Politics and Commerce intersect

On Monday, April 12, 2021 an audio company unveiled a new slogan, “Make Audio Great Again™.” I was tagged in a tweet discussing the new tagline. I decided to do some research before commenting. Here are my comments. You might be surprised.

Under the media is a transcript of the conversation if you would prefer to read the content.

Project Bradford
Project Bradford

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This transcript is computer generated.

Welcome to Project Bradford recorded Thursday, April 15 2021. The main thing I want to talk about this week is something that happened on Monday. I’m gonna be really kind of discreet on companies and people. The reason is is because of something called the Streisand effect. For those of you aren’t familiar, the Streisand effect is about or was named after Barbra Streisand. A few years back, she did not like a photo of her that was published, it was a little unflattering. Well, rather than just simply let it go, what she did is she reached out to the newspaper The media and said, Hey, could you please pull that back? It’s not very nice. All that stuff, at which point, the news media went, No, we’re not going to and then they publicized the fact that Barbra Streisand did that. And by doing that, it brought more attention to the bad photo. So the idea being is, as soon as you mentioned something going on, everyone’s going to look at if you want something to go away, just don’t say anything. So that’s one of the reasons I’m not mentioning names. The other reason is, there’s the phrase, there’s no such thing as bad press. I’ll let you guys decide whether or not it is that way. But that is the basis of why I’m being somewhat discreet. And also, I don’t want anyone caught up in all of this that is an unwilling participant to explain. On Monday of this week, I was tagged in a tweet with a quote about think Bradford Benn. Now the way I took that is originally to be, they were making reference to my habit, and my process of always disclaiming my comments when I was working for a major company. I would say, you know, I speak for myself, the comments I make here Don’t, don’t reflect the views of anyone else. don’t reflect my dog don’t reflect my friends don’t reflect my wife don’t reflect my enemies. They’re my comments. And that’s the way I took that comment. However, that’s not the way everyone else took it. And that person got some heat, I believe, I know, I got some heat, just because people assumed what my view was going to be on the topic. So I figured I’m going to talk a little bit about the topic itself. What happened this week, was an audio company put a new slogan on their website. The slogan was make audio great again. And they trademarked it. Now, the first thing I’m going to say, I am not commenting about the politics of this. There are conservatives, there are liberals. They’re agnostics. They’re Republicans, there are Democrats, there are communists, there are libertarians, there are pasta firings. There’s people who just don’t care about politics and everyone in between. That’s your business. I’m not going to comment on that at all. And I know that sounds kind of unexpected coming from me. But I think it’s an important distinction to make. Yes, on my company’s page advisor comm I do list my business beliefs. And the reason I do that is because that is how I run my business. I’m not saying that’s how you run yours, or anyone else has to run their business. So this company decided to follow their business beliefs. And that’s 100% there, right? Whether you agree with it or not. Now, what got kind of interesting to me is, this was a thought out idea. It wasn’t just a Hey, let’s throw up the slogan. So to me, that makes me think that either there wasn’t enough thought there was that thought or somewhere in the middle. So the reason I say it’s somewhere in the middle is the company in question started to trademark that in June of 2020.

The trademark was granted March 24 of 2021. So that means it was a long time, money was invested in this process. Now the way I found this out, I went to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. I did a quick Google quick search within it and then found all that information you’re more than welcome to if you want. So that means they actually thought about this. It wasn’t just a one off comment. And the reason I say that some Important, as I’m sure we all know, of companies where an employee has made a one off comment. You know, there have been times people have made double entendres about the term audio rack. And that person, I’m pretty sure was disciplined for that comment, because it wasn’t a very wise comment for them to make, especially on the internet. But that’s one person, not the company, this was an act by the company. And that makes the things a little different. Now, it’s 100%. In their right, they can do that. But you also can’t say that they knew it was going to be divisive. They were aware, in those nine months, I’m pretty sure of how divisive this could be. Now, that’s their right to do it. And there are other companies who have done divisive things. You know, this week, there was 150, companies that co signed a letter and put a two page ad in the Wall Street, or sorry, The New York Times and The Washington Post about voter rights, they decided to approach that top is the thought was made. The example I’ll use is Nike lost 2.2% of its market valuation, the day after the first column Kaepernick advertisement ran. But they also made that up in revenue because of the support of that advertisement. So obviously, they had thought about that. They knew there was going to be some pushback, but they decided this was what the company wanted. Now, if this company in question, who decided to use the phrase, make audio great, again, used it without thinking about that process? That’s a whole different story. And that comes down to business, and the smarts of it. You know, there are all sorts of examples in the history of audio, other industries, car companies, you know, I can go on and on about the inadvertent divisiveness that can be caused when they haven’t thought thought something through. Dove is one of the most recent offenders of that, and they’ve had to had to make some changes. And I agree with that. But I also agree, that was probably unintentional. Because as soon as it was pointed out, off they went. Now, I’m not gonna say it was unintentional. I’m not gonna say it wasn’t mean spirited, I’m just gonna say they made a decision, it wasn’t the right one. And that’s kind of what happened with this audio company. By the end of Monday, that slogan had already been taken off of the website. So that makes me think people responded, pushed back, maybe someone else got wind of the idea. And what No, no, no, that’s not a good idea. There are all sorts of ways this could have happened. But my point is, it was their right to do it. Justice, it’s my right not to do business with them.

It’s just like, it’s your right to do business with them. We each Can, can spend our money and our and our company’s money as we see fit. But that’s one of the things I want to point out, this was a company. Now, if an employee says I am not going to use Brand X, because I don’t agree with their politics, that starts to get into some interesting areas. Because the company might not agree with that. There are other times when a privately held company has its ownership group, or its owner saying things that you don’t agree with, and you decide not to specify that company. And that becomes kind of the while you’re punishing people who aren’t necessarily impacted or agree with those comments. And I understand that it’s happening right now with Publix here in Florida. It’s a slippery slope. On Twitter, I have said I’m watching Major League Baseball, even though I don’t like baseball. And the reason is, is I support them and their decision to move the all star game. There are other people who don’t like me stating that and that’s their right. I’m fine with that. There are other people who aren’t going to watch baseball because of that. And that’s fine. That’s there, right? I’m not gonna argue about the the legal ramifications and ethical morals in this piece, because that’s not the point of it. The point of it is, it’s their right to make that opinion. Just like it’s other people’s rights to respond to that opinion. Now there will be people who say, well, you’re limiting free speech, and this is canceled culture and all those things. Nope. 100% not limiting free speech. Free Speech says that the government cannot make laws prohibiting the use of speech. It does not say that there are no repercussions for your speech. And that’s what’s happening. And this is commercial speech. It’s protected under the same amendment, the First Amendment of the government can’t make laws about it. But the people, the population, the constituencies, all of these different phrases you don’t want to use, they can comment on it. It’s part of the free market economy. If you don’t like a company, you don’t have to use them. If you do like a company, you can use them. And how you decide to do that is your prerogative. I’m not going to make a comment right now about what I think of this idea. I think, overall, that the company made a mistake from a business standpoint, not from anything else, from a business standpoint, purposefully using a divisive phrase, as a as a slogan. Now, the reason I say purposely, and not just Oh, it happened accidentally, they trademarked it, they went through the process of waiting till the trademark was granted before they started using it. That’s why I say purposely,

