Wednesday, January 31, 2007

guilty as charged

Above is a picture of my friend while we were sitting and watching the sun drop into the Pacific. He has an apartment one block off the beach in Santa Monica not far from the pier. Not a bad friend to visit for a week...

I didn't have consistent internet access in California so I'm posting this from last week:

I was only at CHA for one day. I have a week planned of meeting people, networking and pitching some scrapbooking related TV show concepts while I'm here in LA, spend some face time with all the people I've been sending emails and voicemails to. I've been extremely fortunate to have two people watch Scrapped, "get it" and want to help get something bigger going. One is a woman that's gotten other TV shows off the ground and travels in circles of people who have some tasty programming currently airing on networks, the other is an actor friend of mine who has actually been pitching Scrapped to people with more bullish enthusiasm than I have myself. It's given me some tenacity.

I was a little bummed yesterday because I got the news that a meeting with the strongest lead, a production comany that has a dozen shows very similair to what we're shooting for on DIY, HGTV, Discovery, etc. had to bow out because they are no longer accepting unsolicited pitches, meaning they have a creative team of content developers and to avoid potential lawsuits they only make shows from concepts their team has come up with. This was discouraging because we had talked to a producer there that really liked our idea and we were going to present it to the VP of development, ie. we made it through the first couple tiers of hooking something up. That was one of a few things happening this week but still a drag. Now I'm focusing on giving everything else this week 110% and seeing what happens.

I asked my actor friend what it was like living in LA, the movie and TV mecca of the world, working your butt off perpetually working towards the next level, looking for a break, hustling, networking and living in the shadow of extreme success. I thought it might be like being an athlete in training and constantly living outside the olympic villiage. You catch glipses of the final events on TV, all lined up for viewers in a format where years of work comes down to 45 seconds with a final decisive conclusion. It sounds romantic but I just looked at it as foolishness. :0) Why bother with all the striving and emotional roller coaster? It's unpredictable, chaotic and pretty much sinking everything you've got into crap shoots with horrible odds of winning. Could it in some way be like a gambling problem where you're perpetually focued on the jackpot and in denial of the losses? My friend talked about how he'll go and see a movie and watch half a dozen trailers and say "there's another bunch of great movies I didn't read for" but also talked about all the decades of fantastic projects he's worked on, where he's traveled and who he's had time getting to know. He obviously takes joy in the process. He loves auditioning, loves working and obviously doesn't mind the thrill ride. He'll get a call for auditions and his face lights up when he's on the phone. Sure the winning is fun, finishing the race is something to be proud of in itself but he also loves the training.

He scored some VIP passes to see Bruce Hornsby last night at the Malibu Arts Center which is a small venue and very intimate. I'm a fan and looked forward to the music. Being there reminded me of what a diferent world I live in. In a venue so small you can actually see someone on stage without a jumbotron, in a place where I walked by Jackson Brown just standing around in the hallway a foot away, a place where people that I've listened to and had one way relationships with for years are making small talk... I felt the weirdness even more, the gap between "making it" and working it. As I sat down in the catwalk, in this dark quiet place away from everyone else and saw Bruce Hornsby play close enough for me to see the expressions on his face I closed my eyes and had a beautiful moment. He was a little arrogant, obviously had some bigger venues with "more important" people to play for but fundimentally it was him doing the thing he loves and it was speaking directly into my soul. It made me set aside the warm fuzzy celebrity sightings and remember the core reason of why we got started in whatever it is we're doing: we love it. If we find ways to make a living at it then hey, bonus! If not, we find joy in the times we're able to just do our thing.

What's your thing?

form and function

Sorry, I've been out of internet range for the last few days so I'm playing catch up:

Being a slow, lazy scrapbooker without a dedicated work space makes me appreciate all the products that make preserving memories faster and dummy proof for layouts and embellishment combinations. I like doing something artsy now and then but the bulk of things is trying to finish pages as fast as I'm taking pictures and have events in my life piling up. I've only been cropping for maybe six months and already there's a defecit so big that my best hope is to journal whatever I can and pass on potential pages to great-nieces and great-nephews.

