Episode 35: Outstanding in His Depth of Field with Adam Lisagor

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Adam Lisagor didn't set out to be the face of app advertising, but his acting and directing style mesh perfectly with the zeitgeist. It's a bit of irony without the snark. It's charming, straightforward, quiet, and informative. You've almost certainly seen his work repeatedly, and once you follow this link to Sandwich Video and watch some of his studio's work, you'll be able to recognize his work from now on. From his first video to promote an app he was co-developing to the massive amount of work done since, Adam has defined a style that others now aspire to. But this wasn't a plan. We'll talk about how he got here. (Adam is on Twitter and App.net.)

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Show notes

The Glif Kickstarter video featured a camero by Adam. (I interviewed the guys behind Glif, Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt, in Episode 26 on June 6, 2013.) AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) started appearing in the early 2000s, and it created a new kind of interactivity that allowed fully functional in-browser Web apps that felt something like native apps. We stopped using it as a term because it essentially became necessary. You can tell when you go to a site without it, as every, action, takes, a, page, load.

Merlin Mann, force of nature, inspires us all. Douglas Adams told a story about falling asleep under a tree and coming up with the idea for Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy so many times that he said it was eventually erased from his actual recall. (Don't read the fifth book in the trilogy, Mostly Harmless; he was depressed when he wrote it, and it will make you feel sad about the first four books.)

Greg Pak is the writer of the current Batman/Superman run, and it's magnificent. Go to Comixology and buy it or find your local comic-book store through them. Greg created a movie called Robot Stories before he went into comic-book writing. (I talked to him and Jonathan Coulton in Episode #25 on May 29, 2013.)

I talk to David Malki next week, but due to the rotation of the earth and time dilation, I say that I had talked to him before this podcast. (Did I mention we tape somewhat in advance?)

Walter Benjamin wrote "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (1936) in which he writes things like, "The violation of the masses, whom Fascism, with its Führer cult, forces to their knees, has its counterpart in the violation of an apparatus which is pressed into the production of ritual values." But it's a great read that challenges our notions of what reproduction means.

The MōVI is a new motion-stabilizing camera rig. Peter Jackson shot a wonderful explanation of how they used RED cameras and 3D rigs to make The Hobbit's three parts. The Hobbit's high-frame rate (HFR) of 48 frames per second could be garish and directors have to get used to it and change their methods.

Birdhouse is an app that lets you compose tweets and not send them until you've perfected them. Adam's programming collaborator is Cameron Hunt. In the early days of Twitter, the company anointed people on a recommended-to-follow list that brought folks like Tim Siedell (@badbanana), Michele Catalano (@inthefade), and Jason Sween (@sween) to the attentions of many hundreds of thousands. John Moltz is funny guy. You read him.

L'esprit d l'escalier is the clever retort you remember to say after you've left and are on the staircase ("spirit of the staircase"). When Adam tries to say l'esprit d l'escalier, he turns to previous guest, Stéphan Angoulvant of Lumi, to help with the pronunciation. The coincidence of Stéphan being there is that Lumi shares its business office space with Sandwich Video. Stéphan and his business partner Jesse Genet appear in Episode #11: Expose Yourself to Art, February 20, 2013.

Do you remember the horrible old days in which you couldn't copy and paste on an iPhone? Me neither.

The Algonquin Round Table was a literally round table at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan where wits of the day would gather and exchange bon mots. I've always modeled myself after Alexander Woollcott (the model himself for the unwanted guest in The Man Who Came to Dinner. Adam liked to read anthologies of humor as a kid, and particularly called out Woody Allen and Fran Lebowitz. As mentioned in many previous podcasts, Clay Shirky's "Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality."

Scott Simpson, Merlin Mann, and Adam were the podcast You Look Nice Today, currently on indefinite hiatus due to circumstances beyond conventional physics. The German movie I was thinking of is called Viktor Vogel — Commercial Man (in the German release! released in America as Advertising Rules).