Discussion with director Alex Cameron, on the upcoming independent film Michael’s Resignation

An interview/conversation between Synchronized Chaos Magazine and Alex Cameron, director of the upcoming British independent film Michael’s Resignation.

From the film’s website, to catch everyone up to speed with the project:

Michael’s Resignation” is just the first episode from a series of 7 modern-day film parables collectively titled “Multivalence” written by Alex Cameron in 2008 and set in the UK around the 21st century recession, or so-called “credit crunch”. We follow 6 central characters and their powerful and highly-dramatic life-changing experiences, with the last (7th) film connecting them all together into a “bigger picture”.

The series is designed as a unique platform for undiscovered young talent and features:

  • A script written collaboratively online by a group of young screenwriters;
  • Characters played by young unknown actors and actresses;
  • A bustling soundtrack composed of unsigned bands;
  • Investment drawn from opening up the movie financing to ordinary people;

(Our questions and thoughts are in bold, with Cameron’s responses in normal type.)  

I’m excited/intrigued by how you are using all unsigned bands, aspiring new screenwriters, etc. How did everyone find each other? Was everyone initially on the same page in terms of plot and style, etc?

I’m glad you like it! We’ve been amazed at how positive the response has been so far, as it seems like a lot of people have been waiting for a project to come along with that finally decided to go the way we have. Once Joby Stephens (Director) and I had finalised the story, I decided the first logical place to look would be Facebook because of the way it fosters groups of people with the same interests and has fairly strict privacy controls. Luckily the story was already written beforehand so the cat-herding was kept to a minimum. All the characters, storyline twists and final scenes were set out on PlotBot.com, so all that remained was to organise the writers. We set up high walls but let everyone go mad in the garden, so to speak, by allowing anyone to write any part they wanted to. Our theory was that natural selection would take care of the details as the script evolved and a meritocratic approach to editing brought us to the final version.

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Book Review: There Is No Secret Sauce – Adam Metz

I first encountered Adam Metz as a co-speaker at a San Francisco networking event empowering the unemployed to advertise and market their way into new positions. His workshop that day, “The Def Leppard Guide to Networking,” provided fun, pragmatic strategies for engaging people offline. People out of work became resourceful innovators pioneering new approaches to meet challenges, rather than victims or irrelevant dead weight. The new book There Is No Secret Sauce takes on the same task for online organizational social media, enlivening and equipping employees to spark their firms’ interest in joining the next space for conversation.  

                At seventy-five pages, perfect for busy workers’ train and bus reading, No Secret Sauce possesses high readability without sacrificing big-picture or specific information. A ‘Lemonade Stand’ plan for inexpensive, workable social media fits the style and needs of smaller organizations, while larger firms can find the detailed specifics they seek through Metz’ second set of options. The clever titles grab attention and the piece reads like a series of blog posts, informative while humorous and chatty.

Metz intersperses basic human values – honesty/transparency, professional courtesy, humility and helpfulness to others – amidst the technical information. Public relations crisis management involves pro-actively acknowledging a problem, taking responsibility, and keeping users updated on efforts to fix it. Social media (blogs, Twitter, online groups, etc.) should incorporate free useful content and one should not blast one’s own message all over other online networks without contributing to the community. These human values, and the plain-English accessibility of the software descriptions, make No Secret Sauce useful for those with varying familiarity levels with online networking tools.

                Metz works his acknowledgement that not everyone has experience with social media into this user guide, developing an action plan for selling one’s company on the idea of responsive Internet communication. Readers learn how to effectively persuade organizational leaders to experiment with new ventures through gently asking questions, suggesting how to meet identified needs, doing research and providing information, and incorporating everyone into the input and decision process. This method sounds good for introducing a wide variety of innovations, not just social media – and the emphasis and specifics on inspiring organizational creativity fill a real need as worldwide industry adapts to globalization and the changing economy.

                Adam Metz’ There Is No Secret Sauce approaches new technology with interest and optimism, encouraging firms and their ordinary employees to embrace not simply Internet communication, but a new model of transparency and dialogue based on human values. I would heartily recommend this piece and encourage him to produce a similar guidebook to interpersonal networking.

                Metz provides social media consulting and may be contacted here: http://adammetz.com/

Announcement: Marketing Workshops for Artists

Aimed at artists of color but open to all artists in Santa Clara County. All workshops free, from 1 to 4 pm at the Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Avenue, San Jose.

April 25, 2009: Creating a Marketing Plan for Success, led by Carlos Velazquez, marketing manager for Teatro Vision.

