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!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pardon Our Mess...Alchemy in Progress!

Alchemy is an early protoscientific practice combining elements of chemistry, physics, astrology, art, semiotics, metallurgy, medicine, mysticism, and religion. There were three main goals many alchemists sought for. The most renowned goal of alchemy is the transmutation of any metal into either gold or silver.Also they tried to create universal panacea, a remedy that would cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely. The philosopher's stone was the key in these goals. ...

This week a team assembled from at least 3 companies and several states have been in a mad rush to build a new website for The Production Room.

If the alchemists goal was to transmute base metals into gold, then our goal is nothing less than to convert the lead weight of our static web display into a golden doorway to future online prosperity. If that sounds overly ambitious, well, that is the nature of alchemy. Why stop at basic chemistry when riches could be all around you. And why settle for a Band-Aid when a Universal Panacea is just waiting to be discovered?

I'll have more to say about the site in the next week or so. Until then, I'll be out in the garage tinkering with the laws of science and nature.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The New Innovative Medium Is - Radio?

A lot of folks will tell you that radio is dying. Trends show fewer people listening and advertising dollars shrinking. A lot of folks - myself included - have read the tea leaves and concluded that radio is diminishing in importance as a mass medium. Well, what if we're all wrong?

Certainly the facts show that internet usage is increasing steadily and the tide is rising in on-line content creation and advertising revenue. But what about the old media? Is it really dying? I think the answer is yes...and no.

After TV invaded the North American living room, the network radio programs of the 30's, 40's and 50's faded away. They were replaced by rock and roll radio and music programming that captured a huge audience. The new radio programming ushered in a musical and cultural revolution. The transistor radio became a driving force of this change. It was the ipod of the 60's.

Radio will change again. Radio is changing already.

Clear Channel announced the sale of its stations this year. Clearly they thought the time was right to get out of Dodge. I saw the pictures of doddering old Don Imus in the days before he was excused from CBS radio. Why was this guy still holding forth on a major radio network in an era when young consumers are the hot commodity? Rush Limbaugh is a product of the '80's, Paul Harvey is still on the air, Rick Dees is still doing mornings in LA (though no longer at KiiS FM) and everyone else is still doing a robotic version of a music format that was invented by Bill Drake in 1965. Could it be that radio has simply become stuck in a malevolent time warp?

Taking a moment to gaze into my crystal ball, I see good things for radio. I see a medium that won't be tied to it's past much longer. I see radio learning from the new producers and entertainment programmers in podcasting. When radio loses it's rigid format clock, the possibilities for the kind of innovation we're hearing on line will migrate into broadcasting. That will be good for radio. That will be good for new and interesting programmers who will reach a broader audience and that will be the death of radio as we've known it for a generation.

The net is full of innovative programs without much of an audience. Radio has an audience but it sure could use some innovative programming.

In the mean time, since the exit of Clear Channel, we're producing more radio commercials at The Production Room than we have in quite some time.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

300 - The Video Game

My 14 year old son was lobbying me hard to see the latest flick that has his crowd buzzing. It's only a matter of time before he'll be too busy to go to the movies or anywhere else with me. So after reading reviews in the LA Times, hearing news reports about it and noticing that there was even an article in Time Magazine I was curious enough to go see the blood-soaked CG driven epic, 300.

I can see why serious people like film critics and cultural pundits want to weigh in and assign their powers to this film. Heck, even the Iranians registered their opinion. They hate it - which is understandable since nobody wants to be the bad guy. Modern day Germans must really get tired of WWII. Paul VerHoeven has a new movie out featuring evil Nazis. It's not a role you want your country to get type-cast in. obviously, a bad rep. can stick for a long time. In the case of the Persians in 300...a VERY long time. On the other hand when was the last time you saw a movie that had you rooting for barely clad Greeks?

All the blah blah I read about this film dissipated suddenly during the closing credits - an animated sequence with comic book color and lettering and an attribution to a graphic novel. That's when I saw what this film intends to be.

This movie hits it's mark with a generation of media consumers who understand graphic imagery and video gaming. They experience this film in an entirely different way than the LA Times or the leadership in Tehran. This is a generation that doesn't learn Greek and won't volunteer to read classical western history in any language. But they DO get the language of modern media.

In 300, the Spartans are video game heroes. The violence is graphic but not personal. (You can go on from there at-will about de-sensitizing viewers to violence.)

We have pretty severe limits on screen time - both video game and media watching for our kids. We killed our cable TV connection almost 2 years ago because you never know who or what is trying to get through to your children and how it might be received. It is a cause of concern for a lot of parents.

My son's simple 5 word review of 300 was re-assuring and it ought to make the Ayatollahs relax a bit.

"It's a really good yarn".

Isn't that EXACTLY how the ancient story of the Spartans came to US? The heroes, villains, glory and embellishments were there to be brightly colored each time by every new teller. The movie 300 is nothing more than classical story telling for a new generation.

Next, he'll be lobbying for the video game.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I love My Vinyl!

Well it's not all serious business here at The Production Room. So as another busy week comes to a close (Thanks to all who brought us their really great projects this week - Ideocore, Victoria Street, Evans Hardy and Young, Barnett Cox and Associates and Matrix Communications - we're proud to serve you!) It's time to pour a little Canadian Beer and put on a few sides.

Yup, I've never recovered from my DJ days when I spun vinyl live on the air for at least four hours a day 6 days a week. Oh yeah, those were the days. When I took the job, my boss pointed to a wall filled with vinyl LP's and said, "You can play any of these. Just remember to play a few of the new cuts and don't forget to take commercial breaks a couple of times an hour." That was the format. I was 22 years old. They gave me an FM station to play with and a paycheck too. I've been in love with music on vinyl ever since.

Well, here at the studio we've got a few LP's to play and I spent some time
tonight putting some of those great old songs on the turntable. Yes, we still have one. In fact you can pick up some premium old phono players really cheap these days.
And those of us who still have our vinyl find that those original pressings still sound surprisingly good. A hell of a lot better than mp3.

So I put on some Lovin' Spoonful, some Jackie Wilson, a bit of Geroge Harrison, Johnny Cash (on an original Sun pressing) and finished it off with Don Mclean singing, "American Pie". Mmmmm MMMM. That's good music.

The record companies sure are stuck in a rut today. Not just because they can't seem to figure out how to sell music. They can't figure out how to make people want to BUY music.

Back in the day we got free music from the record labels every week. Then the music promo reps called the radio station and begged us to play their songs. It was all free to the listener...until you wanted to own a copy, then you bought it.

Well, the internet changed that. But I'm not sure why. You might think the obvious answer is piracy and you might be right. But it seems to me that when music was free on the radio it made people want to buy it.

So maybe the music companies need to allow us to demo whateveer we want for free on line. Maybe they need to start their own on-line radio stations. Maybe they need to hire some 22 year old kids, point them to the music library and say, "You can play anything you want from here." Pretty soon now, the hottest internet sites are going to be all about live programming.

I'll bet that will be pretty interesting. And it might make me want to buy something new.

Have a good week.