Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What has the blogs ever done for you?

"all the blog thing has ever done for me is given me lots of money, freedom, job security, and personal sovereignty" -- Hugh Macleod

Thanks to Damien for the quote

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Choosing your voice

Nicole Simon recently commented on stereotypes and the kerfulle they generated. I have a slightly different take and its all due to Jack.
First off, Jack is a friend of mine from Cork City. He's a builder. Now what picture does that generate in your mind? I've just told you what he does and where he lives, so some sort of stereotype is probably forming in your mind... and he is one of the reasons why I don't believe in that a stereotype can ever be true.
When I tell you that I first met him when we were performing in an opera together and that we bumped in to each other at "Thailand : What's Love got to do with it" and that thanks to him I ended up chatting with the play's writer and cast afterwards, I ask you; has your image of him changed? And the conversation about the play the group had is sort of the foundation of this post.

It's easier to approach any stereotype from fiction, after all, as Kermit said, "It's not easy being green". And when it comes to a play, I've been on all three sides, audience, performer and director. All visual and audio media rely to some part on established stereotypes, be it using them or forcing a re-evaluation of them. To put is simply, sometimes they are necessary as a replacement to character set-up.
For example in all television adverts, Dads are useless in a kitchen, women know nothing about cars, no one knows what a tracker mortgage is and all absorbent products work wonderfully with blue liquids. Why? Well apart from the fact that there are only 12 types of advertising, there is only 30 seconds to make a memorable pitch. As anyone seeking a venture capitalist will tell you that 30 seconds is a very short time to get attention and make your point.
In fact, given the amount of time you have to make your point, you may have to rely, in part, on an established stereotype.
In short attention span order...
1) picture including print advertising,
2) audio / radio advertising,
3) televisual media advertising,
4) newspaper article,
5) one act play,
6) magazine article or profile,
7) full length play,
7) non-serial television programme,
8) movie
9) serialised television programme with recurring casts
10) books and series of books.

Yes, its not exhaustive and there is overlap. The issue which triggered Nicole Simon's post was that of a site name and logo. In theory that counts as part of the advertising end of the scale. However a company logo and persona lasts much longer than 30 seconds. If Mister Wong was a background character in an advert, he might not have been noticed let alone triggered a response. But combine a non-complementary stereotype and make it the logo... then its worse. No English man would object to the Jeeves image projected by AskJeeves.com (that was). Imagine the Irish stereotype which would be generated? (Probably something like a drunken Podge?) Is Tony Soprano a genuine reflection of an Italian American stereotype or is he objectionable? At first sight ... maybe. However time allows depth that a company logo does not have.

But time in a one act play is not a luxury.
Mairtín de Cógáin in "Thailand..." plays Declan, an Irish tourist, well, visiting the sex tourism of Thailand. (The play was a fund-raiser for an anti sex trafficking charity and took place in the Unitarian Church... an odd juxtaposition). I'm not going to give you a review of the play (wonderful) or the acting ability (brilliant) but of the character created.
Declan wears a Hawaiian style shirt and shorts... telling the story dressed as a tourist in still over there. Declan had a Cork inner city (maybe slightly North side) accent.
The director in me agrees with the costume choice, but ask Jack asked... what would your reaction be if Declan was wearing a business suit? Or a tracksuit and cap? That simple costume change will change that audiences assumptions of Declan and his background. And switching the accent to Montenotte or Mayfield would cause a change in the character in the audience's eye.

And the question is... Why?

Declan is played as an innocent. He even argues that by using these prostitutes, he is actually helping the economy destroyed by the tsunami in 2004. And Declan's more or less believed. Using the clothing as example, would you believe him as an innocent in this case wearing a tracksuit? And what about a business suit?
Now ask yourself... why?

An advantage Jack has over me is that on short term jobs he ends up everywhere and meets everyone. He has met the most ignorant, clueless but educated people, and he has met the most informed, politically aware but unschooled people. The stereotypes are inaccurate, but the assumptions remain to keep the stereotype alive.

In the case of the play, talking to Brian Desmond, the founder of "Be Your Own Banana" Theatre Company he pointed out that there is about 40 minutes of unused script from early drafts of the play. And that they tried out different voices, from high to low and everything in-between. Some "voices" just stopped it; killed the humour dead.
Well you just couldn't imagine the owner of that voice saying that.

So in podcasts and other media, ask yourself... did they choose that voice? And Why?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Indulge your inner bad driver part 2

I posted earlier about Thomas Scott's Real World Racer game where you take a Google map satellite image of a city and create a race track course from the image and then race pixel cars through the streets.

Well, the "Cork, Ireland: Twisty Island Dash" course has been added! - Thanks Tom.

You race from the new UCC extensions to the College of Commerce. I think its a legal route as well. I can see it being tried out on bike for the real Ride It Like You Stole It experience. Yellow (and Red & White) jersey anyone?

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Where Torchwood

Torchwood? We're beyond the government, outside the United Nations, second left over the flyover, straight on at Budgens, right at the lights then first left by the Qwik-Save.

The BBC show Dead Ringers did a parody of the BBC show Torchwood. Oddly, the spoof make sense of its source material. If nothing else it explains the plot holes...

No idea if this will stay live for long.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Indulge your inner bad driver

Crap game but... Thomas Scott created a Real World Racer game. Its actually quite an inspired Google map hack.

