Dude, have you seen this?

Word of mouth is the most powerful force you can have working to your advantage when it comes not just to marketing your product, but also in getting your product made in the first place. We live in the era of crowd funding after all; when a Kickstarter or IndiGogo campaign can make or break a creator; so this shouldn’t come as too great a surprise.

I was starkly reminded of this fact this week on two fronts.

The first came when I saw a trailer for a movie called Pixels, coming out in July. The film stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad, and Peter Dinklage as old school video gamers who must reunite to battle an alien invasion after aliens misinterpret broadcasts of old arcade games as a declaration of war. The aliens, in kind, attack the Earth in kind, with low resolution projections of classic game characters such as Pac Man and Donkey Kong. You can view the trailer courtesy of YouTube.

I was wondering why the idea seemed so familiar to me when I saw the trailer. I know there was a Futurama episode with a similar premise, but there was a half-memory of something rattling around in my head that seemed even closer. A little bit of research and the reason became clear. Pixels is a feature adaptation of a short film I’d seen several years ago. You can see the original short here thanks to Slash Film.

Clearly word of mouth worked out to their advantage. What started as a homegrown idea now promises to be one of the biggest films of the summer.

The second thing which reminded me of the power of word of mouth is another short which seems designed to get attention in hopes of developing a feature. This was the polished, effects-heavy short The Leviathan from director Ruari Robinson. It looks a little bit like Moby Dick crossed with elements of Frank Herbert’s Dune. You can check it out here once again thanks to Slash Film.

Popularity for the short has blown up and gone super viral. It’s easy to see why, as it’s visually astonishing and definitely makes you want to spend more time in that world. Websites have been imploring Hollywood to finance a feature version, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if something does get made.

Word of mouth in the internet age is a force that cannot be stopped. Savvy creators should take note.

Keith Cunningham
Keith is a freelance writer at Black Powder Design and a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a degree in animation. Keith hosts a podcast on the Deliberate Noise Network titled The Keith Show Show starring Keith. He is also the illustrator and writer of his own comic series called Stale Popcorn.

Iron Man, Iron Boy

If you’ve been online at all in the past week you’ve probably seen this video. In it, Robert Downey Jr. appears as a seeming amalgam of his Tony Stark character and the real-life Downey so that he might deliver a 3D printed bionic arm to a young boy named Alex who was born with only a partially developed right arm. Alex is a huge fan of superheroes, and a chance to meet Iron Man must have blown the seven-year-old’s mind.

As fascinating and heartwarming as the celebrity aspect is, we shouldn’t forget the real star of this story. No, not Albert Manero, the Fulbright scholar and doctoral candidate who leads the team which developed this individual arm. Not even Alex, the boy with an unstoppable spirit who conquers adversity every day. The real star of this particular star is the arm itself.

Using the revolutionary power of cheap 3D printing technology and state-of-the-art electronics scientists have created not just some of the most functional prosthetics on the market, but the first truly commercially viable ones. The 3D printing drops the price point for these arms down from approximately $40,000 for similar models to $350. A life-saver for parents who may have to purchase multiple limbs for a growing child.

If you’re interested in getting involved visit http://www.limbitless-solutions.org/ where you can donate to the cause and get these limbs to kids who need them.

Post script: Who can really tell where Robert Downey Jr. ends and Tony Stark begins at this point?

Keith Cunningham
Keith is a freelance writer at Black Powder Design and a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a degree in animation. Keith hosts a podcast on the Deliberate Noise Network titled The Keith Show Show starring Keith. He is also the illustrator and writer of his own comic series called Stale Popcorn.

A minimalist single column blog

Isn’t it refreshing? One, single, lonely column of beautiful content without the distraction of a sidebar. The blog sidebar has many faithful followers, however we are not one of them (sorry). The demise of the sidebar has resulted in some great new design possibilities and we’re jumping in feet first. Starting with this purposely minimalist blog design. We’re not lazy, we swear, we just love big, huge photos smack in the middle of a white page. Don’t you? Especially when it’s your lovely work and thoughtfully crafted words locking eyes with readers.

Now, we’re not bloggers (not lately anyway), so we won’t go on and on about our love for a great single column blog. Instead we’ll simply add in some dummy text to help you visualize and move on to the next item on our to-do list. How about another photo for good measure as well?

