Inspiring Creators

Aug 072012

Back when I knew him in Toronto, Kirby Ferguson was making dirty comedy shorts and directing a segment of my sci-fi flick Infest Wisely. Five years later, he’s doing Ted talks and raising 50K+ for his next video thinkpiece series. His Everything is a Remix series is to blame for his ascension from the gutter — it’s a terrific, much needed piece of populist cultural theory. Watch it for free here! Earlier today we sat down to talk reinvention, being of service, and the benefits of obscurity.

You can download the newest episode in the No Media Kings Inspiring Creators podcast over here, subscribe to it via RSS2 or iTunes, or just click play below. Feedback welcome! I just got a new microphone, so hopefully it’s loud enough to listen to while you do the dishes.

Jul 242012

I’m involved with the new Lo-fi Sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge that’s happening at the end of August. In my role as Creative Director I’ve programmed four Lo-fi Sci-fi Salons in the run-up to the Challenge.

Each Salon will be hosted by a different local filmmaker who will be showing some inspiring fantastical shorts and then sharing some tips from their experience making science fiction movies. There’ll be lots of time before and after to meet & drink with other lo-fi sci-fi enthusiasts.

  • July 30: I will be chatting with Louis Savy, Programmer for SCI-FI-LONDON, over Skype. S-F-L is a big inspiration, and we’ll be watching some of the best shorts from its long-running 48 hr Film Challenge.
  • Aug. 6: Matthew Nayman (“Blind Spot“) will be talking quick and dirty visual effects
  • Aug. 13: David Fernandes (“Re-Wire“) will be sharing tips on props and sets on the cheap
  • Aug. 20: the folks behind the upcoming feature A Brand New You

They’re happening Mondays at 7pm at the Monarch (12 Clinton St., Toronto). They’re free and open to the public — you don’t have to be signed up for the Challenge.

But you totally should! It’s a great way to collaborate with new people, try something too weird and experimental for a feature, and get something small and achievable in the can. Hot tip: if you check out the first Salon you’ll get a sense of what it’s about and still have time to get the Early Bird rate ($50/team til Aug 1st).

Jul 012011

I’ve recently been inspired by the amazing long-form interview WTF podcast to revive the Inspiring Creators Series here on No Media Kings. The thing I love about Mark Maron’s style is that he is the opposite of the objective reporter — he’s a confessional, personal, self-obsessed egomaniac, and you end up loving him for it. I think when ever I was doing these interviews in the past I felt like the noble thing to do was to make it all about the person I was interviewing, when really I was most interested in having a open discussion with my peers and fellow cultural workers.

But anyway: Machine of Death. A smart and funny crowdsourced science fiction anthology self-published by a bunch of webcomic creators becomes a #1 best seller on Amazon, is publicly denounced by right wing pundit Glenn Beck and generally flies in the face of every scrap of received wisdom about publishing. Rethinking publishing is something I know a thing or two about, and what’s even better is I know these guys, so I thought it’d be a good way to try out this whole conversational approach. David was in town for TCAF and he and Ryan nicely made their way out to my place overlooking the railway in the Junction. We chatted for about an hour and a half and I cut thirty minutes out.

Machine of Death is available as a free e-book and in a print edition, and if you like it you should consider submitting a story (July 15th deadline!).

No Flash? Download the MP3 here or here.

If you dig this, you might want to subscribe to the Inspiring Creators podcast (RSS2 or itunes) or check out my other (older, more stilted) interviews with videogame maker Jon Mak, comics artist Carla Speed McNeil, or Wholphin DVD editor Brent Hoff.

Jul 172010

Two recent book trades that I felt I got the better deal of — A Dream on Two Wheels and A Book of Tongues.

Wheels is a smart and whimsical cyclist alternate reality written by Sarah A. Chrisman, who not only handmakes her books but also a selection of hats you can wear while reading them. Lovely!

Tongues is a baroque masterpiece. The worldbuilding is as dense and rich as China Miéville’s, and the cowboy sex smells of Jean Genet’s forbidden machismo. The fact that this outlaw confabulation has come from a debut novelist from Toronto and a Toronto publisher of excellent weird spec-fiction just makes me extra-excited.

May 182008

Rosemary Mosco's AlbacrossThe second round of the Artsy Games Incubator went terrific: all five of us ended up with videogames you can download and play: check out Mouse Police, Bungee Fisher, Cupcake Challenge, Albacross, and my own Baby Runs This Mofo.

It’s a good excuse to interview one of the founding sponsors of the AGI project, Jon Mak, a Toronto game designer who Newsweek dubbed a “wunderkind”. His abstract videogame Everyday Shooter came out for the PS3 and now it’s available on the PC — if you’d like a chance at winning a free copy, leave a comment in response to the MP3 interview I did with him below. In it Jon explains why Guitar Hero is fun despite being a sucky game, that he learns best through failing, how he made ES while working part-time for money thanks to context switch, & how the work gets better the more you take away.

No Flash? Get the MP3 here.

Oct 252007

sid-thumb.jpgAlthough we’ve been prepping for it for the better part of a year, Susan and I began the project in earnest a week ago today: her name is Sidney Amelia Bustos Munroe, and she weighed in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces.

It’s been going great, it’s a totally engrossing and fascinating process. Susan and I have made a bunch of things together, but Sid’s by far the best. Imagine a human being, but an implausibly adorable one, and you’ll have an idea of what she’s like. And if you’ve having trouble picturing that, check out the pictures interspersed with some of my early observations. Continue reading »