to me, that’s a business decision. That is something that that company did not fully think through. They didn’t realize all of the ramifications. Or perhaps they didn’t realize all the ramifications, such as lost business or increased business, or this or that and decided that’s what they want to do, especially if they’re privately held company. That’s their right. And I support their right to do that doesn’t mean I agree with it. But I support their right to do that and use those phrases. The company decided that was the branding they wanted to use, including all of the history of the terms, all of the connotations with it not annotations, connotations with it, of that phrase. And that’s their decision. 100% agree. They can do that if they want. But they have to expect there won’t be repercussions. And that’s just part of marketing is just part of doing the company in question did not do anything wrong. They might have done something questionable from a business standpoint, but it is 100% within their right. Just like it’s 100% within the right of the 150 companies that co signed that letter supporting voting rights. That was their right, just like the owner of a pillow company can support conservative views. It’s their right, it doesn’t mean there won’t be repercussions. It doesn’t mean I agree with it. But I agree it’s there, right. And that’s both the good thing and bad thing that happens in a free market and a free country. You can say what you want, but there are going to be repercussions. Now, having said that, I hope this has helped you understand why I didn’t jump in and why I don’t think it’s my place to jump in. Like I said, I thought it was a bad decision. That’s all I have to say about that. But it’s their right to say that that I think is important that people sometimes are missing. And also I think one of the things that’s missing is actually listening to and talking with each other doubt. It’s, we’re all in this together. You want to make a change and you want to boycott that company. Great. You want to support that company, great. But just know that is that company’s right to do that just like it’s your your right to not support them or to support them. Too often these discussions start to become ad hominem attacks attacking the person and not the topic, and I’m staying out of that. The reason is, is what does that help? as Matt Scott and I said a couple weeks ago on the podcast, we can’t think of any time Twitter has changed someone’s mind or Facebook or Instagram, or pick your social media that you want. Now I will say there have been times some of the posts that have occurred online Then. And some of the tweets that have occurred have changed my mind about a company or person. But it has not changed my view. And that’s a harder thing to think about how much of this is about the view and how much of it is about the person that so they’re not attacking attacking a protected class. They decided this is the way they want to position themselves. That’s their right. Do I think I was smart? Nope. Do I think it was a bad business decision? Yes. You. It’s the decision they made and the business impact it has. That is the issue that people have to think about. And it is 100%. Your right to decide to use them or not use them, to watch baseball to not watch baseball, to drink Coca Cola, drink Pepsi, to avoid this fast food chain or go to that fast food chain. All of those are your money. It’s a marketing decision as much as a political decision. And that’s 100% there right. Now, I’m sure there going to be some people that disagree with me. Great, put it in the comments, drop me an email.

So that’s kind of a long winded speech to get through all of this, but I thought it was worth commenting on because it’s kind of a hot topic. And to me, it’s important to realize it’s not always the fight, want to get into now I can comment about all of the voting rights, and all of the LGBTQ issues and all of these other things. But that’s not the purpose of this. This is to say that was a business decision. Their stance 100% impacts their business. And that’s their right. I’m not saying whether it’s right or wrong. I’m just saying it’s their right. And to some degree privilege to do that. So this was a little longer than I thought a little heavier than I thought. But I think it’s important, we all take a step back every so often. And remember, people have freedom of speech, companies have freedom of speech. We have freedom of choice to do business with. But I also think that using a phrase, like make audio great again, and not thinking it was going to kick up some controversy, that short sighted and that’s one of the reasons I’m not using their name, because perhaps that’s all this was intended to do is to make their name known again. So that’s my two cents, probably three and a half. At this point. I’m not going to do a mic drop. I’m just going to cartwheel off my soapbox and wish you all Peace and good health.

006-Rise of Skywalker

Why Tim is wrong about Rise of Skywalker

Recently the AVNation team was talking about movies. We were discussing movies that we did not feel lived up to their billing and hype. Rise of Skywalker immediately came up. Tim Albright said he enjoyed the movie. We all guffawed and decided to record a rebuttal. We also wanted to test some new podcasting tools. There are spoilers in this episode. If you haven’t seen The Mandalorian Season 2 or The Rise of Skywalker you may want to skip this episode until you do. We feel we have waited long enough for everyone who wants to see the items, has seen the items.

Paige Flennikin is AVNation’s Sales Director. Mitchell Toolen is AVNation’s Producer. You can find them at AVNation.tv or on LinkedIn (MitchellPaige). Little known fact, Paige now gets the entries from the contact form on AVNation’s website.

Under the media is a transcript of the conversation if you would prefer to read the content.

Project Bradford
Project Bradford
006-Rise of Skywalker


Tim Albright 00:38
Alright, here’s the here’s the thing, what was the Rise of Skywalker? It is not high theater, it is not going to win an Oscar anything. But after 40 years, I enjoyed myself. It was enjoyable. It was two hours of escapism, of wrapping up everything from the 1970s today, there were certainly problem with it, but I was entertained. And for the amount of money I spent, it was good money spent.

Bradford Benn 01:07
So welcome to Project Bradford. As you can see, I’m not here alone. I have a couple other friends from AVNation who are going to help me educate Tim, I’ll start at the beginning with the most important person on this entire podcast besides me, which would be Michel. Michel. Michel Toulon is the producer of AVNation. But can you go ahead and introduce yourself

Mitchell Toolen 01:33
I don’t, I’m not used to this because I’m normally in the background. I am the producer for AVNation, which means I am recording and editing everything that you see in here, except for this show, thank goodness. I mean, except for this show, because Bradford’s got it under control. Just the alternate title

Bradford Benn 01:51
of the other guests. Is the AV sales director or AVNation Sales Director, Paige Flynn, akin to get close and sweet. And so let’s see, I know she’s an opera singer. But why don’t you go on and tell us other things about yourself? That might be interesting.

Paige Flennikin 02:10
I’m also the project manager at AVNation. So any needs you have come to me and I will make all your AVNation dreams come true. I live in Kansas City. And that’s about you know, all the interesting. I’m a big Star Wars fan. That’s why I’m here.

