Thank You Steve Jobs

PlayPlay

I may well not be here but for Steve and Apple

Yes, that may sound like a big statement that Apple and in particular the personality of Steve Jobs and the way that it was embedded into the very DNA of Apple could have that much of an affect on me but I think it’s correct.

Just some of the Apple products that brought me here

I first became aware of personal computers in about 1980, then missed an opportunity to us a Fairlight CMI in 1983 only to eventually buy an IBM clone 286 in 1992. All of them, as enticing as they were, couldn’t capture me. It was really simple! I’m not a geek and all the things that geeks love, (you know the beauty of code and getting under the hood of the computers), never appealed to me. I just wanted something that did the things that I wanted it to do. Unfortunately up until the advent of podcasting I hadn’t found that “thing”, that enamored me.

Once I found podcasting the next thing was to engage with it and learn. If it hadn’t been for Apple products guided by Steve and the knock on innovations of their computers that they brought to all of us I don’t think I would have been able to get over the initial steep learning curve and understand the technology enough to be able to become a podcaster.

Thanks Steve 🙂 (mp3) Continue reading

Film Production, Incompotence or Cunning?

I think I’m now unemployable

I recently finished on another film. This one was actually a television series called Terra Nova . The first four episodes are approved to go ahead and if successful they’ll continue to produce an entire series. It’s a sci-fi about a dystopian future that is dangerous to live in so they transport (time travel) some people to the past. Basically it’s cars, guns and dinosaurs. Plenty of action but no real substance and I think it’ll probably be a success for many reasons. One of them is the production that I saw happening and what I’ve continued to realise from my previous post about the addiction of work.

As usual the standard of work that we were all doing was outstanding. I mean everyone, all the technicians on the ground and what they were managing to achieve says a great deal about the professionalism and expertise of the person on the shop floor who puts all the stuff together for the shoot crew to work with. It’s the reason that the work is of such a high standard that I find it interesting that dispute the difficulties, the job still gets done and the production gets what it wants.

Stage 7 Roadshow Studios

Different to as it appears

Now my caveat – I only know my one little section in the art department and I don’t have the big picture so this is just from one of the grunts in the trenches. The reason such great things are done is:

  • Excellent high base skills
  • Dedication and pride to producing quality
  • Love of working in a creative industry
  • Desire to be called onto the next project
  • Camaraderie and working as a team
  • Relatively high income and matching standard of living

At first glance these all seem motivating and good attributes but there is a dark side.

I’m still not sure which way to feel about this and it seems that it may be becoming the standard these days within the industry as the Australian dollar strengthens and production moves away from our shores to cheaper countries but either production companies are incompetent or shrewd, in the way they manage their workforce.

Instead of planning an appropriate timeline and budget, the standard seems to be to have no time, no money but expect outstanding work as would normally be expected with proper preparation, planning and funding.

What has happened of late is we have a third of the prep time and no money to set up workshops or buy materials but production wants all the whiz-bangery that they can think of – So… “Go and make it happen, Oh, and if you have any gear at home you want to bring in feel free as you’ll need it to do your job but we won’t reimburse you as it’s what you need, thanks very much.”

The workshops are makeshift without the proper infrastructure to work efficiently and safely and no preparation or stocking of the most basic materials to create things from. Often the sheds are poorly ventilated, lit and without the necessary equipment but it’s still expected that the work is performed by the deadlines. On this production I saw some of the worst working connotations that I’ve ever seen in all my time in the industry with people performing tasks that will shorten their lives due to dust and chemicals, maybe not today or even this year but it’s accumulative and these technicians were working 12 and 16 hour days for weeks at a time. Reports of people falling asleep driving home were mentioned to me. Production wouldn’t care if someone died (and in productions overseas they have), it would just be that’s a tragic accident but the show must go on, now back to work and keep cracking the whip. The whole project is driven by the accountants with no regard for the greater cost.

The real question is “Why do the workers in the film industry put up with it?”

It’s the same list as above but instead of looking at those points as positive attributes they are actually the shackles that bind people to the production company as wage slaves. Continue reading

Society Fast – The Experiment Continues

Its been a long time now, as a matter of fact it’s been 16  months since I decided on an experiment, just for one week.

Back in a previous post I mentioned that I wanted to try something, to see how it might go,  just for the hell of it.  To just opt out somewhat from the expectations of society.  I called it a society fast, to not buy into the things that society says that you have to do.

Well that week back in March of last year went okay and my world didn’t end. I still did what needed to be done when things needed to be done and I was able to do whatever I wanted to do as I felt inspired.  So I kept doing it, the society fast.  Doing what I wanted to do as I wanted to do it.

Hanging with Friends in Buenos Aires

And guess what?  I haven’t stopped.  I haven’t found the need or desire to buy back into what society says that I’m supposed to do.  What am I talking about I hear you say?

I’m taking about how our Western Society says that we have to do certain things, like relationships, work,  income, career, worry and stress about tomorrow and how it’s going to be when I’m old and I don’t have enough money in my retirement fund, how at my time of life I should be in this certain type of lifestyle, all of that sort of thing.

That’s why I started the society fast to have a break for just one week away from that and see what would happen and I haven’t stopped.  That was 16 months ago and it has been some of the best times of my life because I’m living in the moment and just doing what is right for now and it keeps working.

Now before you think I have it easy, that’s not my point.  In the last 16 months I have worked for income in an employed situation for only 6 weeks and earned $12,000.  I’ve additionally done a little audio and video recording and editing work and earned another couple of thousand dollars but that is all.  I have been leaning on my credit card and I’m slowly going backwards at about $1000/mth but I’m fine with that.  I live a very lean life and I have everything I need and desire little more.

For a long time I was looking for something to put my attention to, some strong focus and direction that society says that you have to have to be a member of this society.  That was causing me grief and one of the reason for starting this society fast, to have some chill time away from that stress. Continue reading