Dec 30, 2010

Editing Luke in 2010

Another 12 months down and it looks like 2010 is going to be the year to beat!  There was so much to be thankful for in 2010 that it puts my optimism of previous years into an entirely different perspective - who knew you could pack this much awesome into a single year?

Not that I want to seem overtly in-your-face about my positivity, but I feel I'm due as this year I finally saw the tides change and the rewards flood in since film school wrapped in 2008.  If that last half of 2008 was about just recovering from student life, and 2009 was about stabalizing myself, than 2010 was clearly about launching myself forward - and what a launch it's been so far!

Here are a few of the key moments that made my 2010 a year to remember:

January 3, 2010 - I kicked off the year by launching a brand new portfolio site that categorized and showcased my entire video history.  The site, Editing Luke: The Portfolio was essentially a business card for those who wanted to know about me and my work.  Here was the first look.

January 2010 - I officially became the Web Media Content Creator for Weddingstar Inc. and cemented my role as in-house photographer and videographer for all of the original media content we produce.

February 11, 2010 - My combined online video views surpassed 500,000.

March 2010 - Six months after returning from a cross-country road trip to California, I finally completed and began debuting all of the edits that I'd created for a personal travel project titled, Indio Outio.  You can see the first edit of the series below.

March 9, 2010 - After making the semi-finals in 2009 with my short The Geology Student, voting began in the Filmmaking Contest with me in the Top 40.  The campaigning began.

April 9, 2010 - In what was one of the most surprising moments of the year, I had been asked in February if I was interested in going on a business trip to act as videographer.  The destination: Singapore!  Here's what I wrote on the day we left.

May 11, 2010 - Throughout the remainder of April I debuted some of the personal footage I shot in Singapore.  Here was the complete post of edits that went live when all was said and done. 

May 30, 2010 - Weeks and weeks of voting and eliminations in the Filmmaking Contest came to a conclusion when I took 2nd place, beating out 38 other filmmakers after making it to the final round.  In addition to a nice cash prize, the contest resulted in over 170,000 video views for my short the Geology Student. 

May 31, 2010 - The Editing Luke blog celebrated 3 years.

June 10, 2010 - After 10 years of having my license, and 10 years of driving the infamous Buick (5 years of which I owned her) I finally had the means to upgrade.  Say it with me, Jaaaaguar. Dream come true! Here was my Requiem for a Buick.

July 1, 2010 - To continue with the upgrades I traded a basement (one of the final shackles of my student life) for a spacious downtown apartment.  This was the move

July 14, 2010 - I was contacted by a publishing company in Singapore who had seen the posts I'd written accompanying my Singapore edits.  They wanted to use one of my posts for their English textbooks. Read more about it here.

July 27, 2010 - In what was one of my favorite video shoots of the year, I went to Calgary to film behind-the-scenes of a Weddingstar magazine photo shoot.  The edits debuted with the launch of the new magazine in December.

August 20, 2010 - One of the biggest milestones of my year, the combined views of my online videos finally surpassed the once seemingly unattainable 1,000,000.

September 2, 2010 - Inspired by the 2009 trip, my friend Dave and I decided to do another California road trip.  This time we'd extend the journey to 12 days and take an alternate route home, heading up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco.  Here's what I wrote before leaving.  

October 2, 2010 - After our whirlwind trip of the Western USA had wrapped I took the thousands of photographs that I'd shot and edited them down into a glossy bound photo book. You can view the entire book online for free. 

From Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, Hollywood, Long Beach, the Salton Sea, Los Angeles, the Pacific Coast Highway, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, Reno and through the Rocky Mountains - there was a lot to see and share.  Photo collections have continued to pop up on Editing Luke throughout these last months of 2010.  You can see samples by viewing the Road Trip 2010 tag. 

October 21, 2010 - With a summer of contract edits complete with Stream Media, we all received some good news.

November 13, 2010 - My friend Tyler visited for the weekend and we retraced our steps from We Two Kings, the holiday short we shot in 2009.

November 18, 2010 - I was contacted by the University of Regina regarding some photo collages I had created and posted on YouTube.  They featured them on the brand new U of R blog. This was followed up several weeks later with a feature of We Two Kings in December.

November 23, 2010 - The Editing Luke blog reached 100,000 views.  Since May 31, 2007 this blog had been viewed in 150 countries in over 6700 cities around the world.

December 16, 2010 - With my loft finally settled and completely furnished, I went all out to deck the halls for the holidays.

December 20, 2010 - This marked the 3rd time in 2010 that one of my shorts made it into the preliminary voting rounds of the Film Contest, despite the fact that I hadn't promoted any new projects there since my 2nd place win.

December 22, 2010 - Without a new Christmas edit this year, I opted to remix a time lapse I made while in the dorms at film school - Dorm Xmas Tree Remix.

