After the Gold Rush is 2008 BlueCat Lab Semi Finalist

My screenplay, After the Gold Rush, has been selected as a Semi Finalist for the 2008 BlueCat Screenwriting Lab.

The BlueCat Screenwriting Lab is a really interesting project. Founded by Gordy Hoffman (brother of Phillip Seymour Hoffman), BlueCat has become one of the best screenwriting contests in the country. What distinguishes them from other contests is that Gordy is a writer and tries to further development of screenwriting as a craft. If I’m a finalist, I’ll receive an all-expenses paid trip to LA to attend one week of screenplay mentoring (including a staged reading of my script) at the BlueCat Screenwriting Lab.

What’s my screenplay about? After the Gold Rush is about a dotcom failure, washed up at the age of 24, who goes abroad to end it all. But he can’t escape the sensual pull of Italy…

I wrote it in the wake of the dotcom crash, inspired by my own work on web sites and a couple of “research” visits to Europe. I was interested in how people regain their creativity after crushing defeat.

Read the first five pages of After the Gold Rush. And, if you want to read more, let me know and I’ll send you a PDF of the complete script.

What's Government Doing with Wikis?

A wiki is an excellent tool for government to collect and process information.  With a good chunk of the fed workforce eligible for retirement in the next few years, it’s vital to capture some of their years of experience before they walk out the door.  The Office of Management and Budget, an agency that’s known more for mandates than innovation, has surprisingly taken the lead with a wiki on earmarks.

Handmade Correspondence in the Twenty-First Century

screenshotRose is the daughter of a couple friends of mine. She was in my photo “Rose Runs” that was in the DCist Exposed show and has appeared in the local paper a couple times.

And now a picture I took of her was used to illustrate an article on handmade correspondence. When you’re six, all your correspondence is handmade.

What's the Government Doing in Second Life?

SL seminar pic
Virtual and real worlds collide in this screenshot from the conference.

The Federal Consortium for Second Life is a newly formed group of federal government employees and contractors interested in exploring the use of virtual worlds in government, sharing best practices and policies, creating shared repositories, and networking.

They met recently and their event presentations and slides are available online. The government is interested in Second Life (SL) as an outreach and education tool. For example, my colleague Eric Hackathorn is developing a virtual island for NOAA, that contains a red tide simulation, a really cool weather map and an auditorium for presentations. NASA has a robust Second Life home where you can experience a dust storm on Mars. The Centers for Disease Control is looking at the platform as a way to educate the public on health. A survey revealed that SL users are interested in catching virtual diseases, just for fun.

A friend of mine described Second Life as being all about “sex and shopping.” There’s certainly that, just like there was in the early days of the internet.

Like the internet, however, SL is destined to develop well beyond hedonic activities. It’s great to see that government is thinking ahead to what the public will want from virtual worlds.

Migrating Flickr Pics to SmugMug

I do love Flickr.  But I don’t like their prints, finding them to be really washed out and disappointing.  However, I like SmugMug’s prints but didn’t want to go to the trouble of downloading all my Flickr pics and then uploading them to SmugMug.

Enter SmuggLr, a  Firefox extension that promises:

Photo migration from flickr, ImageStation or PhotoSite to Smugmug with an easy to use wizard.

I was skeptical.  The term “wizard” conjured up memories of Microsoft applications that papered over their complexity and poor usability with “wizards” that inevitably left one frustrated.

However, this is one “wizard” that really is a Merlin.  I let SmuggLr do its magic and, over the course of a couple hours, it migrated 1,510 of my photos in 48 galleries from Flickr to SmugMug.  And it kept all my galleries together, along with my captions and exif data.  Brilliant!

Reverend Billy Pic Illustrates Column

One of my pictures of Reverend Billy was used in an Amy Goodman column on how Americans buy too much stuff.

The Reverend has an excellent documentary coming out this month called What Would Jesus Buy. Produced by Morgan Spurlock, I saw it earlier this year at SilverDocs and it’s excellent. I think people should be allowed to buy whatever they want, without being made to feel guilty for their choices. What’s great about What Would Jesus Buy is that it makes its points through humor and the Reverend’s gentle humanity, and that’s a much more effective technique than hectoring. It certainly got me thinking – and buying less.

You can see the rest of the set from the Reverend Billy at SXSW here.