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Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category

District 9 opens to rave reviews and tops the US box office over the weekend

Posted by Lee on August 17, 2009

district9_film poster

Film critics around the world love it, and so does the US box office.

This weekend, District 9, the pretty much ignored, low budget – by Hollywood standards, sci-fi movie was #1 at the US box office with US$37 million in ticket sales, ahead of GI Joe: The Rise of the Cobra (US$22.5 million), and The Time Travellers Wife (US$19 million).

I wrote about Peter Jackson and the amazing Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 and earlier short films, at the beginning of May 2009   – and predicted it would be the sleeper sensation of the year. Happily it seems I was right.

District 9 is an amazing social yarn – gritty and gory, but a great story that raises lots of  ‘real world’ questions about our treatment of refugees and minorities, and the role of governments and the UN, amongst others.

What’s really terrific is that the movie has achieved its accolades with virtually no mainstream hype, but good on Sony Pictures – they got the distribution rights to the movie and created a cool, quirky advertising campaign that included street posters, billboards and bus ads, asking people to call a toll-free number to report nonhuman activity. Also, check out the campaign website!

district9_benchdistrict9_overhead

Apparently this resulted in thousands of calls.

Congrats to Neill Blomkamp, Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and the special effects wizards at Weta Workshop for another amazing cinematic experience!

Posted in Advertising, Arts, Entertainment, Marketing, Society | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Laid off – the end of days, or a massive opportunity?

Posted by Lee on August 9, 2009

This is the greatest recession in most of our working population’s living memory –  and the casualties are mounting. Globally, unemployment continues to rise, and even for those of us safe (for now), it may seem like the ‘End of Days’.

However, we humans are adaptive creatures,adjusting to change pretty well – in no time at all, there’s no stigma attached to being laid off – other than the impotent embarrassment and sympathy oozing out of your family and friend’s pores when they meet you.

A good friend of mine, Simon, is a self-made, independently wealthy businessman. As my lovely wife has recently joined the ranks of the unemployed, we were talking together the other day and Simon made the point that the best time to start a new business or follow your dream is when you’ve lost your job.

Easy for him to say, I hear you cry, but his rationale is that many people are trapped in jobs they are not passionate about, but the income provides the financial buffer they need to pay for their ‘over-compensating life styles’. From time to time, they may daydream of doing what really pushes their hot buttons but won’t make the leap because it’s too scary to voluntarily give up a good income and lifestyle.
However, when laid off and facing the prospect of zero income – motivated people can prove to be extremely creative and resourceful – plus a business start-up that produces a positive net income of any description is better than nothing at all, and before long the adaptive person stops making comparisons with their high salaried life, and instead sees the improvement from their ‘no income’ period.

OK, enough waffle, what’s the real point of this post?

Well, I came across ‘Please Feed The Animals‘, a blog for the recently unemployed advertising professional – set up by a smart guy, Erik Proulx – an ECD / Copwriter who has, in his words “discovered the power of unemployment”. In his blog was a trailer for a new movie project called Lemonade. It’s about how recently laid off advertising creatives have coped, and are even thriving in new ways by following their own dreams. It looks like it’ll be an inspirational documentary film.

As for my wife? Well, she’s just embarking on a course of study to follow her own dream – hopefully supplemented with secondary sources of income.

Posted in Advertising, Agency life, Arts, Blogs, Cogitating, Consumer Trends, Economy, Education, Entertainment, Society | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ukraine’s Got Talent – no really – just watch the Sand Artist!

Posted by Lee on July 7, 2009

After all of the fuss over Susan Boyle, it’s easy to forget that other countries also have their own national versions of the ever popular international franchise. There really is a ‘Ukraine’s Got Talent’, and this clip is amazing – yes, it’s over 8 minutes long, and in this era of short, sharp sound bites that may sound like an eternity, but you owe it to yourself to watch this.

Think Rolf Harris, but instead of an old bearded Australian with paste brushes and buckets of paint slapping it around on big canvases, this is Kseniya Simonova, a talented young woman doing the most amazing ‘animations’ with sand on glass.

It is beautiful but very sad, and seems to have some real historical significance to the audience. I want to find out more about the actual story this amazing artist is telling, so if anyone can enlighten me, please do.