Imagination Project ( through Emily and Ginger ) have come out with some embellishments that I thought were genius. Round stickers, modular date, event and placeholder stickers that make putting date stamps in layouts brainless and asthetically pleasing. I usually just scratc the info down in the corner but I guess the guy in me geeked out on the dual purpose and clever aspect of these things. You can check them out at

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Wow. Going to CHA was very different than going to previous events. Yes, it was ungodly big, I saw about 1/8th of it yesterday. part of the reason is that now instead of introducing myself and explaining what I'm doing people approach me and strike up a conversation. Whew. What a welcome change.

The scrapbook world is so big I still met many, many people for the first time who had never heard about the project but I felt ( brace yourself for ultimate corny... ) welcomed into the community. It started when I was walking up to the CK booth and Cathy Z. saw me down the aisle and pointed to show her friend. I just saw her before I left ( that's who I got the Simple Scrapbooks mag from ) but that was in a personal setting. It was crazy to think she was pointing me out in a crowd to someone else. I snapped a photo on telephoto in a crowd so the focus didn't lock in time but you get the idea. :0)

Another treat was to see Emily ( Circus Rose designer for Imagination Project ) and Ginger who I didn't get a picture with ( dammit! Sorry Ginger! You still rock. I'd be flattered if you would stalk me as well. No Nick undies though... sorry. ). Those guys are the best and are coming out with a great line of functional embellishments that I shot lots of pictures of. I'll post some when I get a chance.

In fact I'll just post some pics of people I got to meet or catch up with. Got a meeting in a couple minutes so I'll post some pics and fill in the cracks later. Basically I was overwhelmed with the speed of how fast companies come out with new products. Shocking. There's almost no way to keep up with everything. I'm very happy to see more products for layout-impaired people like


Friday, January 26, 2007

mislocated worker

Panera is packed but I think it's safe to say I'm the only guy here reading the new "baby issue" of Simple Scrapbooks. It's been six years since I pulled up the nasty carpet in our living room, dining room, two bedrooms and hallway and we're just now getting around to refinishing the wood floors. We're in the polyurathane stage and the whole house is stinky. I've tried working a couple hours at a time there but my throat gets burny so I escape to islands of free online access and pick up where I left of.

Here I am taking a break from emails and spreadsheets reading about Cathy Zielske's latest design tips and a "peek inside Donna Downey's studio." Some immediate differences I see between her studio and mine is that I have three computers and a laptop. It's a geek thing. One for editing, 2 terrabytes worth of backup server, a PC for testing and building web stuff for non Mac environments, blah blah blah. I also don't see drums, a bass and a Telecaster. I have a pretty big set of steer horns on my wall that I have to think would go swimmingly in her workspace and a full bar for emergencies and creative breakthroughs. I also happen to have a fantastic semi automatic Benelli 12 gauge I got for Christmas. I'll post pictures of my studio if you're interested since it won't be in publication any time soon. Other than that, I think we've got a lot in common and would love to meet her some day.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

paper cut

So has anyone ever heard of the chinese art of paper cuts? I'm sure it's got to be a tradition in other places but the Chinese have brought it to a whole new level. I was in a store looking at wall hangings and the clerk showed me some other items. He pulled out these little booklets with intricate designs cut out of tissue paper. At first I was thinking cool, but what in the world would you use these for? Then a second later I was buying them by the handful for embellishments. I don't know how to adhere them to a page yet but they are very thin and will lay flat behind a page protector or slide in if I just tack it in place with a small drop of something. I don't want to spray anyting on and risk discoloring it.

What a score! I love these things. Just when I thought there's nothing new under the embellishment sun I run into Paua shell stickers in New Zealand and paper cuts in China. I guess there's really no end to it all huh? Everybody's got something you can put in a scrapbook.

