7.02.2012

What we do here

Back in January, I told you that we had some projects in the works around here.  I’m excited to be able to share one of those projects with you, today.  This one isn’t mine, it’s Eli’s.  And it’s not about food – not only about food, anyway.  But it does have a lot to do with what we do here, all of us, when we unfold a scribbled recipe and lay it on the counter, when we listen for the stories our kitchens tell us, pay attention, and maybe even write them down. 

In September, the week that Mia was born, Eli left his job.  (As all sane and normal people do when they have just become parents.)  He wanted to launch something of his own, a project about video and the way we tell our stories.  And so, together with his old friend Max, he got down to work on an app for your phones.  It’s called Directr, and it’s almost done.

Eli worked as a software developer for the last nine years, but in college, in addition to computer science, he majored in visual arts.  People used to hear that combination and say, “Oh, so graphic design!” but that wasn’t it.  Eli never gave much thought to finding a connection between programming and art because, for him, they’re the same thing.  It turns out that computer languages, like all languages, are not just about what you say, but how you say it.  Like in writing or music, there’s an eloquence, a rhythm.  The goal is also the same:  to bring something beautiful into the world that wasn’t there before.  Until I met Eli, I had never heard anyone talk about math and science and computers in this way, the way people talk about painting and poetry.  Directr is all of this in action, and I love that. 

The basic idea behind the project is that home movies are broken.  They’re too long, they’re poorly shot, they have no story.  Even when we do get the footage we’re after, we have to go in and edit the darn thing.  In other words, creating beautiful, watchable films about our everyday lives is a royal pain.  Directr seeks to change all that.  It exists because there are stories all around us.  When we walk to work, or paint the bedroom, sit alone at our tables with bad hair and cold cereal, or open our doors and make room for one more, we feel something happening there, something we want to hold on to.  I have a feeling you know what I mean.  With Directr, capturing this stuff doesn’t feel hard anymore.  That’s amazing to me.  And even more so that we’ll be able to do it all, from shooting to editing to sharing, on our phones.  (Well, not on my phone which, because I am a weirdo, doesn’t have e-mail or internet or much of a camera at all.  But I’m planning on joining the rest of you in the 21st century soon.)

Because of the way these things work, I’m not yet able to tell you the nitty-gritties.  Soon, though!  I can’t wait.  For now, Eli and his team have set up a taste of what’s to come over at Directr.co.  You’ll find a couple of films there like the ones you’ll be able to create when the app goes live.  They were both shot at our place, so you’ll get a tour of our home, too!  Though the launch is still a few weeks off, you can reserve your username now by signing up through the site.  You can also follow Directr on Twitter and Facebook so that you’ll know when things get rolling.  There’s still much work to be done and deep breaths to be taken all around.  The first half of 2012 has been kind of insane, in the best possible ways.  Something tells me that the second half is going to be even crazier.  Thank you for being here to be a part of it all.

17 comments:

olga said...

I cannot wait to see what comes of this! Jess, this sounds totally amazing! Thanks for sharing the news with us and we're all cheering Eli (and you!) from the sidelines here - impatient for the app.

Hannah said...

Cheers to Eli, and to you. My sole purpose for migrating to an iPhone last year from my old not-smart phone was the chance to capture video day-to-day ... can't wait to see how this will enhance that. Thanks for sharing!

Hannah said...

p.s. I went and looked at it - then signed up, and then plastered it all over facebook. Looks AMAZING! Can't wait to give it a go.

Sue/the view from great island said...

Very cool...congratulations and I can't wait for it to debut!

redmenace said...

Congratulations! That is really really cool news. What a year for your family. I can't wait to see more. I'm sure I'll need something like this with the wee one. Kirk (the hubs) would find it useful too, I'm sure!

PS. I LOVE the peek of your home, but the pantry? You need to refill those containers of flour and such. Have you been baking up a storm? xoxo

Jess said...

Olga - Thanks for your cheers! I'm also so excited to see what happens next.

Hannah - Ohhhh wait 'til you see... Thank you so much for spreading the word. I know that Eli really appreciates it.

Sue - Thank you!

redmenace - Yes, this year really has been something. Whew! You and Kirk will make such beautiful things with this app. I know it. Don't you worry about the pantry! That film was shot a while back. I've long since replenished my flours. (Baking up a storm? Who, me?)

momMe said...

Amazing -- the Directr site, the app to be, and your beautiful explanation of what your superman husband has been up to --- can't wait for the launch --- it will definitely be worthy of a celebration with lots of good food. love to you both and wishing you much success!

Megan Gordon said...

Total awesomeness! I'm forwarding this to Sam who will also love it. Such a great idea, and I fully understand how much work is involved in creating these things, so hats of to Eli and you, too! Off to watch the trailer now! xox

Jess said...

Hey, Mom. Hope you're here when it launches. (I think you might be!) I'll make cookies. And strawberry ice cream.

Thanks, Megan! Yes, this has been the absolute work-iest time of our lives. And we're loving it.

talley said...

This is super exciting, especially for Eli, but also for all of us eager to try Directr. I'm definitely in need of something, anything, to spice up my dull/boring videos. Looking forward to the launch.

Shannalee said...

Love this idea, Jess--and the sample videos are so inspiring! Looking forward to hearing more.

jacqui | happyjackeats said...

I don't have a fancy phone, either. But I'm getting one soon, and I can't wait to start making films! This is such happy news, and so exciting, and I'm bouncing around in my seat over here for you guys! :)

Jess said...

Talley - I can't wait to see what you do with it.

Shanna - Hi there! I hate having to hold back all of the juicy details right now... What I can say is that every build gets better and better. It's so exciting to see it coming together. I can't wait for you all to see.

Jacqui - Hey, Mia bounces in her seat, too, when she gets excited! You're in excellent company. (And for that matter, so is she.) Fancy phones, fancy phones!

Nicole @Eat This Poem said...

This is so cool! Looking forward to the app launch.

Gail said...

Congratulations to you both. I'm having a hard time picking a name but I really want to sign up, the website is wonderful!

Carolyn's mom

Vicki Carroll said...

This looks like fun, please tell us it will be available for blackberry??

Jess said...

Hi, Nicole. Thanks for the vote of confidence! They're getting closer and closer by the day... Beautiful site, by the way. Pleased you left a note so that I could discover it!

Gail - I'm so glad you like the site! Eli will be happy to hear it. xo.

Vicki - The initial release will be only for iPhone and iPad, I'm sorry to say, but Eli and his team plan on adding support for additional platforms in the future. Very glad for your interest!