Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My co. is looking for sales pro in the GTA. Great place to work if you know BAS!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Starting Roger Martin's Diaminds w/ Mihnea Moldovenanu. Will be 3 Martins in a row. Decoding Mental Habits of Successful Thinkers. :)

Monday, December 07, 2009

My daughter has WilliamSydrome - check out this cool show on MTV... 3 of the hosts have WS... good on MTV ! In

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I stumbled on Lemonade Stories today. Docs about moms of famous people. I had this idea years ago but didn't do it. There you go... I lose.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just a reminder that Bill Strickland is in the Hammer tomorrow night if you're in the area. It's free & he's an amazing speaker!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Posted last notes on DesignThinkers 2009 ... Kyle Cooper. I emailed him to repeat his Paul Rand quotes - nothing :(

DesignThinkers 2009 {7 and last one}

Kyle Cooper – Prologue

Editorial based/driven
Typography & animation
Henry the V – theme of exile
Analog solution; hand-made
Shoots on table top

Interface for work includes grandfather’s liscence plate that reads, “OTHERS”

About community & collaborations
Whole intention of titles, audience involvement emotionally about others

Gestalt – involve them & they’ll remember

How can the type help create meaning?
Handmade (I wrote him and asked for his Rand quotes the he said so fast I couldn’t write down – yet to respond)

Table top shoots – No After Effects (Handmade – keeps repeating)
Learn how to use your hands – don’t telephone it in!

Paul Rand – logo designer: Noble
Good at one thing
Resourceful > cross dissolve contact sheets
Not relying on digital effects

(watched “To Kill a Mockingbird” titles)
Make a mess – Get your hands messy
Restrict yourself to be {Frame}?
Where’s the contrast?

Relationships are the most important of reason…

Read script > Photoshop frames

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Watching Haques Constructive Capitalism: after hanging with Thea @BestBuyPartyPackagersChapters#In

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

DesignThinkers 2009 Notes {7}

Terry O’Reilly – Age of Persuasion CBC & Pirate Radio

Be SURPRISING – it’s sticky but How?
Doesn’t’ sell itself
Understand human behaviour
Be curious > it’s how to be interesting
Message - packaging must be new > not necessarily new message
Make people feel EMOTION

Noise is deafening
Examples of surprises:
3M transit shelter money b/w glass – Need to ask the right question!
Leadership example Honda example
Demonstration is bedrock – benefits

Rethink Orkin pest control collecting flies
British Rail making client wait to build empathy

Demonstrate & Convince – don’t just inform
Compelling story about product

Emotions must be felt, never stated
Tell story > … show you service/product can be trusted. Don’t tell
Emotion in story – use old stories
10Km speed difference (kid being hit by car) 80% likelihood of survival if 10Km slower otherwise 10Km faster 80% likelihood the child will be killed
Lego crane, fresh salad billboard for McDees, bus shelter seat scale for weight, fleas on dog from high view are people

Invite people to be active members
It’s about making the box bigger!
Take stuff everyone ignores
Most compelling message is that you understand your customer’s needs!
In order to identify the obstacles they need you to empathize – understand and you win

Razor compared to lawn billboard – Surprise

Technologies are NOT ideas
Excite – strive to teach them; teacher, educate, provoke & inspire
Don’t cost a lot of money
Toronto Symphony – fear of not knowing what to do

Carter – Font guy

Understand history if you use it
He did research – mathematical approach (didn’t sketch)

“Accuracy is not the truth” – Henri Matisse
Fonts – Caslon, Vincent, Carter.. Snell
All caps – thoughts on how to do
Bembo – 16pt should look best! If it doesn’t look good @ 16pt you’re in trouble

Reviving types
Invented Georgia & Verdana

Ikea – Futura to Verdana

Monday, November 23, 2009

Funny man on tweets! Thanks to Mitch Joel for posting it on 6degressofseparation! :)
What's your take on smart growth? Principals here: Is smart smart or just dumb?

Smart Growth Principals from Bubblegeneration.

1. Outcomes, not income - how much better off are people? 2. Connections, not transactions - are you amplifying connections & community? 3. People, not product - are you pushing skill, dedication & skill of people? 4. Creativity, not productivity - hard to measure, manage and model but creates new value!

