Video Comments


Every morning I do a few "morning paper" things that have become routine. I'm a huge fan of google reader which gets me filtered easy to read rss feeds. Another item is checking some crap aggregates (break, digg, etc.) to wade through the sewage to find 15 seconds of amusement.

I thought of a media player concept that focuses around the crap aggregates. It would be similar to Diggnation (any revision 3 fans out there?) Diggnation is hosted by Kevin Rose and they talk about all the top stories on digg. Not a huge fan of the show, but I like the concept of commenting on the news of the day. What if we put together a similar web-culture/tech show and dropped links into the video feed? It could work like this;
  1. Dudes talking about technology or silly web culture on a couch w/ beers a la Diggnation.
  2. As stories are brought up a giant title of the story fills the screen for a couple seconds.
  3. The title is actually a hyperlink, that when clicked pauses the player and opens the story link in a new window.
  4. When the user is done viewing "Flaming Shot Goes Wrong", they can continue to watch clever comments on the link or skip ahead to the next story.
This wouldn't really work virally as you need the FLV player w/ actionscript cue points for navigation and links. This whole concept really spawned from coming up with clever ways to bring on the story links, simulated grenade toss, etc.



RitualLab lurker gonegonegone wrote me a compelling missive, which I post below with permission:
I have been thinking about something you said while we were having lunch in Murphys over the summer. You said that one thing that you found unappealing about being a vegetarian is that (by definition) you limit the palate that you experience. This is true. I am thinking about slightly revising my eating ethos. Since I have friends and family scattered around, I get a chance to travel around a little bit and I think one thing that is worth eating is the broad category of "regional specialties." Foods are important and if a region has something that it is known for it's probably for good reason. I think it gives you an insight into the 'vibe' (for lack of a better word) of an area, and shows what ingredients and techniques are local. This idea first started last year when I was in Baja and basically the only thing in restaurants was lobster that are caught right off the coast. It seemed a shame to pass 'em up. Now I'm not talking eating any old swill just because I'm in town. I mean something that an area is known for, from the best place to get it. My first step is to find the best fish tacos in San Diego and scarf them. By my quick estimations, future eating endeavors should include:

New Orleans: Jambalaya
Philadelphia: Philly Cheese Steak
Seattle: Crabs (eating em, not getting em)
Some rural area: antelope or something of the sort
The South: BBQ

International destinations lend themselves to all sorts of possibilities.

This is a slippery slope, but I think it's worth exploring. What else am I missing?

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Livin' the Dream


[09:32] Drinkspiller: At the mile-long magazine rack at Borders looking at all these ridiculous niche magazines it occured to me that there is one unfilled: Minivan Magazine. Attractive women posing against (and inside) minivans. I wanted to mock up an issue.
[09:34] Drinkspiller: I know. Mind blowing stuff. Breathe.
[09:34] tokyocrunch *bgca: "Minivan Man"?
[09:35] Drinkspiller: I think the execution is funny. I think people would actually buy the thing too.
[09:35] tokyocrunch *bgca: Maxim for the losers bracket
[09:35] Drinkspiller: exactly
[09:36] tokyocrunch *bgca: shows promise
[09:36] Drinkspiller: that's the subtitle
[09:36] tokyocrunch *bgca: relies on execution, but yes, shows promise
[09:36] Drinkspiller: down for mocking it with me?
[09:36] tokyocrunch *bgca: it depends which punchline(s) you choose, i guess
[09:36] tokyocrunch *bgca: sure
[09:37] Drinkspiller: user photo contest with "what I fit inside"
[09:38] tokyocrunch *bgca: are you considering this a one-off?
[09:38] Drinkspiller: we bought this for a project at CB:

we can make a few pages to mock some feature ideas too
[09:38] Drinkspiller: yeah, a one off
[09:42] tokyocrunch *bgca: i think there's a stronger punchline than the minivan (posing babes, "what i fit inside", etc.) that speaks to the odd blend of self-actualization and self-resignation that comes from a man who drives a minivan. so that the minivan becomes merely a symbol for a lifestyle. or are you proposing something more akin to a gearhead car mag that features only minivans?
[09:54] Drinkspiller: I honestly hadn't thought about it beyond the key ingredients (minivans/babes/magazine) but i think you bring up an obviously good point: "what's the position"?
[09:55] Drinkspiller: I think you might be right that the lifestyle punchline is the stronger big picture
[09:55] tokyocrunch *bgca: i mean, it could be a viable niche magazine, too


