video

Stills from the Music Video

Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 | 0 comments

Few video stills from the music video I directed and shot recently. Never underestimate the importance of a good location if you want to make a retro video. Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm lens, shot at 24p. It doesn’t get any more guerrilla than this…

Guitarist Jon Wiley

Lead Singer Jay Serkin

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beck covers velvet underground & nico

Posted by on Aug 21, 2009 | 0 comments

The entire album is here… Awesome. (via Julian Sanchez)

Here’s Black Angel’s Death Song:

Record Club: Velvet Underground & Nico “Black Angel’s Death Song” from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

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how racism works at a healthcare town hall

Posted by on Aug 17, 2009 | 0 comments

When we think of racism our minds generally conjure up stark and frightening images – Klu Klux Klan rallies, burning crosses, and the like – but in reality, the bulk of racist activity is very short term, and deceptively simple in how it works.

Racist actions are embedded into our cultural behavior and often occur pretty much unremarked upon every single day. A reality that most white people have no clue about, and most people of color quietly endure day in and day out. People of color are simply treated differently than white people, especially by authority figures such as police officers and security.

It’s no secret. Although the fact of its existence is denied by those practicing the racial based actions.

The following video shows how it works, and captures the exact moment a person of color is treated differently for the same offense as a white person.

A black woman is at a health care town hall and is asked to show a Rosa Parks poster by a reporter. A white man walks over to her and tears up the poster. The woman responds with anger and shock and the security men escort her out. Meanwhile, how do you think whites are treated? It presents an interesting problem.

So, why treat whites with kid gloves while you quickly escort a black woman out when the offense is the same? And, aren’t we really talking about a free speech issue here? Yes, of course we are… But, skin color affects the results.

In the end, it’s clearly eliminationism – treating one group as inferior to another.

And, that IS truly Un-American.

Meanwhile, people are carrying guns to Obama events. And, these are the ones doing it in the open. How many do you think are showing up with concealed weapons? If a Liberal showed up at a Bush event strapping a handgun to his thigh, the outcry would have been deafening. That person would be in jail.

But, the extremist right has got everyone so afraid of everything that no one wants to do anything.

We’ve become a country ruled by the mob and the threat of violence.

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crying shame

Posted by on Sep 19, 2008 | 0 comments

Jack Johnson, via You Tube… Lyrics below the quote and the video. (Chose one of the videos without all the war images. The lyrics convey the point fine.) Have had this album for a few years now and it just seems to get better….

I had a few of the lines for it here and there. But what really inspired me to write the rest of it was an interview with Kurt Vonnegut I read where he was asked if he felt that the leaders of today – cultural, political, and artistic – were being responsible to their society. And he had this line that I thought was great where he said, ‘Forget about society. What about humanity in general?’ And so that was the idea for the song. The first line is, ‘By now we should know how to communicate instead of coming to blows.’ It just seems that in this day and age with email and telephones, it’s crazy how we still have wars. It seems that everything should be able to be worked out through a conversation by now, if there’s just a little bit of compassion on every side. – Jack Johnson

It’s such a tired game
Will it ever stop?
How will this all play
Out of sight out of mind.

By now we should know how to communicate
Instead of coming to blows, We’re on a roll
And there ain’t no stopping us now
We’re burning under control
Isn’t it strange how we’re all
Burning under the same sun?

Buy now and save, it’s a war for peace
It’s the same old game
But do we really want to play?
We could close our eyes it’s still there

We could say it’s us against them
We could try but nobody wins

Gravity has got a hold on us all
We could try to put it out

But it’s a growing flame
Using fear as fuel
Burning down our name
And it won’t take too long
Words all burn the same
And who are we going to blame now?

It’s such a crying, crying, crying shame

By now it’s beginning to show
A number of people are numbers that ain’t coming home
I could close my eyes it’s still there
Close my mind be alone
I could close my heart and not care
But gravity has got a hold on us all

It’s a terrific price to pay
But in the true sense of the word
Are we using what we’ve learned?
In the true sense of the word
Are we losing what we were?

