In Search Of Heroes Interview Of Nerissa Odin Video Queen Was Incredible

Ralph Zuranski: Hi. This is Ralph Zuranski. I’m on the phone with Nerissa Oden, the Video Queen, who has the website I met Nerissa at Joe Vitale’s Spiritual Marketing Super Summit.

Ralph Zuranski: She was videotaping the entire conference. I talked to her a little bit and found out that she graduated with a degree in film, radio, and TV editing, recording and producing from college. She just fell in love with video editing.

Ralph Zuranski: She was just really a fine person. I had an opportunity to work with her. I wanted to recognize her as a hero. How are you doing today, Nerissa?

Nerissa Oden: I’m doing great. It’s nice to talk to you Ralph.

Ralph Zuranski: I appreciate you offering to answer the Heroes’ questions. The first one I wanted ask you is what is your definition of heroism?

Nerissa Oden: First of all, it’s my pleasure to answer the questions and help out your program in any way that I can. The question is again what is the definition of heroism? I would say the ability to follow your gut instincts and listening to what your higher self or your intuiting is telling you to do, even when you’re staring at adversity and it feels like you’re against all odds.

Nerissa Oden: But you’re still going to do what it is that you’re driven to do. For example, my move from the film industry and editing, I did some editing on feature films and television there, into the internet took a leap of faith because, at that time, in the mid 1990’s, people were just getting on the internet in 1996.

Nerissa Oden: In 1998, when I’m going, “I really want to make a living off the internet and I want to find a way on how to transition that,” I’m listening to my inner self because the outer evidence wasn’t really supporting me.

Nerissa Oden: That would be an example of heroism.

Ralph Zuranski: So you believe that heroism is doing the right thing, even though there’s a tremendous amount of resistance from other people and just from your own fear in your own mind, not to do anything new.

Nerissa Oden: Yes, conquering your own fear in your mind and listening to your inner voice. I would say that we live in a time of activism right now. I would say that heroism is not forcing other people to do as you believe, but that you live out your own beliefs in your own life, follow your own intuition and your own path.

Ralph Zuranski: A lot of times that is hard because there is so much resistance. It comes from our family members and friends. It’s important to have a good standard of goodness, ethics, and moral behavior to guide our lives. What is your perspective on that?

Nerissa Oden: I believe that our families give us a blueprint that we start off with by mere force of distance to them, being with them twenty-four hours a day, and learning, picking up on the habits from them.

Nerissa Oden: But from there, we can go and develop, if we are at odds with our family, our own morality and ethics from there. Sometimes, actually for all of us, it’s very hard to do unless you happen to have been brought up in a family that was helping you and encouraging you to go seek out your own answers.

Nerissa Oden: Even if they were at odds with society or with the family, that as long as you were looking at the big picture and looking at it from all directions, they would support you. A lot of families just aren’t like that.

Ralph Zuranski: That’s really true. It’s hard to overcome the direction that other people want you to go, especially the moms and dads. They want to keep you from getting hurt or experiencing failure, or just going through the problems and difficulties that they experienced.  I talked to a lot of the other heroes. They believe that the more you fail, the greater opportunity is to be successful. What do you think about that?

Nerissa Oden: That’s what I understand. You’re not going to be able to succeed if you don’t try. Not every attempt that you make is going to be successful. I don’t know what else to say about that. That’s just a fact of life.

Nerissa Oden: You may think that you’re going to be successful your first time out. I know I sure did. My first website attempt at doing video, working in PhotoShop, and doing an internet business [inaudible] store.

Nerissa Oden: I really thought it was going to take off and be this wonderful thing. But it turned out that I didn’t have a whole lot of the marketing skills that I needed at the time. In fact, I had an aversion to marketing, sales, and business in general.

Nerissa Oden: It’s kind of ironic that I wanted to do a business for myself. Yet I didn’t have the skills. It took a lot of guts to say, “This is what I want to do,” and go do it. There’s definitely a learning process involved.

Nerissa Oden: I thought it was going to do great. I think it could do great. It’s a great idea. But that’s not where I want to put my energy anymore. I’ve learned a lot since then. I actually learned that wasn’t exactly where my passion was.

Nerissa Oden: That’s a whole learning process in itself. I thought I was doing something that I wanted to do, which was do pet portraits and pet videos. As it turned out, I was operating more from my – I had lost my cat that I had had for nineteen years and I was really missing her.

