Category Archives: moviesinhaiku

2011 in Retrospect

I am Repetitive
In my two previous end of year posts, the first sentence tells that I had a strange year. Mostly due to the transition to freelance and all that entails. This year I was fully prepared for how weird freelancing is and was ready to rock and roll the highs and lows. So suffice it to say, I embrace the “strange”. 2011 was an amazing year!

Witches! …no… sorry… Watches!
Scott Wilk of Wilk Watchworks approached me at the tail end of 2010 about collaborating on some watches. In 2011, the two watches I’d designed came to reality!

On the left is the Tron-inspired watch and on the right, the Rounders-inspired watch. Available from Scott’s Cargoh shop.

Scott’s just ordered cases for my next three watches and I am super excited.

Working in Rarified AIR
At the beginning of the year I was asked by the superb folk at Invivo to build a desktop AIR application that could take communication from an iPad as a sales tool. The answer, of course, was “sure!” To be fair, I’d never built an AIR application before, nor communicated with an iOS device, but whatever, right? With a little finagling and a socket server, we did just that.

Invivo seemed to like the work because shortly after they asked me to make another desktop app. This time, it was a quiz show with two states; one on one moderated and team-play. Once again the ask was to communicate with iOS devices. This time the devices would be 7 iPod touches and an iPad. Using a socket server, the communication was one-sided (the iPods only broadcasting, not listening) Anyway, this was another challenging, super-cool project.

Making a Movie… ?
I spoke at the 10-year FiTC in Toronto. (The Influxis Voodoo Lounge, to be specific). I was announcing my intention of making a documentary about the roots of inspiration in the digital industry. I’d called it, brazenly, Influential – The Age of Digital

Seems that, once again, I think HUGE while having small capabilities. Here’re some observations as I mosey along, slowly.

  • I don’t know how to make a movie/documentary
  • I don’t have money to make a movie/documentary
  • I seriously misjudged my ability to pull contributions
  • In the meantime, check out this awesome doc released recently. AND IT’S FREE! PressPausePlay It’s worth the watch. I promise.

    I am NOT an Activist
    On July 16th, my 4 yr-old son (4 at that time) asked me to write a letter to the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, to tell him:

    The response was so overwhelmingly positive, I told my pal, John Breton, to register the URL, Dear Mayor Ford and work up a little database and form for people to write letters to the mayor. It took off from there. The super cool Amber MacArthur mentioned us in a Globe and Mail post and John was interviewed on CBC’s Metro Morning! There’s a facebook page with some lively discussion and you can still write a letter to the mayor. It appears he won’t read them although we’ve offered him access to write responses to his taxpaying residents.

    Whatever, it’s been an interesting experience.

    Displacer’d

    My friend, Michael Morton, is a musician who goes by the name Displacer. He approached me about doing live visuals for his performances. I’ve already blogged about it, but man, it’s been a trip. I cannot wait to do this again with Mike.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay6nLicfErw

    A Ring for September

    I was approached by my good friend, Spencer Saunders, about helping his company, Juice Agency, out on a worthwhile cause: Septembering, an effort to raise funds for Trillium Childhood Cancer Support Center. The project is now offline, but it was a great project and allowed me to play with Box2D a little.

    AIRing out my differences

    My last major project for 2011 was an AIR application for MacLaren McCann and HP. An interactive screensaver that allowed users to get a pretty look at the new notebooks on offer from HP.

    I also renovated my kitchen this year (honestly it’s still in progress, embarrassingly, but it’s almost done.)

    Rhymes with Sleeve

    Most importantly, my wife, Libs gave birth to our beautiful daughter Niamh Ava on October 17th.

    There was a lot more work I did during the year, but I just have no energy to list it all. If you’re a client reading this, I love you. If you’re a potential client reading this, I want to love you. Wait… that sounded wrong… unless, you know, you’re into it… koff…

    FITC 2011 – The Aftermath

    A week later and I am still unable to fully use my voice for anything other than the occasional croak. FITC, you are a beautiful beast. Due to scheduling conflicts, the HotDOCS documentary film festival was also running, I did not attend as dutifully as I normally would.

    I was honoured to speak at FITC once again. Slightly different experience as I was an Influxis Voodoo lounge speaker and not a regular stage speaker. With a mere half hour to fill, the pressure was off and I took full advantage. In my session, Film Fan to Filmmaker, I covered self-direction and self-improvement, how to not accept dead-time in your work schedule by creating your own work and how that self-direction can create opportunities you’d never have expected. hey Hugh, run-on sentence much?