Bradford Benn 02:27
So you guys have heard what Tim said. saying that it was fine entertainment, that he feels like he got his money’s worth. So I look at it the other way of the I didn’t like it as the ending of a 30 year saga, actually 40 year saga. But I figured guests first so I’ll let you to fight it out over who’s going to go first what

Mitchell Toolen 02:58
I kind of wanted to, I kind of wanted to throw it back to you guys. And Paige actually sort of answered this. But are you guys fans of Star Wars? Like, for me personally, I might get ostracized for saying this by the call. But I was raised on the VHS Special Edition ones with the CG and all those fun enhancements. And I was Don’t kid. Yeah. I didn’t know better. And I don’t I you know, I enjoyed them. I play the game. I played more of the games, like dark forces was was where I was at. So when the movies came out, I went, this is a thing. Oh, these aren’t very good. Okay, and, and moved on with my life with the prequels. Oh, so when these came out, I was kind of like, cool. But I wanted to see how you, you know how you guys felt on that?

Paige Flennikin 03:54
I think that the 70s ones are more probably close to your heart, Bradford. And, the prequels are more like my era because I’m a little bit older than you Mitchell. And even though obviously, George Lucas caught a lot of grief over the prequels because there was, I mean, there was a lot of things that happened in those that could have been done better. But when comparing it to the latest movies, I think that I mean, I sent you guys that funny George Lucas spoof this morning where he says it makes Attack of the Clones look like Citizen Kane.

Bradford Benn 04:41
Now, I will say that for me, it’s a little different. Because I saw them on the big screen in the 70s and 80s. And you know, big, you know, as I say kind of like Harry Potter is to certain people of the younger generation. Star Wars was too This was the big defining movie, and the prequels. I don’t acknowledge that episode one exists, I only watch the machete order. For those of you aren’t familiar with the machete order, it’s a new hope or the original Star Wars, then Empire Strikes Back, then two then three, which I forget the name of, and then Return of the Jedi, which was originally Revenge of the Jedi. And I still sometimes call it that. And then you go to seven and eight. And for some reason, nine just doesn’t play on my on my BluRay player anymore. Yeah, I know. I don’t know what happened.

Mitchell Toolen 05:40
The disc scratched because you’ve watched it so many times for critical analysis.

Paige Flennikin 05:45
Yes. There’s, I mean, it’s from Tim’s statements. I think that if you take it out of the context of being in Star Wars, if you take the giant Star Wars nerds out of all of us and just watch it as a movie, on its own, it’s entertaining. You know, there’s really great graphics. There’s a lot of good fight scenes, but in the overarching, even within its own trilogy, it just doesn’t mix. There’s just so many holes in the plotline and so many, like random out of left field things that happen that you’re like, wait, what, like, Where did this come from? This has nothing to do with the Last Jedi or the Force Awakens. Like, how is this the end to this massive? Like you said, 40 year saga?

Mitchell Toolen 06:38
Yeah, I feel like it’s hard because this thing doesn’t exist. Film doesn’t exist in a vacuum it has things behind it, not just the whole franchise. But I don’t think we can talk about Rise of Skywalker without getting a little bit into stuff like the Last Jedi or maybe even Force Awakens a little bit, which for me, like Last Jedi was so polarizing. Everyone either hated it, or, or was so a fan of it. But to me, it was the biggest thing that it did was that it did nothing. It was wheel spinning, essentially, where plots went, some were kind of interesting, and then just kind of came back to where it was. And through no fault of their own in a way they I mean, I can’t give them too much blame to say that because Ryan Johnson the way that the last one went that when you have your finale, you’re like, where do we go? What do we do? And as dumb as the things they do, it’s like I it’s hard to say that’s more of a weird, middle management thing about the whole trilogy and how terrible that entire thing was, how structured it was.

Paige Flennikin 07:57
Yeah, they had no blueprint for it. They just kind of were like, making movies. It felt like like there were I feel like the only character that had a true arc was Kylo Ren. Yeah. And they even ended his as like, okay, we’re done now. Like we’ve wrapped it up. He’s done.

Bradford Benn 08:16
I’ll disagree I think I think Rey has a has a story arc. It’s not his. Kylo is the story arc protagonist.

Mitchell Toolen 08:28
I think she has an arc until it gets like overwritten by the stupid stuff in Rise of Skywalker.

Bradford Benn 08:36
You mean like the ending scene where Luke Skywalker is old. And Princess Leia, known as she’s a Princess Leia is standing next to him as the force goes, she’s not General Organa at that point, she’s still Princess Leia because they made her young, unlike Mark Hamill, who was old and the same problem. At the end of at the end of Empire Strikes Back at the Ewok scene, they put young Anakin Skywalker next to Yoda, and Ben Kenobi, and I’m like, this is where you guys are messing up. It’s, you’re not even following your own rules. You know, I understand. Okay, you might want it to make it look like the actor that’s playing it. But come on that one, like, basic continuity error,

Mitchell Toolen 09:30
I think to be fair on that part. I don’t know. We don’t exactly know when Carrie Fisher passed how much they had. So that probably wasn’t her it had to be a stand in but I can’t deny that and I was I have this in my notes that I get like, the uncanny valley. there’s a there’s a hair on the back of my neck reflex that happens when I see creepy CGI, Carrie Fisher in this movie. It’s just like it’s not right. This isn’t right. This is this is great. As the as kenri camels upper lip in the theatrical release of Justice League, it’s like I can’t look at it. Ah, what is wrong with you?

Bradford Benn 10:12
And to your point, Mitchell Carrie’s daughter, Billie Lourd, I thought played her body double in the Jedi fight scene. They had enough footage, according to a lot of people because they had all that footage from when she was in space during Last Jedi, so they would have had tons of footage. So it’s kind of like going back and putting Anakin in is just a bad a bad continuity. And when the hell did you did, did a layer become a Jedi? When did she go to training? I was like, What? Did I miss something?

Paige Flennikin 10:59
Okay, so in Last Jedi, when the ship got blown up Kylo Ren, like backed off, but then they blew it up anyways. And she got sucked into the vacuum of space. Not only did she survive that, but then she Jdei’ed herself back into the pod where then she was just like, in a coma for a little bit. And then she was fine. Or she was like, in recovery.

