Speaking on panel at Siggraph: DIY Media & Distribution

Siggraph 2009
I’m heading to New Orleans in the morning to attend Siggraph 2009, the “36th international conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques.” Long time pal Spot Draves, the super genius computer generative artist behind Electric Sheep, asked me join him on a panel he’s moderating titled DIY Media & Distribution. Pioneering musician Todd Rundgren was originally slated for the panel, but had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict. Here’s the full description:

DIY Media & Distribution

Thursday, 6 August | 10:30 AM – 12:15 PM | Room 243-245

A discussion of how low-cost or open-source development and distribution tools are affecting creative production. It features creative pioneers and programmers who have irretrievably altered musical composition, computer graphics, the future of journalism, and the definition of art. Like every advancement since the stone age, their work enlists the help of machines to improve upon what humans once made by themselves – fundamentally modern but also timeless.

The panelists explore people-oriented ideals, like creating design programs that are free for everyone to use and build upon, television programming that allows amateurs to acquire air time, one-person symphonies, and artwork to which non-artists contribute small drawings. They also discuss the users, who help the internet live up to its potential by taking part in the myriad opportunities to show off their creativity in ways never before possible.

Do we live in a brief renaissance period where the gates are down and all bets are off, little realizing that the window will soon close and economic, corporate, or government forces will restrict the world’s media again? Or do our times mark the beginning of a permanent openness, where you don’t have to be established to have a voice, and where large-scale collaboration happens without financial incentives.

Scott Draves
Google Inc.

Todd Rundgren cancelled
Musician and composer

Eddie Codel
Geek Entertainment TV

Aaron Koblin
Google Creative Lab

Tiffiniy Cheng
Participatory Culture Foundation

Phil Bronstein interviews Sam Rockwell

Sam Rockwell: Bronstein at Large from ekai on Vimeo.

One of the coolest things about what I do for living is being able to work with a wide variety of people. Last week, my friend Eve who works at San Francisco Chronicle, asked if I could shoot a video interview with Phil Bronstein, editor-at-large at the Chron and Sam Rockwell, actor who stars in Choke. Choke is the latest film based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk, famous for writing Fight Club. It opens this Friday.

Remake a death scene with your cell phone

Make a death scene

We are now in the final act, Act III: Death, of the Spike Lee Nokia video project I am helping out with. I posted previously about it here. To encourage greater participation we are challenging people to remake or swede (as in Be Kind, Rewind) death scenes from their favorite movies using their cell phones.

I am one of five “assistant directors” who are working to cull through the bullshit and try to highlight some of the good stuff as well as guide people through the submission process. The stuff submitted so far has been mixed, so this is where you come in. The five ADs each get to pick someone from the pool of submissions to fly out to the movie’s premiere in LA in October. Hotels and flights all covered by Nokia, anywhere within the continental US that is. You’ll get the satisfaction of seeing your remake possibly making it into the final cut, hang out in LA and shmooze it up with Spike Lee. The catch is you need to have your sweded scene done and uploaded to the Nokia Productions site by August 20th, which is in like 10 days. Any cell phone is fair game, doesn’t have to be Nokia.

I encourage anyone to give it a shot and shoot me an email or leave a comment if you need help getting going. Also point me to your stuff when it’s up so I can take a look. I’d love to be able to give away the LA trip to a reader of this blog. More details and how to upload your content is on the Nokia Productions site, which uses Jumpcut for video hosting/remixing. Make sure to tag your submission ‘famousdeathscenes’ so it’ll be considered for the free trip.


The Long Now on the Mechanicrawl

I had the spectacular pleasure of bouncing around with Mr. Telstar Logistics himself, Todd Lappin, to capture for Boing Boing TV interesting stops along the way of The Long Now Foundation‘s Mechanicrawl event. First stop was the Long Now’s own museum of prototypes for its 10,000 year clock. Long Now’s Executive Director Alexander Rose breaks down all the awesomeness in this video. Lots of shiny rotating machinery and geneva mechanisms to ooh and ahh at.

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I went to Comic-Con and all I got were these videos

Matthew Fox

Pals and Webzine alums Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders asked me to come to Comic-Con this year and shoot video for io9, the Gawker sci-fi blog they edit. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. Turns out it was a lot of bouncing around from panels to halls to press roundtables to celeb filled red carpets. Lots of A, B and Z list celebrities in need of pimping their latest action packed movies and TV shows. Yeah, not a bad alternative to sleep for a few days.

Here’s links to the video coverage I did for io9. I’ll add more as they publish.

Matthew Fox: Jack from Lost

J.J. Abrams: Creator of Lost & Alias, Producer of Cloverfield

Matt Dallas: Kyle XY

Jamie Chung: Samurai Girl & Chi Chi in Dragonball

Dave Filoni: Director of Clone Wars

Billy Crudup: Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen [panel]

Patrick Wilson: Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl in Watchmen [panel]

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Help me make a film with Spike Lee and Nokia

Nokia Productions film project with Spike Lee

I’ve been asked by Nokia to help with a pretty cool collaborative promotional project they’re doing with filmmaker Spike Lee. They’re encouraging people like you to use your cell phones and send in snapshots of moments from your life that fits the overall theme of HUMANITY. Spike also wants you to think of how music helps to tell the story of HUMANITY. These snapshots will be edited together into a coherent film, directed by Spike Lee himself. Well, not just himself. I’m one of five “assistant directors” who are here to help guide people in sending stuff in. As part of that, Nokia has setup a group blog for us assistants where we’ll post examples of what to submit, answer questions and help identify the pearls in the sea of submissions that are sure to flood in.

The project is broken into three Acts. The first Act BIRTH, has already come and gone. Act II is LIFE and it just opened today for submissions. Act III has yet to be announced, though it may not be too hard guess what it is. Now through July 2nd, you can submit text, pictures, music or video via the Jumpcut platform that Nokia Productions is using to build this thing. It has its limitations and the main Nokia Productions site isn’t very well integrated into the Jumpcut platform but don’t let that discourage you. As the kids say, there’s plenty of win here!

What’s really encouraged is using your crappy old cell phone to send stuff in. Take a photo or a low-res pixelated video. Do a lot with a little. This won’t be Cloverfield, but if you were being attacked by a big space monster, how would you capture it? This doesn’t mean you can’t use more pro gear. Content from any device is totally acceptable, it just needs to fit the theme of humanity in the context of music telling a story. They’ve even sent us assistants older Nokia 3555 phones to challenge us to submit stuff with low end cheap technology. No streaming N95s here! Once I figure out how to get stuff off the 3555 on to Jumpcut, I’ll post some examples to the group blog.

This NY Times article from April digs into the project a bit deeper, addressing how it fits into the greater world of social networking and “user generated content” (I really hate that term). Check the Nokia Productions site for more details and point me to anything you’ve submitted. I’d love to check out your stuff. Oh yeah, you can also win stuff.

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Cranky Geeks

Eddie on Cranky Geeks ep84

I’m making the rounds on the Sunday morning talk shows on the tubes. Well, ok, just one show, and it was Wednesday last week on Cranky Geeks, John Dvorak’s weekly talking head geek show thing. I guested with Keith Teare, CEO of Edgeio, which does something with distributed classified ads. Josh Wolf was also a guest recently on a show dedicated to the subject of citizen journalism. Definitely recommend that one.

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Josh Wolf owns Colbert

Friend and fellow video blogger Josh Wolf, who had 7 months of his life taken from him by the federal government, made a stellar appearance on the Colbert Report last night. Josh was solidly on his game, even catching Colbert off guard a couple of times. It’s rare to see both Thomas Paine and Charles Manson invoked in an interview, but it all makes complete sense. You gotta watch!


Best Press Conference Ever

After the ridiculous overreaction by the Boston authorities over the Aqua Teen Hunger Force LED lightboard graffiti campaign, the two guys behind the Boston pieces held this most awesome press conference.

In this whole debacle, the media keeps calling these LED ads “hoax devices” which is complete bullshit. This implies that the creators intended to make people think they were bombs to cause fear and hysteria. Listen up Boston! It’s a friggin’ ad campaign! The fear and hysteria came from your overreaction to this whole thing, not Turner Broadcasting or the guys who made the harmless lightboards. 9 other cities didn’t freak out, why did Boston? Btw, Aqua Teen Hunger Force is a damn funny show.