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Commentary on storytelling in all its forms.
Christmas has come and gone, but the presents remain. Having a young boy with 6 grandparents (including step-grands) and 2 sets of Uncles & Aunts, our house looks like Santa’s workshop exploded all over it. This has caused a dilemma when it comes to certain toys from a rather large sci fi franchise.
I am desperately trying to keep my son from knowing that Darth Vader is Luke’s father. I want him to find out the way I did; by falling in love with Luke, Leia and the rest of the rebels and then having his whole understanding of the way thing are shattered with one line. I want his internal monologue to echo Luke’s “That’s not true! That’s impossible!”. And I’m not the only parent who wants this.
After the prequels, the Star Wars Universe became quiet and it seemed my plan would go off without a hitch.
But the Force wasn’t the only thing to Awaken with the new movie.
Toys, books, and all the other merchandise are now front and center in the cultural zeitgeist. I don’t know if I can keep the truth hidden. Every time my son recognizes Darth Vader, I fear someone will say “what does Darth Vader say? Does he say ‘Luke, I am your father.’?” (Which isn’t even the right quote…)
My son can’t sit through Star Wars. He’s not quite two and a half and once the action slows to a lot of talking on Tatooine, he’s off the couch and onto other things (probably destroying something), so I can’t show him Empire yet. Therefore it is now a race between a developing attention span and the overwhelming onslaught of Star Wars in all its forms.
I know I can’t protect my kids forever. Whether it’s from 35 year old movie spoilers or the more difficult challenges that will face them as they become older. As much as I hope I can pull off keeping this a mystery for my son, it will probably be impossible. The challenge will become even greater to keep it from his baby sister. And I want them both to have the joy of seeing at least some of the movies in theaters.
So, maybe I’ll come up with a different way of having my kids experience Star Wars, and while it might not be the same way I experienced the saga, the important thing is they get to enjoy it as the new stories are created, and that they have that awesome feeling of being transported to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
What’s the difference between an entertainment piece and a comms piece? To be honest, not as much as you might think. Storytelling, presenting, affecting an audience; these are all aspects of both. Find the truth in what you are doing and your audience will “get it”:
The press release for our newest product:
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–DAQRI, the world’s leading enterprise augmented reality company, announced today its DAQRI Smart Helmet – a new professional-grade head-mounted display for industrial environments. Built from the ground up and utilizing DAQRI’s proprietary 4D software, the Smart Helmet bridges the gap between potential and experience, enhancing human abilities by seamlessly connecting workers to their environments and providing relevant information about the world around them. The DAQRI Smart Helmet provides unparalleled utility and capabilities including:
“Ever since the first time I saw augmented reality demonstrated, I recognized the potential for this technology to completely change the way we do things in industrial environments”
“The DAQRI Smart Helmet was created by a team of engineers with extensive backgrounds in manufacturing, engineering and computer vision with the industrial workplace in mind,” said Brian Mullins, founder and CEO. “Every feature – from the retractable visor to the extended battery life – was purpose-built to supply workers across a variety of industrial settings with a product that will not only make their jobs easier, but safer and more productive. When combined with our authoring tool, DAQRI Industrial 4D Studio, the DAQRI Smart Helmet is a game changer that will essentially create a workforce of instant experts, enabling industrial businesses to solve real problems, in real environments.”
“Ever since the first time I saw augmented reality demonstrated, I recognized the potential for this technology to completely change the way we do things in industrial environments,” said Andy Lowery, president. “I have witnessed first-hand how human error can mean the difference between not just profit and loss, but life and death, and there is potential for 4D to vastly improve almost every process – from training new employees to assembling the most advanced machinery. With the launch of the DAQRI Smart Helmet, we are one step closer to realizing our vision for the workplace of the future.”
The DAQRI Smart Helmet includes:
The DAQRI Smart Helmet will be available for order in October 2014 and is expected to begin shipping in December. DAQRI Industrial 4D Studio will be available later this month by invitation. For more information on DAQRI industrial 4D solutions, please visit: www.industrial.daqri.com.