Nerissa Oden: I really felt that I wanted people to understand that a lot of people feel like pets are part of the family. I wanted to help promote that feeling in the world.

Ralph Zuranski: I can imagine that. A lot of people consider heroism people that actually get paid to do heroic things, like policemen, firemen, and people in the military. They are definitely heroes because they do have to lay down their lives sometimes in the process of doing their job.

Ralph Zuranski: What do you think about the idea of people that are heroes that are just living daily lives and being of service to others? They don’t really get any recognition. What principles are you willing to sacrifice your life for?

Nerissa Oden: Remind me of the second part of that question in a minute. Definitely, there is a difference between a firefighter and a volunteer firefighter. I think that the volunteer firefighter doesn’t get paid, obviously.

Nerissa Oden: It’s a whole different dynamic in your life. They are both risking their lives in serving their community. For that, they definitely have to be admired. Just like people who sign up to be in the military who are going to get money to go to college is different than the activist that was killed over there recently, Marla Ruzicka.

Nerissa Oden: She had gone over there to help the average Iraqi citizen, just to help feed and clothe them and maintain their lives in the midst of this chaos in war. She wasn’t getting paid for that. They’re all heroes. But Marla is not typically someone who’d get press recognition.

Nerissa Oden: There are people that are doing things for the benefit of the greater good of society. A lot of them are not getting paid for it. It’s kind of like traditional woman’s work. A lot of it has traditionally not been valued.

Nerissa Oden: I think we, as individuals, have to recognize that no matter whether you’re getting paid or not, as long as you’re doing something that fits your internal desire for making your life satisfying and better, and you’re fitting the greater good, especially when your coming up against a lot of boundaries.

Nerissa Oden: A great example would be a whistleblower-type person who blows a whistle on government corruption or corporate corruption, when that corruption pertains to helping destroy the lives of a lot of people.

Nerissa Oden: A person like that is going to come up against a lot of adversity. They’re going to personally get libeled and things like that. That takes a lot of courage. Those type of people are definitely heroes.

Nerissa Oden: There was the football player who left football because he wanted to go fight terrorism. He thought that Iraq and the war in Iraq was the way to fight terrorism. He lost his life. That guy is a hero.

Nerissa Oden: That guy is someone to be admired. He left a plush career with lots of pay, lots notoriety, and celebrity status to go fight in a war that he felt strongly against. He ultimately lost his life for it.

Nerissa Oden: I hope I’m answering that question.

Ralph Zuranski: That is a good answer to that question. It’s not so much the people with the burst of adrenaline who race into a burning building to save somebody. Then they live a life of despair or just whatever.

Ralph Zuranski: Gregory Allen Williams, the black cop on bay watch, actually saved a man’s life during the L.A. riots, even though he was a movie star and Shakespearian actor, had tons of money, risked his life to save an Asian man who was being beaten to death in an intersection.

Ralph Zuranski: He raced out there, and just as the mob was going to kill him and the Asian guy, a Mexican guy stepped in and took the beating so he could get him to the neighbors to get that guy to a hospital. They saved that man’s life. That’s my true idea of heroism.

Nerissa Oden: That’s a great example.

Ralph Zuranski: You have something to lose and lay down your life for somebody else you don’t even know, I think that’s an incredible thing. I think people like that are incredible heroes. But I also think that moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, and just people that sacrifice their life, sacrifice the things they want to do to help raise their kids.

Ralph Zuranski: They’re real heroes, too.

Nerissa Oden: That’s another great example, exactly.

Ralph Zuranski: Everybody has highs and lows in their lives. I think you really define the character of an individual and how they respond when they’re at one of the lowest points in their life. What was the lowest point in your life? How did you change your life back?

Nerissa Oden: The lowest point in my life was probably when I felt like my mother didn’t want me and that my father didn’t want me. I came from the divorced family. I didn’t really know my dad. My mother wasn’t getting child support.

Nerissa Oden: She felt like she had been betrayed by the courts. She couldn’t get child support from my dad. So she said, “Look, it’s nothing against you or anything. But you’re thirteen now. It’s time for him to take care of you. He has to live up to some of the responsibility. I just can’t do this anymore.”

Nerissa Oden: I’m her third child. I definitely understood what she was saying, even at thirteen. It still hurt, nonetheless. Then, when we go to the father’s house, the father’s like, “We really need to get you back to the mom. No, I don’t want a single responsibility.”

