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Collaborative Cinema: The Hunt for Gollum

The new age of cinema has officially arrived.

These days, there seems to be an ongoing cultural contention that anyone, armed with a cheap little digital camcorder, can make a movie. Being filmmakers ourselves, we have received it with a healthy dose of skepticism.

But a group of Lord of The Rings fans and enthusiast filmmakers showed us that anyone can indeed make a Hollywood-like movie in their backyard.

Well, sort of.

The Hunt for Gollum is an unofficial, collaborative prequel to the Peter Jackson trilogy. Directed by Chris Bouchard, the film is completely independent — meaning it was produced solely by the fans, and no one got paid. In Bouchard’s words,

We made this purely for the enjoyment of the material and the experience of making a high quality low budget film.

And don’t let this “experiment in low-budget filmmaking” fool you, because watching the trailer makes it very, very hard to believe it isn’t an authentic Peter Jackson prequel to the trilogy.

Then there’s this admittedly hilarious teaser.

The Hunt for Gollum premiered yesterday. The best part: Besides innovating on this new culture of collaboration, the film is also distributed for free online, where you can watch it in HD.

And we think that’s the freeconomic future of the entertainment industry.

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The Sale of Manhattan: A Saul Bass Gem Circa 1962

What Saul Bass has to do with George W, or why Manhattan is worth $32 worth of junk jewelry.

Today’s short-and-sweet is a cultural gem in more ways than we can count — illustrated by iconic graphic designer Saul Bass, this animation segment comes from the 1962 ABC hit special Stan Freberg Presents: The Chun King Chow Mein Hour and tells, humorously and creatively, the story of The Sale of Manhattan.


Although undeniably marked with the stylistic stamp of that era, it isn’t hard to see how this short is a distant predecesor to the animated political comedy of today. (JibJab’s This Land, we’re looking at you.)

Or, it’s simply a testament to our timeless cultural need for storytelling, humor and art.

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Photographic Time Machine

How to tear the space-time continuum with your bare hands and a camera lens.

The transformative power of photography is unquestionable — powerful images can move us emotionally, intellectually and morally. Now, it can also move us across space and time — here are three fascinating photographic projects that do just that.

SIEGE OF LENINGRAD COMPOSITES

Thanks to Google Translate, we understand this project has to do with the 65th anniversary of the Siege of Leningrad — perhaps the biggest military operation fiasco for the Axis powers in WWII. To commemorate the occasion, Russian artist Sergey Larenkov created phenomenal composite images of Leningrad, today’s Saint Petersburg, placing the dramatic events of the Siege in their contemporary context.

The images are a stride-stopping revelation of the scars WWII left, both physical and cultural, reminding us just how much more than architectural restoration it has taken for a healing process to begin.

LOOKING INTO THE PAST

We love seeing one creative project inspire another that plays off of it — a testament to the infectious power of ideas. And that’s why we love Jason Powell’s Looking Into The Past project, inspired by something you may remember from issues past: Michael Hughes’ Souvenirs.

Powell takes historical photographs from The Library of Congress digital archive (another innovative effort we love), prints them out, and holds them up against their respective modern-day location.

From the capital’s architectural icons to the quiet streets of small-town America, the project invites us into a fascinating cultural time machine.

If you find yourself infectiously inspired to tear the space-time continuum, you can contribute your own photographic time capsules to the Flickr group Powell created for the project.

NYC GRID 1961 VS. 2009

A strong city ages so gracefully that despite the colossal changes in the context of its era, the city’s own character remains an unchanged cultural pillar. That’s exactly the kind of vibe you’ll get glimpsing through images of the world’s biggest cosmopolitan icon — New York City — taken in 1961 and 2009.

This time capsule captures our technological and cultural evolution — from cars to fashion to outdoor advertising — yet there’s something oddly comforting in knowing that no matter how all these elements change, the city remains this unchanging force that keeps us centered.

Explore the full collection over at NYC Grid.

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Pure Process: Picking the Creative Brain

What coffee, ironing and crying newborns have to do with the birth of an idea.

UPDATED: The Creative Process Illustrated: How Advertising’s Big Ideas Are Born is now out and we highly recommend it.

What if we knew how great ideas were born? Do great minds really think alike, or is the creative process as unique as our DNA? Can insight into another person’s process help you enrich and polish your own?

Creative academics and researchers Glenn Griffin, PhD and Deborah Morrison, PhD set out to answer these questions and more in an exploratory project-turned-book-deal dubbed Pure Process — an investigation into the minds of the advertising industry’s greatest creative thinkers. In a series of experiments, the researchers analyzed the “process drawings” of these top creative professionals — a visual answer to the question:

 What does your creative process look like?

Illustrated with a Sharpie on what Griffin and Morrison call a “process canvas,” the creatives revealed the routes they take to finding and catching ideas. The results: Just as incredibly diverse, wild and, yes, messy as you’d expect them to be.

So far, the lineup includes all-stars like Alex Bogusky, David Kennedy, Luke Sullivan, Kevin Roddy, Nancy Rice, and David Baldwin, among others. But they’re still looking for submissions — so if you live and work in the larger world of ideas, and you’d like your own creative process dissected and shared with the world, shoot them an email to be considered for inclusion.

It’s important to spend time NOT thinking of ideas. It often comes together when I’m neutral and quiet like in the shower or sound asleep. ~ Danny Gregory, ECD of McGarry Bowen

Pure Process is set for publication next summer by How Books. You can follow Glenn and Deborah on Twitter for updates on the project.

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