“As the saying goes, “by the time you read this I’ll be dead.”
Toronto based artist and activist Shannon Larratt passed away last month. The word of his death was quickly passed on among the BME (Body Manipulation Ezine) community, a culture I don’t participate in but I respect for a number of reasons.
You can read his touching End Of Life document here.
On the topic of body manipulation, perhaps Shannon said it best.
“The fundamental question in becoming publicly modified is a question of finding a balance between how free you want to be and how hard you want to work. The more free you are, the more responsibility you have to take for yourself. The more you blend back into the crowd, the less freedom you have, but the ‘easier’ your life gets. But is it really your life if you’re not controlling it?”
You can read more about the community with a Google search for Shannon Larratt and BME. Warning: often NSFW with images I find disturbing.
So why the tribute?
Shannon was also a father, programmer, artist and entrepreneur.
And he was good at all of it, so I admire him.
As the founding publisher of BME he created a community of acceptance and hygenic practices and built his ezine to create a safe haven for people interested in extreme body piercing and tatoos and other manipulation. Many online tributes have recently come in with the headline, “Shannon saved my life”. With memories of my awkward teen years still in my mind as a father of teenagers myself, I know how important it can be to have a mentor who understands what it’s like to be different. Shannon was that voice of reason for people who were conflicted about their bodies. The comments on his blog, tumblr and BME speak for themselves.
His playfulness was infectious. For example, check out the header on his blog, “The best thing about censorship is … “. Once you figure out the solution, you’ll smile with the little Easter egg you’ve uncovered.
But above all for me was his bold use of colour and line and shape as evidenced in his paintings, some of which he shared credit with his young daughter. I’m still amazed at how inclusive he was with her, and how much he loved her. In fact in his blog he credits ‘Nefarious’ for keeping him alive as long as he was.
As his eyesight and ability to read diminished, he turned to jewelry as his creative outlet, and opened an etsy store. Also, he finished a large book on body manipulation that he and his fiance hand-bound in their studio in Toronto. I can’t find the exact quote, but he said in the preface to his book, “you’re holding art that was actually made by hand by the artist”. I love hand-made.
We had a few exchange via email around the Chrome Experiment time, but I never met Shannon and doubt I ever would have. For me, he was one of those personalities that are larger than life that sometimes are best left online. I definitely didn’t agree with his opinions all of the time. I found his recent appearance challenging and not at all pleasant. His exercise in tattooing his actual eyeball is as cringe-worthy as it sounds. But it’s not for me to judge. I just wanted to take a moment to recognize the work Shannon did.
A quote from his EOL message that spoke to me as a father, husband, son, brother, volunteer, world traveler, business owner, mentor and friend:
…seize every opportunity that’s in front of you and live life to the fullest. Even with everything I’ve done, there is so much more I wish I’d squeezed in. Don’t let a single day (well, maybe a single day) be idle. Have every adventure you can, and explore every street — although treat the one-way streets with caution. Don’t fritter you life away into television, random browsing, and pointless substance abuse (I have at times been guilty of all of these) — although remember there are valid uses for them, both for growth and entertainment. Have passion about the future, and in the present. Especially if you’re young, push your education and your skills to their limits on every level. Don’t just graduate highschool, get a degree, get a doctorate if you can. I know these things aren’t for everyone, they they are for most, and they also open doors to some of the most special adventures. Even if you can’t afford proper schooling there are many, many ways to learn, free courses to volunteering, and so on. Value your health, and the health of our planet, and strive beyond its borders. We have such a glorious future, but never forget that your part in that future could end at any moment, so live a life that you can be pround of. And of course love and treat each other well.
I’m fortunate in that I don’t have a very long bucket list. I’m pretty passionate about things that I like, and tend to just go for it first and think about it later. This strategy doesn’t necessarily make me a popular ’employee’ or ‘team player’ most of the time, but on the other hand I’m never short of collaborators or business partners looking for a breakout idea, in particular in the world of indie horror film.
Way back in 2001, there really wasn’t any internet. There wasn’t really digital filmmaking. And there definitely wasn’t a way to get your film seen without a distributor. Interestingly though, I owned and operated a very popular film festival, was doing some work demoing cutting-edge new Non Linear Editing Solutions for Autodesk (Discreet Edit), and I developed an app for Palm for film festival promoters and attendees. It was in many ways the best summer of my life, where everyone was lighting up to the opportunity that computers and the internet could offer to indie film-makers.
