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Random thoughts on filmmaking, life and science. Subscribe via email.

Sundance 2016

My first Sundance tour is over and man was it fun. It was much better than I expected... The parties were amazing, the food was good and I got a chance to reconnect with friends in the industry who I didn't even know would be there. It felt like a reunion on so many levels.

why I went 

You won't believe this... A publicist found me online and thought that I should go to Sundance to tell people about my film.... So I decided to go on Friday and I was there on Sunday.

Front of postcard I made for the festival

Front of postcard I made for the festival

Back of postcard I made for the festival

Back of postcard I made for the festival

what I did there

I basically jumped from party to party and just told people of my love for flying and aviators. That's the whole reason I'm on this journey with the film. I hate to "network" so I was just there meeting people and talking about aviation and flying. Flying is something that just resonates with everyone so many people were on board with the film . It's always good to have people respond positively to your work/passion so it was a good experience. I also ran into a fellow pilot and filmmaker who's a captain for American Airlines... a representative from Aerial Mob which does drone cinematography for the studios, and a Delta flight attendant who loves cinema... We had a blast talking about flying and cinema!

Reunion  

I ran into so many familiar faces at Sundance. I've been on the periphery of the film industry since I made my first short film back in 2004, and I saw people from all over that journey at Sundance. Filmmaker friends I knew while I was in Project Involve, Alumni from USC.... I even ran into a engineer I used to work with at Hughes Aircraft in the aerospace/defense industry. He was mechanical and I was electrical so we'd often had to work together on products for our troops. All in all it was sooooo good to see familiar faces meeting up over our common interest in cinema. 

USC Alumni

USC Alumni

Former coworker at Hughes Aircraft

Former coworker at Hughes Aircraft

The takeaway

I'm so glad I went. I had a chance to share my love of flying and my film. People seem to be responding well to it and that makes me happy :-) I'll definitely be back. I know it's just a matter of time before the project finds the right champion. Fingers crossed. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. 

 #takeflight

developments in neuroscience, USC, and why you should be afraid

ku-xlarge.jpg

There is quite a striking difference between the above image and my CT image. This difference demonstrates the dramatic changes happening in X-ray and Magnetic Resonance Imaging fields. These advancements have caused an explosion in neuroscience, allowing scientists to have clearer pictures of what's going on in our brains. We are quickly approaching a time where we can image a brain at speeds approaching real time. Why is this important? There reasons:

1) It gets us get one step closer to understanding how we work

2) After we understand ourselves then we'll have better health care (mental health)

3) We can take what we learn and make better machines (AI/Robots) in our image. You know… just like our heavenly father

The Human Connectome Project was established to map the brain with these tools. It was initially set up between Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital and UCLA but UCLA wasn't cutting it so the scientists recently moved their lab to USC. Good choice :-) 

A landmark result of this technology and the brain mapping projects was the discovery of "grid patterns" in the brain. Before march of last year we thought our brains were just a mess of neurons and synapses. Well it turns out we just didn't have a detailed enough view.

We've been trying to build brains since 1642 and we've become pretty good at it. All of this was done without us knowing how our brains were built or how they worked. In the last 100 years or so we learned a great deal and we're only beginning to put this new knowledge into the design of our machines. Their's a whole field of study that's beginning to build circuits in the fashion of now neural networks work. This means less power consumption for our mechanical brains which someday will become more efficient than ours (Human Brain consumes 10-20W depending on how smart the person is…kidding). 

Stay tuned! This has major implications in the artificial intelligence field.

brainscanx4.jpg

In Kenya with Mama Sarah Obama

Kenya

Kenya

A few months ago I traveled to Kenya. What a life changing experience it was for me. This was my first time in Africa and I can honestly say that it was a life changing experience for me. I was there to film a documentary and fundraising video for the Mama Sarah Obama foundation. Our president's paternal grandmother is an amazing woman who is full of life, dedicated to making this world a better place and an absolute joy to be around. I'm still cutting the documentary but enjoy the fundraising video here and donate to the Mama Sarah Obama Legacy plan here.