    There are too many people to mention and I was busy attempting to record submission for Influential – The Age of Digital to attend many sessions, but my highlight was seeing Planetary Robert Hodgin’s new endeavour with Bloom.

    I think what was lacking were the old guard speakers, unfortunately. There were some noticeable absences that would have made a 10 year celebration even better. Not to take away from the speakers that were there. Once again, the organizers picked the best and brightest and most inspirational people around. *ahem*

    Having sponsors’ row right behind some curtains beside the main stage made for distracting sessions at times as there was no control over people who figured the enormous curtains were also soundproof. However, once again Shawn Pucknell and his crew pulled off a great event in a challenging venue.

    Thank you, FITC, for allowing me to be a part of such a groundbreaking event for so long. I look forward to the next 10 years!

    Wilk Watchworks Collaboration

    During my FITC Influxis Voodoo Lounge session, I showed a couple of slides concerning my collaboration with Scott Wilk, a toronto-based silversmith and watchmaker. His shop is called Wilk Watchworks.




    I am incapable of doing justice to how impressed I am by Scott. He has shown an insane amount of patience for a non-watch designer. The process of dealing with me can be summed up in one sentence “Why not?” When he seemed reluctant to do something, he just shrugged and I could see it in his head “Why not?”. So kudos to you, Scott.

    Finishing these are some revisions and finishing comments both Scott and I have and will address in any sold watches. The prototypes I have in my possession are 95% what I want. The process Scott went through to make these watches at all was monumental. Truly an impressive feat.

    Cost while cost may be barrier for most, I want you to know something (and it took a very dear friend’s advice for me to realize this) if we could make these watches less expensive, we would. In fact, Scott has looked into alternatives to the casting and hand-finishing methods he is obliged to use to make these handcrafted objets d’art. Our intention would be to have cheaper, in the $300 range, production watches and these art handcrafted watches.

    Where where would I be able to order these fine, hand-crafted pieces, you ask? The Rounders watch is available here. Tron, here.

    WIP I was constantly amazed that Scott was willing to let me collaborate with him in the first place that I actually kept up a pretty good work-in-progress gallery on the Moviesinhaiku facebook page for both Rounders and Tron.

    To those of you that have seen the watches firsthand and liked them and said so, thank you so much. I can honestly say I was blown away by the positive reaction during FITC to Scott and my watches! Means a lot!

    FiTC 10 Year

    FiTC 10-yr Banner

    “No, I won’t be doing IronFlash this year.”

    Over the past 10 years of FiTC, I have been proud to be included as a speaker 4 times. I also ran a live coding competition called IronFlash for four years straight. Once it was even televised on TechTV! Ah, the good ol’ days.

    This will be my fifth go-around as a speaker and this time, I’ll be presenting in the Influxis Voodoo Lounge.

    This has some exciting aspects to it;
    1. Free beer.
    2. 30-minute session.
    3. Did I mention free beer?

    In my session Film Fan to Filmmaker at 4:05 pm on Monday May 2nd, I will be showing a 30 minute review of 2010 that culminated in my launching of Influential – The Age of Digital, a documentary with a decidedly “digital twist”. Harkening back to my first foray into documentary filmmaking, wheniwas19, I will asking anyone and everyone to submit to Influential during FiTC using my laptop! So get ready to submit! I bought a swanky HD webcam just for this.

    On top of everything else, Hot Docs is happening April 28 – May 8! For a newly-created documentary filmmaker, there’s nothing more exciting than over a week of documentaries being screened in one city. I’m also listed as a director for the event and will be attempting to hobnob as much as I can while it’s on.
    So come to FiTC 10 in Toronto!

    My PlayBook Experience

    As I posted before, I attended the PlayBook introduction in Toronto.

    Free PlayBook? Yes, please!

    The main draw of course is the offer of a free PlayBook for an approved app in the BlackBerry app store for the PlayBook.

    As it so happens, I also have been pursuing a personal project for the past year, Moviesinhaiku. This seemed like a good fit for a tablet app.

    There are a lot of great resources on how to get started with developing for the PlayBook, so I won’t touch on that too much. What I’d like is to go over some features of my specific app and some decision-making involved in making those features work.

    Without further ado.
    (note: all images resized from original screen size)

    What should a Movieinhaiku look like?

    The first problem I wanted solved was how I wanted to display my haikus. I didn’t want anything too elaborate because;
    A) I couldn’t guarantee performance
    B) They’re haikus about movies. How elaborate do they need to be?

    I have been keeping an updated XML file handy on the moviesinhaiku test site. Each haiku looks like this;

    <haiku answer='True Grit'>
    <imdb year='2010'>tt1403865</imdb>
    <haiku_text><![CDATA[A man with true grit.<br/>Girl hires. Catch father's killer.<br/>Vengeance costs in time.]]></haiku_text>
    </haiku>

    The Moviesinhaiku logo is essentially two rectangles, black stacked on white. Made sense to simply continue that for the haiku “cards”

    I don’t want to discount the ease or difficulty in using XML and Flash. I’ve been using the exact same class for a long time now MainImporter for importing pretty much everything. But I’m not really going to get into parsing XML.

    One thing I decided to try that was new to me was use the Dictionary class. It seemed like a great tool to store all my haikus. I’ll be completely honest in admitting that I don’t get it entirely, but it’s primarily a set of keys. So I created my Dictionary and pushed in all the haikus created so I could reference them whenever I wanted.


    haikuDict = new Dictionary;
    for each(var haikuXMLnode:XML in haikuXML..haiku){
       var haiku:Haiku = new Haiku(haikuXMLnode);
       haikuHolder.addHaiku(haiku);
       haikuDict[haikuCount] = haiku;
       haikuCount++;
    }

    Haikus on screen

    Once I had my haikus in the dictionary, I wanted to scatter them around. The easiest way I could think to do that was to use the Orbit class I’d written for the Particle book for GalaxyGoo. Throw a little random into the mix and you get a nice, little random orbital display.

    Third party services

    I wanted to try and give more information than just the title of the movie so, as can be seen in the XML node above, I copied the IMDB identifier for each movie. A friend of mine did some quick searching and located The MovieDB. I applied for an API key and got to work. I set up two classes to get the information from teh interwebz to my app.

    The first class I called APIcontrol and in essence just holds my API information; key, listing url and some static constants. The API results can be returned in XML and JSON. I’d never used JSON before and once again decided I’d be better off learning something new than just staying in my comfort zone. The first thing I needed was the as3corelib from Mike Chambers housed at github.
    Specifically, I needed one class for one function call

    import com.adobe.serialization.json.JSON;
    var jsonObj:Object = JSON.decode(event.target.data);

    Once again, how to work with JSON is all over the lazy web so I’m not going to get into it. It’s pretty easy and I think I’ll use it more.

    The second class I wrote was called ImdbWindow. Technically, I should have called it TmdbWindow, I suppose. However, I didn’t and don’t like living in regret. ImdbWindow grabbed all the information from APIcontrol and created a window using; the movie poster, the synopsis, the array of genres and the release date. Example below. One thing that was very important I’d taken from a post by Christian Cantrell about scaling your images for mobile. Please read it as it’s important.

    Filtering

    Something I thought really mattered when I started was filtering. I liked the idea of the person using the device being able to view the haikus based on release or by title. In addition, I wanted to be able to give that same person the ability to search by text. There are a few things to consider when doing this so let’s see if I can break it down.

    1. When alphabetizing, remember that a lot of movies start with “The”, “A” and “An”. When I store my haikus, each one stores an alphabetical version of their title. Writing a getter/setter for an alphabetic version of the title is as simple as;

    public function set alphabetic($str:String):void{
       var tmpStr:String;
       if
    ($str.toLowerCase().indexOf("the ")==0){
          tmpStr = $str.substr(4,$str.length);
       }else if($str.toLowerCase().indexOf("a ")==0){
          tmpStr = $str.substr(2,$str.length);
       }else if($str.toLowerCase().indexOf("an ")==0){
          tmpStr = $str.substr(3,$str.length);
       }else{
          tmpStr = $str;
       }
       haikuAlphaTitle = tmpStr;
    }

    As you can see, I do a substring check at the beginning of the title for my little culprits and create a string that has those removed. This way, when I’m alphabetizing, they’ll make sense. The getter, of course, is just a getter, returning the alphabetic title.

    Now how does one alphabetically sort? Using arrays and the sortOn method, of course!

