Saturday, December 15, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Shitty Youth

Shitty Youth is a 36 minute long non-fiction film I worked on over the past two years and released around one week ago.

dis magazine (interview)
thought catalog (personal endorsement)
write-up (documentary tumblr)
vice (interview)
Stephen Dierks (review)
htmlgiant: 123
cuttyspot (interview)
beach sloth (review)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rag & Bone Fashion Show (short film)

I'm happy to have been part of another Rag & Bone Fashion Show. This season's video is probably my best yet. The original music was composed by Thom Yorke from Radiohead.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The First Screening of Shitty Youth

My second film, tentatively (and problematically, from a marketing perspective) titled Shitty Youth was screened in Oslo, Norway at Cappelens Forslag, which wikipedia informs me is Norway's oldest publishing house. The screening was organized by Kenneth Pettersen and coincided with the release of two new titles from "America's Funniest Home Videos," a small chapbook publisher. Pictures of the event can be viewed at Smug. Cool!

The film follows a young novelist named Zachary German (wikipedia) also has a facebook page.

Estée Lauder Fashion Week Project

I created two videos for Estée Lauder during New York Fashion Week.

Steve Nelson created the music for both videos. Integral to both production and post were Andres Cardona and Chih Hsuan Liang.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Do You Log In Here Often? trailer release + Erik Stinson Personal Essay

Erik Stinson came to my attention in 2008 or 2009. At the time he was living in Oakland and going to Miami Advertising School, which was in San Francisco. He was also self publishing a book of poetry on lulu (I am Glad You Are Grappling With My Life Choices), and creating a featur-ette film shot entirely on VHS starring his friends in Oakland (Sorry I Like to Party).  He appeared to be making these things just for the fun of it rather than out of some pressing emotional compulsion or deep ambition for personal glory and fame. In more lighthearted moods, I consider this approach healthy, modest and even somewhat enlightened.

Erik is now working full time as a copywriter in a Manhattan advertising agency. He is in a stable relationship. He has self published five books of poetry and stories, completed a second feature film with his friends in Oakland (MLK Jr. Way), and aside from editing Sense Europa (a pdf literary mag masquerading as "The Only European Men's Magazine Published In New York City") contributes semi-regularly to dis magazine and htmlgiant. I have had the pleasure of directing 3 book trailers for Erik over the last two years. 

I think of these trailers less as promotional vehicles for a physical thing (the book) than strange and immediate encounters with a unique personality. Below you can view the trailers in chronological order. I will rewatch them and type my commentary beneath each.

The Stinson Effect
released: 12/04/10
Book it promotes: And Then I Disappeared Again

This trailer earned Erik a nomination for "Worst Performance by an Author" at Melville House's 2011 Moby awards. We went to the ceremony and were disappointed when they didn't screen the trailer. Jonathan Franzen won the award and was not present to accept. This is the first thing I ever made that truly mesmerized me, that I was totally enamored with. I remember watching it over and over and over and laughing hysterically and my wife getting annoyed. I think the video gives off a very strange and unique vibe. The audio is mixed poorly, as I was a less experienced filmmaker at the time, but some of Erik's lines are pretty great. "This Sunset is Locked." "It's like a cool pool you can dip into." Is this guy for real? I like that it feels awkward and earnest and goofy at the same time. Someone got us on the front page of dailymotion, I recall. I uploaded it to Funny or Die where it currently has 58 views and a rating of 60% funny. The color is pretty bad. The animation is a stock aftereffects thing layed over a sunset ripped from youtube. I think the shot where he slowly lifts the water is great. We made the music by dicking around with garageband for 45 minutes later that evening. The whole thing took less than 5 hours.

Midtown Skin / It's Morning In America 
released: 03/19/12
Book it promotes: Our New York Office

I have always been interested in trying to do something better and more unique with video embeds and I thought Mitch Trale, who I had become aware of through the internet, could help facilitate that. I wanted to have the player be like an extension of the video, which itself is an extension of Erik's web presence and art. We started with 90's luxury electronics and a DVD of cheesy money related graphics I purchased from an obscure video production website. I think the player looks really sweet. As for Erik: he seems pretty grim, here. This is when he was first working in the agency. He was single. I think he wanted to set himself up as a kind of dark sage of commerce… communicating to the disheveled and messed up creative people who knew him through the internet from a position of power, from 'inside the machine' or whatever. Erik free-styled the whole bit about the manhattan skyline and being dragged out to sea. He's amazing at doing this - totally comfortable on camera. Someone later asked me for the audio of Erik talking and I think it ended up on a radio show in Britain.