Grow smart instead of dumb.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tracking Seifried, Whigham & Seddon for IRONMAN Arizona today:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

DesignThinkers 2009 Notes {6}

Stephen Doyle & Gael Towey

Martha Stewart

Editorialize – tell stories
Laboratory – create from scratch

Warm people up to stuff and then sell them i.e. glitter > glitter by number (Application on web?)
Colour sensibility
Vision (BIG idea) Figure out how to do it.

Robert Brunner – Ammunition

Ideas, not just objects
Token product guy

Disruption – How to harness
Connection - ?
Partnership – Has to be a balance
Do you matter? (Not for us)
Would they shed any tears if your company would no longer be around?

Bullshit meter > no veneer
Harley Davidson – tatooes > business guy thinks he’s a bad-ass

iPod > Apple Logo > Video > iTunes > iMovies > Packaging = My Music

Accessorize by leading designers
Look for clients in trouble! They are willing to take risks – simple Nook (two part – top read and bottom navigation)
Useable DOES NOT = Desirable
Useable > Useful > Desirable
Risk is NOT a four letter word > Innovation = Risk

4 Ideas
1. Playing with fire – BBQ “Fuego”
2. Sound matters – Beats by Dr. Dre “A lot of people owe me a lot of favours” – Jimmy
3. Wake up call – Dream surface – iPod App clock radio app Excitement fit & finish
4. Seeing the light – Regen; powered by light – solar calculator
Energy harvestor USB Collect and use power

Has to engage people – Interface to tell you stuff i.e. Energy use…
Fast Company magazine – Focus

It’s all about the idea
Awesome-ness!!! Innovation just doesn't cut it anymore.
Finished reading You Inc.. Reading The Opposable Mind now... very cool so far.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

DesignThinkers 2009 Notes {5}

Steven Heller

Iron fists
Branding the 20th Century: Totalitarian State

1. Cult of the Leader
2. Cult of Kids (capture kids hearts & minds)
3. Cult of signs (& logos)
4. Cult of uniformity
5. Cult of hate
6. Cult of souvenirs
7. Cult of stupidity

The darker side of design thinking

Marty Neumeier – Are you zagging or lagging?

Vision (what could be)
Critique magazine > Teach designers what they are doing…
Tool to be innovative – keep innovating, Steve Jobs
Herbert Simon says, “Changing existing situation > preface anyone change situations

Design NOT decide the future
Dragon’s Den KNOW – MAKE(design) – DO
We’ve gone from cheap, good & fast TO free, ? & now
Competition comes from clutter – 5 Kinds

(pauses for water)

Whose done this before?
Radical = Loser thus not equal Power

Barriers from physical > mental
Barriers from company > customer

Be REALLY different – radical differientation
Tool > Good Different Chart … see Zag
Sweet spot is b/w Good and Different – See the BIG picture

Soft focus
Empathy – Experience – Intuition – Judgement
Different scares companies > but Powerful
Good & Different is Gold!
Does poorly in tests but then people associate different with good – use examples like the Herman Miller chair to convince people not to play it safe
Warhol twist – companies will be famous for 15 minutes
Be REALLY different – no more me too

Prototype & Test… de-risk and make choices clear for customers
Have to put time in & help them make steps – speak their language and lead them to a bold solution by de-risking them

Make them ready to embrace design – look at Roger Martin’s books
Prototype bolder solutions!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

DesignThinkers 2009 Notes {4}

Warren Berger - Glimmer

Everyone can learn from the way designers solve problems
Outside > Question > Fresh solutions and perspectives
Brian Collins, “Design is hope made visible”

Design to solve problems
Cheetah prosthetic vs. High heels
Seek the story of the Cheetah creator

Lateral thinking… outside influences to change existing reality
*intention, planning & make things better
Check these out: X02 Laptop, Luke arm, Deborah Adler, OXO tools, Tim Brown of –IDEO. Rewatch TED video

Design Thinking… How designers solve problems

Designers – hoard, huddle together, communal
Attack each other & caring

How Designers Work: Open possibility, will find a better way & challenge assumptions
1. Ask stupid questions – guts to ask why?
2. ?
3. Jumping fences
4. Make hope visible
5. Embrace constraints
6. Begin anywhere

Optimism – still possible to solve BIG problems1
Immerse yourself & go deep
Become a student of human behaviour
Understand audiences, be empathetic
Ask isn’t there a better way?