Enterprise augmented reality company DAQRI is leading the 4D revolution, having developed the technology to deliver the most sophisticated augmented reality services and applications to clients in the fields of industrial, education and storytelling. The company has already powered more than 2,500 augmented reality experiences for the world’s biggest companies including Ford, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Twentieth Century Fox, SONY, Cadillac and more. DAQRI is headquartered in Los Angeles with an R&D center in Mountain View, Calif. and sales offices in New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. Advisory board members include Ashton Kutcher, actor and investor; Troy Carter, CEO, Atom Factory; and D.A. Wallach, recording artist.
I get a lot of questions about how I went from East Coast theatre to West Coast tech scene. It hasn’t been a straight line from point A to point B for sure, but I definitely didn’t just make a crazy turn. Many things I learned in school are applicable to a ton of fields (what’s a trade show presentation, but theatre of a different kind?). This post from last year really hit the nail on the head, so I repost it here as it communicates my thoughts better than I could myself. Thanks, Brian for the great piece!
Some of you may know this about me, some may not. Despite having spent the last 15 years as a PR & communications professional, my college degree is in theatre. I have never in my life taken a marketing class, or a journalism class, or a business class. Yet, by most measures, I’m enjoying a successful career in business. “So what?” you ask… read on.
I was having a conversation with my friend Sara this week. She’s an actress. Like most actresses, she also has a Day Job that she works to pay the bills between acting jobs. This is the reality for most working actors in LA, New York and the other major centers of the entertainment industry. She was pointing out to me that she viewed her theatre background as a weakness in her Day Job career field, and that it was holding her back. She asked for…
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I always knew what I wanted to do with my life.
Until I didn’t.
I was going to be an Actor. From my first curtain call in our church musical, to uttering my first lines of Shakespeare in the high school play, I knew I wanted to perform. I took every drama class that was offered and spent my weekends watching movies from AFI’s Top 100 list. I earned a fellowship at the Folger Library in Washington D.C. and spent half of my senior year taking my father to the train station at 5:00 am so I could have his car to drive to the classes after school. I saw every movie that played at the local AMC and even a few at the smaller art houses in the city.
Majoring in Theatre at Virginia Commonwealth University, I chose a program that taught me dance and set construction as well as acting and reading plays, so that I could be more employable. I used my electives to take classes in film history, play writing, directing, and even interpersonal relationships so I could better understand character interaction. I spent my summers doing renaissance fairs and outdoor dramas in Virginia, Ohio, and Florida.
After graduation I auditioned for everything I could. I worked in dinner theatres, shot commercials, acted in several educational videos, and even performed as multiple witnesses, crooks, and victims for the FBI and local police training programs. In my last show in Washington D.C., I performed for the President of the United States, and even though I only had four lines, I still look back on that moment as one of the highlights of my career as a thespian.
Shortly after that show, I moved to Los Angeles, ready to take on the City of Angels with a modest resume, a decent reel that showcased my abilities, and whole lot of wide-eyed enthusiasm. I did everything by the book: studio apartment in Hollywood and a job waiting tables. I signed with a small but successful talent agency, and the first commercial I booked made me eligible to join the union. I landed more commercial work after that for companies like Heineken, Visa, and Office Depot. I was making enough money to quit my “day job” when I landed a role in one of Oscar nominated director Jason Reitman’s early short films that went on to show at Sundance. Everything was going wonderfully.
Until it didn’t.
The work just stopped coming in. I was still auditioning, but I wasn’t booking jobs. Although my look was the same, and my performances were still strong (or at least I think they were), I just couldn’t seem to land any of the roles I went out for. As the residual checks started getting smaller and smaller, I had to pick up part time work again, and I was starting to put way too much on my credit cards. Suddenly, I realized I didn’t want to be an actor any more.
It was a jolting revelation, but it came swiftly and without doubt. I had learned my craft, focused all of my thought and energy on pursuing this one goal, but when it became obvious that no amount of effort could guarantee that the success would continue, that my future could change so dramatically in such a short amount of time, well, I knew that I did not want to live that way for the rest of my life. The problem was that I didn’t know what to do instead.
Almost half of my life to that point had been focused on one pursuit, but suddenly I was directionless. Needing an income, I went to work for my friend’s engineering firm, teaching test preparation classes for Navy reservists, which was a challenge since I had never taught anything before. Staying only a day or two ahead of the class as I developed each days lesson plans, I managed to successfully make it through that first two week assignment which led to me teaching for them for the next 6 months.
