Student Voice: Commuting to Campus

Gaius Straka, Reporter — Anthony DeVera, Photographer

What can ACC do to improve your commute?

FREDRICK JOHNSON — The parking spaces should be bigger. Even when you have a compact like I do, if one person parks off, it can mess up the whole row.
VICTORIA CERVANTES — Bus stop areas could be closed off for shade. Right now it’s cold, so a shelter.
BRITTANY OKORIE — More space for visitors. There’s tons of space for students. For visitors, there’s not enough space for parking.
JOANN FIELDS — Students should be able to park up closer. It looks like all of the teachers get the close spots and then we’re all rushing to find a spot. There’s really not enough room, unless you’re parking far away.

Brides’ Commitment Outshines Conflict

For better and for worse, in sickness and in health, devoted couple focus on health and family as the issue of same-sex marriage engages Texans in social debate

Story by Ryan Fontenette-Mitchell, Reporter

Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant’s relationship is more than a sensational news blurb.

Before becoming the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Texas, the two shared a 30-year relationship.

Goodfriend and Bryant met during their undergraduate program at the University of North Carolina.

“I’ve always considered Suzanne my life partner and she feels the same way,” Goodfriend said.

The couple’s relationship has seen many developments over the years including the adoption of two daughters.

Dawn Goodfriend, 18, and Ting Goodfriend, 13, are biological sisters and were adopted from China. Both girls came to United States when they were about 2-years- old. Dawn arrived in 1999 and Ting arrived in 2003.

“I really cannot describe what it is like to travel to China and finally — after the paperwork, the waiting, and having a little tiny picture — to finally have the human being you have been waiting for placed in your hands and under your care,” Goodfriend said.

As in any relationship, happy times are tempered by trials.

Goodfriend was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer last May. Although the couple had considered marriage over the past 30 years, the cancer diagnosis created a new sense of urgency to get married. Bryant and Goodfriend felt it was important to have protections in place that would give Bryant rights to the couple’s children if Goodfriend died. They then filed for a Texas marriage license.

The court order granting their marriage license was directed specifically to Goodfriend and Bryant because of Goodfriend’s cancer.

Responses of the marriage varied, but were mostly favorable, Goodfriend said.

“Our mailman man left us a card with two wedding rings saying congrats and about time,” Goodfriend said.

“I would love to see [same sex marriage] become more acceptable in our society,” ACC mass communications major Megan Hall said. “I believe discrimination against same-sex marriage is unfair. Society needs to be more open minded to change nowadays.”

The marriage also generated disapproval.

“The reason I don’t support the marriage is because of my religious views,” John Thomas Baize, radiation therapist major, said. ”I wouldn’t call it a marriage. A marriage is between a man and woman.”

The varying public reactions and media attention taught the couple the importance of having a good sense of humor. Goodfriend said millennials are more accept- ing of same-sex marriage and hopes that in the future it won’t be an issue.

Hours after Goodfriend and Bryant received their marriage license, Texas Attorney General declared the license void. However, Travis County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir holds the license as valid.

Later this year, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether gay marriage bans nationwide are unconstitutional.

With media attention waning, the couple would like to finally go on their honeymoon.

Goodfriend said that she is six months away from her last chemotherapy treatment and that everything looks good so far.

Courtesy picture of The Austin American Satesmen

On the Record: Mike Scannell

Story by Jessica Youssefi, Reporter
Joseph Lee, Photo Editor

Mike Scannell, editor and co producer of the award-winning documentary “Six Man, Texas,” has been with Austin Community College for more than 20 years. Scannell started with ACC as a student and is now a professor in the Radio, Television, Film department. Recently, one of his scripts was purchased by Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. Scannell spoke to Accent about his experience as a filmmaker.

ACCENT: Is Texas a good place to make films?

SCANNELL: It’s great, especially for independent filmmakers because you can make films here for practically nothing. You have access to permits, people and a low-budget crew. A lot of bigger-budget Hollywood films don’t shoot here because the tax incentives are not there. They go to Louisiana, Canada or New Mexico. That’s part of why I transitioned to screenwriting, so I could tell a bigger story, but didn’t have to come up with a bunch of money.

ACCENT: “Six Man, Texas,” which you edited and co produced, won at the 2008 Santa Fe Film Festival. Tell us about the film.

SCANNELL: A guy gave me a box of tapes with these small-town football games and said, “Hey can we make a movie out of this?” I took it on because I thought it might help me with my screenwriting — trying to find a structure for a story out of all these pieces. I loved doing it, but I don’t think I will ever do it again. At least as far as editing. It took three years of time and was frustrating. (laughing)

ACCENT: What advice do you have for students trying to make a name for themselves in the film industry?