At that time, the seminal book ‘Rebel Without A Crew‘ by Robert Rodrigues was embedded into every film student’s must-read list (and shunned by old-school film vanguards), and the notion of shooting a film in a weekend just started to pop up. Could it be possible to have a small crew and digital gear capture and edit an entire movie? It’s hard to imagine these days, but just the idea that you could shoot a feature in a weekend caught the imagination of absolutely everyone.
But it’s one thing to think about doing something crazy like that, and quite another to assemble a crew and actually do it. Remember, there really wasn’t any semblance of the internet that we know today, and certainly no way to see examples of what a film shot in a weekend actually looked like. YouTube wouldn’t happen for another two years (imagine!). Still, with my film festival connections and by working with some very talented people as an Autodesk reseller, the idea that a film could be shot in a weekend quickly germinated among a handful of creative artists including myself.
The director/writer/star Joseph Clark was the greatest visionary of us all. A skilled actor but novice director, Joseph was unencumbered with the reality that even proposing a film like this was ‘impossible’ by any authority on the subject. He had a great can-do attitude that I admire to this day.
I was recently contacted by Doug Tilley, a writer with www.dailygrindhouse.com, who shares my enthusiasm for low-budget horror films, which prompted me to dig into the archive at dolish.com and pull the original content I created to promote the film. Interestingly enough, this website was the first web site I ever worked on. I now recall the drudgery of using Photoshop to convert the 1M digital stills into 32 colour .gif files because they loaded faster on dialup.
Watching the film again I will say it doesn’t age very well. One of the biggest criticisms I’ve heard or read is that the first half is a bit slow, and I cannot disagree. But believe it or not, back then you absolutely needed a distributor to get the film in front of any eyeballs, and you HAD to have at least 90 minutes of content. Interesting to note, my first cut of the film was only 39 minutes. We did a reshoot and let a shot go for about five minutes that would have made a great 5 second flashback, but we were working under a difficult deliverable constraint.
So, without much editing, I present the original articles and pictures from 2001. Enjoy!
– Rick Dolishny, March 2013
Bikini Party Massacre
Get a couple of guys, some hot girls, a Betacam, a few bikinis … and you’ve got one of the greatest low-budget horror films ever made! Shot over the course of a long weekend July 2001, the feature film Bikini Party Massacre (US: Joseph Clark’s Massacre) is the realization of the dreams of the cast and crew. I was the Editor and Visual Effects Supervisor for the feature.
Take a group of three hunky guys, three girls in bikinis, and a hot weekend up north and what do you get – Bikini Party Massacre!
As the story unfolds, we find our young campers making their way up to Upstate New York for “a weekend we’ll never forget”. The long trip into the wilderness allows the audience to learn more about the characters and very quickly we determine they they all carry some pretty heavy emotional baggage.
The music is a very enjoyable mix of 70’s Classic Rock and modern ambient electronic music. Much of the music was created for exclusive use in the film, or was commissioned from Paije’s (Phil Jacob) prior CD releases.
Stories with “twists” are pretty common these days, and BPM is no exception. The ending is satisfying and enjoyable. Plus, watch out for some pretty funny bloopers and deleted scenes on the DVD.
The biggest problem in making a film in a weekend is getting everyone together and managing the inevitable cancellations and changes that come with paying everyone next-to-nothing. Our adventure began at the Scarborough Town Centre and surprisingly everyone showed up!
Shooting was to take place at a snowmobile camp in northern Ontario, near Pembroke, about an hour west of Ottawa. That meant about a four hour drive from Toronto through some of the most beautiful wilderness we’ve ever seen.
Our days comprised of waking up at 6AM and shooting until 1AM. We shot for three days in one of the most brutal heat waves ever seen in this neck of the woods. Temperatures quickly rose above 30ºC … and let’s not talk about the black flies!
I was the on-set Visual Effects Supervisor (which was good, because when we got back to Toronto I was the Visual Effects Everything). My ass was on the line! But when we were shooting non-effect shots I was the boom operator. There is nothing more torturous then holding a boom for a three minute take while black flies gnaw away at your legs. Graham the DOP didn’t do much better holding his camera. Remarkably very few shots were locked-off, and they look amazing!
BTW, we used a regular old analogue BetacamSP camera with an exceptionally nice Fuji lens. I prefer working with analogue video rather than DV for effects work because of the better keys I can pull. Plus, the film was destined for film-look and we were going for a nice organic quality. PLUG: You can hear more about the art-direction of the shots by picking up the DVD and selecting “Director’s Commentary.”
