Archive for May 2011

School is a Scam

Friday, May 27th, 2011

School is a Scam

By Annie Woods


This article is biased. It’s biased because I never liked school. I sat in the back. I negotiated black market deals in the cafeteria so other kids would do my homework. In fact, I once posted signs around school marketing this business. They were in color, had a witty advertising line and eventually landed me a parent teacher conference with our 40 year old principal who still suffered from adult acne and had a little mustache that earned him the catchy nickname “Hitler”.

When I think back to what I actually learned in high school I am haunted by teachers so old they should have been in nursing homes, points deducted when words like “gosh” and “freaking” were used. I should probably mention here I went to an extremely religious private school that made learning anything remotely useful in the real world a joke.

By the time I took high school English I imagine it was my English teacher’s 200th time reading Hamlet. His lack of passion – as obvious to us as a mustard stain on a white t-shirt – is why I never opened that book. These people were grumpy dinosaurs. They inspired me only to rebel in one of two ways: 1. Be a smart-ass 2. Skip class entirely.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy learning. Rather, it was the pre-destined subjects we were forced to learn that I detested. I loved to read, but Shakespeare just couldn’t compete with David Sedaris or Tom Robbins, and if my school had found out that I was reading the hilarious autobiographical book of a gay man in New York City, they probably would have burned me at the stake – Crucible-style.

In my senior year of high school, a 42 question multiple choice aptitude test with questions like ‘On social occasions do you prefer listening to what is going on around you or do you prefer watching the goings-on?’ decided I would be either a paralegal or a flight attendant. I remember the other kids in my school high fiving each other as if they had won something great: “Dude, I’m going to be a pilot!”

I crumpled mine up and made a shot in the waste basket that would make Shaq blush.

I went to college for one year after high school. It was slightly more interesting than high school, mostly because I came across a fake id, and was really good at rolling joints. It was still an environment that killed creativity and bred conformity. I had to leave.

Which brings me to my THESIS STATEMENT (ß–college word): School is a scam. It is unfair, it divides people economically and separates the masses. With college now costing 400% more in the United States than it did just 30 years ago, access is definitely not equal.Yet our society continues to push and preach that having a degree will in someway set you free and make the “American Dream” more attainable. In reality, student loan debt is now greater than credit card debt for the first time ever. With a generation enslaved in debt, how can we expect people to attain new frontiers? What innovation and creativity can take place when the stress of debt and living suffocates the creative motivation you once had? And do we also sacrifice our wanderlust? Our ability to explore and learn from the world?

I guess what I am asking is: What is our trip to the moon?

School takes you in, sifts your pockets faster than you can say Bachelor’s Degree, and leaves you naked in the world with a sign tapped to your back that reads “good luck, kid”.

When people ask me now if I have a degree I smile and say: I have a library card, it was free.







Meet Tyler Manson — Our Schmooru of the Month

Monday, May 16th, 2011

I met up with the most radical dude, Tyler Manson, a director whose range of work from surf films to commercials is sure to impress. I asked, and he answered.

When you first started working in this industry what was your biggest concern about “making it”? What the hell does “making it” mean anyways?
To be honest, I don’t think I realized I was a member of “the industry” until fairly recently. I’ve always felt like an outsider, and I think that might be my strength, so don’t blow my cover. I just enjoyed making short films and that led into commercial directing in a very random and organic way. I don’t think I’ve “made it” by any means, but “making it” probably means being able to do whatever you want and enjoy the process.

What is your spirit animal?
I have no damn idea.

You did a pretty rad show for VICE, can you talk a little about that and what it was like to be able to create content for VICE?
I really enjoyed making Hi Shredability. It was a time in my life that was free and full of discovery. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but was surrounded by interesting people willing to open up to me and share a sliver of their world each week. VICE is always leagues ahead of the rest, and I’ll always be a big fan of their work. Especially their international reporting.

Did you choose this career path or did it choose you?
I was just a kid making skate and surf films and it led to the commercial world, so I guess it chose me. I’m pretty oblivious to be honest and I don’t really think of myself as a commercial director. I’m still the guy just making movies, but now a few more people watch them. I guess I just do what I do and the rest comes. I’m open to happy accidents.

As a director and collaborating with different folks all the time, what do think is the most important thing when working with other creative people?
Filmmaking is 100% a collaborative art, so the most important thing is having a strong POV and not compromising. I’ve slowly been growing my gang, and I now have a go-to group of creative people that I admire and trust.

You collaborate a lot with all kinds of characters, who are some of your favorite people you have worked with?
Thomas Campbell took me under his wing at an early age and for that I’ll be forever grateful. Lately my DoP Joseph Aguirre has been a huge collaborator and creative partner as well.

Kim Jong-il invades America and takes all photo and video equipment away, you have one contraband camera…what is it?

New York Pizza or California Burrito?
New York Pizza.

It seems like you’ve always done it your way. What advice do you have for aspiring directors who don’t want to compromise?
I’ve made more compromises than I’d like to admit, but I guess just do what makes you happy. The creative is and will always be more powerful than the paycheck. It’s all about the idea.

Tyler’s work can be seen here: (and you most definitely should check it out!)

Why Schmooru is a California Based concern

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I still like the CRAZY days
I always will
thats why SF is home )
Liz: why is SF home?
me: I can have the crazy days without judgment my whole life through

I need the crazy days

Liz: ha
me: not so much at once
as HARRISON and etx did in the day
but I need crazy to be possible
there’s an unwink to people on the streets there, (she’s one who gets it and wants them too)

In NYC they seemingly want to write something or be told something about crazy days
then act them out. That’s all they have time & space for.

In DC they do this too, but they despise the crazy days

In SF, we’re just a bunch of little kids out there.
Liz: is there a heroin scene in brooklyn?
Liz: I got that distinct impression last time I visited
me: it wouldnt surprise me
thats not what Im looking for
Liz: I really tried to change the subject
no way man

me: crazy is the freedom to not ‘make CENTS’

california-as a direct democracy doesnt make CENTS
they have laws that disagree
the place is ungovernable

like trying to make sense to a little kid
Liz: ha
me: I love that shit
theres so much opportunity in that

me: sometimes that leads to a BUMMER
but there’s more a chance to allow for STOKED
in california you only have those two choices.