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Color contrast ratios and WCAG standards. Pages with load budgets and no “jumbotron” carousels. CSS grid and the future of magazine-like layouts. Designer | developer Scott Gruber‘s talk at FWD:labs Salon #78 shared a crash course in his top three ethical decisions for crafting websites: accessibility, performance and aesthetics.

About the Speaker

Scott Gruber is a designer and developer building an ethical design practice grounded in accessibility, performance and aesthetics. He has twenty-years experience using digital tools to create across a wide-range of media. He works at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.


Author

Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site
Contact




Part of a series of posts about great film, web, or design artists and their work abuzz online and in-person.

To celebrate 100 years in film, ARRI has a series of interviews called Filmmaker’s View, pairing promotional content for their camera/lighting gear with intimate testimonials from filmmakers. Embedded above is one not to be missed with cinematographer Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC, CBE.

Chris Thilk writes Cinematic Slant (previously Movie Marketing Madness), where he reviews a film’s posters, trailers, online / social, advertising / cross-promotional, and overall marketing / publicity, always alongside a critical eye. He also has an incredible work ethic to writing so much original, thorough content. (Chris is also available for freelance writing.)

Here’s one favorite visual from his round-up on The Last Jedi:

The web user experience blog, UX Collective, has a great write up by Theo Strauss on how the ride sharing app for Lyft gets a lot right about placement. Whether you use your phone one handed or two, it’s now right by your thumb, not way up at the top out of reach.

“[Contrary to Uber and Google,] Lyft took a different approach with their search bar. Instead of a floating field up top, they added it to an overlay towards the bottom-mid section of the screen. This simple change made it more accessible for almost 100% of users.”


Author

Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site
Contact




Writer/director William Lu gave the guest talk at the 77nd FWD:labs Salon. “Getting Out of the Zone with My First Feature Film” covers picking the creative team, crafting a solid distribution strategy, and figuring out your end game from the start.

About the Speaker

William Lu attended the graduate film conservatory at Florida State University where he received his MFA in Film and Television Production. He spent three years at Herzog & Company where he produced content for clients like Disney, Paramount, Dreamworks and Sony Pictures. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Armed with a Camera Fellowship.

A year later, he wrote and directed Asian Task Force, a half-hour mock pilot that paid homage to many of his favorite 80’s television series. In 2009, William made the transition to new media, working as post supervisor at Machinima on their Terminator: Salvation original web series.

He was subsequently hired at Maker Studios, where he produced content for their gaming vertical. In 2012, he switched to freelance producing, serving as a co-producer for Rosanna Pansino’s “Nerdy Nummies” blockbuster YouTube series while simultaneously developing feature content that he could later direct.


Author

Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site
Contact




Personal finance writer Jackie Lam’s talk entitled “Finance Hacks for Freelancers” has tips on keeping cash flowing, building wealth, and making it easy.

This talk happened at FWD:labs Salon #76 last Friday.

About the Speaker

Jackie Lam is an L.A.-based money writer who is passionate about helping creatives with their finances and to cultivate community among entrepreneurs. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and FinTech startups, and her work has appeared in Forbes, Business Insider, GOOD, and Mental Floss.

She blogs at heyfreelancer.com and is a city organizer for the Freelancer’s Union Spark events and Freelance Friday, a monthly global co-working meetup.


Author

Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site
Contact




This talk by producer Brooke Dooley took place at FWD:labs Salon #75 on May 4, 2018 at Kleverdog Coworking in Los Angeles, California.

About the Speaker

A Northern California native and graduate of San Francisco State University, Brooke Dooley has produced over 100 projects since 2009, including commercials, feature films, music videos and photo shoots. She spent part of that time as Head of Development for a large production company in Santa Monica where she worked with writers and directors to package film and TV projects for major brand sponsorship and mainstream distribution. Past clientele includes Google, U.S. Navy, Hewlett Packard, Samsung and The Salvation Army, among numerous others. Her work has been seen by millions on the web and broadcast television.

