Robert Butcher : NYC

Here’s  photo of Robert Butcher. He’s a New York / Sydney Fashion Photographer, ex-publisher of Tattoos Magazine, creator and manager of various Rock’n’Roll bands and accomplished raconteur. He’s a friend of a friend of mine from New York who died a few years back and it’s great to catch up when I’m here. Robert has just emerged from a 10 year agoraphobic stint which kept him more-or-less contained in his brooklyn studio.

This protracted episode was initiated by a combination of getting stuck in traffic out of Brooklyn to New York, which delayed his arrival to a meeting in the World Trade Center and then seeing them hit by 2 planes while stuck on the bridge.  Or maybe the home invasion from which he escaped with his life thanks to a mis-firing gun.

At any rate, he’s just recently embraced the outside world and is ‘seeing the world anew through other people’s eyes’. Welcome back.

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Workspace in New York

In the Lower East Side in New York, we’re a little cramped for space.

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Went in to visit eyebeam in Chelsea. Nested in amongst “blue chip” galleries, this massive workshop for makers and hackers with an art bent supplies tools, space and support to artists with residencies and fellowships. We chatted about doing something with rocketcar day in the future. They are perfectly set up to make an amazing Rocketcar Day NYC, good connections with other making groups and event creation. They explain that they create making skills via art practice. Rocketcar Day is the direct opposite. Nice.

Now, how to take it to the next level…

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Tracking test from Mexico

Was thinking i could do a short story with text and objects placed in settings from our travels.  Here’s a test to that end.

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Workspace in Mexico

With the help of a lovely babysitter, we are freed up to surf and work in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. A major coup is hooking up the ipad to the laptop as a second screen. Handy place to put all those pesky extra windows and panels.

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3D Portrait and Interview: Allan Weisbecker

(there’s something wrong with phereo, to see this image, you may need to go to here)
Allan Weisbecker wrote “In Search For Captain Zero“, by all accounts a pretty popular piece of surf / road trip literature. I’ve watched him writing in his bungalow over looking the surf and thought i’d ask about how he travels and works at the same time.

He’s says he’s always been moving while working. He had an office for one day at Miami Vice, but left and told the secretary he’d send the script in a week. Why not? Script writing is a fairly solitary business. But what couldn’t be now a days? He’s shooting and editing a documentary / surf journal / world events film now on his laptop with his dog and learning as he goes. Easy. Except that his drive has died and he can’t get access to the film he’s writing. These are small details though that can get ironed out on the way.

The upshot for a sabbatical though, especially with a family, you find places to work wherever you can, because that’s what you do. Allan is unique in that he and his dog can travel wherever they want and check in according to publishers / TV peoples schedules, it doesn’t really matter where they are.

For a sabbatical, where I don’t need to check in with anyone but just need to continue to create and develop, it’s not a good reference.

Making a film: He’s been making a documentary which mixes moments from  his (quite amazing) life as a drug runner, miami vice writer, investigator, traveller, surfer, subject of films… with a road trip with his dog as they try to work out his anger at the various american wars and conspiracies therein. I’ve been watching his rough cuts and talking about how to make the a film about absolute machiavellian interconnectedness (plus surfing) make sense.  The difficulty is, that he’s a smart, likeable guy with an interesting and compelling history but he wants to present some dark thoughts about the world and how it’s run. The nature of the type of these thoughts is that they can sound crazy to the uninitiated… the conspiracy theorist’s dilemma. Plus it’s starting from the premise that he might actually be crazy… the crazy person’s dilemma.

I ended up interviewing Allan for his movie to try to get more details about his research and mind-set and hopefully elicited some pathos and insight. The first 2 nights of conversation really hurt my brain for a variety of reasons (looping logic, impenetrable facts, i had no information to work with, only what i was provided etc.) but this last night, on camera, in the interview setting, the conversation was pain free and productive. Was really glad to hopefully provide the movie with another dimension that will help people understand where Allans’ coming from and not just appear in the movie as another stooge who tries to come up with  counter claims to his  evidence….

I’m giving him the photos of him i took to include in the movie.

Also, I’ve been experimenting with ‘printing’ words in light (from the ipad, moving in the air.. i can explain more if you like). This might be a good avenue for awesomeness

Extra P.P.S. My relationship with Allan taks an unfortunate turn here where he takes exception to how i think.

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3D Portrait: Peter Nash In Mexico

While surfing in mexico, we met Pete Nash and his family. Travelling the world, working from various surf spots. They seem to have cracked a really rare mix of travel and work due to him being a high level super star music agent or some such (congrats on that by the way).

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F5 Conference : New York

The F5 conference brought together a range of people from a bunch of different fields to talk about their work, how they do it etc. It wasn’t wall to wall motion graphics people and all the attendees were pretty high level hombres from good companies. The caliber was excellent and the range top notch.

Here’s some notes:
they represented “INTERACTIVE DIRECTORS”. Same idea as a film director. An individual who could roam around, do treatments and guide the team to fruition. They asked a few of their guys to come up with a treatment for a brief. Very interesting to see the different presentation styles and what ideas they were presenting.

