The Invisible Interview

Technology agency Silicon Reef – and Smiling Cow client – celebrate three years in business this month. And their business is a pretty unusual one. Remote working is the norm, holidays are unlimited, working hours are unfixed.

Founders Alex and Giles are, along with the rest of the original five Reefers, living embodiments of the Silicon Reef ethos. They built the company on a dream; of how they wanted to work, of the balance they wanted in their lives for themselves and their employees.

What better way, I thought, to write about their terrific achievements (as the agency is indeed thriving under this operating model) and bring their voices front and centre than to use an interview format. I took the detailed notes and train-of-thought downloads that the guys gave me and shaped an interview – a back and forth that demonstrates the way they riff off each other and – I think – tells the story the way it should be; in their own words.

Read the final interview here:

A language to open up a world of possibilities

Tower of Babel
Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel 1563

‘Every day English spreads, the world becomes a little more homogenous and a little more bland…..’ or does it?

Proud as I am of my mother tongue, I always felt it lacks the lilt and lyricism that Italian has, the sensuality of French, or the delicacy of Mandarin. However, there is little doubt that the English of our tiny little island has spread like wildfire across the globe and is an essential tool to breaking down class and cultural barriers.

Amazon Beckon In New Talent With Free ‘Storywriter’ Screenwriting Software


Ooh! Interesting. Two years after launching their corkboard scene-mapping tool Storybuilder, Amazon have now launched Storywriter, a free, cloud-based screenwriting tool that auto formats your scripts as you write, ready for submission to…well, Amazon of course. The tool allows you to import from a range of formats, and write online knowing that your scripts are being continually saved to the cloud.

Hmm, not sure how I feel about my original work being continually saved in an Amazon owned cloud… I might take the offline option of downloading the Chrome based app and tapping away, in private, backing up to my trusty G-drive.

The Storywriter tool is part of the ever-expanding suite of resources and support provided by Amazon in a bid to grow their original film and television offering.

Roy Price, Vice President, Amazon Studios says “Amazon is dedicated to producing high-quality, original films and television series that customers love, and enabling more writers to obtain access to creative resources will ultimately help us discover great new talent.” To this end they are now accepting drama submissions and, most importantly, will no longer take a free option on scripts submitted directly to the site.

If you can forgive them for hiring the hideous Jeremy Clarkson – and double forgive them for using his twatness in that heinous advert – this is a nifty little gimmick that might make you feel a bit Aaron Sorkin enough to get going with that long-shelved screenplay.

So, you’ve got the tools to map your idea, and type your idea, and Amazon are making it as easy as possible to submit your idea… the only thing missing is The Big Idea. Maybe this weekend it’s time to hit the absinthe…


Source: Amazon Media Room: Press Releases

‘Her Story’

Well, right now in ‘My Story’ I’m cross-legged in front of the TV taking a break from work. As usual I’ve got a crumb-covered laptop in front of me and I’m squinting through my glasses because I STILL haven’t worked out how to take them off and on without getting them grubby. The heating is on, the big socks are on and Scotland are hammering Japan in the Rugby World Cup.

I’m failing miserably in my bid to drink two litres of water a day and am instead surrounded by mugs, each with an inch of cold tea complete with floating bag. Nice.

So that’s me, but let’s get to the post-point. I’ve been doing some research into ‘The Story’ today as I am writing a piece about the Future of Storytelling Seminar (would sell my cat for an invite but that’s for another post). My reading took me to a piece about an app called ‘Her Story‘ at which point my afternoon went completely off track.


I have been totally waylaid by this original and compelling game. Reminiscent of the ‘choose your own adventure’ books I loved so much as a wee girl, it’s a mocked up police database of archived video interviews with a faux 90’s interface. The premise is that you have been given access to these clips and can piece together the story of what happened to ‘Simon’ – poor unseen Simon – by searching the database, and indexing the clips in the right way. Like a kind of nerdy, mid-tech Cluedo complete with salacious detail and easter eggs. (Simon’s dead by the way – not a spoiler).

From the first couple of clips I was hooked and just lost two hours completing the whole thing. I’ll admit I took to Safari – as is my want – to ask the more patient and diligent crowd how long it would take and if there was a shortcut to completing it… there kind of is but I won’t spoil it for you. Suffice to say, it’s great fun and a good exercise in research and cataloguing for those who like that kind of thing (me).

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a detective, have a couple of hours and an iProduct – do it. Then come back here and post me your theories…

Barbara Walters on How to Be There for the Newly Bereaved and Heartbroken | Brain Pickings

I lost my Mum less than a year ago. I have been helped by so many friends who listened, and seemed to say the right thing – and hindered by those who didn’t, and didn’t.

 This piece by Maria Popova looks at Barbara Walters’ take on how words, and actually an absence of words, can play a part in supporting the recently bereaved.

“Things being what they are in the world today, we are more and more driven to depend on one another’s sympathy and friendship in order to survive emotionally.”

“There’s a long period after a death when self-control is fragile. Pity smashes it flat and leaves the bereaved person feeling naked and mortified.” Indeed.

Read more here: Barbara Walters on How to Be There for the Newly Bereaved and Heartbroken | Brain Pickings