Her most current narrative feature film, LISTEN, tells the story of what happens when we don’t pay attention. It’s about all of us and how we impact each other. The film has screened to over 50,000 people in North America through an untapped education market.


Author

Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site
Contact




This talk with writer Hunter Phillips (The Write Script Tutor) took place at FWD:labs Salon #74 on April 13, 2018 at Kleverdog Coworking in Los Angeles, California.

About the Speaker

Hunter has worked internationally as a writer, with NBC Universal’s International Formats, has produced award-winning web series/independent content and pitched and sold a one-hour, historical drama series in 2017. Hunter’s novel, Animalgeddon, a middle-grade, sci-fi adventure, was published by Fernweh books in 2016. Most recently Hunter co-executive produced The Room Actors: Where Are They Now?, a mockumentary digital series centering on the cast of the cult film, The Room. The Room Actors series partnered with FunnyorDie.com for release in Nov. 2017 and will be airing on the FunnyorDie Amazon channel. Hunter’s company, The Write Script Tutor, provides a personalized approach to both learning the art of screenwriting and the development process. Hunter works with beginners and advanced professionals alike, offering introductory education, script analysis and comprehensive development consultation.


Author

Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site
Contact




Eric Satterberg is an actor who you may recognize from “This Is Us,” “Shameless,” and “Silicon Valley.” His talk covers three tips including self submitting for auditions, keeping an audition journal, and setting goals. This took place at FWD:labs Salon #73 on March 22, 2018 at Kleverdog Coworking in Los Angeles, California.


Author

Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site
Contact




Tim Hare is a composer and musician who has worked in production music and licensing for a number of years. His talk entitled “Get Me That Sound” taps into three tips on finding the perfect audio for your project alongside what pitfalls to avoid. This took place at FWD:labs Salon #72 on February 9, 2018 at Kleverdog Coworking in Los Angeles, California.


Author

Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site
Contact



  • Published in Film

Some fun facts about the Justin Timberlake “Say Something” video featuring Chris Stapleton, which was all live with no cuts:

  • The director, Arturo Perez Jr. of the Paris-based collective called La Blogothèque, hoped to do something purely acoustics, and the musicians agreed. The “concert” ended up taking “17 musicians, 60 choristers, five floors, two elevators, one camera and many microphones … shot live in the prestigious Bradbury Building in Los Angeles.” [Source]
  • All one take on Panavision C Series anamorphic, DP’d by Bill Kirstein and “ninja” operated by Ari Robbins, SOC (who did Steadicam on “La La Land”) [Source]
  • According to Ari himself, the lens was a “42-425 with an ARRI [Alexa] Mini. Focus puller was Jenna Hoffman,” who obviously did an incredible job as well. [Source]
  • One of the members of the collective, “Clumsy,” tweeted that the earpieces “were only there for them to hear each other as there were 17 musicians on 5 different floors.” [Source]
  • Pre-production took two weeks: “I walked the Bradbury Building for two and a half days—just walking through it like a crazy person. We walked and walked and talked about it,” Perez says. “What we didn’t want to happen was for this to just be a Justin Timberlake one-take video gag. We’ve been doing this for a while, and we don’t get high off of doing a one-take video. We get high off of creating poetry.” [Source]
  • Camera rehearsals surely aside, according to Justin Timberlake (and the slate at the end), it wasn’t just one shot, the video was done in just one take. [Source]

Watch it here:


Author

Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site
Contact



  • Published in FWD:labs

This year we published 11 articles on film, web, and design, in addition to sharing a few dozen posts on Facebook and Twitter. Here are our favorite subjects covered this last year.

