Filed under: Uncategorized
I am marking a decade of being a Mac user and at the same time the company just release the iPad. So it wasn’t a big stretch for me to pre-order the iPad and count down the days until its April 3rd delivery date.
I didn’t exactly order it for me. My wife has been wanting a laptop for sometime because both of the other computers (the iMac in the office and my MacBook Pro) were always being used for my stuff, (i.e. editing, graphics, office work, etc) Yet somehow the $1000 price tag for a MacBook just didn’t seem worth it for how she uses a computer. Sure some of you might be saying “Well you could have bought a Dell or HP for cheaper.” That is true, but we are, as my wife would say, a “Mac household.”
That simple truth kept delaying her having her very own laptop. We both new that she nor I would be satisfied with a PC. It wasn’t until the rumors of a “touch screen tablet” from Apple began to circulate that there seemed to be a solution. As soon as they announced it for pre-order and with my wife’s birthday being conveniently only a week before the delivery date, we ordered it.
After opening the iPad on Saturday we were pleasantly reassured that Apple got it right. There are a lot of people out there that have been saying that it is nothing more than a big iPhone or iTouch. What we found is that they’re right, but I argue that it’s a good thing.
For users, like my wife, who want a good internet-browsing tool that can access email, calendars and contacts, will store all of their photos, music, movies and books and have a variety of other utility functions the iPhone or iTouch could have been the answer. The only problem is that they’re way too small, which is quite simply a deal breaker.
The iPad is the answer. She doesn’t really need a fully operating laptop, but she also needs more than an iPhone. The iPad has all that an iPhone can offer plus a larger display (that’s actually quite beautiful), better keyboard, word processing and is much faster. Sure it still runs the iPhone operating system and doesn’t allow for much multitasking, but that isn’t really the purpose is it?
She has all the functionality that she needs out of a laptop, the mobility of the iPhone and the ease of use of the fine-tuned touch screen all for a forth of the price of my MacBook Pro. That in my mind is a perfect solution to our problem.
It won’t be long either, before others catch on. I guess some 300,000 thousand were already sold on Saturday alone.
Well done Apple… well done.
Now if you’ll just get out of the contract with AT&T we’d be really happy!
Filed under: Uncategorized
Filed under: Uncategorized
I arrived home the other day to find a promotional card that looked a lot like a lottery ticket taped to my front door. Out of curiosity, I pulled the multi-colored card from its clinging position on my door and carried it into the kitchen.
In big letters across the top were the words “$5000 jackpot.” Right beneath those words was a familiar, silvery substance that I knew from past experience promised me a chance to win that “$5000 jackpot” even if the odds were small. The rules seemed simple enough too. Copying the format of Blackjack, a game I have never actually played, you scratch away at the film, that reminded me somewhat of crayon residue, to reveal the dealers hand and then all three of yours.
I skeptically scratched away. Is there such an act of “skeptically scratching?” Anyway…
Well, I knew that my hand beat the dealer’s hand, but I was still quite skeptical about winning anything worth the time that I took to play the game. But again curiosity got the better of me and I flipped the card over to review the “winnings.”
As I read the information my suspicions were confirmed. Although the winnings seemed good enough, a video game system, TV, vacation, knife set, GPS or the $5000, the card required you to call a number to find out what you won. I read on, through all of the fine print and there amongst the tiny font was the fact that I would have to watch a short presentation on a “new and exciting air filtration system.”
This is where I should have walked the 5 feet to the trashcan and dropped the card in!
Yet again, like a fish suspiciously approaching “a funny looking worm” dangling in the water with every intention of at least giving it a nibble, I called the number. I don’t play the actual lottery but “this ticket was free so what was the harm,” I thought. The lady on the other end of the line was polite, asked a few questions and before I knew it, I had promised an in-home presentation of this “new and exciting air filtration system.” In return I was guaranteed one of the prizes on the back of the card for only 10 minutes of my time.
Hook, line and sinker…
I called my wife, who immediately informed me that this was a bad idea. Yet being the curious one in the relationship and somewhat of a sucker for a good deal I was going to move forward with our 10 minute presentation scheduled for the following evening. My wife reluctantly agreed after some persuasion and a few statements sounding something like “All we have to do is watch this 10 minute presentation, give our feedback and we win something.”
The following evening, at the designated time, we heard a knock at the door following the sound of a rusted out muffler running in the driveway. I opened the door to see a somewhat burly looking woman in her mid 40s standing on my front steps. I opened the door and she introduced herself as being a representative from the company that I had spoken to a day earlier.
She awkwardly invited herself in and I closed the door behind her. She seemed harmless and I felt sort of bad for her as I could tell that this was way outside of her comfort zone. “Let’s just sit and talk for a bit and get to know each other,” she explained to my wife and me. Although odd in timing and obviously forced upon her by some sort of crash course in sales, we obliged the conversation and sat on the couch across from her.
What followed was a 10-minute period of silence peppered with her attempts to “get to know us.”
With my agreed upon time frame already passed, I asked that we see the “new and exciting air filtration system” that she had to offer us. I knew that was the only way I was going to find out what I won and get the presentation over as quickly as possible.