Nerissa Oden: That also felt like rejection. That was probably the lowest point in my life emotionally. I ended up being back with my mother because I basically turned into a runaway for a little bit. I ended up back with my mother.

Nerissa Oden: My mother took us to counseling. I guess, probably on the third or fourth counseling session, I finally opened my mouth and started talking. That was the lowest point in my life. I’m not sure what would’ve happened if my mother hadn’t agreed to come rescue me or take me back.

Ralph Zuranski: How did you pull yourself up by your bootstraps? Were there people that helped you along the way just to overcome? I know that that’s a problem that a lot of young people are going through now. What was it that gave you the courage to carry on?

Nerissa Oden: This is going to sound a little funny. But I get a lot of my optimism and desires for goals and stuff from the television. I’ve always been the kind of person, ever since I was a little girl, who could sit in one spot and watch television for a long period of time.

Nerissa Oden: I could sit in one spot and have crayons and a coloring book for hours focusing on one thing, television was very similar. I spent a lot of time in front of the television. I think from the television, I learned how life could be different than my family life.

Nerissa Oden: There are happy, smiley families who do support each other. You learn lessons from them. They help you see the lesson in circumstances that happen to you, help you figure out the best way to react to them, and things like that.

Nerissa Oden: A lot of my optimism for my life, wanting it to be better, financially and emotionally, came from television. I don’t know if it was intuitive, but I certainly held on to the feeling that my life could be better.

Ralph Zuranski: So when you saw TV and saw the different programs, was that where you were able to create a dream or a vision for your life?

Nerissa Oden: I think that when I was watching television and saw the happy families, which was not what my family was, my family was broken apart. My brother and sister really didn’t treat me like a sibling at that time. They both didn’t like me very much.

Nerissa Oden: They felt like I was the youngest, the spoiled child, and the favorite. The truth is we just had different personalities. We get along well now. Back then, when we were children, they didn’t see things in the best light.

Nerissa Oden: I didn’t have a big brother and big sister I could run to and say, “Oh, help me with this problem,” or “This bully is picking on me,” or anything like that. I just didn’t. I had to look out for myself and the family, basically.

Nerissa Oden: From that, I saw that the television families could be different. Then, from that, I was able to attract friends in my life who came from middle-class families where the parents had been married just one time and were still married, had older brothers and sisters that were nice to them, looked after them, and helped them. It just happened.

Nerissa Oden: You could call it coincidence. You could call it focusing on what you want, attracting what you want in your life. I attracted, at the age of thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen, the best friends that I still have in my life today.

Nerissa Oden: They all came from these families. They weren’t perfect families. But they were kind of what I had envisioned or gotten the idea from television. I think that that reinforced the whole television concept.

Nerissa Oden: It was like, “Okay, here’s an idea from television of how things can be better.” Then, “Wow, look. My friends have this very similar to television kind of lifestyle. It’s a real thing.” That also gave me hope and understanding that things could be better because honestly I was the kind of child who learned from observing my family.

Nerissa Oden: I could see that people would get married very quickly. Divorce would most likely ensue. They’d probably have a child. They’d just hate each other and it would be horrible for the child. It was just a lot of chaos, a lot of snappy decisions.

Nerissa Oden: But yet, my friends’ families weren’t like that. Ideal television families weren’t like that.

Ralph Zuranski: It sounds like in your life you had a lot of setbacks, misfortunes, and made a few mistakes along the way. How important is it to be positive and be an optimist?

Nerissa Oden: It’s very important. I think I’ve been an optimist forever. Of course, there were the dark spots like I mentioned when I felt like nobody wanted me. I felt like I was worthy, at that time, to be loved.

Nerissa Oden: I felt like I was a good child, a good daughter. But nobody wanted me. It was definitely a dark spot. I’ve always had an internal belief that I’m worth it and I’m worth better. I can achieve as long as I hold onto the dream.

Nerissa Oden: I wouldn’t say that I was always consciously thinking that. But it was an internal, something inside me that would obviously guide me through life because I am way better, financially and emotionally. I’m happier.

Nerissa Oden: I did get to where I wanted to go.

Ralph Zuranski: Do you think that it takes a lot of courage to pursue new ideas?

Nerissa Oden:  I think so. I was very fortunate to have my family later in high school, and in college, whenever I got back together with my brother and sister. My mother was always supportive of me.

Nerissa Oden: I could do whatever I want. I’m smart enough and strong enough to do whatever I want. I always had that verbal support. We lived below poverty level for the whole time I was in high school.