December 31, 2010 - My year will close out with a final automatic payment that will see my first student loan from film school completely repaid.  I still have some work to do in paying down the remaining student debt, but the symbolism of ending the year this way can't go unnoticed.  I'll be starting 2011 with my best foot forward.

Like I said, 2010 is going to be the year to beat.

Dec 29, 2010

365 Days to Make Good

With my big yearly recap going live tomorrow, I wanted to take a minute to philosophize about how 365 days presented all the possibility I could have hoped they would have - and will do so again for 2011.  I'm not talking about some guiding force that gave me everything I ever wanted, but how with several goals and a lot of optimism, I managed to overcome obstacles that earlier in my adult life seemed too daunting to even attempt.

One year seems to be just the right amount of time to reinvent yourself.  I'm not talking about just changing for the sake of it, but changing how you view the life your living.  It seems in a single year I took all that planning and stressing and saving and experimenting and used it to upgrade my life - and was fortunate to recognize it while it was happening.  One step after another, in 2010 I found myself presented with opportunity after opportunity that through a course of actions since film school, I could see how the choices I'd made had advanced me professionally and creatively.

How my festival work opened the door to my first editing job, how that job gave me the experience to get my foot in the door at my web job, how my determination lead to me building my own little media department, etc.

It feels good to finally be proud.  I escaped my school years wiser, motivated, hungry for a challenge, and still pursuing (and making a living doing) exactly the kind of creative work I was interested in studying when I started.  I'm not sure that's often the case.

The point of all this is that I realized over the last year that nothing changes all at once, but the speed at which you make little changes in your life does.  I made hundreds of little choices throughout film school and in the couple years of working afterwards that made 2010 the year when my choices carried more potential and benefit than they ever had in my entire life.

Financially stable, independent, creatively fulfilled, and presented with jobs that each carry their own potential for growth as I move forward.  It feels like suddenly there's a foundation below me and I'm actually building exactly what I want to on top of it.  Even though my 2010 turned out differently than how I imagined (not moving away being the biggest thing) somehow the results I dreamt about manifested themselves in this exciting new timeline I've chosen. 

If I hadn't wanted this so badly before (worrying endlessly in film school) I doubt it would feel nearly as incredible.  As much as I'd love to think that this was all just meant to happen eventually, the truth is that I saw what I wanted and I worked my ass off to get it this year.  Now I'm looking forward thinking that the more stable I become the bigger the risks I'll be able to take. 

I don't care about the grades or the piece of paper anymore.  Anyone who has felt what I'm feeling right now - this is graduating.

Top Fails of 2010

For as much awesome as there can be in a single year, there are also those who will remember 2010 for other reasons.  Here are some of the best fails from 2010 - and some of the best viral videos for that matter.

Dec 28, 2010

Alamo Square Painted Ladies

The Painted Ladies are a row of Victorian houses painted in various bright colors that can be found in Alamo Square in San Francisco, California. They're obviously pretty iconic, and it was on the tail end of our California road trip that we stopped to check them out.

If you're anything like Dave and I, we couldn't come up with enough lame Full House jokes that afternoon. I even snapped a picture of a house that I thought looked similar to the one from the TV show - and it didn't seem to matter that it obviously wasn't. We then recreated the picnic scene from the opening credits. Nailed it.

"Whatever happened to predictability?"
The not the Full House house.

Dec 27, 2010

Red Dot Design Museum - Singapore

Some places take you completely by surprise.  The Red Dot Design Museum in Singapore was one of them.  Not just a cool place to go, it was the fact that it was the first place we went after dropping our stuff at the hotel that really made it special.

We took a cab across Singapore and through downtown to end up at an old police station that had been entirely painted red.  Inside, a minimalist warehouse space was artfully divided between small exhibits.  Red Dot showcases the best and brightest in consumer functional design - the feature during our visit was (gasp!) Tupperware.

As ordinary as Tupperware sounds, the presentation of a multicolored ribbon of silicone Tupperware strung above our heads had us staring.  With all of those bright colors and containers in such abundant quantity, it really was tough not to be wowed. I loved the fact that they were showcasing everyday things that you'd have in your house.  Coffee makers, vacuums, and even kitchen accessories were made to look like works of art, honoring the design teams that created them.  

Stephanie and I were the only two people in the museum during our visit that evening so it was like exploring a private display. With only two Red Dot Design Museums in the world (the other is in Germany) this turned out to be a rare and memorable introduction to our week in Singapore.

Dec 25, 2010

'Tis the Day - Merry Christmas!

I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a day filled with peace, love and togetherness! I hope you're enjoying all those warm fuzzy feelings that the holidays bring, and are surrounded by people who you love and care about.  To mark the occasion (and to give you a bit of an escape from the family chaos) check out a sampling of my holiday edits featured below.