Mitchell Toolen 11:23
And that’s, you know, that could be arguably another one of those things that the problems of the reboot in a way where like, that was my big thing about the Force Awakens is that it’s been 30 years between Return pf the Jedi and, and the new series. But nothing has changed. Not even the Republic, it is still the resistance. They’re still the underdog despite beating the Empire, Han Solo was still a smuggler. It’s because it is status quo is, is the important thing here. It would have been if someone maybe would have if someone who would have thought that’s a feels like a phrase that could have happened, um, that you know, I you could set up Hey, Leia had some for stuff going on. Introduce that in do things like that. Instead, they kind of feel like because it’s the third move we had ramp in. I don’t mind like having Geneva having for stuff. And it’s probably some I’m sure there’s, there’s some guy, I can just think of some guy who’s like, well, in the novels that are no candidate, I don’t care. Did this whole thing and Mara Jaden? Yeah, I’m, like

Bradford Benn 12:44
Canon has been shot to hell. It’s still kind of like they decided canon is going change a little to bring in some of the stuff that they think is better to bring in stuff from the Clone Wars, the cartoon series, and this and that, and Solo and Rogue One,

Paige Flennikin 13:05
They stick true to the, to the comics and all of that, like, the Clone Wars and Attack of the Clones and all of those. Okay, so if they were to have stuck to that and incorporated that into the story, Palpatine coming back would have made sense, because in the comics, he makes clones of himself. And in the comics, he comes back, but he has like that blue glow. That is representative of how he died. Like it’s his spirit. But he was like, his, I can’t remember which one it was, I was under him. Put him into this clone. And that’s how he lived on and that’s how he survived death. That’s what he learned from his Jedi teacher. That would have made sense, but instead, they’re just like, hey, b t dubs [by the way], he didn’t die. Here’s Palpatine on this weird hook.

Bradford Benn 13:56
But then you you couple that with the fact that I had never seen the force heal anybody before. Until gorgo did it? Sorry, spoiler if you haven’t seen Mandalorian season two, it’s your own fault at this point. But until Grogu did it or Baby Yoda did it or The Child did it, he did it the Thursday night before the movie released. And I got to think that was purposeful so they could show that the Force can heal. I’m like, Listen, why didn’t like the force heal, you know, Skywalker,s hand or, you know all this other stuff.

Paige Flennikin 14:47
I did some research into this because I thought the exact same thing where the F is this coming from like left field. So apparently, in the fanfiction lore, it has to do With the dyad, so they should be the only ones because their life force is connected, it makes them stronger. So therefore they can heal. So therefore those two should be the only ones able to heal. And it should, according to the fanfiction almost paralyze them to use this power because it is sucking their life force from them to heal this. So that is why Kylo Ren Dies at the End. Okay, that makes sense. Sure. But didn’t she also heal him after that battle when he was dying, it would have taken all of her life force to bring him back. Even though he wasn’t dead. He was dying, she would have had to fulfill him. And then she would have been paralyzed by having used all of her life force. Instead, she back flipped off of this ship. And then or this broken Death Star and then took off in a ship and also heal that snake. Like, what?

Bradford Benn 15:57
Yeah, seems to me that’s more of the I can understand that. It’s like, she didn’t have to use all of her life force because she was, you know, Kylo wasn’t dead. He had a fatal wound, but she repaired the wound which kept him from dying. She lost like three years.

Paige Flennikin 16:15
Yeah, yeah. But she had Oh, like, there’s no, it doesn’t there’s no connection from healing the snake, keeping him from dying.

Mitchell Toolen 16:25
There’s no time. We don’t we don’t have time to explain. It’s, it’s fine. I remember even at least when I first saw it, I don’t think I did. I don’t think it crossed my mind. But checking out the second time. First off, you owe me an evening because I regret it. spending the time to take notes for it. But they had they mentioned the dyad thing twice. Like he says it once and then Palpatine is like you are that thing. Oh, that was important. Okay. I yeah, I just, I can kind of get around to the healing. I mean, it’s been in games, but that’s more of a mechanic thing. But it’s just like, it’s fine. There’s so much. It’s so much worse. To get into that I think,

Paige Flennikin 17:13
I think I think you’re right. Absolutely. The dyad should have been more touched on. But I think that might be the disconnect between having different writers on the first second and third movies like obviously, JJ Abrams was first and third. But Rian Johnson in the middle just was like, I don’t really want to do this. So I just didn’t.

Bradford Benn 17:33
I’m going change gears a little bit and move to the actual characters. Just because, you know, I don’t want another Matt episode where we go for four hours. Rose got pretty much written out.

Mitchell Toolen 17:47
Oh, yeah, she got the worst.

Bradford Benn 17:50
Yeah. Finn met that new, the new Stormtrooper that decided to leave and I’m like, why didn’t you use the existing characters you jad? Already?

Mitchell Toolen 18:06
The characters in this movie don’t really have anything to do. I mean, they have, they have stuff to do. We got MacGuffins to get MacGuffins to get more, there’s always another treasure or mystery box to jump to, to get into but like we keep adding new people. And yet we don’t really do anything with our old ones. The only like, Rose shows up and I can’t like I remember how her actress got like bullied off a social media blitz. And basically, we’re just catering to those people by just being like, Yeah, but she’s not important right now. It’s just Finn giving a little pat on the shoulder is like you did good buddy. friendzone now, goodbye. Thanks.

Paige Flennikin 18:52
I love you saving my life. I think the major flaw with like Rose and the other desserter that he met on the island. I think it’s comes back to Finn. Because they what I think they were trying to do and this is just my personal opinion is they were trying to make like a love triangle for Rey. Like he would be her light side love and then Kylo would be her dark side love that way it would give some tension some a little bit more like the pull on both sides. But it just didn’t quite come off that way. He seemed very friend zoned with Rey like there was no like, break through between them. And so I think they put Rose in there to kind of give us a little bit more character development for Finn. And then that went on in the Last Jedi. But then I mean she kissed him said I love you risked her life for him and then we get to the last movie and it’s like, stay on the ship Rose. I’m going to hang out here with my new Islander chick.

Mitchell Toolen 19:55
Yeah, but I also I I don’t feel Like I got, I mean, there were like hints of romantic chemistry but I don’t think I got any of it on like Finn and Rey.

Paige Flennikin 20:07
Well, it’s the way he acts the way he just chased after her like a lost puppy dog constantly but Rey never reciprocates.

Bradford Benn 20:16
It was kind of like Solo chasing Princess Leia in the first movies.

Paige Flennikin 20:23
yeah, it never came back.

Mitchell Toolen 20:25
Well, that’s, you could you could say that a lot with a lot of things to this. It’s like this thing from the old movie. But worse. We have to put it in because people need to remember. Do you remember this? This thing from Star Wars?

Bradford Benn 20:42
Leia having the medal that she didn’t give to Chewy 40 years ago?

Mitchell Toolen 20:47
Why? Why even that’s such a it’s not for them. It’s for the audience. And it’s just like, why they did a lot.

