Monday, November 30, 2015

Random-ish blog

First order of business:
Cucalorus screenings: A Light Beneath Their Feet, The Invitation, Dough, Serrano Shorts

Second Order: The geofilters are coming along very nicely. I've put together 3 tentative designs and there are more to come - these require some drawing and scanning which takes more time than incorporating designs that are already completed. I've been looking at a lot of examples, the link below has some good ones to refer to.

I'm thinking that we use a couple of them - since they're not hard to make, and if there happens to be several designs everyone likes, because then people using these geofilters have options. It's just more advertisement for Visions (and it doesn't cost anything) so we might as well.

The other thing I'm noticing about example filters, is that many tend to be very simple, just the name of the town in a pretty font or something. We can do this, then make a more elaborate one. I think the most important thing to consider is the coloring. I know we should stick with our color pallet to maintain our theme but the colors must be bright enough to stand out from the photo that will be behind it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Indiegogo Video

Last friday at 2:00 we started set up for the Visions6 Indiegogo Campaign Video. Then at 3:00 we started filming. The shoot lasted about 7 hours, which seems long, but everything went pretty smoothly.

We discovered several things during our time on set:
1. Devin is a terrible actor
2. Michelle is also not a good actor (she will agree with me here)
3. Big Rob casts a big shadow
4. Papa John's uses food dollars
5. And always check all the switches on the lights before assuming they don't work

Everyone was prepared for their roles, mine on set consisted of sound and assistance to shot set ups. I had a large part in the original concept for the video, despite the script being altered several times, so I was able to help visualize the layout of specific shots. However, it was Michelle who really killed the directorial game. She set up every shot, and knew exactly how each person had to act in each. Zoë killed the producing game, keeping everyone on schedule, knowing exactly which shot was to be filmed next, and on top of that, serving as probably the best actor on set. Props to Zoë and Michelle, without whom the video would not be completed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thanksgiving and Space

Two very different things, a difficult task to combine both. Tyler is currently working on the Thanksgiving animation for Visions. He has remained consistent to the space background, layering images and text over top. However, the animation right now is only portraying the space elements, which is good for Visions, but not for the holiday. The animation does not distinguish itself from the others without verifying the time period in which it is created.

Before talking thanksgiving, a few things about the animations in general - and I find I have some authority to talk about this given I have worked on visuals for Visions myself, and also having experience with animation. The font needs to be changed, it does not match the fonts previously used for Visions designs, and it does not really follow the space theme anyway, and then movements need to be more fluid for Cosmo.

So, how to make Thanksgiving spacey, or Cosmo in a Thanksgiving setting?...whichever.
Tyler mentioned he was channeling a bit of Charlie Brown when making the design, if this is a piece of the inspiration we should just run with it. Have Cosmo kicking a football, or have him making the squiggly mouth of Charlie. Give Cosmo a fricken turkey leg. The class did vote on laser turkeys as the favorite design to use for the animation. I'm not exactly sure how this will turn out. Perhaps the laser turkey and Cosmo encounter one another and the turkey eradicates Cosmo with his laser eyes (if his eyes are lasers and that's how we're doing this)...but I think Zoë might have a problem with this since Cosmo represents Visions and we do not want Visions dying. The turkey could be cooking other foods with his laser eyes, rather than killing Cosmo, or other space beings. There could be a type of collaboration between Cosmo and the Turkey. If the turkey is more like a gun than an animal, Cosmo could find this laser turkey gun and be shooting space objects (rock looking things) that explode and become some type of text about Visions, or the logo, or the hashtag. I think there are several options for this laser turkey idea, we just need to start trying them out and see.

Cucalorus Response

Fortunately this year I was able to attend part of Cucalorus Film Festival. Walking around downtown it felt like a private event that only people cool enough were attending - which I guess is a good and bad thing. The theaters I found myself in, Jengo's playhouse, Thalian Hall, and the CFCC Union Station, were sizable enough to hold an audience, (Thalian and CFCC more so than Jengo's), yet all maintained a sense of intimacy that made the audience feel special, feel closer to the films they watched. Thalian Hall was my favorite. I realize it probably always looks historic but this design for the theater takes you back in time, to the days when films were rare gems, a spectacle to go see. This theme works for a film festival that is premiering new films, works of art. We use Lumina theater for Visions, but we should somehow design the theater to feel like space, like our audience is in another world while attending a Visions screening.

