BROADCAST:  Monday, December 1, 2003
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What's On Deck? CBC Radio Computer Columnist, Sue Braiden.


Thinking about buying a home computer this Christmas for your creative teen?

Gavin Booth calls today's home computers "Hollywood-in-a-Box" for students and young film makers, and even used his own to help make a full length feature film right here in Essex County.

Tune in on Monday, December 1st when Booth talks to computer columnist Sue Braiden about how he used his PC to launch a film career that now has him working with Grammy award winning Detroit music artist Eminem, and hosting an online screenplay writing contest in 2004.

Gavin BoothGavin Booth Gavin Booth is a savvy young independant film maker from Windsor, and he's out to prove that Hollywood North maybe a lot further East than people think. With a shoestring budget (only $25,000, which would be seen as an impossibly small amount to make a movie with even by independant film industry standards), and a couple of computers outfitted with film editting software, Booth set out to make a full length feature film right here in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

And he did.

With shooting complete and editing beginning, Gavin Booth is already juggling the script for his next project, lecturing at writer's groups and local highschools, and running Mimetic Productions, a full-time business providing services for television, film, corporate video and multimedia. Oh yeah -- did I mention the upcoming project he's landed with Detroit rap artist "Eminem", and the fact that before the film's even hit the theatres, the youngest star of Gavin's movie has already won a model search competition and has just been signed by "Disney"?

If it feels a little like Gavin Booth might have the Midas Touch, you're right. Sitting down over a mugga joe with this vibrant young novitiate will leave you equal parts shell-shocked and inspired. He's a passionate storyteller who would be comfortable in any medium, and while the visual spark of film may be appealing, Booth is able to turn even a café table into a storyboard, tantalizing you with the "accidents" of a young life drawn into film making, and how being told "NO" was the usual compelling fuel for getting impossibile things done.

Booth is prismatic. He's the poster child for the possibilities of youth when given encouragement and a few basic tools to go out into the world with. In Gavin's case, this meant a video camera and a computer. If you're thinking about buying a computer for your own young prodigy this Christmas, Gavin's example might be an interesting guide.

What to look for? Read on to learn more ...


Gavin uses computers to help make films. Why does he call them "Hollywood in a Box"?

Gavin is able to use a PC to do everything from editing to marketing. With a couple of big hard drives, and a heavy-duty processor, he's able to manage a film project in-house from start to finish, from special effects and sound, to marketing and networking with people who can share ideas and offer services. This is a real boost for independent film makers with small budgets.

Most personal computers you buy today are equipped with a robust set of multimedia tools right off the shelf. Bigger hard drives and faster processors are making it possible to tackle multimedia film projects, and even burn them straight to DVD. While the hardware is an important part of the process, Gavin will tell you that the software you use is critical.

Apple's Emmy Award Winning Final Cut ProOne of the better movie making suites on the market is Apple's Emmy Award Winning "Final Cut Pro", developed for the Mac computer platform. It's being adopted by more and more of the large movie houses to handle editing, and one that you can buy off the shelf at your favourite electronics store or website.

(See this product: Canada     U.S. )

This is a case where the software and need should dictate the hardware you buy. Many people will tell you that, while there are a bevy of robust multimedia PCs hitting the shelves this Christmas, the "Mac" is the only thing to look for when buying a computer that you're going to use for publishing or film. If you've already got a personal computer instead of a Mac, and you're looking for audio-video editing and special effects software, Gavin suggest checking out Adobe.

(See this product: Canada     U.S. )

Digital Movie CameraGavin also talks about the Panasonic DVX 100 digital video camera that he uses to film his work. It uses conventional mini DV tapes the same as home camcorders, yet creates a look that is identical to 35mm film. Matching the look of Hollywood, it's now being accepted for MTV and MuchMusic videos. Gavin says that while film has been the defacto industry standard for the last 100 years, the medium's now going digital.

(See Panasonic's latest line-up: the PVGS200 3CCD MiniDV Camcorder, the VDRM50 DVD Camcorder and the VDRM70 DVD Camcorder )

Gavin points out that George Lucas pioneered the medium with the StarWars movies, shooting them entirely in digital instead of the traditional 35mm film. He's pleased that Hollywood-style film making capabilities are "rapidly becoming more available to the small guy like who says I want to go out and make a film and I have limited funds to do it".

Where film-based cameras cost up to $100,000, film makers are now turning to high quality digital video recorders for $4,000 - $6,000. The quality rivals traditional film, they're incredibly compact/portable, and the price puts them within the reach of even small, independant film houses.


Gavin BoothGavin Booth How does a young, unknown film maker from Windsor end up working with a Grammy award winning music artist like Eminem?

Today's computers come equipped with robust multimedia tools allowing you to create rich show-and-tell style projects that can be shared across the internet. This allowed Gavin to constantly network and market himself, connecting and collaborating with other people in the industry.

Gavin not only uses a computer to add sound, special effects and do the editing, he's able to compress and package the finished work into a DVD instantly, and also into web-ready formats that allow him to share movie trailers. It's a cost effective way to reach broader markets, and gain instant audiences.

Gavin also uses his computer to network with other people in the industry, swapping tips about film making, culling leads about places to be seen and heard, and even collaborating on projects. This collaboration places him in the path of a number of interesting folks, the latest being Detroit rap artist "Eminem".

Gavin's the first to tell you that it doesn't matter if you're young, or broke, or living in Windsor. Today's tools allow you to do things and reach people that independant film makers never had the chance to reach before.


How is Gavin using computers to reach out to other young film makers in the area?

