I used to have a piece here giving a quick background on me, my thoughts and my life. Now though I think it makes much more sense to have a few videos that I feel reflect me and my personality. Hopefully this will help you to understand me as a person much better than any blurb that I put here. Enjoy.
Note about the site: I have used flavors.me to build this. In my quest to find the perfect service that pulls in all my online activity this is the latest version. Please feel free to send any comments or suggestions.
A quick update to note that I am moving on from my time at Activision and joining the ranks of EA as Manager – Digital Communications.
Woking at Activision over the last three and a bit years has been a fantastic experience. Getting to have an impact on the marketing across all the titles has been absolutely invaluable for me and I cannot have asked for a better group of people to work with during that time.
A particular highlight was of course Destiny. As many people know working with Bungie was a real dream come true for me and being able to play a part in bringing their latest mega franchise to the world was unbelievable.
I also cannot overstate how exciting it was to work on Call of Duty and what I learnt whilst doing so will always remain with me.
Now it is time for something new and getting to go to EA and join the team that look after digital marketing is incredibly exciting. I cannot wait to get started and get my teeth into the work for the titles that are coming out in 2016 and beyond.
In 2015 I set myself the goal of recording one second of video each day. The idea behind this was to satisfy my creative curiosity and to provide a way to document what I knew was going to be an exceptionally busy year. Despite some issues with some of the images (the Hyperlapse app unfortunately doesn’t work 100% of the time in dull light) I think the final result has turned out really well.
This isn’t the first time I have set myself what can seem like a difficult new years resolution goal. In 2012 I challenged myself many more goals with a central one being to take a photo every day. What I learned then and expanded on in 2015 was that with some simple planning and being prepared to be reactive when called upon this can be achieved and produce strong results.
I have had a few people ask me about how they might go about such a project so here are some thought starters that I think work for a personal project like this and also when approaching a new year of work.
What moments do we know are coming? What opportunities will there be to create content? All through 2016 there will be events and calendar moments that we know about so planning what you want to create/record/do at that event now (even if top level) will be a huge benefit when the day arrives.
What tools do you need to be reactive in the moment?I ensured I always had my phone, the apps I needed on the main page and a battery pack with me so I could never miss an opportunity. Never under estimate how important it is to identify the tools you need and keeping them with you.
Content themes and structures, what is the central message you want to convey? For my 2015 project I had a very clear vision centred around the camera providing my point of view day to day with a forward moving/walking motion. This allowed me to not only capture moments in less exciting times but also surprise and delight my intended audience with more eye catching visuals. Giving structure to your intended project in this way will allow for more creative freedom and also helps prevent “writers block” from creeping in.
What does your content publishing structure look like? Which channels will you be using and how can they be used best? For this project I knew my primary channels would be my blog, Vimeo and Instagram which were then supported by Facebook and Twitter. My plan was always to provide regular monthly updates with 15 second Instagram video updates that fell in between these to provide more irregular timing to keep the project front of mind. Keeping some form of structure is important in educating your audience when to expect certain pieces of content. But also providing that which is less expected helps to grab their attention as well. In my case long form content was given a regular cadence with short form falling at more sporadic moments.
If things aren’t working out are you prepared to move and change?Originally I was planing on using YouTube as my primary video platform but unfortunately some technical issues with encoding meant I had to switch early on to Vimeo. This highlights the importance of needing to react if something isn’t working and being prepared with a back up plan. I also ensured to listen to people’s comments to see if there was something they were losing interest in and had they done so I would have altered areas of my approach.
These key points that helped me approach #SamsProject2015 can be applied to a number of areas, not just content production. I hope that those who watch the video enjoy it and that my thoughts above provide some inspiration as we move into 2016.
What a crazy year! I’m not sure I have ever been so busy with so much travelling around the UK and on trips abroad.
