Director of narrative, commercial, and virtual reality

Film Portfolio

Project Greenlight finalist | Short about sex, death, existence, time

Lily in the Grinder

Shabbat Dinner

Comedy short about coming out | Featured in 55+ festivals

Search is Back

Featured on TechCrunch | 7k users per day

Global event handing out nametags on first Sat in June

Nametag Day

Uber Forecast

Tracking Uber's surge pricing to guess what the weather might be

Archive for November, 2011

Filming finished! Editing begun!

(this is also cross-posted on our Kickstarter.)

Well, thanks to your support, we filmed last weekend over Saturday and Sunday. The shoot went fantastically and I hope to put up some video from it soon, but for now I am steadily editing, editing. I’ve got a rough cut of the first few scenes done and hope to get the whole film broadly edited by the end of the week.

Don’t let that make you think this thing is almost done! After the rough cut, the real work begins. We’ll speak to musicians about scoring the film and refine the edit in conjunction with them. Then comes an advanced, detailed process of sound editing and color work. Especially on a quick and dirty production like the one we’ve done, it benefits a lot from meticulous work done in editing.

We’ll probably be having some test screenings to get feedback on the film – watch this space for an invitation!

Still hoping to have the film done by end of January, at which point we’ll have a premiere party and begin releasing it to festivals. More important than getting it done on time, though, is getting it done right, which we aim to do!

Much love and a happy Thanksgiving. I know what I’m thankful for…

SOPA is coming and it's terrible

Read about SOPA – it will build censorship into the core of the US internet. Write your congresperson.

I did, and Kirsten Gillibrand’s mailerbot responded:

Dear Michael,

Thank you for writing to me regarding S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act of 2011.  I understand your concerns.

I am a cosponsor of this legislation because I believe that we must protect American intellectual property against foreign websites that infringe upon our rights.  By empowering the Attorney General of the United States to go after foreign infringing websites, this legislation becomes a necessary tool to ensure that U.S. companies remain competitive in the world marketplace.  I recognize that there are technical concerns with the enforcement of this bill that need to be addressed.  I am committed to working with my colleagues in the United States Senate to ensure that this legislation protects the Constitutional rights of Americans and does not stifle lawful free speech or innovation on the internet.

My response to her:

I don’t think that this will really reach any decision makers, but please understand that the concerns are not technical. Censorship in any form is unacceptable, but the attempts of the US government to censor the internet are beyond appalling and on the wrong side of history. Granting broad and unregulated powers of censorship on the basis of a dubious intellectual property argument is terrible because it opens the floodgates for censorship of all sorts. You will not win out in your quest to control information.

I will vote for anyone who opposes you and actively encourage others, over facebook and twitter if they have not yet been censored, to do the same.

I think that perhaps this email came across as emotional…I assure you that I am a calm, levelheaded person with strong opinions on the subject, and you will find that many others in your consituency feel the same.

Michael Morgenstern

And I meant it. This is really, really bad and the fact that it might pass very scary. Do something, and for the love of god don’t vote Gillibrand back in if she supports this.

Shabbat Dinner: Funded and Raring to Go!

Wow! It was three weeks ago that Aidan and I were discussing our film’s budget and how much we thought we would be able to raise. We picked a number that we thought was acheivable, but we really had our doubts–and we were blown away. With every new backer we were touched, and would like to say again: thank you, thank you. We’re fairly in awe of the power of your collective support (Including additional money raised offline, we raised $3398 from 92 backers, 134% of our Kickstarter goal.) We don’t plan to let you down!

As much as our busy production schedule lets us, we’ll be keeping you up to date on the progress of the film, which will happen fairly rapidly from here. You can follow Michael’s facebook and twitter for quick updates, the kickstarter for production-related updates, or Michael’s blog for detailed updates along with a whole bunch of other junk.

Here’s our timeline:

November 6 – We completed a read-through of the script. We rehearsed with the actors, worked on character and delivery, and did a costume fitting. It was the first time all the actors had a chance to meet each other and it went great.

November 7 – Final draft of the script was completed and circulated to actors.

November 8 – Makeup test with Dan and costume fitting with Eva, who just got back to New York from Chicago

November 9-11 – equipment search and set decoration.

November 12-13 – THE SHOOT! A whirlwind journey through the world of Shabbat Dinner

That’s only half the magic. Then post production begins: editing, sound design, and color correction. By December 1 we will have a rough cut, and a full finished film should be complete by mid-January.

Stay tuned for more updates, and we’re looking forward to sharing the experience with you!


Portrait of Ale and Dina – there’s a lot of things in here.

Tools for the Google Reader diaspora

Well Google did a dumb thing just a few days ago. A few dumb things, actually..and I can’t help but wonder if it’s the new management or just old structural problems that are leading them down this terrible direction. They got rid of the sharing features of Google Reader and moved them to Google+. Here’s a good explanation for why that was a terrible idea, and I can corroborate that using Reader with G+ is an awful experience. The interface is designed to get you to post about yourself and spy on your friends, not to have meaningful discussions about deep content. Many other people agree strongly. Plus, they bulldozed the old Gmail look in favor of this ugly spartan look (a look which I suspect was actually one reason for Google+’s current failure.)

And since we’ve been kicked out, my friends and I have been pathetically wandering, trying to have a coherent conversation across multiple platforms, email, IM – a conversation that would have been so easy on Reader. We’re holding out for Hivemined, a replacement that is being built (Another one to look into is ridllr,)  and for now we are slogging through with Google+.

For those doing the same, I made some tools to make your reading easier. I’ll go through my Firefox toolbar to show you what I made and what I use. From left to right:

  • Subscribe in Reader plugin (download from me) – Now that your friends’ shares are no longer shown in the Reader interface, it’s harder to subscribe to new content. This button loads the first RSS feed of whatever blog or news site you are on and displays it in Reader, allowing you to subscribe. Perfect to build up your subscription lists.
    To use, download the xpi file and then drag it into the Firefox window. If you don’t have Firefox, then drag this link to your bookmark bar: Subscribe in Reader
  • Video Downloadhelper (download from Mozilla) – When you are watching video on a site like YouTube, Vimeo, or listening to music on a site like SoundCloud, etc., this icon lights up and lets you download the source file directly. Best way I know to grab YouTube videos or SoundCloud MP3s.
  • Share on Facebook plugin (download from me) – Click this to share something directly to Facebook.
    Same usage instructions as Subscribe in Reader plugin above. If you don’t have Firefox, drag this link to your bookmark bar: Share on Facebook
  • Share on Google+ plugin (download from me) – Share to Google+. Once you click it, click inside the little box on the page that pops up and you’ll be able to select which circles you want to share it in. I created a “Readers” circle for my old Reader buddies. It seems like it remembers the circles and uses them as defaults for the next time you click the button, but I haven’t tested it enough to be sure.
    Same instructions as above. Here’s the bookmarklet for those without Firefox: Share on Google+
  • Send as email (download from Mozilla) – Sometimes I want to share on Facebook or Reader, sometimes I want to email a post. I like having everything together.
  • Read It Later (download from ReadItLater) – I love this app, and it’s better than instapaper. Click the yellow arrow in the address bar to add a page to your list of things to read later, which automatically makes it available offline on your computer (by clicking the button at far right) and Android/iPhone. Works flawlessly and is very helpful in queuing articles and closing browser windows.

Credit for the plugins I made goes to the codefisher plugin generator (I had to open the xpi files to tweak the compatibility versions.) Here’s where I got the Reader, Facebook, and Google+ bookmarklets.

Whew! Who knew it was so complicated to read and share things on the internet! God do I miss Reader.