Waking up
Saturday was my last day at the Festival. Since my presentation was over, I treated myself to some time off from telling the Festival story on this web site. When I went back to the hotel Friday night, I just checked my email and a little news on the web, then went to sleep. (From what I remember from looking at the clock, it was still quite early, Mountain Time, so maybe I'd make up for the few hours of sleep each of the other nights.) Hopefully, I'd be able to sleep longer despite the altitude, which seemed to be affecting lots of people's sleep and causing a variety of headaches.

When I awoke the next morning, no headache, I found that indeed I had slept later than the days before. Too late, unfortunately. The hotel clock showed a time later than my alarm was supposed to go off, yet no alarm. I checked my watch on the night table: It still said 10:17:33pm the night before. No wonder I thought I went to bed early (I guess it was closer to midnight). For the rest of the day I had to use the clock on my cell phone to tell time... I hurried to put a bit more on the web site, pack, and get downstairs. We were starting a bit later today.

While checking out, I saw all of these people in dirt-bike clothes. In the parking lot, what should we see -- not only lots of bikes starting but also a hot-air balloon:

Hot air ballon over our hotel parking lot   Bike driving
The hotel parking lot as we left
I heard that the riders (there were lots of them) had gone 120 miles the day before. Today, people tell me, they just went up and down the ski slopes.

Howard Bingham
I got to the theater a bit late (trying to take biker pictures), and missed the introduction of Howard Bingham, a photographer and an Apple Master it turns out. As I sat down he started playing a video clip of him on the witness stand at a famous trial:

Howard on witness stand
Something about him taking a plane and whether or not he flew first class (which he usually did). When asked if he was a good photographer, he answered, under oath, "...the World's Greatest Photographer" and then cracked up laughing. I didn't get the joke, yet. Turns out, not only is he a great photographer (judging from the photographs we got to see) but he also is Muhammad Ali's photographer (and Muhammad Ali is the "Word's Greatest", so he's the World's Greatest's photographer -- now I get it -- it was early in the morning.) You can learn more about him on his web site, www.howardbingham.com.

Howard Bingham
Howard Bingham
Howard then proceeded to tell us how he became a photographer: By trying hard to get a job and keep trying to learn, not by doing well in school -- here's the "F" he got in photography at school:

Photography grade on transcript
Grade on transcript
Inspiring when he talks to kids who are struggling with school!

For the rest of his presentation, he just showed us picture after picture he had taken. We learned from the next speaker, Ken Harper of Rolling Thunder, that public people and events help evoke memories of personal stories. Howard's pictures were of people and events many of us remembered vividly and emotionally. Having him describe them, actually having been there, having his voice be a connection to those (to us) mythical moments, was incredible. These weren't myths, these were his friends. For copyright reasons I can't show you the images, but let me tell you about some:

There was Bill Cosby and his family, especially pictures of his son Ennis who was killed and the Hello Friend foundation founded in his memory (Howard's a friend of the Cosby family). There was the young Ali, a new sensation in boxing. There was Ali and Malcolm X. There was Ali and Joe Frazier. There was Ali and the Beatles. Ali and Kareem. Ali and Howard Cosell. Ali and Elvis. Ali lighting the Olympic flame. Ali and John Kennedy, Jr. Ali and Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. Ali and Nelson Mandela. Howard and Fidel Castro (very recently). Howard and the Pope. Lots from his book about Ali, Muhammad Ali: A Thirty-Year Journey, I assume. Check out his web site to learn about the book -- it's worth getting if you can. (I think you can buy it from his web site -- Amazon says "out of print".)

Each image brought up memories for me. My notes said: "Chills & tears & Awe". The awe was not only of the people but also at the skill with which Howard took the pictures -- the lighting, the expressions, the composition. The comfort the people in the pictures seemed to have with having their picture taken. It was embarrassing to sit there snapping away, having him ask up into the audience (in my direction) with a little laugh, "Do you think it will come out?" (It did.)

Here's a picture of Howard speaking to us, looking up at himself on the Sports Illustrated cover (you can read the article, and others, on his web site):

Cover of Sports Illustrated
Howard looking at his picture
Here's Howard in front of his picture sorter on the screen:

Lots of pictures real small
His pictures
He ended by giving a few (lucky) people copies of his book.

For those of you too young to remember Ali as the most famous person in the world, let me tell you about the one time I saw him in person. I was at Ben Rosen / Esther Dyson's PC conference in Palm Springs, California; January 1983, I think. Ali was attending a fighter's training camp at the same hotel. We were walking to some event outside. I was next to Steve Jobs and maybe Bill Gates was there. Ali walked down the street. I just remember how we all stopped to watch, mouths open, even Steve. I remember how well he carried himself and his tailored clothes. It made our industry seem small -- here were our top people and all we could do was stand and stare as "the Greatest" walked by oblivious to us and our industry. (I also have a story of Ali picking up a friend of mine hitchhiking, but that's another story for another time. As you see, Ali is near to my heart.)

As he left, of course, people went up for an autograph (not me, I was after him to get permission to show the picture of him and the cover):

Signing autograph
Signing an autograph
Ken Harper
The next speaker, after a break to get the computers working, was Ken Harper, chairman of Rolling Thunder Media. Ken has been many things, most recently the strategic marketing director for Intel's Developer Relations Group. His talk was about Digital Storytelling as a business, but with one foot firmly planted in personal emotion.

