It's a Classic!? Turner Classic Movies is selling Skatopia!

On September 13, 2011 by Colin
Skatopia: 88 Acres Of Anarchy DVD

Skatopia: 88 Acres Of Anarchy (2010)

What else would you call a skateboarding-centric Utopia but…”Skatopia”? Observing everyday life on an Appalachian farm commune formed by hillbilly skating fanatics who maintain a demolition derby society otherwise governed by anarchy, this documentary reveals the rural location as a cult-like haven for enthusiasts looking to escape conventional attitudes of all kinds.

It may be classic, but discriminating buyers want the Collector’s Edition.


Four Reasons Any Action Is Better than None

On September 11, 2011 by Colin

I usually don’t repost business advice info, but this column made a lot of sense to me.

Four Reasons Any Action Is Better than None
Rosabeth Moss Kanter – Harvard Business Review

It’s well-known that busy people get the most done. Their secret is simple: They never stop moving.

Of course, sitting still can be a good thing if it involves renewal, reflection, and focused attention (or having meals with the family). But sitting still can be a bad thing if it involves procrastination, indecision, and passivity.

Companies heading downhill have passive cultures. Unmade decisions pile up. Opportunities are lost. No one wants to risk making a mistake. It becomes easier to sit it out than get into the game. One of my favorite examples involves the backwater bank in which employees would send customers who had complicated problems to the rival bank across the street, rather than try to do anything.

In contrast, in companies with high levels of innovation, people take initiative. They start new things. They don’t wait to be told. They get routine work done efficiently in order to free up the time to get involved in something new. Here are some of the reasons.

Small wins matter. Small wins pave the way for bigger wins. A nudge in the right direction, as Cass Sunstein and the new behavioral economists tell us, can lead to major tipping points (per Malcolm Gladwell) when you achieve critical mass. As I saw in my study of business turnarounds and sports teams, confidence — the expectation of a positive outcome that motivates high levels of effort — is built on one win at a time.

Accomplishments come in pieces. A journey of a thousand miles is daunting. The single step with which the journey begins is manageable. Every step you take now adds up by getting that much closer to a goal. Busy people in high-productivity environments tend to take just one more action, return one more phone call, set one more thing in motion before calling it quits for the day. By tomorrow, new demands will start piling up. Mental tricks like dividing big tasks into numerous small steps make it possible to identify immediate actions to get big things off the ground.

Perfection is unattainable anyway. Forget perfection. Just do it. So what if you’re wrong? You can always try again. In an uncertain world of rapid change, business strategy includes room for improvisation. Live by some classic slogans: Best is the enemy of good. (Don’t wait for perfect conditions.) Nothing ventured, nothing gained. (It takes a little risk to get rewards.)

Actions produce energy and momentum. It simply feels better to take action than sitting around navel-gazing and getting sluggish. Overwork can bring stress, but, in fact, many studies show that the important factor in work stress is lack of control. Identifying a positive action is a way to feel in control. Getting moving doesn’t drain energy; it tends to build energy. For people trying to solve the national obesity epidemic, or just to lose a few pounds, exercise is more fun than dieting.

These principles represent more than management tips. They reflect a can-do philosophy that is essential for any entrepreneur or any place that wants more entrepreneurs. The only way to activate potential is to support action.

Sometimes it doesn’t seem easy. Organizational cultures, autocratic bosses, uncooperative co-workers, long losing streaks, the uncertainty of shifting industry conditions, and big world events like natural disasters and revolutions can stop people in their tracks. But those who emerge triumphant, and get the most done anyway, are the people who would rather take action, any action, than wait around.


Why is Lance Weiler the "dean" of Transmedia? Read on…

On September 10, 2011 by Colin

Transmedia: Entertainment reimagined

Esther Robinson got off the R train in Astoria, Queens, and started walking to the American Museum of the Moving Image. It was a warm July evening in 2007 and Robinson, then 37 years old and a filmmaker, had come with a friend to see a movie, Head Trauma. As they approached the cinema, she noticed that the payphones were ringing — all four of them. “You forget payphones exist,” recalls Robinson. “That was the first thing I noticed.” She picked one up: all she could hear were fragments of a conversation, “sounds of madness”. Outside the cinema, a preacher in short sleeves and a tie was raving, handing out apocalyptic comic books to passers-by. He pressed one into Robinson’s hand as she hurried past, anxious to get to the film. The opening credits prompted the audience to send in a text to a given number. As the film rolled, they started receiving “weird text messages”; phones were ringing.