Through his business "Mimetic Productions" Gavin is hosting an online screenplay writing contest in 2004, giving students and other young film makers the chance to network and connect.

Keep an eye on the Mimetic website for more information about this in the new year ...


So how do people learn more about these projects?

You can visit Gavin's website to track his progress:

The trailer for the full length feature film that he just finished shooting locally is linked to from the front page of the website.


A Note from Sue ...

Click here to visit Sue Braiden's personal website Some Thoughts of Your Own To Share?

gentle listener :)

If you were inspired by Gavin's story when you tuned in to the computer column on CBC Radio, and you'd like to meet Gavin in person, consider yourself invited to the "Coffee Exchange" downtown on Ouelette Avenue on Tuesday, December 2nd from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.. Gavin will be joining us for the final "NaNoWriMo" (National Novel Writing Month) coffee house.

Know of other people who are showing breakthrough innovation in the way that they use their computers? Drop me a line and let me know who they are, and what they're up to ...

I'm always grateful for your feedback. I want your experience as a listener, and as a visitor to the website, to make your journey as a computer consumer easier and more valuable.

As always, if you have some thoughts on topics you'd like to see covered in future shows, I invite you to visit the Listeners' Picks forum to tell me about it. I'm always looking for stories to share about great new consumer computing products and services.

Have a terrific Monday morning, and let's keep talking!




Click here to find out what I'm recommending to help you start your own celluloid adventure ...

What Did We Talk About During the Last Few Shows?

Monday, November 17, 2003

CitiStat: A Chance for Citizens to Tap Into Public Service from their Home Computer?

During the recent city election Mayor-Elect Eddie Francis promised to implement a program called "CitiStat". He said it was a key strategy in his commitment to delivering a more open and accountable public service. It was the topic of much debate in the weeks leading up to the election, and lingering confusion about exactly what this program does.

Why does Mr. Francis think applying an American-based model is going to work here in Windsor, and exactly what is it going to cost us when he does?

click here to learn more ...

Monday, November 3, 2003

Turning Your Knowledge Into Cash: Are You the Next Online Professor?

So you've been laid off, you're bored with your job, you've retired, or you're just plain ready for a change. Maybe it's time to cash in on that noggin' of yours! With online learning booming on the internet, and a host of virtual campuses looking to connect their tools with your know-how, a brand new career may be as close as your home PC.

If you missed this show on Monday, November 3rd, you can still check out the website to learn more about how you can cash in on your "knowledge collateral". Want to know which electronic campuses are inviting you to teach? Which ones have the best tools? The best opportunities to earn a profit from your special brand of knowledge? From raising ferrets to raising the Titanic -- whatever your talent or skill, there's a market, and I'm going to help you find it.

click here to learn more ...

Monday, October 20, 2003

Flash Mobs ... Social menace or future champion of collective community action?

From PDAs to cellphones with text messaging, as the latest round of gadgets hits critical mass in the consumer computing market, a fountain of innovative social applications seems to spontaneously erupt. The latest trend? "Flash mobs" -- gangs of pranksters whose collective action is fuelled by a variety of mobile computing gadgets.

Are "Flash mobs" to mobile computing what Napster was to "peer-to-peer networks"? Social menace or future champion of collective community action? Tune in on Monday, October 20th to learn more about how this latest trend in consumer computing is taking hold in wired communities in the U.S., and is beginning to catch on globally.

Suddenly feel the urge to join one of these secret societies on one of their next clandestine events, or simply learn more about what they've been up to? Here are the online hangouts of some of the more notorious "Flash Mobs" ...

Rheingold and company's

Rather just talk about it? Social menace or future champion of some collective community action? You be the judge over in the "Edible Computer listener forums". I'm inviting listeners to share their own ideas about the kind of future innovation that the "flash mobs" trend might lead to.

Monday, October 6, 2003

This is one fashion trend you definitely DID NOT see at the Emmy's last week: "wearable" computers ...

While it might be a while before you see a Calvin Klein PC miniskirt go down the catwalk, high tech company Xybernaut is looking to put a backpack PC on your kids' shoulders, and a head-mounted colour display on you. Sounds a little far-fetched? Not according to companies like Bell Canada who thought outfitting 19 technicians with lightweight wearable computers and saving each an hour a day was a good bet.

Whether you're a company looking to save time and money in the field, or a parent looking for ways to give little Johnny the competitive edge at school, tune in on Monday, October 6th to learn more about how this latest consumer computing trend might be your next best investment.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Throw away your business cards and burn a mittful of mini-CDs. It's a memorable yet cost-effective way to reach out and touch someone ...

Why hand them a business card when you can hand them a business card CD? Maybe you're looking to gain an edge with a potential employer by tucking a portable, a multimedia resumé in their hand, complete with an audio video greeting and dynamic examples of your work? Or perhaps you're a small business person looking for a cost-effective way to leave a big impression with the folks you have the chance to network with at a meeting? Hand them your best PowerPoint presentation on a mini CD instead of your business card, and they're sure to remember you. Maybe you're an independent music artist or filmmaker looking for a novel way to reach out and touch someone with demo songs or a trailer of your new production? Hit the Toronto Film Festival armed with a mittful of your best stuff on a business card CD.

Tune in on Monday, September 22nd to learn more about this affordable, portable media, and to find out where you can get top-notch presentation software and CD burning utilities for free.

Missed my shows on dealing with the latest round of viruses and tools to stop them in their tracks and clean up after them when they're gone? You can still help yourself to the tips and the tools by clicking on the links above.

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