She reluctantly stood up and walked toward the door while explaining step by step what she was going to do.
“I’ll go to the car and get two boxes and carry them to the porch. Then if you’ll let me back in we can start the demo.”
I wondered if the superfluous detail was a part of her crash course in sales as well. Was she afraid I was going to leave her standing on the front porch with these two boxes?
She returned, as she detailed, with two boxes and I let her back in. Carrying a large cardboard box and a smaller black case, she walked over into the middle of our area rug, dropped the cardboard box to the floor and took a seat on the black case. She stood slightly, pulled opened the black case and removed a binder before sitting back down.
“I am fairly new at this so I will have to read some of this information to you if that is okay,” she said. “Sure,” we replied not wanting to be rude. We both could tell how green she was without her having to say it.
“I am about to reveal to you a new breakthrough in air filtration that is changing the way that people view the air that they breathe,” she read in a monotone, cracked voice. It was odd to have someone read to me something that was intended on being conversational, but in delivery fell quite short of its goal.
She then placed the binder down in front of her and began opening the cardboard box. I was admittedly a little interested even if she wasn’t a natural salesperson. After fumbling with the tabs and folds of the box, she pulled a black, oblong shaped object out of the box and placed in down in front of us.
“What would you say that this looks like?” she asked. After an awkward pause, both my wife and I said almost in unison, “It looks like a vacuum cleaner.”
“I knew that you would think that,” she said “but it isn’t. The M8R90 is a new breakthrough in cleaning the air in your home.”
“Looks like a vacuum cleaner to me,” I thought.
She then proceeded to tell us about how several years ago a company had developed an air filtration system to be used in commercial clean up projects. They soon realized that although it cleaned the air with no problem, the dust that had settled would continuously get kicked back up into the air resulting in them repeating the “air filtration” process. Then one day as if by divine intervention they decided that they should put vacuum cleaner attachments on the “air filtration system” to solve the problem.
I sat glossy eyed, wanting to laugh at myself for being fooled into allowing a door-to-door vacuum cleaner saleswoman disguised as an “air filtration expert” into my home.
We looked at each other and then back at her. She sat there with an odd sense of pride about what she had just revealed to us. We were polite and allowed her to continue.
She went on, reading her script, telling us about vacuums versus airflow and why vacuum cleaners don’t work and how the M8R90 was going to do to the vacuum cleaner what the refrigerator did to the icebox.
Then came the demo. She poured sand in the M8R90, vacuumed everything in sight and had me standing up using every attachment in the box. Every time there was a new attachment a new white filter would go in the M8R90 and each time she would remove it to prove to us how dirty we really were; an odd sales technique.
By this point we were over an hour into our 10-minute presentation and we were getting a little irritated although we remained polite.
The demo finished and she looked at us with certainty and asked, “So what do you think?” I looked at my wife and then back at her. “Well,” I said. “It seems great but we have all wood floors and don’t have much need for a high-end vacuum cleaner.”
She looked around and winced as if it was the first time that she realize that our entire living room and probably the rest of the house was all wood floors. Although the comment was a blow she continued on with an entirely transparent, as if the entire presentation hadn’t been, attempt to help us understand how much money the M8R90 would save us.
After answering “no” several times to repeated attempts to dropping the price from $1900 to $900, which I assume is the actual price, she gave up. We thought the hour and a half ordeal was over.
But it wasn’t over. She had to call her boss and get permission to pack up.
Not only that, but she hadn’t been there long enough to call him and so she asked if she could stay a while longer. “Are you kidding me?” I thought. I felt bad for her but this was getting ridiculous. Yet not wanting to be too mean, we allowed her to stay.
We made small talk for another half hour before she called her boss, who made a last ditch effort to sell us the vacuum cleaner in disguise. After getting permission to pack up she hung up with him and went about doing so.
As she was packing up the M8R90 and her black case, she complained that she only gets the “sucky houses” as she put it and how her situation was horrible and she had bills. I sat politely and listened, offering poor attempts at consoling the disheveled door-to-door vacuum cleaner saleswoman.
Finally she left and we listened to her muffler as she exited our neighborhood.
So what did we win you ask?
A two nights stay at a Holiday Inn, in select cities, during off peak seasons that is still going to cost us travel, food and a $50 non-refundable room deposit.
Oh well. At least my area rug is really clean.
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Here is a video about Haiti from Fireside International, Luke Renner’s group. WARNING THE VIDEO IS GRAPHIC, but something we need to see.
Watch his video page for more updates.
Filed under: General | Tags: earthquake, Haiti, hope, humanitarian, storytelling
At 4:53 yesterday millions of Haitians experienced a catastrophic event that will prove to make their already difficult lives even more difficult. My wife and I were both struck by what happened to these people and found ourselves asking about how we could help. I know that many others would find themselves asking the same question.
The need in Haiti is already so great. A country devastated already by hunger, disease and poverty is now dealing with something that many of us in the developed world would have trouble handling.
We should all do what we can to help these people during this difficult time, whether that would be contacting Red Cross or another charity that would be able to provide support to the country and those in need. This immediate need also brought my mind back to a more long-term need that those of us in the media world will feel a real connection with. I encourage any of you that believe in the transformative power of storytelling to check out www.ageofthestoryteller.org.