    I have two separate sortOn functions; Year and Title.

    private function sortOnYear(firstHaiku:Haiku, secondHaiku:Haiku):Number {
       var aYear:Number = firstHaiku.year;
       var bYear:Number = secondHaiku.year;
       if(aYear > bYear) {
          return 1;
       } else if(aYear < bYear) {       return -1;
       } else {
          return 0;
       }
    }
    private function sortOnTitle(firstHaiku:Haiku, secondHaiku:Haiku):Number {
       var aAlphabet:String = firstHaiku.alphabetic;
       var bAlphabet:String = secondHaiku.alphabetic;
       if(aAlphabet > bAlphabet) {
          return 1;
       } else if(aAlphabet < bAlphabet) {       return -1;
       } else {
          return 0;
       }
    }


    (sorting in action)

    As can be seen from the above image, the search by title is also active. This ended up being pretty easy. Since all the haikus are in the Dictionary, I was able to just set up an onChanged event with the textField. Then I compare the searched term with the haiku’s title. If there’s a match, I add the haiku to the displayList

    private function onSearchHandler(evt:Event):void{
       while (mainHolder.numChildren) {mainHolder.removeChildAt(0); }
       haikuHolder = new HaikuLayout;
       haikuHolder.addEventListener(HaikuEvents.ADD_SCROLLBAR,addScroll);
       haikuHolder.startXposition = stage.stageWidth*.5;
       haikuHolder.startYposition = stage.stageHeight*.5;
       for (var key:Object in haikuDict) {
          // iterates through each object key
          var haiku:Haiku = haikuDict[key] as Haiku;
          var titleStr:String = haiku.title.toLowerCase();
          if(titleStr.indexOf(evt.target.searchStr) != -1){
             haikuHolder.addHaiku(haiku);
          }
       }
       haikuHolder.initLayout();
       mainHolder.addChild(haikuHolder);
    }

    Of course, no matter how close I thought I got to finishing, something would intercede and remind me that the worst thing you can be is your own boss. Especially when it’s a personal project. More especially when you’re not too busy with client work. Most especially when you like a challenge.

    Just as I figured I was nearly done, Matt Fabb tweeted;

    @wheniwas19 Looks like a v1 app to me! That said feature request: hide the title. ‘Cause it’s fun guessing the movie just from the haiku.

    Which should surprise no-one that knows me I glommed on to like a barnacle to a ship (weird metaphor). So i felt like Matt was right, people should be able to treat this like a quiz! Well, that doesn’t bring me entirely back to the drawing board. So I decided to give it a shot.

    Building a quiz

    First things first, let people type in their answer or give them multiple choice? According to my friend, Drew, “Don’t give anyone too much to input. Your margin for error increases. Which is true. Unless I wanted to create a massive dictionary full of spelling options, I’d be shooting myself in the foot. So multiple choice it is. Simple enough, I suppose.

    My solution is about as smart as I get. I have a list of titles provided by the xml. A huge list of titles. Why not pick four titles at random from the list and use 3 of them as alternates in the multiple choice. How would one do that, you ask? Lucky for you, I know how one does that.

    Random numbers that don’t repeat

    For some reason, for as long as I can recall, I have been building little functions that make non-repeating random number generators. I have my little RandomRange class so I add this function to it.

    public static function nonRepeat(max:Number, num:Number):Array{
       var tempArray:Array = [];
       for (var i:int = 0; i < max && num > 0; ++i) {
          if (Math.floor(Math.random() * max - i) < num) {          tempArray.push(i + 1);
             num--;
          }
       }
       return tempArray;
    }

    This is easily called using var randomArr:Array = RandomRange.nonRepeat(titles.length,4);

    So here I have an array with four random titles. Now I want to make sure none of the four titles are the answer. Don’t want to double up, right?

    var answerCount:Number = 0;
    var answersArrArray = [];
    for(var i:int=0;i < randomArr.length;i++){    if(titles[randomArr[i]] != answerTitleStr){
           answersArr[answerCount] = new QuizAnswer(titles[randomArr[i]],answerWidthNum);
          answerCount++;
       }
    }

    Now I definitely have an array of four answers that are randomly pulled from all the titles in my xml and are not the answer. But I do, absolutely want the correct answer in the four. So I pop it into a random position in the answersArr array.

    var realAnswer:QuizAnswer = new QuizAnswer(answerTitleStr);
    answersArr[RandomRange.retrieveRandom(0,3)] = realAnswer;

    Then all I need to do is build my quiz. As you noticed, I have a class called QuizAnswer that’s basically a textField with a black background that dispatches an event when clicked. If it’s the wrong answer, the textField is dimmed and the MouseEvent is removed. Process of elimination.