Ken Harper
Ken Harper
His new company, Rolling Thunder Media, tries to bring the "brand experience on-line" -- "Using digital storytelling as a marketing practice."

He showed us some examples of his work. You can see some of it on his web site, www.rolling-thunder.com. He didn't get to play the one about himself (that was the technical difficulties with equipment that forced the break), but some of us saw it later at the airport. It's "Namaste" in his Media section (click on the picture of the monk on the site).

Collage of images
Rolling Thunder media: Examples of Digital Storytelling
He played the story of a nurse who survives cancer:

Internet Health Heros
One person's story
He played a variety of pieces. In the Veterans Virtual Museum Prototype, he played "Winning My War", the story of a medic who becomes an alcoholic in Vietnam and then finds meaning in the New Directions organization (there is a story about the organization as "New Directions" on the Museum Prototype page in the Media section of the web site):

Veterans Virtual Museum Prototype
Intro screen
My notes: "more hankies". The thing about the stuff he showed was that it was all part of the marketing and public outreach of organizations and companies: mixing storytelling, emotion, and branding.

He then talked a lot about storytelling. Here are my notes:

   Hearing people say it while the viewers see the images is important: Audio is important. (My question: "When text vs. audio?)
   Everyone has personal stories relating to public people and events (see my reactions to Howard Bingham, above).
   Additional revenue potential from assets: Licensing pictures/sound for personal stories.
   Audio at 28.8 is OK. Use slideshows (like we're doing here with RealSlideshow) instead of video on the Web today.
   Some people tell stories better, some help others tell their stories better, hence his business.
   Why he has a business: "Money is energy."

This was another example of a person moving from one endeavor in their lives to one that proselytizes storytelling. That keeps coming up at this Festival.

Fabrice Florin
Next up was Fabrice Florin, vice president of Online Entertainment at Macromedia. His talk was about the line between professional storytelling and personal storytelling. They were exploring ways to mix great authors' material with regular people's ownership of their own storytelling.

Fabrice Florin
Fabrice Florin
He started by showing examples of branching off of a narrative for context and details:

Story of DNA discovery
Story of DNA discovery
It was based on a movie about the discovery of DNA, and played parts of it. At any point, you could stop the movie and go deeper and deeper, getting more and more information about an event, often seeing an interview with the real person, not an actor. This is another example of the type of combined stories and site, like the one that Carolyn May showed about Frank Lloyd Wright on Friday morning. Since my company's product, Trellix Web, is great for putting stuff like this together easily and quickly, the statement of "branching off" made me feel good (they even us something that looked like our map). There was a place for web site-like organization in storytelling. It wasn't all just one long linear narration with voice.

The rest of his talk was showing off their material and experiments with mixing professional and personal. He showed a chat room where a professional comedian tells jokes and others kibitz. He showed stuff at www.shockwave.com, their site, where you can make your own cartoons, your own greeting cards, etc., all mixing with professional material. They also have games. Here's a shot of the Shockmachine (go see it to watch the cool animation while it works):

Some of his observations from their work: With chat and participating, it worked best as part of party games. They spent millions of dollars on some material, but 30% of their activity is in the greeting cards part, which only cost $200,000 to develop. They are searching for stuff like greeting cards that gets lots of hits per dollar of their work. A cartoon may be real cool, but you only look at it once and then maybe tell a friend or two. The ad revenue for some of the cartoons is enough to pay some cartoonists good money, but nothing like the "make it yourself" systems that reuse content over and over again adding content from the viewer (e.g., Dr. Katz does the setup in a comic strip, but you add the punch line about your sister's nose job.)

He discussed Flash (their vector graphics plug-in that is in over 100 million browsers, he said) and Shockwave (which takes Macromedia Director material and requires a 2MB download). They get 18 million Shockwave/Flash downloads a month, he claimed, making their "channel", he says, "...bigger than a cable TV network." (!)

Shelley McIntyre
To introduce RealNetworks' Shelley McIntyre, their evangelist, Dana stated: "Tools are the issue", that we must have easy to use tools for nonprofessionals to enable us all to tell stories and create community. That's why he invited RealNetworks to speak.

Shelley got up and told us how she completely redid her presentation after hearing, and being inspired by, the others. She stayed up late at night and put together a story from her life, not a corporate example of selling houses or whatever, like they usually show. She then showed her view of an event in her life. It was a one-time showing, very personal and funny. She also showed her favorite of their standard slideshows, about the Art Cows in Chicago. (You can see Art Cows in the Product Showcase section of the RealSlideshow material on the RealNetworks web site.)

Shelley McIntyre
Shelley McIntyre
She explained RealSlideshow, and RealSlideshow Plus, their products. RealSlideshow is an easy to use Windows (currently) product that makes, and publishes to the web, slideshows with pictures, sound, and transitions, that play over the web through their RealPlayer G2. (Trellix is working with them to have a Web Gem for Trellix Web that will simplify linking such slideshows into your web sites when RealSlideshow Plus ships in a month or two.)

Screenshot of RealSlideshow
Screenshot with parts named
Reasons for it
Reasons for RealSlideshow
She ended with an announcement of the RealSlideshow Festival, which starts October 7th. (This was the main reason for her attending, to announce the Festival to an audience of people who might make great content for them to show off.) It's an on-line festival for showcasing stories created with RealSlideshow, weekly winners chosen by some of the Festival presenters among others, prizes, etc. See their web site for more info. There is a free download of RealSlideshow in addition to the $29.95 Plus version.

That was it for the morning!

Next: The rest of Saturday >