Archive for June, 2009

Dog days of summer

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Dog day afternoon

Eschewing Worthy Farm for Willow Farm, and swapping The Insider for two days outside in the warm embrace of a typically eccentric English summer, this weekend was one of those that makes you realise that you’re growing up, so you might as well do it gracefully.

When we weren’t chaperoning the girls around farmyards and flower markets we were lazing in bed watching 50p VHS videos from our local charity shop.

I’m talking L.A. Confidential (1997), True Romance (1993), To Live & Die in L.A. (1985), Memento (2000) – classic cinema, made all the sweeter by the balmy evening air breezing in off the sativa-scented streets of East London.

We’ve now got two weeks in Normandy ahead of us.  Days on the beach making friends with the local flora and fauna, evenings in the folds of whatever reading material, movie or mini-series takes our fancy, accompanied by fine food and a glass of seasonal cidre.

See you on the other side x

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

A year or so ago I was about here in terms of how I felt about ‘social media’.

Today, I’m somewhere round about here:

Feldman’s right, there’s nothing revolutionary about Twitter.  It’s just another iteration of the Internet.  And ‘social media’ – just a phrase we invented to encapsulate the overdue realisation that the web is best employed for talking to each other, rather than just sitting here being shouted at through a screen by brands and corporations with a vocabulary and an emotional intelligence that would shame a five-year-old.

With that in mind, this post marks the retirement of the ‘social media’ tag on Idea IS the format, and heralds the arrival of the ‘snake oil’ tag.  See you on the other side.

Autobots? We are, for now at least

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

After NBS Nightly News and Experience The Enterprise comes… We Are Autobots:

It went live a few hours ago and we’ve been working flat out on it over the last few days, weeks even, so I’m just too damn tired to elaborate. Think I’ll go to sleep instead.

UPDATED 10:30am 17/06/09 – Mmm, sleep.  So, woke up, grabbed tea, and made straight for my PC to see how the site had been picked up.  Quickly found pieces on Slashfilm, I Watch Stuff, FirstShowing and Gizmodo, as well as the expected volley of coverage on the various Transformers fan sites we reached out to.  All in all people are calling it pretty much the way it is; clever tech, creative marketing, a few minutes of free-for-all fun.

Looking a bit further and wider, it was interesting to see a contact at one of the studios commenting on Facebook that augmented reality (AR) is the ‘dancing hamster’ of Summer ’09.  I know what he means, given that AR is wildly overhyped in marketing circles at the moment, and every agency in town is now looking at pumping out this kind of experience, some of which (i.e. ours, of course) are better than others (i.e. other people’s).

That said, it’s important to acknowledge that AR has potential far exceeding the creation of fast-burn hi-tech marketing trinkets.  Search for ‘augmented reality’ on twitter today and We Are Autobots is a drop in the ocean compared to all the people heralding the unveiling of Layar; ‘the world’s first mobile augmented reality browser’:

Coming also on the day that iPhone 3.0 is released, bringing the promise of a broadly accessible mobile platform capable of delivering high quality AR, it’s important to remember that the webcam-based experience is just the clumsy beginnings of the consumer experience.

Mobile devices will transform AR into something FAR more user-friendly and intuitive, empowering us to access and interact with a layer of 3D content seamlessly superimposed onto the world around us.  And, rest assured, we marketers will be there, ’empowering’ audiences to point their phone at posters in order to bring movies, and music, and marmite and moccacinos to life before your very eyes.

But we can take it further still.  Having lunch with some guys from Xbox yesterday, the conversation turned to Natal – the ‘controllerless’ gaming experience they unveiled at E3 a couple of weeks ago, via the following thoroughly family-friendly video demo:

Fold this kind of tech into the mix, oh, and maybe throw in a pair of these

…and suddenly we’re in a really interesting place – a reality augmented by whatever digital enhancements we see fit, with which – and THROUGH which – we can freely interact, using just the movements of our bodies, and the expressions on our faces.

