Apr 30, 2010

Hindu Temple in Singapore

From my hotel room on the 12th floor I could see the top of this Hindu Temple amidst a sea of concrete. Having found a Singapore travel guide before going, I read all about the varying religions of the country and the strong Indian influence as well, so when I saw this I knew it would be worth finding.

Stephanie and I travelled a little bit off the main roads and down streets that felt much more local - but in the best kind of way. It was one more thing to check off my list of experiences in Singapore. Ducks and chickens hanging in windows, cramped stores with shelves up to the roof, and people huddled on sidewalks discussing their day, it felt like an honest representation, or at least a nice balance to the glass and neon of the impressive Marina Bay district where we'd spent so much of our time already.

The temple was a nice surprise. Something peaceful and out of the way. Something it felt like we discovered by circumstance. Nearing the end of our trip, it proved to be an ideal place to reflect.



Apr 28, 2010

Singapore Flyer Ferris Wheel



When I was first asked to go on a business trip to Singapore I was both elated and concerned. Excited because I'd be going to the other end of the world, but concerned that I'd be too busy to actually see anything. It was for this reason that I only put one thing on my wish list of things to see while away - The Singapore Flyer.

The Singapore Flyer is a huge Ferris Wheel, but more than just a ride it's the largest observation Ferris Wheel in the world. At 42 stories high, it's a full 30m taller than its most famous Ferris Wheel counterpart, the London Eye.



I convinced myself before going that one way or another I'd get to see the Flyer in person. Met with a cruel twist of fate on the first evening we headed out, it was closed because of thunderstorms. Luckily we tried again the next day.

On our way back from Sentosa Island, Stephanie and I timed our arrival just right. The sun was setting over downtown and Marina Bay, and by the time we reached the top of the wheel all of the lights had come on and we got a view of the expansive cityscape glowing around us. It was just one more moment of awe in a trip filled with surprises. A trip where I actually did more, not less, than I had expected to.


Apr 26, 2010

In the Yobi Film Top 5! Please Vote

To skip ahead and vote click here.

Things are really coming down to the wire now. When I first started campaigning for votes over a month ago, there were 40 filmmakers in the running for Yobi Film's 'filmmaker of the year' and now there's 5 - and I'm one of them! This is a huge honour, and just to have made it this far feels like a huge achievement.

Please help me continue my run for the win by using your email address to cast a vote for me here. It's quick and easy and could make a huge impact in attracting a lot of attention for my video work.

Also, the winner receives a trip for 2 to see the Toronto International Film Fest, which would just be another dream realized.

Thank you guys for all your help in getting me this far. In a tight competition like this your individual votes can really be the deciding factor. I really appreciate all your efforts! Use your email addresses to vote, spread the word, send an email, forward my promo video, tweet me - anything you can do to help is very much appreciated. Thanks again!


Apr 25, 2010

Singapore River Experience

Sailing around Marina Bay and up the Singapore River was one of the many highlights on this amazing trip. The boat ride takes you all around the financial district of Singapore, so in addition to all the colourful restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, you're also surrounded by towering skyscrapers, large museums, the famous Merlion statue, and even the parliament building.

It was on the river cruise that I really had to pinch myself about where I actually was. The red lanterns, Asian signs, and impressive structures all emphasized the vibrant and modern culture of Singapore. The small country proved to be a mash-up of numerous Asian and western influences, and the wealth of the country was unmistakable in all the scenes we were witness to.  While there was a lot to love Singapore for, it was cruising down the river that actually gave us a moment to let it all sink in.



Apr 24, 2010

Singapore: A Bit of Everything Edit

While it seems like there's so much to reflect on I think I'll save most of it for my complete Singapore project post. In the meantime, I wanted to put something together relatively quickly to show everyone just what my Singapore experience was like - the video only making it more difficult to believe this was actually a business trip.

A co-worker and I flew to Singapore via Calgary, Vancouver, and Hong Kong - finally arriving at Changi International after an exhausting 27 traveling hours (including the transfer time in airports). The time difference was 14 hours ahead so it was interesting after finishing my work on the Monday in Singapore to realize that everyone back home hadn't even started their Monday yet.

