Mitt Romney Claims He'll Cut Off Funding for PBS

On January 2, 2012 by Colin

“We’re not going to kill Big Bird,” Romney said. “But Big Bird is going to have advertisements. Alright?”


How to Repair Corrupted Quicktime Files

On December 8, 2011 by Colin

I’ve come across corrupted QT files a number of times… don’t know why I finally decided to see if there was anything I could do about them… I’d always considered them a lost cause. Now there’s reason for hope!

A few weeks ago I participated in a three-camera shoot of a concert using two 7Ds and a 550D. When I tried to transfer the files to a computer, I was shocked to discover that two of the files were corrupt. Worse still, they happened in the same scene from two different cameras, which also happened to be the most important song of the concert. What horrible luck. I have been shooting with DSLRs for quite some time, and I have never had a corrupt file, much less two on the same night, at the same time, on two different cameras! I immediatly began to research how to fix them, but found the info on the internet to be a bit lacking. I hope this post will give someone with the same problem a slightly easier time. CONTINUED…

Here’s another possibility with a lot of other useful aps bundled in: 

Pro Maintenance Tools (formerly FCS Maintenance Pack) is a utility pack designed to keep your Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer or Adobe Premiere Pro Mac running at optimal performance and help resolve problems when they arise.

The suite contains tools to repair corrupt QuickTime movies, locate corrupt clips within a timeline, diagnose crash logs, manage plugins, repair Final Cut Pro projects, manage autosaves, salvage movie data from corrupt files, and much more.

Show-stopping problems always seem to occur on a deadline – Pro Maintenance Tools is designed to rapidly diagnose and fix common issues, ensuring users get back on track as quickly as possible. With the Task Scheduler utility, maintenance tasks can even be scheduled to run in the background for convenience.

Flowers in the Desert

On November 26, 2011 by Colin

The Joy of Stats – making data visible (and fun)

On November 21, 2011 by Colin

Hans Rosling’s BBC program “The Joy of Stats” is a real “mind-opener” for non-fiction storytellers who want to engage audiences in the swirling world of data that surrounds us today.



On November 10, 2011 by Colin

I’ve long followed Peter Broderick and even used his consulting services on Skatopia. In this article he outlines how the phenomenon of crowdfunding can be done right… or wrong. Worth a read.

Peter Broderick, the president of Paradigm Consulting and a guru of the digital distribution revolution, was on hand to moderate a panel about crowdfunding at the 2011 Film Independent Forum.  He brought


Peter Broderick and Nick Lewis speak at the 2011 Film Independent Forum

with him the masterminds behind two highly successful crowdfunding campaigns; the team for I AM I an indie narrative written and directed by Jocelyn Towne, and Nick Lewis, co-director of the soccer doc, Rise and Shine: the Jay Demerit Story.   Ready to start soliciting money from people you know and people you don’t? These tips come straight from the experts!

  • Make a really really really good video. I mean it, it has to be really good.  The director and producers of the film I Am I had set a goal of $100,000 and ended up raising over $111,000! You know why? The director made an extremely fun and personal video that really connected with people she knew and didn’t know.  When I say “good” it doesn’t have to be slick, well-edited, or even clever. It just needs to touch a people on a personal level, something that most internet videos fail to do.
  • Have a strategy. Ok, this one seems obvious, but all the really successful crowdfunding campaigns had a very detailed strategy that took at least a month to plan out. What is your fundraising goal, what will be your rewards structure, who will you target first? Second? Third? How will you keep your donors engaged throughout the campaign? What is your website going to look like (Yes, you definitely need to make a separate website for your film).  If you can plan it out and execute it smartly, you’re much more likely to reach your crowdfunding goal.
  • Who is your audience? This is, of course, part of your strategy, but it’s a huge one. Nick Lewis had a fairly easy time of identifying his audience – soccer fans! The producers of the film needed over $215,000 for their film (for licensing, rights, etc) and they raised around $223,000! You’d be right if you said a lot of their donors were European soccer fans. Be smart about who your audience is and market to them. (Marketing is part of the whole strategy-thing).
  • Pick the Crowdfunding platform that’s right for your project. What’s the difference between IndieGoGo and Kickstarter? IndieGoGo allows you to keep the money, regardless of whether you’ve reached your goal – however, they take a larger percentage of the money on the back end. Kickstarter is all or nothing – if you don’t reach your goal, all the money gets refunded to the donors, but they also take a smaller percentage of the money in fees. There are a few other differences as well which you will need to research before deciding which one is the best for you, but those are the big ones.
  • Have a schedule. Make sure you spend the money that you’ve raised crowdfunding in the same year that you received it! Otherwise things will get hairy on your tax returns, and you may end up claiming it as income and having to pay a lot in income taxes before you even get to use the money!

The best way to figure out how to run your campaign is to peruse both Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. Look for patterns and trends with what works and what doesn’t. With crowdfunding taking off in this day and age, you’re chances of successfully raising funds will be a lot better if you take the time to research it!

– by Film Independent Fellow Shilpi Roy for Film Independent

Buckle up: Traditional TV is in for a heck of a ride

On November 8, 2011 by Colin

Good overview on where media may be headed. “MSO” refers to multiple system operators, the big cable companies.


