Monday, December 14, 2009

So wonderful they named it twice...

Well this one is a little overdue, but I have been up to my ears all during the Fall...and here we are knee deep in the Yule.

Another experiment with shooting on the run...still needing to solve some audio problems. It can't be long before something approaching pro audio gets fitted to something light and rugged enough for my purposes. Next up: I've got an ultra-light Manfrotto I plan to use for shooting some running events.

And about New York: the spectators just made this marathon. California marathons are prettier and (yes) more spectacular, but for sheer energy you cannot beat the New York crowds. Even someone who's relatively slow like me (I run a 12 minute mile) has plenty of spectators cheering in the last 5-6 miles.

The choice of song was really easy....

New York Marathon 2009 from John Flynn on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


A couple of weeks ago I these two words occurred to me while I was tooling around in my "production vehicle," the beloved Dodge Caravan formerly known as "The Tuna Boat." Lucky for me, I live next door to a design genius (Karim Sahli or logicalnot) and he was able to execute it for me.
He's also a BSG fan and had in fact bought their auction catalogue.

I tinkered with his design to get it to fit the template of, and a couple of days later, the Caravan was rechristened the Minivan Galactica. Spin up the FTL!

Separated at birth?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Downloading YouTube: Video Mashups are Here!

I haven't had a chance to mess with this yet myself, but by friend Catheryn recently sent me the link to a site that DL's videos from YouTube. You can then use them for your own mashups...

Very handy...and a reminder that utilities are becoming something that lives on the web, not on the drive.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Taking in the view with a Lumix ZS3

Having destroyed a couple (well, three) cameras on various adventures in the last couple of years, I've set out to add a couple that will be versatile and tough. This one's very versatile, not so tough...but that's what my marathon camera's for (see older posts).

In the Lumix ZS3 I found something I can whip out and record HD with...whenever, wherever. I won't be carrying it on any runs, but it does a nice job with portraits and candids: it's small but has a great 12x zoom.

The day after I got it, it rained in L.A., so I knew right where I wanted to go. The new Baldwin Hills Overlook, one of the parks that will eventually create a sort of super-park in western Los Angeles running from Kenny Hahn Park to the east, through Culver City Park, and down along Ballona Creek and out to Playa del Rey.

The view is spectacular....almost a 300 degree panorama from LAX to the SW and then around to downtown in the E-SE. I should have brought sticks, but then cool that this is without sticks!

And the my old UCSC friend, the lovely and talented Eva Weidema who's in Utrecht nowadays. I have begun a campaign to get her back in the concert hall and/or recording studio: click play and you'll hear why!

Baldwin Hills Overlook - L.A. After The Rain from John Flynn on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Through the Labyrinth - a Microdoc

One of my favorite production phrases is "It just fell off the truck that way." That's the case for this microdoc, but not its subject.

My friend Lorien Eck and her students at West Adams Prep on Vermont in Los Angeles went through a pretty elaborate and interesting process to create their West Adams Prep Labyrinth. You can read all about it here...and you can see some great photos of the thing taking shape.

I am a gardener myself (I do most of my best writing out there), and when I heard there would be a ribbon cutting I jumped at the chance to attend. Just as she was heading to the front of the crowd with the scissors I asked Lorien who was shooting video and she said, "Aren't you?" Which is true--I had said I would, but didn't have a camera aside from my marathon-proof Olympus. I'd brought it to shoot panoramas. I rolled with it and... "that's the way it fell off the truck."

This is a very static film, but I love that it has beginning-middle-end anyways. I walked around the outside and then I followed the crowd into the labyrinth: all the way in and all the way out again. There is a narrative to the order in which the people go through: I love the little kid in red, and then all the students who built it, followed by the guys from Inner Gardens, West Adams staff, friends and family, etc. I love Noh plays, and this reminds me of Noh...there is a theatrical convention in Noh (and also Peking Opera) where a character indicates a journey by walking in a small circle onstage. There are many people on a journey in this one: the little boy in red, the students, younger and older folks, couples, a pregnant woman...seeing them looping back and forth...well, there's a story in there somewhere.

The music is from a site called, which must be seen to be understood. It's a mashup I created myself on the fly...loads of fun.