To recap (not in chronological order):
Bishops Waltham Festival
SW4 – Faithless Headliner
Axwell ^ Ingrosso gig
Ministry of Sound night
All the Southampton FC matches
Call of Duty Championships in LA
Star Wars Secret Cinema
Dublin Facebook Conference
FA Cup Final
Holiday in Turkey
Rugby World Cup – Samoa v USA
My friends wedding
Lots of walking…
A fair few birthday parties
Right back when I announced I was going to do this I had a grand vision in mind of how the video could look. One continuous walking motion with straight lines keeping consistency in the images. Obviously that is not how it completely turned out as you know…life…. but I am overall happy with the result.
This was largely born out of my enjoyment of creating videos and also a nice challenge to set myself to document the year. I think as a video art project it has turned out well and has become much more personal than I really expected. I can see how my mood changes and have memories attached with each second. It has also made me acutely aware of just how much can happen within such a small time frame.
One thing I learned from #SamsProject2012 was that I did not include my friends and family enough, something I was determined to change with this new project. Thanks to all of you for putting up with me randomly walking towards you with my phone filming
There are technical problems with the video that I addressed in the first update. I am frustrated that not every shot is in focus or that the Hyperlapse app worked 100% of the time to give the true steady-cam effect. It definitely needed bright lights to give the best effect but of course I was not able to always record during the day, especially at my most busy times of the year. If I was to ever do this again I would look at either a camera set up or getting a steady-cam rig for my phone. However having said that there is something special to the in the moment nature of the shots which is achieved by using a phone camera. If I had anything more intrusive it may have taken away from that.
The video at the top of this post is the main one that uses the track Let It Happen by Tame Impala, one of my favourite tracks from 2015. I created this version as I think having a music track underneath the images helps to carry it along. I was inspired to use that song as I felt the walking pace and the structure of the song matched the images almost perfectly. The inspiration to create this version came in the final week of the year and I think it was a good call.
For those interested below is the full 365 second clips without anything else added and the original sound.
Thanks to everyone who has come along on this ride with me. It has been great reading people’s comments and getting feedback as the year has gone on.
Happy New Year and I hope 2016 is an incredible one for you.
Whoops! It is the end of October and I am only just putting the September blog up now. Well at least you don’t have long to wait until the next instalment!
A quick trip to Cardiff, Bestival, Southampton Boat Show, a visit to Selsey, the Rugby World Cup, Star Wars Secret Cinema, a day at Marwell and flying off to San Francisco. Another jam packed awesome month.
Well since my blog has “Hoverboards” in the title I think it is only fitting I publish a post today which is of course that fateful day Marty McFly arrived in the future with Doc Brown in Back to the Future Part II.
As we are now officially in the future I have compiled a list of my favourite new tech developments for your perusal. There have been some staggering leaps forward in the tech world in the last few years let alone the last thirty and I can’t wait to see where these ideas go next.
Self Driving Cars
For a long time I have felt that it is bizarre how accepting we are of people being involved in car accidents. I think what Google, Tesla and now the wider car industry (and it is now rumoured Apple) are doing in this space is incredibly exciting and one that will have huge ramifications once vehicles that can drive themselves are introduced properly to the mainstream. Add in Uber and other similar tech companies and within 10 years we could see people’s attitudes to cars radically change. Why own a car when you could just tell your watch or phone where you need to go, when then signals a car nearby to take you to your destination for less than a bus fare or train ticket? All these vehicles would be able to talk to each other as well so no more traffic jams and delays on the roads. Once people are convinced of their safety you would also be able to spend extra time with friends, family or colleagues, watch a film or get some sleep. Sounds like paradise to me!
Here are some of my favourite videos highlighting this new tech.
Tesla’s lateset software update allows for a new kind of cruise control:
Imagine what self driving cars could do for all kinds of people:
It’s not just cars:
Perhaps Mercedes vision of the future is a bit too clean…but I kind of like it:
AR & VR
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality seem like they are at a point to finally hit the mainstream and make a huge impact on everyday life. From what Facebook are doing with Oculus to the incredible Magic Leap and Microsoft HoloLens demos it really does seem like these will usher in a major shift in computing and entertainment.
The promise of Oculus and Magic Leap in particular excite me. The latest demos that both have shown off and the buzz coming from silicon valley around them really gives the sense that something big is coming. It isn’t only video games either but a huge range of entertainment areas are being investigated as well as some great educational innovations.
