Archive for November, 2007

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Dave Eggers’ response to "keeping it real" – not his phrase

November 18th, 2007

I was taken by Dave Eggers’ long and impassioned response to a Harvard student’s interview question on “how do you keep it real?”

And here’s my response to his response.

Dave Eggers’ piece resonated with me. Yes to saying yes. But if this were a live conversation, I’d want to put the following to him: what about the implicit contract an artist or entrepreneur (while still early and small) makes with his or her viewer, reader, listener, user? I think Dave doesn’t acknowledge that there is an intimacy to the relationship between an emerging artist and audience member/fan, a bond more imagined than real, full of unrequited passion and adolescent fantasy perhaps, but no less visceral to the early fan or the early adopter of a new technology for that matter.

When the artist or entrepreneur gets big, this notion of monogamy or mutual loyalty, albeit illusory, is shattered. So the young person, explorer/discoverer, president of a fan club of 3 feels an inexplicable sense of betrayal and moves on to support the next underdog. Remember “you were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you. Now 5 years later, you’ve got the world at your feet. Success has been so easy for you. But don’t forget it’s me who put you where you are now and I can put you back down too. Don’t you want me baby?” Creepy, yes, but kind of a hard-to-ignore part of the psyche of fan-hood.

And this goes beyond the arts. Mike Arrington, tech guru, writer, investor wrote a sad post about the state of silicon valley now vs. a number of years ago, Silicon Valley could use a downturn right now.

Small is beautiful, big can be devastatingly gorgeous and infinitely renewing, but the journey between the two is by definition a relationship between creator and experiencer and therefore inherently fraught with negotiation.

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A short I made in NY

November 17th, 2007

So this little dab of noir was created this past summer during a directing class I took at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. We were given just a few days to write a script with the following constraints: no more than 2 pages, which translates to about 2 minutes of viewing time, 2-3 characters max, and it had to take place in a bar. I was watching and reading a lot of David Mamet and so I was obsessed with manipulation and backstabbing and hatched this little triple betrayal vignette. It was an incredible thrill to audition and cast “real” actors who live and work in New York. I had to prep the actors, talk them through their motivations, question my own writing when a particular character’s decision didn’t quite make sense to them, come up with a shot list, props, costumes, and I had to learn how to work with a (very talented) DP.

And I had to direct.

I will never watch a film the same way again. Forget what it takes to be a start-up CEO, being a writer-director has got to be the most incredible rush ever. You watch these characters you just dreamed up in 10 minutes come to life in front of your eyes. You watch how each subtle change an actor makes in response to your feedback can transform the entire piece. And the feeling on a set when you’re working with actors who take their work seriously is magical. At the end of the last take, the entire crew burst into spontaneous applause. We were blown away by John Hart’s (Jake’s) performance and I just stood there dumbstruck – did I just write this tiny and temporary world into existence?

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Trying out YouTube’s Custom Player

November 14th, 2007

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My maternal ancestry, beginning in the mid-late 1800s

November 3rd, 2007

This my great-great-grandfather, Simon Podwal. The Catholics of Mangalore, a coastal town north of Goa, voluntarily converted to Christianity in the 1600s under the influence of the Portuguese. Many of these early settlers had fled the horrific, forced conversions going on in Goa, that were a part of the Inquisition.

Below is Simon’s son, Andrew D’sa, my great-grandfather and his first wife and daughter.

Now we have Appolinaris D’sa, my grandfather, whom I lived with as a child and loved very much. This picture was taken in 1938 in Mangalore. He is a young lawyer 2 years before he is to meet and marry my grandmother, Eunice Pinto.

Switching sides, below is a picture of Rose Pinto, my great-grandmother. She was born in 1896 and died at the young age of 24, in 1920, of Typhoid, a terrible disease at the time that claimed the lives of young mothers and children every year. She left behind 3 children, the oldest of which was my grandmother, who was 7 years old when her mother died.

And here is my grandmother, Eunice D’sa, the year she married my grandfather, in 1940. The picture is a cropped image from a group photo of the Ladies Club of Mangalore taken in honor of a visit by the British Governor’s wife. This is 7 years before India’s independence.

And finally my parents, Marina D’sa and Paul Subaiya in 1972. Marina was Eunice’s 4th child.

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