Category Archives: old friends

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!

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!

FiTC Made Me Fat. Again.

After finally getting back to the gym in March and actually making an effort, I was excited to see I could get back in shape. Then FiTC. Son of a… three days of sessions and four nights of catching up sets my exercise recovery back by a month at least.

I feel I can never do justice to my experiences at conferences. Primarily because it’s such a personal thing. Reconnecting with old friends, making new friends and generally existing in a good vibe. Mostly I lament not spending time with enough people, but you need to be judicious as there simply isn’t enough time. That being said, let’s see if I can rough it out.

Grant and Bobi showed up a little early and started my FiTC experience off right with a quiet brunch with Libs and Declan.

I attended or saw the most sessions ever on record for me at a FiTC. This can be attributed to Influxis streaming sessions live via fms. Therefore, some morning sessions that I’d most likely miss, I actually didn’t.

Keith Peters and “Programming Art” was totally inspirational. Keith’s work has always impressed me, but the variety of possibilities he showed in his talk were incredible. I honestly had no idea there were that many options.

The panel “From Solo to CEO” was pretty good. There can be issues when you have one extremely dominant personality in the panel which can lead to silence from the others, but it was moderated pretty well and I think most opinions were fairly evenly aired.

The session “The Apparat” and Joa Ebert. Joa has to be one of the smartest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Let’s face it, he is one impressive dude. His session was thoroughly confusing as I’m not at that level, but still inspiring.

“Storytelling: Absorbed, Obsessed and Immersed” well, what can I say here? The panel was chock-a-block with talent and interesting to say the least.

Thanks again to Influxis, I was able to catch Wes Grubbs speak. I met Wes a few years ago at Flash on the Beach and haven’t seen him since. Good talk, informative.

Stacey Mulcahy is a perennial favourite for her off-colour language and funny delivery. Her talk was interesting, to be sure.

The last session I sat in on was Mario Klingemann and I really can’t explain how much Mario inspires me. Just his easy way of speaking and nonchalance in the face of brilliant discoveries make me want to try harder.

Freelance. You know, I spent a number of years attempting to build a freelance career and had just put myself into a good spot when I decided to drop everything and get a “job job” as I like to call it. Now that I’m back in the freelance game, FiTC seemed like the perfect place to *shudder* network. What I don’t normally realize is just being a nice guy is sometimes networking. Opportunities presented themselves that I would never have thought possible. So yes, I am freelance and yes, I want to code the SHIT out of something for you.

Shawn Pucknell. Shawn’s been personally running FiTC and the flashinto flash user group for so long, it would be nothing without him. Kudos to him and his crew for another amazing show.

There were a number of situations that occurred on a personal level that once again reaffirms the word “community” to me with these people. The close ties I’ve made simply become tighter (ties that bind, donchaknow) and I wonder how I ever got so lucky. You know who you are, you magnificent bastards!

The next event I’ll see anyone at will be Flashbelt where I will be presenting my first session of the year.

Once again. FiTC, to quote John Grden, you \m/

FiTC TO over for another year.

Sniffle. Just like that, FiTC TO is over. One last lunch with some folks and off they go to their respective locales.

James Patterson’s work is incredible. It’s really evolved. I look forward to seeing his universe unfold. I wish I knew him better personally, as he’s a hell of a guy.

Robert Hodgin continues to impress with his incredible work. Plus, his dry wit and sharp tongue is a boon to all of us that have the pleasure of knowing him. And he has some wicked people to work with at Barbarian Group

Grant Skinner and his wife Bobi are two people, that if I missed them, I’d miss them. Plus, Grant’s words of wisdom taken from his years of speaking was a tremendous help in calming me down before, and after, my session.

Erik Natzke and his lovely Tobey left early but they were catching a flight to Norway so who can blame them? Seeing his work has always inspired me. Plus, he punches hard. I get to punch him back and he doesn’t mind since he’s built like a tank.

Phillip Kerman has been doing some really funny videos.

Chaos-101. Keith Peters. All she wrote, yo.

There’s lots more, of course. Josh is even more of a brand, partnering up with Umbra. I don’t see them on Umbra, but he also designed bedding. So if you’ve always wanted to curl up with Josh and drink a hot chocolate with him while watching the English Patient, here’s your chance. I’m pretty sure he won’t do that in person, unless it’s the extra-long director’s cut. He’s a sucker for Ralph Fiennes.

Lastly, this was year was different because Libs got to join me once in awhile and meet all the people I’ve been talking about for the past however many years. She finally managed to have a nice chat with most of them. And we brought Declan to the festival for a short while where he captured the hearts of every onlooker with his crush on the Seneca bee.

IMG_6857 and stole a beach ball from Aquent.

The Re-Inventors

This is one of the weirdest things I’ve experienced in a long time.

I was watching TV and saw a commercial for a show called The Re-inventors. One of the hosts looked really familiar. I said to Libs, “You know, that looks like a guy I went to college with.”

And what do you know? It is. Jeremy MacPherson. Weird. Did a little google search on it and found the link above. Neat.

I hope I can reconnect with Jeremy. He was always a really funny guy. Good luck with your show, man!