I am a big fan as well of how Google are attempting to bring Virtual Reality costs down with project Cardboard.
Magic Leap’s latest demo:
Oculus new controller developments demo:
AI Personal Assistants
Now perhaps this one doesn’t sound as exciting as the first two, but the fact that many of you already have simple versions of these in your pocket shows the impact they have already have and will have soon. You’ll likely have heard of Apple’s Siri and also Google Now but then there is also the incredible sounding version from Facebook known as ‘M’.
All three of these collect data from activity on your phone and the other touch points they have on you around the Internet and actively attempt to help better organise your life by presenting you with contextual information. Right now Siri and Google Now are only really impressing at odd moments, for example telling you how long it will take you to get home from work, and this is only scratching the surface of what they can and will be able to do.
These AI will not just live on your phone but also your watch or smart clothing, your home appliances and work computer, helping you go about your every day. They’ll also be able to keep an eye on your health and alert you of any issues. We’re already seeing wearable devices providing important health care information, imagine what an AI enabled version could do?
There is definitely an element of creepiness that will need to be overcome. This will likely come down to how information is presented and how our devices act.
This is a difficult one to describe so I’ll just place this here:
What an incredible use of radar to create a personal experience. Hope to see this used in devices soon.
And that’s it! All my favourite new pieces of technology. There is of course a lot more like Hyperloop, 3D printing, drones etc etc but the above are absolutely my top four picks. I hope you enjoyed the read!
One last and very recent development…who could resist self lacing shoes: http://news.nike.com/news/nike-mag-2015
Some more shots from Turkey at the start of this month. That was a great trip! I have never been to somewhere with so much sunshine and heat. The cold pool was very welcome.
Add in a quick trip to Madrid (also very hot), a house warming and a local music festival and it turns out July was pretty jam packed.
Not sure who that Jedi is though…
“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” - Jack Kerouac
"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
"Stay hungry, stay foolish." - Steve Jobs
"My goal wasn't to make a ton of money. It was to build good computers." - Steve Wozniak
“When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there. ” - Jim Henson
"Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important." - Bill Gates
"Technology made it easy for us to stay in touch while keeping a distance, till we just stay distant and never touch. Now all we do is text too much." - Sage Francis
Manager - Digital Communications at Electronic Arts (EA)
Online Publishing | Southampton, United Kingdom, GB
I am an experienced digital marketing manager who has worked on both agency and client side. Currently working at a high level of online brand management, digital strategy and social media planning and execution across major video game brands.
My personal interest in understanding the major tech developments and social media platforms has allowed me to take a leading role with internal education and best practice. With my experience in community management and paid social also ensuring that I have a rounded understanding of digital and social in the wider marketing mix.
Social media and content creation are passions of mine that I explore in both my professional and personal life. I am regularly experimenting with my own personal projects which can be viewed online.
With my training in film, TV, online and live news production I am able to push forward the social and content lead projects that I work on to the highest levels expected of AAA entertainment brands and media organisations.
2016 - Present
Manager - Digital Communications / Electronic Arts (EA)
International Digital Communications Specialist / Activision
New role combining my previous social media responsibilities with further digital marketing assignments including website strategy, paid media, content and ad banner production across our major brands and licensed games. Working closely with our global team to ensure a strong digital marketing strategy that works in EU, CEEMEA and APAC regional markets delivering the necessary results for each team.
Continuing to build relationships with our platform partners at Facebook, Google and Twitter. Also part of the internal digital education team delivering key updates to the business on a regular basis and keeping colleagues up to date on the latest social media developments.
Social media is still a central part of my role with added responsibilities around live event production for our eSports initiatives. Management of our agencies is also an important part of my role as we continue to work together to create best in class digital marketing.
European Social Media Marketing Specialist / Activision
Working as part of the European digital marketing team across all titles including; Call of Duty, Destiny, Guitar Hero, Sierra, Skylanders and our licence titles.