Bradford Benn 20:56
And it’s actually worse than just ignoring

Mitchell Toolen 20:59
Oh, yeah

Paige Flennikin 21:03
That’s quite a few fan favorite moments that I’m like, guys, just make a good beat and will love it.

Mitchell Toolen 21:11
I’m just trying to get out. I’m just tried to run through the characters that we have, because we have Zorii played by Keri Russell, a friend sort of. She was Felicity, I believe on Felicity with JJ Abrams, it almost felt like a thing where you’re just like, Hey, we know each other. You’re doing a billion dollar movie. I’ll be in here for a day. Like Greg Grunburg showing up. And he was on alias., but it was just kind of like, I’m here. I’m a dude. And it wasn’t ready.

Bradford Benn 21:48
The left stuff from Last Jedi hanging out like the final scene of Last Jedi has that young kid using the Force to get the broom? And I’m like, Oh, this would be a great thing. Yeah.

Mitchell Toolen 22:04
Now, I just wrote it off.

Paige Flennikin 22:06
You had to because the next movie had nothing to do with it. It’s like Last Jedi was like, if you take Last Jedi out and then watch The Force Awakens and then Rise of Skywalker, it actually makes more sense that way. I mean, obviously, there’s some things missing. But the storyline overall is like, okay, I think that Disney took such a step back in the creative liberties and freedoms and just let these writers make great movies, which is what they’re good at doing. But they didn’t give them any kind of blueprint of this is our storyline from Force Awakens, you have to continue that it didn’t happen. This is where we’re going. This is where we’re starting. And that’s why I was saying, I feel like the only character that has an arc is Kylo Ren, because Rey, she starts with an arc, but it’s very quick. like think about the earlier movies, like it takes them years of training to become a Jedi, yours. And she’s just like, Oh, I got this now in the first movie, like halfway through the first movie. She’s already doing everything. There’s her arc. She’s done. There are two more movies. And they tried in the next two movies to develop her backstory, but they didn’t they just dropped it on us.

Mitchell Toolen 23:21
You know, I and that was the one that was kind of one of the few things that I liked a decent amount of things as a whole I think there are there a lot of issues but going Rey you’re an orphan, it doesn’t matter. What’s kind of cool, I think, and it could have been a good point. And I feel like they had to double back and be like, Ah, no, that doesn’t make sense. Star Wars is a super closed universe when you think like there’s so much possibility for stuff but when it always comes back to, “No, it doesn’t matter.” It doesn’t matter what you accomplish. You are the daughter granddaughter, they tried to do a Luke I am your father thing here and it just is a wet fart. Yeah. And I think that it would have been cooler if even if Palpatine had come back which I’d still have issues with, but it would have been would have had been a better thematic thing of the person he least expect is a nobody to be the one that rises and beats him not. Oh, it’s my granddaughter. Let’s not even Yeah,

Paige Flennikin 24:36
I agree. I think that is kind of cool. She was a scavenger obviously she had some backstory, but I think that they it seemed like they were grasping at straws bringing property back.

Mitchell Toolen 24:47
Oh, they were just like, we got to find somebody to connect this to Otherwise the fans won’t care. They’ll be like, Who’s this new guy? I don’t know. Which I think is what they did that with Snoke.

Bradford Benn 24:57
The big thing that got me was when they’re like chanting and building up when the Dark Side is chanting and building all those Star Destroyers I’m like, why aren’t there’s a bunch of Jedis on the other side doing the exact same thing.

Mitchell Toolen 25:15
why did we have to use space magic to do that? instantly? You’ve been playing? You’ve been apparently in the background for 30 years you couldn’t have. We couldn’t have been like we’re doing from praying this we had to be like, well, people aren’t going understand that we’re just going space magic. Boom. Yeah, was really, drastically, the power levels of that what Palpatine can do is really vague and stupid.

Paige Flennikin 25:41
Yes, it is.

Bradford Benn 25:44
Palpatine I thought was kind of like Obi Wan Kenobi when he got killed. His body disintegrating and became the Force. You know, it mainly evil Force, the Dark Side. But you know, I was like, same way Luke disappeared and Leia disappeared. Same way. You’ll notice supposedly disappeared, And Palpatine was like, I’m back. And I’m like, I’ll bring everyone else back. I like those other people.

Mitchell Toolen 26:13
Yeah. It’s funny in a way that it’s I was we saw a kind of debate of whether the Palpatine on Exegol was the original guy. Was he the dude was he is he like a super old dude. And these guys that we saw, like at the end of Return [of the Jedi], is that a clone? And it got destroyed? Or did he survive getting thrown off a thing? ignoring the fact that that makes Darth Vader’s redemption story, and his whole thing a moot point that his entire life is just kind of useless now. And is it that and it’s like, it’s not that it’s vague enough. It is vague. It’s just not told. So we add like, our brains are just forced to be like, well, we got to fill in the cat stuff now. And it’s almost like that’s their intention. They’re like we’re not going to do it.

Bradford Benn 27:17
Some dude in his basement is going to be like, I will put the strings together and find out why Palpatine looks like death from Bill and Ted. Like John Nash in A Beautiful Mind this goes with this goes with this.

Paige Flennikin 27:23
It just there’s no quick connect. It just doesn’t make sense.

Bradford Benn 27:26
They did the exact same thing with the comic relief of do the little wheel droid. I’m like, What the hell was he there for? That should have been R2 (Artoo) or BB8.

Mitchell Toolen 27:39
It looks exactly like a Lego character. just slap that Hasbro license on that. Sold now.

Bradford Benn 27:48
I was like it’s Clippy, it’s Clippy from Microsoft.

Mitchell Toolen 27:54
At one point it says sad and I thought of the robot devil going you can’t say how you feel that makes me angry.

Paige Flennikin 28:05
I know there’s a there’s a lot going on. And that just doesn’t make sense. These especially around the characters and I feel like they did create good characters. They just didn’t go anywhere with them.

Mitchell Toolen 28:21
I think like especially in this one. Poe and Finn have this like buddy cop dynamic going on when they’re when they’re connected. I’m like, I want to see more of this. This is kind of what I’m going for. I really like that part. But we don’t have time for it. We’re just going to blaze right past it. You know, we bring up the already shows up and try and kind of gives a little shade of two, or at least depth to Poe. Oh, he was a spice runner. And you’re like, well, that’s an interesting thread. Are we going to pull on it now? Okay. There’s no time we got to move on. There’s no time is basically the entire plot of this thing. It’s like they’re constantly just shoving in stuff, where you just go where you don’t have time to say, Wait, what? No, wait, what? No, it’s okay. We don’t have to. Like I remember my first thought when I first saw it was man this action, like their first scene where they’re driving through the snow thing to get a message. I’m going this is a little fast paced, but you know, we got to pick up we got a thing at some point, it’ll slow down, right? And it really doesn’t, except when more and more important stuff happens, pal. They give us a Palpatine message and don’t use Ian McDiarmid to say anything that would be the smart thing because he you know he’s not like known for being hammy and talking. That part just kind of goes up and again, like I have it in my notes like a wet fart. He just goes somehow and returned 15 years later.