It’s such a tired game
Will it ever stop?
It’s not for me to say
Is it in our blood
Or is it just our fate?
And how will this all play
out of sight, out of mind
Who are we going to blame all in all?

It’s such a crying, crying, crying shame

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hump day fluff music break

Posted by on May 8, 2008 | 0 comments

Brian Taravella got me on a Journey kick. So, here’s one by the Bay City band that launched a million prom night kisses. Dig the funky video effects ala “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Killer kitsch.

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the social media unrevolution

Posted by on May 1, 2008 | 1 comment

Or How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Echo

T
he great promise of the internet was that it would level the information playing field by allowing equal access to all information, and facilitate the production of new information. The relationship between the two would, in theory, allow for a more democratic bottom up approach to solution based innovation. In a nutshell: we are stronger as a group, and the internet will allow us to function at a higher level to solve our problems.

Or so we thought.

The onslaught of investment during the dot com boom of the late 1990’s was rooted in the idea that the internet was a new form of television, and that if we apply those creative, financial and production processes directly, it’ll work. It didn’t, for lots of reasons but mostly because there was no monetary infrastructure for online content and web users didn’t want their MTV on the web, they wanted to connect with others via the web. So, the TV web went away and the social web rose up. And, revenue from ads began to pour in.

It’s important to remember that in 2001 everyone was still wondering how and if Amazon and then Google were going to be profitable. Ad revenue finally kicked in. But, unfortunately it was too late for the web TV movement. Sites such as pop.com and pseudo.com died from lack of revenue before web ads had become viable. It took a few years to figure out how to monetize it, figure out what worked and what didn’t, and for essential tech advances to come into play. (Front loading ads on video, bad idea. Clickable hot spots in video and embedding, good idea. Pop ups, bad idea. Banners and text ads, good idea. Ad sense, good. Subscription, bad.)

In the past four years the reintroduction of “social media” and “social networking” (which was the attraction of AOL back in the mid 90’s) applied in tandem with marketing and ad placement has become all the rage. And, the rush was on to create content to take advantage of this newest “revolution”.

Except, none of the best practices of producing video content that we know work in TV to attract an audience have been put into use. Some of this is due to the over reaction to user created content, and the assumption that low budget and thus low production value would translate into revenue. There was an assumption made by many involved in the web 2.0 movement that simply putting content out there would translate into financial gain if they could get the page hits. Not necessarily true it would appear. It’s a gamble given the rather nebulous manner in which most of the content distributors are handling revenue sharing; one person’s money train is another’s dripping faucet. A verifiable form of revenue sharing and accounting still needs to be set up and agreed upon in order for the big money to spend big money.

Among independent web content producer’s there has been a strong push to attract venture capital, with very little traction because of the lack of dealing with the reality that investors – whether in film, TV, or web – don’t merely want a return on their investment but also to see and understand that they are getting something tangible and valuable for their money. They want a simple value for value exchange. They want to see something great too. And, there seems to be a real lack of understanding of that basic rule by many content producers in the web 2.0 world. The governing rule is: just get it online, who cares what it looks like, people will watch. And, it’s not true.

The problem is so acute that Bill Cammack, an Emmy Award winning editor who knows of what he speaks, works in the web 2.0 area and realizes this is an issue, felt it necessary to video tape a how to shoot video 101 class and post it on his site.

I admire Bill’s patience, he does a nice job of laying out the basics, he has provided a real service, and it shines a light on the central issue that the web production community will have to aim higher in quality of production value and creative ideas if we are going to attract the big money and then begin to also nurture those relationships in the long term. I think that Bill understands this as well.

In the next few years the web landscape could change pretty dramatically. Social networking combined with video and mobile technology is going to create the next information movement. How we use it is the question. I agree with Deborah Schultz on this. We need to do more to make social media more viable, more useful, more informative and more entertaining. And, it begins with the community and the work. We need to be more innovative, more interesting and more professional.

