Archive for January, 2011


Taking Recommendations

No (wo)man is an island, and I need some advice on a few things. I may get some answers at PodCamp this weekend, but maybe YOU have some advice too.

First, what camera/mic do you use/recommend for blogging/vlogging/webisodes, etc? Right now I just use my Sony Cybershot – same cam as I use to take pics. As I get more involved in social media, self-promotion, and web shows – I am looking to upgrade. Of course, keeping the cost down is always nice. What’s out there? Also, does it come with or do I need special software?

On the topic of software, what do you use for video editing? For my vlogs and things, I have been using Windows Movie Maker. It’s the base level program that came installed on my computer when I bought it a few years ago. It’s very simple. It does the trick for now, but what are my other not-too-expensive options?

And finally, who knows something about building web sites inexpensively? I have gotten a little advice on this so far, but still taking suggestions. I am thinking of starting a theater-related site that needs a little more oomph than just the static sites that I have right now. The site will need constant updates of show times, venues, auditions, etc. I know this is a little vague, but I am looking for jumping off points. It may need to be my own start-up money, grant money, and/or ad revenue that makes this happen.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Meghan

P.S. Check out my latest PBS interview here!

If you’re in Western New England, I have some good news and some bad news. It snowed again, but I am on television tonight.  So if you’re snowed in tonight and staying warm, please tune in.  Connecting Point airs at 7:30PM on WGBY.  It’s my second arts segment with the show. Luckily we got to film this week, in spite of all of the snow.  The first segment was about music.  Tonight is all a bout film.  There is so much that can be covered when your canvas is “arts in Western New England.”  Theater, poetry, comedy, painting, and dance are definitely on the radar. If you have show ideas, please comment below.

I am also very excited about PodCamp WesternMass.  It’s an “un-conference” about social media and online networking. It is happening at Westfield State College on Saturday, February 5th all day.  If you don’t know about PodCamp, TweetUps, and the social media networking landscape in Western MA, then come out to learn and play!  If you already tweet and blog your little butt off, then this is the place for you!  It’s only $25, and it’s a smorgasbord of fun and learning.  Their site perfectly states, “Bloggers, business people, artists, and academics, to get together, make connections, and for everyone to learn how social media can enhance their business, cause or organization. This is also a chance to celebrate the cornucopia of Western Mass. culture, a joyous blend of urban and rural; business, artistic and academic; near enough to other large metro areas, but small enough to hear yourself think.”  I am a PodCamp virgin and can’t wait for February 5th!

#seeyouthere

The snow won’t stop me from filming two brand new television episodes today. First up is my second segment for Connecting Point on PBS station WGBY.  I am interviewing Catherine Portuges from UMass Amherst about the 18th Annual Massachusetts Film Festival that kicks off February 2nd.  Earlier today, I got to speak with Palestian-American filmmaker  Jamal Dajani of “Occupied Minds.” The film will be screened as port of the festival. His thoughts will be shared on the segment as well.

Second, I am co-hosting a webisode of Strictly Businews. It is the second live taping and my second time co-hosting.  It will be filmed with a live audience at the Majestic Theater at 5:30PM. Come on down if you feel like getting out the house, having some fun, and networking with new people.

See you on the small screen, Meghan

Quickie Movie Reviews

Three snow days this week means I saw five, count ‘em five, movies. I can’t even remember the last movie I saw before this week. Here are my quickie movie reviews. In Twitter style, I have reviewed them in 140 characters or less. Two movies I didn’t see, but should have: True Grit and Black Swan. When I asked for movie suggestions in a Facebook status, lots of people recommended True Grit. The thing is, westerns bore me to tears. I almost saw Black Swan this week, but the timing was off. I am excited to see it…hopefully this week.

The King’s Speech
Witty British period piece. Perfect mix of drama, comedy & pathos. Engaging performances from Firth & Rush. Audiences & critics will agree.

The Fighter
Amazing film. Remarkable portrayals by Bale, Wahlberg and Adams. True story out of Lowell. Riveting. Proud my brother was prop master.

Little Fockers
To the dismay of LaserCola.com, I funded the Focker franchise. Predictable, mildly funny, not life-changing. But that’s all I was looking 4.

The Dilemma
Vaughn & James comedy: didn’t expect much. Surprisingly darker than expected. Didn’t mesh with slapstick. Don’t waste your $. #Isawitforfree

TRON
Not a sci-fi geek, but I liked it. There were some plot holes, but they were overshadowed by visually stunning science fiction in 3D.

Popcorned out, Meghan

Mark Erelli Interview

If you missed my interview with Mark Erelli in PBS last night, here is the video link.  WGBY‘s new nightly news program, Connecting Point, premiered Monday, January 10th and my first segment as Arts Contributer aired last night.  I will be appearing on the show every other Thursday with a spotlight interview and a calendar of what’s coming up in Western New Englnd in the next 2 weeks.  Have arts topics you think I should cover? Please comment below.

