Traveling to SXSW on the StartupBus

This Tuesday I’ll be getting on a bus of about 30 entrepreneurs for a road trip from Miami to SXSWi in Austin, TX. During this trip these entrepreneurs will be working in teams to launch a company, in time to pitch at the conference. It’s the Miami StartupBus. And I’ll be filming the whole thing.

I got the offer for this project about a week ago its been a bit of a rush to get things together but I’m really excited.

It’s being billed as The Apprentice meets Amazing Race meets Startup Incubator – should be cool.

I’ve got a few responsibilities as it relates to video. First off is to document the experience – what happens when a bunch of strangers get together and have to create a company in 48 hours.

Second, part of the StartupBus competition is to turn in a pitch video, where online viewers will vote on the idea and then the top 6 will move on to the final presentation at SXSW. I’ll be working with the teams to create that. Six videos in a few hour turnaround, should be fun.

And finally I’ll be handling the live streaming – or at least moderating the channel. What would be ideal to me, and I think more awesome, is if every bus member was a camera person, using their phone to broadcast their experience. I want something that would be one official StartupBus Miami channel page, multiple screens of different camera sources going on this page, and the user could pick one to watch. But I haven’t been able to find anything that can do that, though I feel I’ve seen it.

The main chocies are Livestream and Ustream. Ustream can broadcast from phones. Livestream can’t but can hook up with Qik. At first I was leaning towards Ustream, but Livestream seems to offer more for free, like a complete control center to mix live video, online video, overlay text, and setup playlists of looping video if you’re not broadcasting live on your channel.

For the documentary filming part, I’m borrowing a Canon T2i to play with. I’ll be doing most of the filming on my trusted EX1, but I wanted to try out a DSLR as a B-Camera and this seems like a good project to start.

Also, since I’m now traveling to SXSW, I figured I might as well try to find a venue to screen Bots High and tap into the SXSW crowd. It’s looking like I found a place; I’ll find out tomorrow. But for sure I scored a booth at Dorkbot, a mix of booths of geeky projects and Ignite 5 minute talks. So if you’re in SXSW check it out this Friday.

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I’ve Got a Finished Movie, Got Rejected from SXSW, and Other Adventures From These Past Months

Damn, it’s been long since my last post. Too long. It’s not from forgetting – I have dry erase boards and notecards full of blog posts ideas. And Andrew and I have had countless conversations that end with, “This should be a Coffee and Celluloid Post.” They just never made it from the list or conversation to the computer screen. Until now.

This post is basically going to be a bulleted recap of the past few months. Hopefully I’ll go back and elaborate on certain points, but for now this’ll do to get us up to speed, so I can write about the many upcoming adventures that are planned.

We’ll start right after the last post, when I was stuck in an airport and ranted about Chris Gore’s book. About a month later I realized Chris Gore is on G4 now. I like G4, I think they should play my movie. So I’m sorry Chris Gore, I’ll just pretend the 4th Edition of your book doesn’t exist and continue to refer to your 3rd edition.

  • Traveled to Texas to get Bots High sound designed
  • Sent out the first batch of screeners to film festivals
  • Went to New York to get the film color timed. Escaped before the snow storms hit.
  • Bots High is officially a finished picture!
  • More festival submissions
  • In January I had a sneak peek screening of the film. This was because SXSW, which was the goal to premiere at, of course has premiere requirements. So I had a sneak peek / cast and crew / fundraiser screening, with pretty much no ability to market it due to fear of “getting caught.”
  • Turns out that was all for naught, since I got rejected from SXSW, True/False, and some other minor festivals
  • Accepted into Florida Film Festival (schedule posted soon)
  • Said, “Fuck festivals and their premiere bullshit, I’m going to have the premiere on my own terms.” So this Saturday I’m four-walling a movie theater and having the official world premiere of Bots High in conjunction with the BotsIQ National Robotics Competition, the same competition the film was shot at. While the screening is free, going to sell DVDs and posters at the door.
  • Lining up more screenings at alternative venues and planning different pricing experiments, from free to ticket sharing to flat screening rate.
  • Just today it was confirmed that I am going to SXSW, but for a completely different reason (going to SXSW Interactive). Seriously considering planning an underground screening of Bots High while I’m out there.

Plus there’s a lot of tech talk to write about, from DVD encoding (and making it look good) to Avid vs FCP to XML and Final Cut to Blu-ray burning.