The first wave of commercialization on the Internet had a tremendous impact on our lives and has disrupted most — if not all — industry value chains. The print industry was in the eye of the storm, with decline in readers and advertising budgets forcing many major magazines and newspapers to shut down, while the survivors continue to scramble to deal with the disruption. The primary reasons for the debacle of the print industry were:

  • High fixed cost structures left incumbents unable to match the niche segmentation requirement and accountability benefits of online advertising
  • Professional publishers denied consumers’ appetite for short form and user-generated content
  • High debt loads on the legacy businesses created an inability to cannibalize core revenues



Film Threat – Skatopia: 88 Acres Of Anarchy

On November 1, 2011 by Colin

This new review on Film Threat spends so much time talking about Skatopia the place… it makes me think he must’ve liked the movie!



If someone told you that a bastion of pure, unadulterated freedom exists in the United States, where would you expect to would find that place? Unless your answer is “in the middle of nowhere, Ohio,” you’re probably wrong.

Brewce Martin’s Skatopia, all 88 acres of it, floats out in the Ohio wilderness. Part skate park, park skateboarding legacy and museum and part anarchistic commune, it’s a grimy bubble of pure freedom; a skateboarder’s dream and end-of-the-world Thunderdome all at the same time. Drop by and party at their huge blowouts, live on site, skateboard, set your car on fire, have your own demolition derby, engage in an orgy of fireworks (or just a regular orgy)… anything goes at Skatopia.

Laurie House & Colin Powers’ Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy offers an unflinching gaze at what this complete freedom looks like, for better or worse.Continued…


Sundance Award winning Documantary "If a Tree Falls" – watch now on PBS

On September 19, 2011 by Colin
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front explores two of America’s most pressing issues — environmentalism and terrorism — by lifting the veil on a radical environmental group the FBI calls America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.” Daniel McGowan, a former member of the Earth Liberation Front, faces life in prison for two multimillion-dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. What turned this working-class kid from Queens into an eco-warrior? Marshall Curry (Oscar®-nominated Street Fight, POV 2005) provides a nuanced and provocative account that is part coming-of-age story, part cautionary tale and part cops-and-robbers thriller.


Two chatbots talking to each other

On September 18, 2011 by Colin

The state of artificial intelligence has really evolved. This video features too “chatbots” conversing with each other after they each learned responses and conversation patterns from thousands of chats with people (you can try that out by clicking here.) The story was profiled on NPR, but ended abruptly when host Robert Siegel couldn’t produce a suitable response to the robot and was overcome with laughter.

Teaching with Comic Life

On September 15, 2011 by Colin

As I’ve learned from my 7-year old, graphic novels are tremendously appealing to young minds. Here’s a novel way to engage kids in the classroom by creating their own illustrated stories using digital tools.

A few years ago I put together a really rudimentary teaching guide to using Comic Life in the classroom. It was thrown together as a series of test lessons but I was asked for a copy and thus made it public. 

Last December I have it a little refresh to cover Comic Life 2 although it is still patchy around the corners. The unit covers the idea of visual story telling and communicating a narrative with only 6 photos. You can obviously adjust the rules according to age group, for example you might allow some text direction in the comic frames.

Comic Life is a digital story telling application with a difference. The simple graphical user interface and intuitive drag and drop workflow makes it a perfect tool for classrooms both at primary and secondary level. The Comic Life Application is intuitive and fun to use, it simply removes any ICT barrier and allows pupils to focus on creative communication.

Comic Life is particularly affordable but if you are unsure of its benefits in the classroom situation a trial version is available via the website.

I first devised this short unit for use with the original version of Comic Life and keystage 3 level students.

To build in a slightly deeper ICT dimension I only allowed photos to be taken with a mobile device that offered bluetooth file transfer (sadly not an iPhone). The students would take the photos, bluetooth them across to the Mac, create the comic and bluetooth the final document to their friends.

The workflow from mobile phone photos to Comic Life and then back to the phone demonstrates just how possible a paperless classroom could be and how much students enjoy capturing and processing images from mobile devices. Zero paper, maximum fun.


In small groups pupils will write and communicate a story using only eight photos and the Comic Life Application. For older students you may want to limit the number of photos to six and if you really want to challenge the students then you could forbid them using any text in their story.


  • On successful completion of this task pupils will be able to use bluetooth to transfer files to and from am computer.
  • On successful completion of the task pupils will be able use photos taken with a mobile phone in their own documents / coursework etc.
  • On successful completion of the task pupils will be able to manipulate / resize and filter their photographs.
  • On successful completion of the task pupils will be able to use suitable software applications to communicate in a range of different ways.


The transferable skills covered in the unit include : Working with others, Organising oneself, Communication, Critical and discriminating skills, Reflection and decision making skills.

Comic Life Free ebook


The zip file contains a PDF of the document as well an ePub version ready for your favourite ebook reader. The ePub version has been tested in iBooks and works pretty well.



Please do not redistribute the ebook or link to the file directly. Do though, feel free to link to this page and spread the word. Any comments? please post them below.