The film was about a drifter who inherits his mother’s house and starts to lose his mind. The next day, back in Brooklyn, Robinson found the comic in her handbag. On the back was written: “Do you want to play a game?”, along with an address, She typed it in to her computer. What she found was an online game that continued the story. “In the middle of it, the phone rang,” she says. She recognised the voice. It was the film’s “hooded villain”. He started asking questions: “Do you feel guilty? Have you ever lost consciousness?” Last, he asked Robinson to tell him her darkest secret. Her answer started playing back on a loop through her computer speakers. Robinson clicked on the exit box. She kept clicking, but nothing happened. Her phone buzzed with a text: “Where are you going? We’re not finished yet…” At that point, Robinson was dumped into a conference call with other cinema goers who had just gone through the same experience. “We were all like, ‘What the fuck was that?’ It was totally nuts.”

Unwittingly, she had just participated in an emerging form of mainstream entertainment. Lance Weiler, the creator of Head Trauma, had programmed software to make all the payphones on the block ring. The preacher was an actor, a lead in the feature. Based on the participants’ responses to the automated phone calls, audio and video launched on the desktop screen. The exit box was a fake. Clicking on it sent that last text. For Weiler, a 41-year-old New Yorker, the experience “demonstrated the fluidity of an audience. After the movie ended, it followed people home.”



Lance Weiler is bringing a transmedia education project to Montreal

On September 9, 2011 by Colin

Forty children and two teachers on different sides of the continent will work together this fall to produce stories and artwork about a robot. These artifacts will board a commercial rocket and, through an actual space launch, make their way to the International Space Station. The “dean” of transmedia is taking transmedia storytelling in some great (and local) directions.

Robot Heart Stories

Posted: August 21st, 2011 ˑ Filled under: news ˑ  1 Comment

This fall I’ll be releasing an exciting new participatory storytelling project focused on experiential education, storytelling and creative collaboration.

A robot has crash landed in Montreal and now must make her way to LA in order to find her space craft and return home. Two third grade classes in underprivileged neighborhoods, one in Montreal (French speaking) and the other in LA (English speaking) engage in an experiential learning project that utilizes math, science, history, geography and creative writing to place education directly in the hands of students. By using collaborative problem solving and creative writing the students help the Robot make her way across North America. The project concludes with an actual space launch! That’s right the robot along with copies of the students stories and artwork will board a commercial rocket that is headed to the space station later this fall.

Tom Cruise's Minority Report computer interface is pretty much here…

On September 6, 2011 by Colin

This segment is a few months old, but creative hacking is pretty timeless.

How ‘gesture technology’ like Microsoft Kinect will change the way we live | Need to Know

Here’s a term you may not have heard yet — but we can just about guarantee that you will. It’s called “gesture technology” — using our body movements to control a computer. No keyboard, no mouse. It may represent a major leap in how we will communicate in the digital world. It might sound like just another way to sell gaming devices, but this story is about how gaming technology is being used to change the way we live.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

Obama sells out on air quality! Way to win back the people who put him in office.

On September 2, 2011 by Colin

“The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe,” said League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski. “This is a huge win for corporate polluters and huge loss for public health.”

KCET-TV in $50-million deal for new local shows

On August 18, 2011 by Colin

Much of the PBS system is watching KCET closely to see how it fares without the PBS “icon” series shows to keep an audience. While cutting deals like this one makes headlines, taking a look at the daily program schedule leaves me really underwhelmed with the offerings. Five hours of cooking shows each weekday? Still, I’m hoping for the best.

Show Tracker

What you’re watching

KCET-TV in $50-million deal for new local shows

Since KCET-TV Channel 28 left the PBS network in January, one big question was how the newly independent public station could find unique programs to replace network shows like “Charlie Rose” and “Sesame Street.” Now it’s hoping to take a big step toward that goal with an entrepreneurial partnership that could be worth as much as $50 million.

The station announced today that it will team with Dominique Bigle, a former Walt Disney Co. executive and the founder of an Encino-based visual-effects and production company called Eyetronics Media & Studios, to produce and acquire original series about Southern California. KCET says it hopes to start producing the first five shows by the end of the year and will add staff to do so.

Bigle is the son of Armand Bigle, who helped oversee Disney’s expansion into Europe. In an interview, KCET chief Al Jerome said he met Bigle through Steve Unger, an executive recruiter, and the pair had been talking for months about a deal.

