Monday, September 12, 2011

Grad School, Go!

Summer has come to an end, and I managed to stick with all of my summer goals (except for learning to cook, which I really only started on a few weeks ago). I've been here at the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) for about two weeks, and in Pittsburgh for three, and I feel so blessed to be here. It's hard to explain this feeling that I have, that I am in the most perfect place right now, and that I belong here. I've been working nearly every minute I've spent here at the ETC these past two weeks, and I've been here literally every day since the first day of classes. However, I have thoroughly and completely enjoyed the work I've been doing, the classes I'm taking, and the people I've met. It's an incredible feeling to be doing something I really, really love, with so many like-minded people!

Like all the other first-semester ETC students, I am currently in the Immersion semester, affectionately called, "boot camp." All of the first-year students are taking the same four classes - Building Virtual Worlds (a.k.a. BVW, which is, essentially, video game design), Visual Story (film-making), Fundamentals of ETC (self-explanatory), and Improv Acting (really helps you learn to work in a group, and is a lot of fun and stress relief, besides!). BVW and Visual Story are group project classes. Of these two, BVW is easily the most intense and taxing course, with groups of students designing a new game every 2-4 weeks, each time with different team members. My role in BVW is sound design, something I I've dabbled in previously in a Computer Audio class and later a film class I took at Georgia Tech, and something I very much enjoy. We're currently halfway through Round 1, so stay tuned for some awesome games!

While I do love video games, the class I'm most looking forward to is Visual Story. We have the same teams for the entire semester, and in said teams, we will make several videos, such as a team promo and a music video. I'm hoping to use this class to improve my skills in Adobe AfterEffects and Premiere, and to learn more about film in general.

So, careers. When I first arrived at the ETC, I was sure of my decision to pursue a career in visual effects animation in film, probably as a Technical Artist. But, as Don Marinelli, the executive producer of the ETC, so aptly puts it, "We are here to confuse you." And so I am. I've found that I may also be well suited to a career in production - either as a game or film producer - but further research into this field is necessary.

More to come on BVW, Visual Story, and my life. Cheers!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I absolutely ADORE going to concerts! I love music of all kinds and have been to concerts in many different genres, and I enjoy seeing both famous artists and those who are lesser-known. Here are some of my favorites thus far.

Muse on 2/27/2010. Blurry because I was flailing so hard. :D
MUSE: Muse, an alternative rock band, was the first concert I ever went to (my first time was on August 6, 2007), and definitely my favorite concert of all time! More on that, later. I've seen Muse four times so far, and they have blown my expectations out of the water every time. They are amazing live: their setlists are great, their performances are incredibly high-energy, and the stage fx are so creative!

3/09 - The drummer (above) gave me his sticks!
PENDULUM: Pendulum was my introduction to the genre of Drum & Bass, which Wikipedia defines as, a type of electronic dance music, "characterized by fast breakbeats with heavy bass and sub-bass lines." I first saw them at the Loft in Atlanta in October of 2008, and have since seen them twice more (one live set in March 2009 and one DJ set in March 2010). They are always insane live: so good at getting the crowd pumped, and the band is so fun to interact with in-concert. The first time I saw them in 2008 was definitely my favorite; we were up at the very front of the Loft, which is a small venue to begin with, so the MC (Verse) pretty much sang to me for most of the concert!

Tony Beliveau, CK's vocalist/keyboardist.
CRASH KINGS: Crash Kings are a new favorite band of mine; I've only been a fan for about a year. I first saw them in Spring of 2010 as they opened for JET as part of Georgia Tech's "Sting Break" concert. I didn't like JET, but I fell in love with Crash Kings and have since seen them twice. Words can't describe how talented they are--you'll just have to check them out. They are one of the best bands out there right now, and are definitely in my top five favorites. They are also awesome live! Great performers, they actually interact with the crowd (the only area in which I think Muse is lacking), and they do a great cover of War Pigs!

Billy, the guitarist, and Benji.
GOOD CHARLOTTE: Good Charlotte was actually my introduction to rock music and the first punk band I ever liked, back when I first got into the genre in middle/high school. I went to see them recently in March of this year (2011), and they kicked ass! They played a great mix of old and new songs, and, with their most recent album, showed that they can still write good music! The band matured really well, and the concert was really fun. Benji and Joel have a great dynamic!

Imogen playing "Hide and Seek" on her keytar.
IMOGEN HEAP: Definitely the most innovative concert I've ever been to. If you've heard the song, "Hide and Seek," or "Let Go" from the movie Garden State, or even the song, "Whatcha Say" by Jason Derulo, then you've heard Imogen Heap. I love her voice, love her style, and love, love, love her in concert! As she is a one-person artist, and as her songs are relatively complex instrument-wise, she faces something of a challenge when performing live. To solve this problem, she brings with her, various strange and exotic instruments, records each one live, and plays it on a loop. Piece by piece--and backed up by a few people on piano, drums, etc.--she builds her songs. So cool to see it live! Another part of her concert that I thought was so imaginative was her improv. All artists do it, especially when transitioning between songs, but Imogen's was truly original. She let the audience choose the song tempo, key, and instruments, and constructed a song from there. Even better, she recorded the song, and put it on her website to be downloaded for a small fee. All proceeds from the song went to the charity of her choosing in the city in which the concert was played. For us, it was Trees Atlanta. What a wonderful, talented, and creative woman!

U2: U2 wins for craziest setup! I saw them in October of 2009. They played in the GA Dome and had a really cool stage setup. I was pretty high up (nosebleed section), but a close friend was in the gen. admission section (right next to the stage) and said that the band was great with interacting with the crowd. Also, they played all my favorite U2 songs, for which they get many, many points.

Note: The artists mentioned above are just my favorite concerts, and not my favorite artists overall (well, some of them are). I've seen a few bands that I adored in studio, but that I wasn't really feeling live, whether it was because of the crowd, the way the band performed, or the venue.

Hopefully I will have plenty more bands to add to the list in the coming years!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Little About Me

Hello, there! I'm Bhavna, a soon-to-be graduate of Georgia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Starting in August of this year, I'll be working toward a Master of Entertainment Technology degree with a concentration in film at Carnegie Mellon University. I'll be at the Entertainment Technology Center's (ETC) main campus in Pittsburgh, PA for the upcoming Fall semester, but as the ETC has campuses all over the world, who knows where I'll be in the future.

Outside of school, I love to stay busy, and more likely than not, if school's not in session, I'm spending my time on one of my four favorite pastimes. They are as follows: (1) trying new things, whether it's food, traveling to another country, or listening to a new kind of music, (2) learning new things, like a new language or programming language, (3) creating (from drawing, to making games, to making short films), and finally, (4) spending time with my family and friends.

So, in this blog, I'll share all the fun experiences I've had during my time in Atlanta, document my very last summer in Georgia for a while, as well as the many adventures I'm sure I'll have in my upcoming semesters at the ETC. I hope it's a fun read!