Steinbeck Hitchcock and Yes, Lifeboat

What on earth do Steinbeck and Hitchcock have in common? Well, nothing except that they made a film together called Lifeboat. They did not even share any common interests in terms of their work. John Steinbeck created novels such as Grapes of Wrath which is still considered as a literary masterpiece even by modern critics. The novel was highly controversial at the time it was first published in 1939 due to the anti-capitalist sentiments. But it also won the Pulitzer Prize. This and his work later were instrumental in getting John Steinbeck his maiden Nobel Prize for literature. Steinbeck also wrote some comedies such as Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat but thrillers, not any that I know of.

Alfred Hitchcock lived thrillers and absolutely thrillers. However, he did take some diversions into other genres such as comedies in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and also some nonfiction films just before the Second World War. After the war, he mostly stuck to what he knew best and that was making thriller movies. I don’t know what Steinbeck was thinking about while writing Lifeboat. Was he intentionally making a thriller or just an interracial film with a hypothetical situation about people from various communities of German and allied forces getting together and having to do battle together? I think it’s later and that’s where Steinbeck came into the picture.

Originally the screenplay of Lifeboat was credited to John Steinbeck. But after the film was released Steinbeck requested his name to be removed from the credits because he felt the film had unkind words against organized labor. However, the British and American press at the time thought the film glorified German characters and denigrating the US and British characters. Modern critics see things differently though. Hitchcock defended his characterization because he respected his movie villains. Characterization of a villain has been the hallmark of Hitchcock films over the years. The moral of the story in his opinion was to get the allies together to fight against Nazis.

Lifeboat was nominated for 3 Oscars but received none and it was not commercially very successful either due to the negative publicity and controversies surrounding the film. It was Hitchcock who came up with the idea for the film and considered several top writers at the time for the project including Ernest Hemingway and A J Cronin. Hitchcock didn’t use music in the film as he thought it was imprudent to do so. Where would music come from in the sea? He retorted when asked about it. He was countered with where would the cameras come from in the middle of the sea?

I am a diehard Hitch fan and have seen all his best work and more. I never felt him being racist or unkind to any community unless it is for the characterization. The very fact that he chose Steinbeck for this project confirms this fact for me. But it is a strange combination all the same. After so many years of Hitchcock, it is difficult to associate him with a writer who is not at all a thriller writer. It is a lonesome but great alliance all the same.

Pop Music Producer Roadblocks to Success

Wannabe producers always have at least one fatal flaw. Now the flaw varies from person to person, but they basically fall under 3 categories. So to lets list out the rules to keep you in the game.

People Skills

Lets start with the granddaddy. This is a people biz hombre. You deal with people all the time, whether it be label execs, engineers, or the talent you are producing.

Because of this critical point your people skills will make or break your career. This may seem overrated if you come from the school of thought that says, “if I get a single it will be enough.” Honestly, maybe. But your success is so much more likely if you treat people in a way that makes them feel good.

That is what brings Rick Ruben success in this industry. That man is unquestionably the biggest thing on the scene. He has hits in all genres from Rap, to Country and people want to work with the cat because he makes them feel good, and alive.

Do you do this?

If not maybe its time to learn. Go get a copy of How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It could be a career changing book

Overshadowing

The second mistake that many produces make is to cast a looming shadow over an entire project. This is usually because the producer is a control freak. This type of producer has their fingerprints all over an album, and the artist feels suffocated by their presence.

Music is supposed to be an outflow of a vision. A song comes to life out of an artist, if they feel stifled by an overbearing oppressive regime you are not going to get the best production out of them. That is the truth.

Now, that does not mean that a good producer cannot point out flaws and errors, it just means that it should be done in a way that makes the talent want to change, not hole up and die.

Work on allowing the artist to breathe. Give them space to be an artist, but yet keep the project moving forward. Its tough, but hey that’s your job.

Limited Chops

The last area that hang up wannabe producers is a limited pallet of chops. This shows up in the inability to get the sounds, beats, or vocal takes because of lack of knowledge. A know-it-all attitude is a sure way to shoot yourself in the foot.

5 Tips for Typography Best Practices

This was my first year at Typographics 2018. Typographics 2018 is a conference for typography enthusiasts around the world, that’s held at Cooper Union. There were panelists from San Francisco, Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Japan; it really felt like a truly international experience.

I had the chance to sit in on both the conference and TypeLab parts of Typographics. Here are a few highlights from the panels/breakout sessions that I really enjoyed:

1. Emojis = Pictures + Character (Jennifer Daniel, Google Emoji)
Emojis are images that may translate into different meanings across different devices. Jennifer gave an example about how the “dumpling” emoji looks different across different chat platforms -every culture has a dumpling!
I found an interesting tension in this statement -emojis should have a consistent user experience (across platforms), yet still be personalized to their users.

2. Ubiquitous type is can cause user confusion (Mr. Keedy)
Mr. Keedy created Keedy Sans, a popular font in the 90’s. The font was considered “uncool” 10 years later and used everywhere. Keedy sans is used on teenage girl makeup packaging, as well as winebars. This could create a bad user experience for people because of lack of branding. Last year, Mr. Keedy refreshed his font -to create greater customization and allow Keedy fans to layer the font for interesting visual effects.

3. Braille is a form of typography (Ellen Lupton, Cooper Hewitt)
Ellen talked about how blind individuals read Braille in a unique way -holding it across their body. She also demonstrated a blind person’s experience watching music videos by showing the accessibility voiceover.

4. Brand holds content together with design (Gale Bichler, NYTimes)
Gale foused on how the New York Times(NYT) has branded itself as a publication that experiments with many types of fonts. NYT can play around with different types and massive fonts as illustration. If someone picks up a page from the floor, they can usually tell that it’s from the New York Times because of branding.

