“Life After Pi” is a short documentary about Rhythm & Hues Studios, the L.A. based Visual Effects company that won an Academy Award for its groundbreaking work on “Life of Pi”– just two weeks after declaring bankruptcy. The film explores rapidly changing forces impacting the global VFX community, and the Film Industry as a whole.
This is only the first chapter of an upcoming feature-length documentary “Hollywood Ending,” that delves into the larger, complex challenges facing the US Film Industry and the many professionals working within it, whose fates and livelihood are intertwined.
In Western cultures, we tend to over-emphasize how much we know and so feel that not knowing is unacceptable. So when we really just "don't know", we put ourselves in something of a conundrum. Our fear of admitting that we don't know leads us to try to save face. So we conjure up some sort of appearance of knowing so we can feel we're in control and hope to fool others into believing that our veneer of competence is intact.
In contrast, many Eastern cultures view not knowing as a self-supporting, personal-developmental practice that can improve how effectively we experience life. Approaching a situation or problem with a sense of "not knowing" can be a catalyst for creativity and insight. The darkness of the unknown supports us to access our inner strength and inner wisdom. And asking positive (not-fear-based) questions can help us to overcome our uncertainty and feelings of inadequacy.
Creative people thrive on serendipity, spontaneous interactions, moments of ribald humor, intense debate or just simple eye contact, and I felt as if I was losing myself. I decided that it was time to act. So I tried an experiment. I just stopped saying yes and started saying no to things.
Actually, there was a bit more method to my madness. I started a ritual that I still use today: I sit down and look at my calendar every Sunday night, pore through my coming week’s meetings and cancel a bunch of them — redundant ones where I don’t need to be “in the loop,” ones where there is an opportunity for someone else to make a decision, ones that don’t particularly inspire me, or ones where I can’t really add value. My overarching goal right now, wherever possible, is to give myself more time to simply be.
I have a similar ritual on Sundays as I prepare for the week and I make as many decisions as I possibly can for the week on Sunday so I don't have to think of the day-to-day and can focus my attention on relevant details. And speaking of details, don't miss an early TED Talk by Bennett on the small details.
The app, simply called “Ken Burns,” allows the user to surf an overarching timeline year by year, seeing how clips from each film line up chronologically with – and, as Burns says, “speak to” – each other. Zoom in on 1869, for example, and a cloud of clips from The Civil War, The West, and The National Parks orbit in parallax formation around one another; swipe to 1930, and it’s clips from Jazz, Prohibition, Baseball, Huey Long, Thomas Hart Benton and The Dust Bowl. You can also watch its six playlists straight through – they range in length from 20 minutes to an hour long – or select individual clips à la carte.
The concept came out of a conversation Burns was having two years ago with MacKinnon, who is the music entrepreneur behind Hear Music and has known Burns since they worked together on music components for 2001′s Jazz.
“Ken and I were talking about how his films were in the search engines of iTunes and Netflix, and they’re always the top-rated thing when they run on PBS, but there wasn’t a digital place where all of his films were presented as one thing, as an integrated body of work,” says MacKinnon. “Then he paused for a second, and looked at me and said, ‘I really love my iPad.’”
Download the app but only if you are prepared to lose your day to it.