Recapping 2015 Part 1

If you thought I’d be writing like a mad man in 2015 you were sadly mistaken. In a period of time where so much has changed for me it’s bewildering that it was the first year in over a decade that I wasn’t writing.

I managed to go over a year without a single post and it sure wasn’t because I had nothing to share. The last time I checked in with anyone on here was nearly 500 days ago. In that time I’ve made some massive changes to my life.

Unstable Cliffs warning sign at La Jolla Shores in San DiegoLet’s go through the highlights. I’ll keep this part brief, so much to share would hate to condense it into a single post! Continue reading

I’ve Always Loved Healdsburg

For as long as I have been visiting California, I have been visiting Healdsburg. I remember coming here as a kid, going to Oakville Grocery for the most amazing sandwiches and then heading west to Armstrong Woods in Guerneville.

If you haven’t visited Healdsburg California, you really must. It’s like one of the picturesque scenes from the movie Pleasantville, only more wine, color and public displays of affection.

After my court date, I headed up here for some time at The Flying Goat, one of my favorite coffee shops for a fantastic cappuccino and some wifi time. Unfortunately the wifi didn’t work out so I was forced to head over to Starbucks for actually functional wifi.

I got a lot of work done there, more than I’ve gotten done in a single day since moving back to California! It felt great knocking so many tasks off my todo list. Afterwards I met up with Kayla and proceeded to pour a venti mocha on her driver’s seat… Yeah, that happened.

So while she worked out, I washed, vacuumed, shampooed and otherwise cleaned her car. I mean, after making it smell like chocolate (and not in a good way) it was the least I could do.

Later dinner at her aunt’s house, where I am being graciously hosted for the night, with Matt and a fantastic bottle of French wine.

The photo up at the top is of my little work station here at Kayla’s aunt’s house. It’s just about perfect for me and my laptop, the heater on the left is keeping me warm as I type this out and the lamp provides a perfect blanket of light across my keyboard.

Now it’s off to bed for me. I’m hoping to get an early start to the day, get some more work done before meeting up with Kayla back at The Goat around 9. After that, we head south to San Francisco!

I’m in the New York Times!

Well, not me, but a photo of mine.

One of our ventures, Globalpoint, was written up in the New York Times Technology section today. The freaking New York Times! Major hats off to Michael Urban, who is highlighted in the article, for working so hard to create such an awesome product/technology and matching that effort with getting the exposure that resulted in this article.

The article highlights the trend in measuring sentiment through the social web and how this information is being used in not just political campaigns, but really all sorts of campaigns. I know we use sentiment analysis for all sorts of projects and ad campaigns. The information you get from these sorts of tools can be light years more informative and real than what you may get from a focus group or cold call survey.

Of course, there are natural biases and difficulties in fully understanding the sentiment in a medium not known for its ability to evoke tone, but the technology is definitely promising! Companies like ViralHeat, ThinkUp, Radian6 and more have all put their hat  in the ring in this burgeoning research sector.

“We’re not necessarily seeking to replace — immediately, in 2012 — the traditional mechanism. But it’s got to have a seat at the table,” said Michael Urban, who worked on several Republican campaigns and on polling for Mr. Hancock’s political consultancy, before starting Globalpoint, a start-up that develops sentiment analysis tools for use in politics.

I lucked out in that the New York Times needed someone to take the picture for the article and I was given the honor of taking on the task. I recruited the help of Amy and Krissy as my lighting grips and shot this photo.

Michael Urban of Globalpoint

For the shot I used my Nikon D700, Nikon F1.8 50mm, SB800 flash corded to my camera and fired through a 52″ pop-out diffuser. Really simple one light setup but it worked! I’m really pleased with the image and the quality of light.

What do you think?

One of the best parts for me is that I actually got a byline! It’s not an easy feat getting credit in any newspaper, much less one as venerable as the New York Times!

So totally check out the article online or in print. It’s on page B4, above the fold for today’s edition, November 1, 2010. And if you can spare a copy for me… I’d love to have a few for my portfolio and family. Thanks!