Name and description of piece here.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam nec purus arcu. Integer mauris tellus, laoreet sed porta ac, auctor vitae augue. Vestibulum ac lacus tellus. Nam rhoncus ipsum quis odio volutpat luctus. Aenean elit risus, pellentesque at convallis id, rutrum sed velit. Pellentesque at lacus felis. Vestibulum eu dapibus elit. Fusce tincidunt, risus a ultricies rhoncus, nisi erat viverra nunc, et rutrum neque sapien vel felis.

DESIGN IS A FUNNY WORD. SOME PEOPLE THINK DESIGN MEANS HOW IT LOOKS. BUT OF COURSE, IF YOU DIG DEEPER, IT’S REALLY HOW IT WORKS.

orem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam nec purus arcu. Integer mauris tellus, laoreet sed porta ac, auctor vitae augue. Vestibulum ac lacus tellus. Nam rhoncus ipsum quis odio volutpat luctus. Aenean elit risus, pellentesque at convallis id, rutrum sed velit. Pellentesque at lacus felis. Vestibulum eu dapibus elit. Fusce tincidunt, risus a ultricies rhoncus, nisi erat viverra nunc, et rutrum neque sapien vel felis.

Sed sodales erat at quam mollis, nec maximus massa scelerisque. Maecenas sapien nisl, tempus vitae elit a, aliquet varius sapien. Donec egestas auctor euismod. Nam rutrum facilisis rhoncus. Aenean id eros mattis, maximus felis eu, auctor lectus. Mauris quis nisi ut lorem viverra varius tempor eget odio. Fusce ultricies mauris ut lectus gravida imperdiet. Curabitur sagittis nibh ac dolor sollicitudin, eget blandit purus fringilla.

Optional Blog Sidebar Layout

Sometimes you just want to mix it up, and now with our optional sidebar layout you can do just that. Choose to add a sidebar to the entire blog, or just to specific posts – the choice is really up to you! A fully widgetized sidebar is the perfect place for a signup form, some social media links, archives, search bar and more. Choice is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

Name and description here.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam nec purus arcu. Integer mauris tellus, laoreet sed porta ac, auctor vitae augue. Vestibulum ac lacus tellus. Nam rhoncus ipsum quis odio volutpat luctus. Aenean elit risus, pellentesque at convallis id, rutrum sed velit. Pellentesque at lacus felis. Vestibulum eu dapibus elit. Fusce tincidunt, risus a ultricies rhoncus, nisi erat viverra nunc, et rutrum neque sapien vel felis.

blog12Sed sodales erat at quam mollis, nec maximus massa scelerisque. Maecenas sapien nisl, tempus vitae elit a, aliquet varius sapien. Donec egestas auctor euismod. Nam rutrum facilisis rhoncus. Aenean id eros mattis, maximus felis eu, auctor lectus. Mauris quis nisi ut lorem viverra varius tempor eget odio. Fusce ultricies mauris ut lectus gravida imperdiet.

blog6Sed mauris nisl, scelerisque quis ex ac, hendrerit pellentesque urna. Suspendisse suscipit efficitur elit et commodo.Praesent hendrerit, ipsum vel dictum pretium, nunc quam efficitur eros, eu facilisis lacus mi faucibus turpis. Pellentesque orci leo, mattis vitae leo in, euismod feugiat augue. Duis augue risus, porttitor quis nunc in, semper malesuada tellus.

#obsolete

It must be an unnerving time to be a network TV executive. I’ve written before that we may be at the tipping point when it comes to the death of traditional media distribution methods, but with each day that goes by we seem to be approaching the Rubicon.

What began as a quiet revolution on YouTube in the form of kids doing vlogs (video blogs) has blown up into fully self produced web series. Whole YouTube based networks such as Geek and Sundry have been born. It has led to it’s own award ceremony, the Streamy Awards, which is put on by Dick Clark Productions.

Speaking of awards ceremonies, when was the last time you can think of an Emmy Awards that House of Cards or Orange is the New Black weren’t mentioned? Netflix remains at the forefront of original content with new shows debuting seemingly every month, ranging from animation and kids shows to comedies and drama. This month saw the launch of Tina Fey’s new series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (I highly recommend it) and next month brings Marvel’s Daredevil (the first of at least five shows on Netflix set in the interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe).