Nerissa Oden: I had to have the school lunch tickets that the government would pay for my lunches because my mother couldn’t afford it, all those types of things. I was always emotionally encouraged to achieve and go for my dreams, not that they were providing me with role models. I think that is important for parents to do.

Nerissa Oden: It seals the deal. It’s hard to tell children to go for their dreams and you not go for your dreams. It takes away the argument. But at least I did have that. I did have the verbal support and encouragement.

Nerissa Oden: That adds a lot. It helps you a lot. It’s hard for me to even imagine that someone doesn’t even have that at home. I would highly encourage you to go seek out the friends and the friends’ families, mentors at school, the teachers, other adults in your life, and other relatives.

Nerissa Oden: Go migrate towards those people who do give you the emotional support and the encouragement to go for your dreams, to do what it is that you want to achieve in your life.

Ralph Zuranski: That’s really good advice. I know a lot of young people don’t do that at this point in time. Having dreams and just seeking after those dreams and not letting anybody steal your dream is so invaluable.

Ralph Zuranski: I know in the process of doing that, I’m sure you have a lot of doubts and fears about nearly everything. You don’t have a good family role model and a good family to come from. How did you overcome your doubts and fears?

Nerissa Oden: One thing that came to mind, I did well in school grade wise, A’s and B’s. I was going to go to Texas A&M to be an electrical engineer. I almost got a full scholarship for that. But I shot myself in the foot by smoking cigarettes like a chimney before I went into the interview, of course, reeked of smoke.

Nerissa Oden: This did not make a good impression on the board that was reviewing me. I think that was a blessing in a way because my whole goal at that point was to get a good paying job and have a life at night and on the weekends. Late in my senior year, I ended up meeting one of my classmates, or really spending a lot of time with one of my classmates.

Nerissa Oden: He had been working as a DJ at his father’s radio station for a while. I just found that all very fascinating. I really took hold of that concept. I asked him to show me how to do audition tapes, which he did, gladly.

Nerissa Oden: I worked on my audition tapes. I got permission to come in, hang around, and be like the office intern, which I did. I ended up getting a job as a DJ. From then on, it was like, “Oh my goodness. I can have a job where I make money and enjoy what I’m doing.”

Nerissa Oden: Up until then, it wasn’t an option because I didn’t really realize that I could do that.

Ralph Zuranski: What gave you the willpower to change the things in your life for the better? Was it just the support from your friends’ families? Or was there any particular element that gave you the courage just to do the things that you wanted to do and just not give up?

Nerissa Oden: It was a lot of verbal support from the family, like “Way to go, Nerissa. You’re the first person to get into college. Good for you. I tell all my friends about you. I think you’re doing great. Keep it up.”

Nerissa Oden: I had to work thirty hours a week at a part-time job to afford to go to college and get the Pell grants and the loans from the government. It was hard work. But I did have the encouragement.

Nerissa Oden: Of course, I chose the right friends. I didn’t get in with the bad crowd. I chose people who supported me and encouraged me to go for what I was wanting to do, which was go to college.

Nerissa Oden: Moving to a large, strange city by myself with no money, not even sure that I’d be able to afford to go to college because I didn’t know if I was going to get financial aid at the time. If I had people doubting me and nagging at me saying I couldn’t do it all over the place, I don’t think I would’ve made it as far as I did.

Nerissa Oden: It’s very important to be surrounded by people who support you, encourage you, and wish you well.

Ralph Zuranski: Do you think it’s important to find a good group of role models and also a good peer group that has or is experiencing the type of lifestyle that you want to experience?

Nerissa Oden: Definitely. It doesn’t have to be the same kind of lifestyle. Some person may want to spend their life doing nonprofit work and living on fifteen thousand dollars a year because they’re living in Africa most of the time. Housing is very affordable there compared to here.

Nerissa Oden: Your peers don’t have to want to do what you’re going to want to do. I think, as far as it’s very important to get mentors. I didn’t even realize the importance of mentors. I saw how valuable that was in hindsight.

Nerissa Oden: It’s very important to go seek out mentors and ask adults for help and guidance. When you’re looking at mentors, you should look towards people who can help you in your chosen career path that you’re looking at, what you want to do in life, even your spiritual path.

Nerissa Oden: That’s where the mentors would come in handy. Your friends can have their own path. But as long as you all support each other on each other’s path it’s perfect.

