Posted by: sarahaustin | September 8, 2008

Craigslist, Burning Man And Art School

When was the last time you did something crazy that changed your life? There are three random turning points in my life that shaped my decision to go into tech. Before tech I used new media to make documentaries, but didn’t see tech on the horizon. Things have changed as a result of getting involved with local communities in the Bay Area and online. I live a breath tech every day! 

Last year, I briefly me Craig Newmark at Washington Square Park. If only Craig knew how much his site has helped my career. I love Craigslist. Woooo!

I answered an ad to host an internet news show when I was looking for a second job, auditioned and got casted. I was working in radio news at the time and felt like video was the next transition. Plus, I liked that I could send the links to my family and friends. On the radio at KALX, I had to manually record each show on my computer screen as I streamed it from UC Berkeley’s website which, as you can imagine, was a pain so I didn’t get around to archiving the shows beyond occasionally recording to a cassette tape.  

Craigslist helped me find out about cool tech events. I made funny videos at the TechCrunch7 party and Ubisoft game launch events. I even found out about the Halo 3 launch event in NYC on Craigslist and I broadcasted it to Justin.tv

The site helps me connect and work with with local videographers and photographers across the US. I have found camera operators for pop17 on craigslist and collaborated with photographers too. I met one of my best friends as a result of a craigslist post when Noreen Sullivan responded. She came on board for a while, but left after 5 months. We stayed friends and worked together in other ways outside of production. She would lifecast with me to Justin.tv including the time we went to McDonnalds with a Transformers helmet. She is a good friend. 

In 2006 I had the opportunity to attend Burning Man. It’s a festival that comes from the wika tradition. I don’t know exactly how to feel about the seminal roots and belifs of Burning Man, but I can say that it’s an eye opener. I learned so much and made great connections. I camped with Mutaytor, a performance group from LA. They let me work for them with their VJ equipment that consisted of several MacBook Pro computers, mixers, laser projectors, HD cameras, handycams and editing software. 

The Mutaytor crew let me take out the camera hat that streamed live to the camp ground from the playa. Basically everything I saw was what they saw live at the campground. My friends recorded me wearing a camera attached to my hat. It was the first time I got creative with live video. 

 

The next big step in tech is getting a degree in technology. 

This morning I arrived at Parsons admissions at 10 AM ET with my grades, classes, portfolio and application ready to go. The first person I spoke to in admissions said there was no way I would be admitted since classes had already started. She said I should just sign up for a tour or leave. I told her I wouldn’t take no for an answer and wanted to schedule to meet with someone that day. So I waited in their office. At 11 AM a nice counselor said she would see me. I gave her my materials and she said she would let me know if I’d be admitted in 4 hours. So I got some pinkberry. 

One hour later she let’s me know in the email. 

“Dear Sarah, 

I am happy to tell you that you have been admitted to the DT program. Your acceptance will be posted today.

Very Best,
Debra

Admissions Counselor

Parsons The New School For Design”

I love tech more than anything else. I’m so passionate and ambitious about what is to come. The best part is this is just beginning. 

I’d love to hear from you. What got you into social media and tech?

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Responses

  1. This couldn’t happen to a more deserving person. Congrats on your new future Sarah. I know you’ll do well, and I’m looking forward to seeing more great things from you. :)

  2. Congratulations on getting admitted into the DT program.

    I am basically just a user of media and tech services. I have liked communications technology ever since I was in communications in the Navy using radios and teletype. I liked being able to communicate by keyboard with people from all over the world. After I got out of the military I stayed in communications for a living. Had I the foresight, I would have gotten into something more technology based when I was younger. I was sidetracked by other things in life.

    While I may not be a web 2.0 technology innovator, I do enjoy using computers, the internet, communications, digital video, and digital still photography. I enjoy following technology’s progression. I especially like watching a company like Apple continue to come up with new and exciting things over and over again. It’s all very exciting.

    Good luck in getting your degree, although I seriously doubt you will have any problem.

    Tommy

  3. Sarah, congrats to you. Never allow people to stop you from doing things in an unconventional way. You are bright, ambitious and resourceful. Keep pushing for your dreams. I look forward to seeing what happens next.

  4. Good luck !! Sarah

  5. “No” is “yes” to motivated and talented people. I’m very happy for you. You have your own style, and it’s cool to see that you’re not resting on your laurels. Sometimes, it’s hard take things to a new level. Congrats!

    What led me into media and tech was music, film, and graphic design. Simply put, I like the moving image, the still image, and recorded sound, so much, I made an effort to learn more about it.

    – Amir Said (“Sa’id’)

  6. Thanks guys! I’m going to cry. You are so sweet.

  7. congrats sarah! great news. you are amazing and i’m so happy for you.

  8. Congratulations! I am so happy and excited for you – what a dream! You really inspire me!

  9. You really touch my heart. Thanks. :-)

  10. What got me into tech was definitely school and Burning Man, as well. I had always loved little gadgets when I was in high school, but it wasn’t until I left for Pratt Institute (yey art school) that I really got my hands on really nice equipment, both new and old.

    I’ve been to Burning Man twice, in 2005 and 2007 (awww, you went the year between). Everything I saw, from traditional art to tech/multimedia installations/shows really got me going and made me want to really be involved in the Digital Age, and not just an observer.

    =)

  11. Congratulations on getting accepted into the DT programme! :-) Fantastic news.

    I’ve always been a tech geek as far back as I can remember. My dad bought me R/C toys back in the late ’70’s before I was 10 – I’d take ‘em apart to see what made ‘em go. I was addicted to Pong pretty much as soon as it came to this country. I got a ZX81 as soon as it came out & learned Sinclair (/Timex) BASIC on it, spending 3 or 4 hours at a stretch monopolising the family TV as I programmed rudimentary text adventure games or driving games into it, only to lose them when the RAM pack wobbled & it crashed. So it’s only a natural progression that I’d go from that to BBS systems to FidoNet to the Internet, and when I moved to London with my wife, the first thing I did was go on Usenet & ask, in uk.people.gothic “Ok – just moved to London – where’re the decent pubs round here?” – which was the start of my involvement with the London net.goth scene – which then developed into a network on Livejournal & now facebook as well. My dad was an instrument-maker & watch-repairer; my grandad on the one side a blacksmith, on the other a mining engineer – tech’s in my blood & bones. I couldn’t not be into tech. :-)

  12. I think this is so exciting that you decided to do this, and wouldn’t take no for an answer, and it came through. Way to go! I’m excited for you, and hope you learn lots and have a great time at Parsons. Best wishes.

  13. Wow! We all have similar stories in tech.

    Thanks!! I love your support guys.

  14. Also, sorry if the whole sarahaustin sarahmeyers thing is throwing you off. i really need to stop using sarahmeyers.

  15. You are a very special girl Sarah, i wish you only the best, i belive in you; and thanks.

  16. All you have to do is ask or tell someone what you want and if you are persistent and work hard you will get it. Good luck Sarah! Nice blog – I found it randomly and it is an interesting read.


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