How it works

Hello and happy winter solstice from the rainiest afternoon I've seen in a while. The days only get longer and lighter from here. Thank goodness.

I have one more recipe for you before the year is out, but I have a feeling that the last thing you need this week is another something to do in the kitchen. Because of that, and also because it's long overdue, I thought I would tell you some more about Eli's company, Directr. When I announced the project back in July, I had to keep the details under wraps. It was fun sharing some of the big ideas behind it, but nowhere near as fun as telling you exactly how it works, which is what I finally get to do today.

Directr is an app, a free app, I should say, that helps you make beautiful short films with your phone. It takes just a few minutes, and there's no editing required. You choose a storyboard from the Directr library, shoot the frames however you'd like, add in your own titles, and hit print. The app stitches your shots into a clean film - backs it with music, too - and you're done. That's it! If you're looking for inspiration, there are suggestions and camera angle ideas included on each frame. Or you can go ahead and shoot what you please. There are holiday-specific storyboards (UPDATE: holiday cards!), storyboards for your walk to work, for your awesome baby, your awesome dog, your awesome morning coffee, and a few blank slates, too. And of course, there's plenty of food. The Directr team is hard at work creating hundreds of storyboards; a new one pops up on the site (and in the app) every day. You can see them all here.

Directr launched softly, quietly, as if on tiptoe, really, a couple of months ago. Now, after much ramping up and steadying of the ship, they're ready for all of us. I've said before that Directr reminds me a lot of what we do here in blogland, making something out of the stuff that surrounds us all the time, looking for the stories in our everyday, and doing our best to get them down somehow. It has been such a thrill to watch as people start doing just that with this thing that Eli and his team are building. Here's a film called Grateful: Finger Dancing that a user named He Ren made earlier this week.

I don't know who you are, He Ren, but I like your style.

And here are some of the other storyboards that I find especially lovely, stirring, and fun:

:: This is me.

:: A snowstorm.

:: Autumn.

:: Stripes in the wild.

:: Baby bathtime and baby eating. (Starring Mia, when she was just a pup!) 

:: And finally, dessert.

(with a side of my friend Jonah, who loves to dance.)

Eli and I would be honored - and that really is the word - if you'd try out the app and make some films. We've heard from some of you who already have, and it means the world to us.

And hey, if you do make a film, would you share it here in the comments? Pretty please? Or shoot me an e-mail with the link? I do most of the sharing and the showing around here, but I treasure the conversations we've had in this space over the years. It would be such a treat to see a few corners of your world, and of you. Oh, and please don't be shy about speaking up if you run into any glitches or bugs, or if there's something you'd like to see. The Directr team is just getting started, working on new builds all the time, and would be grateful for your feedback.

Thank you, friends, for being here. Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating, and glad tidings to all.


Sasa said...

How exciting! I am just about to get a phone that shoots video too (I know, late to the party) and being a total luddite about editing as well as fussy about how I want things to look, this sounds perfect - I will be sure to download the app and try it. Have a lovely break over there in the cold from super muggy Auckland xxx

lasuza said...

Just got the app, will post when i've made a film. looks great. susanna

lasuza said...

do you have to be on facebook to use it? just downloaded the app and can't get it started as i am non- facebook person!

Anonymous said...

is this just a mac app? I can't seem to find it?

Jess said...

Sasa, Susanna, and Anonymous, hello! Thanks so much for your support. To answer your questions:

Yes, for now you do need a Facebook account to sign in. Directr went that route because they're a (very!) small company, and it was the fastest way to get up and running while making sure that user information would be secure. (Facebook already has a system in place.) In future versions it will be possible to sign in with your Twitter account or simply with your e-mail address, so please stay tuned.

And yes, it is indeed only available for the iPhone right now, but there are plans in the works for an Android version.

Thanks for your patience!

p.s. You should know that I just got my first smartphone in August, and I just joined Facebook a few weeks ago, so I totally get it...

sam said...

just downloaded! I love learning new things from blog posts. Can't wait to make a movie on Christmas Day!

lasuza said...

Hello Jess, thanks for your reply. I will stay tuned for how the app advances and wait until I can sign in with email. Seasons greetings and happy days to you and yours, susanna. PS; Glad that you get it!!!!

Jess said...

Sam - Hooray! Can't wait to see what you do with it.

Thanks, Susanna. Enjoy the holidays.

And you guys, take a look at this. Hilarious.

Janet said...

This looks like a fantastically fun app.

I'm assuming it only shares to Facebook when you tell it to....?

Jess said...

Yep, that's right. Your public films live only on the Directr site unless you choose to share them out to Facebook or Twitter. You also have the option to mark your films as private so that only you can see them. You can send both public and private films via e-mail and SMS.

Danielle said...

I am in love with these videos and this whole concept! I wish I had a phone that I could get the app for, but alas, I still live in the 80's with my flip phone :) Until I cave, I'll just enjoy the films of others.

Hannah said...

So glad to see Directr getting off the ground - and soaring! Love the videos you shared. (Is that your sister?) Merry, happy, etc to you and yours - looking forward to seeing all that you share in 2013. Cheers!

Hannah said...

p.s. - I think Mia has the same orange-trimmed hooded bath towel my guys do! (giggle?) love it.

Gail said...

Hi Jess,
This app is amazing and I can't wait to try it on my iphone. My best to you and your family.

Carolyn's Mom

Ted and Colleen said...

Hi Jess,

Love the app, love your blog...here's the video from my son's first birthday cake. I must have watched this at least 50 times by now. These videos are so much fun to make!



nicole said...

I downloaded this about a week ago and have made five videos since then (two terrible, two mediocre, and one decent). I love the app and am looking forward to making more!

SuperDesigner said...

It is Amy from Hebrew Play. A friend mentioned your blog ages ago, but I didn't know it was yours, then that Friday Eli told Talia to check it out! Anyway, I have been meaning to look for ages, but kept forgetting until I randomly downloaded Director and there was Mia in the storyboards! It looks like a fun app. I haven't done more than explore yet. Anyway, hope to see you around!

Bobby said...

WOW, what an amazing looking app!! Can't wait to try it out!!
Thank you!