Meghan

Weekly I receive numerous emails, tweets, facebook messages, texts, and good old snail mail about theatrical performances, auditions, charity events, and so on.  I often think there should be an easily accessed web site to find all of this information in one place.  I know a site in CT that tackles this accomplishment like CT Callboard, and there are sites that cover New England auditions like JAC NEED and New England Theater 411.  I remember a few years back there was a mass email that went out called Ghostlight.  I can’t remember if it covered MA, CT, or both.  (Pat Haynes are you out there?) But as far as I know, there is not a contained site for all things Western Mass Theater (i.e. Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, and Berkshire counties)  Is there something out there that is an umbrella site for Western Mass theater that I don’t know about?

Of course there’s always a question of where to end and where to begin. Even if this site became a reality, should it just cover theater? Only Western Mass? Include things like film? Dance? Musicians? There would need to be a clear focus. Oh, and a web site name. Have ideas? Is this something that you think there is a need for? Would it be a non-profit? Could it make money somehow? Should it try to get funded and provide grants to local theater? This blog is truly an off-the-cuff stream of consciousness.  Would there be enough people interested in contributing to a site like this? Reading it? Sharing it? Please comment on this post and let me know your thoughts.

Blog Squared

As you may know, I am hosting some arts segments for Connecting Point, a brand new program that premieres on WGBY tonight!  In addition to the segments airing about what’s going on in the arts in Western New England, I am blogging too.  I won’t constantly be here blogging within a blog, but I wanted to share my first post with you.  I hope you will subscribe to both blogs and show me some love.

The blog will be so much fun because I can hardly scratch the surface in just two on-air segments per month.  If you have arts & entertainment related topics that you think should be covered, please comment below.  Oh, and here’s a pic taken after my very first Connecting Point interview with Mark Erelli.

The interview was a success, and I hope you will tune in Thursday night at 7:30PM on WGBY.  Yep, I’m coming to PBS.

Clickity click click click, Meghan

What’s This All About.com?

You may have seen some of the Howcast videos I have been a part of in the past.  The filmmaker who shot them has a new project up his sleeve, and I am so excited to be a part of it.

He has been given a green light on some how-to videos for About.com.  The big difference for me between the Howcast spots and the About spots is that I a using my name and likeness in these videos.  The Howcast videos came with a pre-recorded voice over track, and in most cases I simply provided a little overacting.  In the About videos, I will be speaking directly to the camera.  For the test video we submitted to About.com, we chose a how-to about vlogging.  Go figure.  I start out the video by saying, “Hi, I’m Meghan Lynn Allen for About.com,” and go on to take you through he steps of how to vlog.  We chose that video because I was somewhat of an expert and could talk about it easily.  I wish I could show you the video, but I have not seen a live link yet.

About loved the test video, and now we get to choose from hundreds of topics and hack away at them.  However, believe it or not – I am not an expert at everything!  So we chose the videos that I could get away with – without being an “expert.” Today we shot 5 videos with a thank you note theme – how and when to send, etc.  In some cases, I was creating, memorizing, and delivering lines on the spot.  It was a lot of fun.  And I will be involving other talented people when I can.  We already involved some magician friends of mine!

I hope to be able to share some links with you soon, so you can see what it’s all About.  (See what I did there?)

Adventurously yours, Meghan

Through Virgin Eyes

I am headed to Manhattan for a weekend trip Friday. I always love my NYC visits. I was just in Queens on New Year’s Eve and saw Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown with Patti LuPone  in its final weekend on Broadway. The weather was perfect for walking around, and everyone seemed to be in the New Year spirit. But, this weekend will be extra special. I get to see New York through virgin eyes.

The person I am traveling with has been to Manhattan before, but not as often as me and never with me in tow. (They’re in for a treat, no?) We are staying practically in Times Square. Bring on the bright lights, the crowded streets, and that unique feeling of Manhattan in winter. We are doing the theater thing: standing in line at TKTS for half-price tickets, seeing a few shows, and making a special post-show stop (no spoilers, sorry). And there will be a few other Meghan-tailored surprises, considering it’s their birthday Sunday. One exceptional delight will be drink…or 3…with the bitchiest waiter I know.

Does anyone have show recommendations or reviews to share? La Bete, Time Stands Still, Angels in America, and Billy Elliot are at the top of my list. Please comment with ideas of what to see or what to stay away from.

Start spreading the news, Meghan

The Bed is the New Desk

You always hear things like, “gray is the new black” or “50 is the new 40.”  Well, I’m here to tell you that the bed is the new desk.  I’ve been working from bed on and off all day.  Yes, I showered. I’m not in pajamas. I even left the house for a lunch meeting.  But hey, my bed is comfortable. I paid a lot of money for it.  And why not work from bed if you can?

I have been researching topics for my first arts segment with Connecting Point. I will be filming this Friday and the segment will air January 13th at 7:30PM…well, sometime in that half hour time slot.  I can hardly contain my excitement, and I am pumped for Friday!  I landed my first guest, and I have to say I am pretty proud of myself.  I will tell you all about it after we film the segment Friday.  I am planning a little behind the scenes vlogging too.

Well, I have to get back to bed,  Meghan