Photo-A-Day: Monday, Sept. 10

To kick off the RocketOwl/inMotion Co-Blogging Extravaganza, we’ve chosen a particularly revealing challenge: we will each take a photo at 11 a.m. and post it here, to give our friends and followers an idea of a typical week in the zany world of creative content – if such a thing as “typical” even exists for us.  You be the judge!

Monday, September 10, 2012

11 a.m. at inMotion (above):

Go to any eating or coffee-serving establishment within a 2-kilometer radius of inMotion’s video production studio and you’ll find servers, chefs, and baristas who know us all by name.  Or at least by drink: “Oh, you mean Ten Skinny Lattes and One Tall Espresso?  Yeah, you’re talking about the folks at from that filmmaking place down the street.”

The thing is, our posted office hours are 9 to 5, but as any client of inMotion knows, you can find Production Manager Amanda Barakat (pictured above) at the office at 7am, and there’s usually a producer or two and some manically obsessive film editors still at the grindstone long after dark.  So we rely on the local establishments to keep us fueled up and ready to rock – especially on a Monday morning.  It’s the nature of our work, and it’s what keeps the Starbucks at Carling and Woodroffe in the green.

- Megan Findlay for inMotion

11 a.m. at RocketOwl:

In the world of videogame startups, there is never any time to be wasted. Our minds are constantly bursting with new ideas that flow straight to our fingertips, coming to life on our computer screens, sketchbooks and notepads. If we’re lucky, some of these ideas might make it into our game. The atmosphere in the office is in a constant state of flux. On one hand, it is so quiet that you can practically feel the energy coming out of the many minds in the room coding, sketching, designing and writing. On the other hand, meetings and conversations can become very loud and heated, with everyone excitedly talking at the same time.

This morning’s picture captures the lively discussion that often takes place between employees, a time where some of the best ideas come to life and start to take shape.

- Emily Armstrong for RocketOwl

Stone Soup (or, the Art of Cooperation and Creativity)

There’s an old fable about stone soup which demonstrates the usefulness of cooperation. Yes, cooperation: those five heavy-footed syllables that hundreds of kindergarteners are learning about at this very moment in their first week of school. Turns out cooperation is relevant beyond the sandbox; it applies to us creative content careerists, too.

In the fable, a hungry traveler arrives in a village carrying only a soup pot. Residents refuse to give him a meal. Undaunted, he puts a stone in his pot, fills it with water from a river, and builds a cheerful fire. He tells the curious villagers that he is making stone soup, which will be delicious if only it had one more ingredient. An incredulous villager brings him a few carrots. The soup is getting there, he says. Another villager brings some herbs. Almost, says the traveler. By the end of the tale, so many people have contributed that the soup really is delicious. Everyone enjoys it together and vows to reverse their taciturn ways.

We, the fable-friendly folks at RocketOwl and inMotion, are fans of soup and reformed villagers, so we have agreed to give this cooperation thing a try. Consider this blog our soup pot. Consider this post our stone. It is the beginning; bit by bit, we will each add to it, concocting a recipe so delicious that we hope our entire community (including you!) will want to come and sit at our table. We are calling this the RocketOwl inMotion Co-Blogging Extravaganza. Beginning on September 10th, we will post a photo a day from each of our offices. Monthly posts, featuring content from each of our labs, will follow from now until the bright and beckoning future, giving you a glimpse into the daily funhouse that is creative media production.

Production? Yes, production. At RocketOwl, it’s the production of high-quality, engaging games that are rocking social and mobile networks around the world. At inMotion, it’s award-winning video content in the corporate, broadcast, and entertainment sectors. When our companies met in the spring of 2012, fireworks exploded in the sky, flowers burst from the soil, and Elton John wrote a song to immortalize the moment. Since then, we’ve been looking for a way to play together, and now we’ve found it.

It starts with a stone. It ends with a feast. Stay tuned.

My First Two Weeks at inMotion

Two weeks ago, I came in to inMotion for a meeting with Sarah Fodey, left with a job offer, and started as inMotion’s new production coordinator the next day. It was surreal to say the least.

This past summer I have been finishing what feels like my never-ending master’s thesis in film studies. I was excitedly preparing for the end of my academic career and the start to a new beginning, hopefully working within the film industry. After a long and tedious job search the past few months, I was pleasantly surprised and excited to receive a call from Sarah.

Walking towards the inMotion offices the following morning I felt quite nervous about my first day. However, these nerves quickly diminished as I was immediately put at ease by the inMotion team who warmly welcomed me as their newest team member. From my first day I felt the creative, friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere that runs throughout the inMotion office. My first two weeks at inMotion have been educational as the inMotion team introduced me to their current projects and put me to work. My colleagues welcome my endless questions, all willing to help as I learn the ropes around the office, making my transition to the working world all the more easy.