The hunting camp was our source of power, food, and shelter for the cast and crew who weren’t sleeping at a small hotel 30 minutes away. There was a wonderful clearing where we shot into the forest. Virtually all of the shots were set up within 100 feet of each other. Some great hand-held chase vis was shot just a few hundred yards into the forest (as the flies ate us alive).
The red rental van (left) served many purposes. Not only did it transport us to the camp, but it served as the van that transported the characters in the film plus it was a great jib for the beautiful shot that pulls to the title sequence … just don’t tell the rental guys!
Some shots took place far from the camp … Joseph’s dad (at the helm, that’s Joseph on the left) motored the cast and crew for one of the last shots of Day 1 on a private, secluded beach on Golden Lake.
This was one of the fastest setups I’ve ever worked on in my life. We all motored out to this lovely beach, shot the beach shots, shot some water play, and even got coverage from the boat towards the shore. Within 40 minutes we were all done and heading back for night shooting!
The film itself was shot in a long weekend (plus a weekend of pickups). The editing was another story: taking up the entire summer of 2001.
We cut the entire project on Graham’s Discreet Edit system which performed flawlessly. I’m a big advocate of (the now defunct) Edit system and it handled everything we threw at it. Plus, for a feature film with some elaborate effects, its integration into Paint, Effect and Combustion was crucial to the success of the entire film.3D animation was done in Lightwave and Animation Master.
For the most part the film was a one-take wonder, but even then we logged over 6 hours of footage.
Still, 6 hours of footage for a feature film is ridiculously low, but it’s what we shot. Graham brought to the production a career’s-worth of experience shooting news for CNN and other in Russia, Lebanon and the Middle East, so he knows a few things about getting the shot right the first time. His footage was amazing.
Near the end of editing I used a feature in Edit that pulls all unused sources, and when I executed the command the bin came up completely empty. I used every setup!
Sound was a lot of fun. As a freelance editor I have a small library of sounds I always have on-hand, and I massaged and looped and generally mixed everything I had in the category of Horror, Gore, and Special Effects. I’m particularly proud of the sound of an ax chopping off the head of the police officer near the end of the film. Listen for it and let me know what you think!
Probably the most interesting little twist happened in the fall after spending two months editing the feature. It was the weekend of September 8th 2001 and I just finished a critical matte painting of New York City that opens the film. I set the move to render in Combustion (there were a few layers) and took off to the cottage for a couple of days to unwind. With this matte painting I would be almost done.
When I returned to civilization on Tuesday September 11 you can imagine my surprise listening to the WTC attacks on a static laden AM radio station broadcasting out of Peterborough, Ontario. I turned the car around and spend another day with my wife and kids in the woods before returning to the city. Who knew what would happen in the coming days?
My Combustion render finished almost the same time the towers fell. I called Joseph and we discussed what to do, and we decided to re-render the shot without the Towers. A bit of Photoshopping and the comp was re-rendered in time for the final picture lock. No one recognized the skyline.
Once the picture was locked the process of film-looking the feature began. It turns out very few people have tried to film-look an entire feature (it’s used all the time for commercials or music videos).
I can see why after completing the film I got calls from people asking how I did it. Honestly, it was a combination of off-the-shelf film-look software, some custom filter writing, and a network render farm of over 20 computers rendering full time for over 10 days.
Don’t tell the boss but used his laptop to render, too! 🙂
All tolled, it was 144,000 frames rendered at over 20 seconds per frame.
I mastered the project to DVCPRO and Shon at www.imcvideo.com in Toronto handled the conversion from 16:9 to letterboxed 4:3. The DVD Director’s Commentary track was mastered at Avtel Media, Pickering Ontario, and the DVD authoring was done in Los Angeles by the Distributor.
I just moved to Peterborough, Ontario (about 90 minutes north east of Toronto) and was trying to settle into my new home and new city. Despite the date, Sunday March 18 2012, the sun was shining and the birds were chirping, enjoying an early feast on the first wave of freshly hatched mosquitoes My chores were winding down and after clearing the last of the debris on what would become my favourite reading spot in the new house patio, I posted the following tweet:
@rdolishny @Ptbo_Canada! Where can I get a New York Times today?
Seemed reasonable at the time. After all, I delighted telling friends that my new country house on Jackson Creek was eight minutes from grocery stores, schools, Future Shop, and a latte from Starbucks: I had the best of city mouse and country mouse locked up.
I had also just attended the inaugural Petertweeter event, and my Twitter feed was chock full of Peterborough’s elite.
