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Oct 31

Exploring Your Ultimate Place of Knowing

 

 

Kate-McCallum-1-248x300

 

We, as individuals, are faced with a perpetually infinite number of decisions to make in our lifetimes. These choices manifest, metaphorically and sometimes literally, as forks in the road. The degree to which, the dichotomy between subjective and objective realities, is utilized, is integral in determining how equipped an individual is in illuminating their respective life path. Transformational media guru and founding member of the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA), Kate McCallum, has dedicated her personal and her professional endeavors to explore and cultivate methodologies that are designed to increase the efficacy and reach of the individual and the creative arts. I spoke with her about: the evolution of transformational media, the role of subjective “creative consciousness,” and what the future may hold as these avenues are explored.

 

Where did you grow up?

A small town in southwest Michigan called Vicksburg.

 

What were your earliest musical influences?

Wow…the raw truth? The pipe organ, hymns and Sunday school songs we all sang together in the protestant church I grew up in from early childhood. Then it was Americana favorites and classical music I played while in the band and orchestra as a flutist, and as a soprano singer in the church and school choirs. I started singing in choir when I was 5. As I got older I listened to a lot of old 78rpm records that my family owned and found the music fascinating – songs like the Irish Washwoman, etc. My parents didn’t own a lot of 33 rpm records but I recall a Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Whipped Cream album, Brigadoon and the Sound of Music which I played a lot. I also bought my own Hermit and the Hermits album which I loved and listened to top pop on a little transistor radio I owned. But I think that it really was the music I performed and played in choir, band and orchestra that impacted me. Singing lessons at 15 also impacted me as my elder wise teacher had me singing and performing operatic arias by Mozart, Verdi, and others.

 

What’s your fondest musical memory from growing up?

Belting out the song “Climb Every Mountain” as the Mother Superior in our high school musical version of the SOUND OF MUSIC in 1974. But I also remember the night the Beatles performed on Ed Sullivan and was transformed while watching it. I think the girls screaming influenced me as much as the band! I didn’t quite get it but I got it, you know?

 

What inspired you to get into the “transformational media” business? How would  you define the “transformational media world” for those that are not privy?

I’ve basically walked two parallel paths my life – one of the deeply esoteric as a student of life’s mysteries, spirituality, metaphysics, meditation, comparative religion, philosophy and human consciousness, alongside my exoteric career path in the arts, media and entertainment industry. I spent twenty years in the studios – Paramount and Universal – then 2.5 years at LA Opera, and now 6+ years as an entrepreneur and philanthropist running my own company and a 501c3 social benefit organization concurrently. When I started working in the studios in1985, I also discovered and began attending classes at the Philosophical Research Society in Los Feliz. The PRS was founded by Manly P. Hall and was set up like a modern day mystery school. They offered classes on a quarterly basis taught by an amazing array of teachers.

So — by day, I worked on big American TV shows like EQUALIZER, MIAMI VICE, LAW & ORDER, CHARLES IN CHARGE etc. and — by nights and weekends I was taking classes at the PRS, and I also studied a very in depth 7 year course their called NATURE OF THE SOUL. The NS curriculum had a great deal of emphasis in meditation techniques, esoteric anatomy and history, the chakra system and the four fold self – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. At the completion of this course, we were to choose to teach it or pursue a service project that came from our own unique gifts and talents. When I meditated upon what I was to do – I got a vision of a building that appeared very clearly in my inner eye. The building had a sign on it that read – The Center for Conscious Creativity. What I realized was that this center was a place where my two life paths merged — artists and media makers could interface with the wisdom traditions, teachers, scientists and experts to create and tap contemporary discoveries, and the timeless teachings and wisdom, to effect greater meaning in the design and execution of their art and stories – ultimately resulting in catalyzing evolving consciousness in the viewer/audience — humanity.

In 2002, I went back to school to pursue an MA in Consciousness Studies and my master’s thesis was the creation of a template for an MA in Transformational Arts and Media. I believe that media and the arts have the profound power to advance human consciousness and transform us on a personal, social and global level.

As a producer and VP of Development, I discovered and or developed several projects that had deep thematic storylines, especially designed to affect the audience at a visceral level while still maintaining an “entertainment” oriented quality.

 

How has the social landscape, in respect to media, evolved, given the influx and reliance on technology, from when you were first introduced? Was the Center for Conscious Creativity (C3) a response to this evolution or part of the evolution itself?

I laugh when I tell colleagues that when I started in the industry there were only four networks and HBO and Showtime were these radical new outlets called cable TV. Wow.  Times have certainly changed and what we experience now is the extremely radical democratization of media and communication. Never before has it been better to be an artist as there are no long barriers to entry. No excuses not to create and make your projects. How to monetize them is another topic but at least you can now get your work out for budgets that are affordable.

In 2004, a small group of us got together to launch the c3 — ten years ago. At that time, the internet had taken root and was evolving quickly. We launched a simple website and a Ning platform just as FB was starting to emerge and the response was amazing. We enrolled about 1000 people in a few weeks and it helped us create a global community of artists interested in the topic in a very short time. We then co-produced the Southern California Writers Conference in the Fall of 2004 called NEW STORY PARADIGM AND THE FUTURE OF CONTENT to discuss the power of transformational creativity and media. We were focusing on getting these concepts and ideas out to the broader community.