Ralph Zuranski: It sounds like you have a lot of people that offended, opposed, and upset you. How important was it for you to forgive those people to be able to just have peace in your life?

Nerissa Oden: I didn’t really have a lot of people who opposed me or anything. My family, although they didn’t have financial support for me, I had to go work and start making money as soon as I could legally do that to pay for my concerts and concert t-shirts, school lunches, and breakfasts.

Nerissa Oden: They gave me a lot of verbal support. I think that means a lot. Anybody who was a real downer to me, for example, I remember running across people in high school who were interested in the kind of music that I liked, and the kind of concerts that I liked to go to.

Nerissa Oden: We just happened to be in the same classes, or whatever, French class, or gym class, or whatever. But if I hung out with them and found that they were really heavy into drugs or they were dating some guy who was like twenty-eight when they were sixteen, I just knew that those were negative influences in my life.

Nerissa Oden: I chose not to hang out with them. Certainly, I did not try to belittle those people by any means. They are just not someone I would voluntarily go hang out with for a weekend or go do stuff with.

Ralph Zuranski: Have you experienced service to others as a source of joy?

Nerissa Oden: Definitely. I am working on finding the balance. It’s been hard for me. One of my struggles with marketing and stuff is I just want to help people. I’ve always been an employee where I sought out my job.

Nerissa Oden: Once I had my job, it was a definite defined thing. Someone gave me a paycheck for doing my work. I always did great work. Like, for example, when I was working at the post house in Houston, the producers would come in.

Nerissa Oden: They’d say, “Okay, here’s our project. Here’s what we want to achieve. Here’s what we’re looking at.” I would go all out to help them. I was very successful as an editor, with the producers, because I listened to them.

Nerissa Oden: I didn’t override their concerns. I worked with their concerns. That made me very popular there. Now that I have my own business, I’m in the position of having to ask people to pay for my services.

Nerissa Oden: It’s different, like a switch. I’m finding it’s not very easy for me to do that, just because I’m so used to having the paycheck and being able to produce what they want me to produce. Now, I have to go get that paycheck from every individual person that I work with. Does that make sense?

Ralph Zuranski: Yes.

Nerissa Oden: It’s different. I’m, right now, in a transition of – I’m surrounded by marketers. I have a mastermind marketing group that I belong to. They are like a support group for business people.

Nerissa Oden: Their experiences in marketing have been very helpful and have guided me a lot. At the same time, it turns out that a lot of their customers are other marketer people. My customers are not necessarily other marketing people.

Nerissa Oden: I have to discover my own intuition and find my own path. It’s kind of against the grain of what the group is suggesting or providing answers for. I discovered that the more that I can give, as long as I can give freely to people, as far as information about video, how they can do video affordably, on their own home computers, and even free because there’s a lot of free software out there.

Nerissa Oden: What is the best way that I can give that information to people? Do I ask them to sign up for my newsletter, which is free? Then they get that information for free. The way I’m probably going to go right now is, because I want to give a lot more than asking for business, put the Google AdSense on my web pages and make money that way, through click-throughs.

Nerissa Oden: I think a lot of my audience is not necessarily the marketing audience. They’re not willing to spend fifty bucks on a product. A lot of them come from the television mentality. They’d like to have stuff for free.

Nerissa Oden: Here I am, learning all this stuff as I go. What’s nice is it fits well with my personality because I would like to be able to just give and give and give. If I can make money in the affiliate way, which is if I’m talking about Pinnacle Studio on my website, which is one of my favorite video editing softwares that you can download for a free trial at It will last for thirty days.

Nerissa Oden: It is my favorite software and if I can review Pinnacle Systems, and I can make movies showing people how to use Pinnacle Systems, then people say, “Wow! This is really neat.”

Nerissa Oden: There’s a Pinnacle ad on the right hand side of the page and they go click on that and I make a few cents. I get a lot of people doing that, sharing knowledge and making some money at the same time. So it looks like at this point that that is the method I’m going to be set up for.

Nerissa Oden: I was just going to say I feel like I’m going off on a tangent here. But it’s something that for me and self realization and self-betterment to confront my marketing and sales knowledge and baggage that I got somehow through growing up. I guess I was always told that rich people were stingy, rich people this and rich people that.

Nerissa Oden: My entire family was all employees. None of them were business owners or employers. So I have a lot of baggage that I have to work through in order to have my own business.

Ralph Zuranski: I was going to say that I love Pinnacle Studios, too. That’s the one that I use for videos, too.

