I move forward / The only direction / Can’t be scared to fail / Search and perfection.
If you can get past the misogyny in the video, the song has a invigorating message. The idea of the track is that once the masses are onto something, he’s moved onto the next big thing. As web workers, there’s a little of that in what we do every day. My friend Lodro Rinzler, author of The Buddha Walks Into a Bar, once even used the video as the basis for a column about overcoming fear as a Buddhist.
The Eye Has to Travel
This is the only movie I have ever in my life watched twice in a row. Venerable fashion editor Diana Vreeland has a reputation for brilliance; this documentary does a beautiful job of explaining why and illustrating how. Her aesthetic was truly ground-breaking; her fiery missives were called the first blog posts. Why not paint your nails red and learn about this legendary woman?
Jiro Loves Sushi
The first sushi chef to earn three Michelin stars is 86 years old and works in a tiny 10-seat shop tucked into the Tokyo subway. His obsession with perfecting his “simple” dishes is an inspiration. After watching this beautiful, and at times heartbreaking, film about his passion for perfection, I felt motivation to take my work to the next level. I may also have cried a little.
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s
This documentary is not much more than a long-form advertisement for fabled luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman – but oh, what an ad. Full of whimsy, couture, hyperbole, ridiculous personalities, and holiday window porn, it’s a feast for the eyes. I tend to get caught up too often in in pixels and projections, forgetting about how emotionally fulfilling beauty can be.
Who Needs Forever? // Astrud Gilberto (Thievery Corporation Remix)
I have two rules in life: “Never don’t buy shoes”, and “It’s never the wrong time for the Beastie Boys”. To those I should probably add: :Every restaurant should always be playing the Verve Remixed albums”. The storied jazz label released three collections of remixed jazz favorites, and the results are ethereal, elegant, and always appropriate. This song is like lighting a candle and pouring yourself a glass of red wine: an unfailingly good idea.
I’m moved by process. The thing behind the thing. The prototype, the failed sketch. How do people build better, design differently, make their vision real? Sometimes, the process exposed is itself the thing of brilliance.
The Making of JAWS (2000)
However bad your projects have gotten, Speilberg had it worse in 1975. Over budget, over timeline, and at least two shark prototypes over projection, the Jaws team pulled through as we find out in this incredible story of the power of iteration (and faking it).
Jeremy Denk (2012)
Denk reveals Bach’s musical grammar, and in the process, reveals his own process (and genius).
Glenn Gould (~1950)
The humming. You can hear the humming on most of Gould’s albums, but to see him working though it: delightful.
Burden of Dreams (the making of Fitzcarraldo) (1982)
An unforgiving nonfiction tale on not giving up or in on one’s vision.
My favourite Van Morrison album, and the title track from said album. Lester Bangs wrote better about it here, which is an extract from the 1979 book “Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island“; and features a great collection of top-ten desert island rock & roll albums.
Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel – Townes Van Zandt
I’m probably channeling Mike Brown here, but Townes Van Zandt is too great to leave off the list and I’ve been digging him a lot recently.
Atlantic City – Bruce Springsteen
Off arguably his best album, Nebraska.
Song for the dead – Queens of the Stone Age
I just finished reading a biography on Dave Grohl so I had to include this. Some of the best rock drumming ever by the man himself!
My favorite movie about Hollywood, bar none. Gloria Swanson is a revelation.
One of my top five movies of the last decade; so quietly beautiful and feminist.
This movie is a schlock-fest. The book is a mess; the dialogue is horrible. But it also shows how star charisma works: Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, and the palpable chemistry between them, turn a throwaway melodrama into something of substance and charm. Now I just fast-forward through the old people parts and make myself a near-perfect movie.
Goodfellas (steady-cam shot)
When people find out I study media for a living, they always ask my favorite movie. I have dozens of favorites, but I always say Goodfellas, and this ridiculously impressive steady-cam shot is one of many reasons why. Watch it and be seduced.
Marilyn Monroe on ‘Person to Person’ with Edward R. Murrow
I hate the way Marilyn Monroe has been flattened into a one-dimensional sex object, and always show this clip to my students to emphasize what was so special about her: an ineffable mix of charm, self-deprecating humor, and unspeakable beauty.
Webstock: What is WIP? Give us an idea of exactly what it does, what problems it solves.
Matt: WIP is a new way for video makers to share and review their work-in-progress videos.
Right now there is a massive disconnect between the video and the feedback: lengthy email chains with time-codes are the way people currently communicate changes. This just seems crazy to us given video makers are visual people and video is a visual medium. Doesn’t it make sense to approach the feedback workflow in the same way?
So that’s what WIP does: we’re a cloud-based platform that lets you upload your work-in-progress videos, privately invite clients and collaborators to give feedback and comment directly on the video. It’s really that simple.
Webstock: So all good products have a founding story. What’s the story behind how WIP got started?
Matt: Like many great products, WIP was born out of necessity. 18 November 2012 was the day WIP’s CEO, Rollo Wenlock, came up with the idea after a frustrating experience trying to share a video with a client and get feedback on it. After searching the web for a better solution he was gob smacked that nothing decent existed. He stopped by Creative HQ on a whim to pitch the idea, this lead to a meeting with soon-to-be co founder and CTO Nick Green and six months later here we are, about to finish New Zealand’s first startup accelerator program, with a full-time marketer and designer on the team as well and a product that’s used by video professionals in 24 countries.
Webstock: You were one of the winners at BNZ StartUp Alley and have been accepted in the Lightning Labs program. How has each of those things helped you and what are you learning from them?
Matt: Webstock was a great launching platform for WIP, it led to coverage in a number of local publications and put us on the radar of some of NZ’s most influential tech and business people, who have been great mentors over the last three months.
The Lab has taught us some of the science behind business and what it takes to run a successful start-up – before that we were just four guys with an idea. The 110 local and international mentors they introduced us to have also been vital to the growth and development of the company.
Webstock: Is there much competition out there for WIP? What sets you apart from your competitors?
Matt: Of course there is competition, it’s extremely rare to start a business these days and not have a competitor and we see this as a good thing, it helps to validate that there is a market out there for WIP.
The problem with many of them is they treat video makers as second-class citizens, they don’t understand the user and in some cases their products actually make the process harder by adding complex functionality to the process.
What sets WIP apart is that our team truly understands the problem and the solution and its paramount to us that the user experience is at the heart of everything we do.
We’ve built a platform that makes the video the central focus and the comments appear on the video so they’re contextual. Nobody else does this.
Webstock: Where would you like to be a year from now? What are you plans for the next 12 months?
Matt: I’d like to say we’d be kicking back on a yacht in the South of France, but we’re here to make a great product, which takes time.
The Lightning Lab will draw to a spectacular close next Wednesday with the investor Demo Day. So there are three primary focuses for us: 1) securing investment, 2) product development and 3) thought leadership and media relationships.
We have two major product releases scheduled for September 2013 and March 2014, which will enhance the feature set and functionality, and allow us to focus our marketing efforts and concentrate on the USA, which is our biggest market opportunity.
Thanks Matt! We’re looking forward to seeing WIP’s progress over the coming months.