Dec 24, 2010

We Two Kings: One Year Later

There's no question that creating We Two Kings for the holidays last year was a lot of fun.   With the weather delivering a fresh batch of winter scenery right on time and my buddy Tyler down for the weekend, everything went off without a hitch.

What I love about all of the holiday themed shorts I've made over the years is that there's a reason to rewatch and share them every Christmas.  They end up becoming time capsules and remind you of all the other various things you had going on when you decided to make them. 

This year Tyler and I revisited Police Point Park in November to see how the location for We Two Kings looked without snow - it had been almost exactly one year since we had shot the project at that point.  You can see the images HERE.  This last Tuesday the University of Regina also shared We Two Kings on their blog, which was very cool of them!  See the post HERE.   

It's still not entierly out of the question that a follow-up to this project could be on the horizon for next year, but I won't make any promises.  For now, I'm happy to present both the teaser trailer and video for We Two Kings once again!  They were both re-uploaded a few months ago after undergoing some higher quality rendering - they both look great if I do say so myself! As though there haven't been enough Christmas specials - here's another one!

"Merry Christmas Wence-les-as-wen-sess-es-les . . ."

Dec 23, 2010

Feedback Survey

As I continue to move forward with Editing Luke I'd love to hear what you think.  Please take a minute (and really it'll only take a minute!) to click a few of the points below.  All responses are kept anonymous and will only be seen by me, but they could play a big role in the changes made ahead. 

Dec 22, 2010

Dorm Xmas Tree Remix

Was a remix edit entirely necessary? No.  Then again, the initial edit wasn't that elaborate itself.  Since I've been busy editing for everyone else but myself this year, I thought it would be fun to present something kind of new before Christmas.

I've remixed my popular Dorm Xmas Tree time lapse video from 2006 for a bit of fun.  What is Christmas good for if not a bit of nostalgia, right? The new mix livens things up a bit and was fun to put together just to remind myself what my Christmas' were like when they were divided between home and film school.  With those days behind me now, I'm really glad I created little edits like this in the first place for quick flashbacks whenever I want.  Enjoy the remix. 

Dec 21, 2010

Salton Sea North Shore Video

From old photos and promotional clips, to vintage postcards and stories about the location, the Salton Sea has fascinated me since first visiting in the summer of 2009.  At the time the renovations to the North Shore Yacht Club had just begun, but the old abandoned structure was still very much the same as it had been for over a decade.  This short video recaps my first visit to the infamous Salton Sea in southern California. 

Dec 20, 2010

My First Time on TV (1987)

Being born before the digital revolution meant that every day of my childhood wasn't documented.  We didn't own a video camera, and I think all of the photos that I have from birth to 18 can fit into 3 or 4 albums.  Hence, the history that was recorded and snapped has become seemingly more valuable for its rarity.

This weekend I was transferring the even smaller amount of footage that my mom has of her childhood onto DVD when I came across this brief clip - my first time on TV.  

We were at the Stampede parade, which had been and continued to be a yearly tradition for our family after this was shot.  We always went down really early to claim our spot next to City Hall (and the Chat production booth coincidentally).  It was 1987, I was 3 years old, and with my first few seconds in the spotlight I said a whole three words. "Luke. Cars. Because."

I still get a lot of mileage out of those words to this day.

Nudged Into Semi-Finals Once More

This is just a quick update regarding the news I've received from Yobi Film.  My short, Give it Time has been voted into the preliminary round of the semi-finals for the 2nd time this year without me promoting it.  The very same thing also happened this summer with my project, The Gizmo Tree.

After winning 2nd place in the film making competition back in the spring, these updates from the latest season of Yobi simply reaffirm that people are clicking around to view my videos (which is awesome!).  I haven't even updated my profile on the site since the end of season 2, but it's because I'm waiting to produce something larger and all-new before heading back into the contest.

Neither Give it Time or the Gizmo Tree have been voted through to the semi-finals this year after making the preliminary round, but it's a cool feeling to know that others have helped to put them there in the first place. Thank you to those who have done so! 

New videos are on the roster for 2011. 

Dec 19, 2010

Filmography 2010

This incredible mashup from genrocks is a very cool recap of the year in movies. Even more than the edit itself, I'm always amazed that someone had the patience to collect all of the footage required to put something like this together. Take a look.

Dec 18, 2010

Tarnation: Documentary #4

The amazing thing about film is that it can literally play with your emotions. Specifically in the case of documentary, someones version of the truth can irritate and annoy you, their perspective can conflict with your own, and even their style can be challenging to grasp and understand. I felt a mixture of all these things in trying to appreciate Jonathan Caouette's very personal film, Tarnation (2003).