Nerissa Oden: I didn’t know that. Well, hey, we have something else in common.

Ralph Zuranski: We also have a sense of humor in common, too. How important is it to have a sense of humor, when we’re in the face of serious problems, since everybody has those in their lives?

Nerissa Oden: Yeah, I would have to say that I probably don’t have a very good sense of humor in the face of problems that are immediately happening. I do have that sense of optimism though. I do try to look for the silver lining and focus on that.

Nerissa Oden: I probably don’t look at the downside with a lot of humor, but I definitely admire people who can, because it certainly helps me to be around them. But I do look for the silver lining when other people are in distress and going through a hard time. I always share the silver lining that I see in the situation to them.

Ralph Zuranski: That’s a valuable thing to do. Who where the heroes in your life?

Nerissa Oden: Gosh, heroes in my life? I think Joe Vitale is an excellent role model and hero to look up to. I’ve learned so much from him. Of course, I share my life with him, so I love him dearly. He’s an excellent role model and hero.

Nerissa Oden: I typically haven’t looked at the people on the news as heroes. The first things that really come to mind for me, Ralph, when you talk about heroes besides the people that I know in my own life personally, my mother in some ways is a hero.

Nerissa Oden: I didn’t have the best upbringing, but she certainly gave me the verbal support that I needed to carry my optimism and go for my dreams. So the people outside of the immediate people that I know would be, gosh, I have a lot of respect for the whistleblower people.

Nerissa Oden: When they break some big news event about how the government lied and covered up a bunch of wrongdoing, or corporations lied and covered up the wrongdoing. They know they are probably going to get slandered in the news for it and the government and the corporations are protecting themselves.

Nerissa Oden: I would say that those people are heroes because what they’re doing is for the betterment of everybody. They are bringing to light issues that we all have to confront and work on in order to have a better society and a better culture of life, really – clean air, clean water, all those things, keeping the Constitution in tact, I mean, just kind of name it.

Nerissa Oden: Those really are the first people that come to mind. I read a lot of political stuff and Sybil Edmunds comes to mind as far as a whistleblower. I was so awed by her tenacity to be able to continue to speak out.

Ralph Zuranski: Well, those are real heroes because it’s hard to stand up against that amount of political power some of those corporations and the government has. They don’t want the light of exposure on the darkness they experience in their pursuit of power or wealth or whatever.

Ralph Zuranski: Those people are incredible because when you go up against powers that are that big, a lot of times those people get crushed in the process of doing so, but they do it with the attitude they’re going to do it because it is the right thing to do. Those are really the true heroes of today.

Nerissa Oden: It may not be self-sacrificing your life but it certainly is self-sacrificing and ultimately something good will come out of it for the person. I haven’t heard those stories. I’ve always stood up for what I believe in and sometimes it didn’t happen right away.

Nerissa Oden: Sometimes it’s like, wow, this is very shocking. I don’t know what to do. I have to spend time thinking what is the path here. Do I ignore this? Do I act on it? What do I do?

Nerissa Oden: But I’ve always gone with what I’ve felt is right. Of course, I haven’t had any major catastrophes or events anything like people in the public eye have gone through. Everybody is in their own little world. You’re going to encounter situations where you are going to have to make a stand.

Ralph Zuranski: So you feel that’s the way people are real heroes? That every person has the potential to be a hero if they actually follow through on what they believe is the right thing to do?

Nerissa Oden: Definitely. Have confidence in your beliefs. Share them with others. I wouldn’t recommend trying to force them on others, but certainly sharing and opening discussion. Even that for some people takes a lot of courage.

Nerissa Oden: There are some people who are discouraged in their homes to talk back. It takes a lot of courage to even discuss your own personal viewpoints with other people. People who overcome their own trauma that they’ve endured in their life.

Nerissa Oden: Whether it’s physical violence in their family, a tragic accident that happened kind of left you emotionally scarred, a car accident or something, those people are heroes, too.

Nerissa Oden: Our society doesn’t usually give them that label, but they are. They are people that I admire and wish well and enjoy being around. People who are able to overcome whatever their adversity is, I’m just kind of speechless.

Nerissa Oden: I’m really glad to be able to have met them, read about them, known about them, interacted with them.

Ralph Zuranski: Do you think it’s the average person just like all of us that triumphs over trials and tribulations and obstacles that are in our eyes, sometimes just incredible?