The KCET programs will celebrate “the vibrancy of Southern California’s people, places, and culture, as well as its history,” the station said in a release. While not offering titles or specifics, executives said the shows will cover such topics as food, technology and entertainment. Details will be forthcoming in several weeks, they added.

KCET left PBS in January after months of disputes over dues and other issues. Many of the programs the station has aired this year are either reruns, such as the old British crime series “Prime Suspect,” or general-interest news shows from overseas providers, such as Al-Jazeera or Japan’s NHK. 

The deal is KCET’s largest cash infusion for new programming since a $50-million partnership with oil giant BP and other donors led to a “A Place of Our Own,” a nationally distributed series for preschool caregivers.


Flight of Young Adults Is Causing Alarm Upstate

On August 12, 2011 by Colin

Though this article is five years old the problem remains as intractable today as then. The region needs to look to other areas of the country that have succesfully combined a great quality of life with up-to-date amenities like broadband access and cultural programming to attract the knowledge workers of tomorrow (and today!)

Upstate New York is staggering from an accelerating exodus of young adults, new census results show. The migration is turning many communities grayer, threatening the long-term viability of ailing cities and raising concerns about the state’s future tax base.


From 1990 to 2004, the number of 25-to-34-year-old residents in the 52 counties north of Rockland and Putnam declined by more than 25 percent. In 13 counties that include cities like Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton, the population of young adults fell by more than 30 percent. In Tioga County, part of Appalachia in New York’s Southern Tier, 42 percent fewer young adults were counted in 2004 than in 1990.

“Make no mistake: this is not business as usual,” Robert G. Wilmers, the chairman of M & T Bank in Buffalo, told his shareholders this spring. “The magnitude and duration of population loss among the young is unprecedented in our history. There has never been a previous 10-year period in the history of the upstate region when there has been any decline in this most vital portion of our population.”

In New York City and the five suburban counties in New York State, the number of people ages 18 to 44 increased by 1.5 percent in the 1990’s. Upstate, it declined by 10 percent.

Over all, the upstate population grew by 1.1 percent in the 1990’s — slower than the rate for any state except West Virginia and North Dakota.

"Rules of Engagement," – a critical change of mindset for pubmedia

On August 11, 2011 by Colin

White man talking with woman in Somali garb at gas station in shot from NPT Next Door Neighbors video

“We had to learn — and we have to keep reminding ourselves — to start by listening to the community and sometimes leave the camera at home,” said Nashville Public Television President Beth Curley about the station’s Next Door Neighbors project. Pictured: scene from Next Door Neighbors program about the city’s Somali refugees.

Rules of Engagement 1

New mindset requires new habits: listen, earn trust, partner-up

The professionals who work to engage public media groups in their communities are still learning what it takes. In a series of articles, associates of the Wisconsin-based National Center for Media Engagement will lay out what they’ve learned. Executive Director Charles Meyer begins the series. Continued…


Skatopia Review: "Now all I want to do is go!"

On August 7, 2011 by Colin

Review  the film called ‘Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy,’ released on 7/12/11.

I’ve been skating and watching skate videos for about six years now. I am also a big fan of punk rock and a lifestyle associated with it. Skatopia is the sickest video I have watched in a very long time though. It chronicles a year at Skatopia, a Skatepark in the middle of Appalachia, in which skating, music, and punk rock lifestyles are embraced. This video is like Bam Margera on Acid! I couldn’t help but laugh over and over at the crazy antics these skate punk hillbillies actually do. From mosh pits, to burning car – destruction and anarchy are shown in a true, real-life way. The skateparks in the video are amazing, and you would never think that you would find such a great spot in the middle of nowhere.

What makes this video so refreshing is that it encompasses the lifestyle of skating as well as skate footage itself. Just about every other video I’ve watched includes nothing but the skaters riding around doing tricks. That’s good and all, but Skatopia lets you into the lives of these kids. You can see the passion, the enthusiasm, the pain, the craziness, and most of all, the dedication. Watching the kids in the video work hard to build new ramps and snakeruns is so inspirational – I wanted to grab a hammer and nails right after I watched this video! I didn’t that available at that moment though, so I did the next best thing and picked up my board and went skating for a few hours, came home, watched Skatopia again, and decided that I definately need to make a trip to Appalchia sometime to check this place out.

Until I watched this video, I didn’t even know about this place. Now all I want to do is go! The bond everyone shares is something skateboarding is missing!