Redefining female sound: J McAuliffe

The MAIN REASON that Up in Smoke was ever able to exist is thanks to the constant tuning and volume correcting of sound expert J McAuliffe. The audio producing Phoenician asked listeners to re-evaluate the stereotypes they place on gender —- more specifically as it relates to sound – on this episode of Up in Smoke.

(So keep (stop) reading and listen here🙂

HEARST JOURNALISM AWARDS PROGRAM 2017
“J-editing,” a surefire future biography memoir title. TU Erin Lubin.

Re-adjusting the sound levels of what she considers a less-than-perfect microphone as she spoke during the opening of this episode, J avoided all of the compliments that Raina and I poured onto her because she can’t handle the truth (– did I mention that she is a badass superstar golden fluttering unicorn and the reason that Up in Smoke is possible? Check out this article about her winning first place at the Hearst Journalism Awards competition.)

As a sound and audio expert, J is very active in the podcast world (Literally ask her for sound help – but don’t tell her I told you that). In this episode, J talks about how her audio production skills and her point-of-view as a nonbinary person sometimes throw off listeners or those just meeting her. Reason being because her voice is considered deeper than that of your “””””average””””” (wtf that means) woman.

“Like right now (on the podcast), when you first hear my voice, and you weren’t given the pronoun ‘she’ leading up to it, and even then, for the listener there might be some sort of dissonance,” J said.

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“J-walking,” a surefire future biography sequel memoir title. TU Maria Esquinca.

The constant praise of her voice, deeper than what is considered “feminine” by societal standards, but more than welcomed in the world of radio, is what J said lead her to pursuing sound full-time as a college student.

“I pinpoint it to that, someone telling me ‘wow, you’re good at this thing’ and going on and doing that,” she said.

Now more comfortable in her position as a trans* woman, J spoke about her praised radio voice as the leading part of her gender dysphoria. She gave examples of a couple of awkward introductions and explanatory conversations with strangers who automatically assumed her gender on the show.

“When I’m ordering a coffee or any interaction with a stranger (I know what) their first impression of me is: ‘Oh, they are going to gender me as male right now,’ just because of my voice and that’s the part that kind of sucks sometimes,” J said.

Her experience with sound has only further-backed her research and exploration of the pressure placed on voices based on gender. On the show she spoke more about some of the social constructs and stereotypes that people attach to how a woman or a man is programmed to speak.

J talked about the typical ways people interpret a female voice, saying, “The way you say certain words or the way you begin a sentence and the slight little changes in inflection, like if you are going to answer things a little bit more of a question sometimes.”

Along with voice issues, she also spoke about her current answers to every outfit or appearance question that she has received as a trans* woman. J’s current approach to set stereotypes being to act as if she were the only person on the planet, ignoring prior societal expectations or “safe” answers that tend to be associated with being a trans woman in Arizona.

J also briefly spoke about the experience she had when coming out to the people around her about being trans* – first individually, then collectively, then on Facebook. The common theme of the “coming out” conversation being that the conversation usually ends up having nothing to do with her.

“I realized that coming out is not a nerve-racking experience,” and later said, “It’s more of a big deal for the person I’m telling.”

J said that the conversation switches to people thinking that this is a “big deal moment” when she is actually approaching it more casually because it’s just one voiced realization out of a million.

HEARST JOURNALISM AWARDS PROGRAM 2017
“DJ-editing,” a surefire future audiobook memoir title. TU Erin Lubin.

 

Now hoping the land an audio production job as an ASU post-graduate, J credits her audio involvement to being actively involved in ASU’s student run radio as well as the several podcasts that she has produced and hosted (keep reading……)

For those wishing to find more experience in Arizona with audio, editing and mixing she said that it is a pretty small pool of people and not a ton of resources locally for audio engineering.

“There’s not (many) opportunities for wanting to be an audio engineer, which sucks, so I think the biggest thing would be creating your own stuff,” she said.

Check out some of the work J has done, like “How to train your Jedi,”her work with Blaze Radio, the student radio station, and “In a world” the movie soundtrack podcast.

Then listen to the rapid fire round where we force J to answer the unavoidable: Earthquake or Hurricane?

Check it out!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Jamee

 

Also follow J on Soundcloud here or stalk her on Facebook here.

Redefining female sound: J McAuliffe

Religion and Art: Michaela Emerson talks film

As a former private Christian school student, Michaela Emerson has tested her creativity in a variety of ways; most noteworthy being her role as production designer for a strip club in a music video.

Now an Arizona-based artist and ASU alum, Michaela’s latest film project, Domestic, is complete (— which is why you can watch it right now via the video below these words). She talks more about the creation of Domestic, as well as her own past experiences with the intersection/collision of religion and creativity in this episode of Up in Smoke.

 

Before Michaela dove into the creation of her most recent film or mentioned any of her stripper encounters, she talked to Raina and I about her experience in transferring from California Baptist University to the ivy-reject party school that is Arizona State University (disclaimer: that is a joke, go Devil(s)).

She spoke about her short-lived private Christian college experience making her slightly bitter about her past, but highlighted the fact that she has nothing against Christianity and is more or less just opposed to certain details of religion.