A Documentary in its Infancy


Hello fellow rats. While I tend to lurk much more than contribute, I've got something that I'm looking for feedback on. It's a documentary on my father-in-law. This is to be a character driven piece that I envision being about 1-1 1/2 hrs long. He lives on a century farm, is 72 and has given me the verbal ok to tackle this. Time's a-wastin.

I'll post the general concept here and then break the video into its parts in separate posts. Any creative feedback, wordsmithing or general comments are requested. I hope to use this document in obtaining some funds, but also plan to go out-of-pocket for most. Anyone interested in helping (graphics/credits, videogrpahy, editing, distribution, etc.) just give a holler. My first goal is to create a top-notch piece that can go in the family library. My second goal is to enter this into a few film festivals. My third goal is to potentially sell/distribute. Not sure how far I'll get - but away I go....


Title: TBD

Timeline: Late 2007 – Summer 2009

Costs to Incur: Labor (3 person crew/3 days each week for 8 hrs for both shooting and post production), Equipment (Camera, hard drives, computer, editing system, lights and microphones) , Duplication and Contest Fees

Concept: A video documentary that follows a century farmer through the four seasons. As the audience will become privy to the cycle of the seasons and the harvest, our farmer will also relay stories that fit with the seasons of his life and will be appropriately matched with activities on the farm. When winter comes he is faced with the realization that as the cold descends on another year, in the winter of his life, he may be the last generation to work this plot of land as a farm. Will one of his children or grandchildren step up and take the wheel of the old green Oliver, or is this place of family and nature destine to be carved up into farmettes like so many of his neighbors have been forced to do?

The video will be broken into 4 parts; spring, summer, fall and winter. The activities of each season will be video taped and chronicled, as well supplemented by the stories of our farmer. It is intended to give the audience a better understanding and appreciation for the agrarian way of life, as well as shine a light on a culture falling by the wayside (in the family farm).

Several interview sessions with our farmer will be scheduled (in late 2007) to help build the chronological storyline, and the producers will log 2-3 days each week in the fields and at home with him over the course of 2008. All footage is intended to be captured in HD (720p or 1080i has yet to be determined). Access to 8mm home movies and family photos is also possible. A short synopsis of each segment follows.

Documentary Vignette - Spring

Brief Synopsis: Spring

Winter’s grip begins to unravel in the Driftless area. Seasoned icicles drop from their perches, mountains of snow morph into tiny streams, and the tree sap once again flows freely. Excitement, enthusiasm and optimism fill the air as the animals of Southeastern Minnesota’s bluff country begin to forage and gather after another long, hard winter. Coats are preened, calls perfected and nest materials gathered in preparation for spring.

One farmer in particular has cabin fever. Wayne Olson looks up his valley at his fields, just as his father and grandfather have done before him. 125 years of knowledge reside in him and he is anxious from the promise brought to him on an almost tropical 65 degree March day.

For Wayne has been busy too. He has been readying his equipment, with a plan in his head for this years harvest. Reminiscing about days past - how he has been involved in this cycle for the last 72 years. He remembers fondly moments with his father and grandfather, as well as his children and grandchildren. Life is new again and fills his lungs, brain and heart with hope.

Documentary Vignette - Summer

Brief Synopsis – Summer

The days begin to stretch like a good piece of saltwater taffy. The changes are slow and gradual, yet noticeable. The hills are green, the creeks are cold, and the coneflowers have started gaining color.

Wayne is busy as well. There’s hay to be made, fertilizer to be sprayed, and one last chance to cultivate between the rows. The days are getting long enough to enjoy a little fishing in the early evening.