Role includes: - Social media strategy and tactical execution for all titles in EU - Management of social agency partner relationship - Management of EU digital/social campaigns - Leasing with US/Global team to ensure key messaging is reflected - Management of language translations process for social content - Internal education on latest in digital and social technology and trends
Social Media Manager / Headstream
• Cross group promotion to head up community management and platform research • Managing of active campaigns • Writing training documents and running training sessions with clients on different social platforms • Through personal interest taken a lead on user experience to ensure best practices for campaigns • Researching ways latest tech and trends can be used creatively and implement them • Part of the Social Brands 100 team, helping develop the methodology and writing parts of the final report
Client Executive / Five by Five
• As part of group restructure was moved into the larger digital agency to form part of the social team • Took lead on community management in the team • Recognised across the group as source of knowledge on latest in social media and tech developments • Requested by Activision to run community management at Gamescom 2011 in Cologne, Germany as "Activision Insider" reporting directly to key stake holders • Community manager for Call of Duty: MW3 EU launch event
Account Executive / Headstream
• Worked on the gaming, tech and TV side of the client base with a focus on Activision and UKTV • Part of the team that ran EU wide community management for the Guitar Hero and DJ Hero franchises. Specifically ran community activities for the UK market through Twitter and Facebook • Wrote and sent out press releases and media alerts • In charge of blogger outreach campaigns • Part of the community team at the Call of Duty: Black Ops EU launch event
Support and Systems Administrator / Carnival UK
• Started in a temporary position before being taken on full time • Co-ordinating technical work on the Ocean Liners and ensuring databases were up to date
Freelance Graphic Designer / Sam Hilary Designs
• Worked freelance for the Universities at Medway Students’ Association • Designed corporate and entertainment material for print and web
Vice President (Media and Services) / Christ Church Students' Union
• Trustee of the Students’ Union holding accountability and responsibility for the union and it’s membership • Held financial liability and management, recruitment and line management of full time staff • Chaired the Finance Committee which met each week throughout the year • Annual £650,000 budget, from this I ran my own department budget • Daily running of the student radio and TV stations, website, social networking outposts and newspaper • Planned and developed the new online strategy, launching a new site and actively engaging our student community through social media outposts • Oversaw the re-branding of the union • Worked with our student team to produce and publish a new campus wide newspaper
Director / Canterbury Youth and Student Media Ltd
• The parent company for the FM radio station “Canterbury Student Radio” (CSR), the first community licensed FM student station in the country • Two Universities involved with a potential audience of over 50,000 • My position on the board involved me developing the station; appointing directors and staff, establishing governance, financial management and giving sign off for the programme schedule
Video Producer / BBC Kent
• Produced and edited a 10 minute video for the “BBC Kent Introducing” unsigned tour around the county • The video was used on BBC Kent site and local TV news • Designed promotional material for web and print
Canterbury Christ Church University
Film, Radio and Television
Activities: Editor for the Student Magazine 2004/2005
Volunteered for all areas of Students media (Magazine, TV, Website and Radio).
The final film! All 365 seconds pulled together with an added soundtrack to help carry the video along. It was a great experience recording one second of video every day and one I will look back on fondly.
Humans have been living in space aboard the International Space Station 24-7-365 since Nov. 2, 2000. That’s 15 Thanksgivings, New Years, and holiday seasons astronauts have spent away from their families. 15 years of constant support from Mission Control Houston. And 15 years of peaceful international living in space.
In November 2000, many of us stuck on Earth wished we could join (at least temporarily) the Expedition 1 crew aboard the International Space Station. Floating effortlessly from module to module, looking down on Earth from a breathtaking height of 350 kilometers…. It’s a dream come true for innumerable space lovers.
But be careful what you wish for! Living on the Space Station also means hard work, cramped quarters, and… what’s that smell? Probably more outgassing from a scientific experiment or, worse yet, a crewmate.
To get a feel of how long ago that was, this is what the world looked like then vs. now:
Lil’ Mikey is finally here! If you pre-ordered one you should be getting a shipping notice soon if you haven’t already. If you missed out, I will have some in my shop in the near future, as will Mondo.