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Stay Hungry

Being a good creative partner/leader/director/whatever…means something different to everyone. For me, it’s always meant this:

I’m supposed to unlock whatever it is inside the makers of things; that stuff that drives us to create, whether it’s physical products, art, software, music, anything, and expose it. 

I’m supposed interpret that inner magic that drives people to do stuff – like launch apps and websites, make movies, manufacture KISS action figures (a guy can dream) – and somehow express that fundamental character in plain language that can be used as a guide toward even more creation,  often complex collaborations with a range of creative and tech types.

Some people give that magic the very middling and belittling label of brand. Well, in my view, brands are things people fight to ignore on TV and everywhere else the marketers are trying to distract them. People don’t care about brands, they care about experiences that help them along their paths, stuff that they can make part of their magic.

But character can’t be ignored; character can only be demonstrated and felt. So that’s what I’m after, that’s what I aim to unlock as a creative partner. 

We’re all guilty of straying from our fundamental character, sometimes for decades at a shot. But we can get it all back, one bite at a time, as long as we’re hungry enough.

Playing audio engineer, videographer, and guitar - all at the same time - isn’t easy. But it is pretty fun, once you get yourself untangled from all the cables and you can begin to see your performance come together as a song.

I’ve always loved Tom Petty, he’s just so damn authentic, you know? You believe everything he says, because there’s clearly no pretense there. What I wanted to do was remind people what an awesome tune Breakdown really is. I wanted to do it with as little pretense as possible (that’s kinda hard when you’re pointing cameras as yourself), and I wanted it to be as “live” as possible. No click tracks or virtual instruments.

So first, I set up my Canon DSLR, a couple of cheapo condenser mics and an old vocal mic, and just recorded myself singing along with the acoustic. Everything else you see and hear is built on that basic foundation, which means there’s plenty of reality, warts and all. None of the performance is edited, each track was played “live” as you see it.

Couple of notes on the instruments:

The bass is a 1973 Fender P-Bass. I’ve played a million other basses, I love this one the best. My acoustic is made by Collings Guitars, a Texas company known for their amazing craftsmanship. The Strat is a just a USA Fender, no mods.

The drum, that’s a little more interesting. It’s called a cajon (ka-hone), and they’re used a lot in contemporary Cuban and Peruvian music. I became sort of obsessed with these recently, so the one you see me playing is one I built in my garage. I had purchased an entry-level cajon (around 80 bucks on Craigslist), then I just couldn’t resist fine-tuning one to my own specs. Fun!

I recorded everything using Reason 6, and the tracks were mixed by the very talented Chuck Pukmel. Video was edited in Final Cut X. 

anchorpoints:

Fun with Adobe Ideas
When actor Ron Palillo – who famously (and brilliantly) played the ridiculous and endearing Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter – passed away at 63 last month, I found myself scouring YouTube for clips. I mean, most guys my age get misty for 70’s sitcoms; they’re an essential part of our collective consciousness, like FM radio and vinyl LP’s. 
Anyway, as my wife and I sat in bed watching old episodes on the iPad, one scene caught my eye. The Sweathogs (Horshack, Epstein, Washington, & Barbarino) are all standing there while Kotter lectures them on the responsibilities of Fatherhood (see episode, “Whodunnit?”), and man, they just looked so iconic.
So I nabbed a frame or three, dropped them into Adobe Ideas and started drawing. As I drew and comped the different characters together, I felt like I was getting to know them all over again, and in doing so, tapping into my inner 70’s child, which, let’s face it, I do quite often. 
I brought the finished drawing into Illustrator and added the background and type. 
Next up, a book cover design that also started in Adobe Ideas. Stay tuned.

anchorpoints:

Fun with Adobe Ideas

When actor Ron Palillo – who famously (and brilliantly) played the ridiculous and endearing Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter – passed away at 63 last month, I found myself scouring YouTube for clips. I mean, most guys my age get misty for 70’s sitcoms; they’re an essential part of our collective consciousness, like FM radio and vinyl LP’s. 

Anyway, as my wife and I sat in bed watching old episodes on the iPad, one scene caught my eye. The Sweathogs (Horshack, Epstein, Washington, & Barbarino) are all standing there while Kotter lectures them on the responsibilities of Fatherhood (see episode, “Whodunnit?”), and man, they just looked so iconic.

So I nabbed a frame or three, dropped them into Adobe Ideas and started drawing. As I drew and comped the different characters together, I felt like I was getting to know them all over again, and in doing so, tapping into my inner 70’s child, which, let’s face it, I do quite often

I brought the finished drawing into Illustrator and added the background and type. 

Next up, a book cover design that also started in Adobe Ideas. Stay tuned.

