Monday, January 29, 2018

Lazy Sunday # 507: Imagination: Tom Wallisch

I'm going to go out on a limb here...

Actually, I'm not.

Because I can say with complete certainty that this week's short film contains more creative ideas, interesting camera work and the sheer joy of life that can only be found in Canada -- than anything you'll find in all the films funded during the past year by Telefilm Canada and/or any other purveyor of Government funded ART.

Enjoy Your Sunday...
Imagination: Tom Wallisch from The North Face on Vimeo.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Lazy Sunday # 506: Alive

I grew up in a place that was little more than earth and sky and a well defined horizon marking where one ended and the other began.

Where I live now is endlessly amazing and I often wonder -- "How did I get so lucky?".

I'm sure a lot of us feel that way about the places life has taken us and where we are or who we've become.

This is where I live. Feel free to try and top it.

And enjoy your Sunday...
ALIVE | Canada 4K from Flo Nick on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Lazy Sunday # 505: The Story Machine

Writers often speak of "feeding the machine". Film and television production in particular often has the feel of a runaway train. There are schedules to be met, time is of the essence and little or no time can be spared for the thoughtful consideration of plot twists and character development. They need the pages on set -- yesterday.

That machine has different variations in the publishing of everything from novels to daily newspapers, even greeting cards have to get the Christmas season covered by early July, if not sooner.

Writers constantly bemoan their deadlines and the lack of sympathy they receive for having to do the intricate work of story creation under such pressure.

And that's not hard to understand. As technology pushes our lives to a faster pace to keep up with business competitors, travel schedules, family demands and just about every segment of our lives, we're all short of time.

And what little time we do have is seldom given over to reading a story. In airports, coffee shops, buses and commuter trains around the planet, you seldom see people with a book or reading from a portable device.

We play mindless, repetitive games. We surf Facebook, looking for worthy nuggets of anything amid mindless, repetitive posts about things we rarely care much about. 

Where is the content that might enrich those few moments of free time we manage to find?

Well -- a French company called "Short Edition" may have found it.

This week at CES, the Computer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, they unveiled a device they've been testing in France for the last two years. It's a story vending machine.

The user simple presses a button indicating how many minutes (one, three or five) that he has to spare. Then the machine dispenses a story of that can be read in that length of time. 

In an unusual twist, the story costs the reader nothing, but the writer is still paid. What's more the machines are calibrated to suit their location. One in a children's hospital will draw from a database of stories for kids for examples. Those in railroad stations and airports might dispense content for travellers to particular destinations.

There are a myriad of algorithms for all manner of demographics to find just the right tale from a current database of 85,000 stories.

Those who access a story invariably share it with someone else at their location, who invariably shares it with someone else, creating discussions and interactions you will never get from a session of "Angry Birds" or scrolling a Twitter or Instagram feed.

Until a Short Edition machine turns up near you, you can sample some of the stories dispensed here. Or you could see the reaction of the first North American to buy one for his restaurant. Francis Ford Coppola, a guy more than familiar with feeding stories into other story machines.

I think these things are going to be very popular and maybe even help one of you to...

Enjoy Your Sunday...

Monday, January 08, 2018

Lazy Sunday # 504: What if.....?

The arrival of each new year brings with it intentions among all of us (whether ascribed as resolutions or just a to-do list) to make this the year we finally accomplish something specific.

Maybe it's something big. Maybe it's small but of personal import. Maybe it's a desire to just do what you normally do or be what you normally are -- only a little better than before.

For those of us who write fiction, that process begins with the question that leads to any story -- "What if...?".

Some of us work harder at crafting "What if?" than others. But nobody goes as far or as deep or as detailed as Randall Munroe, the guy behind the "What if" blog, which you can find here.

An example of this process is in the video that follows.

Imagine yourself making this kind of commitment to your germ of an idea/intention/whatever and...

Enjoy Your Sunday...