I am shooting a documentary

Shooting a documentary

During 2008 I will be producing a documentary about how people find the balance between what they want to do, and what they need to do. It’s definitely a balancing act; a struggle between making your dreams come true, and having reality set in.

Through a series of interviews we’ll explore how people deal with the choices they’ve made and have to make, to do the work they find rewarding and satisfying.

Filming will commence in the Summer of 2008, with editing wrapping before the end of the year. We hope to premier the film by January 2009.

That bit above…. that’s the pitch. That’s the description of the documentary I’ll be working on this year. It’s sounds like a large project, and it is, and I’ve got about 8 months to do it.

I’ll be shooting on MiniDV with a Sony PD150. Much of the equipment will be on loan from Z2 Marketing, who is a sponsor of this project. I still need other equipment and supplies, and that’s where you come in.

While I thought I could produce this film for no budget, that’s not exactly true. I think I can do it very cheaply though. I’ve had a few people tell me I should apply for a grant, and that’s a possibility (know any grant writers?) but I also plan to get people to sponsor me. I’ll follow up this post with one specifically outlining how I see it working.

This is exciting to me. I’ve been compiling a list of people to interview, and if you know someone you think of when reading the description above, let me know. (It would help if they were in the Milwaukee area, as the travel budget is non-existent right now.)

Anyway… watch this space for updates. Thanks….


Tinkerbell has skin cancer

Tinkerbell has skin cancer

My cat Tinkerbell has skin cancer. She is just a few months shy of being 5 years old. I adopted her after she was found wandering around a parking lot in 2003. She’s a good cat, and by that I mean that she is very loving, but like any cat, she can annoy the crap out of you…

Dana first noticed a lump on Tinkerbell’s side a while back, and I finally got around to calling a vet and asking about it. We took her in to have it removed, and after it was tested, they revealed that she had skin cancer. So right now, we need to watch her, and see if she develops any more lumps. They said she could within a few months, or years, and if it gets bad, we could get chemotherapy for her.

If money was no object, I’d consider it, but as it is, we can’t even afford to have the humans in the house see a doctor, so sadly, Tinkerbell is not going to be getting chemotherapy, and if she needs surgery in the future to remove another lump, that might not happen either. It’s a sad state of affairs, but it’s the reality we live in.

I’m hoping she pulls some “miracle cat” magic on us (nine lives and all that) and lives for many years with no more problems, but I’m not counting on it.

Just to add some fun into the mix, she managed to remove all her stitches on her own. We had the vet check it, and she didn’t manage to infect it. (That’s the “miracle cat” magic I’m talking about!) So now she has to wear the cone, which is always funny on TV, but it real life it’s just sort of sad.

When I was a kid, my family had a cat name Licorice, and that cat lived to be over 20 years old. I grew up with Licorice, and I honestly thought my kids would grow up with Tinkerbell, but like so much that is planned in life, things go awry and you just deal with it the best you can.

Note: Just a quick update, it’s January 2017, and she’s still alive.



Our friend to the north, Marcus Nelson (the guy behind such things as hyperlocal site Citizen Wausau, and co-working space Citizen Desk) is involved in the launch of a new product/site, it’s called UserVoice.

UserVoice The idea behind UserVoice is that trying to talk to your customers and users to find out what they want is too difficult to manage using things like email and forums, so why not leverage the idea of a collaborative site where users vote, similar to Digg, so that the common and popular issues float to the top.

They have an example site at you can look at to get an idea how it works, or even better, take a look at and see how they are eating their own dog food.

If you’re dealing with user feedback right now using a forum, or trying to manage email requests, this thing looks like an ideal replacement that would be 10 times better for all parties involved.

See Also: Mashable had a good writeup a few weeks back: UserVoice: Vote for Features You Wanna See


The end of what?

According to Russell Beattie, it’s the end of Mowser.

I’d never even heard of Mowser. Granted, I’ve not been that deeply involved in the mobile web as I used to be, or as much as Russell has been, but years ago I followed Russell fairly closely. I think around 2003 or so he started reading my blog, and I then started reading his, and I took an interest in what he was doing. In my eyes he was the expert on the mobile web.

But as he says, today, the mobile web is (to many people) an iPhone, and I think that’s ok, and I think iPhone users who have tried to use the mobile web previously would agree with that. I know people who would have never used or even attempted to use something call “the mobile web” but the fact that they now have an iPhone and it has “the internet on it” is all it takes…

I tend to not think of myself as an Apple fan-boy, I do believe they got the mobile internet experience right on the iPhone. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll get one and see if that changes my opinion.


Video-Fu Time

I’m really getting into video editing again, this time with Final Cut Express

iMovie was a great tool for simple video, and pretty much everything I posted on tinkernet between 2005 and 2007 was done using iMovie, but I’m enjoying the advanced editing possible with Final Cut. (Here’s the first quick ‘n dirty video I did with Final Cut Express, which I shot using a Canon ZR800: MilwaukeeDevHouse1)

Over at Z2 I just completed a much larger project, a behind the scenes film showing how we shot a large-scale commercial for a car dealer. This was a mammoth project compared to the few minute shorts I’ve done in the past. I ended up logging 130+ minutes of footage I had filmed on a Sony PD150, as well as going through 440+ photos for the visuals, and did a bit of homework watching a lot of DVD extras I had available, before writing an outline of the piece, and then having Eric write the voice over script. I actually recorded the 1st and 2nd draft of the voice over myself to get it in place for the rough edit, before I engineered the final narration which was voiced by Joe Haas.

I also ended up shooting another 20+ minutes of interview footage to add into the final piece. Eric ended up helping a lot by doing most of the writing, and much of the picking and choosing of interview footage to use. Cory and Deb of Z2 acted as the producers making suggestions and comments along the way. I got a bit ambitious on the titles, which looked great, but definitely increased render time.

There were a few things that I felt thing could have been improved, mainly the audio. I didn’t have enough time to clean up all of the audio using Logic, so I ended up doing much of the editing and leveling in Final Cut, which was not ideal, but worked OK for the piece.

We ended up showing it at the Majestic Cinema in Brookfield, which was a blast. The crowd seemed to like it, of course, they were the stars of the feature. It was a little weird seeing my work projected on a full-size movie screen, but it was definitely very cool. I look forward to more video editing in the future.