What a simple, amazing idea.
If you want to be part of this movement, click here

Jeff, you rock buddy. Proud of you guys.



Visualisation of Activity in Afghanistan using the Wikileaks data from Mike Dewar on Vimeo.

Found this information map video about the war in Afghanistan this morning (on the NYT Technology page). Created by a group students and programmers from Columbia Engineering, New York University and Princeton, it shows activity in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2009 and maps the “logged events” recorded in the military documents that appeared on Wikileaks in the past month (July 2010).

As the Times noted, it is missing many references to seminal events and does not include more highly classified information, but the visualization shows surges of activity over this five-year period, growing drastically as the war progresses.

Watching it, the first thing that came to my mind was that it shares an astounding similarity to those medical slides that show how a cancer grows in the human body over a period of time.

Call me hippie or whatever - we all heard that wars are bad, wars are like a disease, wars destroy countries, etc - but when you start putting it this way, stepping away from the dirty combats, sorrow and deaths, when you start visualizing it from a higher perspective, there's no way around it. That's just what wars look like.

The programmers describe the map as follows:

"The intensity of the heatmap represents the number of events logged. The color range is from 0 to 60+ events over a one-month window. We cap the color range at 60 events so that low intensity activity involving just a handful of events can be seen — in lots of cases there are many more than 60 events in one particular region. The heatmap is constructed for every day in the period from 2004-2009, and the movie runs at 10 days per second. The orange lines represent the major roads in Afghanistan, and the black outlines are the individual administrative regions."



Using some big ships and a simple mirror effect, this belgium artist named Bernard Gigounon created an incredible array of spaceships and a unique video piece.

So simple, so nice. It reminds me of the ingenuity of some of the early Star Wars special effects.

You can see more of his work here (the cranes with hanging "Aaaa's" is genius).

Starship by Bernard Gigounon from bernard gigounon on Vimeo.



Angry comment transformed into a news clip transformed into music video transformed into radio hit transformed into a marching band jam.

What else can I say?



Here's K-Swiss short film with the Kenny Powers endorsement, followed by one of the campaign ads. It has been getting media exposure everywhere, including the Huffington Post.

By the way, Kenny Powers's website is pure entertainment. Check it out if you have a minute or so.



Created and distributed on Youtube prior to the movie launch, these are fake vintage ads created by Pixar for one of the main characters of the animated blockbuster movie. A smart blend between fantasy and reality, as if those characters really existed as toys back in the day.

But in my opinion, what's even cooler is the fact that they don't mention the film at all, letting people make the connection and, with that, making these videos a hit on social media sites.

A great way to promote, non-traditionally, a feature film and the merchandise that comes after it.

Here's the "american" ad:

And the "japanese" version of the ad:



If you didn't watch Inception yet, go watch it.


Then, after you watch it, please come back for this post.


Now, if you've already seen it, just like me and everybody else, you probably have a bunch of theories in your head about the story plot, dreams and what the fuck those two and a half hours were all about.

As of yesterday, my creative partner Noah Phillips sent me this article about the film (couldn't find its origins, sorry), which confirmed a lot of my theories about it, but also gave another level to the story. A pretty incredible one.

The kind of intelligence that places Christopher Nolan side by side with the likes of Kubrick, Fellini, Tarantino and other storytelling geniuses of cinema history.

So grab a coffee, read below and take your conclusions.

Here you go...

"Every single moment of Inception is a dream. I think that in a couple of years this will become the accepted reading of the film, and differing interpretations will have to be skillfully argued to be even remotely considered. The film makes this clear, and it never holds back the truth from audiences. Some find this idea to be narratively repugnant, since they think that a movie where everything is a dream is a movie without stakes, a movie where the audience is wasting their time.

Except that this is exactly what Nolan is arguing against. The film is a metaphor for the way that Nolan as a director works, and what he's ultimately saying is that the catharsis found in a dream is as real as the catharsis found in a movie is as real as the catharsis found in life. Inception is about making movies, and cinema is the shared dream that truly interests the director.

I believe that Inception is a dream to the point where even the dream-sharing stuff is a dream. Dom Cobb isn't an extractor. He can't go into other people's dreams. He isn't on the run from the Cobol Corporation. At one point he tells himself this, through the voice of Mal, who is a projection of his own subconscious. She asks him how real he thinks his world is, where he's being chased across the globe by faceless corporate goons. 

