Monday, May 11, 2009

The Gift of Slack

I wanted to expand on Tom Kyte’s short post about SLACK, which takes its cue from this post by Seth Godin.

My addition to Tom’s advice is this: If you find yourself suddenly with extra time on your hands (read laid off), offer your talents and your leadership to an Oracle user group. From what I’ve seen over the last year of writing the Up Close column for Oracle Magazine, the groups are almost always hungry for volunteers to help them with their mission. In return for your time you gain notoriety, make new contacts, and you LEARN.

Imagine the difference between going to an interview as an out of work DBA or developer vs. as an officer of an Oracle user group who is shopping his/her skills and contacts to a few lucky organizations.

Side note: Slack time is when ideas erupt to the surface that have been long bubbling in your subconscious. They’ve been held down by a thick layer of deadlines and near term problem solving that fill the days of fully employed technologist. Take. some. time. to calm the waters of your mind and see what brilliant stuff floats to the top.

Friday, May 8, 2009

More APEX Fun! Or, Can We Meld Creative Processes with Corporate Video?

It’s been instructive to observe our progress as a creative group at Oracle as we strive to integrate our video department into the creative work process.

For the first time we are producing videos that feature neither talking heads, nor corporate profiles, two things at which our video department excels. Instead we are attempting to use our studio’s skills in lighting, sound, camera work, and editing to tell stories. Sound simple?

It’s not. Instead of turning a camera towards an acknowledged expert and letting him/her speak, we’re crafting a script populated with characters who have motivations. That means we must first decide who those characters are and what their relationship is to each other. We must show that relationship while developing an overall message dictated by Oracle product managers. This requires a creative process whereby we generate ideas, we trash ideas; we write scripts, and then we argue over them and hone them with an eye towards the needs of the camera person, the actors, and eventually the film editor.

It also means we must edit video with a new kind of precision and a new level of feeling. We need to edit film with our senses engaged enough to create tension with a pause or humor with a cut away.

We have a lot of learning to do on all sides, but this silly little video represents a big step in the right direction. Enjoy.