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  • July 2019
    M T W T F S S
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QuickFLIX: Are You The Next Great Film Director?

Are you an aspiring filmmaker? Perhaps you don’t think of yourself that way, but you like to shoot goofy videos with your camera phone. Well, whether your an iPhone auteur or a budding Bergman, you only have have four more days to submit a movie to the QuickFLIX filmmaking contest–CLP-Teen Services one and only movie competition.

As we wrap up the second year of free QuickFLIX filmmaking workshops (all led by talented Pittsburgh Filmmakers artist, Sarah), I’d like to urge all of our readers to step up and submit a video. Don’t be shy–all you have to do is send us a movie (3 minutes or less) to teens@carnegielibrary.org. (You can also upload to YouTube and send us a link, or use a free file sharing site like sendspace if the file is too large.)

What could you win? I’m glad you asked:

Grand Prize: $100 iTunes gift card
2nd Prize: $50 iTunes gift card
3rd Prize: $25 iTunes gift card

You have until Friday at midnight to submit your movie. Need inspiration or want to see what you’re up against? Check out this year’s submissions on the CLP-Teens YouTube channel:

For more details on the contest (rules, how to submit, etc.), click HERE.

Happy movie-making!

– Corey, Digital Learning Librarian

The Last Day of School…the Movie!

The end of the school year….  Ahhhhh….  It’s so close, you can taste it, right?  Soon the public pools will open, Extravaganza and Teen Summer Reading will be in full effect, the Pirates will be crushing the competition (well…. hopefully….), and you’ll be homework free for a solid two or three months.  When I think back to my school days, I remember those last ones the fondest.  The summer held so much anticipation and so much promise!  I almost didn’t even mind attending school, because I knew my days there were numbered.  The school days were short, the tired teachers showed films instead of- well- teaching, and the only writing we students did was in yearbooks.  Turns out many others have found inspiration in those last days of school, so much so that there are entire movies dedicated to those last days of school.  Teens of Pittsburgh- you are almost there!  Join us at CLP Main- Teen on your last day of school- Wednesday, June 13 at 3 pm- for a screening of a classic of the genre.  Until then, you’ll just have to experience the excitement the last days through film.  Below are some of the best and they are all available to check out from the library.

Can’t Hardly Wait

Dazed and Confused

I Love You Beth Cooper

Rock ‘N’ Roll High School

Say Anything

Summer School

The Wackness

Feel inspired to make your own last day of school film?  Check out CLP’s QuickFlix 2012 contest and free digital filmmaking workshops!

What are YOU Doing This Summer?

Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet.” Bob Marley

Only a few days left of school.  The clock is ticking down the minutes until you can rush out those doors; jump on the bus, and say, “Its SUMMER!”  No more school, no more homework, no more nagging voices telling you to stop fooling around and pay attention!

I don’t know about you, but this summer looks like it is jammed packed with so many cool things to do.  Don’t have any money? No special vacations out of the beautiful city of Pittsburgh?  If I were you I wouldn’t worry too much about either one.  Your local Carnegie libraries have been planning round the clock to set up an awesome summer vacation just for you.  Check out this list of things to do for the month of June!

June Events

Also check out the Teen events at your local library this month as they will include:  Gaming, Anime clubs, Teen Advisory, Musical workshops, Art clubs, Creative writing, and so much more!  Check out what is happening at your library so you don’t miss out!

Yeah, this is just for the month of June… Come back to check out the month of July and August too!

Tell me, what do you’ve got planned for your awesome summer break????

Have an animated Thanksgiving!

If you’re anything like me, you might crave some alone time away from the family this Thanksgiving holiday (or you may just want to skip out on helping with the dishes).  Here are some fun ways to occupy your time, allowing you to create your own animations, on your computer or smart phone.


Scratch is a programming language developed by MIT “that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.”  It’s free to join and share things.  Once you create a Scratch project, people can interact with it or download and remix it.  For example, someone has made a calculator using Scratch!  You can also make games to play – there’s a gallery here.  And if you get stuck, there’s a Support page and Forums.


Unfortunately, this is only available as a Nintendo DSi program, but you can also browse and watch the Flipnotes that others have created using their DSi.  Since the program is available worldwide, there are many international Flipnotes, and it could be a fun way to practice your Japanese!

Still from a stopmotion animation creation by flickr user Regev Tovim

For those of you who took our Quick Flix workshops, taught by awesome people from Pittsburgh Filmmakers, I have some free Stopmotion and other animation programs!  These require some downloads and tutorials, but could take your filmmaking to the next level.

Animate Clay

This has how-to videos, a newsletter, video interviews with animators and free motion capture software for download. It was created by animator Mark Spess, who taught himself to do stop-motion and thought there should be a place online for fellow animators to learn and share their craft.