  1. John Goraj 'Adventheart'
    John Goraj “Adventheart”

    We recently produced a music film for a singer-songwriter from South Dakota. It was great to make some visual poetry for his latest album release.
  2. Viral Marketing Videos for Purple, Squatty Potty, and Dollar Shave Club
    Viral Marketing Videos for Purple, Squatty Potty, and Dollar Shave Club

    In an era of social media newsfeeds, what spots make you react, share, and comment? We found a few that blew up and got a lot of positive attention.
  3. Behind the Controversial Budweiser, Audi, and 84 Lumber Super Bowl Ads
    Behind the Controversial Budweiser, Audi, and 84 Lumber Super Bowl Ads

    Some of the 2017 Super Bowl ads were especially polemic, getting a rise out of lovers and haters, which certainly gets their efforts more memorability and air time — but how about customers?
  4. Brand-new website for Allan Havey
    Website for Allan Havey

    We had the opportunity to work with Allan Havey, one of the best stand-ups working today. You also may recognize him as “Lou Avery” from AMC’s highly acclaimed MAD MEN.
  5. One of five spots we did recently for Silk Way West Airlines
    Brand spot for Silk Way West Airlines

    We did all the post on a series of five spots filmed by Wolfe Air Aviation, giving us an opportunity to work with Boeing. Needless to say, we were on cloud nine.
  6. Proof That Money Isn't Everything
    Proof That Money Isn’t Everything

    Guest writer Jackie Lam penned a series of tips for freelancers, ranging from saying “no” to ways to stay distraction-free to focus on the task at hand.
  7. Put a Stake In It: 5 Tips for Building Tension in Your Stories
    Put a Stake In It: 5 Tips for Building Tension in Your Stories

    Guest writer Andrew Lindermann knocked another one out of the park with his story-forward tips that apply to all, using the horror film “Carrie” as an example.
  8. We Need an Open Internet
    We Need an Open Internet

    Our two cents before the FCC voted to dismantle Net Neutrality.
  9. How We Run Facebook Ads
    How We Run Facebook Ads

    Our most popular article of 2017 explored how we analyze data for clients to make Facebook’s messy advertising stats a little easier to understand.
  10. Lin-Manuel Miranda's New 'Music Film' Helps 'Get The Job Done'
    Lin-Manuel Miranda’s New “Music Film” Helps “Get The Job Done”

    Timely with “Travel Ban 2.0” all over the news, this anthem reached Lin-Manuel’s “Hamilton” heavy fan base and gave some of us something relevant for today’s issues.

Got a favorite that’s not here? Browse the archive and comment below.

Finally, check out our 10 best posts of 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.


Author

Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site
Contact



  • Published in Web

We thought net neutrality was safe when it was on the chopping block in 2014, where such a negative outcry convinced then-chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler, to flip his vote and save the day.

But it’s back — a major decision is being made by the FCC on December 14th. A repeal of the net neutrality policy would favor big companies over consumers, setting back small businesses and independent filmmakers alike. What’s worse is that, unfortunately, it’s likely to go through thanks to the power of the swing vote, unless we all come together to help make a difference.

Illustrator and animator Louis Wesolowsky released this great explainer video last week and it’s one of the clearest takes on the issue currently at hand.

We’re for net neutrality. It has helped FWD:labs, which began over 10 years ago, as it allows us to keep costs down, speeds fast, and innovations moving forward.

And it’s not just web services and platforms that will be negatively impacted by the impending decision. It also affects independent film, both for filmmakers to deliver and audiences to receive. Can you imagine paying a new fee just to access sites like Netflix, Hulu, or Vimeo? Or having to mess around with package deals or bundles like what cable companies have been doing for years, upselling us on more than what we want?

We each already pay an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or mobile data carrier for a certain non-preferential speed to the internet. (Even that sales pitch isn’t always true with things like speed limiting and throttling.) Now they could actually be allowed to intentionally slow down or lock out certain sites that don’t shell out additional fees, or require consumers to pay for what’s otherwise basic access we have now.