Nerissa Oden: Exactly. Give yourself as an example. You had this idea for a program and you are bringing it to fruition. You’ve had personal obstacles to overcome. You’ve had obstacles on the program itself, but you’ve made so many great strides and gains. You are doing a wonderful thing.

Nerissa Oden: That didn’t come from any outside forces saying, “Hey, Ralph, do this.” It came from an internal desire, drive, and intuition and all that stuff. It’s been a long road. I mean, we met for the first time almost a year and a half ago, maybe.

Nerissa Oden: You were working on it then and you’d been working on it for awhile then. That really takes a commitment to your passion and you are an example of a hero.

Ralph Zuranski: Thank you. I’ve been working on it for twelve years.

Nerissa Oden: Wow! Yeah, give yourself a hand! That’s awesome.

Ralph Zuranski: Sometimes you have to make a decision. What’s more important, money or making a positive difference in the world, especially in the lives of young people? I know that you are making the world a better place. What are the things you are actually doing to make the world a better place?

Nerissa Oden: I have this great idea that no one else is doing to help people practice video editing. That sounds kind of silly to some people, like why should I learn video editing and stuff? But from how I see it, we all know the visual language on television, but very few of us know how to speak it or how it gets spoken to us.

Nerissa Oden: What goes on behind the scenes to make that message? So the more people who I can get interested in video editing or just video in general. I have one book that is 137 Fun, Funny, Zany & Profitable Things to do With Your Camcorder.

Nerissa Oden: I got that great idea from Joe who bought a camcorder because he was intrigued with the technology and he didn’t know what to do with it. I’m like, “Oh, you’re kidding me.”

Nerissa Oden: I was absolutely full of ideas. So he’s like, “Well, just put them down in a book. Write a book.”

Nerissa Oden: I’m going, “Who would buy it. Everybody knows what to do with a camcorder.”And he goes, “No, they don’t.” And I hadn’t thought of it like that. So getting the ideas out there in a way that is unique and affordable, after having this pivotal realization about the Google AdSense and that people can actually make money with that, giving away their stuff that’s really what I’m going to be doing.

Nerissa Oden: I’ve already got one project on the web. You can watch the video called Video Basics on my website. It is an edited project. Then you go download the MPEG file of all the unedited clips that I used to edit that project together.

Nerissa Oden: That gives people a tool to practice their video editing on. It’s a real life project. It goes from long shots to medium shots to close-ups to cutaways to still shots. It kind of incorporates all the things that people would use in video editing.

Nerissa Oden: Not everybody is going to be enthralled to do video editing when all they’re shooting is video of their dog or their cat. So this gives them something that they can work on. As their working on video editing, they’re learning the language.

Nerissa Oden: They’ll go, “Oh, okay, this is how you achieve that effect.” It’s kind of hard to explain it, but the visual language off of the television, we all know it. There is a definite way to make it. The more people who start to make it without knowing anything, the better off they’ll be in identifying that language and how it got to be on the screen as they see it.

Ralph Zuranski: Is that on your site

Nerissa Oden: That downloadable clip and the movie are one my site. It’s under the button called EditWOW because I intend to make that a totally separate site for unedited projects and scenes that people can go download and use in their video editing software.

Ralph Zuranski: That is really great. I really appreciate your time and just how much you shared with us today. I’m looking at you being a wonderful resource for the young people that are going to be doing the video interviews in their communities of the people they consider heroes. Just curious whether you had any final comment?

Nerissa Oden: I guess the main thing is that I would encourage you to do at least two video projects and a couple of audio projects so that you have an understanding of how the media works. Then for those of you who are more interested in video and audio as a possible career or you are just wanting to get into it more, there’s a great new thing happening on the web called video blogging.

Nerissa Oden: I’ll go ahead and plug someone else’s site if that’s okay with you. There’s a free resource out there right now that’s That site shows you step by step how to get a free blog, which is kind of like a website, how to put images on it, how to put video on it. That is through a free image hosting service, free video hosting service.

Nerissa Oden: In essence, you can be a part of the growing internet media community. You can have your own interviews with people in your neighborhood, interviews with people at your school, your own little documentaries, interview your friends and what their favorite hobbies are.

Nerissa Oden: There are a wide variety of video and audio projects that one can do. But that website, will show you how you can, with no money, have your own video and audio website. I think it is a great place for people to start when they are starting to learn media.

Ralph Zuranski: So that would be

Nerissa Oden: It’s That’s kind of a long one, but every time that you have a blogger site, whatever the name of your blog is, it’s the name of your blog plus

Ralph Zuranski: Okay, so here it is.