Seeing my potential, my friend began to challenge me with work that moved exceedingly more and more out of my comfort zone. They sent me to gather data from container cranes at the ports in Long Beach and to help install electronic sensors and computers on assembly lines. Not all the work was a fit for me. However, I learned that there were many things I could do and, in many cases, do well. One of those things was the company’s communications and marketing.
It was coordinating and managing those classes, trade shows, client presentations, and video content that gave me a new direction for a new career. I was lucky enough to get PR projects that combined my former entertainment skills with my newly developing corporate sensibilities. I worked as a freelance producer for many years, production managing and field producing projects that gave me many wonderful learning experiences (and some pretty interesting stories as well). As my skill sets grew, so did the variety of projects and employment opportunities. Now, I finally have a job I love and am passionate about; the job of my new goals, if not the job of my original dreams.
Finding my path and boldly beginning my journey down it, I still know that not all things work out the way we plan. This is why I continually strive to educate and prepare myself, so that I can continue to grow in my career, no matter what life may throw at me. Because you never know which way you might end up heading.
Until you do.
Originally a promo position, the pr-editor (pronounced like predator) would write copy, pull specific clips from episodes, lay in V/O (if required) and cut the piece for air. This individual effectively combines the efforts of several into one, an employee who can take the project from start to finish. The demand for pr-editors is on the rise as news programs and other forms of television call for the all-in-one package. No longer does a producer have to schedule time with the editor after a shoot when he can assume the role himself. For a piece that is only going to air once for 2-5 minutes, the speed and cost-effectiveness of this evolution in filmmaking is the logical choice for any company, show or media outlet.
“ONE MAN BANDS”
The next progressive step for this trend is the producer who can shoot his own footage, grab his own sound bites, write his own copy, perform his own stand up interviews, edit his own footage and all the while manage any client expectations or production requirements. With the large availability of smaller, lighter and easier to operate DV and HD cameras, the days of having a cameraman with a sore shoulder from lugging around a Beta SP are dwindling. In many cases, potential employers are looking for people that not only possess these skills, but have the equipment and software as well. Own your own camera and have a Mac with Final Cut Pro? Your employability just increased even more.
Today, film school graduates and others completing university programs in production or broadcast journalism have all of the above skills and oftentimes more. Prepared by the right programs, they have an understanding of all things film- and television-related and can hit the ground running the day they graduate. Need a short segment featuring comedic “Man on the Street” interviews ala Jay-Walking on “The Tonight Show”? Done. Need someone on the red carpet for interviews and event coverage of that huge movie premiere? No problem. Following the life and times of the latest celebrity with their own “real life” series? Now you only need one person to keep up with their trials and tribulations. The more encompassing the education, the better working knowledge these graduates will have for production. It will be these students, literally, who will be able to do it all.
As a countdown to my 35th birthday last summer (and therefore now on the short side of 40…ugh), I posted something that I had learned over the last 35 years every day, for the 35 days leading up to the day of my birth. I was surprised at how many people followed those posts and more surprised by the fact that many of those same people said they liked them. Here they are in one place for your convenience:
Number 1: Never do shots with Marines, no matter how much it seems like a good idea at the time. It never goes well.
Number 2: That whole saying “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”…it’s pretty true. Unless you’re driving to Las Vegas….then it’s ALL about the destination.
Number 3: You can’t measure your life by someone else’s stick. You may not have accomplished a certain thing by a certain age or done things the way everyone else does, but it doesn’t matter as long as you are happy with your choices. Thanks for teaching me that, Kenan.
Number 4: Sinatra is always cool. Anyone who says different is just being argumentative.
Number 5: As I’ve gotten older, my physical wounds occur easier and take longer to heal, but my emotional wounds mend more quickly. I guess that’s good, but I still wish I could do a “James Brown” split without tearing a hamstring.
Number 6: Something I learned from my dad; a handkerchief is to a gentleman, what duct tape is to MacGyver. It just always comes in handy.
Number 7: Some things in life are like really good leftovers. They’re just better the second time around.
Number 8: You don’t have to agree with everything a person says to agree with one thing a person says.
Number 9: There is a fine line between grand romantic gesture and stalking. And it has less to do with the action itself and more to do with how the woman views you. You can stand outside with a boom-box held over your head all day long…if she doesn’t already kind of like you, it ain’t gonna work…
Number 10: There are certainly people out there who have it better than me, but there are also a lot of people who have it worse…and I mean A LOT. Remembering that always makes me feel better and sad at the same time.