Through the Labyrinth from John Flynn on Vimeo.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Athlete Alert

John Flynn, 01:20:23 (NET) @ 10K Pace 12:56, Predicted 05:39:05.00. Powered by SAI Timing.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yeah, but can it survive the L.A. Marathon?

In this case, maybe.

After destroying three cameras out on the road, I finally bought one of the Olympus Stylus sports's not as easy to handle as the others, but it should do the trick. We'll see how the video does: I'm going to do a microdoc about the event next week...26.2 on 5/'s hoping it's not 85 or 95....

Fish Cam ... testing the Olympus 1050 SW underwater from John Flynn on Vimeo.

Bonus feature: it composes panorama shots in the camera from three frames. Here's Kosh in the 10 Worlds Client Room....

Click on the image to see it full size!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Two for the radio...

I love radio. My first paid job in show business was a radio commercial (for Dees, if you know what that was), and one of my fondest memories as a teen was my gig as the assistant DJ on a show called I'M SO BORED WITH THE USA (after the Clash song)--a punk and new wave show on KRCL (I think!). Since then, my time in radio has been brief: most recently (10 years ago?) a gig as a correspondent on an old KPFK arts radio show called L.A. X-RAY. Now THAT was a fun show...

Stan Freberg, Bob and Ray, Firesign Theater, Jean Sheppard, Garrison Keillor, Harry Shearer, Ira many of my favorite storytellers are those guys on the radio. One of the things I love about Los Angeles is that it is such a great radio town. I'd love to do more of it myself...but in lieu of that: two pieces I've been playing with for a while.

The shorter piece is an essay by my old friend Nicole Stansbury: STATIC. It's a piece about being absolutely, jaw-dropped-and-gaping lovestruck. I love that it is not sentimental or soppy, but it is heartfelt and sinewy. It's from her book THE HUSBAND'S DILEMMA. A great read, that.

The other one is about one marriage through 10 holidays across 10 years: SEASONS GREETINGS. It's a piece I wrote for my lovely wife Risa on the occassion of our 10th anniversary a couple of years back. What can I say about this piece? I like to think it's the right kind of sentimental...maybe A.R. Gurney or Ron Carlson? As to its origins, I have to fall back on one of Chris Offutt's lines in his "Guide to Literary Terms."

"Short Story: An essay written to conceal the truth and protect the writer’s family."


Friday, May 08, 2009

What I'm Doing When I Don't Know What I'm Doing...

Like a lot of people in production, I have a giant collection of projects and ideas on post-its, in file cabinets...hell, I even have a wiki that's stuffed full of them. And I have the means to start capturing them: as I've been running races over the past couple of years I have been experimenting with all sorts of tools for doing that. Photos and footage shot under all sorts of circumstances for all sorts of reasons...again, no shortage there.

For at least a year I've been thinking about using all this raw material to perform some experiments in them Microdocs.

The rules are simple: anything's fair game, always try new things, and be quick about it.

Here's the first one...Mission California. Who knows what the next one will be about....

Mission California - A Microdoc from John Flynn on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Inspire me, now!

This image, a portrait of Jimi Hendrix in audio tape, is from the Flickr stream of iri5, and as amazing as it (and the rest of iri5's catalogue)'s just the tip of the iceberg. I've found a blog of images you can absolutely get lost in: Inspire me, now! by Szymon Błaszczyk.

I should warn you: browsing through his blog is a little bit like opening a giant bag of potato chips. It takes some degree of self-control to just have one or two.

It's really an amazing (and very amusing) collection of notes on design and form by a guy who bills himself as an "information architect." I got up to page 37, and I've got to stop and get something useful done!

I think for many artists (certainly painters and photographers, but also theater and film artists) this sort of smartly curated collection is invaluable. The director/comic/neurologist/aesthetician Jonathan Miller (how's that for a resume?) once wrote about his collection of art books and postcards. He inspired me to start collecting and organizing my own "Necessary Images." You've got to have those referants to make the next leap in your own work, whether it's on screen or stage or wherever.

Szymon's collection is full of leaps...and it's a lot of fun besides!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rebroadcasts...Men With Beards a leading indicator!

Over at History they're staying on top of current events with...a rebroadcast of our Declassified episode on The Taliban. This is my favorite of the shows we worked on with NPR's Mike Shuster (who's heading over to Seoul this week to cover N. Korea's latest ballistic misadventure). In hindsight, he called the current situation just right. The show holds up perfectly.