Bettr. Strongr. Fastr.
The Six Million Dollar Man title sequence is collective consciousness fodder for an entire generation. In a mere 90 seconds (remember these were 1970’s seconds – they moved much more slowly), we witnessed future spaceflight vehicles, a disastrous and riveting rocket crash, and the thrilling resurrection of man through the miracle of technology! Star Wars may get all the credit, but anyone who actually had to survive a 70’s childhood knows that Steve Austin was WAY cooler than Luke Skywalker. And he was there for us every week.
The DVD Bonus features for 6MDM Season One contain an awesome little featurette entitled An Iconic Opening. It’s a short and instantly satisfying tribute featuring all the back room, behind-the-scenes guys explaining their parlor tricks in great, wizard-like detail. 
Jack Cole, Main Title Director for The Six Million Dollar Man explains his approach:
This was before Google, before Apple existed as a company…before Microsoft existed, computers were nothing more than a hobby item for a couple of nerds. Basically, regular people hadn’t even heard of home computing. So, with that context in mind, I had to create what became a world that would make more sense existing today.
And I did that with layered imagery…my idea was, I wanted someone to watch this show over and over again and still discover something new in the opening sequence. So I had no less than four or five images going on simultaneously. 
With the running…I put two separate speeds together to create an unreal sense of speed…he was going in slow motion, but the images were passing in very fast motion (by this I assume Cole is referring to cutting quickly between the sped-up footage and the slomo stuff)…this created a unique feeling.
Unique? Damn, it was AWESOME. 
What I love about this is that Cole recognized that people are smart. They don’t just numbly stare at whatever you put in front of them, they look at the different layers and feel things. And depending on their mood, the time of day, or whether they have a dentist appointment that morning, they never see and feel the same thing the same way twice.
Cole used this insight and some stock footage to create one of the baddest-ass (bad assest?) TV show intros of all time.
As a graphic designer, I work in layers every day, ceremonially manipulating this and that to achieve a pleasing and (hopefully) intelligent effect. It’s a basic toolbox that I take for granted, though without it my work would suffer immeasurably. 
Cole’s elemental explanation of that incredible 90 seconds is an inspiration, and a great reminder; there are always creative problems to solve and there are always limitations. Remember your audience, and never underestimate – or undermine – their ability to interpret things for themselves. 
The image posted above is a fake movie poster I made. I wish it weren’t, because that’s a movie I wanna SEE. After watching the interview with Cole, I thought it would be fun to play with some of those thematic layers; the encephalographic readouts, bionic terminal copy, radar blips and bleeps, and of course, the amazing image of Steve Austin running toward us with what appears to be several garage door openers strapped to his body. 
You can download a wallpaper-sized version of the image here. Enjoy!

Bettr. Strongr. Fastr.

The Six Million Dollar Man title sequence is collective consciousness fodder for an entire generation. In a mere 90 seconds (remember these were 1970’s seconds – they moved much more slowly), we witnessed future spaceflight vehicles, a disastrous and riveting rocket crash, and the thrilling resurrection of man through the miracle of technology! Star Wars may get all the credit, but anyone who actually had to survive a 70’s childhood knows that Steve Austin was WAY cooler than Luke Skywalker. And he was there for us every week.

The DVD Bonus features for 6MDM Season One contain an awesome little featurette entitled An Iconic Opening. It’s a short and instantly satisfying tribute featuring all the back room, behind-the-scenes guys explaining their parlor tricks in great, wizard-like detail. 

Jack Cole, Main Title Director for The Six Million Dollar Man explains his approach:

This was before Google, before Apple existed as a company…before Microsoft existed, computers were nothing more than a hobby item for a couple of nerds. Basically, regular people hadn’t even heard of home computing. So, with that context in mind, I had to create what became a world that would make more sense existing today.

And I did that with layered imagery…my idea was, I wanted someone to watch this show over and over again and still discover something new in the opening sequence. So I had no less than four or five images going on simultaneously. 

With the running…I put two separate speeds together to create an unreal sense of speed…he was going in slow motion, but the images were passing in very fast motion (by this I assume Cole is referring to cutting quickly between the sped-up footage and the slomo stuff)…this created a unique feeling.

Unique? Damn, it was AWESOME. 

What I love about this is that Cole recognized that people are smart. They don’t just numbly stare at whatever you put in front of them, they look at the different layers and feel things. And depending on their mood, the time of day, or whether they have a dentist appointment that morning, they never see and feel the same thing the same way twice.

Cole used this insight and some stock footage to create one of the baddest-ass (bad assest?) TV show intros of all time.

As a graphic designer, I work in layers every day, ceremonially manipulating this and that to achieve a pleasing and (hopefully) intelligent effect. It’s a basic toolbox that I take for granted, though without it my work would suffer immeasurably. 

Cole’s elemental explanation of that incredible 90 seconds is an inspiration, and a great reminder; there are always creative problems to solve and there are always limitations. Remember your audience, and never underestimate – or undermine – their ability to interpret things for themselves. 

The image posted above is a fake movie poster I made. I wish it weren’t, because that’s a movie I wanna SEE. After watching the interview with Cole, I thought it would be fun to play with some of those thematic layers; the encephalographic readouts, bionic terminal copy, radar blips and bleeps, and of course, the amazing image of Steve Austin running toward us with what appears to be several garage door openers strapped to his body. 

You can download a wallpaper-sized version of the image here. Enjoy!

I’m WICKED excited to see the adaptation of Joe Hill’s amazing novel, HORNS. 
joehillsthrills:

A visit to the set of HORNS - five snapshots.
1. Behind the wheel of Ig Perrish’s vintage Gremlin. The plan was for Daniel Radcliffe to take it for a spin later in the week. I just know he’s going to look hot behind the wheel. Really really really hot.

I’m WICKED excited to see the adaptation of Joe Hill’s amazing novel, HORNS. 

joehillsthrills:

A visit to the set of HORNS - five snapshots.

1. Behind the wheel of Ig Perrish’s vintage Gremlin. The plan was for Daniel Radcliffe to take it for a spin later in the week. I just know he’s going to look hot behind the wheel. Really really really hot.