Archive for the Inspiration Category

Book brought to life

Posted in Inspiration, Videontology with tags on January 12, 2010 by re: turn on

This is such an impeccable, beautifully crafted example of stop motion that we simply had to post it. No critiques or pithy comments, just let the work speak for itself.

Produced by Londoners Andersen M Studio for Colenso BBDO NZ, “Going West” is some serious portfolio material, exemplifying the artist’s command of composition, chiaroscuro and technique. If anyone has seen anything comparable, please comment below.


Far from the Madding Crowd

Posted in digitalent, Inspiration, Music Clips, Videontology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2010 by re: turn on

Whether you like his music or not, you have to give props to Trent Reznor for his balls, flying in the face of music industry copyright convention and giving labels the finger. In 2008 he privately releases the mammoth Nine Inch Nails album Ghosts with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. Three days ago he announces the imminent release of concert film “Another Version of the Truth: The Gift”, whose post-production was entirely crowdsourced to fans. NIN’s 2008 tour Lights in the Sky was shot professionally, but without a distribution deal to finance post-production, a finished film looked unlikely. Instead, Reznor released 405gb of raw footage freely online for his enthusiastic fanbase to edit and soundmix. They self-organised into an online collective called This One is On Us to crowdsource the production of a concert film that would have been a herculean task for even the most robust studio.

The inspiration originally came from “The Downward Spiral: Live at Webster Hall“, a concert film that was entirely crowdsourced from camera to DVD. I’ve long been a proponent of artists and corporations relaxing their copyright to accommodate the rising mash-up symbiosis (see my guest post for Julian Cole’s top blog Adspace Pioneers) and Trent Reznor continues to make my case for me. First he instates an open camera policy, rare for popular artists afraid their dubious talent might be shipwrecked upon the great ocean of YouTube. Webster Hall asked exorbitant fees for allowing crews to film, but they couldn’t police fans who brought their own cameras (that’s a copyright issue usually of concern solely to the performer/s). NIN’s open camera goodwill was reciprocated by fans, who aggregated footage from camera phones and video cameras, crowdsourced post-production and authored DVDs and torrent streams.

Artists take note: THE FUTURE IS NOW PRESENT
You lock yourselves in castles and build ramparts around your precious copyright, hoarding it away from the peasants who toil in your fields. You’re feudalists living in an anarcho-syndicalist commune. Just ask Dennis…

Dodgy Client

Posted in Inspiration with tags , , , , , on June 22, 2009 by re: turn on

In his blog Consumer Psychologist, Adam Ferrier wrote an excoriating account of his undercover visit to the Advanced Medical Institute (AMI), encountering dubious medical practices and pressure selling. Worth a read before AMI take an injunction out against him like they did the Sydney Morning Herald.

It made me wonder about the AMI’s advertising account; whatever its worth, is it nothing but a Faustian pact or mob deal? Does an agency lose its soul or pinky fingers when engaging a dodgy client?


In 2006 the Federal Court ruled newspaper ads for the AMI’s erectile dysfunction nasal spray were misleading or deceptive under section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 in proceedings against them, their agency Colbyco and spokesman Ian Turpie. Turps confessed the truth about his wang’s wonkiness (or lack thereof) as a media stunt to the ACCC in return for clemency. But a quick google search of Colbyco and MD Philip Somerset reveals nothing after this case. Did the incident ruin Colbyco, did they rebrand or are they stuck at the bottom of Sydney Harbour wearing concrete slippers?

To what degree do service providers bear responsibility for their client’s skullduggery? Is advertising questionable remedies for impotence to susceptible unfortunates all that different from advertising shampoo with keratin to image conscious women?

Peer respect is also important for an agency to flourish, particularly being lauded at self-congratulatory industry awards. But beware, those ad industry folk in the audience are easily provoked into an angry pitchfork waving mob.

If the AMI presently have an agency, they’re staying quiet about it. Given the continued controversies surrounding the AMI, including frequent Advertising Standards Bureau objections (the latest TVC listed here), does anyone know who handles their advertising?

Owning Creativity

Posted in Inspiration on May 28, 2009 by re: turn on

I was honoured to write a guest blog for Julian Cole’s blog Adspace Pioneers, one of my faves. I wrote about the ownership of creativity and the current co-existence of traditional intellectual property with the new Creative Commons.


Power of Provocation

Posted in Inspiration with tags , on May 21, 2009 by re: turn on

I recently got my panties in a bunch over Zac Martin’s guest post for Julian Cole’s blog Adspace Pioneers. Commenting on his inflammatory opinion of Hollywood’s imminent demise knotted up my panties good. What was interesting though is how his admission of deliberate provocation not only untied the knots in my panties, it also inspired self-reflection on my own blog writing style.

Zac being the consumate conversationalist, he has now continued the discussion on his blog Pigs Don’t Fly. It questions the necessity of sensationalism in not just social media, but media generally.

The Road

Posted in Inspiration with tags , , on May 13, 2009 by re: turn on

In 2006 Cormac McCarthy wrote the finest contemporary novel I have read to date: The Road. It is the simple story of a father and son walking to a better place in the colds of a nuclear winter, after a vaguely defined apocalypse. It is bleak, uncompromising and utterly transcendent.

I should point out that I knew little about The Road when I picked it up. It had just won the Pullitzer Prize for Fiction, which is not always indicative of a good read (The Shipping News anyone?). But by page 5 I could not put it down. Literally. I read it while I was walking, cooking, eating, pissing. I read it in a day and then I turned back to page 1 and immediately read it again.