UPDATE:

Thanks to Paul Halsall for his comment upon the ‘story’ being told by this artist. He has more specific information about the ‘sand artist’ and the ravages that the Second World War inflicted upon the Ukranian people on his own blog, so check out his post and updates here.

Posted in Arts, Entertainment, Society | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Pixel City – A beautiful digital art project

Posted by Lee on May 18, 2009

This guy is good, really good – and without giving too much away, it took him just 50 hours to create!

His name is Shamus Young, and you can read the step-by-step guide of how he created it at his website.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted in Arts, Education, Entertainment, Society | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Susan Boyle phenomenon updated – 100 million views this week?

Posted by Lee on April 20, 2009

Well, there’s no doubting it now – Susan Boyle is now a genuine phenomenon, based upon the following statistics.

As of 10pm ET Sunday, ‘Visible Measures’ reports the following Susan Boyle stats:

650 total video placements found associated with Susan Boyle, including the original performance, interviews and fan responses.

These clips have accumulated 93.2 million views, meaning that views nearly doubled this weekend

On Saturday, 15.6 million views were counted

On Sunday, a further 30 million views were logged

Total comments approximately doubled since Friday to nearly 250,000.

So at this rate,  it looks like Susan Boyle will break the ‘100 million views’ barrier this week!

NOTE: I came across this on Mashable, the terrific social media site run by Peter Cashmore

Posted in Arts, Blogs, Consumer Trends, Internet, Social media | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Susan Boyle ‘phenomenon’ – what’s new?

Posted by Lee on April 19, 2009

Nothing  –  numerous psychologists know enough about human behaviour to manipulate and engage people.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the last 8 days, you’ll know about, and have viewed the clip from last weekend’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ episode. This online video is now arguably the most watched online video clip ever – recent estimates state that the incredibly talented Susan Boyle has had nearly 50 million views in a week – this is based upon the number of people who have viewed the clip on YouTube and other online video sharing sites. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Arts, Consumer Trends, Internet, Marketing, Social media | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

What really are the most popular 99 songs online today?

Posted by Lee on April 17, 2009

hunted_logoWe all know that the industry’s music charts are notoriously unreliable and irrelevant in this age of digital music and global digital citizens.

For a start, there is no  ‘standardisation’ between competing chart compilers and channels within the same country, let alone on an international basis.

In the physical world, charts are built on shipped albums. Online, traditionally, they have been a count of digital downloads and while under the traditional economic model, ‘sales are king’, it could be that in this era of networked global communities and illegal downloads, the measure of a band’s influence and buzz is an even richer vein to tap into.

This is where We Are Hunted comes in. They pitch themselves as the music chart for the digital generation and generate their 99 most popular songs online each day.

The We Are Hunted charts’ point of difference is that it tracks sentiment, expression and advocacy relating to particular songs. In their words “We aggregate social networks, forums, music blogs, Torrents, P2P networks and Twitter to develop a daily chart of the most popular songs online”.

A chart based upon ‘buzz’ and the amount of conversation a song has generated means that you can be exposed to songs, bands and genres that you may not ever come across across if you just rely on your own local radio stations.

Is it going to help these bands sell their songs? Well, some of these artists will be exposed to a whole new global audience and that has to be helpful, not only for music sales, but also for getting live audiences when doing overseas tours.

Check out We Are Hunted and if you like any particular song you come across, you can buy it by clicking through to iTunes.

Posted in Arts, Consumer Trends, Economy, Internet, Sales promotion, Social media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Word Art – how cool is this?

Posted by Lee on April 12, 2009

digiex-wordled

I only came across Wordle in the last few weeks.

Described as a way of  “generating word clouds from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text”.

There are three ways of doing it – you can paste in your own words or a passage from a book; or enter the url of any blog that has an Atom or RSS feed; or finally, enter the del.icio.us user name of anyone and see their tags as clouds.

I ‘created’ the example above by merely pasting in the url of this blog and hitting ‘Submit’. You can choose from a variety of fonts, layouts and colour palettes. Very cool and very addictive!

Posted in Arts, Blogs, Internet, Social media, Web tools | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Andrew Schneider, Digital and Experiential Artist

Posted by Lee on October 10, 2008

Tech Diary: Making of a Performer – WSJ.com

The Wall Street Journal’s tech diary video feature on Andrew Schneider, a tech artist from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program is fascinating, and fun. It’s digital and definitely creates an experience.


Posted in Arts | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »