Pinch me! I have 2 shows in the Slamdance Unscripted Teleplay Competition

20 08 2009

Wow! I’m a double finalist! Two of my TV show pitches are in the top 10 finals of the Slamdance Unscripted Teleplay Competition. The winner will be announced next week. Wish me luck!

Here is a short teaser for PROMOSEXUAL, one of my finalists. Although I can say that they are both “follow doc’s” the other show is still top secret…

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MediaSapien Interview with Interactive TV of Tomorrow’s Tracy Swedlow

6 04 2009

fe4f7f48-fb87-434b-9ba6-931868b8a99citvtradioiconMediaSapien has been a friend and supporter of the Interactive TV of Tomorrow show and conference since their beginning, and was recently interviewed for their weekly radio show by founder and host, Tracy Swedlow.  

We chat about being an independent content producer, landing ( and losing) a TV show deal, as well as tools and strategies offered by new technology.

Listen to the whole interview HERE.





Xbox 360 Avatar Experiment with Xeni Jardin and Barack Obama

31 03 2009

Thanks to everyone who saw my portrait work on-set with Boing Boing TV during the 2009 Game Developer’s Conference.  As requested, I’ve posted videos of some of the pieces.

The videos document an ongoing conceptual portraiture experiment using video games available on the Xbox 360.  There was no use of hacking, programing, or other methods beyond the options provided within each game used to make each piece.  The limitations of each game create a challenge when trying to make a compelling portrait, and our virtual identities are distinctively shaped by these limitations.

Games include Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’08, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six VEGAS, FaceBeaker, Fallout 3, World Series of Poker, Saints Row and more.





Avatar Identity Theft: On Set With Boing Boing TV’s Xeni Jardin at the Game Developer’s Conference

27 03 2009

 

Xeni Jardin in Fallout 3

Xeni Jardin in Fallout 3

I just had the pleasure of spending 3 days with Xeni Jardin, Matty Kirsch and the whole Boing Boing TV crew as a part their live video coverage from the 2009 Game Developer’s Conference.  I got to put my art all over their set and had several on-air interviews with both Xeni and Matty.  We discuss avatar identity theft, video games, avatars, robots, and Fallout 3 as economic model.  Very cool.     

But what was even cooler was getting to be a fly on the wall for their webcast conversations with an incredible selection of guests, including John Gaeta (Matrix Bullet time guy) and Jane McGonigal – one of the smartest game theorists out there – plus live demos from a bunch of really cool indie game developers.  

Click here to see the archived clips from all three days.  My interview with Xeni starts at 10:05  in the clip titled “Lots of stuff.” Thanks Xeni!





Multiple Sarah Palin Doll Commercials

22 09 2008

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The online community has spoken, and it’s using action figures as it’s language or choice. The rapid creation and distribution of a cultural meme has never been easier. Blink and you miss it.

Below are 3 different toy commercial spoofs for action figures based on Sarah Palin (full disclosure, I produced the 3rd one in the list). One of them is an actual toy for sale. The others are parodies.

Are there any other Sarah Palin toy commercials out there? Send me a link!

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Ron Jeremy – The Avatar Builder Tool Experiment (part 1)

9 09 2008

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Our Model Our Model

There are so many options for crafting avatars that Mediasapien decided to kick the tires and road test some of them.  Using a decidedly unscientific protocol, each will be put to the test using a single person as the model.  Since many of these apps are geared towards kids and tweens, there are plenty of options for making slender, emo-ish, Jonas Brothers and Miley inspired avi’s.   So in order to make the test challenging, we’ll pick a person who is generally familiar looking but definitely not a typical user of avatar-based games and entertainment – someone older, rounder, less willowy.  Naturally I’m talking about the Hedgehog himself, Ron Jeremy.   Ron is a beautiful Adonis of a man, with an amorous appetite to match.  The years may have tried their best to curse him, but he defies the ravages of time – mostly.  His hairline may be receding a bit and his ‘stashe peppered with grey, his belly may be a few inches larger than in his glory days, but he still retains all the charm and charisma for which he is known – his 9 3/4” dick (unverified).  

