- Posted on 06/01/2011 by Mary
Hi all. The lady in that picture is Olivia Bee. She's a professional photographer who's still in high school -- she's 17 -- and she took all of the gorgeous still photos at the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot with all the fireworks and whatnot. We like her very much. Especially after talking to her. (Btw, most of this interview is about the life of a teenage professional photographer, but if you just want to skip to the part about the Degrassi shoot, click here.)
So, first of all, how did you start getting paid to do photography while you're still in high school?
Well, my freshman year in high school I got a bunch of emails from VSA Partners, and I kind of disregarded them because I was like, "That's probably spam, whatever." And then I got an email from Converse directly and they were like, "Hey, we'd love to have you take some photos on a shoot, kind of a mentoring process and we'll pay you, and it'll be really fun," blah blah blah, so I got to skip school and go on a shoot in Portland for Converse. And I just got to experiment and see what it was all about, take some photos, and then everything just kind of followed. They took a chance on me and now, this is happening.
That's amazing. How did they find you, Flickr?
Wow. Did you already have a ton of contacts on Flickr before that?
Yeah, I had a lot of followers, and that came with the popularity I guess. It was all pretty much by luck.
Were you nervous at all? Does any of this faze you? It sounds like it could be really intense.
It is intense. Before I worked with Converse I was so nervous. I didn't even want to go, I was so scared. I was like, "What are they gonna think of me? I'm totally not gonna be able to take pictures once I get there because that's just what'll totally happen to me." But it was fine. I'm always a little nervous right before, if things aren't working out, or if there's no schedule, or the shoot is disorganized. But if I'm just taking pictures then I'm totally fine.
New Degrassi guy alert: Jake, played by Justin Kelly
I would imagine there's a huge difference between taking pictures of your friends in a relaxed atmosphere and like "Well, we're on a deadline, and these people are only here for four hours, and you need to get the shot."
It's really different. It's like I have to be an adult, I have to transfer from being this stupid kid who just hangs out with her friends all the time and I have to be a professional, and I have to deliver. There's a lot of pressure, actually. But as long as I'm still taking pictures I can deal with it, because that's what I do for fun anyway.
Has anybody ever been snotty to you because you're 17? Or underestimated you?
Yes. All the time. I get so much snottiness. People just think I'm like a little kid, and 'why are they paying her to do what all these other people can do; why would they ever hire someone who's that old; she's never gone to college."
You just brush 'em off?
I'm just kinda like F.U.
Haha, word! So how did you fall in love with photography in the first place? Well, I took a darkroom class in 6th grade because I went to an arts-based middle school. And I really was really bad at it at first. I took a lot of pictures of Christmas ornaments and stuffed animals, things it wouldn't be embarrassing to take pictures of. And then I just started spending extra time in the darkroom -- I don't know, it was kind of an accidental, found love. But now I can't live without it.
How do your friends feel about being photographed all the time?
I think they like it? I guess some people are annoyed like "Aw, why do you have that camera again" but it's just playful, not pissed or anything. Most of the time, they really like it. It's kinda cool, they're like the characters of my life and I think they realize that. And no one takes family photos anymore so the moms like it, too.
I have friends who are videographers or photographers who always have a camera at any event, and they've told me how people are sometimes like "Oh God, put down the camera and just experience this" but the next day, everyone's SO psyched that the pictures and video exist.
TOTALLY. Totally. The whole "Time" thing. [By this I assume she means like capturing time, time being linear. You know. The whole Time thing.] Plus, I feel like, people can say that to me, but it's like "No, this is MY way of experiencing it. This is how I want to experience everything." It's not their deal, it's mine.
What is awesome about photography?
There are a million moments you could capture, but capturing that one that's perfect... it's pretty amazing. You can make a whole other world with things you already have. It's... it's like real life on paper. Or fake life on paper, depending on how you look at it.
Does having a camera ever help you meet people?
Oh yeah, all the time. It's mostly short little conversations, but I like short little conversations.
So. This Degrassi shoot. What was that like?
It was crazy. 'Cause I'd never been on a TV set before. Usually still production [as in still photography, vs. video] is: a producer, you have your assistants, you have your gaffer, the stylist, the make-up artist, and then I'll have a studio teacher. But with this there were like 150 people and they all had different jobs and that was just crazy for me.
A studio teacher -- so even if it's a one-day shoot you have to have a studio teacher because you're a minor?
It depends on what state, but yeah. California, definitely.
Were you already a Degrassi fan?
We actually watch it in Health class at school. Usually episodes about STDs or relationships, violence... because Degrassi covers a lot of teen health things like that. Usually we had a separate episode for each lesson but sometimes we would just watch it, just 'cause.