Based on the premise alone I felt Caouette's documentary was intriguing. With a tagline like 'your greatest creation is the life you lead' and a documentary assembled from two decades of home video, answering machine messages, photographs, personal confessions, and scraps of pop culture, the setup is made to be epic. Our subject is Caouette himself and his relationship with his schizophrenic mother.

Right off the bat we're treated to intense and challenging cuts, filters, and mashups. It felt like something I might have put together when I was 13 and just discovering editing software - I wanted to use every filter available, not caring if they conflicted. This styling is bold in the case of Tarnation, and it set the tone of what was to come.

Caouette loves to see himself on camera, and this quickly became another obstacle for me when trying to understand the message of the film. We're treated to long staring sessions, which add to the avant-garde nature of the documentary. The mental condition of his mother, and the complicated nature of their relationship can be argued as the reasoning for this approach, but even at its weakest it's constantly bordering on masturbational cinema. I was always questioning why do you want me to know this?

I'm still not entirely sure of what Caouette wants us to take away from his experience (outside of admiration for his situation) and how that meshes with my interpretation of it. Jonathan Caouette is so dramatic and even in his early home video clips he's so eager to play to the camera that it sabotages his live efforts to be sincere when the moment itself seems genuine. His sexuality as a gay man and his troubled childhood begin to feel more and more focused on clamouring for some intangible acceptance than it does about revealing a deeper meaning regarding the state of his mother.

Let there be no mistake, the film is about Caouette. And this wouldn't have bothered me if the story wasn't sidelined by attention seeking gimmicks.

The story, as patched and ambitious as it is, ultimately fails to give us a broad enough context to actually appreciate and empathize with the subjects for very long. The entire project ends up feeling like a film school experiment where pieces were just thrown in to see how someone else might interpret them. And yet despite all these things, Tarnation was a documentary that I found myself thinking about a lot.

Only because of it's challenging nature and because of my film school background did I feel the need to try and confront the elements of the film that bothered me, but in the light of the mainstream I can see a lot of people simply turning it off because of how different and uncomfortable it is. The essence of great film making is not about how enigmatic it can be or how many meanings can be pulled from the final product, but instead about how effective its construction is in getting the viewer to appreciate, understand, and hopefully inherit the emotions and information you're trying to convey.

Tarnation is simply too overproduced and glorified to leave you feeling that you're witnessing a reality. The narrative is played out too abstractly to let the viewer settle with a clear thought, and after the first half an hour I felt I could have used a break already.  As troubling as Caouette's childhood and upbringing are painted - the momentum of the project is lost on self-indulgence and a significance that never feels completely justified - however, bonus points are awarded for being unlike anything else I've seen recently. 5.5/10

Dec 17, 2010

F My Life - The Book

If you're a regular facebook user or keen on social media in general you've probably heard the term, FML. It's used after somebody writes something self-deprecating about themselves and simply acts as punctuation to their statement - F My Life. You occasionally feel a bit of pity for the person who writes this, but generally you can't help but laugh.

That notion became the popular where people would upload their misfortune, and this soon translated into a book featuring the best of the worst. I found the 'F My Life' book while doing some Christmas shopping this year and have been picking it up daily for a quick laugh. Here are some recent samples from the website:

Today, a man dressed as Santa Claus walked by me, grabbing my butt. He smelled of pipe tobacco and pee. He pulled me close to him and whispered, "I bet you're naughty but you feel so nice." I looked dumbfounded at him as he winked and yelled, "You're on my list." FML

Today, my toddler stood up in the shopping cart and fell giving himself a black eye. Later while at a restaurant he tried to stand up in his highchair. I quickly blurted out "Sit down! Do you want another one of those?" while pointing at his eye. Now the waiter wont stop glaring at me. FML

Today, I got home from work to find an eviction notice taped to my door, stating that I was a nuisance and had 30 days to vacate the property. I live at home with my parents. FML

Today, at the office, everyone in my department swapped secret santa presents. I bought the guy whose name I picked a DVD box-set of his favorite TV series. One of my friends got a fancy make up kit. Another got a pack of posh notebooks. I got a toilet plunger. FML

And I could go on and on, but why not just pick up the book? It's worth it.

Dec 16, 2010

Loft Christmas 2010

One of the coolest things about moving into a space that you really want to be in, is that for the first time you get to surround yourself with the stuff you love - exactly the way you want to. Come Christmas, the decorations are no exception.

I thought it would be fun to take some pictures of my loft, featuring a lot of the random holiday things that I've collected or received over the years. I was also inspired to capture the way my place looked as it's already undergone some big transformations in just the six months that I've been here. The more I use the space, the more I think about what would be cool to fill it.

One thing is for certain, if my dorm room was any clue, I really do my best to make my spaces reflect my personality, creativity, and the things that I'm passionate about.