I bought an extra pack to give away so let's say that the person who can prove their birthday is the closest to February 5th ( the day I get back from CHA and some other stuff in LA ) gets a pack. Just scan in or take a photo of your drivers liscence or something with your birthday and I'll mail you out the goods when I return home on Feb. 5th. Mail your birthday info to

Here's a multi ethnic experience of my friend, my partner and myself having some Korean food in Bejing. Korea is pretty much surrounded by China and ocean so Bejing seems to be the nearest hot spot for Korean food, culture and visitors. Well, that's all until 2008 when rabid olympic groupies decend. I spent a few days across the way from the spaghetti building which will be used for opening ceremonies and such. Very interesting, as long as you're not the guy building it.

And what stop in Tokyo would be complete without picking up a high-5 good luck kitty?! I don't know what the official name is or the origin. It's just fun to think of a cat giving you the "power to the people" symbol of the black panthers. I dig it.



Monday, January 22, 2007

shoot me

Fitting China into a tiny lens and slapped onto a two dimensional screen is one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do ( next to working with a Chinese crew who obviously don't know American terms for things like rack focus, medium tight and pan / dolly shots. )

The big fun is that we're shooting in 1080i high defenition so some big scale stuff still retains it's wow factor. This trip is making me appreciate scrapbooking because I took for granted being able to take fun pictures and journal whatever I want to fill in the gaps of the story. Now that I'm back in the saddle with production on commercial projects it seems restricting. I've got to get a finite amount of information into a tiny window of time / picture and it all needs to be polished, focused and condensed. Experience your freedom scrapbookers! Don't get overwhelmed with lack of structure and boundaries. Revel in it!

( PS. I know this sounds hokey, like I'm trying to be cute and warm - fuzzy about scrapbooking but ( yikes ) I actually believe it! )

food stuffs

Things I never thought I'd eat but enjoyed immensely:
fish stomach,
cuttle fish,
duck neck,
jelly fish,
duck blood soup,
sea cucumber,
lotus flower root,
and numerous other things I can't think of off the top of my head.

Shooting's going good. Too busy to hunt down reliable internet access so I apologize if you've sent emails and I haven't returned them yet. I'll post more within 24 hours!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On Location

I've made a couple long flights in the last few months but for some reason this one seemed to take forever. Now I'm here in Bejing with my freinds Dave and Rob to start shooting a project about doing business in China. Quite a shift from Scrapbooking so I'm mentally shifting gears from being in front of the camera and coordinating everything to just working on directing stuff from the other side and letting Dave do all the work.

Scrapbooking has already crept in to my brain on the trip though and I've been taking pictures of things and mentally making notes on things I don't want to forget. I've also been keeping my eye out for things I can stick on pages as embellishments.

Met with our Chinese partner Mr. Wong and his connection Grace who has been wrangling up gear for us and arranging lights, cameras and crew. Grace is a producer with CCTV channel 2 which seems to be business and trade news so she's well versed in what we're doing technically and topically. I met our camera man Tony last night at dinner. Thankfully many Chinese people that work with westerners have "American names" because I kept forgetting his real one. Tony and I decided that my Chinese should be Cow Yah ( don't know how to spell it ) the name of the cooked duck dish we were eating. I figured it would be a fitting title if things tank on the set and I end up wrecking something. You know, just to instill confidence in the crew. ;0)

Here's a picture of Dave the on camera guy and Joe Wong, our Chinese partner who's got all the connections. You can probably figure out who's who.

Of course I'm excited to start shooting tomorrow morning ( well, this morning I guess... it's 3:00 AM and I'm still adjusting to the time difference. ) We'll be doing everything in HD and some of the test shots I've run have looked wonderful. Everything's unique to western eyes, everything's different.

It's certainly a small world being in Northfield, Minnesota on a Friday and in Bejing on a Monday. Heres some pictures I look forward to doing some layouts with. It's hard to take a picture of a city with ten million people so I kept focusing on the little things that caught my eye and stayed away from broad brushstrokes.