Your health teacher sounds awesome.
What do you remember from that day?
Well, it was freezing. It was going from like 7pm to 5am, which, I'd never done that before! I had a 4:20 am call time a couple weeks ago but this was like ridiculous.
Oh, and it was actually pretty funny... when they were filming the scene where Sav was standing on the lifeguard chair swinging his jacket around and there were all these fireworks going on, and since they weren't filming for sound, he was just kind of yelling things because it was supposed to look like he's yelling. And he was just like "[BAD WORD] DEGRASSI! THESE KIDS SUCK!"
Hahahaha. I love that guy. Did you have favorite characters or favorite episodes before?
Now I've met them and I can't pick favorites! I like 'em all, they were really sweet in person, too. It was really nice to know that they weren't stuck-up or anything.
- Posted on 05/31/2011 by Lisa
TONIGHT at 10pm... it begins. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is on TeenNick every night this week (twice). Are you excited? A little bit nervous? I am.
I'm excited, because Buffy is my all-time favorite TV show. (Don't get mad at me, Degrassi fans. I love that show, too. I just have a special spot in my heart for Buffy.)I'm a little nervous, because I want everyone who's seeing the show for the first time to like it as much as I do.
Are you watching Buffy for the first time? Are you already a Buffy fan? Tune in tonight, and tell us exactly what's going on in your Buffy-watching head.
p.s. If you're a CSI: NY fan, don't miss the very first scene of "Welcome to the Hellmouth." It features Carmine Giovinazzo, who plays Detective Danny Messer on CSI: NY.
Xander, Willow, Buffy, and Cordelia. <3
- Posted on 05/30/2011 by Mary
Well, wait, one very important comment... these pictures were taken by our new friend Olivia Bee, who is 17, and who kicks copious amounts of ass, and ok, no more comments.
Oh wait one more: I interviewed Olivia about her experience at the shoot and life in general; I'll post it here soon.
OK shutting up now. Here.
Ray Ablack aka Sav at the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot. Olivia has a funny story about this moment. Coming soon.
New character Imogen and Eli at the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot
Drew, new character Katie, Marisol, and the back of Holly J at the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot.
Why not... another gorgeous picture of Clare from the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot.
More pics to come! Promise!
And don't forget, the video will be shown during Bring It On tonight at 9p et. Which of your friends has the biggest TV? Go there and watch.
- Posted on 05/29/2011 by Mary
Soon, Ashley Argota (aka Lulu from True Jackson) will be heading to NYU to study nursing -- her mom's a nurse, too. In the meantime, she talked to us about dress emergencies, books, and best friends. (There's a True Jackson marathon on right now! If you didn't know!)
I was just looking at your Kids' Choice Awards look... it was gorgeous. How do you pick a dress for an event like that?
Thank you! I'm not even gonna lie, I picked that dress the night before the Kids' Choice Awards! I had another dress picked out a few weeks before -- it was kind of a peachy orange, but I was not really wanting to wear orange because the carpet is orange. So the people who dressed me for my birthday party -- I had a big 18th birthday bash this year -- sent me dresses from NY literally the day before the show. My brother had to drive them from my house to the set; I tried them on on the set. And it was a little bit too big so I had to get it altered, and I didn't try it on again until the morning of the Kids' Choice Awards, like two seconds before we left. And I took my shoes and I ran out of the house.
Oh my God. That sounds like an anxiety dream I used to have about prom.
It felt like... it was a nightmare, I was so nervous. Because I wasn't there when the lady altered my dress! We had to pin it ourselves, and I'm not like a master wardrobe person. I was so scared that it was going to be botched but it turned out perfectly.
I saw somewhere that you love to read and you always have a book on set. Is that true? Very true. Right now I'm reading a poetry book by Billy Collins, called Horoscopes for the Dead.
What are your favorite books of all time?
The Great Gatsby -- I read it for school. And usually when you read a book for school you think it's going to be a little bit boring, but I talked to Greg Proops who plays Mr. Madigan -- he's a total bookworm. And when I mentioned that I had to read The Great Gatsby, he was like "No no no, you don't understand; that's a great book." And he was so right.
When you're picking out a book that school isn't making you read, what do you usually gravitate towards? I really like books by Sarah Dessen. I think she's a really good writer. And of course I'm a big Twilight and Harry Potter fan.
So, what do you like about Lulu on True Jackson? I love that she tries to find the positive in everything. Pretty much nothing can faze her, she can be having the worst day and still try to find something positive in it, which I love.
And I guess she and you have in common that you're both pretty good at school and enjoy it?