    Once the quiz is answered, the process of pinging the Movie DB occurs again. I added in the option of seeing the haikus with or without titles and that’s how the whole app loads.

    It ain’t over ’til it’s over

    Just as I thought I was out, Matt Fabb pulled me back in with his innocuous question:

    @wheniwas19 I don’t want to add more work for you, but I assume MoviesInHaiku app links to your Etsy shop?

    Long story short, yes. I did. After Matt asked, but whatever.

    So that’s it. Maybe not the most informative PlayBook post, but there is some thought to what I do. I have submitted the app at a cost of $1.99 to perhaps recoup some of the cost of building one of these things entirely on my own and on my own dime. I hope it’s approved, I hope people buy it and I hope they like it. I’m sure if they don’t I’ll hear about it.

    My 2010 In Review

    2010 was a strange year for me.

    Freelance
    Unintentionally I did less client work than I should have. When I started working on a portfolio, I had to wonder how I managed to pay my mortgage with how little work I did. Heck, I even griped about not working in April. You know that feeling that maybe it’s you? Yeah…

    Moviesinhaiku – Watches, Prints, You know…
    On the other side of things my self-directed personal project, Moviesinhaiku, started taking off. I was given some interesting opportunities involving my love of movies and haiku.

    Firstly, Scott Wilk invited me to design a watch! That’s pretty much the coolest thing ever. I cannot wait for it to be finished. And I think we’ll continue the collaboration as I enjoy designing watches. I can’t vouch for Scott, but I am totally into it. And if anyone else wants me to design a timepiece, hellz ya is all I can say to that.


    The casing from render to silver casting


    The face from render to silver casting

    I’ve been working on the second watch for a little while now. Very excited about that.

    Secondly, Dana Brunetti from Trigger Street asked me to design a larger version of one of my prints and I opted for doing a brand-new triptych of their latest production, The Social Network. My first commission, as it were. Very exciting! Anyone wants a custom Moviesinhaiku original, let me know, I am down.


    The Social Network tripych

    Public Speaking
    I was also truly lucky to speak 3 times this year at events. The Flashbelt conference, Flashonthebeach and FiTC Edmonton. I wrote about them individually before, so let’s just say I really love public speaking and my intended session for 2011 ought to be awesome. So far my only confirmed speaking engagement is for FiTC Toronto. This should be an amazing conference and I am truly excited about it. Any other conference organizers want me to speak at their events, let me know, I simultaneously love and hate public speaking, but I am getting a knack for it.

    The Future
    What’s on the horizon for 2011? Man, I know one thing, I am going to be working on a documentary film I am calling Influential – The Age of Digital. I blogged recently on how to create a wordmark and that was meant as a teaser to this project. Stay tuned, I am crazy excited about this project.


    My upcoming documentary film project

    If you know something about the film industry, man I can use some help. So far, I am stoked to know that the fine folk at Influxis will be involved and potentially FiTC. I don’t want to speak out of turn, so I’ll leave it there. Anyone want to throw money into a totally interesting project for a production credit, you need to let me know. Or however that works. I am hoping to find out soon.

    Finally, I quit smoking. Feel really good about that.

    The Social Network Moviesinhaiku

    A little while ago, I’d done a regular-sized print of the Trigger Street production 21. The producer, Dana Brunetti, wanted to know if I’d be into making a larger version. While I’m all for copying myself, I thought maybe he might like one done for the release of their latest film, The Social Network. Fortunately for me, Dana’s a really great guy and his response was “Go for it.”

    After watching the movie (worth seeing, btw), I sat down to think about what I really wanted to make.I’ve never done a large format print. The more I looked into large format printmaking, the more I realized my skills weren’t up to the task. But I do know a thing or two about digital work.

    Once I decided I’d pursue a digital route I started thinking about what, visually, I wanted. I looked at some production shots of the movie on the site and thought, “That would make a good background.” or “That’s an interesting composition.” Then I listened intently to the soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch. Then looking at both a picture of Jesse Eisenberg and listening to one track (On We March), then glancing over at the IMDB cast list, a light bulb went off.