On guy, (alex (?)) can’t come up with multiple ideas so he needs to sit with an idea and become inspired in order to stay interested in an idea.He’s got a creative cycle which i quite liked:

  1. problem / brief
  2. find inspiration2. have an idea
  3. peer review (talk to people)
  4. repeat

This “repeat” idea is pretty cool, making the process iterative and include others in it. I think this is a big theme: how to find the best way to manage multiple creative ideas in one process and get the most value out of that. There’s some sort of balance there that needs to be struck and then celebrated.

He needs to find an angle that inspires him so he can stay motivated through the whole project. I liked that too. I think that’s what defines the vision. The thing that makes the idea rock right til the end.

To find inspiration, he dives into references for seeds of inspiration…
This was later summed up best buy another speaker who said “TO THE INTERNET!“.

But obviously the inspiration can come from anywhere.

The next director summed up the directors challenge:What’s the story? The story is like a good song. You need to feel it.

Then you need to work out  devices can you get to get people to feel it.
This was a nice idea: start with the story… what tools can we use to tell it?

These guys were super loose and funny. They said they’d make 3d animatics to explore a story, then take frames out of that to make boards. That is crazy as they admitted.  They go through lots of cycles to get to where they need to be. Seems like going straight to animatic isn’t a time saver, but lets them work through how it feels as a cut film real quick.

One of the Short films presented at F5 was a film called  puppets  – it was pretty amazing. Great use of special FX to bring a odd and excellent idea the life. Great balance. I’ll try to find a link

Did some live dj’ing of some songs. He is obviously pretty amazing at doing non beat-based record mixing and sampling. His 2yr old daughter came on stage and dances to his yo gabba gabba song (her favourite). He talked about his various other projects (books, films, a night he plays music for people to draw to…). He’s into  fun on a budget.


Adam Sawosky(?): They do clever technology based live installations. He summed up the 60/40 split as “sometimes we do it for the meal, sometimes we do it for the real” and looking at commercial brief and  “taking the hard sell and making it fun”.Then he went through o.k. go rube goldberg clip.. behind the scenes making of etc. Interesting insight into the amount of detail and sweat that goes into something amazing.

CARTOON NETWORK and Adult Swim CD jacob escaboado Talked about an experience of seeing a severed goats head on the top of a fridge at  a barbecue. This impacted him deeply (it’s violence, it’s intensity).He talked about that image and how he searches for it in projects. They need to e- simple- arresting- memorableThen looked for what has the severed goat head factor?Then he asked if anyone wanted to deign for them because they’d just lost a lead designer.

I really wished we had a reel of all the crazy crap we ever wanted to do. More so that we’d known about him years ago and / or had kept making little crazy ideas and refined that. There’s a tiny market for it, but maybe if we could make them small enough, we could grow and be awesome like that. Check Cyriak, who they just hired to do a bunch of promos. We’re not him and we’re running a real company, but great stuff. There might be a morsel in there for us.


He was talking about making things happen. Had a nice graphic of the word “creative” but like “creatXXXe”… to mean, don’t be creative: create. To do this you need a circle of people to even out every ones different styles. There’s Dreamers, Doers and Incrementalist. Doers need to let dreamers start things off and then dreamers (who keep thinking of ways to make things better) need to let the doers get it done..Thinks you need to review your peers work and vice versa… apparently the impressionist movement started like this (or something).

“Ideas are easy, doing it is harder”

He thought “fighting” is a good thing. Think of 4 people tugging on ropes to bring an idea into their realm. The movement of hearing other people’s ideas results in a new idea. The main thing you need to fight is apathy. Hire people who are happy to fight and fight with a glimmer in your eye.

Don’t be “burdened by consensus”. But find the  2 or 3 most important things in a project and steward them through the process. Compromise on everything else.
People need to curate a stream of good stuff that people tune into. then, when you make something, you post it and everyone’s listening. This is like our blog and twitter stream i suppose.

go for the “credible mass versus critical mass”

Leaders need to talk last, to let others ideas come up. If you’re the CD and you’ve got an idea, you can’t tell people you’re idea and say “what do you guys think?”. They’ll only be able to respond to what you said. Better to listen to the ideas and then talk. This helps people feeling like they’re listened to and included in the process.

Plus you obviously get great ideas as well.

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Rocketcar Day LA

In the absence of much time, a location or participants and the presence of great deal of concern and advice about insurance and getting sued, we put on a small Rocketcar Day as a sort of toe in the water. This is what I learnt:

  • you need a dead-end-street (cars driving past are totally contraindicated while you’re middle of the road setting up a rocket launch)
  • when there isn’t 200 people along the street, it’s pretty safe human-toll wise
  • if there’s only a few of you, people are very accepting that you’re launching rockets down a public street

Some more photos at RCDLA.

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The path home

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Here’s a montage of my bike route home. It’s about 40 minutes, 10 miles and straight into the sun.

I made it for Share A Path. A collection of peoples bike routes from around the world.


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