Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sketchy, Greasy Guy

I know, I know - child abduction is no laughing matter. So don't laugh.

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Abandoned Cities

Like a hellscape wasteland in a zombie movie, we ditch the glass-walled canyons for the green hills of the suburbs after dark. Here's DC's population by day and by night.

Joe Lertola has more maps. Chicago and Manhattan look just as bleak when the sun goes down, which I'm sure is how the REAL Manhattanites (those who transplanted themselves there) like it.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Make a Short, Indie, Post-Apocalyptic Thiller

A friend I've never met, Josh Oakhurst, let me in on his latest project and gave me some behind-the-scenes details on how he pulled it off.

A brief backstory: "Six months from now, two North American Union Armored Guard Personnel and an electrician find out what it's like to be trapped in a rolling coffin in unfriendly territory. Inspired by a photography project on abandoned homes."

Here's the film:

Chimera from Josh Oakhurst on Vimeo.

And here's how he pulled it off, shared with me after I asked stupid questions like, "How'd you pull that off?"

Josh said finding people to help out, not just actors, was by far the hardest part.

Aside from his wife (the female cop), all of the other actors and crew were just people he knew from the neighborhood.

He catered lunch over two days and tried to pay everyone something, even if it was just a little bit.

My wife obviously worked for free. She was a trooper and I definitely tested her patience.

The Male Cop was a dude from the neighborhood I know. I liked him, he was great.

The electrician guy was a Turkish engineer I befriended in my building. He was awesome, no one ever asked him to do something like this. His wife was so proud.

The kid I found through a post on Craigslist. His mom volunteered him. He was really great as well.

I paid this big Jamaican dude to run security for us on both days. We were in some sketchy neighborhoods.

When we were shooting inside that abandoned drug house, the actual drug dealing (not hyperbole) neighbors next door thought that we were a SWAT team or something. I guess between the car, the uniforms, the big dude with a SECURITY t-shirt and some prop guns, they thought we were raiding the place.

The rest of the people on screen, and the "crew" were all a bunch of drunken, fellow artists from the metal studio who had a free afternoon.

All told, I think if I'm honest I'm in this thing about $7G, including all the metal work and learning how to weld. I think it was worth it, because no one else has ever spent that much money on anything else I've shot. I needed to do it for me, if nothing else.

Nice work. And even though Josh is a creative director at a digital shop in North Carolina, this supports what I've always said about working in our industry; you've got to keep a side project that you have total control over. You're never going to satisfy your need to create by working for clients.

Film Festival time for Josh, I think.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

So Social


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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Things Could Get Ugly...

I've always said the next Great Depression is going to be very different from the last. And by that I meant that the whole "help a brother out" mentality will have totally disappeared. We'll be holed up in our homes with MREs, bottled water and a stockpile of ammunition. "Trust no one" will be the mantra of many. We'll be scraping resources together to keep our cell phones from being turned off or our cable from being cut. We have our priorities. But those brave souls willing to go down to their local church or homeless shelter when they run out of food are going to face a new kind of horror the people of the 1930s could never have imagined.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

If I May...

I know it may seem old-fashioned, perhaps even chauvinistic to some, but this is something passed down from my grandfather that has been lost. I see it being done incorrectly everyday, and when I do, I judge the men doing it incorrectly as uncouth and ignorant dis-respecters of women. If we were in the 1800s, I might publicly but politely reprimand him. If that failed, a slap of his face with my glove. Finally, a duel in the public square if the knave persisted in his reprobate ways. This being the 2010s, I will create an infographic instead. (Click for the big.)

The practice was in place to prevent women from being splashed by horse-drawn carriages, I think, as they trotted through the city streets, which in those days were made of mud, urine, dead people and horseshit. Later, when the streets became paved, the man still bore the brunt of whatever might be splashed by careening taxis. Even later, it kept the women from being visually and verbally molested by the seething hordes of delinquents, gawking, ogling and shouting obscenities from the rolled-down windows of their low-riders, hot-rods and other barbaric conveyances. Today, it allows the man to take the bullets in a drive-by.

Men, you don't need to make a big deal of it. Just casually maneuver yourself to the street-side when walking with a woman. If she must know why you have done this, you now have a story to tell her.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm Sure It's Happened

A modern tale of betrayal. (Poorly art-directed, I know, and thank you in advance.) Be sure Google will find you out.

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Star in It , Point Repeatedly and Feature Your Son

These are the rules of local car dealership ads. Variations on these rules include: son may be replaced with daughter, dog or trophy wife. Business owner may be replaced with local model who wants to be an actress so she had a boob job and can read a cue card while she walks in front of a line of cars. Pointing gesture can be replaced with The Double-Point/SmileTM .

Bonus points to Mr. Qablawi for sound effects usage.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Twitter and Facebook: We're On It - But Not Really

Over the last few weeks I've been conducting short interviews by phone with clients, hoping to get a feel for their businesses as I prepare to write up overviews and figure an angle to present their offers. When I see that they have Facebook and Twitter icons on their sites, I ask if they stay active with those platforms. More often than not the answer is, "Not really. Someone told us we should be on there so we did." One person I spoke with said she paid a lot of money to someone to get her on a few social platforms, yet she had no idea she could very easily find out when people were talking about her business on them.  

If you're a new media agency selling these services, you'd do well to actually teach your clients how to use them; go beyond the obligatory set-up and selection of an avatar. In many cases, you'd do even better to simply take over the day-to-day usage of social media for your clients, or show them where to find a modestly paid intern to do it for them. Many of them are just wallowing, or they're simply getting their feet wet and then deciding it was a dumb idea to venture in at all.

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Friday, September 09, 2011

Geico Rarely Misses

Writing and casting perfection. It doesn't make me want to go to the hassle of switching from my current insurance, but I love it. Is Geico still a Martin client?

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Transatlantic Supergroup Forms

Bill, Angela and Darryl (BAD) have been friends of this blog from its beginnings back in 2006. Now they have merged their unique talents to form AdVerve, which already existed, but now includes Darryl, who just left the agency he founded, Humongo, to join Carrot. Bill and Angela have shelved their old blogs while the one Darryl started will be carried on by the good folks of Humongo, whom I get to work with from time to time on various projects. It's all slightly confusing. The ad blog world is a little shaken, bewildered, confused and nervous right now. What does it all mean? It's like if your brother married your sister or something, but not gross like that. Bad example.

All I know is that these three bloggers are truly decent people who have been very kind to me in the five years I've known them. I trust that whatever comes of this, it'll be good. 

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011


A giant, overstated poster for all the nut jobs who still insist, even after NASA's recent photos of the Apollo landing site, that everything is rigged. Click it for the obscenely large.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Ken Fox - Strategist!

Cue a cool theme song that is reminiscent of the old private-eye or cop dramas.

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Friday, September 02, 2011

Coffee With Jesus #78 - "Swimmer's Body"

I was talking to my Mom and Dad on the phone the other night. My mother is not a fan of these strips. She said, "I don't get them." My father said, "You've got some really good ones in there, but some of them are disjointed." I said, "You've never understood me! What do I have to do to earn your respect? Why can't you love me for who I am?" Not really. I said, "You're both a couple of idiots. Are you sure I wasn't adopted?" Not really. I actually just said, "Yeah."

Entire series is here.

Are you a fan of Radio Free Babylon on Facebook? Why not. Did you know that the more fans we have, the better we feel about ourselves, our pathetic existences somehow validated because you clicked a little button that said "Like"? It's good to be liked. Go Like us.

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