Christopher Nolan on Silencing Your Phone

Taken from Adam Grant’s interview with Christopher Nolan for Esquire magazine, this is the single best reasoning I’ve ever seen for turning off your phone in creative situations:

Nolan: “There’s a mass belief that if you’re texting, you’re somehow not interrupting the conversation – you’re not being rude.

The person doing it doesn’t realize they have taken the energy from the conversation. If you have people in a creative environment where they have to concentrate on what they’re doing, you can’t have them wandering off in their minds. You can’t be texting somebody else and paying attention to what’s going on. If you call people on it, they’ll repeat the last thing you said. They repeat the words with zero understanding of what they meant. And then over the next minute, you see them start to understand the words for the first time. You can absorb audio information just at the level that you can repeat it back, without understanding.

It’s an illusion of multitasking. I started film-making when people didn’t expect to have a phone on set, when it would’ve been seen as unprofessional to pull out a phone. Phones have become a huge distraction, and people work much better without them. At first it causes difficulty, but it really allows them to concentrate on what they’re doing. Everybody understands. I’ve had a lot of crews thank me. With a set, we’re trying to create a bubble of alternate reality.

Johnny Guitar

Johnny Guitar from Lucas Reilly on Vimeo.

I was recently chosen as the subject of a photojournalism project by Ohio University student Lucas Reilly. Lucas is a former student and it was great to reconnect with him and have him shadow me for a few days. Not only did he impress mt with his photos, but he was amazingly professional and discrete while capturing these images.

New Year, New Website

I’ve been doing a lot of decluttering around my home over the past several weeks and that activity has now spilled over on to the website. I’ve updated to a more modern theme and worked to keep the primary menus and pages minimal – focusing on only on the most basic information visitors might be seeking. More detailed articles will be included in the blog. It feels pretty good on this side of the monitor.

Youtube’s HTML5 Player

html5-logoI recently noticed that the progress bar on many YouTube videos no longer responded to my clicks or keyboard shortcuts. Because I use YouTube as a resource to transcribe material for students and gigs it was really frustrating not to be able to pause/fast-forward/rewind videos. So I started Googling for a solution. It took me a few days to identify the issue: YouTube’s new HTML5 Video Player. It looks exactly the same as the default Flash Player but wasn’t functioning properly for me in Chrome. Apparently you should be able to opt out of the HTML5 Player using this link: but even after selecting the Flash Player and clearing my cookies and restarting my browser the issue persisted. A little more searching eventually led me to the YouTube Center Extension. (Versions are available for most major browsers.) This extension allowed me to override the HTML5 player and return to the Flash Player and a fully functional YouTube experience. In addition to being able to select the Flash Player, YouTube Center also has dozens of other options allowing users to select the player size, auto-resolution preferences, auto-repeat, keyboard shortcut enhancements, and even the ability to download video and audio files.

I don’t know if everyone will experience the same issues I had with the HTML5 Player. I’m pretty sure it is supposed to work as well as the Flash Player and I’d be happy to use it if it did. Until then, the extension is a great problem-solver for me.