I think I'm In Love
released: 12/06/12
Book it promotes: Do You Login Here Often?

Someone who didn't know Erik had communicated to me, concerning the previous trailer, that they 'hated' him, and would 'never want to read his book' after watching the trailer; so this time I tried to be more upbeat and focus on Erik being in love, which he was / is. The inspiration was the Sinead O'Connor music video for "Nothing Compares to You." We worked with Mitch again on the player. The concept for this player was "PC Hell" but we couldn't find a good gif of a revolving internet explorer logo. I think this player also looks really sweet. I love how you click on the money sign and it moves when the video starts to play, then you click on it again and the players stops, the money sign moves back to the middle, and the flames return to the bottom of the screen. This trailer has the least 'poetic' voiceover parts - all of the audio was taken from me asking Erik basic questions. He talks briefly about his philosophy and goals with regards to publishing on the internet. He talks about who he sees himself writing for. In this trailer I see Erik sort of coming into his own, growing up a little - he seems happier and more comfortable and more open.

Talent: Erik Stinson
Player + Coding: Mitch Trale
Producer / Director / Editor: Adam Humphreys
Camera: Andrés Cardona *
Production Assistant: David Fishkind

*for "It's Morning in America" and "Do You Login Here Often"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A New Reel for May 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Film Press + Screenings

Shitty Youth, 2012 (36 minutes)

selected press //

vice (interview)
Stephen Dierks (review)
htmlgiant: 1, 2, 3
cuttyspot (interview)
beach sloth (review)

screenings //

09/27/12 Cappelens Forslag, Oslo, Norway

Franz Otto Ultimate Highballer, 2010 (53 minutes)

Selected Press //

04/25/11 street boners
04/25/11 nobudge
12/04/10 vice
11/30/10 hearty magazine
11/17/10 cbc bc almanac (radio)
11/09/10 bearded

Screenings + Photos //

12/11/10 PPOW Gallery, New York City
11/18/10 Cineworks, Vancover
11/13/10 Celia Jimenez's Apt, Toronto
11/09/20 The Red Gate, Vancouver
11/06/10 Caro Smith's, Victoria
11/04/10 Uvic Cinecenta, Victoria
10/28/10 Dan Poulin's, Montreal
10/22/10 KAFF, New York City
08/14/10 Bushwick Backyard, New York City

Monday, March 19, 2012

Erik Stinson: Midtown Skin.. "It's morning in America"

Introducing a book trailer for Erik Stinson's brand new collection of essays, "Our New York Office" available tomorrow, Tuesday March 20th.

The book condenses Erik's recent findings on contemporary corporate culture, sex and power. Foremost among them is the series "Midtown Skin," which has run on HTMLgiant throughout the winter.

The video was shot at Chelsea Piers, and in a private office near Canal Street, in the late evening one Saturday. The driving range was cold and snow could be seen far out over the Hudson river. The writer David Fishkind was present, remarking that he had never felt so completely hopeless and lost.

This premium digital book is available only via personal email to Cave Agency Consulting.

Video: Adam Humphreys (me)
Player: Mitch Trale

Friday, March 9, 2012

Depth Camera LED Wall Video + Press Release

Coverage: Dazed Digital

Stills from RGB-D tumblr.

These visuals served as an introduction and backdrop for the Rag & Bone FW12 fashion show. They were created using a hacked depth sensor married to 4K video with the help of James George, Alexander Porter and Jonathan Minard. The process, which they pioneered and have used to shoot interviews, experiments, and document art events, creates a 3d rendering of the video and allows for the navigation of virtual space in post production.

Most of the footage was captured inside Pier 57, a massive former navel building in an advanced state of industrial decay which served as the show's venue.

The noise from the depth sensor results in the jittery oscillation of surfaces. Fixed objects shudder and vibrate as we move over and through them. Colored dots appear to dance. The overall impression is simultaneously high concept and dirty, futuristic and raw, a perfect complement to the space, the music, and Rag and Bone's trademark balance of refinement and edge.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Goldfarb and Goldfarb

parody by Jimmy Chen:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lucky Dragon Ends

This post was also posted at Thought Catalog.