My twitter timeline lit up with some good suggestions that didn’t pan out, including a recommendation to visit Mike’s Place News in Oshawa, but the net result was zero. It seemed the chances of holding a coveted Sunday NYT on a lazy Sunday afternoon was unlikely. Then, a tweet rang through:
Who was this interesting gentleman, and what business did he have with a New York Times? A few brief exchanges later, I learned @jetdrivr was the owner of a private jet company and ran flights all across North and Central America. At that moment, he was in pre-flight checks in Florida and was about to bring his executive client to Canada. And he lived just west of Peterborough like me.
A quick tweet indicated he got the paper, and was enroute to his client’s home in Ottawa. After dropping off his client in Ottawa, he charted a quick flight to Pearson, then was in his BMW racing back to his home just west of Peterborough. A quick tweet told me he was near, and it was time to meet in Millbrook to do the exchange.
So, the new guy in the city of Peterborough uses Twitter to connect with a new friend. My coveted Sunday New York Times boards a plane in Florida, lands in Toronto by way of Ottawa, then ends up on my back porch to share a beautiful Kawartha sunset… on Sunday, sitting by the fire.
I can’t image a more interesting and positive example of the power of social media to connect people who happen to live in the most beautiful place in the world. I’ve found many kind souls from Peterborough that have the smarts and creativity to weave a delightful and exciting cultural fabric 140 characters at a time. It seems fitting that Peterborough is privileged to have remarkably generous and good-natured volunteers run the Petertweeter Awards night, a chance to get outside and shake off the winter clothes, recognize the positive impact we can have on our community, and meet the personalities that give us such joy. It’s a great chance to meet your online heroes and digital superstars face to face.
Because not everyone meets a private jet pilot who also does home deliveries responding to a tweet.
Make some new friends and meet some old ones too at this year’s Petertweeter, Thursday March 21 2013.
As you know, I’m pretty excited about new toys and technology, but what you may not know is how excited I’ve been to try the release version of Microsoft’s (MS) latest OS: Windows 8 (W8). I’m excited about the Metro Windows 8 design aesthetic, and really interested to see how MS managed to pull off an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the geek elite. (read the article but stay for the comments)
I have another objective though: I’m a power user by all definition of the word, and cannot sacrifice anything when it comes to my power suite of tools: Adobe CS, Lightwave, MS Office. These apps have to work. And if they work better, then as far as I’m concerned that’s what a new OS should bring to the table.
I’m happy to report with the exception of one major caveat (which was resolved, and was a Sony laptop issue in the end, see below) my upgrade experience has been eye-opening in a good way. It’s redefined my use of the personal computer. And it’s made me a more focused workflow.
I was using Windows 7 professional, and received a $15 upgrade voucher as a result of buying a laptop for my son this fall. He didn’t want the upgrade, so here we go.
The first order of any upgrade is to back up your existing system. Which of course nobody does. But I do have one advantage here: I installed Carbonite on this machine (and in fact I have it on all of my machines) which makes real-time or overnight backups automatically. It turns out this was critical in the success of my upgrade: when the W8 installer says it will start fresh, it doesn’t create a dual-boot system as I expected. Imagine my shock of launching W8 to find everything was deleted! Again, I was expecting to find an install option that asked me if I wanted to dual-boot (keep my W7 installation but also provide a W8 option on boot-up).
My panic lasted about 10 seconds when I realized Carbonite had been backing up my system diligently for over three years.
Two notes about Carbonite: you can transfer your license to a new computer (or new OS on the same computer) but it freezed the archive until you’ve restored what you need. Then, you unfreeze the archive. But in doing so, I believe your existing archive is replaced with your new stuff. I’m still in the process of restoring my files; if it doesn’t work right I’ll let you know here.
The other note about Carbonite: no, I don’t work for Carbonite. But if you sign up using my referral I get a free month or something. Email me if you would like a code.
The upgrade itself took about 2 hours and was beautiful. Very Mac-like as one Twitter follower observed.
By far the biggest source of anxiety is the start screen. I played with an earlier incarnation of MS Media Player that kind of took over the screen to play music and videos. It was very Xbox-like and I got the idea of it, but I felt claustrophobic and kept my finger on the alt-tab key at all times to get me out of this walled garden. At first blush, the new start screen feels like that: looks pretty, but where’s the Start button? A few minutes cycling the Windows key took care of any anxiety.
The Start Screen is the old Start button.
There are a few shortcuts you should learn right away to help navigating through W8 more enjoyable. The first one is the Windows key. It’s been changed to be a toggle: W8 start screen, and the Desktop. Back and forth.
