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!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Adventure of a Lifetime a Lifetime of Adventure

I was pleased to visit once again with Jean Michel Cousteau in the studio today. He was a guest of the BBC and presenter Nick Haslam. Nick interviewed him for an hour about his life, his father and his work. It was fascinating. Mr. Cousteau was relaxed but ready to speak clearly and passionately. He told some marvelous stories about his life aboard Calypso as a 13 year old boy with his 10 year old brother. To have been part of his father's voyages of discovery in the 1950's and 60's and to be part of the crew was obviously transformational for Jean Michel.

This was real adventure in an age when communication from across the world was by morse code and the ship stayed at sea for many months. And no one knew what they would find out there. "As my father said, 'If I knew what I was gonna find I wouldn't go'."

I'll post the link to the BBC interview when it becomes available.

And this week, I'm heading off on my own adventure with a portable Production Room. I'm driving from Santa Barbara to Prince Edward Island, on the east coast of Canada in a 1965 GMC pickup truck. I'll be posting updates so you can follow along the way. There will be a podcast updating the trip and Ayers Automotive Repairs, the shop that does all my service and maintenance, is going to run radio commercial updates from the road.

And what will we discover along the way from the southwest to the northeast? If I knew I wouldn't go.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ten Four Eleanor! So Long Steve Gordon!

"These Suck!" doesn't really fully detail the craptiousness here...

-Eleanor Roosevelt

At the risk of hurting someone's feelings at the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, this was Steve Gordon's evaluation of radio scripts he was bidding to produce for the Chamber at the end of January. He had emailed them to me for review and asked me to bid on re-writing them for production. He was proposing a collaboration. It would have been our last but he didn't get the job. And there it all is in a nutshell.

The blunt (and correct) evaluation of the scripts - linked to the email sign-off from Mrs. Roosevelt is vintage Steve. He was absolutely honest in his evaluations but he loved to leave 'em laughing. I think he found the world to be absurd. He understood that taking the world seriously was fine as long as you realized its absurdities were seriously amusing.

Steve was a Libertarian who used to love to taunt my liberal sensibilities with editorial content from the CATO institute and Glenn Beck (before Beck went totally insane...) We had more than a few rounds on society and politics which I appreciated because I enjoy that sort of thing. Unfortunately, Steve shared commonality with a large population of gracelessly aging, despondent white males who find themselves left behind, broke and bitter, unwilling to yield their independence but unable to fight for it.

Steve ended his life as a brilliant man. As a brilliant man he ended his life as an under employed, under appreciated casualty of change. I've seen more than a few of the walking wounded come out of radio in the last 15 years...and you know who you are. The death of radio has killed or crippled more than a few of the brilliant people I love dearly. The survivors carry scars you can't see because radio is not a visual medium.

The pictures here are from what some people have told me was the best party they've ever been to. Certainly it was the best party I've ever hosted.

In January of 2007, we sent out a tarot card image of the Magician to invite our guests to an open house for creative talent, clients, marketing executives and a cross section of the community. We demonstrated the magic of our ISDN studio with a live studio link to San Francisco and Los Angeles. We played a hilarious short film Steve had worked on in the studio. We showed a rich media web site from the Beatles that showed the direction we knew our clients should embrace as the future of communications media. At the after party, we turned up the music and we DANCED!

There was live music and food and there was video on every screen. There was a close-up magician and a hand writing analyst. It a was a memorable and magical alchemy of the sacred and profane, of technology and artistry and the vibe of unlimited possibility hummed above all. I see these pictures now of Steve in his favorite position, at the console.

Sadly my old studio is gone. That desk which I built with my own hands in my dead father's workshop is gone. Steve is gone. All gone because the world changed. Gone because the only work we knew is gone. Gone because we couldn't afford to make them stay. Gone because we didn't need them any more. Gone because they could go no further in this world.

People say after they lose a limb or a physical part of themselves that they feel phantom pain as if the limb were still there. These are my limbs. These are my phantoms.

Steve lived the way he died. He made his own terms and stuck to 'em in a world that no longer cared to negotiate. He was a hostage to fortune who drew the short straw one too many times.

The Firesign Theater created an alternative reality in sound. Steve and I spent hours in their expansive theater of the mind. Put on some old Firesign and maybe you'll find Steve. Clever, ironic, brillliant, cerebral, silly and decidedley off the Interstate in an alternate Universe.

Steve's still part Nick Danger and part George Tirebiter. A tarnished star, a hapless bit player, a cool film noir detective down on his luck. Just listen. Somewhere between Heater and Hellmouth, Spud Coolzip is cruising to Three Finger Mickey's in search of the answers.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

How To Make Money With Online Media

Check out the little widget below from feedburner...

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By clicking on this widget you can select a 5 Minute Media Manager podcast to hear. You could also use it to add The 5 Minute Media Manager to your blog or other online content.

The 5 Minute Media Manager series is designed to be short, useful and targeted to business people, professionals and accomplished individuals who want to profit from using their social networks, blogs and websites.

Podcast 012 - Profit from Promotion - will tell you how I've been using my online presence to build business and make money. Is that worth 5 minutes of your time?

You can design and program a blog page that delivers your message through your media.
To find out more, contact The Production Room.