Nope, this post isn't very interesting and has almost nothing to do with scrapbooking but a lot of this blog has been personal and relational so I figured I'd throw this stuff in because people have asked. I look forward to posting some pictures of us shooting next time. See Ya!

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Just aheads up, if you're in southern Minnesota you can tune in to KYMN 1080 AM tomorrow morning. Nick Sinclair and I are being interviewed on Paula Granquist's show to talk about the gallery opening, the month long Scrapbooking exhibit and documentary film making. It won't be streamed on the web but I'll get a copy of the broadcast and post it when I'm back in town on the 21rst.

9:05 AM, 01/05/07
KYMN 1080 AM
Paula Granquist's show.



Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Got up this morning thinking about all the stuff I have to do: Mail 500 DVD's off for Kerri Kuzel @ Scrapbook Adhesives to be part of the World's Biggest Scrapbook project for the Make a Wish Foundation which is going to be displayed at CHA in Anaheim ( ) , I need to follow up on some upcoming scrapbook media related projects ( maybe some TV and distribution stuff ), need to go through the script, gear and legistics for a project I'll be shooting in Bejing next week ( a pilot for a TV / DVD series ) and am starting to sort through all the stuff in my house in anticipation of putting it on the market. At any given time in the last year I've had upwards of ten thousand DVD's floating around, in the garage, in the studio, in the spare bedroom and in the office - often simultaniously. I've recently gotten a storage space but why pay a couple hundred bucks a month when you can make a bigger house payment right? ;0)

I've also outgrown the basement studio and am shooting enough footage now for different projects that I'm looking at homes that have enough space to build a set on site. We'll see what happens...

Going through my list I was thinking what the heck am I doing? Overbooking life? Yes. Going places and doing things outside of my comfort and skill levels? Yes. I turned around and looked out the window because outside felt bigger than a crowded office and saw the sunrise. Well, I saw a bunch of trees in front of a sunrise. I grabbed a camera and ran outside in a T Shirt to snap a couple pictures. It reminded me of the cliche' about not seeing the forest for the trees.

This time of year is filled with reflection. Where you're going, where you've been... I remembered moving out here to the suburbs seven years ago and thinking Minnetonka was the last outpost of civilization. It felt like the boonies and although I missed the homes we had in South Minneapolis where Connie and I lived for a long time, I didn't miss the airplane noise, the grafitti on our garage, the junk in our alley, the crime, the parking, on and on. Now I can't imagine living anywhere else. As I start up another video project about international business with China I remember not knowing scratch about scrapbooking - nothing. Not what an embellishment was, not even knowing 12 x 12 was a standard page size. This week I got to visit and hear from all kinds of friends I've met in the biz and people who sent in layouts for the show on Friday. Not only am I scrapbooking and can't see how it won't be a part of my life for years but am looking forward to developing more media around it and getting newbies to try it. Sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees. What an interesting year 2006 has been. I hope I don't look back on it as a big mass of sunrise obstruction and look at all the individual occurances instead. That adds much more texture to the picture. :0)

One of the fun things I did this week was write an article for Scrapbook Retailer magazine about men and scrapbooking. It won't come out until June / July and I can't really post it but I can put up an un cropped, untouched picture for the article.

What have you done in '06 and what are you looking at in '07?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

in the news

Made it on the Fox 9 morning news. How cool is that?

Click here for ipod download

Click here for Windows Media Player download

Click here for Quicktime download

You can visit the Fox 9 Twin Cities website here.

I've also been slow in posting because I'm getting ready for the Grezzo Gallery show in Northfield Friday night. Thanks for all the fantastic layouts from Utah, Tenessee, Colorado, Missouri, New York, Wisconsin and right here in the great white north! I tried to put them all in the picture for this post and it wasn't working. Too many and too many people to be bummed if their layout didn't make it to the blog. Sorry! :0)