She asks him that in a scene that we all know is a dream, but Inception lets us in on this elsewhere. Michael Caine's character implores Cobb to return to reality, to wake up. During the chase in Mombasa, Cobb tries to escape down an alleyway, and the two buildings between which he's running begin closing in on him - a classic anxiety dream moment. When he finally pulls himself free he finds Ken Watanabe's character waiting for him, against all logic. Except dream logic. 

Much is made in the film about totems, items unique to dreamers that can be used to tell when someone is actually awake or asleep. Cobb's totem is a top, which spins endlessly when he's asleep, and the fact that the top stops spinning at many points in the film is claimed by some to be evidence that Cobb is awake during those scenes. The problem here is that the top wasn't always Cobb's totem - he got it from his wife, who killed herself because she believed that they were still living in a dream. There's more than a slim chance that she's right - note that when Cobb remembers her suicide she is, bizarrely, sitting on a ledge opposite the room they rented. You could do the logical gymnastics required to claim that Mal simply rented another room across the alleyway, but the more realistic notion here is that it's a dream, with the gap between the two lovers being a metaphorical one made literal. When Mal jumps she leaves behind the top, and if she was right about the world being a dream, the fact that it spins or doesn't spin is meaningless. It's a dream construct anyway. There's no way to use the top as a proof of reality.

Watching the film with this eye you can see the dream logic unfolding. As is said in the movie, dreams seem real in the moment and it's only when you've woken up that things seem strange. The film's 'reality' sequences are filled with moments that, on retrospect, seem strange or unlikely or unexplained. Even the basics of the dream sharing technology is unbelievably vague, and I don't think that's just because Nolan wants to keep things streamlined. It's because Cobb's unconscious mind is filling it in as he goes along.

There's more, but I would have to watch the film again with a notebook to get all the evidence (all of it in plain sight). The end seems without a doubt to be a dream - from the dreamy way the film is shot and edited once Cobb wakes up on the plane all the way through to him coming home to find his two kids in the exact position and in the exact same clothes that he kept remembering them, it doesn't matter if the top falls, Cobb is dreaming.

That Cobb is dreaming and still finds his catharsis (that he can now look at the face of his kids) is the point. It's important to realize that Inception is a not very thinly-veiled autobiographical look at how Nolan works. In a recent red carpet interview, Leonardo DiCaprio - who was important in helping Nolan get the script to the final stages - compares the movie not to The Matrix or some other mindfuck movie but Fellini's 8 1/2. This is probably the second most telling thing DiCaprio said during the publicity tour for the film, with the first being that he based Cobb on Nolan. 8 1/2 is totally autobiographical for Fellini, and it's all about an Italian director trying to overcome his block and make a movie (a science fiction movie, even). It's a film about filmmaking, and so is Inception.

The heist team quite neatly maps to major players in a film production. Cobb is the director while Arthur, the guy who does the research and who sets up the places to sleep, is the producer. Ariadne, the dream architect, is the screenwriter - she creates the world that will be entered. Eames is the actor (this is so obvious that the character sits at an old fashioned mirrored vanity, the type which stage actors would use). Yusuf is the technical guy; remember, the Oscar come from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and it requires a good number of technically minded people to get a movie off the ground. Nolan himself more or less explains this in the latest issue of Film Comment, saying 'There are a lot of striking similarities [between what the team does and the putting on of a major Hollywood movie]. When for instance the team is out on the street they've created, surveying it, that's really identical with what we do on tech scouts before we shoot.'

That leaves two key figures. Saito is the money guy, the big corporate suit who fancies himself a part of the game. And Fischer, the mark, is the audience. Cobb, as a director, takes Fischer through an engaging, stimulating and exciting journey, one that leads him to an understanding about himself. Cobb is the big time movie director (or rather the best version of that - certainly not a Michael Bay) who brings the action, who brings the spectacle, but who also brings the meaning and the humanity and the emotion.

The movies-as-dreams aspect is part of why Inception keeps the dreams so grounded. In the film it's explained that playing with the dream too much alerts the dreamer to the falseness around him; this is just another version of the suspension of disbelief upon which all films hinge. As soon as the audience is pulled out of the movie by some element - an implausible scene, a ludicrous line, a poor performance - it's possible that the cinematic dream spell is broken completely, and they're lost.

As a great director, Cobb is also a great artist, which means that even when he's creating a dream about snowmobile chases, he's bringing something of himself into it. That's Mal. It's the auterist impulse, the need to bring your own interests, obsessions and issues into a movie. It's what the best directors do. It's very telling that Nolan sees this as kind of a problem; I suspect another filmmaker might have cast Mal as the special element that makes Cobb so successful.