It's interesting to see which shows they have brought back: John Lennon and Castro are both in rotation, as is the Ayathollah Khomeni: Men With Beards. I expect the pilot (about the Berlin Wall) will make an appearance in this 20th anniversary year...but before then we're planning to head back to Berlin to make another doc about the Wall for another network. Details to follow, but can I just say, "Low, Heroes, Lodger."

And we are working on some new stuff for History...this one feels like a goer. It could jump left or right, but either way it looks like it would be part of their "Armageddon Week." And no, Nostradamus is not involved...they have specialists in him!

Watch the Tali-tease!

Monday, February 02, 2009

I've got Jott talking to Twitter talking to Facebook talking to Google Calendar...

Web 2.0 is a blessing and a curse to anyone who's working as a contractor, an artist, a small business owner, or simply out there as an individual. The curse? Well, you can spend too much time having too much fun playing with social networking...or you can have no fun at all setting up or learning the sites. MySpace is a prime example of that: surfing it's fun, building a page with it is NOT. The blessing? Well, if you choose to take the plunge you can hook in to a community of people who are talking about what you want and need to talk about. There's an investment, but considerable rewards...the choice is yours.

If you work for a large company, the choice has been made for you and that choice is probably, "NO." Employers as a rule fear Facebook, Twitter, and all their cousins (except maybe for LinkedIn). I've even noticed that one of my best clients, the County of Los Angeles, forbids their 120,000+ employees access to BLOGS due to a recent court case involving harassment in the fire department. That is another downside people are barely starting to grapple with: the new meaning of indiscretion.

But this Blog prohibition--what a disaster! Blogs are (aside from being a source of endless, er, self-expression) key sources for breaking news and information. Particularly for people interested in technology, the blog is going to have that little trick or workaround or piece of news you need. It's happening in the arts as well, and also for people involved in crafts (that's crafts in the OLD sense of the word: people who make things of all sorts). And of course Twitter is nothing more than a blog written one thought at a time. Reading them in aggregate can be fascinating: it'll keep you up on everything happening in real time if you're reading the right people. My friend Catheryn Clarke over at TVholic pointed out that Twitter was the best way to track what was going on during the incredible chaos of the Mumbai massacres.

Facebook also has that blogging/info function, but perhaps it's better thought of as a large and unruly party. You'll end up talking about all sorts of stuff with a collection of friends from across your personal landscape/timescape. Many people are using Blackberry or IPhone to stay on top of these sites, and I'd add one more: is a superb service that allows you to post emails, blogposts, and so on by calling Jott and dictating. It works best with Twitter (or Google Calendar) since there's a time limit...and there's a limit to the skill with which the Jott voice recognition software can translate your utterings into text.

So what's it all for? I recently saw a web media consultant go on about this at length. For him, it was all about understanding how the components fit together to help you get in touch with people. Now you may be an artist looking for collaborators and audience, or you may be just a person looking to rebuild their far-flung network of friends, or you may be trying to sell something. All three of those describe me.

The formula was essence: Twitter, Facebook and all the rest are a party, a place where you go to talk about something (anything at all)...people who are interested in what you're about will follow you "home." Blogs (and websites) are your home: invite people in and give them something! Maybe it's a song or a piece of information or a photo or a little piece of what it is that you do and make.

This arrangement of technologies in Web 2.0 is how you get past the circuits and back to that set of interactions that is at the basis of the way people make alliance, do business, and even make friends. For the record, I don't think anybody's doing it better at the moment than the estimable Mr. Stephen Fry.

Check it out!

Monday, January 05, 2009

TV Archives Interviews online

The Academy of TV Arts & Sciences has an interesting You Tube channel going: TVLEGENDS (it's at ... their blog is at ).

About a thousand hours of interviews with a mostly first and second generation TV crowd: there is a ton of stuff to plow through, with more to come I'm sure.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

X-Shot or Quik Pod, Winter Sports Edition

Here's a little piece I did to play with the monopod...Jack gave it a try too. I'm also playing around with the new 3-D transitions in Vegas Studio 9. Very nice selection...5 years ago they would have cost 3-5 grand, now they're a bonus feature!

Sledding from John Flynn on Vimeo.