Lateral thinking – jumping fields, brining it back
Smart recombinations
A+ B = C
Connect things in new ways
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Don’t be afaid to imitate – put your spin on it
Don’t look in the usual places

Reread Edward De Bono’s Thinking Course book on Lateral thinking (I have it somewhere)

Ok to failure – Fail forward
Basement problem solvers
Example: Taxi’s Homeless jacket. Designer asked himself to solve the problem
Experience, empathize, question > solve the problems

Seek problems & solve them!!!

Redesign behaviour i.e. Pedigree – integrated so people could believe in you

Dog breeding > design?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More DT & Roger Martin on CBC for the drive home. Think I've found my passion to "Crush"!

DesignThinkers 2009 - Notes {3}


Trends – The chocolate room (poetics of space)
Looking how people behave
Be in a non-safe place to do work
10-20% time is charity work
No gambling
No cigarettes
No fast food
RFid Chips (know where they are when entering a building)
10 languages die every year
Evidence based design “ “ provide the framework with the brackets
Others put the stuff in the “ “
Bathroom stall graffiti
There is no free time, you have to make it

John Bredenfoerder – Colour strategy

Fridge magnet for pizza – where the customer makes the decision
Anticipate colour trends
Proof in final environment where its going to be seen

Tints – colour + white
Tone – colour + grey
Shade – colour + black

Medamerism – things look different in different lights
Red has physical effect
Colour phsycology – graph of influences & forecasts
But test context in context
Fads, trends and cycles influences > forecasting what direction is it 2010?

Facebook, United Nations bluc – community, earth light blue white
Mylife beige John Lennon’s imagine
Reread Jobs on dots (while on break) waiting for my dots to connect 1 day

Monday, November 16, 2009

DesignThinkers 2009 - Notes {2}

Dana Arnett

Shop class as Soulcraft – M. Crawford

Ben Blumenfeld – Facebook

3 approaches:
1. Ship & Interate (Beta) good enough
2. Data Informed – not driven
A-B Test
It’s all about the tease
3. Leverage (most important)
Using existing tools or building new ones
“I voted” button during election w/counter

Pixelcloud (Skitch) screen shot: working on…
Camp fire – collaborate
Crowdsourcing: translation tool – available
Find basketball games > map to bring people together

Facebook – YouTube – GooleDocs
Huge impact to effect change & make world a better place
Light version (paired down)
Wish I lived in Toronto. Roger Martin live twice on Integrated Thinking
Posted last part of my Roger Martin on Integrated Thinking posts. find it here:

Roger Martin & Integrated Thinking... (Part 3)

Integrated Thinking (continued...)

See the value of validity AND reliability. Bring the two together. Obey the 5 rules on either side.

Strategies are about shortening your odds - not perfection. If you try to be right (perfect), you will never have a good strategy.

The tension b/w validity & reliability is important - especially in business sustainability.

Business can help edit out the designer's vision of the future. Use the power of the paradox. Caught between a rock and a hard place, create a new model. The relationship may at times seem like oil & water.

You have no choice. These ideas are at the root of great solutions.

Reject the notion that existing models = reality. Fight against such notions and ignore the status quo. Look for ways to build better and newer models!

Use cues from existing models to build a better model still. Embrace the paradox & change the world.

Let the idea kill itself... and this works only with deep conversations.

Learn more about Roger Martin's ideas. I have ordered his books and will review them in the future. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Awesome day with my eldest daughter. Great conversation on the train 2 T. Then saw the friggin amazing "August: Osage County" - What acting!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Posting notes for DesignThinkers 2009. 4th time together with Jared & Iles Anyone else go? What u think?

DesignThinkers 2009 - Notes {1}

Will be posting notes (sometimes really rough) from this year's DesignThinkers that I attended with Jared & Iles...

Micheal Beruit:

1. Keep it simple
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel
3. Don’t reinvent the wheel, rotate the tires
4. Do as you’re told (like limitations)
5. Steal (what else is this like?)
6. Once you come up with something, never let it go…
7. Make other people do the work i.e. Kids library

The easy way out IS fun.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stepping up to the plate...

I've been working on my step outline for a project I've been drawn to lately. I can't stop. But it's not glamourous. It's using a pencil and writing on index cards. Thinking about how each event in the story builds and turns. Making sure each scene's initial value finishes with the opposite value. As McKee says, it's not impossible but it's not easy either.

