31. Education

Education is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

I consider it a gift to be here at school, tasked with learning and developing new skills, but I sometimes forget what a blessing it is.

In Sociology today, we talked about the introduction of the assembly line to speed production, and how workers are turned into drones (see last post). More specifically we discussed the various techniques “blue collar” workers will employ to keep boredom at bay doing their monotonous tasks. Things like singing to themselves, daydreaming and so on are fairly harmless, but some of the effects can be dire. The point is, we all need to be challenged, to keep from getting bored but also just to build self-respect and worth.

I realized that it is a blessing to be going to school studying something I am interested in, and aspire to do. I am often beset with worries that I will not be able to measure up to the job of art director, creative or account person, or whatever field of work I pursue after college.

What I was reminded of today is that I am grateful to be pursuing a job that challenges me, that forces me to continue to learn and expand my knowledge even after finishing school. I am now galvanized by pursing a career that does challenge me and keep me from getting complacent.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars”

Cheesy quote, I know, but there is truth and hope there. We all need hope to live.

read a short story about blue collar work Here Ch 3 Rivethead


30. Where do ipods come from?

Today in Sociology we talked about the Industrial Revolution. The introduction of the assembly line by Henry Ford increased production incredibly, cutting the time it took to make a Model T from 13 hours, to 90 minutes.

The main problem with this high speed production model, was the dehumanizing of the workers. Instead of being treated like skilled craftsmen who used their intellect and abilities to assemble machinery, they were turned into mindless drones, performing a single monotonous task endlessly.

Thankfully this period in American history did not last long, as unionization and worker welfare was established in following years. But it still exists in other countries. Most people know that America is not the manufacturing economy that it once was, and that outsourcing production is cheaper then paying for it to be made in our country. But what does that look like?

Find out Here

29. Movie Formulas


In my Media History class the other day we talked about how history needs an interpretation, and interpreter, to translate what happened and how we can learn from it. Media is the transmitter that carries the message and media is useless without a message to share and an interpreter to decode the meaning.

I have been thinking about movie formulas a lot recently. There are patterns that make up the recipe for Sci-Fi, Rom-Com and Action/Comedy movies. More significantly perhaps, is the formula that makes a movie a blockbuster, a success.

Production companies operate a lot like farmers, they weigh the possible yield of the harvest and the demand for the produce before planting. They have been making movies for over 100 years, so why would they plant something that they are not sure will yield success?

As of late, Hollywood is obsessed with the Superhero formula. It seems to be the only thing that will hold viewer’s attention. Personally I am a big critic of Superhero movies, since most of them are full of vapid characters that barely develop as the film progresses through a series of explosions and special effects that bear traces of something once called a “plot.”

I can think of two movies I saw lately that bucked the trend and told a story worth watching. The King’s Speech and The Help.

Both films told their stories from a perspective that they had not been seen from before, a King’s self-doubt and troubled relationships, and the 1960 South during the civil rights movement, from the eyes of Black housemaids.

I recommend both to you, not because they were given a load of awards, but because they earned those awards for accomplishing what they did, and doing something new.

28. Crazy cameras

Talking to my GTF for a digital arts class, Ian Clark, about camera work and production (which he has done a fair bit of), and a fellow student about Stanley Kubrick movies. So the story is that Kubrick used a camera lens that was developed by NASA in the making of  Barry Lyndon. The lens had f/0.7, powerful enough to be used in satellites photographing space.

I know little about camera lingo, so in layman terms, F-stop is part of the camera that controls how much light enters the camera sensor,  which affects the visibility in low- light environments. F-stop on a standard camera is around f/1.8, high-end lenses can be f/1.2 or less, so the lens Kubrick was using was able to pick up light from a few candles and illuminate an entire room of people. Craziness.

I have only seen a few Kubrick films, the Shining, Clockwork Orange, but I plan to see more now.

Read more about Stanley Kubrick on Wiki

27. Good Readings

Downtime is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

This Christmas break, when not playing ping-pong, I read a bit:

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, is  about a WWII navy bomber who led an extraordinary life. The story feels like something your grandpa would unfurl on a camping trip, sharing deep into the night with hot chocolate in hand and stars overhead. ‘Unbroken’ is the real deal, it took over 7 years for Hillenbrand to craft, and is both an enjoyable history lesson and a moving insight to the cruelties of war.

the Last American Man, by Elizabeth Gilbert, is a true story of the mountain man who did it all. Bear Grylls don’t got nothin’ on Eustace Conway. His relationship with his demanding father fuels Conway’s drive for perfection, and is hard to read at times, but his simple lifestyle is inspiring and eye-opening.

How to Make It as an Advertising Creative, by Simon Veksner, is a coffee table scrapbook full of helpful info for those of us Creative Strategists looking for an edge in the Idea Industry. Common sense, good examples, encouraging stuff.