Category Archives: influential

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!

Help the Production of Influential

I am looking for an able-bodied individual to help me with recording at FiTC Toronto. The organizers of FiTC have graciously donated a pass to the event to someone who can give me a hand. It’s a pretty amazing value

Here are the requirements. The candidate is someone who:
1. Is willing to lose a lot of time you could be using watching sessions. I am looking to have you available for recording each afternoon between 1:30 (after lunch) and 5:30 (after the last session is over). The one exception will be Monday between 2 and 2:30 when I need my laptop for my session in the Voodoo Lounge. I intend to be available after my session and it would be cool if you were there to get oriented.

2. Is trustworthy enough to leave you with my equipment. There’s not a lot of it, but it’s mine and I’d miss it if it got lost or stolen.

3. Has some aesthetic eye for positioning, some level of attention to detail and willingness to work a repetitive task.

4. Is approachable and welcoming. If people are being directed to you for a recording and you’re not paying attention by being on your phone or surly, that’s not going to work out.

5. Is available April 27th for the FlashinTO Flash User Group meeting where I will be performing a test shoot and would like you there to run through the rigamarole with me.

Sound good? Email me hugh [at] influentialmovie [dot] com

I will reply to everyone but only one person gets the gig.

Thanks so much for reading and your interest in supporting the project!

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!

Influential – The Update

Online submissions via webcam are now being accepted! This is a big step for the documentary as it goes from theoretical to actual.

There are some minor notes to make. Be sure to verify your microphone is being picked up. After agreeing to let the site access your camera and mic, do a test recording. As simple as hitting Record, saying a few words and clicking Finish. Once you’ve verified your mic is being recorded, hit Retake and do your actual recording. Otherwise you can specify which mic is being accessed. (thank you to @puremvc for the heads up)

On the submission form, I am using a very large database for location. Consequently, when you choose a Country, then a Region, the amount of cities returned could be quite large and take a while for you to find yours. I will be implementing a filtering system into the form so you can type a couple of letters in to narrow the cities list down some. (thank you to @mykola for the suggestion)

Lastly, I will be adding an upload feature so you can use saved video files. Hopefully this won’t take too long to implement as I am sure some of you in the video industry would want to make your own superclean, pretty submissions. In the meantime, you can email hugh [at] influentialmovie [dot] com and I can submit on your behalf, if that’s the case.

No end of thanks to Influxis for the continuing support!

Please spread the word and let’s get as many people submitting as possible!

The Waiting is Over

Twice now I mentioned Influential. Once, I talked about creating a wordmark. The second, I mentioned it as an upcoming project.


On Wednesday, January 26 I officially launched the support site and announced my newest project, Influential – The Age of Digital, a documentary chronicling a family tree of the digital world from the POV of people that have influenced others.

The intention behind this is to see where the roots of our industry lie by asking Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing?.

As far as I know, this is the first documentary of its kind. I’ll begin by getting submissions via the website during the second, data-gathering, phase and from attending events with a camera.

Obviously, the first thought that comes to your mind is “How, Hugh Elliott, HOW can I help?!!?!”. If it’s something else like “You know, I bet a marmot actually makes a pretty nice pet.” I’d like to attract your attention with something shiny.


Here’s how the documentary could really use help;

I’ve never officially made a documentary. If you have filmmaking experience, I could use some advice. On an equipment front, fund-raising stuff like that. I’d like to try and get ahold of a manageable camera (the Canon Mark V D looks wicked), at least for production blog type stuff. And then what kind of camera to use at events. Remember the end intention is a screenable documentary. Like cinema screen. So keep that in mind. I definitely want to see this on a screen and not look all sucky.

I’m relying primarily on word of mouth. I’ve attached the voice of the documentary to the website, Facebook and Twitter. If you’re able to spread the word, I’d be truly appreciative. Each stage of the documentary will require a fairly major push and I’ll be counting on the good graces of the industry I love to help get the word out.

If you’re a media type (journalist person) I am more than willing to do interviews as the project progresses. My email is hugh [at] influentialmovie [dot] com

If you would like me to come to your location to do a series of questions sessions for the content of the documentary, email me and let’s work it out. If you’d like to do your own location shoot and are willing to abide by the guidelines of the documentary, I am more than happy to send you the shoot guidelines.


Jerry Chabolla and Richard Blakely of Influxis have shown incredible faith in this project by becoming production partners and executive producers. I am humbled and a little nervous that they’re going to be so involved. Thank you so much, Influxis!

I can always use more help in that regard. If you’re interested in providing funding or equipment, I’d be nothing but grateful and willing to have a discussion regarding what level of credit is required in the documentary and site. Hey, Canon! You hear that? I need a camera!

My 2010 In Review

2010 was a strange year for me.

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.

Creating a wordmark

The above image is the wordmark for a new project I’m hoping to start soon. More on that on a future date.

I thought I’d just do a post on how I came up with this wordmark. Probably because when I started, I asked a designer friend of mine to do it since I was afraid of doing it myself. Have you ever heard the phrase “Throw enough shit at the wall to see what sticks?” It’s used commonly in the advertising industry in brainstorming. They call it brainstorming I call it monkey-poo. They’re the same thing and completely valid, but come on, monkey-poo is funnier.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I’m no designer. However, for the last 6 months, I’ve been playing with design and typography so I wasn’t completely adverse to attempting this.

I digress, here’s monkey-poo;

As you can see, I just typed Influential in different font faces to see if anything stuck out. There are likely easier ways to do this, but I look at a big page with ton of the exact same word in different faces and I can see things that stand out. A curve here, a heavy letter there.

After looking at the above image for a while (I confess to about half an hour) I knew I didn’t like any of them. So I did a quick font look to see if anything pops out;

That’s when I saw it. Bauhaus 93

I liked its weight (it’s heavy, really heavy). But I didn’t want just heavy. I wanted flow. I wanted curves. I also wanted something the word implies: influence. I wanted the letters to influence each other.

So I started looking at the individual letters. Starting with the I. In essence, I grabbed the f and copied its curve;

Then I thought, the L is basically just an uppercase I, right? So I flipped it and voilà! An L!

You might also notice that the I is now thinner. I matched the width of the L.

Then my focus shifted to the n and the u. I knew I’d be flipping the u as an echo of the n, so really my focus shifted to the n. To get what I wanted, I added a triangle to the corner of the n.

So here I am, the I, the L, the n and u are where I want them. The lowercase i is simply a shorter I with the ever-so-important dot.

As might be noticed, I’ve concentrated on what could be considered the easy characters. So I stayed in the vein with the easily solved f and t. My decision is to simply add a second rectangle so the character is balanced, copy and flip vertically. That’s right, once again, I am reusing the character;

On to the characters that legitimately scared me; a and e. Starting with the a. For a, I chose to make two circles and add a triangle. I mean, it took some time to figure out that’s what I wanted to do, but not much and that’s that;

I am so close now I can taste it.

The last letter to figure out is the e. To be fair, this was/is a tough one. I’m happy with it, but not over the moon about it. It is a flipped a with a strike-through, essentially.

And that is that. With some tightening, a lot of tweaking for alignment, I arrive at;

If you want to see the iterations as I progressed, here they are: