kit's suitcase 8.11

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Kit’s Suitcase for iFogey Workbook 1 I developed this slide show when I started teaching a course called “Digital Design” through Bard College’s Prison Initiative (BPI). I wanted to provide a fullish introduction to myself so that the 15 guys in my class could get a sense for the kinds of work that has attracted me. Beneath the last slide in this presentation, I will recount the response I got to my suitcase, and how it lead to a bond that I would never have anticipated. This slide show will follow the development of my career in chunks of around 10 years. Along the way, I will call-out what skills I learned. I call this my "suitcase" because it represents all the stuI know and carry around with me. If I show you what's in my suitcase then you can figure out what is not in my suitcase. What I do not know. It also shows I have no formal background -– no formal education – about the field of Design. Or about Computers. What I know comes from my experiences and what I have taught myself. Media practice and tools. Media theory and aesthetics.

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Kit's Suitcase 8.11.211
I developed this slide show when I started teaching a course called “Digital Design” through Bard College’s Prison Initiative (BPI). I wanted to provide a fullish introduction to myself so that the 15 guys in my class could get a sense for the kinds of work that has attracted me. Beneath the last slide in this presentation, I will recount the response I got to my suitcase, and how it lead to a bond that I would never have anticipated.
This slide show will follow the development of my career in chunks of around 10 years. Along the way, I will call-out what skills I learned. I call this my "suitcase" because it represents all the stuff I know and carry around with me. If I show you what's in my suitcase then you can figure out what is not in my suitcase. What I do not know. It also shows I have no formal background -– no formal education – about the field of Design. Or about Computers. What I know comes from my experiences and what I have taught myself. Media practice and tools. Media theory and aesthetics.
Education
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- Education - Undergraduate at Wesleyan (small Liberal Arts College, much like Bard. - English major: interest in contemporary fiction & theater - was able to set up many “tutorials”: I defined a topic and found professor to work with me. - fist encountered the ideas of Marshall McLuhan (seminal influence for entire career. - first movie: adaptation of poetry into film. No sound track. - teaching in Title I (“disadvantaged” kids of Middletown, Conn) - UCLA - 16mm film about Montissori school; focus on documentary filmmaking. - a bit of screen writing - height of Viet Nam war. Deferments available for being married or teaching. Hence…. - thesis re teaching: “Filmmaking in Secondary Schools”
10 Years of Teaching
Center for Understanding Media
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“Doing the Media” My first book. Composed for "offset duplication" – a new technology at the time with photogaphic plates made from collaged pages. I hand-positioned the text after typing it on an IBM Selectric typewriter. Photos were B&W, glued into place. Worked on a light table that showed the column layout below the working page. This was my awakening as a designer, although I didn't yet know it.
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This paper, dated April 10, 1975, proposed an academic course on the Foundations of Media Design. It lead to the establishment of a MA program by Antioch College (Ohio) and the New School University (New York). During this period, I was an artist-in-residence in Animation filmmaking for State Arts Councils and in a program run one summer by the United Nations. I taught in Singapore and Bangkok.
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16 Years as an Independent Producer
Phase One
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The term “independent producer” refers to an individual or small team that (a) articulates projects for television or feature film distribution, (b) raises the necessary money, (c) assembles staff and on air talent, and that (d) produces the show. In my case, the projects were created for TV distribution, specially within the emerging distribution networks of cable television.
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Media Probes 8 half hours for PBS Prime Time. The series looked at how the media we shape, shape us (McLuha. It was funded at $1.2 million by Ford, Sloan, and Rockefeller Fdns, by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by PBS member stations. KL produced/directed “Design” and “Soap Operas” episodes. Was co-Executive Producer, with Mickey Lemle, for the series. Winner of a Dupont Award.
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Noyes & Laybourne For a dozen years, myself and partner Eli Noyes built an independent production studio with a full time staff of 15, occupying a TriBeCa loft. The company’s production activity averaged $6 million per year with half of that being television commercials and broadcast graphics. Clients included MTV, General Foods, ABC Sports, Reebok, Pepsi, Xerox and many others. The second half of N&L’s operations involved long-form programming for cable and broadcast television. This included “Talking Sex with Kids” – a hybrid documentary/animation format info HBO “Braingames” - animation for HBO. Won a Cable TV Ace Award plus…..
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“Eureek’s Castle” - for Nickelodeon 86 hrs, 4 specials, home videos, $10 m - concieved as Sesamie Street for emotional intelligence, Eureeka’s Castled featured muppet-inspired puppets. Peter Lurie wrote and produced hundreds of songs. Bob Stein wrote the entire series.  
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“Liquid Television” - Two seasons for MTV - Best known as the incubator for “Bevis & Butthead” and “Aeon Flux” animated series on MTV.
Skills learned Phase Two: TV production in both film and video: producing, directing, editing, art direction and design.
Phase Three:
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A range of seven largish Projects sampled in slides that follow. But also juicy, self-awarded Sabbatical with figure drawing (at the Art Students League) and work on a science fiction novel (unsuccessful).  
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“Gullah Gullah Island” Nickelodeon research revealed children’s fear of black men. The response was this multi year series shot in Nickelodeon Studious at Universial Stuios, in Florida. Kit was Crative Director and directed documentary segments show in and around Beaufort, SC. Kathleen Minton and Maria Pe Rez where Execute Producers.
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Digital Learning: “The Animation Tribe” Worked on the prototype for an interactive CD-ROM to teach animation. One semester I substituted for John Canemaker and taught an advanced Animation seminar at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.
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Tele-TV My first straight gig at age 50. I was Senior VP for Creative Production at TELE-TV, a joint venture of three Baby Bells: NYNEX, Bell Atlantic & Pacific Telesis. This high tech start-up was established to develop interactive television platforms with a staff of 50 working in area of Interactive Design & Prototyping, Electronic Program Guides, Promotion & Billboard channels, Narrow-band Information channels and overall TELE-TV Branding & Identity. The enterprise was a train wreck.
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Hank the Cowdog An Animated Feature Film developed Independently with Wildbrain (a creative studio in SF) for Nickelodeon. $600k in development. Like so many ideas, this one went quite a distance before losing momentum in development. It Was a great pleasure to collaborate with Hank’s series author John Erickson.
   Executive Producer   5 years at Oxygen Network
Phase Three:
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My wife is a TV Mogal. She lead the team that developed Nickelodeon and after a stint with Disney/NBC she lead the team that developed the Oxygen cable TV Network. For 5 years I lead a number of creative teams at Oxygen.
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Here Oxygen two of Oxygen’s logos. The network was eventually purchased by NBC and has new logos and what, I think, is a diminished vision. But for quite awhile, I experienced a wonderful reversal of the 80-20 rule in which 80% of TV shows die against 20% that make it to distribution. - I lead teams in four areas. Here they are….
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1. animation “X-Chromosome” – 26 x half hours – Series by women animators based on Liquid TV model - branding and flights of ID’s
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2. Interactive Narratives “Our Stories” – ordinary viewers told stories of their life. “Ruth Truth” – 4 x 6 min Flash based & Fully interactive web content “Deep Creek” – 29 weeks of HTML soap opera
The Ruth Truth
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3. Documentaries made with consumer Digital Video toolset. “Women & The Badge” (26 episodes)
“Real Weddings from The Knot” (6 episodes)
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MA Program at New School.
I took a full time adjunct position at the New School and taught “Foundations of Media Design”, “The Producer’s Craft”, “Short Films”, and co-taught ”Extreme Media Studies” with Elizabeth Ellsworth.
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Whistle Sports - Chief Creative Officer – started out as a cable tv network for younger kids and pivoted into aggregation of You Tube content and “Extreme Sports” appealing to a global audience of viewers in their teens through thirties. This bold project was lead by John West.
Oils Watercolors
Drawings Digital
Painting – Watercolors — Digital Drawing
At some point I moved out of the loft in our garage where I had started to draw and paint to a tiny studio space in Kingston, New York. From there to a studio in the hamlet Rhinecliff. And now to very portable studio set ups in Rhinecliff, New York, in Telluride, Colorado, and most recently, in Venice, California.
With the help of my son-in-law, Greg Podunovich, in 2015 I assembled a “portfolio site” and you can go there to find full versions for many of the TV properties listed in this keynote. kit-laybourne.com
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Gonna close this suitcase with a small gallery that samples my avocation as a visual artist.
Self portrait in gouache
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An old snapshot of my Dad and his parents. I did this line drawing of my grandmother, Jean Broadstone Laybourne, and use it to this say as the screen background for my iPhone.
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My favorite portrait from dozens I have done of my wife, Geraldine Bond Laybourne.
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A snap shot turned into a double portrait done with Procreate on my iPad. This celebrates my sister-in -law, Elinor, who was a physician, and her son Zach, who is one now.
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Digital sketch from an archival photo of my sister Cindy, at around 10.
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A fun illustration. I pretended to fall into the bathtub when my grandkids became crabby. Gerry took the shot with my iPhone. I did this on my iPad.
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Two styles of digital drawing from the same photo source of my friend Wally.
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An extreme close up of my friend, Joseph Maresca. He is also my painting teacher.
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I took an abstract painting class on-line from the Woodstock School of Art. In this and two following pix, I explored the range of digital brushes in my Procreate pallet.
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First time I showed this slide show was at the Woodbridge Medium Security Facility in the Catskills. I showed it later for guys at the Fishkill Correctional Facility, near Poughkeepsie.
After I finished there was a pause. Then one of the younger guys asked, “Professor Laybourne, how come you never worked for anybody?”
I knew exactly what he meant. I had never worked for a big TV network or Advertising Agency or other production entity. I had always operated as an independent producer.
“So I don’t know if you guys will relate to this,” I said. “But I have always had problems with authority”
There was an explosion of laughter. We were underway for maybe the best teaching I ever experienced.
KL summer 2021