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The silly side of history has its serious side

Having a laff at History – having been fed these stories in some form or another since I can remember no matter how seriously I study the subject now I cannot help but scream, cringe or fall about laughing at this lot. Cunk is irreverent, purile and brilliant. Like it or not, right or wrong, this stuff sticks.

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What Maka Paka knows about learning

From E-Learning V

Fig.1 Maka Paka on the prowl for someone’s face to wash … and random stones to stack, count and give away.

I adore In the Night Garden in my fifties, the way I loved The Magic Roundabout when I was six. I’ve worked for Ragdoll, met Pob, been to the Teletubbies set and follow the work and thinking of Andrew Davenport who recreates the world of the child as it learns to talk quite brilliantly.

Recently I was for the umpteenth time talking about the importance of understand how and why we forget before you try and get anyone, including yourself, to remember a thing, Watching Maka Paka (above) learning to count is a fabulous example of repetition, discovery and repeat.

Now, if I had “In the Night Garden’ I could learn baby talk in several languages; I don’t suppose its very different.

When in Rome

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Watching a drama series has become like reading a book – in the case of ‘Rome’ it is something of an epic. Though produced in 2005 it has the qualities that make a series for the era of Netflix. It is a lesson too from HBO and the BBC. A cracking pace, without becoming vulgar or repetitive (though there is always violence and sex, and sex with violence), the ‘upstairs/downstairs’ balance has two complementary and intertwinned strands. The conflict and jeopardy is relentless. At times the casting is a touch weak – Cleopatra is no Elizabeth Taylor but the strands wrap around eachother in a way that is Shakespearan – as is some of the language. And the last words of the series leave you with a smile on your face – a clever twist that must have been planned early on so that the two stories effectively roll into one – the son of Ceasar and Cleopatra actually that of a bull of a soldier.

The contrast with other series I have tried to watch is telling: V and Battlestar Gallactica are like badly written trash mags in comparison – after a few episodes it not only becomes repetitive, the same events and dilemmas repeating themselves as if on a loop, but the internal dynamic constantly trips itself up with the original need for commercial breaks every seven minutes or so.

My own efforts at the TV Series include ‘Escape from Alien Zoo’, ‘The Little Duke’ and ‘CC and Susie’. The first got me through the door at the BBC to develop the scripts, the second secured me an agent, third was too kid’s TV. Tessa Ross saw me about a TV film version ‘Rewind’. I will work on the paper version of ‘The Little Duke’ as it concerns the Normans in France in the 10th century and has enough violence and power struggles in it to think of it as a cross between ‘The Vikings’ and ‘Rome’.

#50Auction D&AD 50th

Fig. 1 The D & AD Auction

50 creatives – designers, art directors, illustrators, photographers, film makers and typographers offered 50 pieces of art for a special edition D&AD book.

(What is D&AD?)

An auction started online on Sunday went live today at The Hospital Club in Endell Street at 7.00pm.

A Paula Scher went for ever £2k. I needed to leave before the Terry Gilliam or Quentin Blake came under the hammer.

See them all here

If you had £10,000 to go on a good cause, which would you have bought? Would it have been selfish to bid for several?

Great work inspires. Great work for a good cause inspires even more. With the money raised D&AD will start a fund to support emerging creative talent in the early months of their career hoping to keep some of them in the business.


Fig. 2. Quentin Blake for D&AD 50 2012

There was additional inspiring work from:

David Adjaye – Architect

Miles Aldridge – Photographer

David Bailey @Kiosk – Designer and Art Director

Daniel Barber – Commercials Director (Film, TV idents … )

Paul Belford – An Art Director and Creative Head … with a PhD in Biochemistry

Quentin Blake – Illustrator

Derek Birdsall – Graphic Designer

Neville Brody – Graphic Designer and Font Designer

Wim Crouwel – Graphic Designer and Typographer

Neil Dawson – Urban Artist

Tony Davidson – Head of Big Ideas, WiedenKennedy London

Mark Denton – Designer, Director, Photographer … and he blogs

David Droga – Art Director

Dave Dye – Thinking up ideas. Problem solving. Making things look nice.

Daniel Eatock – Designer

Eine – Urban Artist

Fabrica – Sam Baron & Co ?

Bob Gill – Bob Gill

Stephen Gill – Photographer

Terry Gilliam – IMDB

John Hegarty – himself

Wayne Hemmingway – fashion designer

Nadav Kander – photographer

Peter Kennard – artist

Rich Kennedy – Senior Designer at BBH

Nick Knight – Fashion Photographer

Michael Johnson – Johnson Banks

Danny Kleinman – Director

Mary Lewis – Designer (Brand Packaging)

John Lloyd – Graphic Designer

Ed Morris – Creative Director

Nick Park – Well Aardman

Grant Parker – Head of Art DDB UK

Parra – Artist

Harry Pearce – Designer

Rob Reilly – Chief Creative Officer

Rankin – Photography

Mark Reddy – Head of Art BBH

Paula Scher – Graphic Designer

Richard Seymour – The Violence of the New

Paul Smith – Fashion Designer

Philippe Starck – S+ark

Daljit Singh – Digital Design

Alexandra Taylor – Art Director

Storm Thorgerson – ‘Legendary’ Graphic Designer

Justin Tindall – Executive Creative Director – Leo Burnett

Mark Tutssel – Global Creative Officer –  Leo Burnett

Simon Waterfall – Creative Director – Industrial Design and the language of all things.

