Tim J. Lewis at the Robotics Society of Southern California October 2016
I had the good fortune to visit with Tim J. Lewis at the Robotics Society of Southern California. He was demonstrating some of his Halloween creation while giving us some history and tips about animatronics and their development at Disney. Tim worked on many of the most famous animatronics at Disney including Pirates of the Caribbean, the Lincoln presentation and my favorite the Tiki Room. He also worked on the crypt keeper on Tales from the Crypt.
While I am good at getting living creature to do all kinds of interesting things I am a novice at animating the nonliving. My first project is going to be a puppet. However, I’m working on learning to animate these fictional creations with the help of little computers, servos, pneumatics, and motors.
I finally had a chance to attend the Robotics Society of Southern California Meeting. This is another Long Beach group. I have wanted to go to these meetings for over two years now. The big barrier is that I work on the weekends. After attending one meeting I can see I am going to need to start taking a day off.
There is a lot to learn. It all seems a little overwhelming. However, I am sure it will come to me little by little. There is so much to know in this field. One of the incentives for attending these meeting is learning about what others are doing and how they are doing it. Sharing this information will make it easier to find solutions to difficult problems. It helps that there are some really intelligent people that attend this meeting. In fact I think everyone I talked to seemed to have what I imagine is a higher IQ than the average person.
In the photo is one of the robots that was visiting along with its creator, oh yes, and I am standing there too.
On Sunday I had a chance to attend the play Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in Long Beach, CA with one of my friends. This post briefly goes over the play and some of my takeaways.
The story is primarily about two conmen who prey on wealthy women. The performance was quite enjoyable. It has been many years since I have attended a live performance such as this and it was a delight.
I thought the story line was well matched to the audience with its subtheme of the old guard trying to hang on to power, while a new and upcoming generation is doing its best to usurp it.
Although the performance was quite entertaining, the whole experience is what I found most engaging. The live performance itself is old school, but the supporting tech looked digital. My next long form article will touch on how new hi tech (new media) can give old forms of storytelling new life.
I do believe there are many element of theater that can be applied to a video production. The planning and talent that goes into these productions is spectacular.
I am amazed at the choreography of all the stage elements. The lights, the sound effects, the band, and the stage props all popping in on cue and departing in the same manner. I did spend some time watching the guy in the control room and the lighting. During intermission I peeked into the control room through a window. It does look like there is some mighty fun equipment in there. I would like to take a tour someday.
I was particularly impressed by the skillful focusing of the audience attention. As far as I could identify this was done with lighting, action, and dialog. Just as a magician uses sleight of hand to entertain an audience, theatrical productions use sleight of stage.
The cast was terrific. The leads were played with wonderful insight and charisma. I also enjoyed the playful dialog of the actors with the audience.
Actors, Stories, and the Audience
The actors were great, but that is what everyone notices. I am as interested in, and sometimes even more interested in, what is going on around the central subject. What is at the boundaries of black and white? What happens when the message hits the receiver?
I did notice what I think was an interesting behavior of many audience members during stressful moments in the play. These were subtle movements that may be difficult to see in individual people during face to face encounters. The unique environment of the theater is what makes these observations possible. I am sure this is something the ushers could verify. Ushers and regular theater goers should have enough experience to confirm if these are indeed stress related behavior patterns. I imagine ushers and theater goers can also identify additional behaviors caused by the emotions associated with regularly occurring story elements.
After the performance was over I had the good fortune to briefly chat with one of the lead actors.
Another interesting behavior I noticed with this audience demographic is that they do not like to engage in conversation with strangers. Could it be that they think the subject of the play may unfold in their own lives if they talk to strangers?
Confirming the “don’t talk to strangers” trait may be one of the most interesting insights of the event. I have been thinking about this audience psychographic trait ever since I left the theater. The “don’t talk to strangers” trait does have some rather large implications for most of the shows I do, as well as how they are promoted. This group was the polar opposite of the VidCon crowd.
I wanted to get a photo for this blog before I left. However, the people I attempted to have a conversation with, so I could ask them to take a photo, acted as though I had the plague. They looked quite indignant that I would attempt to actually talk with them. Eventually, I ask two young girls who were happy to help. I also did a picture of them. As I was waiting for the traffic to clear so I could depart unhindered, I notice a group of people in the same situation of not having a camera person. Being the helpful and cheerful person I am, I volunteered to be the phone camera photographer. It turns out one of the people in that party teaches video in high school.
