Category Archives: flashbelt

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.

Flashbelt, You’re Like a Fine Wine

You just keep getting better. In its seventh year, Flashbelt put on a great show. Dave Schroeder knows his conference and gathers together some of the best and most inspirational speakers in our community. And me. I was lucky enough to be invited to speak this year. I’d never been and now wish I’d taken some opportunity to check it out before.

I’m afraid I’ll miss something so I really want to keep this brief. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the three “headliners”; Jared Tarbell, Jared Ficklin and Jer Thorp. These three fellas are doing what can only be described as “jaw-dropping” work. If you haven’t heard of them… well… are you my mom? I mean, really, I can forgive my mom. Otherwise, and I’m having a hard time figuring it out, did you come here by accident? Like, you thought this was “when i thought she was 18 and barely legal”?

But I digress…

I am always so honoured to be included in such an august lineup. I mean, you have such visionaries as Mario Klingemann, Keith Peters, Ralph Hauwert, Andre Michelle and Joa Ebert who make such beauty out of code. Plus, amazing creators and educators like Filip Visnjic and Rob Bateman who I got a chance to speak with this conference.

It’s such a pleasure to be allowed to sit and chat with these folks. Personally I’d like to lock them in a relatively comfortable room and have them teach me stuff, but sitting with them and sharing stories is a close second. And then there are people like Stacey Mulcahy and Julian Dolce that welcome me with open arms whenever I return to Ottawa. Essentially, every time I see these people, it’s like a little reunion. Of course there are others and I hope no-one takes offence if I don’t mention them specifically. The work shown and the advice given can only be described as inspirational. Filip’s “If you already know the end, don’t do it. Be surprised” (I’m paraphrasing) kind of blew me away. Oh, and Jennifer Shiman announced the end of the 30 Second Bunny Theater. Waaaaaaaah!!!!

The attendees were amazing. Anyone who attended my talk seemed genuinely happy with my session and no-one at all punched me in the face. Success all ’round. Talking with the attendees afterward was a true pleasure as well. Lots of great questions and fantastic feedback.

The sponsors were incredible. The folks at Adobe continue to be major supporters of conferences like Flashbelt. They’re also some swell people to boot. I don’t envy the traveling they do. It was a real pleasure to meet Bruno and Stephen from SF and PowerFlasher.

I spent a fair amount with the guys from Influxis. It was a rare treat as I was able to find out more about them and how Influxis started. Quite a tale to hear and what a great bunch they are. In addition to being very supportive of the community, that is. You can hand out money and still be dicks, FYI. These guys are the exact opposite.

Lastly, I got hold of the Particle book put together by Kristin Henry of Galaxy Goo fame. Kristin was kind enough to invite me to participate so I have a page in this book! Self-interest aside, Galaxy Goo is a great organization and any chance to help it out I’ll take.

As best I could, I used Twitter accounts because these people have more to say than what is contained in an hour on stage.

Public Speaking

I am booked to speak at two events in the next few months; FlashBelt in Minneapolis and Flash on the Beach in Brighton, UK.

FlashBelt is first. As in five weeks away! I’m super stoked about speaking at FlashBelt as it’s in its seventh year and I really respect what Dave Schroeder has done with FlashBelt.

Next up is the awesome Flash on the Beach! I was invited to speak there for the first time last year and had such a blast! Fortunately John asked me back and I can’t even begin to say how much fun I have in Brighton.

At both events, I’ll be presenting my 2010 session.

The Art of (Mis)Communication

Consider your past projects. Tight timeline? An art director or a technical lead with a huge ego? A project manager that neglects to disclose specific details? While these things directly impact your project you’ll find, more often than not, they can be more easily dealt with when you provide and receive proper, effective communication.

Let’s delve into how we deal with the people we deal with. Let’s look at how we speak to the people we speak to. Ins and outs of conversation. Lengthy meetings that test everyone’s patience. Email forwarding and why a few minutes of editing can save hours of time. Setting alerts. The little things, the big things and everything in the middle. Nothing should be overlooked. Taken in perspective, every project starts with a 50/50 chance of success. It’s how we as a team communicate that pushes that ratio one way or the other.

If you’re in either locale, I invite you to come and enjoy my stress of standing on stage!

My 2010 Session

Now that FlashBelt 2010, happening June 13-16, has opened registration, I feel okay with talking about my intended 2010 session. I also got the thumbs up from John Davey to say I am confirmed for Flash on the Beach 2010, September 26-29, as well! They’ll both be super fun and I highly recommend checking them out!

Here’s the session description:

Consider your past projects. Tight timeline? An art director or a technical lead with a huge ego? A project manager that neglects to disclose specific details? While these things directly impact your project you’ll find, more often than not, they can be more easily dealt with when you provide and receive proper, effective communication.

Let’s delve into how we deal with the people we deal with. Let’s look at how we speak to the people we speak to. Ins and outs of conversation. Lengthy meetings that test everyone’s patience. Email forwarding and why a few minutes of editing can save hours of time. Setting alerts. The little things, the big things and everything in the middle. Nothing should be overlooked. Taken in perspective, every project starts with a 50/50 chance of success. It’s how we as a team communicate that pushes that ratio one way or the other.

I’ve been doing this (making stuff in Flash) for over 10 years, working at large and small agencies, owning my own boutique flash shop, and as a freelancer. It’s been an interesting path to follow.

I was surprised by the reaction to my session at Flash on the Beach last fall. It felt like something out of fiction. However, all I did was point out things that could help a person get to work. Gratifying is not a strong enough word for the encouragement I received by my friends and the people that attended my little session on the last day of the conference with my broken voice and punctuated by timely(?) cursing.

I spent the next few months wondering how I could follow The 10 Best Things to NOT do Amazing Work up. Then a light bulb went off.

As a freelancer, I am graced with the ability to work on many different projects for many different agencies for many different clients. Since leaving my last full-time position, I’ve worked for OLG, Subaru, Nokia, Pedigree and Gillette. That’s exciting for me. After two years of one client, this potpourri of clients is like manna from heaven. It gives me pause to think how lucky I am.

Here’s the crux; I now work in one position for many different team dynamics. I see good and bad, exceptional and accepted. There is something to be said for effective communication that goes beyond simply doing your job and hoping everyone else is doing theirs. Of course, I like to turn that notion on its head and talk about a lack of effectiveness. Que sera sera.

Anyway, here’s my pitch. Come to my talk. Sit back, sit forward, stand up. However you like to watch and participate in sessions. I can promise it won’t be boring.

Dear conference or festival organizers, if you like the sound of this session, you too can have a lifesized Hugh at your event! Just ask and, as long as I agree with the premise of the event, I will totally be on board.