We just lunched our universal Huffington Post iPhone/iPad news app.
Number 1 in News section in Apple Appstore!
We just lunched our universal Huffington Post iPhone/iPad news app.
Number 1 in News section in Apple Appstore!
The Bayyinah iPhone app just crossed 6500 downloads, with a solid 5 star review in the Appstore. This is an app I’m really proud of.
After working for months with my team at the Huffington Post, we finally shipped our News reader iPad app. Check it out in the Appstore!
Calligraphy has been around for ages, but it hasn’t really evolved in the last few years. See how Faraz Khan, an American Calligrapher attempts to redefine calligraphy and develop the Muslim American culture through his art.
Was my second run since Ramadan 1st (now more than 2 months later…)
Not my best, but a good way to get back into running.
I had the pleasure of working with the Oak Tree Institute team to develop this promotional video that is being used in their Ramadan fundraising campaign. Once the script was done, the film was shot and put together in less than 1 week. I wish OTI the highest levels of success as their cause is noble and their team in sincere.
Technical info for the tech savvy:
Script was developed in collaboration with the Oak Tree team
Shot using 5D Mark II + 24-105 f4
Edited and graded Final Cut Pro X
Audio was recorded by Rode Microphone plugged into a Zoom H4N and synced in post production
Rams introduced the idea of sustainable development and of obsolescence being a crime in design in the 1970s. Accordingly he asked himself the question: is my design good design? The answer formed his now celebrated ten principles.
Is innovative – The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
Makes a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
Is aesthetic – The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
Makes a product understandable – It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
Is unobtrusive – Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
Is honest – It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
Is long-lasting – It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
Is thorough down to the last detail – Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
Is environmentally friendly – Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
Is as little design as possible – Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.
Feels great to be among these people. Gives me great inspiration and hope for what is to come.
This weekend I attended the Vimeo Festival, a conference for film makers. I chose to go this year because one of my favorite film production companies, Stillmotion, was going to give a talk on the art of storytelling, a subject I have been forever passionate about but never really studied.
It was an odd feeling seeing Amina and Justin, two people I have learned so much from on the internet, in person. As they started speaking, I became focused and listened intently. While they both did an excellent job, it was Amina in particular that I connected with.
Amina is a small petite woman that is filled with passion, excitement, and love for her craft and her projects. She spoke of living a life of purpose, and how at Stillmotion they choose even their lenses/stabilizers to best tell the story of the people they are documenting. Of how you make decisions only to fulfill that purpose, and nothing else.
That is when I realized that I have been doing it wrong. I spent most of the last three years learning the tools, but not connecting the tools to my sense of purpose. I have been studying HD film making and with much practice. The lighting, camera settings, white balance, focal lengths, rack focus, etc. What I have not been doing is using the tools to create work that I am proud of. I have not been using them to create a piece of art that actually moves someone, and pushes them to action. I chose what to buy next based on what I thought I needed, not because I actually needed them to make a film.
What Amina really drove into my mind was the idea that your purpose should drive what you choose to do. At Stillmotion, they are passionate about telling authentic stories, and so all of the decision they make must tell the stories of the people they document better. It always starts with the people in the stories. As Amina puts it “A day is nothing. People are everything.”
She spoke of being present. About entering a room, closing your eyes, and really feeling the vibe, and understanding with your heart what your eyes could never tell you.
She spoke of listening above hearing, and of feeling above seeing. Every ounce of her body spoke directly to us. It was profound. I left dumbfounded, not by the material she presented, but at who she was, how she lived, and how she made her decisions.
I read many self help blogs that speak of living a life of passion, being present, etc. Reading about these things has done me a lot of good, but actually seeing someone live it taught me things that reading simply could not.
So to Amina and the Stillmotion team, thanks for being so awesome. I will commit to shipping one quality short film that I am proud of by the end of 2012.
“Not to be preachy about it, but discipline is everything for a working writer, at least for this one. I can’t just wander around fields of flowers or sit brooding in coffee houses waiting for the muse to land on my shoulder and whisper in my ear. That would nice, but it ain’t gonna happen. I treat writing like a factory job – the whistle blows and I’m at work. This thing always comes down to someone sitting down with some kind of writing instrument and getting it done.”
Discipline is everything…true in any field I think.
Action is King.
You don’t get a good idea out of the blue. You get a good idea amidst many bad ones. Work on something, and you’ll see that you will change direction multiple times before you produce soemthing you are proud of.
There is no proud work without the willingness to do un-perfect things first.
Focus on contribution, not entitlement.
Focus on outcome, not output.
Sort for what is needed, not what is requested.
Go towards big decisions, even without authority.
See your circumstance as illusory and temporary.
I was contacted by the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut to document the September 11 Memorial Service event that they planned and executed so perfectly this year. I jumped on this without hesitation because they are a non profit that are doing awesome work in the interfaith and community service areas. Hundreds of people from all over the state attended in an effort to unite and to move beyond fear and into hope. St. Josephs’s Cathedral in Hartford was the perfect location due to its centraility and its size.
This film was created as a result of this event. I thank MCCT for putting on this event and all those who participated in its planning.
My good friend Zaied Abbassi asked me to create a promotional film for his late wife’s non profit organization. Of course I couldn’t say no.. both of them have been role models in my life and I was grateful for the chance to help out in any way I could.
I believe every American has the right to a prayer space wherever they want to. Period. In the middle of the desert, in their basement, even in an airport. Apparently there are some people who don’t think so, and that’s cool. Freedom of everything in America is an awesome thing. This difference in opinion has led to a ton of controversy around the Park51 project, which some people erroneously label “The Ground Zero Mosque.” It has been spoken about internationally, and today has become a symbol for the future of Muslims in America.
When the creators of the Park51 project approached me to create a funding appeal film for them I immediately hopped on board and was excited to be a part of the project. After a commute into New York City I met the founders and we spoke about what the video needed to accomplish and some of the hurdles they were facing in getting the project up and going. It was at that point that I realized that this was going to be a film I needed to execute perfectly. The stakes are high and deadlines tight. This was a real project, not a small film needed for an unknown local mosque or a PSA for some unknown cause. This project is known by pretty much everybody and the film I create will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people, and it needs to impact them.
The film is intended to evoke sympathy in the viewer and ultimately get them to donate towards the cause and help write Muslim American history in America.
I recorded some interviews in NYC, came up with a script and edited the film in 1 week. I uploaded it and shared it with the client, and after a long hiatus, I recieved a text message saying “Incredible.”
The film was created using a 5D Mark II with the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 and the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS lenses. I arrived on scene for Friday prayers hours early and recorded footage of the street the mosque was on as well as plenty of B roll footage of people walking around New York, the street signs with the name of the street on it, random Muslims walking in New York City, etc that I knew I would use in the film. When the prayer started I used a Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS to get closeup shots of people’s faces as they were concentrating on the Imam’s lecture. These shots help make the film more personal.
The editing was done in Final Cut Pro X and all the color grading and audio editing was done by myself as well.
Finding the right music was the hardest part. AFter hours of sifting through stock audio sites I stumbled upon an amazing composer named Chasertg. His music is powerful and touches the heart.