This is the virtual site of a very real film school, The Caribbean Institute of Media Technologies, located in Haiti trying to make a long-term difference in the lives of the people by teaching them how to tell their stories. What a significant task! As their site will detail, Haiti is a country with an extremely low literacy rate and media can play a role in educating Haitians with not only skills that will help them communicate and find work, but skills that will begin to tell their collective story to each other and the world.
The Founder and Director, Luke Renner is an accomplished Director/Producer/Editor that actually graduated from my alma mater, Anderson University. What Luke has reminded me and what we should all contemplate is that bringing aid to those in the world that need it means doing more than just providing for the here and now, but helping them plan and hope for the future. Food, water, health care and education are important, but so is ones ability to tell their story, be heard and potentially bring hope and understanding to another through that story.
As you think about the ways that you might help the people in Haiti and around the world think not just about the essentials of life, but think about the potential of teaching people to become great storytellers and the power that could have for generations to come.
I am sure that there are more organizations than just Luke’s around the globe trying to do the same, but I encourage anyone that has a passion for storytelling to find a way to get involved in such a organization.
Here’s to Luke and others teaching people the power of Story.
*Update: Luke was interviewed on the Today Show and had great comments about the situation in Haiti. Find a way to give now and in the future!*
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It has been a few weeks since my last post. I intend to start posting more often. I am waiting to get word on a new year-long project that I will be working on. It should be exciting!
Also I finally got my new header up. If you can’t see it empty your web cache, reload the site and it should be there.
Talk to you soon,
Filed under: General, Production | Tags: comedy, culture, digital media, film, humor, industry, life, movies, outdoor photography, photographer, video
Beware of those LA Lurkers!
No, I didn’t spell it wrong. I meant what I said… “LA Lurkers.” What do I mean? Well… I have had occasion several times throughout my short career to work with or in proximity to what I refer to as the “LA Lurkers.” They’re not a semi-pro sports team or even people who are particularly good at lurking about. They are those video/film “professionals” that love to talk about their recent stint working, or lurking, close to or in our “holy land”… Hollywood.
Sure, we all “love” to hear about their close encounter with some A or B list celebrity at The Ivy during their lunch hour, but lets be honest… that is as close as they’ve come to “chatting it up” on set with Spielberg. Now don’t get me wrong, I am glad that they worked in LA and had a chance to be in the same city where some of the best cinematic creations that have ever been conceived of were produced. The issue that I have is that for some reason they seem to think that by the mere mentioning of the fact they worked near genius makes them somehow a genius themselves. Holding a light on a low budget film in LA is just as complicated as holding a light on a low budget film in Minneapolis, only more expensive!
Driving to the stadium and standing in the parking lot doesn’t mean you know what’s going on in the game!
The root of my problem with the “LA Lurkers” is that they attempt to position themselves as the big fish in our little pond. They want those of us in this industry, who aren’t a part of the Hollywood system, to feel as though we are inferior to them. The reality is that often times their connection with Hollywood was nothing more than geographic in nature and their talent lies well below where they want us to think that it is. Why else would they have left?
This isn’t always true of course. There are plenty of people who have done amazing work in LA and have decided to venture elsewhere in the world to work. The difference is that they don’t taut themselves as “Hollywood folk”. I think this is because these types of people have worked in the Hollywood system and have realized something… maybe it isn’t all its cracked up to be.
I came all the way to Hollywood and all I got was this stupid t-shirt.
If you ask most people they would say that Hollywood IS the “holy lands” of film production. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. I was once working (for free and the experience!) on a low budget Hollywood production that was shooting on location near my hometown. In between takes, I was talking with a union grip that flew out to work the shoot. He was perplexed by the idea that I was passionate about film, but wasn’t moving to Hollywood. “If you want to make cars, you go to Detroit and if you want to make movies you go to Hollywood,” he said. Obviously this was before the auto industry collapse! J You get his point though. Yet I find myself questioning some of this premise.
Hollywood is the place where great movies are made, but it’s also the place where a lot of bad movies are made. The point is that although there is something to be said of the talent that works in LA, not everyone there is great at what they do. I know for a fact that great, and I mean fantastic, film and video is being created in a lot of cities all across the country. Don’t believe me? Pick a decent sized city. Google it and find video/film production houses in the area. Google them and look at their portfolio pages. Surprising huh?
We don’t even have to pay for rain. It’s free here!
So a word to those “LA Lurkers”… I don’t care that you worked in LA or Hollywood. I’m not being mean or rude just honest. If it worked out for you and you got great experience then I congratulate you on your effort. It does take guts to chase your dream and move to Hollywood and live in a 2-bedroom apartment with 5 other people. I commend you on that spirit of adventure, but it doesn’t mean that what you did there is automatically better than what is happening in a lot of other places.
Furthermore, those of us in the world outside Hollywood should feel good about the work that we’re doing and where we’re doing it. Because in the end it doesn’t matter where you wrote it, shot it or edited it. All that matters is that what you put on the screen affects people. That defies geography!