The San Francisco Post

I swear to whatever is necessary that I have a blog post or twelve coming. Life is just too busy for me right now to really explain what’s going on. I find it ironic that this blog is my release yet I’m too busy to spend the time necessary on it to get that release.

It’s a pretty horrible situation to be in. I’m too busy to write so I get frustrated, annoyed and even a little depressed. So now I need to write even more but again… no time.

So I’ll leave you with this.  A photo I took from Fisherman’s Wharf. It was an amazing afternoon, the air was crisp and cool, the sun shining through a sky completely absent of any clouds and I was walking with two old friends to an unlimited wine and cupcake tasting. What could be better?

So, a post about all the fun from my San Francisco trip, like a month ago, is coming. It’s a two-part post. This will be followed up by a post covering my gallery show in Chicago and then another post about the future, San Francisco and work.

After that I’m thinking a few political posts and maybe one covering a musical artist I’m digging right now.

What else would you like me to write about? Leave it in the comments. Maybe I’ll make time to write if I feel there are people creating the obligation.

The Virgin Mattress is Live!

Today we released episode one of The Virgin Mattress, after a week of pre-release videos. The new first episode was recut, so it’s now faster, funnier and better than ever. Definitely check it out.

Plus, I think you can see the top of my head in one of the shots. No promises.

Also released today were the three winning contest videos. Each of the winners won a $1,300 mattress featuring VertiCoil Edge technology. I wish I could have entered, we need a bed in our apartment in San Francisco… haha.

Check out the winning entries. I’m especially partial to the second one. I imagine the stills from it as photos by Gregory Crewdson, one of my favorite photographers. Really beautifully shot.

So there you go. Hope you enjoyed the videos. Let me know here or on Facebook or by tweeting @TVMSeries. And of course, share away from YouTube or wherever else 😀

The Virgin Mattress

Is it ironic that the first web series that I was a part of, you might say the web series that took my virginity, was called The Virgin Mattress?

I’m going to go with Yes.

Mal and Grace at the Sleep Shoppe

Last week was one hell of a week. We shot The Virgin Mattress a web series that…

…tells the tales of Sleep Shoppe and sleepers just like you, who will benefit from a new bed. From mattresses passed down through the family tree to those destroyed by man’s best friend, the series will leave you laughing out loud – and dreaming for a virgin mattress of your very own.

I sure do hope it will leave you laughing out loud. The actors got more than a few unexpected laughs out of me. We all had such an awesome time on set shooting the show and catching behind the scenes photos and videos. Between Amy and I we captured as much as 80GB of footage and photos! That’s a lot.

The series launches mid October. Check out our YouTube channel to learn how to win a brand new fancy mattress. I can’t win but you totally (probably) can!

Any who, the week was incredibly busy but also a ton of fun, very much educational and at times, a test of everyone’s patience.

The cast and crew were awesome, and being an extra was hilarious. Oh and playing with RedOne cameras was a [nerdy] dream come true.

After shooting this series, despite the stress and long hours, I really can’t wait to do another. I have always wanted to produce high quality, funny and fun content, especially when in video form. This is my first foray into this avenue. Be sure that once I get my new Nikon DVSLR (Nikon D7000?) I’ll be all over shooting (hopefully) beautiful HD video.

Hope I will be as lucky to have so many talented, flexible and fun actors to work with, not to mention a crew that knows more about what there doing than could fill a 10 volume set.

Yeah, they might look a little… off but they totally know what they are doing. I swear.

I’ll leave you with a slideshow with a bunch of behind the scenes content. The videos will be shown on the YouTube channel and the official website. You can keep up with all the show details by following us on Twitter or becoming a fan on Facebook.

See you there!

Extra Extra… Be an Extra!

Want to be an extra in a web series we’re producing? You know you do.
Epic teaser below.

All you need to do is show up tomorrow morning, Sunday August 29, at 8:30am at McNally’s in downtown Columbia.

We will be shooting for a few hours and then providing delicious pizza for lunch. What else do you have to do on a Sunday morning anyways? Certainly nothing better than hanging out in a pub as G-d intended.

If you have any questions, send me a message on Twitter. I’m @justex07, but you already knew that. Oh and totally follow the show’s progress @TVMSeries and use the hashtag #TVM.