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OMG - 200 blog posts

I suppose if I were reviewing cameras or software or tutorials or writing books and posting excerpts my numbers could be even higher. But I generally don't do those things - I talk about my job, travel, hobbies and life. And between you and me, writing 200 articles/entries/whatever you want to call them, is a lot.

I joined Creative COW on the day it opened for business. At the time I was a Media 100 user and the Media 100 tech support was pretty unsupportive. Within a few months, the COW had become an invaluable resource for tech support, often providing answers faster than our paid support contract.

Over the years as we and the rest of the world have gone completely digital (when we first got into NLE we were still shooting BetaSP and gradually evolved to DVCPRO, mini-DV, DVCAM, HDV and finally tapeless formats aplenty), the COW has remained the definitive place to get answers. Inevitably if you Google a problem, the COW is one of the top results.

On a few occasions I have searched for a particular problem only to be directed to an earlier post by myself asking and sometimes solving my own problem a year or more ago.

Through my interactions and eventual moderation duties on a few forums I have met numerous others who I would consider my friends, although I have not met nor spoken by voice with most of them. But here in 2013 I think you can in fact be friends without having ever met.

I have met and even hired a few fellow COWS. And when I need a reliable camera crew anywhere in the world, the COW is the first place I look.

In 2008 I was invited to write an article about surgical video for the recently conceived Creative COW Magazine. Working with Tim Wilson, the article was printed and was a big thrill. A while later an electronic expanded version was posted online and the comments were quite touching.

More recently I have followed up the article with a few detailed blog entries to keep the story going.

Almost as thrilling has been seeing a few blog entries turned into online-only magazine articles, including my review of The Hobbit, a discussion of interview setups and most recently "What Star Wars Means to Me" which was a lifetime in the making.

So while this prose seems to be all about Creative COW, it is also all about me and my journey from student to intern to production assistant to junior editor to senior editor to project manager to team leader and director, and the evolution and acquisition of skills and experience along the way. I have had a great way to share some of these themes right here on this blog and to perhaps impart some wisdom or at least help to peers and to those just entering the business via the forums.

With much appreciation to Ron, Kathlyn, Tim, Abraham, Debra and all the elves working behind the scenes to keep the COW mooing, I say with a cheer and a smile...thanks for reading.

And now to figure out what else I can write about...

Mike Cohen

PS - I am posting this in the Business and Marketing forum as this was the first forum I really got involved with on a daily basis, and like the Cantina in Mos Eisley, it is where the best pilots can be found.

Posted by: Mike Cohen on Mar 29, 2013 at 9:35:18 pm

What Star Wars Means to Me

With all this talk about another Star Wars Trilogy, spin off movies, live action tv and George Lucas retiring a terribly wealthy man, I've kept myself busy with rumors, speculation and criticisms as well as hopes for good movies.

But why exactly does Star Wars mean to me and why spend so much time thinking about movies?

In 1977 most of the world went to see Star Wars. This was before it was named Episode IV.
I did not. My brother went. I stayed home. I was a strange child.

However over the next 3 years I read the picture book, saw the Holiday Special, the cast appearances on Donny and Marie, the Muppet Show, got many of the toys, an R2-D2 punching bag, t-shirts, lunchboxes and bed sheets.

Finally in 1980, AFTER seeing Empire, I finally saw Star Wars. This was before home video, so movies would be brought back to the theater years after their original release.

As much as I thought I loved Empire, I am pretty sure I invented the acronym OMG after seeing the original.

Some time thereafter SW started its run on HBO. I believe I watched it every time it was on during waking hours. The trench run never got old.

Friendships from 1st through 6th grade revolved around Star Wars. I stopped receiving action figures after my 10th birthday, but no worries, my friends' parents never got the memo. While I was lucky enough to have the primary vehicles and major characters, other kids in the neighborhood had the AT-AT and the Star Destroyer.

In these days you could run around the neighborhood with plastic laser guns and lightsabers and nobody called the police. Heck on Halloween I would wear my dad's Army uniform complete with dummy hand grenade, gas mask and die cast non-firing .38 revolver. Dress like that today and you get arrested. In 1982 you got a gold star!

But back to Luke and Leia.

In 7th grade Bar-Mitzvah class we had a guest speaker who used clips from Empire to show that Luke's Jedi training was similar to our Bar-Mitzvah training. Luke was becoming a man and learning the ancient tradition of the Jedi, while we were preparing to enter adulthood and learn to read from the ancient Torah scrolls. It was perhaps a stretch, but for the first time in 4 years, Hebrew school was meaningful to me.

By the way, I nailed my Haftorah (Korach in case anyone is wondering). I also rocked that white linen suit, don't you think?

Once high school arrived, although I would watch the original trilogy on occasion, such as when we got the coveted surround amplifier, or when I needed cheering up, life became about girls and sports and getting into college. My high school friends were not so interested in SW movies and that was ok.

There were two Ewok movies in the late 80's and the Star Tours ride at MGM Studios, so Star Wars never completely went away. Although most of the toys were in boxes in the basement, my Boba Fett figure stayed close by through high school and college - perhaps a reminder to never forget where I came from.

College was a different story. It was for some reason easier to find friends with similar interests and SW came back into my life.

Once the VHS letterbox set came out, it was like seeing the films for the first time. One evening we wired up the school's SVHS camera to our dorm's hifi system and watched Empire loud enough to make the neighbors complain.

Once out of college a few years, the Special Editions came out, and while not so special in use of CG, it was Star Wars back on the big screen. Watching movies as an adult that you thought you enjoyed as a child can be a new experience.

When I got married, in addition to the usual decorations on my car after the reception, my brother placed Luke and Leia action figures hanging from the rearview mirror.

Next came 1999 and the Phantom Menace. At the time it was friggin awesome because it was Star Wars on the big screen. Same for Clones and Sith. Only years later does hindsight tell you that there were some not so great parts of these movies. But Clones was actually quite enjoyable and Phantom and Sith were ok with perhaps 30 minutes removed from each. I know what Lucas was doing - pushing the limits of CGI and initiating the era of digital cinema. Heck I shoot XDCAM so I guess I have Lucas to thank. When I first started my job we were doing animation with Alias Wavefront - we certainly have George to thank for that!

(yes, that is a Darth Maul cookie jar. I have a box of C3-POs cereal in the back of my pantry too if you'd like to see that!)

In 2010, on my birthday, my wife and I attended Star Wars in concert, featuring live narration by Anthony Daniels and a huge screen, lasers and a crowd so pumped up you would think it was a Zeppelin reunion.

I am sure that a part of me became interested in filmmaking and media production thanks to my love of Star Wars and the other scifi films of the late 70's and 80's.

The circle is now complete. When I left childhood I was just a learner. Now I am the master.

So that is what Star Wars means to me.

May the Force Be With you.

Yeah, I said it.

Mike Cohen

Posted by: Mike Cohen on Mar 7, 2013 at 6:48:54 pm star, wars

I have a passion for my job, which entails training for medical professionals such as surgeons, nurses and administrators, not to mention various industries.

Technology is great, but how you apply your skills is what pays the bills.

Years ago I canceled my Media 100 support contract upon discovering what a treasure trove of helpful advice can be found on the Creative COW website. I am proud to be a part of this fantastic community.

In my blog I talk a little about media production, a lot about travel and workflow, and occasionally about cooking, nature and my four-legged friends.

Follow me on Twitter: med_ed_mike

I'm also on LinkedIn if you can't get enough of me!


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