The next gestures aren’t keystrokes but they are short events you do to bring up tasks. If you paid attention during the W8 installation you know about these after watching their demo video:
– bottom left: desktop switcher (which can be done faster with the Windows key), or right click bottom left: deep geeky control panel stuff
– top right: context sensitive settings (charms) and power options
– near top right: your login info
– top left: open W8 applications
Note that with the top left, you see the entire contents of your Desktop as one application, because the new OS treats the Desktop as an application. You can have 10 old Windows programs running there, but the new launcher will only show it as the Desktop. Jury’s out on this one. As a power user, it’s kinda weird only seeing one charm for everything running, but it’s not a terrible migratory step to the new app workflow. Good news though, if you’re comfortable using alt+tab to switch between applications, this task switcher shows everything as unique tiles.
The Charms on the top right are context sensitive and work great. The best thing are Search and Settings. Depending on the app you’re using, they respond a little differently in a good way. So search with the Apps screen open searches for Apps. Search with the Music screen open searches for Music. Very easy to get used to and contributes to a faster OS.
Sliding the top of the screen down or down and to the side is very Amiga Workbench which makes me and a few hundred old geeks probably very happy. It’s a very satisfying gesture to drag an app down to close it. One tip: even though it looks like you’re closing your Desktop with all the open apps along with it, you’re just minimizing it. A bit of a UX inconsistency there.
There are a few growing pains associated with the new start screen. One that was solved with more effort than I expected: the lack of an onscreen clock tile! You cannot tell the time in Windows 8! There are a few clocks, but don’t necessarily have a live-tile option, or they show the time the last time the app was launched. That’s right, you have to launch the Clock app to see the time! Luckily there is ONE (and only one) app from Microsoft itself that has the time in a live tile. One colour. No font choices. 24 hour clock only (no AM/PM). Here is the link, and it’s amazing how bad it is and how it cannot be customized. Hoping that will be improved in the future.
Another note about apps: the store feels very version one point zero. Lots of strange useless apps, and some obviously missing ones (like a formal Twitter and Facebook app, a good clock app), and a free version of the original Angry Birds. But the good ones (NYT, Tweetro) are very, very good.
I’m going to jump ahead a bit and address one of the most startling benefits of working in W8: productivity. In a nutshell, I find it interesting how as computer users we’re so accustomed to having two, three, five or ten windows open and stacked on top of each other. Or perhaps your desktop looks like your real desktop (ie: messy and cluttered).
It’s very distracting.
With its one-screen design, W8 forces you to focus on the one task at hand. For the first few days, I was definitely in withdrawal not being able to see all of my apps open at once, and that strange one-third view just infuriated me. Working in Desktop mode with all the stacked windows felt like cheating for sure. But it seems to have paid off and things like writing this blog post go better without distractions.
About that ‘one-third’ view I mentioned. With proper W8 apps that have been written to take advantage of it, it’s amazing. In web design, we call it responsive design, where a site’s content reformats to fit the intended space. In this case, apps like Tweetro reformat to take advantage of the narrower screen. The New York Times app is another example of an application designed from the ground up to support the positive constraints offered by a one-view or in this case, two-view heads up. I like it.
I need to spend a few moments discussing Desktop mode. If you’ve been a Windows user since Windows 95, this is the mode you may be the most familiar with. I’ve been running all sorts of ‘classic’ applications like Adobe Creative Suite, Lightwave, and Word, and they all run great. In fact, as is to be expected with a fresh install of the OS, they run better than before.
A note about Internet Explorer: there are two versions! This is a way to preserve the existing userbase I suppose (Desktop version) and show the world how a full-screen version (W8) can improve your web browsing experience. Yes, i did say IE will improve your life. It’s very fast, very complient, all web pages load so far. Keep in mind something else that took me a while to learn: use the right-click to access tabs and the URL bar, along with pinned favourites. To get to your favourites, you have to move your mouse to the bottom. As you do so, the bookmarks comes up.
As with any fresh install of the Operating System, everything is snappy. But what I didn’t expect was that everything would run faster and better than before. Classic apps run great, but the new W8 apps from the App store are stunning considering we’re using a three year old laptop. I can’t believe the performance increase in my machine, which has been echoed online.
Boot up in particular is astonishing: I’m up and running in well under one minute from a cold start. Incredible.