We were out there because our company is buying a brand new custom laser machine to cut designs for a range of new stationary products for our site, and as the guy responsible for the in-house web media, I was sent to document just how the machine works and what it's going to look like. As far as I'm concerned this was one of the most awesome reasons to ever get into video - paid to travel to the other end of the world, yes please!

We clearly made the most of our down time enjoying (among a few of the highlights I recorded) a trip to Merlion park with the half lion half fish statue (the symbol of Singapore), exploring downtown, taking a river boat cruise around Marina Bay, riding the Singapore Flyer (the largest observation Ferris Wheel in the world), checking out an impressive Hindu temple while walking side streets, eating in Clarke Quay, and traveling out to Sentosa Island and visiting the brand new Universal Studios Singapore. It was the perfect blend of tourist spots and local exploration.

Specific edits of some of these places are still to come, but for now enjoy this snappy highlight reel of one of the most unforgettable, and certainly most foreign trips I've taken to date.



Apr 22, 2010

Rob Hudec "Dandelion" Album Showcase

Just last month I cut a promo for Rob Hudec's new album 'Dandelion'. Using footage that was shot as part of the Medicine Hat College's Welcome Week, this was a relatively simple, but altogether fun piece to edit. Check it out below and for more see Rob Hudec's website here.

Apr 20, 2010

SCN, The Death of a Good Thing

This issue of Guy With a Library Card takes a brief intermission to call attention to the recent news surrounding the downfall of SCN - the Saskatchewan Communications Network. Speaking personally as someone who had many film school friends that ended up either working here or taking advantage of the services it provided after university, this really is an unfortunate turn of events.

SCN, The Death of a Good Thing
Written by M

It's hard to imagine that a government could kill one of the few cultural outlets in any nation in less than 4 years, but it happened in Saskatchewan, Canada. SCN went from being the largest independent station in Canada to mediocre, the second the Sask Party took over. With the finger pointed at Brad Wall, know that it was made possible by the Conservative Government. Honestly, the details are unimportant because come this May SCN will close its doors regardless of who did what and how many people will support the station.

Why would the government do such a thing? Because the arts are expendable. Even working in the industry, an individual is expendable. In the eyes of our own community, we are expendable. Not to mention, it's basically a crap shoot as to whether or not you'd even get a chance to work. The two empowered Governments have, from the get go, showed a tendency to disfavour the arts. It really was only a matter of time before a major art cut would be made and what better reason than the economy being in the dump. Do not mistake it, SCN is a major art cut. Cuts needed to be made and did people really expect those cuts to come in Education or Healthcare or, God forbid, Indian and Northern Affairs.

So you make cuts where it seems like the best bang for your buck. Although the 5 Million dollar cut and 35 jobs lost are very inaccurate. SCN was worth over 20 Million a year and the Sask Party cut promises made by an overzealous NDP government, which in turn led to the fall of federal funding which accounted for almost half of this tab. No other province had anything even close to this budget. SCN single-handedly created a growing, profiting industry and now suddenly Saskatchewan fell behind every province. The 5 million they now count is actually closer to 6 million of government money and in actuality we only save 2.5 mil as they have to honour outstanding contracts. Not to mention, we lose the other 2 to 3 Million SCN generates on its own in order to fund projects. All of which in turn pumps money into the Saskatchewan economy. Then these projects get funding from other stations. This happens because SCN funds television shows so that other stations had less risk to take. Then, once again, all this money gets dumped into the economy as restrictions are made by SCN to spend a percentage in Saskatchewan.

This number is not added to the total of SCN's budget. As for the 35 jobs, yes, it is true that SCN only employs this many people. However, the effect is on thousands of jobs that trickle from this. SCN didn’t operate like other government agencies. Meaning that infrastructure was a small part of it. The large majority of the money was to go to other companies to make shows. SCN was the governing body that allocated this money. Needless to say, this money went into the hands of Saskatchewan people and businesses with stipulations of the money being spent in Saskatchewan, then trickle, trickle, trickle. The last major flaw is that it was made to seem like people don't watch SCN. Studies were done to find that only 5% of the province's population watched SCN. While this may reflect on certain demographics, it clearly leaves out the North who likely get SCN as their only “local” channel because of the availability it had. On top of this, as I said before, the show SCN funded got funding elsewhere which means these shows were broadcast nationally and globally on hundreds of other channels. Saskatchewan product and stories reach far and wide all because of SCN.