There were large projections of the Cucalorus logo displayed on buildings downtown - a very nice addition to the posters and signs already advertising the festival; (also adding to the feeling of a secret society, a simple logo displayed where all can see, some know exactly what it is, while others are intrigued). A large projection of the Visions logo is absolutely something we could do in Lumina, or perhaps along walkways on campus, (buildings might be harder to get permission for).

Cucalorus remained true to their theme of monsters. They also remained true to a single style of bumper that revealed the donors of the festival. To open a film, 2D animated monsters in muted oranges and reds quickly moved across the screen pulling a white banner that contained the logos and/names of sponsors and donors. The entire animation lasted approximately thirty seconds, not long at all. An old-school marching band-esque music played in the background, which concluded in an applause while an enlarged monster "swallowed" the screen, leaving it black. It was all very simple, yet beautifully composed. It followed the rule I know I have tried to live by this semester when it comes to designs, that less is more. Simple designs work well, and they especially work well following a time period's style, which is what Cucalorus did, as Visions is trying to do by channeling the 1940s space theme. Rather than place Cucalorus into a specific time period, its 2D designs and muted colors simply portray a time period in the past, serving as a reminiscence of older, simpler days.
In between films, a red screen with the Cucalorus logo pasted in the left corner would flip between the logos and names of sponsors and donors, names were revealed in a simple font, nothing flashy, and business/program logos were left to their original designs, revealed on a square, white backdrop.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Cucalorus, the films, the visuals, the setting, and the people. Yet, as a result of seeing another's design for a film festival, I know that we have an extremely creative group of individuals in Visions that can make the designs of our festival even more appealing.

Recent Work

The indiegogo campaign video has been revised - Zoë and Michelle are now on board with the direction the video will take. The script has been reworked a bit (just an additional few lines and such).
Some of the changes include:
- Opening the video acknowledging that Jack and myself are showing a video, rather than starting off watching the "bad indiegogo" video and assuming the Visions video is that bad...if that makes sense.
- Each Visions member shown on screen will be playing an exaggerated version of themselves - we ultimately want to represent Visions rather than random characters
- The location of filming will now take place in King 104 (a classroom versus theater) but this is okay we still have the projector and seats in which there will be some form of an audience
- Filming will be held Friday November 20th @ 3 pm, setup at 2

There have also been updates to the Visions logo:
- a gradient was thrown behind the image to create more depth
- the stars were revised to a simpler dot form
- The brightness was amped up to distinguish the colors of the logo

Monday, November 9, 2015

Indiegogo Campaign

These are some of the best indiegogo campaign videos I've seen. We are trying to channel this type of self-reflexive, humorous approach. The first and last videos are the ones that really appealed to me in particular. I enjoyed the spokesman of the first video, his demeanor and subtle humor drove the video's story. Aside from this, the settings were elaborate (which might not be a resource we have access to), however, the additional characters and their brief interactions with the spokesman is definitely something we can do.
We are thinking of using a single director to act as the main spokesman for the video, then the rest of the directors will serve as the means for presenting the information about Visions in a back and forth, quick-cut conversation with the main speaker.

The last video channels the type of self-reflexivity that we'd like. There is also a main spokesman (in this case the director), which I think works very well, it helps the audience identify with that person, and form that much of a stronger relationship being that it is the sole person they are forming a relationship with on screen. This speaker is not afraid to make fun of himself - how bad his films and effects would be without necessary funding.
What we intend to do here is make a mock indiegogo video that is very noticeably bad, and this will be presented to the audience of directors who show their very obvious disappointment. From here the main spokesman comes in and also acknowledges that the video is bad, then in a very exaggerated manner says this is what we need to do to fix this...this leads into the conversation with the other directors...the purpose of our very own indiegogo campaign video.

More details to come in class, along with a script and several storyboards.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Poster Research Revisited...

So it just occurred to me that the pictures I posted a while ago as part of my research for poster designs never showed up on my blog...

I guess I will just post links to some of the stuff I wanted to show - not sure how else to do it...