May 2, 2009: Maximizing Media Coverage of your Art, led by Michael Chihak of the San Francisco based SPIN project.

May 9, 2009: Producing a Successful Cultural Event, led by veteran producers Chris Esparza of Giant Creative Services and Tommy Aguilar of UnGrammar.

May 23, 2009: Planning your Art Career, led by Favianna Rodriguez, renowned artist, co-founder of East Side Arts Alliance and TUMIS design studio in Oakland.

For more info or to RSVP, contact Carlos Velazquez at 408-250-6965 or sbacw@hotmail.com

Ada Lovelace Day post – Sally Ride: Astronaut, Speaker, Publicist

In honor of the international Ada Lovelace Day celebration of women in science and technology fields, my blog today honors NASA astronaut Sally Ride. NASA’s website for Inspirational Women: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/people/bios/women/sr.html

I had the honor of meeting Sally Ride personally a few years back at a lecture I attended through the Chabot Space and Science Center. Warm and personable, Ride demonstrates how one can serve as a gifted communicator while bringing about progress in a highly technical field. To Ride, scientists can and should reach out to the general public to articulate their goals and to serve, educate, and inspire others.

Sally Ride served as Capsule Communicator for the second and third Space Shuttle flights and helped develop the Shuttle’s robotic arm. She flew in space twice aboard the Challenger, part of a crew which tested the use of the robotic arm to retrieve satellites, conducted pharmaceutical experiments, and demonstrated the potential for refueling satellites in space. Also she led investigation of the Challenger disaster to help improve astronaut safety.

Currently Sally Ride works to promote interest in science and space among young people and has written several space-related children’s books. In the lecture I attended, she encouraged highlighting the variety of careers and disciplines involving math and science knowledge. Science can be accessible for people of many different personality types – one does not have to be antisocial with crazy hair and no outside interests to make a contribution to a technical field. Researchers have lives too – families, friends, etc – and plenty of perfectly normal people (as well as plenty of unusual ones) pursue science-related careers.

I would also like to spotlight the Women Who Tech free teleconference http://www.womenwhotech.com/ on May 12th, which brings together women in information technology, social media, open source software, etc for networking and idea sharing. Panel discussions include Launching Your Own Start-Up, Social Media Return on Investment, and Tech Marketing in a Recession and Women and Open-Source Software. Signups open in April, join the mailing list from the Women who Tech website. I will attend as editor/Creative Facilitator of Synchronized Chaos Magazine (http://www.synchchaos.com) and would love to see everyone! I believe there are many opportunities available through technology and applying the entrepreneurial spirit shown through social media/open source/tech startups to create new business models for the new economy.

I celebrate all the men and women doing creative work in science and technical fields and encourage readers to follow their interests wherever they lead.

Opportunities and announcements, installment three


Craigslist posting I came across today, for anyone in the Alameda, CA area:

Looking for Artists to exhibit

Reply to: comm-nbsma-1069268568@craigslist.org
Date: 2009-03-10, 3:07PM

We have a large vendor space already paid in the Alameda, Calif. Art & Wine Festival to come in July. We are looking for up to five local artists to display/exhibit their art (we will not charge for vendor space.) Possible publicity in local newspaper. Email me the artist’s contact information.

Also, Synchronized Chaos will participate in Ada Lovelace Day, an international event honoring past and present women in science and technology. We’ll post to spotlight the achievements of some women we’re aware of and we invite anyone reading who has art or writing related to that theme or anyone else they would like to mention to leave a comment.


More information on Ada Lovelace Day:

Sign up now for Ada Lovelace Day! http://www.pledgebank.com/AdaLovelaceDay

We need 1000 people to sign up for this action to reach critical mass. Read more here: http://findingada.com/2009/01/05/ada-lovelace-day/

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Whatever she does, whether she is a sysadmin or a tech entrepreneur, a programmer or a designer, developing software or hardware, a tech journalist or a tech consultant, we want to celebrate her achievements.

Please interpret it as widely as you like. One of my friends is going to write about women in animation, another about women on the tech side of the book industry. Women in gaming, women in hardware development, women in tech project management, women entrepreneurs… there are also sorts of careers that could come under the banner of “technology” and we’re happy to hear about women in any of them, whether they are still alive and active, or not.

It doesn’t matter how new or old your blog is, what gender you are, what language you blog in, if you do text, audio or video, or what you normally blog about – everyone is invited to take part. All you need to do is sign up to this pledge and then publish your blog post any time on Tuesday 24th March 2009. If you’re going to be away that day, feel free to write your post in advance and set your blogging system to publish it that day.