Yeah, I think that's where we're the most similar -- she's very booksmart. But she also gets so easily distracted, and that's where we totally part ways because I'm very, very focused in real life and she's very much... not.
Do you have a real-life best friend?
I do! She's been my best friend since we were 8 years old; my mom and her mom were best friends for years, and they lost contact. And I was singing in my hometown and they somehow got reconnected, and then I became best friends with my mom's best friend's daughter!
That's so cool! Did you just have stuff in common immediately?
Well, it took awhile because she was really shy. So I kinda had to pull it out of her. But now, I mean... she won't stop talking. It's all good now.
What do you consider the rules for best friendship? What keeps it together?
I think honesty and loyalty. One of the cool things about her is that, if something is going on, she won't even hesitate to tell me. And she also gives really, really good advice, which I appreciate. Because she's not in the business... and in the business there are so many people that you don't know if you can trust them. And I know that I can trust her and that she's really loyal.
- Posted on 05/28/2011 by Lisa
We're showing lots of True Jackson this weekend (through Monday!) so we put up a shiny new quiz -- Which True Jackson, VP, Character Are You?
I took the quiz the other day to be sure it was working right, and I got Lulu, which made sense, since I was in a Lulu-ish mood.
Whatever you're doing this weekend, I hope it's fun. YAY for the unofficial start of summer!
- Posted on 05/28/2011 by Mary
True Jackson will be airing on TeenNick starting with a marathon Memorial Day weekend -- then on weekdays @ 5p et. To celebrate, we got on the phone with Matt Shively (aka Ryan Laserbeam) to talk TJVP -- and of course, his Degrassi fandom.
Matt Shively with co-star Ashley Argota from True Jackson, VP
So, would you say True Jackson is pretty much a girl-dominated set?
Yeah. It is very woman-dominated. I will say I'm probably the biggest diva on set.
What have you learned about girls just by being around that set?
I have learned that... because we became so close, like brother and sisters, I learned a lot from them about how women communicate. And I learned that sometimes you have to take those tricky little side notes that they say and read into them a lot more than you usually would.
Do you have close just-a-friend girl friends like that in real life?
Yeah, one of my best friends out here is Sarah Highland, she's on Modern Family.
Do you think there are benefits to having co-ed friendships that you don't get out of being friends with just guys?
Oh, 100%. Because whenever I have a girl problem, I know exactly who I can go to. She'll give me the girl perspective of the problem. It's always nice to have at least one or two girl or guy friends because they'll always all have different advice and it's nice to get it from different angles.
How about style... have you learned anything about style from working on True Jackson?
I have! I've learned MATCHING. I never knew the word until I joined that show, but I guess matching is like when colors go together and it looks good? I learned how to do that.
How would you describe your personal style in real life?
Well, as much as I do try to match I'm kind of all over the place. I've always been kind of a skinny jeans guy. A lot of people don't understand why I always wear tight jeans, but I just really like things to fit perfectly. Especially since, on the show, everything gets fitted [by wardrobe pros]. And you start to realize what things really feel like around your legs and around your arms when they're perfectly done.
You know, skinny jeans on guys can be kind of controversial... what do you think are "too-skinny jeans" on a guy?
Too-skinny jeans are when there are no wrinkles in the pants at all. Flat from hip to ankle, that's too skinny. When it's like painted on. That's too much. Cause then... there's no room. It's hard to walk. And I've tried that, like when I was in 7th grade I wore my cousin's jeans because that was the thing to do, to wear THAT skinny of jeans. No. It's not OK.
So my friend and co-worker Lisa was at the Kids' Choice Awards, and when she was talking to Aislinn Paul and Munro Chambers from Degrassi, she said you came running up to talk to them and that you're a big Degrassi fan. Can you confirm?
I am a huge Degrassi fan. When I went to the KCAs last year and I saw people from Degrassi... I'll admit, I was a little starstruck, because I've been watching Degrassi since I was in like 7th grade. So this year, I was kind of like: you know what? I'm taking this opportunity. We work for the same network, I'm gonna go say hi. And little did I know that a TeenNick person was standing right there, able to tell the world.
Was that embarrassing for you at all?
No, I'm really happy about it because now a bunch of people want me to be on it! So I'm glad I got it out there. You have no idea how honored I would be to do an episode of Degrassi.
What kind of character would you want to be? The Eli, Jay, Johnny DiMarco guys...
I want to play like, Eli's older brother who has kind of a drug problem and tries to get him to go down the same road.
