Research & Production Internship

Storm Surge Films is seeking an enthusiastic individual for a documentary Research & Production Internship for the summer 2013. The internship program at Storm Surge Films is a unique opportunity for young and emerging filmmakers to learn about producing innovative documentary films alongside other passionate storytellers.

Image:  Stacy Noland
Interview with BP Safety Officer, Shell Beach, LA

Interns will find numerous opportunities to build relationships and learn from those working in documentary, arts and non-profit communities throughout the US and beyond. Internships are ideal for candidates who bring strong individual creative sensibilities combined with an interest in participating in a highly-collaborative environment where a diversity of ideas are respected and embraced.

Self-motivated individuals with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, interested in learning about documentary films, media education and community-based outreach and engagement are encouraged to apply. S/he will work closely with the studio’s director, producer and other interns on a daily basis.

Interview with Habitat for Humanity, Tuscaloosa, AL

As SSF projects commonly involve the creative participation of community members typically experiencing filmmaking for the first time, it is highly desirable if candidates demonstrate an interest in education and community engagement.  S/he will work closely with the studio’s director, producer and other interns on a daily basis in a highly collaborative environment where ideas are respected and embraced.

Duties may include but are certainly not limited to:

  • Recording sound with a small crew in the field
  • Logging and transcribing interviews
  • Online and library-based research
  • Field research including informational interviews, phone calls and information gathering
  • Organizing research and story materials
  • Occasionally serving as a Production Assistant with the SSF crew when filming in the field

The ideal candidate should possess:

  • Ability to work in the field in diverse and sometimes fast-paced environments
  • Passion for documentary films and strong knack for non-fiction storytelling
  • Confident research, writing and note-taking skills
  • An interest in the grant, treatments and film project proposal process
  • Confident verbal communication skills in diverse environments
  • Strong capacity for synthesizing and organizing a diverse range of research materials
  • Ability to work in a team environment and independently
  • Interest in learning about climate change, disaster resiliency and current trends in environmental, social and economic sustainability
  • Experience working with HD video and sound recording are a plus
Interview with Rebuild Tuscaloosa
Interview with Rebuild Tuscaloosa

Other details:

  • The internship will ideally run from June 2013 through August/September 2013
  • Requires a minimum commitment of 16 hours/week, with flexible days depending on applicant’s schedule
  • Proficiency in other languages beyond English is welcomed
  • Storm Surge Films’ is headquartered in Seattle, with field locations in Bay St. Louis, MS, Joplin, MO, Tuscaloosa, AL, and New York City.

Storm Surge Films is committed to a diverse workplace and is an enthusiastic equal opportunity employer.

Dependent upon execution and performance over a multiple month time frame, this position has the potential to become a paid part-time job.

Please email a cover letter, resume, and three (3) references stormsurgefilm [at]gmail [dot] com by 5:00pm, Friday, June 21, 2013.  No phone calls.

Arctic Methane found at “Amazing Levels”

Attribution: NASA

NASA scientists report disturbing bursts of methane being emitted from the tundra as the spring thaw progressed northward over Alaska’s North Slope.

To view full report visit:

Occupy Sandy: 7.5 Months Later

Just days after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Cost, killing 72 and causing over $50 billion in damage, the Storm Surge production team met up with members of Occupy Sandy to see firsthand how volunteers mobilized to help with the recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Occupy Sandy General Assembly Meeting
Image: Stacy Noland

Tomorrow, June 14th, the group will host a debriefing meeting to discuss what went right, what went wrong, and identify recommendations for those who get involved in grassroots disaster relief in the future.

As a lead up to the event, Occupy Sandy released this short video to raise awareness.

Occupy Sandy Debrief

If you can’t make it to NYC and want to participate remotely you can watch the livestream at

Largest Tornado Ever Recorded

The tornado that struck El Reno Oklahoma on May 31st has now been classified as an EF-5. A DOW (Doppler On Wheels) truck recorded a wind speed of 296 MPH and the tornado was 2.6 miles wide making this the largest tornado ever recorded in modern history. The path of the tornado was 16 miles long and it was on the ground for 40 minutes. The tornado grew from 1 mile wide to 2.6 miles wide in 30 seconds.

