Friday, January 28, 2011

Bratz trial: Carter Bryant, creator of the saucy dolls, begins testimony

"Creator of the Saucy Dolls"
at least it does in my heart
When asked about the inventions agreement Thursday, Bryant said: “I don’t think I had a real clear concept of this contract during my employment. I don’t think it was ever explained to me fully.... I think I thought that the thoughts that I had on my own time were my thoughts and didn’t necessarily belong to anyone else.”
Price then asked Bryant if he believed that a design idea would not belong to Mattel if he came up with it at 8 p.m., after work hours, but it was related to something he worked on in the office at 4 p.m. 
 “I think more what I’m saying is that projects that I was working on specifically for Mattel, if I had thoughts about that after hours, that yeah that would be a Mattel thing," Bryant said. "But if I had original things that I was thinking about, that those weren't necessarily [Mattel's]." 
In the hallway during a court recess, Bryant -- who has remained an elusive figure during both trials, reportedly falling out of contact with both Mattel and MGA -- said he has moved back to Missouri. An aspiring recording artist, he said he is working on a music album with his sister. 
"It's time for it to be over," he said of the retrial.

On the eve of the first trial, Bryant settled with Mattel for $2 million. He is no longer a defendant in the case.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Little Big Planet and the Rise of Creator Culture

Little Big Planet and the Rise of Creator Culture from Kotaku: Australia
"The words ‘Little’ and ‘Big’ are so appropriate, and in LittleBigPlanet they never juxtapose. In a sense Media Molecule’s creation was borne from a small idea – give people the tools to create their own experiences – but in execution the potential is enormous.

“I heard someone describe it the other day as a “’bottomless toy box’,” says Siobhan, “and I thought that was an awesome description – I know that the other guys at Media Molecule would love it as well.”

Living the Dream:

Youth Radio's newest news service, Turnstyle, has profiled me! My interview covered a lot of aspects of what it is I do with myself day to day, but really encompassed that fact that I am working at my dream job. Transmedia Producer is a vocation that I never dreamed of as a child but that I have been supremely honored with the opportunity to become.

I would much prefer your love and to help with the ongoing collaborative process than purely for you to be jealous of my success, this is a collaborative art and I'm addicted to new ideas. Let me help you help me live the dream, there's enough to go around =)

Remember, you can always reach me @Caitlin_Burns

Friday, January 14, 2011

DC and M.A.C. Team up on Wonder Woman Make-Up Line

M.A.C. Cosmetics and DC Comics are collaborating on a fascinating consumer product. Wonder Woman Cosmetics.

On the left, you will see the only consumer product for Wonder Woman I have a memory of as a child, and lordy did I look. I had a paper crown and a piece of rope and thank goodness her plane was invisible. I also have fond memories of my mother driving me to Burger King not once but twice in a week, an fairly unheard of event because neither of us cared for Burger King's food, and purchasing not just one or two, but three of these figures. One went to Mom, and two to me. I painted one up and the other was a staple figure in my doll collection who endures to this day in storage.

One step above a hoop and stick toy, clearly.
Today you can find plenty of Wonder Woman toys online, a little girl who wants to play with Wonder Woman has a lot more options that I did. So, how do I feel about a make-up line aimed at adult women? The answer is a restrained, grown up, totally internal 4-year-old's squeal of glee.

The World Would be a better place if everyone's job made them feel like this.
 Someone over at Allure (pictured above) Got to try it out.
Comic-book characters and beauty companies don't often cross paths (though a line of Superman hair gels and shine sprays could have really taken off, we say). Now M.A.C. is bringing the two together with its limited-edition Wonder Woman makeup line. Along with bold lipsticks and shadow quads, colored mascaras, and jumbo-size—Ms. WW is, after all, an Amazon—lip glosses, bronzers, and liners, the collection also contains quirky metallic accessories: No lasso of truth hangs from the gold utility belt, unfortunately, but it is equipped with small makeup pouches on each side. And the "Invincible" hand mirror (which you can see me modeling above in my best attempt at a Wonder Woman pose) is, well, pretty awesome.
This consumer product seems well thought out. Not only is it capitalizing on the fangirl market, but the woman who is putting on her strongest, most powerful face when she puts on makeup. For many women, makeup is more than an attempt to look prettier. For many, makeup is considered a quotidian and essential part of work attire, something that will go unnoticed unless it isn't there and often, becomes a ritualistic part of preparing oneself to face the world for the day.