Nerissa Oden: That’s exactly right.

Ralph Zuranski: Well, Nerissa, it was a pleasure talking with you. Again I just thank you so much for sharing your life with us because it has to be an inspiration for the young people that are going through similar experiences that you’ve gone through, to know that they can be as successful as they choose to be. And never give up.

Nerissa Oden: Well, thank you for asking me to do this. I really enjoyed it and hopefully, even if one person out there is inspired or gets some new information, I’m just tickled to death. Thank you.

Ralph Zuranski: Thank you and I want you to have a good day.

Nerissa Oden: Okay. You, too. Bye-bye.

Nerissa Oden was planning to become an electrical engineer and was inches away from a full scholarship to do so. But at 17 she became a Top 40 DJ at a KTAW-FM in Bryan Texas and “A whole new world just opened up for me. From then on I was focused entirely on learning about the man behind the curtain”, she said.

Nerissa entered The University of Texas at Austin in 1986 as an independent undergraduate and completed her Radio-Television-Film degree in December 1990. But even before completing her four years at UT, Nerissa Oden had completed four internships and worked on three Hollywood movies:

In her final year at college, she discovered and fell in love with electronic video editing. Nerissa says, “I fell hard and I couldn’t get enough! I petitioned the college to allow me to take four more production classes than was required for my degree. I was fortunate that they agreed. They even let me take a graduate-level class taught by former Hollywood film veteran, Nick Cominos!”

After graduation she worked entirely in post-production for independent films and original TV movies like and “Ned Blessing” and “Charlie’s Ear.” She spent part of her time working on motion pictures shot in Texas including “Ace Ventura II” starring Jim Carrey, “The Evening Star” starring Shirley MacLaine. And part of her time she spent working on TV series including PBS’s Frontline, The American Experience, and HGTV’s Dream House.

A Creative Video Editor whose talents also include graphic and sound design, teaching and writing. I have over 13 years of editing experience on television series, feature films and corporate projects. I have worked on various NLE systems including but not limited to Avid, Pro-Tools, Media 100, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Pinnacle Studio, and the original EMC2. In 1999 I began to actively look for a way out of the professional video and film business.

In 2001, I taught myself basic web building and created I developed a taste for the new consumer level editing software in early 1999 and have taught and consulted around Austin and Wimberley. I have produced and created various graphic, video, and audio projects over the past three years for internet marketers and small businesses. I own a professional video camera, wireless mic, and usually shoot projects I edit. My goals are to complete my second book, earn recognition for teaching web video, expand my video workshops, and all the while promote the benefits and techniques of video to all.

2001 — CURRENT: Web Entrepreneur, Freelance Video Editor, Photographer, Graphic Designer, Videographer, and Author.

“Dream House” (Home & Garden – HGTV series.) Granite House, March 2001.
EDITOR (on Final Cut Pro)
I worked as a temp or relief Editor on two episodes and cut the offline for this episode solo. Producer, Lucy Frost. Head Editor, Sandra Adair.

“Promises with Kenneth Phillips” – “World of Pentecost” – “X-it” (weekly local television series) Dream Creations, June 1999 – July 2000.
EDITOR (on Avid Media Composer)

I edited two 30-minute and one 60-minute TV show for Fox TV and ACTV. I created two colorful and fast-paced series opens for PROMISES with Kenneth Phillips and X-it. I created graphics, mixed audio levels, and output the shows to master tape, ready for broadcast. I arranged and oversaw equipment repairs for the multi-camera studio room including the beta decks, switchers, Avid, and dub racks, etc..

“Cybercopter” (documentary for Discovery Channel) Talent Film Group, 1999.

Roughed and fine edited scenes on request. Once picture was locked, it was my job to create and edit audio for the entire show, locate appropriate music, and conceptualize titles. Other Assistant duties included: Avid maintenance, technical support and troubleshooting, organize Avid bins and paperwork, organize master tapes and materials, digitize footage, temporary narrator for entire show, mixed audio on Avid, prepared online EDL for picture, transfer media and audio information for the final mix session.

“Texas Center for Service Learning” (promotional series) Granite House, 1998.
EDITOR (on Media 100)

I Co-Edited video and audio for the five tape series. I supervised the Media 100 online and final audio mix. “Science in Action” won the Award of Distinction in the Crystal Award’s Communicator Awards Competition in 1999.