From a personal budgeting level, I understand the decision. For example, if I make $1000 a month that is my budget for the month. Rent and bills, take up the large majority of a budget like this. For argument sake lets say $750. This I relate to infrastructure, you know the stuff that keeps you at home with the water running, power working or rather people working to keep these things working. The other $250 would go to things like food, general health and maintenance, or if you would, healthcare and the raw material to fix roadways etc. Sadly, this is likely very close to how a budget like this would work. As you can see there is no room to go to the movies, drinking or any other sources of entertainment. So, in short, I see the government doing what they have to do in order to keep the province going. When it comes time to cut things out, you cut those that are expendable, what you don’t really need, even if they make life a little nicer.

Yeah, I get the move. Yea, it does suck. It’s those nice things that make life great. The unfortunate reality is that this is the first step in a move that will crumple an industry. Pretty much any company that deals with television deals with SCN. Whether they are industry giants or small independent producers. The real truth doesn't lie within the reports the government used to make this decision. The large majority of the Saskatchewan film industry is independents, meaning the 35 employees that lost their jobs will likely translate to 35 companies going under who employ a range of 5 to 20 people each. These people will leave for opportunities in Vancouver and Toronto. As more and more leave for the opportunities elsewhere this will soon lead to the demise of large movie making. The industry giants will have a harder time convincing anyone to come here and spend their money if there is no industry on its own. The positive of the giants is that they are established and will have other areas of their business that will pick up the slack, while they still make their own cutbacks and or outsource in other markets.

However, the outlook isn't as bad as you think. The economy shows signs of turning around and this is an industry where when time and money provides, you can pick it up again. It will cost more, but that is the sacrifice. Technology gets outdated and to keep up with the Jones’s you gotta continually grow. The loss of continual push is irreplaceable. Not to mention the talent pool drought. We will have to start back up from scratch and instead of having professionals you’ll have wanderers who don’t know what they are doing. Which incidentally is how the industry began in Saskatchewan. The entire process will be a rebuild regardless of the short term solutions and new series and shows being shot here. The other sad loss is the resources, the equipment, the millions put into the Soundstage and those are just a few that are not trickle. From here, the support the film industry provides this province is felt in the pocket book of simple companies. A-1 Rentals, Talman Lumber, CMS Equipment, local restaurants, local caterers, Supreme Basics, Gale's, Mondrian and so many more are taking a tough hit.

The real tragedy is the cultural loss. Whether you watched SCN or not it was a part of what made Saskatchewan unique and it celebrated that in every aspect of its daily business. Which is a lot more than most can say of what they do. Yet it is SCN that will be gone. No matter how much support it gets, how many have joined a facebook group or the immense public outcry the station will be shut down. Sure SCN had its cons but they would have never outweighed its pros. I am not going to try to encourage you to participate in the ongoing struggle to keep SCN alive but I do encourage you to check out the information on it. Go to www.scnmatters.com and read everything. By the time you are done you will feel a little more patriotic about this province and you will feel the cultural loss that SCN is. No matter what happens, SCN will live on in the hearts of many. It will be a social icon for years after its demise. This can be seen in every petition and rally, SCN really does matter to this province.

Apr 19, 2010

Yobi Film Top 6! Please Vote

To skip ahead and vote click here.

And then there were 6.

As these weekly voting rounds continue I don't have much to add, with the exception of another thank you. Your votes are keeping me in this and for that I'm very grateful - so again, thank you!

Please remember to click over and cast another vote for me this week to help me win tickets to see the Toronto International Film Festival (not to mention all of the continued exposure for my profile and work by remaining in the finals).

Once again, you can help by checking out my contest promo video - forwarding it, adding it facebook, etc. Every little bit helps and if any of you ever need a vote in the future . . .

Thanks!

Apr 16, 2010

Geology Student Promo Video

Here once again is the promo video I made for my short, The Geology Student, after making the Yobi Film Finals last week. If you have yet to vote, but would like to support my project, all you need is an email address to vote here. Thanks for checking it out!


Apr 14, 2010

Chico Bandito: Lost Episode

About a year ago I considered getting back into making a new Chico Bandito episode. What resulted was this short, an unofficial fifth episode that I decided not to share.