I've begun to transfer the contents to Final Draft index cards. I'm not about to begin the treatment yet but I think its making me really look at the cards. I'll be rearranging them and trying to put in more. For example, I've begun the script with a cross-cutting scene that includes symbolism.

Once I have the step outline in a solid shape, I'll write up a 10 page synopsis and pitch it around. If I get the interest in others, I'll then write a full treatment.

I'm enjoying the process so far. It's included lots of research because its a docudrama of course.
On another topic. I had the thought yesterday that perhaps instead of yearbooks for highschools I could help in develop yeardvds. Instead of images - video. I think it has interesting connotations. What do you think?

Friday, March 06, 2009

Blogging for work..

Man, another tough week. First post here in a bit. Reading Docudrama book. Have a great story that should be told. Has all the makings of something cool if I don't screw it up.

Monday, March 02, 2009

What a week... now I'm weak.

Well, after a week with a really sick kid and my parnter and oldest in Montreal I'm beat. I feel burnt and have had a headache for a few days including today.
All is not lost though. I've watched Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood and (rewatched) Crumb. Oh and most of Adaptation. More importantly, I took the week off from my course which I could and set into developing 'Sam Parks'. I've read and reread a number of chapters and newspapers articles. I have written out all my receipe cards through the whole thing which came out to about 45. A good start I think. I've also made it through 1/2 the articles and have highlighted dialogue or key concepts.
I continue to listen to McKee's story. I'm on the 3rd go through and about to start the 4th. Watched his interview on The Hour again as it appears on YouTube.
I'll be getting back to my course this week and put the 'Parks' project in the background again. I'll let the ideas germinate as I apply the story to my listening of Story. :)
Finally, I've purchased Alan Rosenthals book on writing Docudrama. Interesting.
What does this all mean? I think it means. Don't despair. Just keep pluggin' away and make the most of the time you have even if it's crappy. Work on and off and do the hard stuff non-glamorous stuff. Perhaps this is a lesson about how to work in these difficult financial times. Just keep sluggin' away with an eye on a few goals and see where it leads... I've heard it could be 10-20 years! Who is prepared for it? You?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A thin line...

I did watch a Thin Blue line. Very good and colourful (Cdn. spelling). I had my mom and Milt watch it. Very interesting comments - they both liked but thought too much repetition of the incident. Not sure why Morris choose to repeat so many times. 

I read about Randall Adams on wikipedia and talks about Morris and his conflict about who owns his life story. Fascinating!!! Would love to discuss this with others... problem is - not one reads my blog yet LOL!!!

Way too busy lately

Man between, work, my course and home life I've had my hands full. I miss not having time to check in daily. I continue to read High Steel by Jim Rasenberger. I'm really enjoying it. I found a great story about Sam Parks that I'd love to screen write. I think I'll reread a few times and later investigate how I can go about it. Does anyone know? Still listening to Story and it's being ingrained into my brain. He suggests rereading the piece your adapting - hence. 

My course is going well. Instructor said I have the most animated and entertaining posts in the group but relevant. I think this blog my 3/4 yr journaling and posting to the course have really been enriching. 

I'm really at a crossroads though. Want to teach, want to make documentaries, want to blog and earn a living. Surely to God I can make something work. I'm worried I'm not focused enough. I'm not sure how to do this. 

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ironing out ideas...

I've began reading book on Iron Workers. I've always be curious about them. I like the Native Canadian connection too. The fear of heights and danger. I hope to get ideas from it.

I'm listening a second time to Story by Robert McKee on my commutes. I may have one. I have the index cards to start one day.

Rosenblum, Jeffery Jarvis, Jay Rosen... etc. All predicting the demise of the television networks and newspapers. I'm meeting with an Illustrator buddy tomorrow night. I want to find out how he is doing and what to make of these things. He's best friend with a old highschool buddy that works at our local newspaper. Look forward to the discussion. I'll share what comes out of it.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Checkin in between School work! Okay after really...

Finished Hillman Curtis' book. Not bad. Inspiring. He appropriates a lot of his work and relies on music to save his bacon at times. Easy read though with some good advice.

Watched The Producers doc about the cast recording featuring Mel Brooks. Fun but pretty straight forward.