Oooh, juicy. That sounds very Degrassi-ish. What are your favorite characters and episodes? Ok, one of my favorite episodes... was actually the episode where JT got killed. That episode was like, just absolutely insane. Because at that point, he had been on the show for like five years. And he was my favorite character, because he was like the quirky, funny guy. To watch him for four years and then for them to take him off was just insane. I'll be honest, I cried a little bit. And then, watching the behind the scenes where he had his last shot of the entire episode, and them saying bye to him, it was so sad!
- Posted on 05/27/2011 by Mary
Even though it'll be playing in big, gorgeous, full-tv-sized wondrousness Monday night during Bring It On on TeenNick (9p et!)...
You don't have to wait 'til Monday night to see the Degrassi teaser!
You can cheat and watch it now, over on EW.com. Click here to see!
And here's a little something extra to tide you over for the holiday weekend (True Jackson, VP marathon this weekend, btw!).
Aislinn Paul, aka Clare Edwards, sparkles in the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser
More pics to come on Monday!
- Posted on 05/24/2011 by Lisa
Hi. I'm Lisa, and I'm in love with Buffy. If you're already a Buffy fan, you know why. If you haven't met Buffy yet, please watch her on TeenNick, starting a week from tonight.
When I first heard about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I thought, "That show sounds waaay too scary for me." I'd seen a few commercials for it, and thought it would be like a horror movie, but on TV. I couldn't have been more wrong. I don't like scary things, and Buffy can be scary at times, so why do I like it so much? I don't know.
I just know that Buffy is one of my favorite people. Here's why:
She kicks ass. It's her destiny, and there's nothing she can do about it. She was born to fight evil.
She's brave, cute, smart, sensitive, and funny... Haha, I really thought I could write up a straightforward little list about how great Buffy is, but it's hard for me to think about her in a rational way. My girl crush is that bad. Buffy is straight-up awesome in pretty much every way that I've ever wanted to be awesome. Did I mention that she kicks ass?
Buffy has awesome friends, and she'd do anything to keep them safe. I'm protective of my friends, too, and if I had to, I think I'd battle evil for them. (But I'm so glad I don't have to.)
I feel like Buffy understands that sometimes life sucks, but on your absolute crappiest days, there's only one thing to do: Keep going, and keep fighting, and keep hoping that things will get better... because sometimes, when you least expect it, they do.
Buffy lives in a world with vampires and demons and all sorts of scary evil, but to me, she seems more like a "real girl" than any other TV character. How crazy is that?
I seriously love this girl, you guys. I feel like watching Buffy has made me a braver, more self-confident person, and if you haven't seen the show before, I'm soooo excited that you're going to be meeting Buffy (and Willow! Xander! Giles! Angel! and even Cordy!) for the first time.
Next Tuesday, at 10pm, there's a new student at Sunnydale High -- and on TeenNick. Be nice to her, OK? Buffy had some problems at her last school, and she needs a fresh start. : )
- Posted on 05/23/2011 by Mary
Sav and Holly J are dying to hear which bands you'll mention.
I had a brief chat with Degrassi's Music Supervisor last week -- he's the one who gave us all that great info last season about how they picked the songs that went in each scene -- and he told me three very interesting things:
1) He's not the kind of person who minds getting inundated with submissions.
2) He's curious about your favorite music, and which bands (including the widely unheard of) you think would totally work on the show.
3) He doesn't mind if you tweet him directly about it! He's @jvonhollen. Or, if yr not a twittering type, you can post in the comments and I'll make sure he sees it.
Seriously, you could even send him a link to your own band's demo if you wanted to! Why not, right?
- Posted on 05/20/2011 by Mary
You know... now that Buffy's coming to TeenNick (May 31st @10p et!), all of the Buffy fans who work here are getting to go back through the whole series and have massive fits of nostalgia/excitement/geekdom.
For instance we just put together this playlist of scenes from the first episode... all the moments when Buffy first met the people who will come to be so very, very important to her -- the "scoobs" (as in Scooby Gang), as they are (eventually) called.
Here's Buffy and Willow talking for the very first time... (awww!)
And you can click here for the full Buffy Firsts playlist -- with her first conversations with Xander, Giles, Cordelia, Angel (Haaaaay, Angel)... and her first TV vampire dusting to boot.
I have a feeling these clips will be more exciting to people who are already fans of the show; if your head isn't already filled with all of the insane, profound, hilarious, and intense stuff these characters are going to go through together, these moments might not pack the same thrill. In fact... they might even carry the taint of standard first episode awkwardness. Actually, I'll do another blog on "why first episodes are soooo stupid hard" soon.
So yeah, I'm curious what non-Buffy fans think of them; feel free to comment (as always)!