 

Bots High – Feature Documentary Post-Production Workflow

Editing for Bots High, my first feature length documentary, is done! Picture is locked, music is getting wrapped up and sound design has started.

I’m working on a variety of posts to cover what I learned, both on higher, editing theory level, and detailed, technical how-to like working with XML files.

Here’s a rundown of the workflow, and the upcoming posts will go more into detail on one or more areas:

  • Finished filming mostly in April, with some extra interviews in May.
  • Had about 100 hours of footage that needed to be logged into a database and reviewed.
  • Reviewed all the footage in about six weeks with everything logged into a FileMaker Pro database
  • Editing from June to September. About 40 different cuts and a few test screenings throughout.
  • Fine tuned the edit to mid-October and got most of the graphics finalized.
  • Write blog posts on everything I should have been writing about during the process.

So here we are. Stay tuned.

Dolphin Bay – Video

Dolphin Bay from Joey Daoud on Vimeo.

A few weeks back when I went up to the film school to take pictures at their Gala, I was invited to tag along to go swimming with dolphins and film it. Um, awesome.

Gabrielle has been swimming with this same pod off the coast of Panama City since she was four. They’re completely wild dolphins and they love to hang out in this area and check everyone out. I think it was as much fun for them as it was for us.

Before anyone goes off on how there’s some law against this or you’re not supposed to touch them (even if they rub right up against you), I’d like to point out that Fish and Wildlife Management was in the area, and they did come to us only to tell us that our diving flag needed to be higher so boat wouldn’t run over us as we swam with the dolphins.

I should probably insert some bit here on how you should see The Cove. I haven’t seen it yet, but I only hear great things, so I’m sure it’s good. But you should watch my video first.

I shot this on a Sony EX1, Flip Ultra HD, and Flip Ultra SD in a Flip underwater case. That was a whole fiasco. (more…)

BattleBots and South Beach

It’s been a while and I’m sorry, but here’s where my life in the real world is at:

I’m officially done with Film School and FSU, got my diploma and everything. It was a weird last semester because I was editing and doing pick-ups for UnderCover and finishing You 2.0, so when all was said and done (well, UnderCover still isn’t officially done), there was no definitive end. I had already had a graduation ceremony in December, and then a brief mind fuck when I figured out I would be staying another semester. So it was just a weird period of “Do I go out in the real world now? When do I leave Tallahassee?”

And I wasn’t sure what the next step would be. I didn’t really want to intern again, even though my past experience are probably nothing like what working at a real company would be. I had been getting more into photography, so I was focusing a lot on that. But if someone asked me what I was going to do, I probably gave a different answer every time.

Now I’m not entirely sure what made me decide to run with it, but last year I caught the national championship of BotsIQ, the BattleBots High School division. If you’re any level of techie you’ll remember BattleBots from the Comedy Central show from a few years ago. Remote controlled robots (alright, technically machines because robots are supposed to be autonomous) fight it out in a weaponized arena. I loved the show, but I thought BattleBots was dead, until I stumbled on this championship (which was in South Beach, where I was at during break).

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So here’s the same arena with big robots battling it out, yet it’s all done by high school students. I thought that would be an awesome TV show or film, but this being right before thesis filming started, it was just a random thought.

Fast forward a year and insert thought bubble of me thinking back to BattleBots and BotsIQ while brainstorming ideas for the future. I even developed a proposal for the film in a professional development class during my fake last semester. Whenever I mentioned the idea people thought it was really cool and I believe it would make a cool film, plus it was the best and most developed idea I had. It’s got a built in narrative (start when the school year starts, end at the climactic championship), it has robots (Transformers 2…box office record setter), and kids doing adult stuff, which I’m a fan of. So I decided to make it.

I met with the head of BotsIQ (Nola) and she was game for the idea (along with being one of the nicest person I’ve ever met), so the project became official. Nola and BotsIQ are based in Miami, and Miami has the largest number of participating schools, so a few weeks ago I packed up in Tallahassee and moved down to my apartment in South Beach. This is ironic on so many levels because I lost count of how many times I said I would never move back to Miami. But the fact that I’m from here is irrelevant – I moved here for the film, because it’s something I really believe in and hope it will get my career started.

I’m working on getting a website up for it, but in the mean time there’s a newsletter you can subscribe to get updated when things start happening:

Subscribe to the BattleBots Doc Newsletter

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