Monday, May 24, 2010

This Makes Me Happy

As you may know, the amazing animated series "Futurama" is returning with new episodes on Comedy Central later this year, and they've been teasing the return with glimpses of the upcoming season. Here's one that turned up on the Comedy Central website:

Do I see a visual homage to one of 2009's biggest sci-fi hits?

I believe I do, and it makes me grin.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hell Has Frozen Over

After years of relentless begging and pleading from people who know what they're talking about, the visual effects branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has finally, finally approved the expansion of the number of nominees for the Academy Awards from three to five films.

With the overall quality of feature film visual effects achieving new heights over the past 20 years, this decision, while awesome, comes much too late. Far too many films that deserved visual effects nominations were left nomination-less because of the branch's bizarre devotion for three nomination slots.

The visual effects branch's decision needs to be approved by the Rules Committee and Board of Governors. Hopefully, this will mean that the 83rd Academy Awards will feature five nominees for Best Visual Effects. Finally.

It is unknown, at this time, what this will mean to the two-step procedure of determining the 'bake-off' roster, or to the 'bake-off' itself.

And what will this mean to The VFX Predictinator, our totally awesome formula that accurately predicted the visual effects Oscar winner across 21 years? It will require a serious overhaul, since many of the formulas are dependent on the assumption of three nominees. More likely than not, we'll have to come up with an all-new formula.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How Companies View Their Customers

Want to be a jerk like this guy? If so, then Microsoft wants you as a customer.

Commercials are not simply conduits for product sales, they are a window into how the advertiser looks upon its customers. They reveal how companies really think about their consumers and how they will ultimately use their products. To illustrate the sometimes wildly different perspectives on advertisers' potential customers, let's analyze a few mobile phone commercials and see what they reveal about the company's attitudes toward the masses.

First up, a typical Apple iPhone commercial:

Apple iPhone, "Backpacker"

How Apple regards its potential customers: customers can use our product to easily find hotels, share your photos with your family, and help you learn a new language.

Next up, a Verizon commercial, trumpeting its 3G coverage:

Verizon "Big Red"

A fractured transcript:
• Browse the web much better (Verizon customer is supposedly posing for a sculpture, but is tapping away on her cell phone, the artist ultimately gets frustrated with her lack of focus, and she doesn't even notice when the sculpture is finished)
Update Facebook pages better (kids on a camping trip are ignoring their father telling a scary story while playing with a phone)
Ditch your boring job much better (a bellboy ignores his customers because he's having so much fun tapping on his phone)
You'll watch YouTube on a horse... (um, yeah, that one is self-explanatory)
• Download stupid stuff much better

How Verizon regards its potential customers: Verizon customers can waste time, ignore their job, tune out from the normal world, be brats on camping trips, and, well, we'll just spell it out for them, "download stupid stuff" with our product.

Microsoft essentially says the same thing in this next ad.

Microsoft, "Meetings are Better with a Windows Phone"

Microsoft: "Want to be a douchebag, jerk-employee who wastes time in conferences on Facebook, and then tries to cover it up with an Excel spreadsheet? You should buy a Microsoft phone!"

Monday, May 10, 2010

If You Can't Make It Good, Make It 3D

Yep, this pretty much sums it up from my perspective.

"If you can't make it good, make it 3D."

Thursday, May 06, 2010

This is the Sports Report! (updated)

Since, apparently, I have nothing better to do, here is an update to my "Sports Report!" compilation, featuring Stephen Colbert on "The Colbert Report" riffing air guitar (and, at times, an air orchestra) on his show. This video features all of Colbert's air-performances up to March 16, 2010.

The original (which featured clips up until 7/20/09 is here.)