Clay Animator

This software is based on the Anasazi software from the Animate Clay website, and can work with a built in PC camera or digital camera connected to your PC.


This is free 2-D animation software, “designed as powerful industrial-strength solution for creating film-quality animation using a vector and bitmap artwork. It eliminates the need to create animation frame-by frame, allowing you to produce 2D animation of a higher quality with fewer people and resources.”


Unlike many of these programs, Pencil works with Macs as well as PCs, and can be used for traditional hand-drawn animation.  Here’s an example of something made with Pencil:


Blender can do 3-D rendering and is free and open source for all operating systems.  The effects in this movie were made using Blender:

Before you start out on your journey, you can always use your local library to do some basic research on making animation!

– Tessa, CLP – East Liberty

QuickFLIX 2011: And the winner(s) is(are)…

It’s the day before we hand out the prizes for our annual QuickFLIX teen video creation contest, so it’s time to announce our winners!

Congrats to Sean McAdoo, Grand Prize winner for individual film entries. Sean will receive a$100 gift card to Best Buy along with a HD FlipVideo!

Congratulations are also due to Tavia, Tevin, Randall, Claire, and Koren who are our Grand Prize winners for group entries. They’ll be splitting $200 in Best Buy gift cards.

Check out the rest of the winners HERE and all nominees HERE.

Thank you to our partners at Hear Me and Filmmakers at the Center!

Corey, CLP-Main

Free & Affordable Fridays In the ‘Burgh

I live in the suburbs. I know, I know– it is supremely uncool  to live anywhere other than the city. And sometimes, I really agree.  Besides the ever present city construction, the detours, and the unfortunateness of rarely having a backyard, there are some true benefits to living in an urban area– public swimming pools, better (if not great in Pittsburgh) public transportation, and something to do– always, something to do.  It is this last one that I look at in today’s post.

As summer is winding down, and everyone is getting ready to go back to school, it’s time to find the last summer-tastic things to do in the city.  Did you know that every week there is a segment on Pittsburgh Today Live called Free and Affordable Fridays? Me neither. The women who host the show give viewers a top five list of cool things happening in the city in the coming weeks that are either free or affordable. Bring in the close of summer with a bang by checking out these entertaining events of the next couple of weeks. Most of them involve music– so if you’re in the mood for a free concert, you’re in luck.  Since you’ll need all the details, I’ll just give you a link to the article. Some of these events have already come and gone, but many of them have repeat showings.

In addition to the awesomeness of the happenings in that article, there is something else happening tomorrow that you won’t want to miss– African Arts in the Park, presented by UMOJA African Arts Company. This day-long festival, held at Point State Park, celebrates the many traditions found in African art. There will be demonstations of head-wrapping and drum making, interactive workshops, poetry and spoken word, stilt-walkers, steel drummers, and sogows (life-size African puppets)– and this event is also TOTALLY FREE! I can’t think of a better way to spend one of the last Saturdays in summer.

Check out these books to become brush up on your African art knowledge.


-Julie, CLP Beechview 


Rain Rain Go Away, or…Not?

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Ellison

In checking the weather report for this week, one can’t help but notice the stormy weather headed our way.  I have always been simply fascinated by storms, glued to my living room window, watching the rain fall and the wind blow everything around.  Though, sometimes storms can put a *ahem* damper on my day, for sure.  For instance, this week I’m starting a new walking in the woods every day regimen, and this rain makes we want to do anything BUT that.  So, I decided to find some rainy day fun facts, to lighten my mood, and luckily you will benefit from this urge of mine!

Did you know….

  • Thunderstorms are created by cloud growths that can reach up to 50,000 feet in height!  (Buckley, Hopkins, and Whitaker, 116)
  • The most crazy tornado in America took place in 1925, traveled at 62 miles an hour, killed 695 people, and injured 2,000 people, and destroyed 15,000 homes across Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana!  (Gaffney, 19)
  • There are three types of lightning: cloud to air, cloud to cloud, and cloud to ground. (Buckley, Hopkins, and Whitaker, 120)
  • The odds that you will ever be hit by lightning are one in 5,000!  Though, lightning does kill an average of 62 people in the US every year! (Gaffney, 19)
  • Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from where it’s raining! So if you can hear thunder, you’re within striking distance, so keep yourself safe by staying indoors and not using corded phones, computers, and stay away from pools, tubs, and showers. (Gaffney, 74)

Now, I know those facts were a little lightning heavy so here’s a shocking lil video that will enlighten you a bit. Do you think it’s real or doctored?

– LeeAnn Anna, Teen Services

Works Cited

Gaffney, Timothy R. Storm Scientist: Careers Chasing Severe Weather. Berkley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2010.

Buckley, Bruce, Edward J. Hopkins and Richard Whitaker. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 2004.Weather: A Visual Guide 

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