InMotion has opened my eyes to the ways the production industry works, but I know I have barely scratched the surface on what I will learn here in the coming months. Above all, I am extremely excited to learn from some of the industry’s best and am grateful to join such a talented team that works hard and loves what they do. After six years in school I never imagined I would get a job opportunity in my field. It still hasn’t sunk in, and I’m not sure if it ever will.

An Intern Says Goodbye

By Ruth Peter Okoro, inMotion Summer Student

Thank you so much for the incredible opportunity to intern at inMotion this summer. I could not have asked for a better internship experience, and it was made possible by you. It was a wonderful experience, and made me even more sure that I would like to pursue a career in the film and television industry. I am walking away with new skills and experiences that will be invaluable as I prepare to start my program at Humber College.

I am especially grateful for having had the opportunity to work in such a positive team environment. While I am excited about going back to school, I am sad about leaving. I enjoyed working with the people of inMotion! Training an intern isn’t easy, and I appreciate your time and patience in answering my questions and finding interesting tasks for me.

Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity, and a big thank you to the girls: Sarah, Han, Megan, and Amanda. You guys are the greatest! Holy Cow!!! You guys rock! You made my time at inMotion fun and one that I will never forget. The inMotion team is the best! Very professional, passionate, hardworking, creative, loving, caring, respectful, and above all inMotion is very good at what they do. The testimonies you read on inMotion website are very true.  Once you meet with President and CEO Pat McGowan or Vice-President Sarah Fodey, you will immediately know that they are everything you read or hear about them.

Thank you again, Team inMotion, for helping to make my internship a rewarding experience.

My First Week at inMotion

 By Ruth Peter Okoro, inMotion Summer Student

I want to be a Film & TV director, and everyone that I meet in this profession tells me that a lack of experience will lower my chances. This is also true in many other fields – an individual can look great on paper, with the best academic records, but their work experience will differentiate them from the other people applying for the same job.

I decided to look for work with inMotion because I needed some experience before the start of my Film & TV Production Program this coming fall. Soon after sending my resume to Mr. Pat McGowan, the President of inMotion, I was accepted to come work this summer as an apprentice.

The first week at work, I tried all sorts of roles such as editing, writing a 30-second script for a TV spot, and shooting “on location” with the inMotion crew. The time I spent doing these jobs taught me countless skills that will be essential in building a great media career.

Team inMotion is creative, very passionate, and great at what they do. I’m so glad to be working with these creative minds and these top-of-the-line tools this summer. Above all, inMotion employees are social-media friendly! Working with them this past week gave me a better understanding of the talents needed to succeed in this industry.

inMotion opens Toronto production office

On the eve of the twentieth century, their bespectacled faces bright with prosperity, owners of the Toronto Carpet Manufacturing Company celebrated the fact that every homeowner in the free world wanted TCMC’s signature chenille below their feet.  A new, revolutionary factory was going up on King Street West to supply the growing demand.  In 1899, this was a staggering, Canadian-made success story that saw nearly 1,000 employees move into a state-of-the-art facility, where they could practice their craft using the world’s best tools.

At inMotion, we feel a certain kinship to this true-life fairy tale.  Like those visionary gents at TCMC, we are expanding to meet an escalating demand for our services.  That’s how we knew, from the moment we stepped inside the sandblasted brick-featured walls of TCMC’s renovated factory building, that we belonged there.

And so it was that we moved our Toronto office into Suite 212 in the Toronto Carpet Manufacturing Company building this week, honoring a legend for big-picture planning which began in 1899 and continues in our hearts today.

inMotion Does Las Vegas! – National Association of Broadcasters Conference

By Paul Kite

From April 16th to April 19th, I will be in Las Vegas attending the National Association of Broadcasters Conference.

It is one of the most exciting and fun conferences to attend.  Last year I tried to get to as many of the exhibitors as I could, and wore out many pairs of shoes in the process by walking the equivalent of several marathons (I kid -  it was only one pair of shoes!).

With inStox launched and poised for the next phase of development, my natural focus at this year’s conference will be all things related to content. I will be looking for tools and trends while sizing up our brave competitors (of course!). I will also seek out all of the slick filmmaking products available today.  Keep checking inMotion’s blog and Facebook page for updates and photos!

P.S. If you want me to check out anything or anyone in particular, send me a message. I can be your virtual attendee!