Remembrances range from his high school days in Houston (the only town he was ever schooled in), to farming as a bachelor. And of course how he and his wife Elsie met at the hospital while each were visiting sick relatives. Wayne would never wish harm on anyone, but he recalls how happy he was that his mother was sick that year. It’s because of that he was able to raise 3 children in the same house he grew up in.

Documentary Vignette - Fall

Brief Synopsis - Fall

Autumn is all about change. The days burn hot at the start and cool at the end. It may begin with fierce thunderstorms and end with vicious blizzards. Father time burgles from each day, causing everyone to comment on how it gets dark so early. The fawns loose their spots, the geese formations soar overhead, and the milkweed casts its silky seeds to the wind.

It is the busiest time of the year for Wayne. Combining, hauling, storing, plowing; dealing with all challenges as they arise. He puts in long hours for nearly a month, taking his lunch with him on most days.

Wayne’s business doesn’t stop there. The father of 3 married children, and proud grandfather to 7 kids all under the age of 7, he’s the constant farmer carney – giving tractor rides to the wide-eyed kids when he can. Wayne is reaping the rewards of his life, harvesting the smiles and hugs from the little ones around him. And while his body can’t do what it once could (a fact which frustrates him), he see the potential of the strong, limber bodies and wonders if any of them will have the ability and, more importantly, the desire to continue this century farm

Documentary Vignette - Winter

Brief Synopsis - Winter

Dormant are the trees. Having dropped another carpet of leaves on the forest floor, every footstep in the woods his heard crunching yards away. The snow doesn’t come as early as it once did, notes Wayne, as another snow-less Christmas passes. After being chased for a few weeks during the hunt, the deer settle back into their daily routines.

As does Wayne. Winter is his “downtime”. He fills his hours by visiting friends and neighbors, babysitting for his children and taking up a myriad of wood working projects in his garage/shop.

Another year has come and gone. The seeds were planted, grown through diverse conditions and taken to market. The ground was prepped for the coming year. As the years winds to a close, so are the events that mark Wayne’s life. Having “retired” at age 65 (which to him meant selling the beef cattle and only concentrating on cash crops), he occasionally thinks of buying a house in town and giving up this silly dance with the seasons. He’d like to be at the mercy of something other than the weather for a change. But for now, having consumed a hearty meatball supper and piece of pie, he is content. The question no one seems to want to address is… who will be there to plant next year’s seed?

The Way I See It

My wife and I were at Starbuck's one morning discussing how she could pull off the stay-at-home-mom-green-practices-consultant gig, and were dismayed that they have no on-site recycling --- hence this promo piece concept.

Globalization's Losers


After 9 months with the Songhay in Ghana, and very little contact with home, I was devastated to see high sorcerer Mbembe Zorko wearing a Mets "Eastern Division Champions" t-shirt. I then knew we were close, but came up short. I bet it was that damn Willie Randolph who blew it. He doesn't know how to handle pitchers.

See article.

Chelsea Clinton?


What a star-studded affair, this RitualLab. But what use can we make of the disembodied voice of Chris Tucker? A prank call? A flash movie? A cinematic mash-up?



Future Artifacts: Gallery Review


"Birdcage," the story of the 2016 H8N2 or "Hang Ten Flu" flu epidemic in Hawai'i, is the most thoroughly realized. FoundFutures, led by University of Hawai'i graduate students Jake Dunagan and Stuart Candy, crafted everything from the government's quarantine zone maps to this-property-is-condemned posters, to the 9/11-style missing-persons fliers that citizens would post in the wake of forced quarantines. The finishing touch is a tourism poster for Maui (unscathed by the flu, how?) which proudly declares that the island is "Still Paradise."

Typically cinema is the chosen medium for visualizing the future. By installing elements of their projects in the urban fabric itself, FoundFutures turns Chinatown into a movie set of sorts, approaching the level of production design that goes into films like "Children of Men."

Or read the whole review ...

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