At the moment, I’ve also become a bit disenfranchised with the web 2.0 community because on one hand it loves to play footsy with itself, it functions as a giant echo chamber looped onto itself. And, in some quarters, it’s turned nasty. It also feels way too much like the nascent independent film movement of the early 1990’s. Everyone was running around spending their own money on projects looking for an angel to come down and pave their way to creative and financial bliss. Now, I don’t have a problem with the work, or the dream, but in how it’s done. From two decades of experience what I do know is that the people who succeed are those that work on the craft and create compelling and professional content. It’s a real skill and an art. Forgetting that is deadly. If you endeavor to reach out, and communicate with others with skill, it works and people watch. And, when that occurs, the money follows. And, if you are lucky, a lot of money follows.

And, of course, since it involves money, which has its own pitfalls. By the late 90’s, the indie film industry was overtaken by the Hollywood “indie” studios. Even if you could raise your own money, make your film and get it into a major film festival, that didn’t guarantee that it would ever get into theaters. The studios had too many competing “indie” films of their own to release anyway. Many studios would buy up small film festival entrants and put them on the shelf to languish, just to ensure the film wouldn’t be released, its topic too close or too good to compete with something they’d already produced. Or even better, they’d manipulate the festival buzz on a given film to ensure that it did not find a buyer.

Today, the internet promises to provide a venue to equalize the distribution playing field a bit. But, it is important for web 2.0 producers and filmmakers looking to the web as a distribution model to realize that right now as I write, the big fish in Hollywood are planning to do the exact same thing in distribution online as they have done in theaters and TV. That is: control a good portion of it. And, access to the internet, with very few exceptions, is through corporations that are currently creating long term relationships with Hollywood studios and independent studios.

This is why the professional writers and producers are holding back in getting too deep into the web production world. The money isn’t in place, and the distribution is not in place. Thus, the atmosphere for many in the independent web production world is one of the wild west- no adults, free to do what you want, there’s always a seat at the bar and the drinks are all free. Thing is, you look around and it’s the same faces all looking for the same person: the one who has the wallet to pay for the drink.

There will be a user created world, a semi-professional world, and a professional world in the next web movement. Quality and money will be linked at the hip. A few in the first will make money, a few in the second will make money, and everyone in the third will make money. The big pay days will be there. The others will be seen as necessary to maintain viable communities online.

The interesting show to me would be one that combined those worlds to their greatest advantage. Democracy in action. At least for a little while until the next next web comes along.

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south park on the web 2.0 "revolution"

Posted by on Apr 4, 2008 | 0 comments

Via TilzyTV, see that Stone and Parker have spoofed the web 2.0 scene in a recent episode of South Park. Very funny. Yet, while Josh at Tilzy focused on the WGA and internet stars, I thought the episode brought an interesting situation to the fore which I’ll discuss after the clip:

Josh at TilzyTV notes that in the ep, Kyle says the following, which rings true (one of the great things about South Park- instilling a bit of truth info in the satire):

While the internet is new and exciting for creative people, it hasn’t matured as a distribution mechanism to the extent that one should trade real and immediate opportunities for income for the promise of future online revenue. It will be a few years before digital distribution of media on the internet can be monetized to an extent that necessitates content producers to forego their fair value in more traditional media.

That last sentence is very interesting for two reasons.

First, it’s a fact that professional writers and content creators are not getting involved with online content because there is no money in it yet and because most of the video content online is crap. While there are plenty of passionate content producers entirely willing to create content for the web for little or no money, it simply doesn’t gather an audience that can be sustained. It’s the result of there being no money to create good content (because quality requires time and yes, money) and the fact that so many online producers simply don’t understand or have the skill set that is required to create content of the quality and consistency that will lure big money, and thus the best creative minds and ultimately an audience.

When you create a pilot for traditional media, often with very little money, you have to attain a certain level of quality and entertainment value. You have to make a dollar look like a million. Quality attracts investors and money. This is a reality put into practice by producers of traditional media every day for decades. It is something that is put to the test in theaters everywhere for centuries.