Others have certainly taken notice of the success Netflix has experienced. Currently Hulu, Amazon, Yahoo, Xbox Live, and Playstation Network are all developing original shows. Hulu offers shows like the supernatural comedy Deadbeat starring Tyler Labine and Seth Meyers’ animated comedy The Awesomes. This month Yahoo’s first original show premieres, the long-awaited sixth season of cult hit Community. Amazon holds an annual pilot season to test out new shows. Xbox is developing several series including a live-action show based on the mega-hit game franchise Halo, which is being produced by Steven Spielberg. And Playstation Network has just launched the superhero series Powers, adapted from the comic series by Brian Michael Bendis.

If you are curious, Sony has put out the first episode of Powers free of charge to entice viewers. It is available at their YouTube page, bringing this entry appropriately full circle.

Keith Cunningham
Keith is a freelance writer at Black Powder Design and a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a degree in animation. Keith hosts a podcast on the Deliberate Noise Network titled The Keith Show Show starring Keith. He is also the illustrator and writer of his own comic series called Stale Popcorn.

Styled headings for structure

Have you ever encountered those never ending blog posts that have no headings and no photos and you find yourself getting a bit lost/bored? There are some incredible writers out there that don’t need all that fluff, but let’s be honest, more often than not a great blog post could use a little structure to organize its greatness. So here are some sample headings to let you know that we didn’t forgot about them. Quite the contrary actually, we’re big fans

Here’s a sample heading

Sed sodales erat at quam mollis, nec maximus massa scelerisque. Maecenas sapien nisl, tempus vitae elit a, aliquet varius sapien. Donec egestas auctor euismod. Nam rutrum facilisis rhoncus. Aenean id eros mattis, maximus felis eu, auctor lectus. Mauris quis nisi ut lorem viverra varius tempor eget odio. Fusce ultricies mauris ut lectus gravida imperdiet.

And yet another sample heading

Sed mauris nisl, scelerisque quis ex ac, hendrerit pellentesque urna. Suspendisse suscipit efficitur elit et commodo. Praesent hendrerit, ipsum vel dictum pretium, nunc quam efficitur eros, eu facilisis lacus mi faucibus turpis. Pellentesque orci leo, mattis vitae leo in, euismod feugiat augue. Duis augue risus, porttitor quis nunc in, semper malesuada tellus.

Last one, we promise

Nam dapibus quis tortor vitae blandit. Quisque a enim id diam elementum sodales. In pharetra at orci sit amet iaculis. Suspendisse porta tellus a tellus maximus, non pulvinar ipsum eleifend. Donec id velit placerat, sodales ligula eu, volutpat metus. Donec ut ex velit. Cras congue metus in fermentum posuere.

A Minimalist Single Column Blog

Isn’t it refreshing? One, single, lonely column of beautiful content without the distraction of a sidebar. The blog sidebar has many faithful followers, however we are not one of them (sorry). The demise of the sidebar has resulted in some great new design possibilities and we’re jumping in feet first. Starting with this purposely minimalist blog design. We’re not lazy, we swear, we just love big, huge photos smack in the middle of a white page. Don’t you? Especially when it’s your lovely work and thoughtfully crafted words locking eyes with readers.

Now, we’re not bloggers (not lately anyway), so we won’t go on and on about our love for a great single column blog. Instead we’ll simply add in some dummy text to help you visualize and move on to the next item on our to-do list. How about another photo for good measure as well?

Name and description of piece here.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam nec purus arcu. Integer mauris tellus, laoreet sed porta ac, auctor vitae augue. Vestibulum ac lacus tellus. Nam rhoncus ipsum quis odio volutpat luctus. Aenean elit risus, pellentesque at convallis id, rutrum sed velit. Pellentesque at lacus felis. Vestibulum eu dapibus elit. Fusce tincidunt, risus a ultricies rhoncus, nisi erat viverra nunc, et rutrum neque sapien vel felis.

DESIGN IS A FUNNY WORD. SOME PEOPLE THINK DESIGN MEANS HOW IT LOOKS. BUT OF COURSE, IF YOU DIG DEEPER, IT’S REALLY HOW IT WORKS.

orem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam nec purus arcu. Integer mauris tellus, laoreet sed porta ac, auctor vitae augue. Vestibulum ac lacus tellus. Nam rhoncus ipsum quis odio volutpat luctus. Aenean elit risus, pellentesque at convallis id, rutrum sed velit. Pellentesque at lacus felis. Vestibulum eu dapibus elit. Fusce tincidunt, risus a ultricies rhoncus, nisi erat viverra nunc, et rutrum neque sapien vel felis.

