Monthly Archives: November 2010

Rainn Wilson on Life’s Big Questions

A few weeks ago, Beliefnet’s editors and I pitched an idea to Rainn Wilson’s team to coincide with the release of his book Soul Pancake. He could shoot homemade videos of himself answering “life’s big questions” — Why is talking about God so awkward? How literally should we interpret religious texts? — and we’d put together a nice-looking package to match their branding and feature it on our website. They loved the idea, but the turnaround was pretty quick — about two weeks. I worked closely with designer Bill Safsel on the design and UX, integrated Facebook comments and a Twitter feed to give the page a sense of interactivity, and project managed from conception to launch. Operating on a skeleton crew these days, we weren’t able to get a live FB feed coded like we wanted, but the customized Twitter widget helps keeps things fresh. It was a small, fun project to execute and we’re all pretty proud of it. We’d love to do a series of celebrities answering life’s big questions, this time including real-time responses from our users.

Rainn Wilson on Life’s Big Questions

Rainn is of the Bahá’í faith, which could be described as an Islamic version of Unitarian Universalism.


Black Swan posters

Here are some alternate posters for Black Swan, a new movie starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis.

These two have a stark Soviet beauty to them, with a sense of the dancer being controlled by a force greater than she can handle. Is this a story about a dancer being consumed by the performance until she loses herself?

design by La Boca

design by La Boca

These two treat the dancer as a precious object who exists solely in service to her master. She is either diminished or duplicated; in both cases she is interchangeable with any other dancer. Her inner life is lost and these versions fall kind of flat for me.

design by La Boca

design by La Boca

It’s this creepy poster that says the most about the main character’s central conflict (darkness vs. innocence, the price of perfection) and alludes to an element of horror in the movie.  The theatrical styling, blown-out lighting, her flat expression and retouching of the whites of her eyes all hint that this is an intensely psychological story about one dancer’s descent into guile, or madness. It makes me want to see the movie despite my not being a fan of Natalie Portman nor Winona Ryder (also in the movie).

design by Bemis Balkind