Bradford Benn 29:54
It was even in the opening credits. The opening score. And I literally went, what the fudge

Mitchell Toolen 30:03
I honestly, I was. Were kind of okay with that I took my notes sequentially so I’m having to scroll around with it. But I, you know, with Star Wars especially like the first one, the opening crawls are a staple of the series. And for something like the first one you’re like, well literally no one knows what going on. We got to we got to put the stuff in it. So I mean, it’s not the worst crawl. I think the Revenge of the Sith I think the Revenge of the Sith one where they says there are heroes on both sides is maybe still the worst one.

Bradford Benn 30:37
No, I think the crawl is a good thing that had to be there.

Mitchell Toolen 30:40
Where I’m just like, Oh, I get it. I but I do agree. I don’t like it, there’s the whole show don’t tell thing. And a lot of exposition is just kind of doled out because we don’t have time. We could if we had the foresight to put these things out and plan it like a series. We would have that but big time we don’t. So yeah. And I I am just flabbergasted by it. Because anytime there’s something interesting going on, it kind of it just doubles down on it when we have the scene where we get to a moon of Endor let’s ignore the fact that we have a dagger. I don’t know when this thing was made but it matches up with wreckage of the Death Star to it and she knew where to stand exactly so it would match up

Paige Flennikin 31:46
point the thing, pull the thing out and hold it just right

Mitchell Toolen 31:49
Yeah. And and we’re like oh, but we can’t go there right now. The waves are too risky. Okay, cool. We can slow down. Jana and Finn oh they’re having a moment because about the Stormtroopers and Stormtrooper people like conscripting children. Wow, what an interesting Oh, no. Rey just went and took a skimmer. She’s got skin in the plot. There’s no time we got to go

Bradford Benn 32:17
I’m still trying to figure out why she stole a skimmer. Because to me, I’m like, Force jump out there. You’re doing this teleporting lightsabers via the Force and teleporting.

Mitchell Toolen 32:29
It doesn’t matter. There’s no there was no danger involved literally like and also the others, they get there fine. They’re just kind of show up later. Like that’s just nothing.

Bradford Benn 32:38
Why were there spider webs?

Mitchell Toolen 32:41
spider webs?

Bradford Benn 32:43
How do you know there are spiders in space? There were all sorts of spider webs on the Death Star

Mitchell Toolen 32:49
They were already on there. You know, how do I know

Paige Flennikin 32:52
Once she got into that? How do you know where to go? Like, looking from the shore…

Mitchell Toolen 32:59
don’t worry about it.

Paige Flennikin 33:00
Then all of a sudden she’s like, okay, it’s in here.

Bradford Benn 33:04
Well, I took a picture of it with my mind’s eye.

Paige Flennikin 33:09
I wish they would have actually given her that dual lightsaber. That thing was cool.

Mitchell Toolen 33:14
That was such a trailer tease that I ended up hating it more in the thing where it’s like it’s just a projection and unlike Luke training and he fights Darth Vader’s image in his head is in the helmet. You’re like, Oh, that’s it. This is like Nah, it’s just kind of there because you want it’s reminds me of the same shot in Rogue One’s trailer that they didn’t even use where lady whose name or actress I forget is like in Imperial armor. You’re like, is this a betrayal is the thing you’re like, no, it’s nothing. It’s all nothing Don’t worry about and it’s not. It’s all like, I was reminded in a lot of these action scenes of a 2016 Shane Black movie called The Nice Guys. It’s got Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. It’s a funny neo-noir detective story. And it was it’s hilarious, but it’s also got really good action. And the action is just usually just them shooting at each other. Now those guys they’re shooting bad guys. But the reason that I’d say engaging is because the characters are good. Yeah, the story is interesting. You have Rey, doing a backflip to cut a Tie Interceptor fighter, like going full Neo and all the energy in the world. And I’m like, my eyes just glaze over because I’m like, I don’t care. This is in service to anything in the story? Yeah, why did the story basically stop just to do an action scene?

Paige Flennikin 34:44
Why did that whole thing happen?

Mitchell Toolen 34:46
I don’t understand that at all. We’re Indiana Jones. Now we got to go. We got to go get the, we got to go get the thing to get the thing to get the thing so that the movie can happen. Yeah. Now, a lot of a lot of it ends up being totally useless.

Paige Flennikin 35:01
Yeah, he crushed one and then she lit his Tie Fighter on fire. And then Luke was like, don’t worry about it. It’s okay.

Mitchell Toolen 35:10
One of the biggest of many Last Jedi like recants there’s so many of these things in the in the thing where they’re like, well, oh man that Last Jedi was, especially when forced loot comes out and goes, this is the most important thing. And everything else I said last time was wrong. And that guy was a hack. It’s just such a like, What is going on? There was no tying vision. There was no one. At least with Last Jedi. Rian Johnson was the one dude kind of getting everything together. But here they’re like, Ah, no, no, we can’t damage control. It’s too different. Everything is scary. Yeah. You got to bring back Lando. We got to bring back these guys. Yeah, get see 3PO is very important

Bradford Benn 35:58
I don’t know why 3PO had a red arm.

Mitchell Toolen 36:02
Does anyone know? Why is that important? Why did why did? What’s her face? How did she get in? Luke’s lightsaber? It’s time that’s a story for another time

Paige Flennikin 36:14
Rey ended up from the after the big battle between like when she and Kylo Ren teamed up to go against Snoke. Okay, so that’ll happen. They both got knocked out. He wakes up alone and General Hux says Oh, she left on Snoke’s ship then literally the next scene she is on the Millennium Falcon.

Mitchell Toolen 36:36
Don’t worry about it. It’s fine. He was he was already the spy at that point. I guess which you know what for? For motivations being pure spite. I kind of enjoyed that. Yeah.

Paige Flennikin 36:52
I don’t care if you win. I just need him to lose.

Bradford Benn 36:55
Yeah. I thought that was a great line.

Paige Flennikin 37:00
Did you guys get any like with Force powers with Finn?

Mitchell Toolen 37:08
Yes, yes. But there’s no time. Oh,

Bradford Benn 37:14
I thought they were alluding to it when he met Jana, “of the we just felt it”. You know, and the fact that like he and Rey kind of had this thing that wasn’t a thing. That was a thing. But it wasn’t pulled. But it was Rey and, you know, it’s kind of like, okay,

Paige Flennikin 37:31
yes, Finn goes lightsaber to lightsaber with Kylo Ren and holds his own for a while. Yes. indicator.

