career most unique is his contemporary take on music—he pushes down the walls that separate indie rock music and classical music, instead meshing elements of the two genres together in a distinctive way.

Born in Manhattan, Ian’s passion for music began with piano when he was seven. His interest later branched off to guitar, which he began practicing at thirteen. As many musically inclined adolescents do, Fiedorek started a band, called the Rock Stars, while attending Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. His musical ambitions gained an additional dimension when he began composing his own music, prompting him to study music composition at New York University. Fiedorek was always trying to reconcile the two musical genres he had grown up playing. “Music for me has always been about trying to find the mix between the indie and the classical,” Ian said.

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Filmmaker finds inspiration in personal tragedy

Fredgy Noël makes her directorial debut with the short film Milking It.

By Deborah Lubanga

In late November 2013, while the rest of New York City was preparing for the holiday season, Fredgy Noël sat crying in her therapist’s office.

Just five months earlier, her mother-in-law, Eve Michael, had lost a hard-fought battle with cancer. The family knew it was going to happen, but that never makes it any easier.

“She was such a fighter that I just kept on believing she was going to be okay. And it just affected me,” Noël recalled of her struggle to cope with the grief. “[Eve was] the closest person to me that’s ever passed away.”

During this particularly emotive session, a teary-eyed Noël asked her therapist, “Don’t you wish you could just date guys for their moms?”

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Jordan Brown: Taking a Bite into the Food Industry

Jordan Brown:  Taking a Bite into the Food Industry

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By Katie Ambrosini

The smell of wood shavings and fresh paint permeated the air as I first walked into the mysterious, unopened restaurant, Hu Kitchen, on 5th avenue and 14th street. There was a handful of other people doing the same thing I was doing– applying for jobs. As I was filling out my application, a man  with striking blue eyes and strong arms, who was sitting at a dusty table, caught my attention. His blonde hair was trimmed to a buzz cut and he wore flip flops, khaki pants, and a henley shirt. I stopped staring as Mia, one of the mangers called me up for the interview. I was hired, and before leaving, Mia introduced me to the owner and creator– Jordan Brown– the beautifully sculpted and blue-eyed man I was admiring earlier. I was surprised: he seemed to young and too relaxed to be at the head of all of this. He flashed a humble smile and introduced himself. “Hey, I’m Jordan. Glad to have you working for us,” he said. I awkwardly spitted out a “t-t-hank you, me too.” I left slightly embarrassed and a little surprised of my new boss. Continue reading

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