SXSW Excellence in Title Design Competition

I am finally emerging from the deep, dark and secluded throes of post-production for Suburban Cowboy. I had promised to bring updates, but with little money and even less hours in a day I found it very hard.  Sorry about that.

With about 2-3 weeks left for 5.1 mix and a final color session/film grain… I am proud to announce that the hand drawn animated title sequence for the film has been selected to compete at SXSW for Excellence in Title Design Competition.

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Our tiny film (relatively speaking) will be going up against films and television shows such as Spectre, Avengers Age of Ultron, Crimson Peak and Daredevil. It is quite an honor and I couldn’t be happier for Zsombor Huszka, who brought them to life.

Can Humans Beat Sleep?

We spend a third of our lives sleeping. For the average human, that’s 191,625 hours. Or close to twenty-two years. And we probably waste just as much time feeling tired. Struggling through restless nights, which turn into unproductive days. What if you never have to do that again?

We all know the person who can get four hours of sleep a night and bounce off walls the next day, as well as the other who gets ten, eats healthy and is somehow ragged all day long. It is the rare individual who can get a full night’s sleep each and every night. And even if they do, it takes hours. Hours they could spend doing so many other things. Reading, learning, travelling, working, spending time with family…

What if you were never tired? Never required a nap or a rest? Never had to ‘relax’?

Picture a world where you can get a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep in a half hour – each and every night. So the hours you are up aren’t just more plentiful, they are more productive. Useful. People will never be tired. Never be lazy. Accidents because of exhaustion go out the window. Physical conditions that exist because of lack of sleep are eradicated. Workdays double and our earning power increases. The world’s most brilliant minds are able to function at full capacity twenty-three hours a day. Think about what they can accomplish.

While idols of mine, like Ray Kurzweil and Aubrey de Grey, attempt to extend life indefinitely… I am trying to get the most of the current life we lead.

The ancient yogi in India believed that by chanting the OM Mantra, one could attain a level of consciousness called yoga nidra, or deep sleep. And there are four stages of that refrain. The ‘A’. The ‘U’. The ‘M’. And the ‘O’, which represents silence. Only those who are truly enlightened reach ‘M’. And in this state such a man could fulfill all his basic sleep requirements in an hour or so of meditation.

My theory posits that we can emulate this process through the use of a sleep chamber and trick the brain into the cycles of REM, speeding up the process and eliminating the need for sleep. Well, the need for sleep as we know it.

Ever since I was a child, I could never understand why we were wasting our time sleeping. It really manifested itself when I was in college, because I struggled with bouts of insomnia. Sometimes I would go days without rest, through sports and a rigorous course load, knowing that ultimately the fall would be epic. And it was.

It was around then that I remembered a segment on a news broadcast when I was a kid about a chair that looked a bit like a futuristic hair salon dryer chair that supposedly allowed someone to get a full night’s sleep in a half hour or so. Apparently I was crazy, because nothing like that ever aired on a broadcast. At least that I could find. So maybe my ten-year old self dreamt it. However, it set me on a path. Over the course of years, I contacted everyone I could who was renowned in the world of sleep research and they all basically told me the same thing – you’re off your rocker.

But I was not dismayed. The revolutionary forces of any movement are those capable of shifting the present foundation of things, of changing the angle of reality. There are all types of forward thinking people out there. Individuals that do not shift to the way of the world. Steel pillars whom the earth and society will break around. Men who forged fire. Created the wheel. Built the printing press and the steam engine. Men who changed the course of humanity with the silicon chip. All for what? So you could live a better life?

What if you could live two lifetimes?

There are those who are repelled by such a thought. I have heard all of the arguments against such a theory or chamber. The human body needs time to rejuvenate or heal – but what about those of us that heal faster than others? Perhaps that is that because that person has more complete sleep each night. Some people will tell me they look forward to falling into their bed with the fluffy comforter. When you are energized and ready to take on the world, do you really think about such things? You don’t even need to own a bed. You can, but now it can be more customized to what you need it for – such as sexual intercourse. Others want to harp on the negative effects such an advance will bring. For most of us that have to work, that’s twice the time away from your family. It’s twice the crime. Double the drain on our natural resources. It’s speeding up the end of the world. I am the harbinger of death. If you want to change the world you have to break some eggs, right?

People even insist on asking me… What about good old-fashioned natural sleep? The only truly natural sleep is death. It lasts forever and comes soon enough. I am not interested in rushing it.

This sleep chamber and its underpinnings are the basis for my graphic novel R.E.M.. If you enjoy a challenging story, I hope you’ll check us out. Anyone can read the first 30 pages on the website… so give it a shot.  That’s all I ask. You can actually check out a prequel of the story as a short film on the website as well.

And if you like what you see and want to know what else is coming from us, follow us:

www.facebook.com/spokelane

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Why Do We Sleep?

Russell Foster discussed this very topic in his TEDtalk – a topic that is clearly very near and dear to my heart, as I wrote a graphic novel about a scientist trying to beat sleep (the drama/thriller R.E.M.).

The Art of a Print

On our road trip to AwesomeCon in Washington, DC, Zsombor and I had a cool idea of a samurai print.  Basically, samurai Batman (this idea later morphed into a full scale animated film that we outlined the next weekend at C2E2 and are doing designs for currently). I’m not taking much credit for this one, I actually only came up with the title – The Dark Ronin.  What I wanted to show you was the sketch Zsombor did at AwesomeCon and the final print that was done within a week for C2E2 (and was our best seller). Guy is pretty talented. If only he could close a sale.

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