 

What is your position and what are your current responsibilities within your company?

I’m the President of Bridge Arts Media, LLC www.bridgeartsmedia.com which is my production and development company. I bill out my services under this banner as a Producer, Writer, Consultant, Speaker and Teacher.  My specialty is Transmedia Narrative Design and Storytelling and I have been teaching this lately and loving it! My responsibilities to my clients range from designing and producing Entertainment Business Conferences, speaking, teaching, developing an array of media intellectual properties and or producing them in a variety of platforms such as 360 fulldome, books, music albums, feature screenplays, TV bibles, magazine columns, etc.

I also serve on the National Board of the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and am a Board Delegate for the New Media Council and am a member of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) TV Executive Peer Group.

Additionally, I serve as the Founder and Executive Director of c3: Center for Conscious Creativity www.consciouscreativity.org, an educational and arts organization dedicated to creating a better future through arts and media. For the c3 I oversee and producer our initiatives, run the day to day operations and manage the financial and operational activities of the organization, including grantwriting and fundraising.

 

What is the most rewarding part of your job? Most challenging part?

REWARDING: Creative development. Coming up with or discovering ideas then bringing the best teams together to execute the projects. Then watching or experiencing them being presented or performed and moving people. Incredibly intoxicating.

CHALLENGING: Day to day business operations and admin. I am not so great at the nuts and bolts and raising funds yet.

 

Can you explain the connection, as you see it, between transformational media and creative consciousness? Is the relationship symbiotic or are they both catalysts in their own right?

Well, one might say that creative consciousness creates transformational media.  Or conscious creativity results in transformational media. Deliberately designing media and or art to effect transformative qualities in the telling and or sharing. Moving the audience to respond, interact, be inspired or act upon the messages in your work.

 

Can you please explore your personal thoughts on the interconnectivity of the potential of human thought and perpetual actions based on subjective observations, specifically citing any personal responsibility that we may have to observe the world as it truly is and create based on this objective reality?

This is a great request and a profound one at that. I believe in this idea of narrative modeling. That as artists and storytellers we can create scenarios or character arcs that reflect that which we aspire to as humans. If we can visualize, portray characters who respond in enlightened manners, show worlds that are more ideal and evolved than what we struggle with we can truly effect deep meaning in our work. We have a responsibility as creatives to be mindful of what we are putting out to the worlds’ audiences. Does the story or piece inspire, enfire, enrage or dumb down the participant or audience? If the purpose of the piece is to bring awareness to a challenge does it also offer suggestions for solutions or does it leave the viewer feeling hopeless, apathy and desperation?

 

What have you created, lately, from your ultimate place of knowing?

As a producer I created a unique arts and music label, The Art of Sound, www.theartofsoundgallery.com that specializes in 360 arts+music experiences. So – lately I’ve been working with artists, musicians and 360 technical wizards on a series of 360 visual music events that are designed to create states of experiential awareness for the audience. I’m passionate about the synergy of immersive art and music to induce a reflective awareness of inner space and experience.

As an artist/writer, I am working on a story about a young teenage girl who has the ability to perceive the invisible worlds. I’d like to launch it as a YA novel and then a series but for now I’ve been writing her story on a Facebook page I’ve yet to make public. It’s a fun exercise.

 

I heard about an event at the Vortex Immersion Dome in L.A. that featured “Light Glove Theater, an immersive art performance by Aaron Axelrod, and a performance by Ken Jordan of The Crystal Method. What are your personal reflections on this event, in respect to creation, coordination, and execution? 

We produced that event back in the summer of 2012 and called it AMPLIFY. Amazing how time flies. Aaron created a piece called Melting Rainbows which he did as a film first, then he performed his technique live accompanied by Ken Jordan while painting with multi-color paints on a Lucite bubble mounted with a Canon D5 underneath that allowed him to project the painting on the 50 foot fulldome screen. Very trippy and cool!  Janine hooped and another participant performed with light gloves. I loved it and so did the audience. I hadn’t attended an EDM event in some time, so the light glove art was new for me.

 

How did the “State of The Arts” annual event come to be? What factors influenced your decision to bring the EMA in to co-sponsor one year?

The STATE OF THE ARTS was developed in cooperation with The Millennium Project, a global futurist think tank www.millennium-project.org. I became the Chair of the Global Arts and Media Node of the organization in 2009 and launched the Arts and Media Node. We enrolled c3 as a partner with the MP to bring awareness of new trends in arts and media to the constituency of over 4500 futurist oriented professionals around the world and to bring awareness of the incredible work of the MP to the creative community in hopes of sharing information. The MP publishes an annual document called STATE OF THE FUTURE, so we felt STATE OF THE ARTS would be an annual event designed to bring awareness to trends in the creative community and how these organizations could work together to effect transformation.

Janine Jordan and I got together and discussed several challenges that were taking place in the EDM movement. We felt that it would be great to bring our organizations together with the Millennium Project to bring more awareness to a broader audience about the power of the EDM culture and the ability in this extremely popular and powerful artform to harness attention to critical issues facing humanity amongst the younger generation in particular. Fun with a purpose.