This image is actually great because it has made a collage of many of the posters I was looking at way back.

This one we might have shown in class...if we did not, we came back to these designs on several occasions.
--> But actually after having sat down with Andre last week, he liked our inspiration pieces but he noticed that our designs were lacking something these professional designs had, and he is absolutely right. I personally am enthralled by these 1940s designs, and want to incorporate that feel into Visions as best as I possibly can. Some of Andre's advice will really help with this:
1. He said to had dimension to our designs - this could be a light source, or an overlay of texture, or some sort of gradient. So that is definitely something we're going to work on.
2. The other thing is font...I've learned that the rule of thumb is 2-3 different fonts, and try to stick with 2. Also, the legible factor is super important. As these poster designs show, font is kept pretty standard, and where I went wrong was trying to match a font (to use for bodies of text) to the Visions logo font me and Tyler designed. I also kept thinking to match the font to a space theme - when the font does not necessarily have to be space-y because it will then blend into the background or design or whatever. A more standard font in fact stands out from the stylized design, as it does with these posters. So that is the other major critique I am going to try to work on, to ultimately give my designs the look I want them to have.

Here are more realistic images of space - a little bit of realism is nice, and so is light...which is something we have still yet to capture in our designs.

But nonetheless we are improving. I now stop to look at posters on buildings, some build my confidence because I know I am more creative than whoever designed that ugly piece, but others teach me about spacing and alignment. In fact, a lot of the posters I've seen mimic the simplistic design I've been trying to go for - so that is definitely a trend right now. I think my only complaint, and one of the bigger issues I've dealt with thus far is the amount of text I have to incorporate on the designs. I personally think the text takes away from the simplicity aspect. This might also be why the font has been an issue, perhaps because it is being used too much, that a stylized font is definitely not the way to go. This text issue is something I'll be working on with marketing and the other departments that are in need of designs. I think there is definitely a way we can say everything that needs to be said, while still holding true to the element of design.

Response to the Psychological Tips for Crowd-funding

Adrienne was not kidding this is actually a very good article. Being an economics major, I study the decision-making that takes place surrounding scare is only a part of this.  People tend to think economics is money, no, that is finance.

What is great about this article is that it has deciphered a donor's decision-making process, basically giving tips to manipulate your campaign to incentivize donations, it's genius.

One of my favorites was "the power of reciprocity"  - feeling compelled to give to those that give to you, or give to others. My roommates and I basically live by this. I cook dinner one night, so he buys the next night. It not only ultimately balances out financially (which is important, one person should not give more than another), but it creates a stronger relationship, or bond between the two people engaging in the 'reciprocity process'. Establishing a relationship between donor and acceptor (couldn't think of a better word) is basically the point this article is trying to make - that creating a sense of trust, whether that involves legitimacy of your project or your generosity, it will help better your campaign. But like I said, one person should not be giving more than another.

I think I mostly agree with the 'making people feel guilty' section, but the very skeptical voice in my head also knows that people are very selfish - I mean Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations was based on the idea that people are selfish, and tend to engage in activities that promote self interest. So part of me feels like the 'making people feel guilty' strategy is kind of a been there done that thing. Here is a strange video I remember seeing at some point - and I realize this video has a whole set of problems itself - but it kind of proves my point a little.

Now as a solution to my skepticisms, I feel like humor tends to draw people in (and yes, here self-interest is prevalent if you consider people like being entertained), but what humor also does, is let people know you do not take yourself so seriously. Now I realize set up in the wrong way this can have a negative effect, but tastefully structured, a bit of humor in a campaign video (i.e. making fun of yourself) can make you very likable, thus compelling people to donate. I don't know though, humor might just be my thing.

I absolutely agree with including the lowest donation possible as an option, because along with being selfish, people are competitive, and tend to even compete with themselves, perhaps how generous they might be today, along with the more common competition that exists with other donors. For instance, my mother always out does my father (they are divorced), when it comes to donating to sporting events or fundraisers...I guarantee she will give more to Visions than my Dad will...and yes, she does this on purpose. The only downside I see to this argument, pertaining to online donations, is that a donor is not physically in front of another donor, therefore they cannot actually see what size of a donation is being offered.

Everything else was very informative, but did not strike up too many other ideas in my mind.