Make Your Pages Dance: Adding Simple Animations with Edge Animate featuring David LaFontaine
Tuesday June 2, 2015 6:30 – 9:45 PM
Location: Art Institute 2900 31st Street Santa Monica, CA 90405
Speaker Bio: David LaFontaine
Because not everything you read on the Internet is reliable, you can expect that at least two of the facts in the following list has been subjected to a slight touch of writer’s embellishment.
I’m a writer and multimedia content producer whose work has earned invitations to lecture all over the world, including a recent Fulbright Specialist program to train journalists, NGOs and pro-democracy groups in Ethiopia. My curiosity and willingness to use myself as a human lab rat to test the latest digital tools, have led me to acquire a wide range of New Media skills. I try to follow the old military maxim, “Never ask your troops to do anything you wouldn’t be willing (and able) to do yourself.”
Those skills have come in handy, as I have been contracted to speak, teach, write, craft & execute social media strategies, produce & edit videos, and manage creative teams (although I still haven’t quite figured out how to beam web pages directly into the audience’s neo-cortex). You can see examples of my work in my Case Studies gallery.
I am the Director of Content for DigitalFamily.com, a digital design and training firm that specializes in helping clients use technology and multimedia storytelling more effectively. Our services include content strategy and multimedia content creation, as well as design and programming. We also develop courses, online training and workshops for clients around the world.
I have more than 20 years experience as a journalist, editor, and multimedia producer, and I co-wrote “Mobile Web Design for Dummies,” and “iPhone & iPad Web Design for Dummies.” I started my career in journalism with a Pulliam Fellowship to work as a copy editor at the Arizona Republic. From there, I took off to Venezuela to practice my Spanish as the managing editor of the Caracas Daily Journal (now the Latin American Herald-Tribune).
Ultimately, I landed in Los Angeles, where I realized every Cheesehead’s fantasy of not shivering and cursing the starter on my car on days when the temperature drops below -40.
I got my start on the internet in 1991, when I cracked the case of my cutting-edge Zeos 386-25 computer to insert a 2400-baud modem, and joined Prodigy and CompuServe. I was immediate struck by the way users formed communities online to share news, collaborate to create new businesses, develop their own shorthand argot language, and devise new and exciting ways of insulting each other for violating the unwritten rules. In those days, the internet was like this secret club that only a few people knew about, and all the codes of conduct, the sense of humor – heck, even the way we use obscure Monty Python references (ever wonder why unwanted email is called “spam”?) – grew out of that core userbase.
I grew up reading science fiction, and I am often stopped in my tracks by the way that technologies that only hard-core nerds dreamed about have come to be taken for granted by billions.
Most of the following facts about me are true. If, while reading this list, you experience slight disorientation or feelings that you have slipped through a hole in the space-time continuum, please immediately contact your ISP and hosting service.
Otherwise, see if you can spot the items that give off a Steve Jobs-like reality-distortion field:
- I’ve been a writer since I first learned to clutch a crayon. While I no longer practice outlining on the hallway walls, I do still treasure sketching out my ideas using a fountain pen on actual paper. I know it’s anachronistic, but it makes me feel smarter. Also: fountain pen. LaFontaine. You see where I’m going with this?
- I once clung desperately to a rope, trying to keep a hot-air balloon from prematurely launching near Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch, as the 6-story tall balloon caught a strong breeze and started bouncing up and down like a giant basketball. The balloon flung me around like a toy, dangling me over a 100-ft. cliff, before tearing itself to shreds on a barbed-wire fence. This was a stroke of luck.
- After I had the <strong> HTML tag tattooed on my biceps, I found that I could arm-curl more than 500 pounds. Unfortunately, during the Olympic trials, a malicious rival deprecated me. I retaliated by scrawling </body> on the bottom of his sneakers, instantly transporting him into the Phantom Zone, where he exists as a bodiless spirit.
- As part of a research project into criminal hackers (or h@><><0rZ, for you kewl kidz), I deliberately infected a test computer with noxious viruses and Trojans, turning it into a malevolent robot zombie slave. Which is actually a pretty cool concept when you think about it, although the law-enforcement agencies we were partnered up was somewhat less than enthusiastic about things.
- I experienced the manic highs and abysmal lows of the Dotcom 1.0 frenzy at a couple of ambitious startups. The experience taught me how important it was to a digital business to have a well-thought-out business plan. I also learned how to manage a team of creative geniuses under extreme conditions; I was just treating them the way that I had always wished my bosses would have treated me. Later, I found that the writers and producers were fighting to see who would get to be on my team, and I am still in touch with some of them.
- The search for viable business models has led me around the world, researching the innovations that are occurring out of the spotlight, where users are cobbling together solutions by repurposing tools in ways we could never have predicted or imagined. This makes me very happy.
- I do social media audits. If you’re thinking something like an IRS audit involving bright lights and dental tools – no, that’s not it. I use a mix of sophisticated social-analysis and monitoring tools to assess clients’ reputation, the effectiveness of their current social media efforts, and the areas where they can grow. I can also do an audit of the competition for clients who want to know where their arch-enemies are vulnerable.
- My interviewing style is so engaging and persuasive that I once convinced the Pacific Ocean to come closer to where I was sitting on the beach. Sure, it took a few hours for it to draw near, and eventually its shyness overcame it, and it receded … but every day, in honor of me, the ocean creeps inland just a little bit, before scurrying away. And that’s my very own Just So story, and I’m sticking to it.
- I learned to shoot video when ABC News shipped me a mini-DV camera through the mail and told me to go be a “one-man-gang”. Not knowing any better, I went out and convinced subjects to sit still for on-camera interviews (producing), set up the shots (directing), asked the questions (talent), moved the camera to create drama (cameraman), adjusted the microphone (sound technician), and all the other things that it normally takes an entire crew to accomplish. Not only were my interviews used, but the shoots that I produced were the core of that season’s highest-rated episode of PrimeTime.
- Once, while trying to extend the power of my social media analytics suite, I performed an “enhanced interrogation” on my desktop by waterboarding it. The experience, while enlightening, did not go as I had hoped.