Mitchell Toolen 37:38
I don’t mind that. He doesn’t like, you know, he doesn’t do his own Force pushing and stuff like that, that it’s all that it’s all sensing stuff. But it doesn’t feel exactly like that. It feels more like he has the script in the back of his pocket. Like, we need to go there. Why? They told me. Yeah, it’s yeah, it’s many times where they’re just like, oh, yeah, yeah, I use that thing.

Bradford Benn 38:02
I get up out of the medical Bay, I pull all the hoses out, and I just start walking around and no one sees me

Paige Flennikin 38:09
It would make it worse. If they would have developed him having some kind of Jedi senses like at the beginning, when he went in Force Awakens, when they come out of that Cantina, he’s holding the lightsaber, he’s the one fighting with the light, or he’s the one going after it. That’s where all of that first starts with him being like Rey’s side on the light. But then in Jedi, they just send them to a casino planet with Rose. Like, what?

Bradford Benn 38:37
And then BB8 steals the show. And then they completely dropped that section when they get to the ninth movie.

Paige Flennikin 38:44
Yeah. And then they’re like, Oh, he’s sensing things again. And it would make more sense of him chasing Rey around trying to find Rey because he would be the only one able to do that if they had developed his character. Because Don’t worry about it.

Bradford Benn 39:01
I’m also kinda like, I’m trying to remember when Poe got shot, and he got injured. He had his arm in a sling. Why didn’t Rey heal him?

Paige Flennikin 39:12
Yeah, she’s got these healing powers.

Mitchell Toolen 39:22
I mean, do you remember when chewy got blown out for all of three minutes? Yeah.

Paige Flennikin 39:28
How did he end up on a different ship?

Mitchell Toolen 39:30
They just go now there’s another ship, and it doesn’t let you and it doesn’t. The thing that bothers me more about it, not just that, you know, let’s start with that. This whole thing is kind of Rey’s fault. And everyone just goes it’s okay. It’s fine. There’s no conflict. There’s no like you like you made Chewy die

Paige Flennikin 39:51
Why did you shoot lasers out of your hand like Palpatine and blow up a ship?

Mitchell Toolen 39:54
Yeah. And later we get a scene where Rey goes oh, I sense Chewy Wouldn’t that be more interesting if he was gone for more than just a minute? Like I think I timed it accurately three minutes later because we don’t i don’t know we don’t want the kids crying in the theater something like oh no they killed the big dog it just like he was alive. Don’t worry about it. Tension didn’t deflate.

Bradford Benn 40:22
Yeah, but you now need to buy the action figure where he doesn’t have his bag and bandolier to match the movie. Because I know that was a lot of this movie.

Mitchell Toolen 40:35
Yeah, those jumper guys who fly now Yeah, that is that actually that again? Felt like another like slap the Hasbro thing on it with the with catapulting action. We only have it just to have treads so they can wrangle it up and blow it up.

Paige Flennikin 40:54
And Poe says, “they fly now?”. He’s like always like he says it what we are all thinking. But also it’s like, it’s still dumb. Don’t worry about the humor.

Mitchell Toolen 41:04
That’s I think it started like last night was the thing where I’m just like, why is this happening? I mean, it’s not like it’s not like they were super serious movies, prequels being what they are notwithstanding. But it’s like what it just feels it feels Marvelly, but in a bad way. Like we’re trying to get it. We’re trying to get those clips, but it really doesn’t work at all.

Bradford Benn 41:35
Like the previous ones in four, five and six. It was the interaction between the characters that made it funny. It wasn’t lines. And here they’re writing the lines. And I’m like, you’re forcing it. You’re trying to make Poe a mechanical, make him the comic relief. And I’m like, yeah, this isn’t good. There were so many other things that could have been developed and you’re making him comedy. Then as I’m watching the Stormtroopers fly. I was like, Okay, I can deal with that, because the Death Troopers that we saw on the Mandalorian once again, spoiler sorry, but the Death Troopers, they flew. I was like, Well, okay, that makes sense. Wait, why don’t they have more Death Troopers then?

Mitchell Toolen 42:18
I liked better when they were Dark Troopers. Yeah. That was the whole dark forces plot. Yeah, that was cool. We had to go back to some semblance of a plot.

Paige Flennikin 42:29
Yeah, I think these three movies, especially this last one makes us all have, like leave the theaters scratching our heads. Like we have more questions now than we did. You really analyze the last two movies and realize how much doesn’t make sense. Like I never thought I could watch a movie that’s supposed to be the concluding factor and have more questions than I did in the first place. Like it just leaves much to be desired.

005-Matt Scott

Talking with Matt Scott - Part 2 of 2

Bradford Benn sat down with Matt D. Scott in February for a wide ranging discussion. This discussion was not focused solely on AV. They covered topics from being a business owner to the impact of social media to how one defines themselves without talking about their job. The conversation went much deeper than expected. They spoke for over 150 minutes, that is 2.5 hours. The conversation was edited for length, and it still takes two episodes to gather all of the good content. The first half of the discussion can be found at Project Bradford Episode 004.

Matt is a fellow AVNation board member. He’s also the host of ResiWeek on AVNation, as well as being the owner of Omega Audio Video in London, Ontario, Canada. He also has been a CEDIA board member. You can contact him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

Under the media is a transcript of the conversation if you would prefer to read the content

Project Bradford
Project Bradford
005-Matt Scott


continued from Part 1

Bradford Benn

I don’t know anyone who’s ever had their mind changed by Twitter.

Matt Scott

Now, now, I thought about it, I couldn’t find anybody.

Bradford Benn

There are things like, Okay, this is the news article that was posted by reputable news source. And now here’s another news article posted by another reputable news source. And it’s not that it happened on Twitter. It’s just where they post the link to their articles, and those to provide deeper background. It’s one of the reasons I like reading the newspaper, even though it’s now electronic, but reading that instead of the TV, because you get those longer backgrounds, bigger in depth, yeah. All that stuff. And while they might post the headline on Twitter, and that pulls me in who yet still,

Matt Scott

can you read the headline?

Bradford Benn

Yes. And part of it is I subscribed to three newspapers electronically.

Matt Scott

Yeah. I I’m in that camp too, because I hate I’m one of the one of the few people who seems to hate the whole hanging ago, watch this little how to clip or whatever it is this news clip on, on YouTube. I don’t like doing that. I’m much bigger fan of reading. I want to read something I want to read an opinion or a hopefully, semi unbiased report on something. I want to read some facts, not what you think. And, you know, the last couple years have been disappointing for me, because I’m a huge news junkie. But I can’t watch broadcast news anymore. Because there’s no actual or there’s very limited reporting. Yes, there is like, it always cracks me up. Because when we started AV nation, one of our biggest things was that we were providing commentary. Which is one of the things that I absolutely hate about broadcast news. Right? is I don’t want commentary in news. I want a reporting on the news and want to make up my own mind.