Take the satellite image level of a city, create a track layout... and race pixel cars through the streets. No sound effects but as the game says "for maximum enjoyment, make "bvvv, bvvvvv" noises as you accelerate and "EEEEE" noises as you turn".

I suspect its impossible to win, but who wants to be the first to lay out the Morrison Island (Cork City's Island) track.


Update : The "Cork, Ireland: Twisty Island Dash" course has been added! - Thanks Tom.

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free movies

When you see an advert titled See the 'Transformers' movie for free! you know there has to be a catch...

And there is.

Unless you want to go to Balbriggan, Carlow, Clonakilty, Enniscorthy, Lifford, Longford, Monaghan, Naas, Westport or Youghal, you don't need apply.

Of course a certain blogger already got to see it for free.

Me? Jealous? Oh yeah!
I'm planning for a Sunday viewing.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hugs from a stranger at an open call

Dear Frank,

Thanks for telling me about the open call for an advert in Cork. As you said, the producers (who don't seem to have a website) wanted people to hug...

So I showed up to the Clarion (and thanks for the Wi-Fi) and registered. Since the aim was to hug, and someone else have come in to register at the same time... get got put together. Hello Irene on the off chance that you do the search for the blog.

This was my giggly-ist audition ever! We kept setting each other off. I may have blown the audition, but I'm in the best mood ever. And all without the use of chocolate!

On the off chance that I get a call (too many giggles?), I'll let you know.

take care,

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Nothing compares to a free Planet Earth

I read in the Economist an interesting article on record labels trying to get cash streams other than selling music and it seems that Prince has gone one further...

He is due to give away his new album with the Mail on Sunday tomorrow. I expect it will be, oh, 5 seconds before one is on sale on e-bay to get to all those fans in other countries.

I assumed it was going to be a UK only event... then I saw the adverts on Irish telly... he's releasing it over here too. So who will be first with the LouderVoice review?

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Navan on your lips

I can't believe that Una missed this in her articles of the day link a few days back.

The first link is an article in Business Week about the importance of branding. Clearly a catchy name can make or break a product. Which brings me to Navan, a town in County Meath, Ireland, and I suppose Navan Man.

What has this got to do with branding? Well in the Business Week article, they mention Navan. Or rather Navan, which is apparently a "fusion of natural black vanilla from Madagascar with refined French cognacs" (probably a Grand Marnier blend) and even is part of Hevan; equal parts Navan and Hennessy VOSP. There's even a review of the drink available.

I've been looking at the Navanworld (which sounds like a scary nightclub, and I worked in the town for a while) website, and I can't figure out where the name came from.

Having said that, imagine drinks based on Navan Man?
Did they even search the name before they used it?
And if they did were they thinking Brosnan, Ó hEochagáin or Tiernan? Given the Black Books connection to drink, it's got to be Dylan Moran that they had in mind.

I wonder if they smell of vanilla and cognac now?

take care,

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Not the market we had in mind

"Yes, there is a difference between virile and viral!"

Overheard telephone conversation. Didn't get to find out which one was the right one.
I'm sure that the guys of "Inside PR" never covered that in their "Inside PRoper English" slot.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

All the sevens

Today is 07/07/07
It's a simple fact of mathematics so expect observations like this every year until 12/12/12.

However, 777 is a lucky and magical number... just ask any Slot Machine a.k.a. One-Armed Bandit. It appears that it might now be possible to get in to Las Vegas tonight

Oh and 08/08/08 is considered really lucky in China. The word for 8 sounds similar to riches if I remember correctly.

Oh well, off to buy a lottery ticket.
take care,

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Friday, July 06, 2007

web two point oh no

"With a family like that you could set up a social network for them"
"I think they are less social media and more social disease"
-- Name withheld to prevent lynching by their family

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Evolution of the advert

I'm going to talk about adverts, well one advert and its effect. Don't worry it's not that Tracker mortgage fallout.

I'd like to blame the Hobson and Holtz For Immediate Release podcast for this embedded video. It's an advert for Dove as part of the "Campaign for Real Beauty" which shows all the hard work (hair, make-up, visual effects) needed to get a good looking model up there on the billboards...

But it's slightly scarier to see this parody which turns an OK looking man in to the a good looking female model... using exactly the same techniques..

Now these "viral videos" have a point. The first point is that Dove spent a shiftload on a 30 second spot on the Superbowl, and a few thousand on the first video... yet got a higher return on investment on the YouTube one.

Secondly, the YouTube video has A won the top prize for TV and cinema advertising in the Film category of the Grand Prix Cannes Lions advertising festival. Which means download only (or streaming only) is now considered a proper format by the industry.

And finally... this shows us that the impossible images being projected on a regular basis are indeed impossible. Which makes a certain group on which these images are projected feel so much better.

Which is a good thing.

take care,

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Buns of Cake

I've been up early this morning slaving over a hot stove. Literally.

My Capoeira group, Candeias Ireland is having a picnic and exhibition session in Fitzgerald's Park.

Given the weather last night I assumed a cancellation was on the cards. This morning sees clear skies and a bit of warmth. So on with the over and in with the cakes.

Capoeira may help me loose the belly, so the belly has to fight back. Feel free to call in if you're around.

take care,

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