Graham Watson – Art Director

Michael Wolff – Design

Who were the couple, say age 27 and 26 who hung and clung onto each other for the duration as if we were on a raft going through the Skull Rapids of the Westwater Canyon, Utah?

Here’s your 2013 reading list – one a week for the year.

 

The Agency Review

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Birdsong discussed

Screenwriter Abi Morgan talks about how she became a screenwriter and Birdsong, via Jack Rosenthal and Mike Leigh in this BAFTA interview.

Three big questions

Might understanding what primes us to behave in a certain way have impacts on social behaviour and learning?

Fig.1. Eyes & Ears – A public awareness film produced featuring the Emergency Services and members of the cast of Byker Grove. Broadcast on regional TV channels: BBC Look North and Tyne Tees Television. Widely reported in the local press.

Understanding what primes us to behave in a certain way must have impacts on social behaviour, from the London Riots of 2011 and police behaviour at Hillsborough in 1989, through to schooling, training, coaching and e-learning – and of course, how hypnotists play their tricks.

  • Are we so vulnerable and easily led because we cannot think about too much at the same time?
  • How must this influence the savvy learning designer?
  • Surely the context of any learning environment must be highly significant, from the buildings and resources, to your peers?


Fig. 2. A Oxford Tutorial – now as in the 1950s

  • Do Ivy League and Oxbridge Colleges have a centuries old model that works still in the 21st century?
  • Why do some libraries work better than others and why do we like to meet for coffee or for a drink?
  • Are we primed to open up, to be more or less receptive to ideas?
  • What therefore does the loan learner do studying at a distance, even if they are online?
  • What makes the experience immersive?
  • Synchronous learning in a webinar or seminar?
  • Active engagement in a discussion, multi-choice quiz or virtual world?
  • And how might they prep their context?
  • Close the curtains, dress to study?

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Fig. 3. Thinking, fast and slow

I was introduced to this concept by Daniel Kahneman in his 2011 book ‘Thinking, Fast and Slowly’ in the Linkedin Group for alumni of the Open University MBA Module ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’.

 

Tips on how best to deliver a presentation – with or without bells and whistles

Fig.1. Sample production screen-grabs from Jonathan Vernon’s show-reel (that’s him on the far left)

Develop the craft skills of a storyteller.

Use a creative brief from the outset to nail down the topic, coming up with ideas, flesh out a treatment and deliver a script.

Pace and variety are crucial.

The industry standard creative brief that I have used in a career in advertising, corporate communications and training is:

  • What is the problem?
  • Who are you speaking to?
  • What do you want to say?
  • How should they respond to this message?
  • What else do we need ro know?

Keep this to a single sheet of A4 then hand it to a professional writer/art director team.

  • Expect back a selection of synopses. Choose one.
  • Get a treatment from this.
  • Once approved writing the script is easy.
  • Only then think of execution.

It pays to have a professional graphics person who can make the platform used sing, or video production, or web design …

Death by power point is far, far too common.

Be sensitive to pace, have variety.

Rehearse and change stuff that doesn’t work or is dull.

If in doubt a good presenter should be able to deliver without any AV support as it is the message delivered with conviction, authenticity and enthusiasm that is more important that how slides wipe, or the music track on a piece of video.

There’s too much ‘death by papermation’ out there

Too long, long winded, rambling presentations with the artist trying to keep up and offering nothing at all new other than translating it – about as useful as having someone sign with no one in the audience with a hearing impairment. A literal expression of text is pointless – the imagination does a better job. Rather the images must juxtapose, complement even conflict with what is being said. You are trying afterall to get and retain attention – controversy, irony and inventiveness works.

The software never solves your problem.

Have something worthwhile to say first, then choose from a plethora of delivery mechanisms the one which has the most appropriate fit.

Production Experience

As a Producer, Director and Writer working in corporate communications Jonathan has amassed substantial experience co-ordinating and leading all kinds of projects for Government and Blue Chip clients in the UK and France.

Skills & experience embrace video, interactive CD & DVD, live TV and Live events, websites, webinars and social media. Jonathan has cast and directed actors, reconstructed bank robberies and car accidents, shot multi-camera in studios and live on location, even from helicopters, inside the Sheer Cave of a nuclear power plant and at Paris Fashion shows. He has moderated and developed substantial social media networks too. He has attended and spoken at global events, including the World Education Market, while pitching projects at Cannes & NABS.

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Productions include short film ‘Listening in’ which was bought by Channel 4.

Jonathan has produced, written &/or directed projects for production houses and agencies, Jacaranda, Talkback, TVL, BBS, 2Cs, Complete Communications, Chancery Communications, The Post Office Film Unit, Final Touch, Imagicians, Robson Brown and the Open University.

In the Financial Sector (for city PR companies, the FT, investment banks, clearing banks and city lawyers).

Celebrating 25 years in video production

 

How I presented myself to clients in France when I was working for French news agencies, animation houses, broadcasters and corporate producers. Once again actively seeking to blend video production with communications and learning.

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