So RJ is the perfect model for our test.  Some of the apps will handle the Hedgehog with ease, while many others simply don’t offer wide enough options.  Few if any will include his “charm”.  Here are some of my results:

Ron JereMii

Ron JereMii

 

Nintendo Mii

Technically I used an online flash game that reproduces the Mii-building experience almost exactly, so the results are the same.  The deceptively simple tool palette masks an outrageously deep creation tool, capable of reproducing almost any face, from RJ to Obama to Darth Vader.  It can even be used to make illustrations and abstract graphics, turning Mii’s into walking postmodern artworks.  Dozens of these celebrity and character Mii’s are available for download via the Mii channel on the Wii.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RJ visits Springfield

Simpsons

The Simpsons online avi maker uses a fairly extensive palette of facial features, body parts and props, all of which are instantly recognizable from the long running series.  You can choose Milhouse’s glasses and Sideshow Mel’s bone-in hairdo among the hundreds of choices.  One aspect of this app is the distinct  Simpson’s visual style, which makes avi’s that are more about ‘type’ than specific individuals.  All of RJ’s ingredients are present, but if you didn’t know it was the Hedgehog, you might never guess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Park

Like the Simpsons app, the South Park online avatar maker offers a wide range of body parts and features that are instantly familiar to viewers of the show.  Like the Simpsons app, this one is also highly stylized.  The resulting avatar is funny, if not immediately recognizable.

 

 

 

 

 

Meez, WeeWorld, etc..,

There are so many avatar-centric websites and social spaces for the kiddies that I’m limiting myself to just a few of them for this experiment.  The tools provided are so simple that frequently RJ is reduced to a skinny-looking kid with a fake mustache.  One or two of these may be slightly amusing but ultimately these apps are too limited to offer much playability.

 

If RJ was Picasso...

If RJ was Picasso...

 

 

Mr. Picasso Head

This was definitely one of the most fun Flash games that mediasapien came across while researching this story.  Using only elements found within Picasso’s actual artworks, a surprisingly wide range of people can be created.   The added bonus of adding any signature in the artist’s hand is a nice touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mediasapien came across a few oddities during this exhaustive search…  Talk about odd vanity brands… How about RJ Mobile?  A short-lived start up that sold cellular service, ringtones, video clips and games all branded with a cute, ironically harmless looking Ron Jeremy avatar.  Nothing says quality cell service like a washed-up porn star with a mobile phone shoved in his thong.

Would you buy Cel services from this man?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the current election season, the following image seems like an obvious call to action.  Could it be time for a write-in vote campaign for the next president?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally…   Apparently the best example of a Ron Jeremy avatar has been right under our noses for nearly 25 years, first appearing way back in 1983.  Known to just about every gamer ever, he is more commonly referred to as “Mario” and may very well represent the earliest example of a famous person or celebrity to be enshrined in the glow of game pixels.  Ron Jeremy – The original Mediasapien!

The results of this test are a mixed bag, but it’s far from finished.  There will be plenty more to come, including Ron Jeremys built in Second Life, Tiger Woods, and more.  And if you have any RJ Avi’s that you want to show off, send mediasapien a link and we’ll post it.

[Part 2 is HERE]





NPR Commentator Awakens As MediaSapien

14 08 2008

In the August 14th All Things Considered, commentator Peter Sagal chimes in with his thoughts on his addiction to always-on Internet connectivity, titled “Wake Up Neo.”  He describes his repetitive checking of e-mail accounts, texts, and blog comments and that all-too-familiar feeling of dissatisfaction once they reveal themselves to be mundane.  He clouds the issue a bit by suggesting that ultimately he’s waiting for the Bat Signal.  Then, to make sure all the nerd memes are covered, references the Justice League as well.  Neo?  Bat Signal?  Justice League?  Perhaps Mr. Sagal needs to visit Comic-Con.

Mr. Sagal shrugs off his addiction as no big deal.  Who doesn’t share this Internet addiction these days, he asks?  MediaSapien couldn’t agree more.  This is yet another example of how the human-machine hybridity of modern culture has become mainstream. It demonstrates how people from every facet of society are becoming more comfortable with their identities living semi-autonomous lives through networked digital technology and allowing those diverse identities to inform their whole being.  Soon society will be filled with mediasapiens, gargoyles, transhumans, and forms of human-machine hybrids not yet known.

Read and hear the story here.