(National Weather Service)

The previous widest tornado record was the F4-rated (on the 0-5 scale) Wilber – Hallam, Nebraska twister that touched down on May 22, 2004.  It had a maximum width of 2.5 miles.

The Weather Channel’s Greg Forbes provides some additional, incredible detail about the tornado’s winds on his Facebook page:

Disasters of Yesterday and Yesteryear

We’re quick in this country to obsessively focus on the “disaster of the moment” while forgetting about the disasters of yesterday and of yesteryear.

The FEMA Smartphone App

Last week we told you about the American Red Cross disaster preparedness app.  Now, we want to hear your opinion of FEMA’s version of a disaster prep app.  Their app contains disaster safety tips, interactive lists for storing your emergency kit and emergency meeting location information, and a map with open shelters and open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs). The app is free to download through your smartphone provider’s app store:

iPhone Screenshot 1

The FEMA App contains preparedness information for different types of disasters, an interactive checklist for emergency kits, a section to plan emergency meeting locations, information on how to stay safe and recover after a disaster, a map with FEMA Disaster Recovery Center locations (one-stop centers where disaster survivors can access key relief services) and Shelters, general ways the public can get involved before and after a disaster, and the FEMA blog.

What is a Storm Surge?

The greatest potential for loss of life related to a hurricane is from the storm surge!

Storm surge is simply water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level to heights impacting roads, homes and other critical infrastructure. In addition, wind driven waves are superimposed on the storm tide. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides.

Hurricane Specialist, Bryan Norcoss, from the Weather Channel, explains the science behind a storm surge in the days leading up to Hurricane Isaac in August 2012.

Because much of the United States’ densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less than 10 feet above mean sea level, the danger from storm tides is tremendous.

Will Tornadoes Get Worse As Earth’s Climate Heats Up?

On May 20, 2013, a devastating EF5 tornado shredded the city of Moore, Oklahoma, killing 24 deaths and destroying an estimated $3B in property.  It was the third time a tornado has stuck the city in 14 years.

In the NOVA special, Oklahoma’s Deadliest Tornadoes, we meet scientists, literally working on the front lines, in an attempt to understand when, where, how and why tornadoes form in “Tornado Alley.”

The film also asks:

  • Why was 2011—the worst ever recorded tornado season that left hundreds dead in Joplin and Tuscaloosa—followed by the quietest ever year of activity prior to the Moore disaster?
  • Can improved radar and warning technology explain why so many fewer died in Moore than in Joplin?
  • And will tornadoes get worse as Earth’s climate heats up?


Like a jet engine, with a train behind it.

On May 27, 2013, near Salinas, KS, Brandon Ivey and Sean Casey capture this amazing video from inside a massive wedge tornado.

One After Another After Another

The United States experiences more than 1,000 tornadoes a year.

While most storms are weak and occur in sparsely populated areas, recent storms have inflicted heavy casualties in more populated regions of the country. Moore, OK, Tuscaloosa, AL, and Joplin, MO are the most recent communities to suffer.

Tornado_Courtesy of Gene Robertson
Image: Gene Robertson, PDS Storm Chasers

Tornadoes form when large air masses of different temperatures collide; when cold, dry air runs into warm moist air, which rises, condenses into heavy rain, and then falls in powerful downdrafts.   These conditions occur most often in the Great Plains, where the high altitude jet stream from the west converges with warm, moist air moving north from the Gulf of Mexico, and warm, dry air from the southwest.

One week after a devastating tornado hit the southern Plains of Oklahoma; a similar weather pattern is being repeated.

Earlier today the NWS Storm Prediction Center issued a moderate to severe threat warning for thunderstorms, tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds, Wednesday afternoon and evening for parts of the central and southern Plains, including parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

If you live in the areas of high risk, please be alert to changing weather conditions.  Look for the following danger signs:

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.

If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.

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