Sed sodales erat at quam mollis, nec maximus massa scelerisque. Maecenas sapien nisl, tempus vitae elit a, aliquet varius sapien. Donec egestas auctor euismod. Nam rutrum facilisis rhoncus. Aenean id eros mattis, maximus felis eu, auctor lectus. Mauris quis nisi ut lorem viverra varius tempor eget odio. Fusce ultricies mauris ut lectus gravida imperdiet. Curabitur sagittis nibh ac dolor sollicitudin, eget blandit purus fringilla.

Full width featured images

If you read our other post about how much we like single column blogs, then you’ll also know that we like great full width photos that demand your attention. So here are some more to really get our point across. It’s kind of like a gallery; calming, inspiring and a tad intimidating (in a good way) all at the same time.

Name and description here.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam nec purus arcu. Integer mauris tellus, laoreet sed porta ac, auctor vitae augue. Vestibulum ac lacus tellus. Nam rhoncus ipsum quis odio volutpat luctus. Aenean elit risus, pellentesque at convallis id, rutrum sed velit. Pellentesque at lacus felis. Vestibulum eu dapibus elit. Fusce tincidunt, risus a ultricies rhoncus, nisi erat viverra nunc, et rutrum neque sapien vel felis.

blog12Sed sodales erat at quam mollis, nec maximus massa scelerisque. Maecenas sapien nisl, tempus vitae elit a, aliquet varius sapien. Donec egestas auctor euismod. Nam rutrum facilisis rhoncus. Aenean id eros mattis, maximus felis eu, auctor lectus. Mauris quis nisi ut lorem viverra varius tempor eget odio. Fusce ultricies mauris ut lectus gravida imperdiet.

blog6Sed mauris nisl, scelerisque quis ex ac, hendrerit pellentesque urna. Suspendisse suscipit efficitur elit et commodo.Praesent hendrerit, ipsum vel dictum pretium, nunc quam efficitur eros, eu facilisis lacus mi faucibus turpis. Pellentesque orci leo, mattis vitae leo in, euismod feugiat augue. Duis augue risus, porttitor quis nunc in, semper malesuada tellus.

Styled headings for structure

Have you ever encountered those never ending blog posts that have no headings and no photos and you find yourself getting a bit lost/bored? There are some incredible writers out there that don’t need all that fluff, but let’s be honest, more often than not a great blog post could use a little structure to organize its greatness. So here are some sample headings to let you know that we didn’t forgot about them. Quite the contrary actually, we’re big fans

Here’s a sample heading

Sed sodales erat at quam mollis, nec maximus massa scelerisque. Maecenas sapien nisl, tempus vitae elit a, aliquet varius sapien. Donec egestas auctor euismod. Nam rutrum facilisis rhoncus. Aenean id eros mattis, maximus felis eu, auctor lectus. Mauris quis nisi ut lorem viverra varius tempor eget odio. Fusce ultricies mauris ut lectus gravida imperdiet.

And yet another sample heading

Sed mauris nisl, scelerisque quis ex ac, hendrerit pellentesque urna. Suspendisse suscipit efficitur elit et commodo. Praesent hendrerit, ipsum vel dictum pretium, nunc quam efficitur eros, eu facilisis lacus mi faucibus turpis. Pellentesque orci leo, mattis vitae leo in, euismod feugiat augue. Duis augue risus, porttitor quis nunc in, semper malesuada tellus.

Last one, we promise

Nam dapibus quis tortor vitae blandit. Quisque a enim id diam elementum sodales. In pharetra at orci sit amet iaculis. Suspendisse porta tellus a tellus maximus, non pulvinar ipsum eleifend. Donec id velit placerat, sodales ligula eu, volutpat metus. Donec ut ex velit. Cras congue metus in fermentum posuere.

The Change in TV Production

If you’ve been following the blog at all you know that one of the things I keep harping on about is how new digital distribution models are altering television production. This is both in a logistical and creative capacity.

Well, as per usual, Mike Rugnetta of the PBS Idea Channel managed to say a lot of the things I wanted to say in a far more eloquent way than I ever could.

Check it out here.

-Keith Cunningham, Production Assistant