Inception is such a big deal because it's what great movies strive to do. You walk out of a great film changed, with new ideas planted in your head, with your neural networks subtly rewired by what you've just seen. On a meta level Inception itself does this, with audiences leaving the theater buzzing about the way it made them feel and perceive. New ideas, new thoughts, new points of view are more lasting a souvenir of a great movie than a ticket stub.

It's possible to view Fischer, the mark, as not the audience but just as the character that is being put through the movie that is the dream. To be honest, I haven't quite solidified my thought on Fischer's place in the allegorical web, but what's important is that the breakthrough that Fischer has in the ski fortress is real. Despite the fact that his father is not there, despite the fact that the pinwheel was never by his father's bedside, the emotions that Fischer experiences are 100 percent genuine. It doesn't matter that the movie you're watching isn't a real story, that it's just highly paid people putting on a show - when a movie moves you, it truly moves you. The tears you cry during Up are totally real, even if absolutely nothing that you see on screen has ever existed in the physical world.

For Cobb there's a deeper meaning to it all. While Cobb doesn't have daddy issues (that we know of), he, like Fischer, is dealing with a loss. He's trying to come to grips with the death of his wife*; Fischer's journey reflects Cobb's while not being a complete point for point reflection. That's important for Nolan, who is making films that have personal components - that talk about things that obviously interest or concern him - but that aren't actually about him. Other filmmakers (Fellini) may make movies that are thinly veiled autobiography, but that's not what Nolan or Cobb are doing. The movies (or dreams) they're putting together reflect what they're going through but aren't easily mapped on to them. Talking to Film Comment, Nolan says he has never been to psychoanalysis. 'I think I use filmmaking for that purpose. I have a passionate relationship to what I do.'

In a lot of ways Inception is a bookend to last summer's Inglorious Basterds. In that film Quentin Tarantino celebrated the ways that cinema could change the world, while in Inception Nolan is examining the ways that cinema, the ultimate shared dream, can change an individual. The entire film is a dream, within the confines of the movie itself, but in a more meta sense it's Nolan's dream. He's dreaming Cobb, and finding his own moments of revelation and resolution, just as Cobb is dreaming Fischer and finding his own catharsis and change.

The whole film being a dream isn't a cop out or a waste of time, but an ultimate expression of the film's themes and meaning. It's all fake. But it's all very, very real. And that's something every single movie lover understands implicitly and completely.

* it's really worth noting that if you accept that the whole movie is a dream that Mal may not be dead. She could have just left Cobb. The mourning that he is experiencing deep inside his mind is no less real if she's alive or dead - he has still lost her."



There's no better fuel for a creative mind than an a challenge. In this case, the challenge was to get barreled in a basketball court.

The result is something so surreal, so beautiful, that it feels like it belongs to Dali's mind.

If Dali was a surfer.



Flipboard is an iPad app that builds you a personal newspaper by grabbing content from your social networks. All of it still retaining the familiar movement of flipping through pages.

Such a simple, brilliant and relevant idea.

You can read more about it here.


YOU... YOU...



Damn, what a great idea for a car ad placement.
Congrats to Impact BBDO and all involved.



Watch this then.



Posted this a while ago on Twitter, and watched it again today by chance. Great animation piece by Skyler Page with Dan Deacon's soundtrack (fuck, I love this guy's music and performances).

Sent my way by my dear friend Mauricio Mazzariol.



Here's a transcript of a great article written by Phil Johnson, CEO of PJA Advertising & Marketing, on the AdAge. You can follow Phil on Twitter: @philjohnson.

Anyway... Enjoy.

"Looking back over my agency career, I find it frightening that in the early days of PJA Advertising, I was the creative director. Tell that to our current staff, and they would stare at you with disbelief and probably break out laughing. But there was a time when I wrote copy, pitched ideas to clients, built the creative organization and approved all the work that went out the door. This was not always a good thing. Like anybody, I was limited by my own particular tastes, style and judgment. It became increasingly clear that hiring a creative director was what we needed to expand our range.
Since then you might say I've been on a quest to define the ideal role of a creative director, and to build an organization that stays open to creative possibilities. No surprise that my thinking has changed and evolved with the growth of the agency.

I've come to the conclusion that the job of creative director is bigger and more important than any one task. Rather than the person with the best ideas, or the person who is the best judge of good work, or the person who can best manage the creative process, a creative director needs to shape the creative brain of the entire agency and build a creative conscience. His influence extends well beyond the creative department. This conviction has made me question many of the traditional expectations for a creative leader.