The only reason this episode is technically unofficial is because there is a conclusion in the works to give this on-again-off-again series the proper closing I feel it deserves - a real escape story, not just a stepping stone. This 'lost' episode saw Chico make it outside in a garbage bag as part of his original scheme, only to discover that things were more bizarre than before.

I felt that the series needed to take a greater departure if I was actually going to make it last - as it turned out, I tired of the project to try new things anyway. Chico was becoming more of a chore and losing novelty after the first 4 shorts. Without much to go on, I didn't want to force myself to make the series more than it needed to be.

I decided it was worth sharing this episode still because it was complete and even just as a test, there are elements that I like in my editing here. Had the series continued with Chico outside, you can imagine that things would've become far more comic, playful, and I suppose 'trippy'.

Like I said, there are loose plans for a conclusion to give the series (episodes 1-4) the proper ending and send-off. I think not having the project as a complete unit has held me back from really doing anything else with these, and coming back to the project after a long break may actually make the Chico Bandito conclusion a far more significant undertaking.

Keep an eye-out for the final chapter and complete post sometime this year. In the meantime check out the lost episode below and revisit the old Chico Bandito episodes by scrolling the original posts here.


Apr 12, 2010

Top 7! Yobi Film Finals Vote Continues!


I'm very happy to report that my run in the Yobi Filmmaking Contest is continuing as I was voted through to the Top 7!

With this being the finals round, each week only a single film/filmmaker is eliminated now. It's great to still be in it, but the suspense also increases week by week. In any case, thank you all for your continued support and effort.

Please check out my short and cast another weekly vote to help my friend Jeanette and I win tickets to the Toronto International Film Festival. Click here to see my contest profile and vote.

Thanks everyone!

Apr 9, 2010

Away to Singapore

Of all the places that I thought I might go someday, Singapore is one that I never really considered. It's small for one thing (in size, not population), on the other side of the world from where I am, and it isn't exactly the stereotypical setting of one of the top places one wishes to cross of their bucket list - there are just a lot of other big cities I've never been to. So, why Singapore?

Because in one of those 'this would never really happen' kind of discussions, I was blindsided on a Monday morning when my boss asked if I'd like to go over to shoot a demo video for a custom machine we're purchasing. As the in-house photographer and videographer I've made quite a name for myself in just the past few months by not just creating original promos and photos for the website I work for, but by actually establishing my department altogether. As eager as they've been to allow me to showcase my skills as an editor/videographer, never did I think that this would give me the opportunity to take an all-expense paid trip to Singapore (specifically to shoot video no less).

I was first given the news in February, but here we are. This post was made on a timer, so even as it goes live I'll actually be flying out already. I still can't believe how much has happened in just a couple months.

Since returning home after university I've been working as a corporate videographer and editor for a local production company. As thing started to slow down with the economy though, I took a new full-time job as a copywriter (with the potential for it to turn into a video job) with a local, and very successful, website retailer. I've been pinching myself a lot these days thinking about how much I was stressed out after uni about even finding a media job - low and behold I've played a part in creating both of the media jobs I've done since being back.

If there's anything that these last two years have taught me, mixed with the fresh excitement and idea of going to Singapore, it's that things really are what you make of them. The action you take today can pay huge dividends in the future if you're determined enough to put yourself in places that you'll get noticed. And sure luck plays a part, but as the cliche goes, it's also the residue of design.

I have to remind myself how lucky I've been in getting myself to the places I want to be. It's a state-of-mind and being comfortable with where I'm at in my life.  It's also a bit ironic in this case though as now it's quite literally taking me to the other side of the world.

Apr 5, 2010

I've Made the Yobi Film Finals!

To skip ahead and vote for me in the finals click here.

When I uploaded my short, The Geology Student, to Yobi Film last year I was thinking that it would provide an alternative in the contest to all the overly-dramatic or stereotypically emotional work I'd be up against. It's not that I have anything against these kinds of films, I just knew that I wanted to stand out - a campy comedy short about Geology seemed irreverent enough.

Here we are months and months later and after becoming a weekly winner, advancing through the 4 semi-final rounds, climbing from Top 40 to Top 16 (all thanks to your votes!) I can now say that I'm officially a finalist in Season 2 of the Yobi.tv Filmmaking Competition - that's Top 8!