 

How did you become affiliated with the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)? What potential did you originally see in the EMA?

I was introduced to the EMA by Janine. I believe that EMA and the EDM culture has tremendous potential to garner awareness and activism around world issues.

 

As you’ve seen the organization grow, how has your view on the EMA’s potential to incite change evolved?

I think it’s super exciting and the EMA is poised to do some fantastic work. I especially like the support that they are providing to make gatherings and festivals safer. It’s not easy managing 1000’s of people having a great time! Smiles…

 

The media has reported and, in some cases, sensationalized incidents that involved a breakdown in the compassion and attitudes of some festival goers for their friends and contemporaries. An example would be people sending their friends, that need medical attention, home from festivals instead of pursuing helping them. Besides for providing empirical evidence for the press to note that these behaviors are being addressed, what trends can you see emerging as more people adopt a code of conduct along the lines of the EMA’s “Party Pledge?”

I think this is fabulous work on EMA’s part.  Simple guidelines and resources like free water, etc. can make all the difference in how people care for themselves and each other and also respond to trauma or emergencies. Simple messaging that everyone adopts makes it easy to set standards of practice and EMA can help accomplish implementing these tactics. Like Burning Man’s “Leave No Trace….” BTW, aren’t there more injuries and physical damage in football games then EDM gatherings?

 

What is your take on the potential therapeutic and healing properties of music?

TOTALLY believe that music can assist in wellbeing. We’ve had music therapy programs in our colleges for years.  It’s a known agency for healing but with the continued sophistication and evolution of neuroscience and our ability to decode the brain, the science of music for wellbeing will become more and more refined. Recent test studies in elder care have been interesting too — whereby they’ve shown that non responsive patients become animated and display positive emotions and recall when listening to favorite musical pieces.

One of Ed Lantz’s projects is the Digital Spa. This grew out of his work with The Harmony Channel, the VoD channel we launched back in 2006 on Comcast. The HC was created to showcase visual music categorized in 7 different mood zones. You could choose the mood you wished to experience from the 7 different categories. We were on the air for 6 months but couldn’t get funding to market so we were replaced by The Fear Channel!

We’re working on 360 fulldome music/arts experiences to create a state of wellbeing and that’s super interesting to me.

 

What are a few charities whose causes you hold in high regard?

Peter Gabriel’s WITNESS, Kathy Eldon’s CREATIVE VISION FOUNDATION, Jill Gurr’s CREATE NOW, RED CROSS (they came through for me big time after a fire), DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS, WWF, GREENPEACE.

 

Please list three global issues that you believe deserve immediate attention and your potential solutions for addressing them.

EDUCATION – Without advancing our approach to education, other global issues will not be addressed as efficiently. I believe we need new revamped educational systems implemented asap that will provide individualized learning paths, critical thinking skills, overview thinking (long range, futurist skills/scenarios), empathy skills, and self regulation skills using whole system awareness (physical, emotional, mental and transcendent) and planetary/universal thinking skillsets as “global citizens.” Much of this can be implemented through computer access/program design, but universities and teachers must be trained as well to design and implement how to guide a new approach to teaching.

Educate the whole system – physical (exercise and diet), emotional (empathy and good psychological health), mental (how to learn and self educate) and transcendent (considerations of the great questions – where did we come from, what is death, life purpose and meaning, etc.).

Use storytelling, the arts and media to also help educate by creating content designed to enlighten and teach as well as entertain.

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY – We must get the carbon levels down and create alternative energy options that support the reduction of carbon. Directly related to this is the need for more efficient travel and transportation options. Mass transportation using energy efficient fuels will help, especially in our cities (LA!).

EMPOWERING WOMEN – Assist in supporting women around the world to become educated and empowered, and if they have children, how to parent well. Mothers are one of the most powerful teachers and their influence has a life long effect on their children.

Create global resources to reach women at all levels of society via the internet, actual centers and through media.

 

What goals have you set for yourself for the next year? 5 years?

As a 57+ year old woman I am looking at the “third act” of my career and considering what to focus on. As a life long entertainment and arts professional, I feel that there is so much potential in the arts and media to assist in educating and advancing our consciousness and I plan to work with others to continue developing and producing content that contributes to the evolution of humanity. I’m also committed to continuing to grow the c3: Center for Conscious Creativity so that the organization can provide education and support to those in the creative community also dedicated to using the power of arts and media to create a better future.

Personally, I have a few books I’d like to write, I’d also like to continue traveling, speaking and teaching both Transmedia Storytelling and meditation as well.

 

Is there anything else you would like to share about your organization or yourself?

Our goal for the c3 is to find and or build a dedicated public space/building where we can build a brick and mortar fulldome theater, a showcase space and lab spaces for R&D into the study and use of emerging entertainment technologies, content and narratives that effect evolving human consciousness.

 

Kate McCallum is a founding member of the Electronic Music Alliance

 

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www.bridgeartsmedia.com

www.consciouscreativity.org

www.theartofsoundgallery.com

www.millennium-project.org

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