Lots of school work this weekend. Watched a number of Errol Morris' First Person- The Complete Series while running on the treadmill an hour at a time.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Recovering Reality...and QTV.

Found this recent Errol Morris video on YouTube today. Also found this 25 minutes > more Errol.

A bit about Seeing and Listening

I finished Documentary Storytelling. I enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. I particularily liked the interviews. I hope to discuss all my notes on it.

Watched Herzog's Land of Silence and Darkness. Really well done. At first I thought it was going to be hard to watch but then suddenly i was hooked in. The protagonist was amazing! The video really brought you into a whole different world and it became very touching not over the top though. I just can't imagine what their lives would be like but Herzog sure gave us a glimpse. These are amazing people.

I'm listening to Story on my commutes to and from work. I will listen a few times and hope to internal a lot of the concepts. Although, the principles are for fiction, I think that a good understanding of them will definitely make one more aware of finding the story elements in a piece of non-fiction.

I've now been reading Hillman Curtis' book called On Creating Short Films for the Web. Less scholarly and technical, more cerebral and personal. Should be a good inspiration.

My mom wants to invest in my video career. She wants to help me get set up. She's always been big on the arts and very supportive of them. Now she wants to support me. I've very lucky. I now have to investigate what I really need to get going. I love you mom!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What is documentary?

I've been finishing up Documentary Storytelling. Reading the interviews. I will present another well-know creator this weekend.

I don't intend to make a feature non-fiction piece anytime soon. But, I think the importance of telling a story with an arc seems to be a common acceptace. I've read Robert McKee's Story and Bernard even mentions it in her book. I will have to reread sometime and understand the key message. I think it has something to do with starting a scene one way then ending it a totally different way. The use of acts and the aforementioned arc.

As I read Sheila Curran Bernard's book I marked passages. I'm going to revisit those marked and comment on them over the next little while. So here goes one... Bernard says, "At their best, documentaries should do more than help the viewer pass the time; they should think about what they know, how they know it, and what more they might want to learn." She also states that they should "confound our expectations"..."push[es] boundaries" and put us in worlds unknown.

I would agree. Just presenting an ordinary world won't engage anyone. However, as the videos of Morris has shown, there are extra-ordinary and yes absurd expectations found in ordinary people. You just have to let them ask the right questions and let them speak. From their as described in many interviews in Bernard's book, the videographer/director/whoever has to find the story and it appears if they look hard enough - it's there.

How do these concepts apply to shorter videos? Can a short 7-10 video have acts and arcs?

Ken burns interview... talking about the video and still photographs.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Absurdity is alive and well...

I watched Gates of Heaven over the weekend. My wife couldn't watch after 5 minutes. Too boring she said. I stuck it out.

I actually enjoyed it most of the time. The characters Morris interviewed are so forthcoming. It seems like Morris just has to say 'rolling' and off they go. They are full of contradictions and full of truth and full-of-it. At times I found them very funny and pathetic. I'm not sure if this means it's entertaining but it was for me.

Morris as editor is skilled at putting in little details that add to the absurdity of it all. At times the characters that ran the pet cemetery are just babbling over the 'Bubbling Well'... it seems as they really believe what they are saying. However, objectively I as viewer can tell they aren't genuine. Yet... oh, it's hard to explain. One of the pet owners says about his wife speaking on the hereafter, "I didn't believe it until right now." A lot of the video is like this. Characters talking themselves into believing the absurd.

The most memorable character is the old lady with the cane. Here is a bit of it. The best part is when she is talking about a car and we actually hear one. Classic!

I'm going to read what others thought of it. Roger Ebert loved it. I wonder what others think? I suspect most will be like my wife and stop watching.
I think videos like Spinal Tap and the like have definitely used Morris' style. I know I've been on a bit of a Morris binge but hey, this guy is really good and his stuff resonates with me.
Also watched The Making of A Brief History of Time. Pretty cool. The interviews where all done on sets created by Morris. Only Hawkings lab was recreated with great detail. Interesting that Morris blurs the line between non-fiction and fiction video.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hoops and Style Hoopla...

Interesting article on slick vs. rough camera work. Gives you samples of the 3 different kinds at the author sees it. Prosumer, Consumer and Flip-like. Obviously, the slicker the look the more expensive the camera, higher the learning curve and time investment required by the user. It's argued that right now rough is more acceptable on blogs then web sites.