“It was definitely a tough experience for me, I would say, because it was very conservative, very religious, and I kind of felt lost in that,” she said of the small school.

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The film major transferred to ASU shortly after her first year, realizing that some of the creative endeavors that she was trying to pursue at CBU were making her feel like a complete outcast.

Michaela also spoke more about her transition between the polar opposite schools. She credits the once uncomfortable leap to ASU as something that helped to push her further out of her comfort zone. Eventually she landed an internship in New York City with Yacht Club Films, with the full intent of getting as much hands on production experience as possible.

 

“I ended up going to New York and stayed there for three months. I lived in a basement with five other guys,” Michaela said.

One of the most memorable experiences of the internship was being put in the role of production designer for a rap music video which required her to set up and design a strip club, she said.

“I had to give some strippers some birthday cake, it was really interesting,” she said.

Michaela also talks about the conversation she had with her mom in which she tried to explain what she was doing as an intern (which you can hear more about here).

 

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Michaela on set for the production of “Domestic”.

Flash forward to Michaela’s most recent project: Domestic (shoutout to Nichole Perlberg) which is based on the large amount of people who will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. The dance piece falls in line with her desire to create projects that also have some kind of social impact, she said.

And when we asked Michaela what advice she has for other women looking to switch up their own life and try something completely out of their comfort zone she quoted Nike’s life slogan: “Just do it.”

“I went (to New York) terrified because I was like, ‘I don’t really know what I’m doing,’ -but that’s why I went – because it was a great opportunity for me to learn more about it,” Michaela said.

Moving forward as an artist with the goal to bring her diverse background into her writing, the now desert dweller hopes to take her creative talents to London — and you can follow more of that journey on her FB here and IG here.

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Side note: We also talked about how feminism was viewed at Michaela’s prior school, questioned why people keep saying “though shall submit to thy husband,” at weddings, and I relived my life changing moment of discovering this Youtube video of Pomeranian dogs wearing bread as a face mask**.

 

***you’re welcome.

—Jamee

Religion and Art: Michaela Emerson talks film

Michelle Y. Allen on quitting her corporate job to become an Arizona Actress

Woah——- please prepare yourself for the erotic thriller that is Episode 5 of Up in Smoke (I will explain later).

Raina was going on two hours of sleep and I was functioning on a 100% caffeine so you can bet that the beginning of this episode is probably the closest we have gotten to sounding like druggy hosts of a pakalolo podcast.

MORE IMPORTANTLY—- Michelle Y. Allen sat down with us and filled us in on a couple of local films she has been working on, as well as how she went from being an IT help desk specialist to a lead actress in the Arizona film, “Dark Dignity.”

Listen to Ep. 5 of Up in Smoke with Michelle Y Allen here or keep reading below:

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After working at an IT help desk in a corporate insurance office for 11 years, Michelle Y. Allen decided it was time to switch her focus to acting.

Two years earlier, her corporate company had put out a casting call for a training video. Michelle used the audition opportunity simply to get away from her desk. After landing the lead, Michelle started to further explore the possibility of acting in Arizona.

“In 2005 I left my job to pursue an acting career and I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t even know that I wanted to be an actor, I was always very shy in front of lots of people,” Michelle said.

She went on to take local acting classes, act in local college plays, work on movie trailers and seek out new audition opportunities.

“I knew my chances of being successful were, like, zero. But that’s OK because when you have a dream and the means to follow it – why not!?” Michelle said.

After sitting down with her husband and downsizing her income, Michelle was eventually able to devote all of her time and attention to her acting career and leave her job.

Now acting in one of the starring roles of the locally filmed and produced movie, “Dark Dignity,” Michelle hopes to continue honing in on her skills. She also spoke briefly about a lot of the “hobbyists” that make it harder for Arizona to become a sustainable filming environment. (Listen here homies).

“To me, hobbyists are people who have a good time doing it, they still have other jobs, they have things that they have to do (besides acting). They’re not really into learning their craft, or learning more about the layers of the onion,” Michelle said.

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With the goal of building a thriving film community in Arizona, Michelle is now working on another locally produced film, this time an erotic thriller. (Michelle talks about how the film, “Finally You,” is helping her to grow as a producer in the podcast here.)

Her advice to actors and actresses looking to get into Arizona’s film scene? Michelle said to take classes (like the ones at Verve Studios with Amanda Melby), check the internet for ways to get involved, and to get out of your comfort zone.

“Don’t be afraid to say what you want; just go out there and do it and don’t be afraid of what people think because whatever they think doesn’t matter anyway,” Michelle said.

Specific audition websites that she recommends for finding Arizona auditions include:

  • Durantcom.com to look for auditions for crew, acting, behind-the scenes positions in Arizona.
  • Facebook for the Casting Calls Phoenix page and other Arizona acting related pages.

+++++++You can hear even more advice for women looking to get involved in Arizona’s acting scene in Ep. 5 of our podcast.

Note: We were not on drugs.

Note: Yes, the closest comparison for an “erotic thriller” is SAW II + porn.

LISTEN TO IT. 🙂

-Jamee

Michelle Y. Allen on quitting her corporate job to become an Arizona Actress