For example, when we were smaller, I thought it was essential that a creative director produce the most high-profile work. It went with our player-coach model, where managers were expected to be hands on. Plus, we couldn't afford a creative director who wasn't producing billable work. I still think that's a good thing, up to a point. However, when you get to a certain size, a creative director becomes most valuable when he sees the importance of creating the conditions for other people to do great work. That's a tough transition to make.

It's only natural that the best creative directors will become stars. When that happens, you run the risk of building the agency around the cult of one creative personality. I've got nothing against superstars, but what's even better is to find a creative director with the talent to develop an entire team of them.

At other times I've valued a creative director who can oversee all the agency work and be the arbiter of what's good and what makes the final cut. This introduces another dilemma. As the single voice of authority, the creative director becomes a creative dictator. No matter how talented they may be, when all the work goes through one creative filter, interesting voices and ideas will be lost. This dramatically narrows an agency's creative range, and ultimately produces a singular tone and style, which is the fastest path for an agency to go from being regarded as innovative to being stereotyped.

Of course, someone has got to make decisions. There are misguided concepts and bad ideas that need to be killed. Rather than be a one-sheriff town, the creative director should spread this responsibility among a group of trusted people. When you've got a lot of talent in one agency, there is seldom a single best idea. Instead there are a lot of good ideas that just happen to be different. That's a good thing, and one of the benefits that clients get from working with an agency. A creative director needs to keep that diversity of ideas alive.

I've gone through stages where I thought the most important role for a creative director is to be a skilled manager. When you've got growing accounts and you're struggling to manage work across multiple offices and geographies, you're desperate for a creative leader who can protect the quality of the work and make the trains run on time. Those are important skills, and at key moments, they can save an agency from crashing and burning, but they won't lead an agency to greatness.

In my evolving view, a creative director's most valuable contributions take place outside of the day-to-day agency operations.

He needs to cultivate an active debate about what makes for good work, so that diverse ideas thrive and many people have the power to choose the best direction to pursue.

She needs to shape the environment that attracts creative people, and that makes the rest of us more creative than we thought possible.

He needs to find ways to model the creative process throughout the organization, so that people know what it looks like when they see it.

As hard as it may be, she needs to make people believe that she can do the impossible and create experiences that have never been done before. That's when the door opens for creative breakthroughs.

The job doesn't come with operating instructions. I'm lucky that I work with a couple of creative directors who have the gifts to operate at this level. It takes a lot of guts, because when they succeed, they ignite a creative force bigger then themselves. That's a daring move for someone whose career rides on a creative reputation. For my money, if you can unleash the creativity around you, that's the top of the game."





...When you have more than 16 million views on your Youtube, and a dozen parodies of your film.

Like any successful football team, there were innumerous stories and gossips about the director dropping out, endless weeks of shooting, post production companies shutting down its doors to only work on this project, etc. But along with Spain, Nike's Write The Future campaign can be considered one of the winners of SA World Cup.

As much as I love innovation, this TV campaign proves that film (or any other format of traditional communication), when well done, will never get old.



A lot has been said (and will be said) about the iPad. Positive reviews, bad reviews. Lovers, haters.

But one thing can't be denied: like it or don't, the way stories are told will change forever. As a book, as a film or as a game, the possibilities are endless (gosh, this sounds like some lame marketing lingo). My point is: for creative minds, the iPad is like a H-Bomb dropped on top of the 4th wall.

Here's an example of a production company giving its directors all the freedom to run free in this space.

You can read the full FastCompany article here.



Other than laughing babies, chocolate rain and some other random awesomeness, there's a lot of good creative learning to be had watching Youtube.

I know, it sounds obvious, but I know very few people who actually go to it with that in mind.

Anyway, here are two videos with the legendary designer Paula Scher I have saved on my Youtube channel. Worth every second of it.



As I left my hotel this morning on my way to 18 more hours of post work, I stumbled across a small gallery featuring the work of Jeremy Wood, an UK artist who creates art out a GPS unit attached to his body.

First I noticed were the images, a mix of child drawings and Pollock (one can argue that there's no difference between both), only to be greeted with this long explanation, on a 8.5x11 paper, about what all those pencil-lik drawings were all about.

Anyway, basically, this guy makes drawings and maps of his movements by recording all his daily journeys with a GPS creating a personal cartography. He did, for instance, the biggest pentagram in the world, choosing different destinations in the planet and flying to them, creating a path on his GPS. Or an elephant in Brighton. Or some abstract looking art playing with the lawnmower on his backyard.

Pretty fucking cool if you ask me.