Paul Kite is President of inStox Media Labs Inc, a division of inMotion responsible for the sourcing, managing and licensing of production-quality video.  Contact Paul Kite at paul.kite@instox.ca.

Invest Ottawa Launch Video

We explored our hometown at all times of the day and night, ARRI Alexa in hand, to shoot this piece for the City’s revamped economic development agency, Invest Ottawa.

inMotion Team Members Win OIFF 72-Hour Film Challenge

“Encore,” an original film written, shot, and edited by inMotion team members Robin Léveillé and Jonathan Kischel with Valerie St. Arnaud and Cierra Campeau, walked away with first place from the Ottawa International Film Festival’s annual 72-hour film challenge.

The award was announced during an evening gala at the Lieutenant’s Pump on Thursday, February 16th.

Jonathan and Robin recently sat down to describe their experience, and what it took (besides caffeine) to win such a tough competition.

MF: Tell me about how this challenge works.
JK: All the teams had 72 hours in which to shoot a short film following very specific rules. The theme of the film had to be “Time to Celebrate,” and we needed a character to say “Damn right, your dad drank it,” while clearly showing a bottle of Canadian Club on the screen. We also had to make a reference to Parktown Productions, shoot the final scene in front of the Lieutenant’s Pump, and use two of the five prescribed music tracks.

MF: How did you come up with such a simple, compelling story so quickly under those constraints?
RL: The original concept came from our teammate Cierra Campeau. There was not much to it, so we just used it as a base from which to work. Our team gelled perfectly, and no idea went undiscussed. It was an amazing team effort.

MF: You must have needed a lot of gear to get it done.
RL: Thanks to inMotion and its production services company, Accent PS, we were able to shoot the whole thing using an ARRI Alexa digital cinema camera.
JK: There was a Hollywood film shooting in Ottawa at the same time which had rented quite a lot of Accent’s gear, so we used the Alexa with hardly any bells and whistles. Still, we think it created the perfect look for our story.

MF: How did you manage to get everything done in such a short timeframe?
JK: We just went ahead and started shooting with a small idea, not even knowing how we were going to end the film. We started on Thursday, and it was due Sunday. We had no time to waste so we just kept going. On Saturday evening we just had epiphany after epiphany about how we were going to tell the story and, more importantly, how we were going to finish it.
RL: We finished shooting late Saturday night, had a couple of hours of sleep, woke up Sunday, and edited all day. We didn’t record sound while we were shooting, so on Sunday Val, Cierra, and Jon went out to a parking lot to record the noise of high heels and a shopping cart being pushed around.

MF: It’s amazing how well it all came together. Congrats on such a great piece, guys!
RL: Thanks. It’s been a great experience.
JK: If people would like to know more, they can listen to our CBC radio interview, recorded the morning after the competition.

http://vimeo.com/35892386

inMotion, Alone

Got to the office earlier than usual today, and took my Starbucks cup for a little walk through the building.  I was looking for the kind of slow-engine roll-over that thousands of people do in thousands of offices every morning.  Hey, how’s it going, nice shirt, any plans for the weekend, please stop raiding my stash of jelly bellies, etc.

But I was thwarted: this place was completely, unequivocally empty.  I felt like I was wandering a post-apocalyptic world, with vacant office chairs still turned towards vacant doorways, as though expecting the warm, familiar rears of their owners to arrive at any moment.  In a building that usually has the muscle and velocity of a European train, this stillness was a little eery.

Here’s what inMotion sounds like without people: soft, cerebral hum of overhead ventilators, CPU fans whistling dust into the air, and the faraway trill of a fax machine moulting pages of Caribbean cruise announcements to the floor like exotic feathers.

There’s something rogue and seductive about finding yourself unexpectedly alone in a place that is usually cluttered with people.  It’s as though you’ve cheated circumstance and have somehow slipped into a little moment in time which was never meant to exist.  I think this must begin in the soft, mouldable days of early childhood, when we are constantly supervised and accompanied and escorted and shadowed by adults.  Being totally alone becomes both a terrifying and exhilarating prospect.  We wish our parents would disappear, but then when it seems like they have, we are hysterical… until we discover them calmly washing dishes in the kitchen.  We want to be alone.  But not that alone.

Which is why I felt relieved when I heard the perfunctory chirp of a car horn out in the parking lot, marking the end of my obscurity in this cavernous space.  But it’s an uncanniness that I will revisit as often as I can.  You feel differently about a building after you’ve existed inside of it solely by yourself.  As though the building has now acknowledged you, personally.

Just as Nietzche said, when you gaze long into the inMotion studio, the inMotion studio gazes into you.