Lucky Dragon Mobile Visa Consultant was a business operated out of a Van in front to the Chinese Consulate between Oct. 17th 2011 and Jan. 17th 2012. The business was set up to assist people who were having trouble with Chinese VISA forms.

In June 2011 Chinese authorities instituted a policy whereby they would only accept special New York 2011 version VISA forms. Due to unclear web design and a large variety of different VISA application forms floating around the internet, many people were coming down to the consulate with the wrong form. To make it even more difficult, the Chinese consulate required that the forms be typed ie. not filled out by hand. This would require a computer with adobe reader and a printer.

The consulate is located in a very remote location in Manhattan, far from public transportation lines. The nearest internet cafe, where people could remedy their problem, is a 15 minute walk from the consulate inside a Burger King restaurant near Times Square.

I came across the idea for the business because I too had the wrong form. I was turned around by the security guard and sent to the Burger King, where I found every computer was being used to fill out these forms.

I was assisted in filling out the form by a calm, friendly, but very shabby looking middle aged black man, and one really sketchy seeming woman (scraggly hair, short, heavy, a manic look about her). When I returned to the consulate I asked the security guard a series of questions to test his receptiveness to my idea. The security guard ("King", the other one was "Paco") said they were turning away nearly one hundred people per day. The next day I returned in a rented Penske Moving Van, running a printer off of an AC adaptor that was plugged into the Van's cigarette lighter.

The first day in full operation we were completely overwhelmed by demand.

At the end of the day, the black man from the Burger King came down and applauded us. He introduced himself as "Mike" (we later learned to call him "John"), a veteran of the first gulf war. He said we had taken away his entire income, as well as that of his staff (who he referred to as his "girls").

For the next seven weeks we established Lucky Dragon as a profitable enterprise, meanwhile battling a constant barrage of slander and harassment from Mike's main "girl", Jill, who was our full time antagonist. We created uniforms, improved the comfort of the experience, printed promotional materials, got credit card readers, hired employees who could speak Chinese, and generally worked to minimize costs and save money.

Video: Lucky Dragon in "full swing"
Without doing anything to promote ourselves to journalists we received mainstream press attention. Most notably we were featured on NPR's "Planet Money" on January 4th (link), which resulted in auxiliary coverage on several economically oriented blogs and one condescending think tank. I also appeared on live national television in Canada on a segment called "Connect with Mark Kelley" (which I feel went very poorly).

Recently we were in the Financial Times Deutschland (link), singtao (link), and a whole host of other global venues. At the time of our dissolution, we were talking with a journalist from CBS... and I'm disappointed we didn't get to do that.

What happened? Why is it over?

We became aware of changes internal in the consulate last tuesday. Changes that had come from higher up. The security guards told us that we would have to stay off of the sidewalk in front of the entrance, which they had never worried about before. They were now accepting out of state forms, also, they said. This development effectively killed 30% of our market.

I bought chocolates for the person in charge at the consulate and requested a meeting, which was not granted to me. Instead I met with a cute young VISA officer who smiled sheepishly at me when I told her who I was, and showed her my (by now iconic at the consulate) red hat.

She told me that she thought we were smart, and that she was glad we could help the people we did, and provide the service we did; that things were complicated, that they weren't trying to make it hard on people, that they were just bowing to orders from higher up in the government. I asked if they were planning to make any changes in the future and she said she could not tell me. We went home with a significantly reduced total income that day.

The next day we were informed they would accept all forms - as well as those that were handwritten. This killed another 50% of our market, leaving us without enough income on a day to day basis to continue showing up. We returned the van that night.

Miles Ross informed me of this tweet, later that day, which pointed to an executive order from the white house asking to speed tourist Visas to Brazil and China.

So was it pressure from the US Government? Did they learn about our story and decide that enough was enough? Or, perhaps, was our press attention in China and here reflecting poorly on the higher ups in the consulate? One must suspect it was a confluence of both of these factors, as well as other things we're probably not even aware of. Regardless, it is with great pride and affection that I say adieu to Lucky Dragon. It was an absolute pleasure to have stake in the running of the business - and to meet and get to know thousands of people in intimate sociological detail.

Lucky Dragon - A force for change in the world. LD4EAE

Adam Humphreys
Steve Nelson
Elys Muda
Janna Liang
Zachary German
Aung Aung
Mandy (last name idk)
Libbie Cohn
Monika Wyndham + Lauren Bucquet (design)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lucky Dragon Van Press

These are for displaying inside the van.