I finished watching Hoop Dreams last night (3hrs approx.). It was viewed using my VCR so it looked YouTubish and rough. Rough as the lives these two young men had to endure. Gates and Agee and their families gave the director unbelievable access.
I'd have to say it was humbling to watch at times. I kept hoping the two young men would use the opportunity to embrace school as I had with sports. But I guess previous educational experiences in conjunction with the home lives depicted were too insurmountable.

I give the director, Steve James a ton of credit. I can't imagine the difficulty shooting all this footage in it's day. There were lots of low lighting situations. So kudos to them. Being videotape, there weren't special features to learn more.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's all About Time sometimes...

Jan and I watched A Brief History of Time last night. Copy from library meant using the VCR. Tape is a poor substitue now for digital but the content was what counted.

Errol Morris is a master of finding great characters and inter-cutting atmospheric cutaways! The contrast between interviews, photographs and staged scenes flowed well. Shots of the subject (Stephan Hawking) were always interesting and the voice well done.

Although, the ideas were well beyond us, the story of Hawking's life certainly has an arc and carries the video well. I kept trying to make meaning out of the ideas but depsite Morris' best efforts... I'm not a Physicist so I'm not shattered. :)

As Morris states, no one does "existential dread" like composer Philip Glass.

On my commute home I heard on the CBC that the NFB have just put a lot of their catalogue on-line for streaming. I will be making my way over and posting great video on the site in the future! There is even the trailer for a new film on documentary.

My Errol Morris' First Person Series - The Complete Series arrived in the mail today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cool Surprise by Andy Nulman!

Just by mentioning Andy Nulman's new book I'm suppose to get sent to my home. Now that is a surprise.

Surprises in a documentary video are a plus too. Who doesn't like surprises?

Thanks Andy!

The Truth about believing is seeing...

I found this Christopher Lydon interview of Errol Morris on Morris' web site. It's pretty interesting to hear Morris speak as interviewee. The show included callers and challenges from Liden. Morris seemed not to mind. The discussion is pretty indepth and worth a listen. Morris gives his responses some thought and doesn't sound evasive.

Morris twists the saying "Seeing is believing" into "Believing is seeing". I have to admit, he has a point.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Herzog & Morris

While waiting for my daughter to arrive home in her taxi, I found this article. Just a bit of talking amoungs Werner Herzog and Errol Morris. Very cool insight into how they work. I see a obvious similarity in their work. In particular their treatment of those they interview.

What I pick out is there willingness to not control the interview. Listen. 

Morris states, "I had this three-minute rule that if you just shut up and let someone talk, within three minutes they will show you how crazy they really are. And it has happened time and time and time again." Both reinforce this idea.

Today Obama brought a sense of hope to The States. Can't help but share a bit myself...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Grizzly Man oh man...

The family and I watched Grizzly Man after breakfast Sunday morning. It haunted me all day...

The video by Werner Herzog started off realitively subtle. However, as we got further into it, it got more and more troubling.

The film follows the last 5 years of Timothy Treadwell's life as he lives amoungst Grizzly bears. Unlike the foxes, with the footage Herzog uses it's hard to believe the Grizzlies do more than tolerate Treadwell. The video tries to give us a sense of the man. A man I would argue was manic. He is very likeable for the most part but snaps quite a bit near the end and we see the inner turmoil through his own lens.

Herzog's narration is unique and insightful. Interviews with people are Errol Morris like in their treatment. At times they are almost comic if not pathetic in my opinion.

Treadwell himself shot some amazing footage. But, in the end it's hard to guage if he was helping or hurting the Grizzlies cause. One can't argue that his was not a live well lived. His death was enevitable my eyes and certainly the eyes of Treadwell.

Want to know more? Check out his web site.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Amazing Kids with Cameras

Born into Brothels was created by first time documentarians Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman,. Really it is a labour of love for Briski. She has doveted a lot to the children she documents and how could she not? They are all bright, articulate and survivors despite a dismal upbringing.

The access given to the video makers (shot of dv) is amazing. However, the children are rewarded for their candor. Briski is able to help them despite her doubts.

