My life, my work, me.

Studio Test for "Film des Ponts"

Set-up day for a project that I produce and direct with ChezFilms for École des Ponts. Today, life-size test in the studio before shooting the interviews starting next week.

Film des ponts test interview studio
Chloë (gauche) sert de doublure lumière pendant que Paul (droite) fait son chef op.

This project started in November and will continue until summer. Updates soon.

Let's Start a Band!

My song of the moment.

I like it because it has no real chorus, the lyrics are nostalgic and it ends in a climax. It's not recent - 2007 - but I discovered it recently when it came after This is the life which I have always loved. Since then, I listen to it on repeat while on the beach at night.

Let's Start a Band, d'Amy Macdonald

The common theme of the two songs is... how can I put it? A mythology associated with music and adolescence. Groups, parties, clubs, festivals... When you're young, it's not just a trend or a stage in your life: this is the life. (Ah ah, I translated this from french and I swear I didn't realize I was coming back to the title of the song. Makes sense though.)

Morning Stats

Distance walked this morning: 8.9km

Number of children dropped off at daycare: 1

Desire to work: 0

Diary entries: 1231 words (7287 characters)

Money spent on coffee and drinks: €11.40

Number of very important meetings this afternoon: 2

Number of meetings postponed without date: 1

Number of meetings postponed by one hour: 1

Number of times I told myself that in life you really have to plan for nothing, I mean: yeah, you can plan, but the most important thing is to be able to dance with the chaos when nothing goes as planned: 2

Number of women crossed sobbing in front of the Bataclan: 1

Number of times reading the name of an actress I vaguely know on the poster of a hit play made me think about the importance of growing your network to be successful so much that I read the wikipedia article on graph theory to think more deeply about the connections that bind us and imagine how we could automate the process of finding the people who are right for us: 1

Number of times I felt like I was wasting my time and not doing what I should be doing: 4

Number of times I said to myself "it's OK, I do what I do, stop judging": 3

Number of times it helped: 2

Number of phone calls received while writing this post: 1

Number of meeting postponed without date which now have a date: 1

This morning on a scale from 1 to 10: 10, easily.

My New Graphic Designer is an A.I. (Join the Club)

Those who have the eye will have noticed that a large part of my posts here are illustrated by images produced by an artificial intelligence, in this case Midjourney.

For input, I compose a short sentence in English to describe what I want, often accompanied by the terms "vector illustration" for a drawing or "photo-realistic" for a photographic result. And the program outputs four breathtaking proposals that I can transform or expand. All for 8 euros per month.

For example, here are the four suggested results for "French Baker shooting films with a camera and a baguette":

Midjourney french baker making films
4 proposals by Midjourney for la Boulengerie

Which is not to say that graphic designers have become useless - not at all! They can still bring coffee or do the short ladder to help catch high objects.

Just kidding (embarrassed emoji).

If the images generated by A.I. are always of surprising quality, it is still very difficult to have real control over the result. The machine does what it wants. Not to mention the supernumerary members and other graphic aberrations that we do not fail to notice at second glance. Smart illustrators will therefore make these tools their allies by composing the right requests upstream and making the right corrections downstream in order to create richer works, faster. Or so we hope.

But yes: these jobs are evolving. Along many others. Ask GPT3.

10 less stupid resolutions for 2023

Not so much resolutions as general principles that I've discovered and explored in the past years:

  1. Gain clarity
    Without clarity, each decision, big or small, is commanded by our irrational fears, or subconsicous anxieties and ends up leading us in the wrong direction. Clarity should be the first thing we seek. Before a career. Before love. Before brushing out teeth. But here's the catch (22): to realize the importance of clarity, you already need to have some. That's the paradox. Unless...
  2. Really want it
    It seems simple, almost childish, but it works. Call it what you will: faith, grace, resilience. If you really want to grow, gain wisdom, become a better person, you'll find a way. It might not be visible just yet or – even worse – it might not be the path you had in mind. But you have to want it. Like: really really want it. Then no paradox, no excuse and nobody will be able to stand in your way. That's real faith.
  3. "Where?" before "How?"
    "How?" is the question everbody is obsessed with. "How can I do this? How can I get there?". To the point where we don't end up where we want, but where we can. We let the "hows?" learnt at school, at work or on TV be our only compas, instead of asking the only question that matters: "Where?". "Where do I really want to go? And Why?". The wrong direction, even when reached really fast or really efficiently, is still the wrong direction.
  4. Growth before value
    Where you are now doesn't matter. Whether you're at the bottom of a pit, on top of a mountain, or mid-slope somewhere: it's temporary. What matters is your growth rate (the "derivative", engineers would say): are you going up or going down? Are you growing or shrinking? By changing your inner slope only by a few degrees, you change both who you are and where you're headed. It might not be visible right away but it's the only way to make a difference on the long run.
  5. The solution is always inside
    The problems we have are a function of who we are. If  some genie made all of our problems disappear tonight by a snap of a finger, we'd be happy for a day and then, in less than a week, we'd recreate the same problems over again – or very similar ones. So don't blame your outide circumstances: they have nothing to do with it. Look for the cause within. That's the real source. The inner slope wich pulls you up or pushes you down.
  6. Problems before solutions
    In the corporate world, we're told one should never come to their boss with a problem without offering a solution. In life, this is foolish. Spotting a problem is the first step towards solving it. It's called clarity. Once the obstacle is exposed in all its glory, mecanisms will set themselves in motion to find a solution. It's denial that makes calamity of a so long life.
  7. Get to know yourself
    Since you don't get one at birth, you should invest in writing your own instruction manual. Observe yourself. Embrace introspection. How does anger spark in you? Or jalousy? Or fear? What deep cause motivates your actions? Which irrational fear controls your pulsions? Identifying intern mecanisms allows to free yourself from them and eventually become more deliberate in just about everything.
  8. Beware of thoughts
    Nothing really important is ever intellectual. Thinking might be fun, social, or productive, but the pillars of one's life should never rest on some logical reasoning. Our brain makes up new problems when it can't find any. By nature, thoughts are never at peace. So you should let this machine do its thing without paying too much attention while you look for balance elsewhere. In this regard, thoughts are a bit like TV: they only become harmful when you think they tell the truth.
  9. Beware of numbers
    Numbers are the same: they're never where they're supposed to be. Choloesterol is too high, salary too low, temperatures too cold, interest rates too expensive. By essence, numbers are made to quantify what is missing and what is too much, and thus represent a neverending source of insatisfaction and unbalance. Better to focus on what cannot be measured: the joy of seing someone we like, the pleasure of an activity we love, the beauty of the sky.
  10. Live in the present
    It's an overused cliché but it's also the key to the safe. Only the present exists. Past is another word for memory – often selective and filled with regret. The future is another word for imagination – often skewed by the anxiety of the day. Not living in the present means living in your head. To be prisonner of your thoughts, opinions, memories. Why not, after all? But every now and then, it's always nice to take a walk in the "here and now". To keep in touch with the world, with others, and with yourslef.

Happy 2023.

All my Networks in One

This website will become my facebook, instagram, twitter and youtube all in one.

I’m tired of letting a profit-based algorithm choose what I can and can’t see, and decide what my friends see of what I do. And if that wasn’t enough, Mark Zukerberg’s and Eldon Musk’s latest tribulations convinced me that I didn’t want to leave them in control of what I share.

Here, I’ll build my corner of the internet that I control from A to Z.

I’ll create a feed where I can share my texts, photos, videos, brain farts, favorite links (…) and improve it step by step to make it pleasant to read, easy to share, and a place where you and I can interact with ease.

Yes, as you may point out: I won’t benefit from the network effect that dedicated platforms bring with them.

So be it. I’ll find another way. Probably a mailing list. Maybe I’ll look into the aggregators again, which allow readers to gather several blogs in one feed that they can control. Because in the end, it’s all about control.

Also, nothing prevents me from using social networks to promote my site. But the content will stay here. The conversations will take place here. Or on *your* website, if you’re game.

I’ll have fewer readers and they’ll grow more slowly. I’m fine with that. Let’s focus on the quality of our interactions rather than on the quantity.

1 Minute of Stork and 1 Minute of Dogs

One minute of stork during Muezzin:

Café le Nid des Cigognes, Médina, Marrakech

And one minute of Beldi (undomesticated) dogs playing in the Garden of Koutoubia. At the end, the seem surprised by their friend's arrival. Thant they all leave together, leaving the frame like professionnal actors:

1 Minute of Marrakech garden

Cyber Parc Arsat Moulay Abdeslam

The video is really small but I don’t know how to make it bigger yet. (Update: I kinda found out.) And it’s so quiet, it looks like a still picture (it’s not).

The garden is beautiful. I’ve walked by it dozens of times but today, I went it. Calm, manicured, peaceful. I was delighted.