The Rebel in Me

Things are finally coming together in my teaching career. Last June I was hired to teach high school New Media at W.R. Myers in Taber, Alberta! This was my goal when I went back to school and I just have to say, now that I’ve started, it feels great when a plan comes together.

The Myers’ sports teams are known as The Rebels and while I’ll always be a MHHS Mohawk / U of L Pronghorn, I think working here kind of makes me a Rebel too.

My Photos in Alberta Views Magazine

My friend Shannon Phillips is a freelance writer and journalist. When she asked me to take some photos for her new story, I jumped at the chance. I’m happy to say, the editors at Alberta Views used two of my images for the October edition article.

My Photo in Alberta Views

The article is available online (sans photos).

Copy Protection Rant

I’m doing some work for a client this morning. I’m updating his portfolio for his acting career and ironically, trying to download the tv show which he plays in is proving to be more difficult than I imagined. The CBC is streaming the show in SWF format, however, they’ve made it nearly impossible (as far as I can tell) to save it locally.

After spending nearly a half hour trying to work it out, I finally decided to check my favourite bit torrent site. The show in question will be downloaded in about 30 minutes—so much for trying to do things the CBC’s way.

NDP Lethbridge

Here is a screen shot of the Lethbridge NDP website that I recently designed.

Lethbridge NDP website screen shot

I incorporated design elements from both the Federal and Provincial NDP in order to convey the message that the Lethbridge office exists for both sides of the party. Although I originally used the lime green of the Federal party, ultimately the shade of green that the Provincial side uses is much easier on the eyes.

Karleb Homes Ltd Website

Karleb Homes Ltd. LogoI just finished putting together a site for a small construction company in Drayton Valley, Alberta, Karleb Homes Ltd.

Using cascading style sheets (CSS) I was able to keep the “content” of the site separate from the design. I also used Douglas Bowman’s sliding door technique for the navigation tabs which allows greater accessibility for larger fonts and screen readers than say just using regular, old-fashioned rollover images.

The footer is actually a repeat of the top menu, placed at the bottom of the screen because that’s really where the user needs it most—ie. at the end of the page ready for when he or she is done reading. For the spacing of the fonts, I relied on Richard Rutter and Mark Boulton’s SxSW talk, Typography for the Web.

I took the photos inside Karleb Homes’ newest project. I used my sister’s brand new Canon 5D as well as two of her Alien Bees lighting kits. The yard in the photo used for the header hasn’t been landscaped yet, but will be replaced when the landscaping matches the quality of the house.

I’m very pleased with the outcome of the site and I look forward to the making the next one—I love creating nice, friendly, and accessible websites and I’m currently looking for more opportunities, so if you are in need, let me know.

The Outfit

The Outfit title image

The Outfit game for Xbox 360 is now in stores.

Last year I had the opportunity to be a small part of the creation process, helping with the motion capture setup and then again later as a production assistant. I saw a copy of the game on Friday and sure enough, my name is in the credits.

About a month ago the developers started posting a blog about the conception and realization of the game; it’s interesting to read the posts from some of the great people that I met in Vancouver.

Of course, I still haven’t actually played the game yet, but the reviews I’ve read so far have been positive.

New Media Movie Making Camp

I started my new job on Monday. It involves teaching 11 to 17 year-olds how to create a movie from script-writing and storyboarding to burning the final DVD and creating a fancy package for that DVD to reside in.

In some ways teaching a movie making camp is a lot easier than you might expect. Basically you just tell the kids the basic structure of a movie and tell them to get at it. The hardest part is keeping them on track, writing their scripts or what have you and not playing flash based Internet games all day. It gets progressively easier the farther away from the classroom they are. Once they are out filming you can practically leave them on their own.

You can’t actually leave them on their own though. Oh no. Oh no, no, no.

For one thing, there are these people that work at the University. I use the term work loosely. Basically they show up in the morning, drink some coffee, visit with their friends in the office, and then look for ways of disrupting any movie making from happening on campus.

We were just outside the residence area of the University (the residence is built right into the building), when we became aware of our first complaint. All of a sudden a lone security guard showed up and asked us what was going on. I looked up at the kids filming their mob movie each armed to the teeth with a massive armada of toy guns. Flashbacks of the Medicine Hat Police cocking their shotgun and yelling at me to hit the ground flew through my head. (I’ll share that story some other time).

Nevertheless a little confidence can take you a long way. “Just filming a movie for our New Media Movie Making Camp,” I explained with a smile. I turned away from the guard and instructed the kids to get ready for their next scene.

He just stood there. I asked him if he needed anything else. He repeated back to me who we were trying to get the story straight so he could report back to his supervisor. I could tell he didn’t have the killer instinct that security guards usually exhibit upon receiving their walkie-talkie’s on the first day. Furthermore I was happily surprised that despite his obvious desire to tell us we were doing something wrong, he wasn’t able to compose a reason why the kids’ toy guns posed a security risk.

Later that day, an acquaintance of ours, that works at the University, came to tell us what a ruckus we were causing around campus. Apparently there had been several complaints about our kids and one specifically about their use of guns. But seeing as security didn’t do anything about it, I’m guessing that it was one of the rare occasions when common-sense trumped power mongering and know-it-all attitudes.

We wondered what we could do to prevent any further problems. That same friend suggested (perhaps sarcastically) that we create a couple of signs explaining that the 11 to 17 years olds holding a video camera and pointing caps guns at each other were just taking part in a University sponsored camp and that their weapons are only “props”. She also added to keep up the good work because the disruptions were likely an indication that the kids were having a good time, and besides — they made her day more interesting.