We will gather as many of the posts together on the day as we can, and we’ll let you know exactly how we’re going to do that nearer the time. For ongoing updates about Ada Lovelace day, please follow us on Twitter, join our mailing list or see our blog.


Who was Ada?
Ada Lovelace was one of the world’s first computer programmers, and one of the first people to see computers as more than just a machine for doing sums. She wrote programmes for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a general-purpose computing machine, despite the fact that it was never built. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.

Finally, our contributing writer David Cicerone (Arthur’s Harp, from last fall) also creates visual art and is having a show at San Jose’s Gardner Community Center on Friday, May 8th. We will be able to view Cicerone’s work coupled with musical accompaniment.

Opportunities and announcements for our readers and contributors


Fearless Books has put out a call for new poetry submissions for an upcoming anthology, The Light in Ordinary Things.

From their announcement:

We live in a time when old forms are catastrophically breaking down, and new forms arise to take their place. The overheated engine of capitalism has blown a gasket; the politics of thoughtless greed retreats in a hail of shoes, and Western civilization faces the provocative prospect of a simpler life.

While banks and the Big Three beg for bailouts, we here at Fearless Books propose a different cure for cataclysm: poetry that helps us take a new look at the world. Thus we cheerfully announce the launch of the Fearless Poetry Series: two graceful anthologies per year on piercingly relevant topics.

Here is your chance to add your work to a chorus of sane but irreverent songs that will help usher in an illuminated culture. From January 15 through May 30, 2009, we are accepting entries for the first Fearless poetry anthology, The Light in Ordinary Things. You can send us one, two, or three short poems (up to 40 lines each) and/or prose poems (up to 500 words each) on your unique view of ordinary things, places, events, or living beings. The subject matter should be common, but the insights extraordinary…


Also, our contributing writer Faracy Grouse (http://www.faracy.org) is creating an indie movie! Here’s the synopsis:

I want to start filming this April and finish by the end of 2009. 
The only way Madelaine, a final year PhD student, is able to make sense of her life is to maintain her exacting routine. Surviving a turbulent childhood at the hands of a distant mother and drug-addict father who took her from fascist Spain to cold war Russia in search of an ideal life, she defects to America only to find herself drawn back to Spain and into a dysfunctional marriage of her own.
Now in London, she meets Lisboa, a charming but reckless Portuguese sous-chef who forces her to face the past which nearly destroyed her.

For more information, and to make a donation (any amount helps, and you’ll get a copy of a collection of her writings) visit her Fundable site here: https://www.fundable.com/groupactions/groupaction.2009-03-04.7166812766?email=cedeptula@sbcglobal.net

She’d love people with whom to network, people to spread the word, people to help her out with cost saving/fundraising ideas, people who can donate their time, etc.

We’re considering a Synchronized Chaos benefit auction to support her film – will keep you posted.

Finally – The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a Burmese group working to practically help nonviolent political prisoners in the country as well as raise awareness of their situation, has developed a petition for the release of the remaining imprisoned activists.

Please read more about the situation and the organization and consider signing here: http://www.fbppn.net/?page_id=5

The group has created a Facebook page for their cause and the situation in Burma: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=526821601&ref=profile#/group.php?gid=17725816181&ref=mf

Filmmaker, wife and mother Daw Ma Khin Khin Leh has been released…hopefully more will follow!

Shout-outs concerning our contributors!


Starting now, Synchronized Chaos will provide periodic updates on events and information involving our authors and artists! If you have an update you would like to share, please email cedeptula@sbcglobal.net with Synchronized Chaos in the title and we will share your creative progress with the rest of the community.

First off, George LaCas, author of the poetic pool hustler epic The Legend of Jimmy Gollihue recently spoke with author and poet Laura Lascarso concerning his novel, live on authonomy.com with an appearance by James Hagen. Interview transcript available at the end of the post. 

Also, Susy Flory, author of So Long Status Quo: What I Learned from Women who Changed the World will be hosting a book launch party at the indie bookstore Jordan’s Village Books on Saturday March 28th at 1pm. Jordan’s Village is a lovely little indie store in the Castro Valley shopping center near the BART station, near the Starbucks and the bike shop. I (Cristina Deptula) will be there…also she’s looking for suggestions of other women who have/are making a difference in the world for an upcoming blog/spinoff series. Here’s the Facebook invite: http://www.facebook.com/inbox/readmessage.php?t=1068481587713&mbox_pos=0#/event.php?eid=54896490938&ref=mf

* Right after Susy’s book launch, in San Francisco’s Women’s Building (3543 18th St. near the Mission/16th BART and Dolores/Guerrero Streets), Free Battered Women is hosting its annual art show/awareness event, Our Voices Within, from 3:30 to 6 pm. This event features artwork and writing by incarcerated domestic violence survivors whose crimes were related to abuse they lived through (i.e. self defense) and explores community-based grassroots strategies for safety, nonviolence-building, and alternatives to over-reliance on the criminal justice system. I know many of the organizers personally – they’re a great, creative, talented group of people and I encourage you to come.