Creativity In The Narrative of Dreams
Last night I attended a dream meetup. I have always been interested in dreams and it is quite interesting to hear of others dreams. It is also informative to hear alternate interpretations of dreams.
I used to paint some of my dreams. I am now looking to incorporate dreams into story narratives for a video series I would like to produce.
I have often thought about how some dreams have a filmatic feel while others are quite surrealistic. I have always loved surrealistic art.
I do believe both of these elements can be incorporated into branded entertainment. I think good branded entertainment is artful promoting with the unmarketing of marketing
I hope to see you at a creative and/or business event soon
I attended the 2016 Tubfilter vidcon pre-party. I do have to say this crowd tends to a rather young demographic. The question I kept getting asked was “are you here as someone’s chaperone?” Fortunately I was asked a bit more often “do you have a YouTube channel.”
I did meet some interesting people and got a better feel for the typical YouTube crowd. I met a lot of multi channel reps and very young social media people, but only one management level producer. That was a little disappointing. I thought the per-party was going to have more people in management positions attending.
However, I imagine most people in that demographic would feel somewhat like my camera crew did and think there were way too many chaotic teenagers to stick around long. I kind of enjoyed seeing everyone and learning about what all these youngsters were up to. I even learned about some new and what could be the next upcoming video platforms.
I also enjoyed chatting with Tinsel Townsend channeling Penelope Pitstop. She was the most photographed. I wanted to get a picture of another one of the YouTube partygoers, (a guy with long hair standing up like 2 horns) but could not corner him or get my cell phone out quick enough when he would pass by.
There were also a lot of teenagers or people that to me looked like teenagers that I thought had an interesting look. I try not to post underage folks on my sites. In this day and age of youngsters on social media and video I may need to reevaluate this policy.
If I go to next year’s pre-vidcon party I will defiantly have a plan to use this event more efficiently. I think I can even make it enjoyable for my friends and crew.
I look forward to seeing you at a video event soon.
Here is a quick picture of me at the New Media Film Festival on 6-9-2016. I stopped by to say hi to Susan Johnson the producer of the festival. However, she had a bit too much going on as she kept everything running smoothly. I did see her, but I didn’t get a chance to chat with her on this evening. I used to attend quite a few of her programs and meetings when the New Media Film Festival was getting started. I’m planning to someday have a documentary entered in this film festival.
While I did not get a chance to talk with Susan, I did meet some interesting people. I also had a chance to watch and experience an interactive documentary on an iPad. It reminded me a little of programmed learning made famous by B.F. Skinner. I do think that a programmed learning type of documentary has some potential for the kinds of shows I do. This is especially true if they’re presented in a learning environment such a school or for homeschooling.
Cine Gear Expo 2016
I had a chance to attend the Cine Gear Expo held at The Studios at Paramount this year. I think I need to take a better camera next time, these pictures are from a somewhat dated Zi8.
As my cousin would like to remind you, Paramount Studios is not in Paramount California. Those of you who are fans of my show know Paramount California is famous for the Zamboni Ice Machine and being the Hay Capital of The World.
It was great to talk with the vendors at the expo, and as would be expected, I did find some cool new equipment I would like.
I found a quite nice on camera light I would like. Oh yes, this one was a little on the pricey side, but it would be wonderful to have on many of the shows we do.
Of course there was an over abundance of devices for camera stabilization.
I also saw a lot of cool drones. I can see using a few of the drone models for a documentary I am planning on doing. However, they would also be useful for many of our regular shows as well.
I enjoyed talking with GoPro and learning about their new device for adding time code to videos shot on their cameras. I also learned about a new mount that will work well for our shoots. I thought I was going to need to build a custom mount for this purpose. GoPro is always doing something new.
This camera platform reminded me of a Mars Rover with a Black Magic Camera. Watching one of these looking back at you and it’s easy to see why animals think these big eyes are a little intimidating.
Several wonderful and what I may call dream vehicles were represented at the show, including a very cool off roader used as a camera platform. They also had the more traditional cars and truck. I liked the Ford truck too.
There was also an interesting VuFine mini monitor that fits on a pair of glasses. I thought this would be useful for some of the night shoots I am planning on. I would like to test it in the field to see if it works in dark environments as well as I think it would.
I am planning on attending the Annual Tubefilter VidCon Pre-Party this month. If you see me come up and say hi, I am always interested in meeting folks and networking.