Twenty or so years ago people started talking about virtual reality. Give it another twenty, give us time to pull all these pieces together, and we’ll be doing more than talking.

UPDATED 3:10pm 17/06/09 – While we’re waiting for the future, Jason Theodor (who I connected with after he blogged about Experience the Enterprise) has put together a spontaneous list of ideas for how the face tracking tech could be put into practical application.  This has been put toegther using his 10 in 10 method, which I like, because I know that sometimes the best ideas perish the moment you give yourself time to talk yourself out of them.

I’m going to The Insider. I win.

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Getcha tickets at www.insiderweekend.co.uk. If you don’t, you’re an idiot. It really is that simple.

Dick Van Dyke vs William Desmond Taylor

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

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Lola met the child-catcher for the first time today, not to mention the eponymous automative anomaly at the heart of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She must have watched Annie at least fifty times in the last month, so I figured it was time to change the game.

[Updated 08 June 2009: Lola has renamed it ‘The Car Can Fly’.  I like her name best.]

I was at pains to point out to her that not only was Chitty produced by Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli, but that it was based on an uncredited novel by Ian Fleming, and stars Gert Fröbe – AKA Auric Goldfinger – in the role of Baron Bomburst, ‘zee most evil man in the world’.

Figure in the fact that the screenplay is written by Roald Dahl, and you can start to appreciate why it stands apart from almost any other film of its type, even Mary Poppins. At its heart is some brilliantly original storytelling, set against the backdrop of a charmingly anachronistic and idealistic England only ever found in the movies, all of which is propelled onwards and upwards by some unflateringly stylish production design and a series of bravura musical set pieces that would have Stephen Hawking reaching for his ol’ bamboo.

This signals the beginning of the Dick Van Dyke phase of Lola’s cinematic education, set to also include Poppins, What a Way to Go! and a 1987 episode of Airwolf.

Meanwhile I’m on Crunk AND Twunk, meaning I’m back on the green tea and writing nothing but treatments and dialogue (along with the occasional blog post).

On that note, today’s word of the day: TAYLOROLOGY

Interesting times.

Ultimate payback

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Picked this up off a blog post Annie Ok pushed my way.

I remember the scene he’s talking about. It’s such a kick to have a piece of our work compared to something from Star Wars.

But the killer is the look on the kid’s face. It stops the clock from ticking. There’s not much that can top that.

Our work is more than just work. Long may that continue.

Taking a break from the sound-bite salad

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

One serious salad

This is the first of the produce to come out of our veg patch for 2009. It’s a salad made from thinnings; the baby plants you have to pick in order to make room for a few full-size plants to come through properly.

There aren’t many salads that can boast eight varieties of leaf.  I’m talking butterhead, lollo rossa, new red fire, frisby and little gem lettuce, perpetual and bordeaux spinach and even a few tender leaves from some early purple sprouting broccoli.  This stuff is about as delicate as it gets.  You can really taste that its only been out of the ground for an hour or two.

In other news, some of you may have noticed that I’ve not been twittering for the last few days.  It started with me having a fed-up moment, but I’ve realised of late that the combination of Twitter and an iPhone can be quite an unhelpful one, coming at the expense of my faculty for more substantive creativity, not to mention some fairly basic social graces.

Twitter has started to feel like a creative overflow.  As soon as my urge to create and communicate an idea reaches its most basic coherent increment, it gets plucked out of the ground.  It never gets the chance to grow and develop into its own space, it just ends up as one small part of one very big sound-bite salad.  Which is fine, it’s a tasty salad, except that no-one ever made a decent meal with just salad. That’s what I’m thinking right now.  What happened to the meat?

I’m off to try me some of that salad.  Then I’m back here for an hour or two, in final draft, working on the meat.

Love to all.  And don’t worry, no plans to stop blogging.  Nothing wrong with the odd ham sandwich.

The man in the MOON

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Liking the look of this very much.  Touches on various themes and ideas I’ve been kicking around for years, with what looks like a really original execution.  Take that beard on Rockwell, that god-like disposition?  I’m thinking that’s no accident.