But, it’s a reality that seems to be lost on producers of internet shows. It’s become acceptable to produce crap and use the fact that they had no money as a crutch and a bargaining chip, or as a “look”. Thing is, it never works when it is done in traditional media, so why would it work with online media when the money is coming from the same finite group of investors? It doesn’t. The fact that budgets on reality shows always spiral downward after the first season is one example of that particular money trap.

Yes, there is no doubt that it’s a catch-22, you are expected to create a quality show with no money in order to attract the money to create a quality show that everyone can then make even more money from. That’s how the game is played.

For those who are currently struggling to create content online with no money, this is the 800 pound gorilla in the room: the bar has to be as high as broadcast and cable in regard to production value, creative content, delivery and audience reaction even when you have no money. Just because it’s on the web doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be good. Because that is what the money people are waiting for- quality that they can justify spending money on online shows. And, they simply have not seen it yet from the independent sector.

Which brings us to the second important point: road tested traditional media producers and writers are in the wings, waiting for the money to start flowing. And when and if it does start to flow they will pounce and the money people will gather around them. And, as occurs in the indie TV and film world, those with the current connections will benefit the most.

Alas, the continual drum beat of it only being “a couple of years” until the money starts flowing for online content, I’ve been hearing that for almost ten years now.

We shall see.

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bloggers on the pundit circuit

Posted by on Jan 21, 2008 | 0 comments

Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend made an appearance on CNN yesterday and it was stellar.

Truth be told, yours truly has mixed feelings on bloggers appearing as pundits. To my mind, the TV format has real deficiencies compared to the blogging format. It may be live video compared to textual post and comments, but when you compare how information comes out and how it’s dealt with, blogging wins. I see the value of bloggers on TV, but also the pitfalls. TV is really an imperfect medium for the conveyance of real information and discussion. Well, actually, it’s become an imperfect medium for information. There was a time when it was a bit more balanced in presentation. But, hype, commercialism, and polarization has stepped in. Upon a time, one might see Gore Vidal on The Tonight Show one night and Barry Goldwater the next, and they talked about issues, not about their new tattoo.

Obviously, the host on a TV show gets to dictate what is discussed and set the tone, and because commercials are inevitably more important than actually finishing a discussion, incorrect statements will go unresolved. (I’m assuming some basic liberal blog rules here: no moderation of comments for starters.) Read Pam’s post (and the comments) linked above for an example of that in progress.

Blogging picks up where TV drops the ball, and TV is trying to adapt, but it’s still glaringly apparent how static and rigid the TV format is… yet, it’s still the dominant force in many ways. Alas…

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something for nothing not science fiction for Harlan Ellison

Posted by on Nov 20, 2007 | 0 comments

From the Brian Leher Show’s Video Picks on WNYC, Harlan Ellison rants righteously on how so many of the big media corporations are perfectly willing to ask people for free access to all kinds of content – in this instance an interview with the famed writer to be put on a DVD – for zero compensation. Something for nothing.

It’s a situation that stymies the production end as well, especially in the blossoming area of web content. There are a lot of people creating content for the web for little or no compensation, that content is uploaded to Google or YouTube and they utilize it without any real accounting done as to how much profit they make from specific videos they air. It’s a racket all around, which will hopefully get ironed out as more people become wise to the ruse. (There’s also some additional goodies in the video. Enjoy.)


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Lennon and Cheap Trick

Posted by on May 20, 2007 | 1 comment

An outtake of “I’m Losing You” by John Lennon with Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Neilsen and drummer Bun E. Carlos. The bassist is session man Tony Levin, who played on the other tracks on Double Fantasy.

It’s a harder version than the released version. It would have been nice to see where this one would have ended up. It was relegated to rarity because Lennon apparently thought it sounded too much like “Cold Turkey” in tone and tempo. And, it does sorta. (That said, Cheap Trick’s version of Cold Turkey is absolutely stellar as well. )

The video was apparently done in the late 90’s, part of the Lennon Anthology.

