April Writing Portfolio: Virtual Reality, Stop-Motion Animation, and Public Speaking

30 Apr 2016

April Writing Portfolio: Virtual Reality, Stop-Motion Animation, and Public Speaking

A monthly round-up of all the writing I’ve been doing over the last several weeks.

Journalism

Review: Hello My Name Is Doris
National Post

In that way, the movie is no less a hoarder than Doris. It convinces itself that dusty jokes and narrative clichés are worth holding on to. That’s somewhat of a surprise from director and co-writer Michael Showalter, given that he’s shown in previous work (Wet Hot American Summer, They Came Together) a keen awareness and an inclination toward the skewering of movie clichés. Here, he leans into them, and it’s hard to tell if it’s willingly or unawares.

Content Marketing Writing

NYT VR: Exploring the New York Times’ Leap Into Virtual Reality
Pond5

In an age of 24-hour news cycles, there’s a risk of audiences growing immune to world events. “In this modern age, it’s like a firehose of information. You can become inured to even the biggest crises,” says Dolnick. Documenting the refugee crisis with virtual reality promised the chance to change that. “What’s so powerful about this media is that it can wake you up in a way,” the editor says. “It’s seeing a little Syrian girl in virtual reality, feeling like you’re making eye contact with her, and it makes you realize ‘Oh my God, this refugee crisis is about children and humans and families.’ Of course you know that already, but there’s something about this form that makes you realize it in a fresh and visceral way in your bones.”

Stop-Motion Master Class: Inside the ‘House of Monsters’
Pond5

Stop-motion is not something you can improvise. You have to meticulously plot out and storyboard everything along the way. “Everything is planned in advance. The story is 99% done before we shoot a frame,” says Brown. “I mean, down to the second. The timing of the jokes, the pacing, all that is figured out ahead of time, so that by the time the puppets are on the stage — the lights are on, the camera is ready to go — I don’t have to think about that anymore.” It’s all to facilitate one thing: the freedom to focus on character.

5 Ways Screen and Motion Graphics Can Enhance Your Work
Pond5

One of the big benefits of screen and motion graphics is that they can convey important story information. “Sometimes in storytelling, something can’t be delivered in dialogue, and can’t be delivered through a massive visual effect. But it can be delivered very simply in a three-second shot of a screen graphic,” says Sheldon-Hicks. “There are a multitude of narrative structures and points where a graphic really solves the problem very elegantly.”

5 Masterful Examples of How a Long Take Can Elevate Your Film
Pond5

A long take can be more than just a shot — it can become part of the theme or story of a movie or video. The famous “Copacabana Shot” in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas — where gangster Henry (Ray Liotta) escorts his date through the backdoor of a busy club — is a brilliant example. While a long take is sometimes seen as little more than directors showing off with “Hey, check out what I can do” bravado, Scorsese uses that precise quality — here captured by Steadicam operator Larry McConkey — to make a “Look what I can do” shot parallel the showing off Henry does for his date.

5 Amazing Kickstarter Videos That Can Teach You to Make Your Own
Pond5

If you’ve played 1990s adventure video games like Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango, you’ll know that Tim Schafer, one of the men behind them, is a very funny guy. Double Fine Adventure’s campaign — for what would become the game Broken Age — demonstrates the value of putting someone like that front and center in a video. Humor is invaluable for making an immensely watchable video — especially this one, which smartly uses laughs to both entertain and inform. Potential funders get some info about what they need to know about the project, and then a joke swoops in to keep it engaging.

Why You Should Pursue Public Speaking for Your Small Business (and How to Be Good at It)
The Hartford’s Small Biz Ahead

But public speaking isn’t just about gaining a competitive advantage.  “Groups are always looking for people to speak to them – whether it’s rotary groups, or chambers of commerce, or business groups, or networking groups.” There are eager audiences out there—in your community, no less—just waiting for someone like you to come along and talk to them. It is a demand you can, and should, supply, because it’s a significant way you can make an impression that can reward you with new speaking engagements, leads, and even business.

The Best Business Decisions I’ve Ever Made
The Hartford’s Small Biz Ahead

Chris Hathaway is the founder of AggData, a business-to-business firm specializing in store location data. His company began as a one-man show, and once it started to grow, Hathaway often found himself fighting the urge to remain hands-on. That’s why he says the best business decision he ever made was finally getting serious about startup leadership and began delegating.“When I had somebody else start doing something, then all of a sudden, 30 percent of my time was now open to explore other parts of the business,” he says. “It started then to give me a gauge of my role as the owner of this company. To have the time to sit and think and understand the direction and vision we need to have as a group.”

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