    Immediately I started considering HYPE, the framework developed by two good friends of mine, Joshua Davis and Branden Hall. I made a list what I wanted to do and checked off the list what HYPE could do easily versus what I could easily.

    ME. Create some XML files with main cast list, secondary cast list and main production
    ME. Load XML, parse it into an array
    HYPE. Attach a bitmap as a source for pixel data using PixelColorist
    HYPE. Create a BitmapCanvas 4 times the size of my original.
    HYPE. Load and start an MP3
    HYPE. Start a loop/rhythm to do something
    ME. Pick a random position on the x-axis
    ME. Pick a position on the y-axis based on the song’s position
    HYPE. Use SoundAnalyzer.getOctave to tell me how big to make my text in that x-position
    HYPE. Use PixelColorist to tell me what colour to make that text in the bitmap.
    HYPE. Copy that text into the huge BitmapCanvas
    ME. When the song is finished, stop everything.
    HYPE. Encode the BitmapCanvas into a targa format.
    HYPE. Save the encoded BitmapCanvas targa file.

    Look at that list. A 2:1 ratio of what I didn’t need to figure out because HYPE was there. When we get into discussion about patterns and frameworks, we get caught up on deviation. If you use MVC, that’s all you can use, for instance. I argue that you can use what you want, I’ve always believed that. HYPE, in case it escaped your notice, is built for exactly that kind of mentality. All I wanted was a few classes. But without those classes, I would have been stuck trying to build this from scratch.

    Suffice it to say, I finished the prints. Thanks to some added help from the inimitable Branden Hall the images saved out HUGE just fine.

    Title: Zuckerberg
    Line 1: From geek to elite.
    Audio: On We March
    Text Content: Primary cast
    Source Image: Jesse Eisenberg head

    Title: Robe Walk
    Line 2: Friends counted, friends discounted.
    Audio: In Motion
    Text Content: Full cast
    Source Image: Eisenberg walking in robe

    Title: Fingers Drum
    Line 3: When percent matters.
    Audio: Carbon Prevails
    Text Content: Production credits
    Source Image: Hands under table

    Due to the fact that this is a commission only four copies were printed. Thank you so much, Dana, for the opportunity. I hope you love your prints!

    FiTC Edmonton Done

    The 2nd year of FiTC Edmonton is over and I have to say, I really enjoyed myself. Grant and Bobi Skinner are excellent hosts. Although it was a quiet event, it was a single-track event, giving the attendees the opportunity to see every speaker, an impossible task in a multi-track event.

    Once again, I co-opted my session time with some moviesinhaiku. My main session was Things I learned in Preschool and concentrated on self-management and being an effective team player. It could possibly come across as “touchy-feely” but I like to think that these topics are atypical at conferences like FiTC. The moviesinhaiku part was extremely well-received. I can’t get over how gratifying it is to have people applaud my little project. Thank you all. I am humbled by your complements.

    I was asked if I’d be putting my slides online and at first I just sort of stood there thinking about it. My slides are pretty bereft of copy. I try to distill any message a slide has to a maximum of three points and I think my slides don’t make much sense without me speaking to them. So put me in the “undecided” camp as to whether or not I’ll put my slides up.

    Another person asked if I brought prints with me to sell because they would definitely buy one if I did. This is where I need to admit I’m a terrible salesman. It did occur to me to bring some prints to sell but I feel mildly ill at the idea of saying “and I brought prints to sell if you want one.”

    So my response is this: if you don’t like the idea of using your credit card or Paypal, but want to buy a print, email me and we’ll work out an email transfer or something. I give prints away at conferences to attendees because I think you guys deserve a gift for sitting all day in uncomfortable seats watching people like me. There’s also a part of me that knows conference organizers might not like me “hawking my wares” at their venue and I don’t blame them.

    Many thanks for Shawn Pucknell of FiTC for asking me to come to Edmonton and making it possible, once again, for me to get totally nervous in front of an audience. Thanks also to Grant Skinner, who’s generosity in allowing me and a few others to shack up at his home while he and his amazing wife, Bobi, played host to us. There continues a huge support network in this community I call home and I am privileged and honoured by being a part of it. I don’t have any upcoming speaking commitments for 2011 so this may have been it for me in the public lens. Who knows?

    If it is, 2010 was an awesome ride.

    Why Moviesinhaiku?

    I get mainly positive feedback on my work with Moviesinhaiku. However, very occasionally I have heard “I don’t get it.” As a justification, here are my 5 reasons for Moviesinhaiku:

    5. As a freelancer, I experience downtime. It’s part of the employment cycle. When I have extra time, it’s better to occupy myself than to sit and play video games which give me nothing back.

    4. I program in AS3. I have been animating or programming in Flash since 1999. Doesn’t that seem a long time to be doing one thing? With Moviesinhaiku, I can experiment, play, try new things and challenge myself.

    3. As part of challenging myself, I have to admit something; typography scares me. It always has. I am a face your fears kind of guy. Therefore I am doing typographic treatments as an attempt to shake my fear of typography.

    2. I graduated from Interpretive Illustration before I made the jump to digital. I went from painting every day to typing in what feels an instant. There’s an illustrator inside me screaming “Why code Hugh? WHY!!??!” So I am combining illustrations into the prints.

    1. Why not? I love movies, it doesn’t hurt anyone (minus the people who’s delicate aesthetic sensibilities might be compromised) and if you don’t like Moviesinhaiku, they’re easily avoided. They’re not that popular. Yet.

    So there you go. That’s why I do Moviesinhaiku. If you like any of the prints, I priced them so anyone could afford to enjoy them. If you have a specific movie you want done, email me: hugh [at] moviesinhaiku [dot] com If it’s a movie I like and know, I might take a crack at it. If it’s not but you present a compelling argument, I still might take a crack at it.

    Flash on the Beach 2010

    This was my second year speaking at Flash on the Beach. For six years, John Davey has consistently put on a great conference. His three days of speakers, pitches, networking and inspiration are a huge draw and I spend them in a heady mix of nerves and excitement.

    The speakers
    I’ve been told point blank that I’m fortunate to be a speaker. So true. I am truly lucky that organizers trust my mouth to fill seats. I get a ringside seat to the genius that is the other speakers. In no way can I be compared to the likes of Grant Skinner, Robert Hodgin or Stefan Sagmeister. I look up to these guys. The fact that I get a microphone and pace on stage too means nothing compared to having a quiet chat with some of my oldest (read: longest) heros. Some of whom I also count as close friends.

    Something that is missing from the normal conference experience that I think John Davey has well grasped is the speakers are people; they typically don’t like talking about themselves and have the same insecurities as everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, speakers love talking about their work. Because they love their work. A speaker is a speaker because they are inspired by what they do. Their inspiration is our inspiration when they speak. Seeing Mario Klingemann get excited about a discovery is like watching a kid open a present on Christmas morning. It’s that kind of excitement that drives audience members to go out and “TRY”. But I digress. Get a speaker one on one with an attendee and that’s why you go to Flash on the Beach. At least in my experience. Nothing is better to me than speaking directly with attendees.

    Flash on the beach is the one conference where you will see speakers lining the first few rows in session. We are as turned on by what other speakers say as the average conference-goer. It’s a testament to the quality of speakers at Flash on the Beach, myself notwithstanding. I see more sessions at Flash on the Beach than at any other conference and apologize to the speakers who’s session I might miss; I’m looking at you, Seb Lee-Delisle, Hoss Gifford, Brendan Dawes and Ralph Hauwert

    My name-dropping is officially exhausted.

    My Session
    My official session was titled The Art of [Mis]Communication. However, after presenting at Flashbelt in June, I fine-tuned it and renamed it to Things I Learned in Preschool. I have been freelancing for a year and have unofficially become the child-shuttle due to proximity to preschool and kindergarten. In the last year, I have observed behaviour lessons and punishment that we as adults could truly learn from. So I made an effort to dial back the corp speak and dial up the kid speak. Hopefully those that attended my session understood what I hoping to get at.

    Secondly, I added in a half-session on my side project; Movies in Haiku. I have been engrossed in this little project for over six months and just had to co-opt my session with it. I apologize if anyone thought I should not have. In my defence, I gave away an entire set of prints, cleverly hidden under the seats by my wife, Elizabeth. Seeing a roomful of people bend over to look under their seat then some come up triumphantly with a print just made me smile. I felt like Willy Wonka. A little. Without the big hat. The prints are for sale on my Etsy shop.

    Summary
    Thank you so much to John, his family, his volunteers and staff for making my stay in Brighton and my Flash on the Beach experience one to remember!