What happens now, which I didn't realize until yesterday, is that each week only a single film will be eliminated until there is a single winner - meaning 8 rounds. The votes are also reset every week so your support is crucial. Everyone can vote just one time for the entire week on a single film/filmmaker - I'm really hoping you'll consider me.

I'm hoping I can stick around for at least a few weeks to earn one of the top spots, but advancing this far is certainly something I don't take lightly. No matter how things pan out, I want to send my continued thanks for all your help and votes! Click here to vote using your email address.

Also, below is a promo video I've created to help promote my project and the contest. If you'd like to help me gain some weekly votes send them to the YouTube link here. Thanks again!


Apr 4, 2010

New Portfolio Pages: A Renovation

Much like in the evolution of this blog, developing my stand-alone portfolio site has provided numerous challenges. Finding a style that seems both engaging and playful, but sophisticated and functional requires a strict focus and willingness to adapt. When looking at a well designed space it seems obvious, but to create one from scratch - without simply copying someone - is a process.

As the novelty of my portfolio site has started to fade somewhat, I've felt obligated to re-evaluate my approach. While the reality is that my portfolio site proabably won't ever be a regular draw for traffic like my blog will, I do want it to seem stylistically paired and able to grow as my body of work continues to. This requires a confidence in my presentation to simply let it be. Creating said presentation is exactly what all these months of work have meant.

My latest update to
editingluke.com has come in the form of streamlining my previous design, and refreshing the portfolio section of the site. You can see the previous designs here, but what I wanted to do was create a more uniform and structured feel - still raw in a way, but less hand made looking. Having used my rooftop image as the basis for branding and design on this blog and portfolio site, I also wanted to incorporate more of that rustic urban theme and feel into this section.

While you'll notice only 3 posters visible on each page, those images scroll just by moving revealing more projects. A small play button also appears when hovering over each poster which links directly to the blog post and/or video for that project.

The original title page to enter the portfolio has also been removed to make navigation more simple and clean. This trend will continue in how my layout evolves. There may still be plenty of pages in the end, but their purpose will be more clearly defined. Less filler is always a plus. That said, here are the new pages.


Apr 3, 2010

Indio Outio Page on EditingLuke.com

As the final cap on last years road trip experience, I've created a specific page for my Indio Outio Project on my portfolio site at www.editingluke.com. Simply click the tab on the home page and you can view direct links to each of the edits, clearly laid out, with some added novelty to boot!

While on the page, hover over the orange CD to play Real Life's Send Me An Angel. It was the unofficial theme song for our road trip.


Apr 1, 2010

Indio Outio: The Complete Project (2010)

There was a point when all of this seemed so incredibly far-fetched. The trip, the location, then completing the edit, and so on; I questioned and hoped that something would pan out. I needed this experience I think.

So now, posting the complete edits over the last month and reflecting on the entire road trip that became Indio Outio, I'm actually a bit shocked that all of this actually came together. Granted it's been almost a full year from when this trip was first considered to the point of uploading and closing out all the trip footage. Still, what an incredible ride.

Indio Outio has come to represent a personal bookmark, another subtle transition from my former film school self into adulthood - a long journey in and of itself it seems. Ultimately, the trip helped me prove to myself that I could take a whim and make something defining from it. I'll say it again, I went into this with the specific goal of trying to create something unforgettable.



Traveling with my friend Dave proved to be another great lesson, both in how we could bring out the best in one another, and how our perspectives and goals could be unifying or alienating given the circumstance. It's always interesting to bond with someone in a new way even after you've known them for years. The dynamic between Dave and myself was fueled with nostalgia, but we didn't seem inhibited from creating new memories given the places we visited.

The entire trip, without making more sweeping generalizations, is a series best told in pieces. So that's exactly what I did. The entire evolution of the trip, from talking about what it could be, to editing it, and eventually debuting it, can be experienced by following the link at the end of each post to continue on to the next destination.

I've done my best to create something a bit interactive here. Through stories, pictures, and videos, I want you to feel like you were along for the ride all the way to California. As I say in the Indio Outio conclusion, "It's a trip that was best seen first hand, but best seen, regardless".



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