Through an improbable series of clerical errors, I am scheduled to participate in a “keynote conversation” about professional blogging with Heather Armstrong at SXSW in Austin, Texas next month. Armstrong, so the story goes, got fired for blogging at work and was rewarded with a loving husband, cutie-pie daughter, photogenic dog, several television appearances, hundreds of media mentions, and a new job — talking about poop all day — that supports her entire family. And so but by the way, she’s also headlining the entire SXSW Festival along with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Neil Young. Which makes me approximately chopped liver. When I told Meg about the headlining thing, she said, “boy, that conversation had better be good”. Pressure’s on, Heather.
To sum up, a piece of chopped liver will be having a chat with a nice lady from Utah next month about blogging for groceries. Should be fun.
MoMA just opened their show about Pixar last week and on Friday, we went to a presentation by John Lasseter, head creative guy at the company. Interesting talk, although I’d heard some of it in various places before, most notably in this interview with him on WNYC. Two quick highlights:
- Lasseter showed colorscripts from Pixar’s films (which can be viewed in the exhibition). A colorscript is a storyboarding technique that Pixar developed to “visually describe the emotional content of an entire story through color and lighting”. They are compact enough that the entire story fits on a single sheet and if you’re familar enough with the films, you can follow along with the story pretty well. But mostly it’s just for illustrating the mood of the film. Very cool technique (that could certainly be adopted for web design and branding projects).
- Near the end of the talk he showed a 2-3 minute clip of Cars, prefacing it with an announcement that it had never before been shown outside of Pixar. Some of the CGI wasn’t completely finished, but it was certainly enough to get the gist. When the first preview trailer for Cars was released, I was skeptical; it just didn’t look like it was going to be that good. Based on the clip Lasseter showed and some of his other comments, I’m happy to report that I was wrong to be so skeptical and am very much looking forward to its release in 2006.
At 15 minutes long, the Q&A session at the end of his talk was too short. The MoMA audience is sufficiently interesting and Lasseter was so quick on his feet and willing to share his views that 30 to 40 minutes of Q&A would have been great.
 For you Pixar completists and AICN folks out there, the clip showed Lightning McQueen leaving a race track on the back of a flat-bed truck, bound for a big race in California. As the truck drives across the US, you see the criss-crossing expressways of the city stretch out into the long straight freeways of the American west, the roads literally cutting into the beautiful scenery. A cover of Tom Cochran’s Life is a Highway plays as the truck drives. The world of the movie features only cars, no humans…the cars are driving themselves.
Eliot’s presentation has some great thoughts about photoblogging and where it’s going. Overproduction, overconsumption, and inappropriate audience participation are some of the pitfalls of photoblogging. This probably goes for regular blogging as well.