The prose has a beautifully stark, rhythmic poetry emphasizing the monotonous cycle of foot travel, shelter seeking, hiding from danger and foraging for food that the father and son must endure. Nothing grows in this grey landscape incessantly blanketed by cloud. Food is limited to the occasional scattering of unopened tinned food and the flesh of other people. Surviviors have mostly been reduced to warring tribes of cannibals.

It could have been an interminably cliched apocalyptic thriller, like a literary adaptation of Mad Max 2 – The Road Warrior, minus the action and mohawks. Instead, its a spiritually uplifting parable of love and the reason we live; to protect and provide a better life for our children.

The film rights were optioned before publication in 2006. Aussie John Hillcoat was later attached to direct. While by no means perfect, his Nick Cave scripted The Proposition explored the animal tendency for human brutality in a beautifully lensed blasted landscape. Viggo Mortenson, who unequivocally proved top notch acting chops in David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, is starring as the father.

The stars seemed to be aligned until the release date was pushed from November 2008 (typical of an award season hopeful) to later this year. Often a bad sign when a studio takes the trouble to change marketing tack and piss off distributors. But according to Esquire, it sounds like a prudent move on Harvey Weinstein’s part. This is the master of the Awards campaign, whose Miramax went from tiny indie studio to mini-major off the back of awards favorites like The English Patient and Pulp Fiction.

Awards campaigns are a subtle marketing strategy, targeting audiences, influential industry players and Academy voters. Audience buzz is built around the importance of a movie, careful to avoid trivializing or over-saturating the public consciousness, which may be why Brokeback Mountain lost best picture to Crash (a terrible film IMHO). The Brokeback Mountain parodies were so frequent it became impossible to take the movie seriously.

I’m looking forward to Harvey Weinstein’s awards campaign nearly as much as the film itself. While the demographic may not be receptive, a social media campaign could bolster audience attendance. It worked like gangbusters for Cloverfield, Twilight and Star Trek. Academy voters are generally an older demographic, but it may not be long before the invitation “for your consideration” is made online.

Any thoughts marketing mavens and film fanatics?

Volunteering Unplugged

Posted in Inspiration with tags , , on May 12, 2009 by re: turn on

Obama-action1With the world as we know it falling to pieces in a consumerist environmental apocalypse from which even Superobama can’t save us, volunteers are more important now than ever.

Seek has a great new philanthropic job search feature for prospective volunteers. They’ve also set up a blog for people to submit stories about their favorite volunteering experience. Julian Cole volunteered his skills to Volunteering Unplugged and submitted his story. Gavin Heaton worked with Vibewire to develop their online and business strategy, which inspired me to do the same in a film production capacity. But I thought I’d share an old volunteering story from when I was a St John’s volunteer medic while studying biochemistry at the University of Queensland.

I had a lot of fun and a few wacky experiences as a St John’s volunteer medic. Drinking rum and milk with diggers after the ANZAC parade, patching up scraped knees at kids’ soccer games and talking down bad trips at music festivals. They trained me up and set me loose in all sorts of war zones.

I was a naive kid, wet behind my St John’s ears at Livid music festival in Brisbane 1997. We had two first aid tents and a van, yet were completely inundated with under aged over drinkers, brawlers and self-inflicted casualties. Rather than doing a run-of-the-mill stage dive, one man had the Icarian ambition to climb into the ceiling of a hall and jump into the crowd from 8 metres up. Quite sensibly, the crowd parted rather than absorb the impact his head and right shoulder would instead sustain. That kept the first aid van busy with a potential spinal trauma, so the tent I was posted to got their “referrals”.

I got a call to take a first aid kit out on some vaguely specified reason and destination. I found a forty year old man clutching his ear. I immediately assumed a case of cabbage ear, common in mosh pits when heads have a tendency to impact neighboring heads. He pulled a filthy rag away from what remained of his ear. Like something out of a cartoon, there were distinct teeth marks from which a few arteriole squirts of blood issued. I could only clean and dress the wound, he needed to go to the tent where we were better equipped. On the walk he told me he’d been jumped by some men and beaten, one of whom must have been a little hungry.

When we got to the busy tent, earless bellowed expletives and rushed at a man being treated inside. The two locked in combat brought part of the tent down, landing over an unconscious inebriate and alarming a girl I’d previously been trying to convince of the benefit of living, despite powerful hallucinogens convincing her otherwise. Myself and the district captain hauled earless off the other guy, who had a conspicuous hole in his cheek. It turned out earless was also guilty of a little cannibalism, but I never found out who bit who first. There was no way to stop them fighting, so I had to take earless to another first aid post, the closest being the van.

A black plume of smoke was a bad omen. Upon reaching the van, earless and I found out that in treating the roof jumping spinal case, no one remembered to run the engine so the van wouldn’t excessively drain its battery. When a lead-acid battery discharges it produces hydrogen gas. A rapid discharge can yield a combustible quantity of hydrogen, in this case exploding under the bonnet and setting the whole van on fire.

By this time I couldn’t help but see earless as a VERY bad omen. I walked him out of the festival grounds, put him in a taxi and instructed the driver to take him to the nearest hospital.

I loved volunteering for the St John’s ambulances. They train you in advanced first aid, send you to all kinds of interesting events and there’s great camaraderie among volunteers. Probably not ideal for the squeamish though.This site proudly supports Volunteering Unplugged