The Production Room was founded in 1995 as one of the first full time digital commercial recording facilties on the central coast of California. We started with 4 stereo tracks, 16 mb of ram and a 250 mb hard drive. A lot has happened since then. Today we're focusing on ways to serve clients who are creating web based media content. This includes strategic planning to integrate the benefits of traditional media, web design and IT solutions into new programs produced especially for on-line consumers. Join in the conversation. Throw rocks at glass houses. Share your vision of the future. This is the most progressive time in the media arts since Johannes Gutenburg invented movable type!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Internet Media: Listen and Comment

This is a special blog topic for those I emailed today, inviting them to review a special live presentation I recorded and then edited into a down-loadable program about internet media. I did this to re-enforce the information I delivered that day and to demonstrate to others how this use of media might work for them.

A special thanks to Barnett Cox and Associates of San Luis Obispo, Ca., for inviting
me to present the original material on Monday, Feb 5th, 2007.

As I mentioned during the presentation, my purpose is not to demonstrate how much I know (or don't know) about the topic, it is presented to stimulate your thought and ideas about how you could use these tools to communicate more effectively with your online media.

If you'd like to listen to the content mentioned here, please send me an email: and the links will be sent to you.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Welcome to the Community of Online

Every once in a while I get self conscious about my online existence.

Have I said too much? Is my profile okay? Am I really well enough informed to say...ANYTHING? I suppose these sudden attacks of humility, akin to checking myself for bad breath, mud on my shoes, or a big leaf of spinach plastered over my front teeth are only natural in a small community.

I've had the experience of growing up in a small town and living in the big city.
I've spent a lot of time with refined people, cowboys, media clowns and dull folks.

Living online incorporates aspects of all of the above. We've all seen public figures melt down on camera (God help Britney Spears). We've all been tempted by the distance of email to flame someone for their stupid opinions. And I suspect that many of us are shy to join in conversations we might be called to account for by the never ending memory of published text and the anonymous expert lurking in the shadows.

I myself have unwittingly given offense in a formal chat room, by putting my dirty boots on the oriental rug of a carefully crafted online salon. I gave my apologies and refined my approach.

The online community seems vast and nameless. But it is actually very small and intimate. This is important to consider as you craft your online identity and the manner of your communications.

Your online profile is your debut into society. Your manner of conduct defines you to your readers and viewers. Now that we live in a time when anyone can be a broadcaster, it is is important to remember the measure that the old broadcasters lived by. You are a guest in someones home. You should behave accordingly.

I live part of the year in a small, island community. Small enough that people know each other by sight. And they know each other by reputation too. Once established with a nickname or a good story, you're known for life. The same is true in the online world. Unlike the big city, people will connect with you online and tell you exactly what they think of you. If you try to chat with strangers in a grocery store in LA, they'll ignore you and walk away. If you broadside an opinion online, better stand back for the fallout. And yet any small community will teach you that you need to be careful about declaring anything as fact.

One day several years ago, I arrived on the island with two good friends from California. We went to the grocery store to buy supplies. They don't sell alcohol in the grocery stores on Prince Edward Island, so we wondered out loud how late the Provincial liquor store was open. A stout grey haired old island lady said, "They're open 'till ten o'clock dear...not that I'd know."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Santa Barbara News Press: Stickiest Topic in Town

Talk to anybody in Santa Barbara for more than five minutes these days and you're likely to hear an opinion about the ongoing drama at our venerable old newspaper, The Santa Barbara News Press. I have to say the current story line knocks the stuffing out of anything the writers of the old "Santa Barbara" soap opera ever created.

For the back story visit:

For current news, opinion and discussion visit:

And these are just the most active sites. There are many more.

Maybe you can see where I'm going with this. The blogosphere is on this story like grape jelly on a two year old. If you review just one or two of the sites above, you'll be linked to video, audio, pdf files of letters and related documents, photos, solid news content and a blazing public debate.

Ironically, the struggle at a traditional printed news institution is launching an entirely new and increasingly popular news medium. This fact is actually more important than the story that started the whole thing. Because no matter what happens to the newspaper, local on-line news is being pioneered in Santa Barbara and it's here to stay.

Doc Searls ( )

hosted a seminar called "Newspaper 2.0" at UCSB last weekend. The seminar featured the discussion of exactly what an on-line local news source could be.

Taymar Pixley was there and filed a review of her experience:

There. Now you are linked to all the news that's fit to print...and then some!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Pumping Up A Flat World

VBrick Streamed a live video program to my desktop today. I must say, hats off to this company for doing a great job of demonstrating their exciting new streaming video capability in a program they called, "The World is Flat". The picture and sound were clear and the content discussed strategies and the benefits of using "Enterprise Video Communication".

"The World Is Flat" is also the name of Thomas L. Freidman's touchstone for the modern media world. His definition of "Globlaization 3.0" has caught the attention of corporate leaders and media technology innovators. Incorporating Freidman was a good use of associative branding. "Hey I've heard of that", helps clients identify VBrick as a "fellow traveller" and opens the door to recieving information.

VBrick has packaged thechnology into a turnkey application that companies can use to deliver their video communications for various valuable and strategic purposes.

Whether intentional or not, the program was exceedingly well focused on white male corporate IT professionals. The language of the presentation was very corporate and very technical which helped me see who the intended target was and illustrated how rarified the air is in America's corporate enterprises. Is the language of IT really becoming a secret code for communicating within the sacred brotherhod of the net?

The email invitation I received to register was brilliant, the embeded video clip that encouraged me to participate and the mechanics of the registration process were well written, well built and easy to use.

The program itself featured a moderator and three panelists seated on stools in front of a three camera setup. Information was presented in an interview format like a talk show and the resulting program was dry, corporate and cold.

I spoke to an advertising agency about on-line media yesterday. One of the owning partners said that talking to young IT professionals left her with the impression that they were intentionally using technical jargon to talk over her head and impress her with their knowledge of things that she couldn't possibly understand.

I watched today's program with a documentary film maker, a visual communications artist and a marketing strategist. All of us are entrepreneurs who deal with businesses that need to communicate more effectively. Our focus is on creating the messages companies need to communicate. Our harshest critique of VBrick and it's partners is that they were totally inept in this area. Now that critique may be unfair. As I said, it appears that the target was corporate IT, and what would they know about creating media? But the implied benefit of this technology was that companies can create and deliver their own media using this system. At one point a suggestion was made that companies could just shoot a bunch of rough / raw video and distribute it through their system.

Huh? You mean you want me to buy a gazillion dollar system so I can deliver the equivalent of Uncle Ed's digitally compressed home movies to my regional office in Kansas City? Dude, FedEx is plenty fast enough for that.

The fault lies with MTV and some brilliant film makers who make professional style look easy and natural. I like BB King too. He makes playing just the right note on the guitar sound so easy don't you think?

To break it down further - and put in OUR terminolgy, the program contained solid technical information but totally lacked a sense of inspiration and human warmth.

It was as if you had walked into Sears and told a salesmean that you wanted to buy a refrigerator. Instead of showing you a gleaming side by side with freezer below and ice water in the door, he hands you a glossy technical manual and tells you his refrigerator can reduce the ambient internal air temperature to a degree that is optimal for 89% of Americans. You see?

These guys were pitching raw meat. I like a nice juicy steak.

But that's okay. What VBrick is selling is my next opportunity. Once "Enterprise" finds out that nobody in house can produce anything that their media savvy emlpoyees will watch, I'll be getting email at