Like Murderball, Born into Brothels doesn't rely on a great deal of narration. Both films allow the cast to tell the stories. This was true of The Fog Of War as well. I realize that narration isn't as necessary because the participants are still alive and can tell their story. In The Fog Of War the brilliant use tape recording and video/film footage showed that even the dead can have a voice.

What I like about Born into Brothels was it's inclusion of several children instead of just one. After seeing the video you'll want to keep knowing about the kids. There is a 3yr later video in the Special Features or you can go to Kids with Cameras and follow their progress. Perhaps you can support them while you're there!

Killer doc about honest athletes...

Watched Murderball on Thursday night and loved it. I went to university with a few guys in wheelchairs so I certainly empathize with the fellows.
I love sports too but the film wasn't really about the sport. It was about men dealing with adversity and a raw deal and with dignity. Despite the marketing visuals being edgy, these guys seemed harmless - off the court of course.
The games were shot and edited really well by directors Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro. The overall film had a good look. What is really is amazing is the candid discussion from the videos participants.
Joe Soares was specifically gracious in his involvement. Without him I don't believe the video would have been near as powerful. He was a an older man in a young man's sport but maintained his passion.
If you want to feel a twinge of empathy, watch the Special Features - Premiere screening I believe. At one time the camera holds on Joe and the isolation screams out at you. Very poetic...
See this 2005 documentary. It's players with suck you in and take you into a world you won't forget.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Super Sized D.

Super Size Me is an awesome concept. It will definitely hold your interest. It did make a difference but I'm not sure what it is but for me, it lacked something. To be fair I'm watching a lot of the best docs out there. I can't put my finger on it but it didn't really get me.
Don't get me wrong the film maker Morgan Spurlock did a great job. The film got McDees to drop it's Super Sizes! Still much like the fast food it examines, it left me feeling a little unsatisfied. Maybe the characters other than Spurlock weren't fleshed out enough. Maybe the subject itself didn't lend itself to real drama... maybe I just had to big McExpectations.

You'll learn a lot from this film but I think it's stuff we already really knew. I can see why it's done so well. I mean everyone can relate to it. Most of use have eaten fast food. You should of course judge for yourself if you haven't seen it already.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Fog of War

I just finished watching Errol Morris' The Fog of War. A documentary about Robert S. McNamara and Academy Award Winner. It's obviously a brilliant piece, masterfully done. I love how Morris shot Mr. McNamara. I'm not sure where this room is but the frosted glass and lighting is amazing. I think it actually looks like fog. Not sure if it was the film makers intent but it won me over. I love the editing technique of jumpcuts too!

Mr. McNamara looks right into the camera is engages you. His face and stories are simply captivating. His voice is tremendous. Amazing...

The teletype and Recording shots are also well done. I also very much like the layering of people shots. Talk about being studented in the art of great documentary. If you haven't seen it or haven't seen it in a while. Go out and find this video to watch. You won't be disappointed.

PS The score by Philip Glass is just right.

I will look at further Morris docs as soon as I can. This guy is awesome. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

What would a high school teacher do?

Today I start my Visual Arts Senior AQ with Western. I'll be doing lots of reading/reflecting on being an educator to Grade 11 & 12 students. I look forward to interacting with the 25 other students in the course. There is going to be readings, assignments and discussing. 

While eating lunch I watched NFL films story on defensive lineman Tim Krumrie on a local sports channel. Here is some of the footage (language warning) that was used in the doc. It was really well done. Great story. Don't know where you can find it but if you can please let me know.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan

Steven and Jeanne are married and partners in documentary film making. My local library doesn't have copies of either of their big documentaries. I'm very interested in seeing them though and will try to get my hands on them to watch.

So Much So Fast (official web site and trailer) and Troublesome Creek (on the same site). You can listen about Steven & Jeanne here. If you would rather read about them here is a good article.

Steven has written a book.

As a triathlete, I'm aware of ALS. Who can forget the story of on ABC sports of Jon Blais - The Blazeman.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Regional Web News...

Seth Godin posted about starting a local newspaper. Michael Rosnblum has suggested regional news centers. I listened to Richard Florida on CBC radio and he predicts just such macro regions if you listen.

It seems to me local is the new frontier... the new blue ocean.

How convenient. How exciting for many. There are many macro regions out there. The time to grab one is now. It will take work or you can watch as I try it out myself.

I suggest we become the story tellers in our region. Stories about our macro region relavent to our macro region for our our macro region.