All in all, repealing neutrality will mean higher costs for less services. It will hinder growth and accessibility. It will introduce tiered, “fast lane” services. Comcast, trying a PR stunt to appear “pro” neutrality, has already been caught deleting their promise to not adopt that kind of model, which proves yet again you can’t trust them to do the right thing with zero oversight.

Having the Internet permanently reclassified broadband as a telecommunication service would protect consumers. We need regulation that is pro-consumer and pro-entrepreneur, not more ways to line the pockets of the big guys. The FCC should be benefitting and protecting consumers, not the opposite.

What can you do before it’s gone?

Even though they may not consider it *, and may even be deleting public comments, please file your own statement of support for net neutrality with the FCC via GoFCCYourself.com, a friendly redirect from late night host John Oliver to the right part of the FCC’s website.

Click the “+ Express” link on the right. Make sure you’re seeing the proceeding number 17-108, which represents “Restoring Internet Freedom.”

If you’re A-OK being on the record, use your full name; otherwise consider the first name plus last initial.

For the comment portion itself, consider something in your own words along these lines:

“I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs. Net Neutrality protects consumers’ rights to have an open Internet, where all traffic is treated equally.”

If you need a hand, you can also call their help line directly at 202-418-0193 or e-mail ECFSHelp@fcc.gov.

Need more perspective? Watch John Oliver’s take on “Net Neutrality II” from earlier this year:

* Ironically, the FCC’s own website claims that they deliberately “seek the public’s comment … (and) the Commission considers the comments received in developing final rules.” If they go against that and unilaterally make a decision that benefits their head honcho, they go against their core values.


FWD:labs
Studio + Network
@fwdlabs



  • Published in General

Part of a series of posts about great film, web, or design artists and their work abuzz online and in-person.

Creative agency Zulu Alpha Kilo penned an article two years ago that’s still very relevant: “Say No To Spec.” In an industry filled with favors and freebies, it’s a good reminder to weigh the merits of doing work for free:

As we showed in our recent video featuring real people being asked to do spec, diners don’t fork over free meals. Personal Trainers don’t do your workouts on spec or give away their intellectual property. So why are we giving away our ideas? Like the guy in our video says, “Who would ever agree to that?” Sadly, we know the answer.

On the surface it may seem like a good idea for clients to harvest a smorgasbord of free ideas during the pitch process, but it can actually do more harm than good.

Legendary designer Jeff Zeldman recently authored a post entitled “Why Don’t Nonprofit Sites Convert?” He raises a point to ditch the focus on the about/mission/board and instead on giving the visitor what they want first, and the foundation something second:

“[P]ut yourself in the member’s shoes. What does that member wish to achieve on your website? Have you created transactions and content that allow her to do what she came to do? Have you designed and written menus, links, and headlines that help her find the content that matters to her? Forget the organization, for now. Pretend the only thing that matters is what the user wants. (Because, ultimately, it is.)

Do these things, and weave your singular, simple conversion opportunity into each screen sequence with which your user interacts. To optimize your chance of success, place the conversion opportunity at the very point where the user successfully finishes transacting the business that mattered to her. Not before (where it is only a distraction). Not in another part of the site (which she has no interest in visiting). She’s a lot likelier to sign up for your mailing list after you’ve helped her donate food to her neighbors than she is to sign up in an unsolicited popup window.”

Entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuk “crushes it” with sales tips day and night. (We even profiled him back in 2008 for standing out from the crowd.) One thing he’s written recently that resonated with creatives is part of an article called “5 Best Tips For Salespeople,” where one is about just creating more content:

In 2017, there is zero excuse not to be creating content around your product, service, company or brand.

Because of the iPhone and the internet, and social media, anyone can produce and distribute. Just 15 years ago, if you wanted to create a commercial to promote your brand, you would need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on media and marketing. Today, you can literally use your smartphone, record a 2 minute clip and run ads on Facebook. The cost of entry has dropped 100 fold.


Author

Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site
Contact



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