The aesthetic component of the materials a woman uses for that ritual is an important factor in how she feels about her day and about herself. Not to mention an essential component of distinguishing products from one another in a glutted market.
Pictured: 10,000 names for "pink"
Contrary to many opinions, makeup is as much for the person putting it on as it is for the person they encounter. From this abstract, that is representative of tones I've seen in many papers on masking: 
 There are four broad ways of approaching the definition: masks as theatrical, figural, spiritual and/or utilitarian. Even within these categories, however, there two further types to be investigated: the hard mask and the soft mask. As far as differences go, the hard mask and the soft mask produces varying levels of intensity and psychological effects, which I've shown through the example of pantomime and Bamboozled. Furthermore, masks have frightening power over the human psychology by which they can effectively create a new identity. Masks are distinguishable from the face in that they are not the truth as Aristotle and Plato claim that the face is, but instead create a new image, material or immaterial. An example of an immaterial mask would be stereotypes. Though masks act as an extension of the body in that they add layers to the skin, they are complexes of reduction in that they amputate a person's soul. Masks become both a medium of understanding and misunderstanding. 
And much hay is made about how people act in masks soft and hard alike, in phenomenological theory as well as sociology and philosophy. Cosmetics are essentially selling a mask, and the person using those materials are applying one that they are determining based primarily on its aesthetic packaging presentation. MAC has made its brand on having bold pigments and carrying a wide range of colors not carried by other product lines. This makes it a perfect fit for a comic book license.
Beyond that, selling a cosmetic line that will create associations of strength, beauty, amazonian power and play to childhood affections is a smart move. Playing to the growing subculture of woman who enjoy cosplay, the integration of functional costume elements, the Utility Belt, is insightful and will pay off massively. The lack of power bracelets makes me hope that they will do a follow up to this special edition line.
This sort of association between a consumer product and the narrative of Wonder Woman, is a perfect example of how to consider the fantasy fulfillment and sensory experience that translates from narrative to object. Whether you love Linda Carter or Justice League, or if you're an old school comic book fan, or if you primarily played with a cup holder for your youth you can experience some of the feelings that Wonder Woman invokes when you use this makeup.

Great Hera! won't someone tell me where I can actually buy this?

Update: Not until February at Sephora.

No, Falling from the sky does not count.

Mud Flies in New Bratz Brawl- WSJ

In other news, Bratz ponies still look like pigs. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pink Ponies- A Case Study

How to Turn a Doll into an Action Figure

Tired of boring dolls that do nothing?

Don't rip off their heads in frustration, do it in the name of practicality and fun!

This instructable shows how to turn a static doll into an awesome action figure!

I wish I had thought of this years ago.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Gears of War 3 to Feature Bernie Mataki

Now, for those of you who know me well enough to have heard me proclaim my love of Karen Traviss and her Gears of War novelization- usually that takes 2 drinks and 15 minutes- you'll know that they are amazing.

In the novels, which cover the periods before and between the console games, Traviss has added profound emotional depth that one can't really expect from cut scenes. I was deeply moved by scenes in the games based on the back story and resonance that had been built into the main characters in the novels, Dom's search for his wife held new depth, Marcus' every grunt held new nuance and subtlety.

You'll also know that they feature a particularly compelling female Gear (soldier), Bernadette "Bernie" Mataki who is not only a hard-core badass of the highest order, but who is a woman of a certain age.

While I will fully admit that she looks a bit less aged than she might for someone in her 50s or 60s, though the books do suggest that she looks a bit more weathered.  I love the character far too much based on Traviss' brilliant authorship to allow myself to get too worked up about the visuals... yet. Bernie, who is often called Granny, is the same age as the COG commander, Victor Hoffman.

In the future, no one has wrinkles, just fairly smooth joweling.
So, by video game visual standards for women, she's non-traditional.  One of her most charming qualities in the novelizations is her perceived lack of femininity: she's a Gear, an infantryman through and through, she's a hard-cursing, hard-fighting crude pain in the ass, and she'd kill anyone who says differently. There is much hay made about her lack of femininity, and her being treated as a Gear, not as a women. She is far from the only female Gear, but she is probably the oldest and most respected. It is interesting to see that juxtaposed with the sexy lady above, but despite the thoughts I have having read the novels, one can make a serious argument that if Karen Traviss is writing the game, she may have pictured Bernie differently. After all, people in their 50s aren't grizzled sea hags these days.

Daryl Hannah is in her fifties.
Bernie does have a romantic life, with Hoffman in fact over a period of decades; she is not sexless, she is simply older and a warrior. Depending on how the game portrays the character, her appearance may be contextualized in a way that is more compelling than a knee jerk aesthetic analysis can yield. 

Not pictured, the crushing of one's enemies, seeing them driven before one, and the lamentation of the Berzerkers.
The only thing that I felt was truly missing for me was that the female characters that Traviss had spent time developing in the novels were in the background, or completely unseen in Gears of War 2. But, with their addition to Gears of War 3, I am willing to forgive completely and buy in with my whole heart, hoping intensely that I will not be let down in a horrific soul shattering way (I'm looking at you METROID: OTHER M)

With Karen Traviss also listed as writer for Gears of War 3, I am especially optimistic. Her track record with this franchise is excellent, and her other work, the Wess'har Wars and her work with Halo and Star Wars are also phenomenal, coupling strong heroines, environmental awareness and totally awesome, brutal, kick-ass action.

Seriously, what point is there in saving the world if there are no women?