Wordle Tells All, Sees All

12 07 2008

Jonathan Feinberg, over at Wordle, has created an intriguing device (he calls it a “toy” but I’d use that word only in the sense that people once called computers “toys”) which creates a word cloud that includes most of the words from any text you input (you can paste in text, give it a URL of a web page, or put in a del.isio.us user name). [To the left is the Wordle for my blog without this new post.]

It then creates one of those frequency cloud pictures that shows what words you’ve used, with the size of word reflecting how often it was used in that text.

At first glance, you might think it was a toy — someone posted one called love iphone/hate facebook — but already a few interesting clouds have turned up. There’s one called “Things i want to say to you, but can’t” which features such words as chance, life, don’t and (of course) love.” That one feels almost as revelatory as PostSecret.

There’s another one on today (so many get posted that you’re never going to find these easily unless I give you URL, since Jonathan doesn’t give any sort of databasing search tool), called “What did YOU wear today?’ and another one which was put up by Wired on people’s thoughts on the iPhone.

The possibilities are tremendous — as a way of visually representing the way people are thinking at any given moment. Here, for instance in the Wordle for an article on today’s Huffington Post about Karl Rove (the link to the original article is here). The largest words seem to be Obama, government, money and Shiite. A recent Washington Post column by Dana Milbank on Rove creates a different Wordle with the biggest words being Rove, Karl, House and travesty (the original article can be found here). An article from conservative blogger, Michelle Malkin, has this Wordle, with the biggest words read, rest and post.

Helpfully, Wordle will remove common words (like “the” and “and”) if you ask it to, so you can straight for the content and you can get deeper into the text’s actual meanings.

The holy grail of marketing on the Web is measuring its readers. The next step after that is making sense of what you measure. Wordle is an interesting way of making that “sense” more visible.

By the way, you can click here to see the Wordle for this blog with this new post.

What Film Production Is Like

10 07 2008

So, this is what happens if you don’t take good care of your film.

Editing Kicks Directing’s Butt

4 06 2008

For those of you who haven’t played with Google Trends yet, let me tell you — it’s a cool time waster. The deal is you type some typical Google search terms into its search box, each one separated by a comma. It then returns the number of searches found for those terms, graphed against each other.

As you can see above, articles with the term “film editing” in them have consistently beat out ones with the term “film directing” in terms of number of searches. What this MUST prove, of course, is that more people are interested in editing than directing. Right?

Well… I suppose there is another explanation. Like more people use the term “directing” than “film directing” in their searches? Sure enough, look at where the orange line is in the graph below.

Statistics don’t lie. People using them do.

Amazing Flash Animation

30 05 2008

Thanks to Alan Miller, over on the Avid L2 board, for sending along this link to this amazing Flash Animation page for the Dutch store HEMA. It’s worth watching a few times.

South Park and the Internet

4 04 2008

This is so completely NOT a serious post that I hesitate even talking about this but…

On this week’s SOUTH PARK episode, the series took potshots at Internet Instant Celebrities (let’s call them IIC). I remember in 2001 when the video “All Your Base Are Belong To Us” became an Internet hit. This was, at the time, much harder than it is today, now that we’ve got YouTube et al to help distribute silly videos. The video, which took the fractured English translation in the Sega video game Zero Wing, and turned it into a music video, spread so far and so ubiquitously (is there such a word?) that even staid newspapers reported on it.

Now that we’ve got YouTube all over the damn place, we’ve also got a new IIC every month. Think the Numa Numa Guy, the Coke and Mentos videos, and Bree (lonelygirl15).

Now, the Internet Instant Celebrity craze has gone full circle. The South Park video parodied the phenomenon as only they can. In it, the boys, in an attempt to get Canada to stop running repeats of the Terrence and Phillip Show, create their own IIC (Butters, doing a brilliant version of Samwell’s “What, What (In The Butt)“) and then try and cash in at an Internet Celebrity Bank (and, in the process, manage to take on the recent WGA strike). While in the waiting room they witness a celebrity shootout, in which a host of IICs end up killing each other over whose celebrity is more… well… celebritacious.

You can see the section from the show at South Park’s own site. See if you can spot the celebs, among them:

  • The Chocolate Rain Guy
  • Star Wars Kid
  • Laughing Baby
  • Afro Ninja
  • Sneezing Panda (actually, though they call it that, it’s not, but never mind that…)
  • Leave Brittney Alone Guy
  • The Numa Numa Guy

and more.

It’s fascinating when a mainstream show like South Park (who have, admittedly, often bit ahead of the rest of the mainstream media) picks up the memes of the web.

A Tip For Up-And-Coming Directors

20 03 2008

If you want to look like a Real Director in a publicity shot then do one of the following:

  1. Point off screen
  2. Hold an object that is doing the pointing for you
  3. Do something (like the shot of Wim Wenders off there to the right) that involves an activity that may or may not be pointing but is, without a doubt, something that Real Directors do.
  4. Don’t be afraid to look into the camera, or to ignore the camera. In fact, just point and let the camera do the rest.

That’s the way it will look like you know what you’re doing.

[Image of Wim Wenders courtesy of Confessions123 blog]

It Was Bound to Happen

26 01 2008

The surprise is that it took a week.

Two enterprising buyers of URLs, purchased “manilamac” and are selling, tongue planted firmly in cheek, a “Manila folder notebook sleeve for MacBook Air.”

It’s actually a pretty cute site, with links to an ad for one of the designer’s band.

My favorite part of the site is in their FAQ sections where they ask the question “Have you made anything before?” Here is there answer:

Well, yes, no, sort of. Claire hacked a sweatshirt into a skirt and got some blog attention, Jona and his friend Flint created FlickrBlockrs to protect privacy on the internet, and Jona has some really nice t-shirts he designed for his band for sale here.

Don’t forget to pre-order yours today!

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I’ll Be At Sundance — Call Me, Write Me

11 01 2008

As I may have said before (well, actually, I know that I’ve mentioned it, but we’re trying to set up a smooth introductory sentence here) (and now I’ve screwed it all up).

Oh, hell, let me start again.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll be at the Sundance Film Festival this year, doing a Friday afternoon (4:30pm) workshop on Storytelling and Low Budget Filmmaking With High-Budget Values. I’ll be at the festival from Thursday night, January 17th through Sunday afternoon, January 20th.

One of the things that I love about the festival is the possibility of meeting lots of new people. Another things that I like is beer. Combine the two of them, and you get a great film festival (there have actually been some Sundances where I didn’t see a single film and still had a great time).

If you are going to be there and want to try and get together, send me an email. I’d love to see you.

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24 — In 1994

30 12 2007

Thanks to Mike Curtis over at HD For Indies, for pointing me to this fantastic parody of the series 24, shot as if it took place in 1994 — with early Internet and printer technology.

Click here and be prepared to laugh.

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Oh… And By The Way…

25 12 2007

Happy Holidays -- Billy IdolHappy Holidays. To Everyone.

All Around the World.

For your own personalized holiday greeting, just click on this YouTube link.

(And, no, I have no idea who these people are over on the left.)