The Windows App store has an alarming lack of quality content. There is no official Twitter client (I’m using Tweetro and it’s OK). The IE10 app just disappears from the Start screen unless you make it the default app (that’s more than a little strange). The included picture viewer is very nice, but above all the sweetest suprise is the free (for now) XBox Music service. I think this goes for at least $10/m and it’s free with your W8 installation.
The only downside of the installation happened a week after I made the leap. I took my laptop home and tried to connect to my WiFi. Immediately I noticed the WiFi switch didn’t light up green when slid to the ON setting. No amount of sliding could bring it online. Tethered to a LAN cable, I spent the better part of the weekend scouring the web for a solution.
I can’t be the only Sony Viao laptop owner upgrading to Windows 8 who will encounter this problem, so here is the solution:
– remove the battery
– wait 30 seconds
– turn the WiFi button on
– re-install the battery
– turn on your laptop
It worked! Not only that, now I can turn the WiFi off and on again with the switch just as before.
Note this wasn’t a W8 problem, rather a problem with Sony Vaio and other laptops that have a hardware switch on the front or side of the laptop. Thanks to Qualcomm Atheros for their suggestions on Twitter as well.
Conclusion (for now)
The big question: “Do I upgrade”?
If you’re a bit of a geek, and want to be on the bleeding edge of user interface experience, and want to experience a fresh and fast new lease on your old laptop, then go for it. You don’t need a touch interface to experience W8. In fact, most of my time was just with an old mouse until I got the tablet hooked up to it. A tablet was definitely nice. Touch might be perfect. Time will tell.
There is a learning curve. In fact, I consider myself an above-average geek and it took me days. But part of the problem was there weren’t a lot of blogs or support out there talking about average people going about their business on the OS. Hopefully this blog post will help you make an informed decision.
Let me know how it works out for you! I’ll be updating this page regularly over the next few days.
This story falls under the category of ‘unbelievable‘ and a little bit ‘crazy‘ but it’s the truth.
I was working a lot of strange hours and getting all ramped up for winter, and found myself nearly passed out in the Springville Pioneer gas station just west of Peterborough contemplating my next move. On promo was an energy drink I’d never heard of, with some pictures of angry shirtless men taunting me to try the Xyience Mango Guava Premium.
I’m a sucker for Guava. Seriously. I paid for the drink and swiped my loyalty card. Pioneer really does have one of the best and easiest to understand loyalty programs.
The drink was delicious and I’m here today so I must have survived the sleep deprivation I was under.
Next thing I know, I’m getting a call from Tori at Pioneer congratulating me on my grand prize win: I won tickets for two to a UFC fight in Las Vegas! Flight and hotel all included!
Of course, anyone that knows me could imagine that the first thing I did was look up UFC on wikipedia. I had heard about the sport, and I have clients that are definitely very big fans, but I had no idea the scope and level of excitement surrounding a proper UFC fight. Especially one on Xyience home turf Las Vegas.
Word spread fast among friends and family that I won the grand prize. It’s amazing how many people not only know about the sport intimately, but knew the fight number (143) and the title card (Diaz and Condit). Visit the amazing website for more details on the event.
So mom’s taking care of the kids, and Susan and I are going to live it up for a long weekend February 2-5th 2012.
You might want to subscribe to my twitter feed now. This will be an interesting adventure!
EDIT: PeterTweeter is the mascot of this year’s PeterTweeter Awards! Thank you @ptbo_skeptic and the committee for your support!
I owe the success of my move to the Kawarthas to Twitter.
The #creativecocktails and #thinkPTBO hashtags, along with the musings of countless artists, designers and other creative professionals reinforce the positive community vibe in this beautiful part of the world.
When I heard about the PeterTweeters awards coming up this March, I wanted to give back to the community who has been so good to me and my family. The Award Ceremony is a celebration of the energy, humour and technology that makes Peterborough so unique.
I present to Peterborough: PeterTweeter.
Not sure if there’s a mascot already – I don’t want to interfere with anyone who may have done one already… but this is a labour of love and the group organizing it is welcome to use it if they like it.
Of course any representation of Peterborough wouldn’t be complete with some cozy plaid, and a permanent happy disposition.
I created PeterTweeter in a marathon modelling and texturing session (including some tricky FiberFX scuplting) in Lightwave3D. You can download a hirez copy here.
EDIT: a web site for more information hosted by one of the event organizers Donald Fraser.
Welcome to your new term of Video Capture at Durham College Winter 2012!
Please take a moment to upload some of your best work from the past year, or a link to your best work. No restrictions on the subject matter: just a quick sentence or two explaining what we’re looking at.