5. Picking fonts is like eating ice cream. (Veronika Burian and Jose Scaglione, Type Together)
When combining fonts, look at mechanic and organic feels. Veronika and Jose talked about how people like humanist fonts, with a hint of a calligrapher’s hand. Ideally, you should find a balance typefaces share a common language.

The overarching theme is that typography is wide-ranging and crosses various mediums. Visual languages include symbols, braille, and audio caption. The challenge now lies in how to design the best experiences for these new forms of language.

Comic Book Industry Blunders

What includes turned out badly inside the business and would it be able to be settled? The assault and loot, according to

a few, may have left the comic book industry panting forever bolster. It appears that for an

industry that has seen so much achievement, the historical backdrop of comic books, has evidently been

jumbled by apparently imbecilic oversights.

The first could have exceptionally well been the begetting of the name “comic books”. The soonest forms

of the purported half-tab (for half newspaper) reprints of the Sunday funnies (the funnies) moved toward becoming

known as “funny books”. This prompted the reasoning as a rule, that comic books contained comic

or on the other hand entertaining material, which we as a whole know, is a far stretch from the real world. Comic books can be extremely

serious, dim or audacious magazines. It has regularly been proposed that there ought to be another

term begat to more readily depict this abstract bundle we as a whole know as comic books. To date, no

other client companion term has been proposed for use in the comic book industry.

A second confusion came when magazine costs began to rise. Rather than expanding comic

book costs, as other effective magazines did, the comic book industry chose to slice pages to

keep the then current sticker price of 10 pennies. This expedited the feeling that comic books

were “shabby” by definition, and ignored the way that a dime was a considerable measure of cash at one time

(steak and eggs cost 35 pennies). This displayed the picture that comic books were only for kids. It

additionally made the item progressively less reasonable for retail vendors to stock. Why take up the

same rack space, when a higher evaluated magazine would accomplish all the more pleasantly. Again the apparent

estimation of the comic book was losing validity.

At that point as the 1950s moved around, a person by the name of Dr. Frederick Wertham, distributed

a book entitled “Temptation of the Innocents”. Using informal research and

suppositions, he expressed that all the country’s ills were specifically identified with kids perusing comic books

(ok well, what?). Fundamental to his proposition, was the misassumption that comic books were entirely for

kids. The more grown-up material, it was nonsensically accepted, was gone for our sweet, guileless

blameless kids. Truly, we do need to secure our youngsters, yet despite everything it disturbs me forever, that

certain vainglorious people trust their present situation is to influence whatever remains of the planet to follow

to their very own convictions. On the off chance that this were the situation, at that point our extraordinary nation would have never been

established.

With this fiercely silly assault on the comic book industry and numerous congressional pioneers

bouncing on the temporary fad, comic books were picking up an awful notoriety. The comic book

industry distributers now, could have united together and proclaimed that comic books, as

films, were not “only for kids”. It ought to have been expressed that the extensive variety of comic book

kinds spoke to was focus to as wide a scope of perusers. Everything except one of the distributers

(William Gaines, distributer of EC Comics) clasped under to this Congressional Investigation and

the Comic Code Authority was made. This represented the substance of comic books and guaranteed

that for the following 15 years or somewhere in the vicinity, the scholarly substance would not transcend that of pablum for

the psyche. Along these lines another slide into extraordinariness for the comic book industry occurred.

Can the comic book industry be spared? Possibly, however when the people accountable for the

sparing are as energetic as ever to commit similar errors once more, what will the result be?

They don’t have all the earmarks of being blade enough to commit new errors.

So Much Work for Just 60 Seconds

When you watch commercials, music videos, TV programs, or films, do you ever wonder who it is that handles the job of getting them on camera and how they’re put together? That’s the work of a video production company. There are really two kinds of companies that create video content. A technical production company may target details that the client isn’t interested in doing. They may do the things that come after the video is shot, the editing and the post-production. Or they may simply take the finished video and post it online. That’s one thing that a video production company may do.

Other companies are full-service. That means they do it all from start to finish, and post-production as well. A full-service company will do the creative development, then write the script. They’ll be responsible for locations and casting. They’ll produce, edit, and deliver the final product for posting. A company like this is totally hands-on; the client states what they want and the video professionals do the rest.

A commercial production company, as you may expect, has a specific focus. It creates short videos, 30 to 60 seconds, that are oriented toward commercial branding. They are all about promoting a product, a company, or a service; or getting a company’s name, brand, and message out in front of the public as widely as possible. A commercial production company creates videos to grab the public’s attention and interest, and to create excitement-“buzz,” as it’s often called. The company creates what are effectively “teasers” to bring in potential customers.

Commercial producers and their creative teams have to get excited about a client’s product, brand, or message. In this way they develop ideas that connect with the audience. Their process includes personally experiencing what the client is selling to create an understanding of the market and the customer.

The video producer’s job looks creative and exciting, and it can be. It is also a highly demanding and responsible job that calls for not only creativity but people and business skills. The producer might be thought of as a “creative problem-solver.” He or she is the leader of the process from pre-production through actual production to post-production. The producer is responsible for the planning, scheduling, and final editing of the project, and hiring the talent and the staff. He takes part in selecting graphics and audio and may actually write the script. He is the point of contact between the company and the client, facilitating all communications to make sure the project is delivered according to the client’s specifications. And of course, it’s the producer’s job to make sure everything is done on time and on budget.

It is very exacting work that a video production company does. You might not believe the amount of work that goes into a 60-second spot and the number of people it takes to pull it off. But these production companies know how to do it with the greatest effect.