All posts for “lesson”


I Switched to a Mac - Here Are The Notes

Posted by: leelefever on April 17, 2008- 5:00pm


Categories: computer, lesson, personal


I switched.  It happened about 2 weeks ago, I made a Macbook my primary computer for the first time.  We've had a Mac around the house for a while, but I've been loyal to my little Sony Vaio, which has been mostly flawless for about 2.5 years. It was a good one. But alas, I wanted a Mac, and it has come to pass. Along the way, I've been taking some stream-of-consciousness notes on my perceptions before doing any research. I'm using Leopard, btw. Here goes: I'm still learning, but today was... Continue Reading

Two Quotes on Simplicity

Posted by: leelefever on April 11, 2008- 5:00pm


Categories: beingsmall, book, lesson, quote


The first is by Antione de Saint Exupéry, author of The Little Prince and a pioneer in aviation: Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.  The second is by William of Occam (1288-1347)  You might know the name from Occam's Razor. It is vain to do more with what can be done with less. These quotes mean a lot to me and were found, most recently, at the beginning of Chapter 5 of Tim Ferriss' book The 4-Hour Workweek.  More on that later. 

Own It

Posted by: leelefever on April 5, 2008- 5:00pm


Categories: being small, commoncraft, lesson, ourwork, personal, video


What is the point where many projects get off track? We think it's when decision making becomes a burden.  Indecision, lack of ownership and unclear reasoning often means stasis and frustration.  Over the past year, and likely through traveling together, Sachi and I have evolved a system that helps us be productive without wasting time.  It's a system of ownership - of being personally accountable for the small decisions that contribute to the overall goal. Early in the process, we talk a lot... Continue Reading

Talkin' Bout My Education

Posted by: leelefever on March 26, 2008- 5:00pm

Topic: education

Categories: commoncraft, lesson, ourwork, personal, videos


Looking back at my education, I wasn't a great student.  I made decent grades and went to a good university and grad school, but school was never my thing.  Looking back, I can pin-point a couple of points at which I lost faith. It was sixth grade and I was in a math class with Mrs. Paine (it's true - Paine).  The subject was least common denominators.  I didn't get it.  My worksheets came back with red marks, but I didn't really understand what I was supposed to be doing.  The class moved on... Continue Reading

A Problem with Embedded Videos

Posted by: leelefever on March 16, 2008- 5:00pm


Categories: lesson, videohosts, youtube


Here's a scenario: You create a video and upload it to a host like You Tube. People like it and want to share it on their blog. They grab the embed code and paste it into their blog. Sweet - your video is on multiple blogs! Then, you realize that the video has an error you need to correct. To do this, you need to delete the current video and upload a new one. Ack! When you delete a video, the embedded players stop working The bloggers now have a broken links and don't know why. So, you're... Continue Reading

Free is the Future

Posted by: leelefever on February 25, 2008- 4:00pm


Categories: beingsmall, business, lesson, ourwork


Chris Anderson, the author of The Long Tail and editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine,  has moved his focus to "Free".  His article is the cover story of the latest Wired (Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business) and has a book coming out in 2009. I think he's onto something. A couple of quotes: Once a marketing gimmick, free has emerged as a full-fledged economy. Offering free music proved successful for Radiohead, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, and a swarm of other bands on MySpace that... Continue Reading

15 Lessons Learned in 2007

Posted by: leelefever on January 1, 2008- 4:00pm


Categories: beingsmall, business, lesson, lifestyle, ourwork


What a year.  I can say with ultimate confidence that we never would have guessed, one year ago, that 2007 would be so transformative for Common Craft. Here are some things we learned:     OUR WORK  Video works. Text, graphics, audio, they all have a place.  But video is a different animal.  Nothing engages people like the dynamics of a video.  Ever read about a car chase? It's not as fun. Simple is better.  Approach an explanation by removing information instead of adding it. Remember Occam's... Continue Reading

The Tools of Our Trade (analog version)

Posted by: leelefever on December 12, 2007- 4:00pm

Topic: Behind the Scenes

Categories: art, lesson, ourwork, paperworks, productions


Like our videos, the tools we use to make them are quite simple.  Below is a quick tour of some of the non-electronic elements of our productions... The photo below represents a near-complete selection of the tools we use almost everyday to create illustrations and videos.  You can view the photo below with "notes" on Because neither of us brought video production/scripting/storyboarding experience to the table, we've tinkered our way through and created a couple of resources that... Continue Reading

Working as a Video Making Team

Posted by: leelefever on November 28, 2007- 4:00pm


Categories: lesson, ourwork, personal, video


Last night we shot the video for the next Common Craft Show and, as usual, we came out of the experience completely exhausted. I've always been fascinated that it takes so much out of me.  In thinking about why (other than the 500 watt lights), it has become clear that it may be the same thing that makes our videos work: iteration.  Everything we do on video is rehashed, rewritten, repositioned and edited all the way to the point the camera rolls (and sometimes again after). All these changes... Continue Reading

The Learning Curve of Video Lighting

Posted by: leelefever on October 14, 2007- 5:00pm


Categories: lesson, lighting, show, video


I while back I wrote about solving problems when they need to be solved - and it's still very applicable.  With every video we continue to learn and solve new problems.  In almost any video project, lighting is a huge factor we've learned so much.  There are few more stark examples of our learning curve than the listing of our videos on our YouTube page.  Notice the gradation of the white backgrounds:      You can see, right in the listing, our learning curve.  Here are a few things we... Continue Reading