Number 11: Dreams rarely, if ever, come true. But goals can be met every day.
Number 12: (Another lesson from my dad) When people talk about you, you’re a legend. When you talk about you, you’re a shithead.
Number 13: (Reminded of this by Jean Haynes): Be mindful of what you’re doing…more people are paying attention than you think.
Number 14: A Sunday spent lounging in the pool, is never a wasted day.
Number 15: Unless she walked in with you, never buy a woman a drink in a bar.
Number 16: In Honor of George Steinbrenner (and this is only my observation based on 35 years of experience): Most Yankees fans are kinda douche-bags.
Number 17: 35 is a larger number then you expect.
Number 18: Over the years, supporting issues on both sides, I learned that Republicans aren’t as heartless as you think, Democrats aren’t as open-minded and neither side has all the answers. Anyone that can’t see the other side’s perspective on at least some of the issues isn’t a “Through and Through” Party member…they’re basically just a sports fan.
Number 19: When I get some new bit of “stuff” it’s awesome, but as time goes on I always get more enjoyment looking back at photos of trips I’ve taken or events I’ve gone to then I do from finding my first generation iPhone in a desk drawer. Conclusion? Stuff is stuff, life is better.
Number 20: Don’t listen to what they say; sometimes it’s okay to eat fast food. It all depends on the place…and the portions. I’m looking at you In and Out, Chick-Fil-A, Five Guys, Fat Burger and The In Field.
Number 21: It can only take one thing to throw off an entire day, but then again it often only needs one thing to put it back on track. The problem is you never know what either of those things is going to be.
Number 22: The maxim “You can do anything if you put your mind to it” isn’t entirely true (I will never be able to dunk a basketball, for instance)…but you can do a hell of a lot more than you think or even thought you would.
Number 23: If something written on the internet can be taken the worst way possible…it will be.
Number 24: Never make any major life decisions when tired or hungry. Actually, it’s usually a good idea to try to make as few decisions as possible when you’re tired or hungry. And never go to the grocery store hungry….that’s just asking for trouble.
Number 25: Bacon is awesome. I like eating it. I don’t care if it’s “murder”, bad for you or a fat and not a protein. I’m not going to eat it at every meal, but I will keep eating it. Life is too short to not eat bacon.
Number 26: Knowing a thing and doing a thing are two very DIFFERENT things. The former seems to me to be very easy; the latter is much more difficult. And to make matters worse, I usually KNOW that I haven’t DONE the thing immediately after I missed my chance to do it…
Number 27: I can no longer drink different kinds of booze at once. And I don’t mean different kinds of liquor in one evening; I mean I can’t even switch from liquor to beer without losing most of the next morning to hangover country. I have no idea how they do it on Mad Men.
Number 28: Don’t let life get in the way of living.
Number 29: While our past shapes who we are, it should not define us. Learning to let go has been one of the longest and most difficult lessons I’ve ever had to learn. I still haven’t gotten an A yet, but I’ll keep taking the class.
Number 30: Friends should be the people who make your life easier, not harder. I’m not saying don’t give a pal a ride to the airport or pitch in to move that giant sofa, but don’t stay friends with people who always need money, who never do what they say they will, and who just make everything more difficult. Life is trying enough without people who make it more so.
Number 31: Hard work, tenacity and excellence in performance will only get you so far. Unfortunately, the rest is how much ass you kiss.
Number 32: It’s important to remember that sometimes, what you think is funny ISN’T, but more importantly, what you don’t think is funny, sometimes IS.
Number 33: Never underestimate the sheer awesomeness of a goodnight sleep.
Number 34: After 3 decades, I still have to double-check my math. I was one day off when I started this whole thing!
Number 35: I think the whole point of all of this is to be happier more often than not…and preferably with a really high percentage difference. Stick with the things that make you happy and change the things that don’t. And remember what makes you happy won’t necessarily make someone else happy…and vice versa.
Well, here we are!
A chance for me to write, in more detail, my thoughts and musings that cannot conform to the small amount of space provided by Twitter…or Facebook status updates.
I’m not sure what I plan to do with this, but I did want to lock in the name and the fact that they handle the domain registration was nice as well. So, in essence we shall see where this little piece of the internet will take us. For now though, I just want to ensure that I’ve set it all up correctly.