All Inclusive Peterborough corporate video: $495 for the shoot, edit, and ready for YouTube
If you’re a small-medium sized business owner in Peterborough, Ontario, you’ve probably been thinking of hiring a local video producer to demonstrate a product or service.
I’ve been producing instructional, broadcast and corporate videos for over 20 years, and my small team can get your new video online fast.
Here is a sample of the businesses I’ve shot video for in the Peterborough, Lindsay, GTA and Northumberland region through my work with Yellow Pages Group and direct referrals:
Adelaide Place Retirement Community (Lindsay)
Applewood Retirement Residence
City Hearing Aid Centre
Dr Sun Dental
Dr Younes Dental Centre (Belleville)
HIV/Aids Legal Clinic (Toronto)
Herb Lang Well
Jeff Purvey’s Fish’n Chips
Quinte Roofing (Belleville)
Kawartha Denture Clinic
Peterborough Photo Service
Peterborough Chiropractic Group
Oasis Pool and Garden
Say It With A Rose
…and many more. Ask for details.
You can have your own business video!
We can help set up a YouTube page, small web site, or blog, and get it noticed by your customers who use Google or Facebook.
Above is an example of what I can do in about two hours with a quick turnaround. Professional HGTV host not included!
Pricing can be very simple: a one hour High Definition shoot, simple lights, on-location voice-over with a professional microphone, and four hours of editing is only $495. That includes scanning in your business card, encoding your video to the web, and enabling it to be seen on a phone, tablet, or desktop computer. Extra fees may include a tricky shoot, web hosting, or web design.
Very few things have impacted my world and the way I interact with my circle of friends more than Facebook.
By world I mean personally, professionally, and even spiritually.
I’ve connected with friends from high school, and remarked about how communication worked on such a profoundly different level now than it did in 1982. Questions left unanswered in the state of confusion that can only be described as adolescence have all been answered. Many of those friends have gone on to become business partners, mentors, and leaders I admire 25 years later.
Like most new business owners, I struggled for a year get my wedding videography company off the ground, and it wasn’t until I learned how to game the SEO and take out as many Facebook ads as I could afford, did I learn the truth behind what a bride is looking for, how the groom isn’t looking, and what that bride is probably thinking about the moment she clicks the Facebook ad. Blush Wedding Films is now a profitable summertime business that I thoroughly enjoy being a part of.
This spring, when my dad passed away, Facebook lit up with condolences but more importantly without picking up a phone, my family and I were able to plan a beautiful service with visitors from as far away as Texas, and with students I haven’t seen in over 30 years. All thanks to Facebook.
The Walled Garden
Facebook was a lovely walled garden, home to me and my most intimate friends and family. It was also home to a number of companies that serviced my needs: geeky rack mounted servers, 3D animation software, and lately the never-ending stream of kick-ass mountain biking films.
And I gave back to my community. People would tell me that they looked forward to my hand-curated stream of nerd PR, cool animation, and the odd conspiracy theory. Logging into Facebook was like throwing a party several times a day for a few seconds, and with every little red notification I felt like I belonged there.
The problem is that I was preaching to the converted. Like most, I struggled to get above 300 ‘friends’, and in fact many of them I had not met in person for many years. I was starting to add on spouses of friends, just to keep it fresh. And of course the company pages really took off over the past few years, and I got hooked into a few of those.
I was beginning to think of Facebook AS the Internet. The more I thought of it, the more this really disappointed myself as a card-carrying geek, so I took steps to change things.
The first thing I did was make a commitment to my website at dolish.com. It lamented in the web 1.0 world of ‘hey it works in Pine’ and ‘I can see it on my WAP browser’ for years. I know when I was looking for work a few years ago after the broadcast crash that my site did me more harm than good. I needed something that put myself back on a pedestal and declared to the world who I was. The problem with Facebook is that you can’t really open yourself up in that way. It’s very strange how it’s exclusive, but profoundly public at the same time.
The other thing I did was revisit the most intravenous connection you can have to the public: Twitter. Twitter up until now served very little purpose in my life, but it was the earthquake in Toronto this summer that woke me up to the possibility of hyper-micro-marketing. Searching for #earthquake and getting remarkably salient results, I started to think about how I could market myself in this way: not to everyone at once, but just to the people who need me at that precise moment in time. Luckily, I was planning a move to Peterborough from Oshawa, which involved pretty much severing my ties with he GTA. I refuse to commute daily. But my Facebook pals were mostly GTA and doing the same thing we’ve all been doing for years.