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Portrait of Saori

Posted by on Apr 21, 2007 | 0 comments

What I see in NYC. Saori, star of The Gnldberg Variations (Portrait of Saori) directed by John Moran.

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On the job

Posted by on Apr 20, 2007 | 0 comments

What I see in NYC.

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Kermit goes grunge

Posted by on Apr 8, 2007 | 0 comments

Sad Kermit sings “Hurt”. This made me laugh hard. I know more than a few people who actually embrace that self destructive, posing “hurt myself” attitude and it has always annoyed me a good deal. I’ve never agreed with it. (Although, I admit to dabbling in it to a certain degree. Who hasn’t.)

It’s not part of the punk mentality that I experienced in the 80’s. The downer grunge scene was much more self absorbed and fake. When you did see such things expressed in punk, it was usually expressed by the more fringe elements of the skinheads, mostly right wing. Body art and piercing has been interpreted by some as being self inflicted pain, but it’s not the case usually.

Sure, life can suck, but life is great too. Ying yang baby. What are you going to do about it? Burn circles in your arms with a hot hash pipe? I understand the strong allure of addiction and chemical abuse. Been there. It’s a form of hurting oneself. But, eventually, you have to live or die. Which is it going to be?

So, obsessing on the pain, in a poser arty way, has always been useless to me. It’s akin to obsessing about dying, or obsessing about committing suicide but not really doing it. Trying to feel alive by inflicting pain-a response. It goes nowhere in the end. It’s hanging onto only one facet of existence to the detriment of the equally as important opposite aspect. An endless loop of self absorption. In the end, you either live, or you die like Layne Staley. or Kurt Cobain. What a waste, cause they had so much more to say, and do. And, this video pretty much sums it up. Enjoy. (c/o Mobius )


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The "No Duh!" Files

Posted by on Mar 23, 2007 | 0 comments

Apparently it takes a study to determine what I certainly knew at 14, what a certain 13 year old rocker grrrl I know definitely knows and every teen who knows the lyrics to War Pigs knows:

Iintelligent teenagers often listen to heavy metal music to cope with the pressures associated with being talented, according to research.

The results of a study of more than 1,000 of the brightest five per cent of young people will come as relief to parents whose offspring, usually long-haired, are devotees of Iron Maiden, AC/DC and their musical descendants.

Researchers found that, far from being a sign of delinquency and poor academic ability, many adolescent “metalheads” are extremely bright and often use the music to help them deal with the stresses and strains of being gifted social outsiders.

This is for all those teenagers, past and present, who listened to metal for reasons other than cause they wanted to be cool. You know who you are…

That’s Bon Scott, the original lead singer. And, check out the banjo style guitar solo that Angus rips out of his SG through a stack of Marshall’s. Nice.

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Them Belly Full

Posted by on Jan 17, 2007 | 0 comments

Cause Bob Marley knew the score back in 1974.


Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na;
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na;
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na;

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na.

Them belly full but we hungry.
A hungry mob is a angry mob.
A rain a-fall but the dirt it tough;
A pot a-cook but the food no ‘nough.
You’re gonna dance to JAH music, dance.

We’re gonna dance to JAH music, dance.
Forget your troubles and dance.
Forget your sorrow and dance.
Forget your sickness and dance.
Forget your weakness and dance.

Cost of living get so high,
Rich and poor, they start a cry.
Now the weak must get strong.
They say, “Oh, what a tribulation.”

Them belly full but we hungry.
A hungry mob is a angry mob.
A rain a-fall but the dirt it tough;
A pot a-cook but the food no ‘nough.

We’re gonna chuck to JAH music,
chuckin’.
We’re chuckin’ to JAH music,
we’re chuckin’.

A belly full but them hungry.
A hungry mob is a angry mob.
A rain a-fall but the dirt it tough;
A pot a-cook but the food no ‘nough.

A hungry man is a angry man.
A rain a-fall but the dirt it tough;
A pot a-cook but the food no ‘nough.

A hungry mob is a angry mob.

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