Map your blue ocean for macro regional web news/docs and sail it!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Get started...why not begin with a good base!

It's easy to immerse yourself in non-fiction video. I just went to the local library and picked up My Architect and The Fog of War and order 3 more. I liken it to the triathlon training I do. I'm getting back into it and just like getting back into triathlons, it requires easing into it. It's best to begin with a good base. Easy consistent work. So, I'm going to spend the next little while watching as many as I can. I'm selecting the ones discussed in the book I'm reading.

I've also been investing cameras. I'm leaning towards the Panasonic AG DVX 100-B at the moment because of it's 16x9 aspect ratio and 24fps emulation. I love the old film look I grew up with. There is something pleasing about it for me. However, I'm not going to get too hung up on any particular equipment. This video was shot with only a cell phone. 

"Everyone I've ever respected always used restricted tools." - Chuck Jones

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The straight goods from Rosenblum

I stumbled onto this presentation by Michael Rosenblum off of the viewmag I think. Anyways, I watched the 3 parts. I liked what he had to say and found his blog. Wanted to link to it here for readers and future reference for myself.

Read a few blogs today that hit the theme about the importance of limitlessness. Seeing all the possibilties of the sublime and escaping bounderies and the benefits thereof... I guess today was a bit of a half full day.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Contest site shares more than just award winning videos has associated himself with a video journalism contest. The site is a good resource. It shows past entries and award winners.

The site includes cool/useful information like:
Technical Specifications:
Length: 6'30"
Camera Type: Sony XD cam HD, DV Handicam & mobile telephone
Editing System: Final Cut Pro
Original Language: English

Broadcaster: Al Jazeera International (UK)
A great way to see several samples of some great video

Monday, January 05, 2009

Inspirational Mondays...

Thought I'd like to try posting an inspirational piece every Monday. Perhaps to help get the week off to a great start.

My first one is easy and you've probably seen. But just in case you haven't it's a favorite of mine.

Dr. Randy Pausch gave what was to be his last lecture. It has become a lecture that will last a in the memories of many for a long time.

Hard work and living a passionate life are it's major theme but there's a lot more!

It's a long video but worth the time and it's chalk-filled with stories.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Showing the human side without seeing it.

I saw this ikea video ad several months ago. It captures bits of action that is totally human but we never really see them. Brilliant.

I did a slideshow in school. A partner and I took beautiful shots of a derelique home. We only accompanied it with music. There was no human element. As a result, it looked great but seemed empty. You can't say this for the ad.

I'm a big proponent for always including a human element.

On success with Malcolm Gladwell (a great storyteller!)

I have a soft spot for fellow Canadian Malcolm Gladwell. He has a unique ability to tell a really good story. This interview on Charlie Rose is very good on explaining his take on success with several stories. 

I remember hearing that Chuck Jones said that it takes something like 40,000 drawings to really get to the level required to draw freely. It's the hard work required to be great at something. I think Mr. Gladwell has told stories for years. Now he is indeed a great storyteller.

Listen to Gladwell and see what you think. A great storyteller? He's learned from his mom that "all good writing [storytelling] has clarity."

If you want to hear more of his stories check out his blog on the LV blog roll.

I believe that the most interesting people are interested people!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Ric Burns

I'm going to start researching and posting famous documentarians. They haven't necessarily created video for the web. I think I'll begin by using the ones in the book I'm reading, Documentary Storytelling for Video and Filmmakers. I will devote a week to each and see what I can help find on each person.

Ric Burns is the first in this series. Return to find out more about this veteran documentarian.

He loves NYC.

Here are four interviews with Charlie Rose. You'll get a sense of Burns.

His website is here and a list of his films here. You can get his videos here.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Finding your own voice.

My drama teacher in high school insisted that stealing ideas theatre was okay. 

I've seen several examples of Quentin Taratino doing this in motion pictures. I read he worked in a video store and watched hundreds of movies. The result of course was some pretty cool films. If Tarantino did steal other filmmaker's ideas, I argue he did find his own voice.

Need encouragement to find your own voice. Check this out by Shane Koyczan!

I'm starting to collect and catalogue video from the web. How? I'm using

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A willingness to think...

2009. It all begins here. This year. This blog. 

I hope to adhere to my mentor Chuck Jones' philosophy. He said, "There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is the willingness to think."