Using Twitter I discovered what can only be described as a remarkable microcosm of creative energy and talent in the Peterborough area. After following a few prolific posters, I discovered a healthy and inclusive creative industry and culture unlike any that I’ve ever seen in North America, aside from maybe Vancouver. Toronto events are often very crowded, involve parking and driving, they’ve always very expensive, and I’m left with a hollow feeling that can only be experienced sitting in the 500 level of the Rogers Centre that I’m just not a part of the event I’m experiencing.
Twitter has opened me up to the MarketHall, where I took my wife to see a lovely concert by the Good Lovelies. I shot parts of their first music video “Lie Down” but it wasn’t until I saw them live in an intimate setting that I was able to actually connect to them. This summer, we saw three concerts at the Little Lake Music Festival, including my doppelgänger Steven Page. In Toronto I’d be too busy worrying about getting a parking ticket, or how the kids were dealing with the babysitter, or work the next day. Here I just enjoyed life and meeting new people.
Twitter has re-introduced me to proper old-skool get-outside networking. I’ll never forget the event called #thinkPTBO hosted on the shore of Little Lake at the Silver Bean Cafe. A few tweets went out that there was going to be a creative meetup, and it was happening now. I stopped by and shook hands with people that would go on to be close acquaintances and friends including Evan at ptbo_Canada, Michael at the New Canadians Centre (among other gigs), the guys at WildRock (where I won a prize for being the 100th Twitter follower), many photographers, small business owners, and the guys at Page.
Paul and David at Page Design get it. They really understand networking, social, inclusiveness, and the creative process. In Toronto I would never have a chance to walk in the front door and sit around drinking coffee and blue-skying ideas and pitches, but that’s precisely what I did after the most recent Twitter-fueled #creativeCocktail earlier this month. We closed the place talking about the broadcast business, my obsession with font kerning, and road biking. That reminds me, I have a few more pictures from New Zealand to post.
It’s not just Twitter; after all, there will be something new around the corner. But what I knew for certain was that I wasn’t getting anywhere reading the same rant and posting the same clever video to the same people just for Facebook. And Twitter just acted as a catalyst to get me thinking about my brand, the image I project to new people, and what I want to be when I grow up.
So I went to purge my Facebook profile and spend some time on my blog. The dolish dot com site redesign ended up taking me weeks to refine. The purging of my Facebook profile was going brutally slow, by design I might add. Facebook doesn’t want you to remove friends and work hard to prevent that from happening every step of the way. I couldn’t delete my account completely, because I’m the admin of a number of group or business pages including my wedding site. But the more I cut the more I was free. Free to do what I wanted with the Internet. Free to create my own space where people could pop in and pull whatever content that catches their eye. Near the end, I started getting concerned messages from good friends (via Facebook of course) asking if they were the next to be culled. If they took the time to email, the cut didn’t happen immediately. But in the end, everyone but close family and the businesses I administrate remain. My list went from almost 300 friends to about 25.
It’s important to point out to those that are reading this blog wondering what happened, that I’m not severing any relationships I’ve built over the years, some that have been with me my entire life. I just needed to expand my horizon a lot. This blog, Twitter, and old fashioned RSS is your key to keeping in touch with me.
The new friends I’ve met at Peterborough’s Nata’s Cafe for a coffee, the creative community I’m bumping into at the ATM or at the Farmer’s Market, and the Kawartha business owners who I’ve met through my work with the Yellow Pages, are now my neighbours and join my circle of precious friends. My quality of life hasn’t been just improved: it’s been completely re-written. By leaving the veiled garden of Facebook and meeting new people and having real conversations and setting real goals, I’ve never felt so alive and excited about life and the opportunity that’s out there.
And the fact that I left the ‘share this on Facebook’ social button below has not gone unnoticed.
This 15 minute video kept my crew and I busy for a few weeks this summer. Produced in association with the Canadian law firm McCarthy Tétrault, this hybrid video/kinetic type animation explains in simple terms the reasoning behind proper record keeping in the modern age.
It also serves to introduce best practices as defined by The Sedona Canada Principles, Working Group 7, and practicing lawyers and judges in the field.
Software used included Lightwave, 3D Studio Max, After Effects and Sony Vegas. Hosting is provided by the new Vimeo Pro service.
Voice: Andrew Hanna, PNA
Written by: Kyla Schmidt, Thomas NT Sutton
Animation: Rick Dolishny, Todd Morgan
Camera: Adrian Parks
Directed/Edited by: Rick Dolishny
Produced by: Thomas NT Sutton, Partner, Litigation, McCarthy Tétrault