* San Jose’s Poets and Writers’ Coalition is hosting our spring semester’s Four Minutes of Mayhem open mic (and still possibly looking for another featured reader!) Synchronized Chaos authors Dan White (Cactus Eaters) and Kate Evans (For the May Queen) spoke and read at events sponsored by the San Jose PWC…and we’re looking forward to finding more talent through that venue. Mayhem is open to all and features a diverse group every year…will be Thursday March 12th at the Market Cafe on the SJSU campus at 7 pm.

* Heads-up for a Food not Bombs benefit concert, featuring some of the musicians we’re going to interview in upcoming issues. Still working out the lineup based on people’s schedules, but the event is at Station 40 (in San Francisco’s Mission District, on 16th St. across from BART) on Sunday March 29th – will let you know the time when they decide. Some of the musicians we’re considering are simply amazing…all unsigned local talent but fun and worth listening to! Food not Bombs is looking for someone to host  Saturday’s serving in the Mission too.

* Ashlee Rose Holland, author of a memoir on growing up deaf, Turn the Lights On, I Can’t Hear You! has made a community for her book on Facebook. Currently they’re having a contest where people can win free books and chat with the author! http://www.facebook.com/inbox/?ref=mb#/group.php?gid=47067223183

* The Northern California Science Writers’ Association, of which I’m a member and which includes many creative people with interdisciplinary projects, is hosting a dinner in San Francisco Wednesday March 25th at 6:30. The topic is the latest research into the function of glial cells in the brain – the matter which insulates the neurons.

You must sign up in advance and pay for the dinner (maybe $35 or so for non-members) but anyone can walk in to hear the speaker.

NCSWA Spring Dinner: What’s happening in the other ninety percent of your brain?

WHO: Neurobiologist Ben Barres
WHEN: Wednesday, March 25
WHERE: Helmand Palace, 2424 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

Practically all of brain scientists’ attention has gone to the study of neurons, which account for perhaps 10 percent of the cells in the human brain. But what about the other 90 percent – what are those cells, chopped liver? Nope, they’re glial cells, and their importance is only now beginning to be understood. Our guest speaker on Wednesday, March 25 will be Ben Barres, MD/PhD, award-winning scientist, chairman of Stanford University’s neurobiology department, and the proponent of a paradigm shift in brain research.

When neurobiologists talk about “brain cells,” they’re invariably talking about neurons, those glorified strings of fat that evolution has tarted up to convey the electronic impulses that add up to thought, memory, emotion, and action. But something like 90 percent of the cells in your brain aren’t neurons. They’re called glial cells, and until recently their function was believed to be somewhere between that of packing peanuts (filling space so our neurons don’t rattle when we run) and nannies (serving up nutrients to and picking up after those clever neurons).

We all know what happened with “junk DNA.” Once assumed to be little more than packaging for our genetic material, it’s turned out to be loaded with gold nuggets. Likewise, glial cells’ known roles are expanding to include not only metabolic support but also immune activity and such crucial tasks as creating and degrading synapses (those specific inter-neuronal connections, uniquely arrayed within each person’s brain, that shape thought, memory, feelings, and activity). Come and listen to what Dr. Barres, a pioneer in the burgeoning study of glial cells and a top-tier brain scientist, has learned about glial cells – what they are, how they interact with neurons, and which neurological conditions they may trigger when they act inappropriately. Dr. Barres will also let us know where he sees this research heading, why it’s so important, and how soon practical payoffs are in the offing.

6:30 Happy Hour
7:30 Dinner
8:30 Speaker

Please reserve your seat for the dinner by March 18. You can pay online through Paypal using your credit card by going to http://www.ncswa.org/dinner_03-09.html and scrolling down to the bottom of that file. A Paypal account is *not* required.

Please select your entrée when you pay. If you fail to select an entrée at that time, the default is the chicken. (Vegetarian options available.)

Transcript of the Authonomy interview with George LaCas, author of The Legend of Jimmy Gollihue:

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