SCANNELL: Figure out where your talent lies and what you like. Whether it’s directing, writing, camera or sound, focus on honing that craft. Do as much work as possible.

ACCENT: Tell us about your project which was picked up by Sony.

SCANNELL: It’s a horror film called “Scarecrow.” We took a very high concept idea that’s very clean and straightforward — being terrorized out in the middle of nowhere and you can’t get away — but then twisted it and made it fresh.

ACCENT: What is the next step with the film?

SCANNELL: Sony hired me to do a polish on the script and now they are talking about shooting at the end of summer.

ACCENT: When did you realize film was a passion of yours?

SCANNELL: Film has always been a passion of mine, even as a little kid. My friends would come over and we would watch all kinds of movies. I never really knew it was an option as a career until I got to ACC.

ACCENT:What movies have influenced your filmmaking?

SCANNELL: My main influence would probably be films of the 60s and 70s and some from the 80s. My favorite movie is “Taxi Driver.” Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, those types of directors were a big influence on me. But I get inspired by going to film festivals, short films and student projects.

On the Record: Robert Skiles

Jessica Youssefi — Contributor 

ACCENT: How long have you been composing and performing?

SKILES: My mother was a concert pianist and my dad was a jazz trumpet player, so truthfully I was around music from infancy on. I started plunking notes at the piano at age two or three.

ACCENT: As founder of Beto and the Fairlanes, how has the band’s success had an impact on your music career?

SKILES: We started playing at a place called Liberty Lunch. The city council would stop their meetings and come down to Liberty Lunch and dance to Beto and the Fairlanes. We are still going strong. I have been very blessed with the gift of these wonderful players that play my music and add something that no other band can achieve.

ACCENT: Who are some of your jazz and Latin music influences?

Photo by Jessica Youssefi

SKILES: I went to college and was influenced by pianists like Art Tatum and Bill Evans and of course the more modern ones — Chickeria, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, and a pantheon of jazz icons. The Latin influence largely comes from Tito Puente, Pérez Prado and Ray Barretto.

ACCENT: What kind of recognition have you received as a musician?

SKILES: I have six, maybe seven CD’s of my band Beto and the Fairlanes and they’ve gained national recognition and critical acclaim. One got four stars in a magazine called Downbeat. I’ve performed and written for the Austin Symphony, the Louisville Symphony and the Laredo Symphony. But as far as making a hit record like Lady Gaga, I’m not there yet.

ACCENT: What is your fondest musical memory?

SKILES: I was the music director of singer Tish Hinojosa. She wanted to perform in front of orchestras, so I wrote arrangements, many of which were my compositions, for her orchestra. She collaborated on the lyrics. Standing in front of the [92-piece] orchestra — when I first heard them, I melted. I just had to look at them and say “do that again.” It was like driving a Ferrari.

ACCENT: How did your time in arranging and performing with the Unity Church of the Hills Austin shape you?

SKILES: Well, it influenced me a great deal because I had to be at the top of my game there. Each week we had different songs to learn and rehearse. I wrote the

charts for the band and worked with a vocalist really closely. That was a great education. The music genre was contemporary gospel, which is everything from rock-and-roll to traditional gospel. I was there for twelve years.

ACCENT: How has your wide-ranging musical background helped direct you in teaching music at ACC?

SKILES: I bring to bear all the experience that I’ve had over the past 66 years of being active on this planet. I focus it on points that the students need to learn. For example, how I got cheated by my record company, or my experience in California writing music for a feature film and encounters with the music business in Austin — from playing at the Armadillo to receiving an award at ACC.

ACCENT: What is your advice for ACC students or local musicians trying to make a name for themselves in the Austin music scene?

SKILES: It’s extremely difficult. Hang on to your inspiration and make sure that your passion is guiding your decisions and not some other reason.

ACCENT: During the 2010-2011 academic year, you received the ACC Teaching Excellence Award. What did that recognition mean to you?

SKILES: That recognition was a celebration of the relationship I have with the students. The really important thing is recognizing that I’ve had an impact on a wider scope than just ACC. I had an impact through my students.

Radio, TV, Film Guest Speaker

[soundcloud url=”” comments=”true” auto_play=”false” color=”ff7700″ width=”100%” height=”81″]Interview by Justin Hobby, Multimedia Editor

Author of the book “Script: A Writer’s Guide to The Hollywood Jungle”, Susan Marx visited the RTF Department.