Bradford Benn

I disagree that we’re providing commentary. I think we’re providing context.

Matt Scott

Yes. Yeah. But we were we when we started, we were very much about getting content, context, and commentary.

Bradford Benn

Right. Right. Because my opinions always right. So of course, we had to publish that. Well, yeah.

Matt Scott

Yeah. That’s why we started the whole thing. Tim just hasn’t figured it out.

Bradford Benn

That’s why I keep signing his paychecks and don’t argue about what his pay rates going to be.

Matt Scott

No, no, no, no, just let them let them live in oblivion. It’s fine.

Bradford Benn

And I agree with you on the on the YouTube stuff. And I’m, I believe that news has gotten very soundbite based and has been happening for years. And oh, yeah, part of it is I, you know, when I used to watch the evening news, it was CBS with Walter Cronkite, and then came on the Muppet Show at 7:30. And, you know, I’m being dead serious. But that was, you know, like, half my childhood was dinner, Walter Cronkite, Muppet Show, bed. And that doesn’t happen. But now it’s like, there are certain videos. I want to see that you can’t find on the news you have to go to YouTube.

Matt Scott

I probably phrase that slightly aggressively. That’s why I’m just it’s, it’s very much one of those things that when you know, when I’m trying to figure something out, right, or if I’m trying to troubleshoot an issue with my stove, you know, I want to see, I want to see an article on how to fix it. I don’t want to watch the little, you know, 30 minutes. Hey, this is George your appliance man. Let me show you how to fix your GE Frigidaire. Whatever it is my stove. I have to fast forward for all that stuff, right? But yeah, it’s I think reading is a bit of a lost art even, like I tend to. I made a conscious decision about two years ago, because I realized that the only reading, I was doing was either news or tech related something. Whether it was a review on something, whether it was General news on tech, whether it was a product manual. Everything was very work related.

Bradford Benn

It wasn’t for enjoyment.

Matt Scott

No, no, there was no reading for enjoyment. Yeah, I have cut down on the hair product. Because I don’t go anywhere.

Bradford Benn

I put a shirt on today. You know, because I was recording so it’s already a good day.

Matt Scott

That is a good day. I have to put on a shirt because it’s cold here.

Bradford Benn

I make myself put on real clothes to go to work in my home office.

Matt Scott

It does help. Yeah, I am not a I cannot come down here. I’m, I’m in my home office right now. I can’t come down here in like, you know, T shirt and sweatpants. and be productive during the day. I can do it at night. Like I if I if I’m behind on something or if I’m trying to get ahead on something. I can pop into the office at nine o’clock at night after the kids go down and get stuff done like that. You know and slippers and the whole the whole middle aged man thing.

Bradford Benn

You have like a dressing room? Not a not a bathroom dressing robe or a dressing gown.

Matt Scott

No, I’ve never had a dressing robe or a dressing gown. I haven’t had a bathrobe in yours. I don’t think I’ve had one since I’ve been married. Yeah, no, no, although my son got,

Bradford Benn

yeah, but what day is it? We have an analog calendar on the refrigerator that we crossed the days off. So that we know

Matt Scott

what I was talking to someone yesterday, and I had mentioned that I was out doing something like you’re out? Yeah. When did you When did your you know stay at home order? And I mean, it was like it was Tuesday. Like, well, that was a week ago. Like, oh, yeah, I guess it was just, I don’t know, I have no idea. And it’s not because I’m you know, just sitting at home every day, but it’s the routine is gone.

Bradford Benn

I’ve been thinking about that. It’s not just the routines gone. But I think it’s also streaming of video content has made days of the week. Not important because people used to be asked to be home for Monday Night Football have to be home for Dallas on Friday nights have to be home for cheers on Thursday. And now it’s like, yeah, it’s like, yes. You know, Mandalorian and Wanda vision. Those are kind of Yeah, have to see those the night but that stuff has come back.

Matt Scott

And I think that is that aspect is pushing. Some of this like must see TV back to reality. And I would argue it probably started with Game of Thrones.

Bradford Benn

Right. And I think it, but it was this is Sunday night then you knew it was Sunday? Yes. But now, you know, if I want to watch Battlebots I don’t have to watch it on Thursday night. We can watch it on Saturday. Yeah. And so, it doesn’t. You don’t need to keep track of those days as mine.

Matt Scott

Even if you watch it the same day, you probably don’t watch it the same time. Like we don’t ever sit down to watch anything that starts at 8am or sorry, 8pm on any given night, because we’re putting kids to bed. Right? So, we might want something that is on a on a Tuesday. Today, Tuesday, today’s Tuesday.

Bradford Benn

Today’s Tuesday, my computer says so

Matt Scott

that’s what I just looked at we might sit down on Tuesday to watch something that is on Tuesday. But because we’re not watching it at eight o’clock on Tuesday, we’re watching it at 1030 and just watching that PVR recording, right? It still doesn’t matter. It still doesn’t give you that that time clock of Oh, this is what day it is. And I also argue that so many traditional events that make up my life, your life. You know there’s conferences I’ve gone to for 25 years that I haven’t been to in a year that like we’ve got one coming up that we know really go to the first week of March that we can’t go to. And it’ll be streamed, and we’ll watch it a little bit and all that other stuff. But if I’m physically not there, or I don’t travel to go there, I want you to think that I’m going to dedicate the same amount of time to it, but I won’t write can’t because I’m not there.

Bradford Benn

Let me ask you, probably a more serious and much more difficult question. Okay. Would you go to ISC or InfoComm?

Matt Scott

So, it’s not a yes or no answer. And I’ll tell you why. It is a yes answer. With restrictions, okay, or with a caveat. And the caveat is, if I could go to IRC the way I always go to ISC, which is, drive to Detroit, drive to Toronto, jump on a plane, flyover mask or not, I don’t care. That’s inconsequential, at this point. land in Barcelona, jump in a taxi or an Uber and go to the hotel and then go to the trade show? Yes, I probably would. Now, the caveat to that being. Currently, I can’t do that. I have not checked what Barcelona’s entry requirements are. Currently. I know for the UK, it had come out, I think last week that no one can get in from the UK until they reach something like a 70% vaccination level. Alright if we use that as a parameter, barometer, I should say, for Canada, that I can fly into Barcelona. If Canada reaches a 70%. I won’t be going to Barcelona for the next two and a half, three years, because we are so behind right vaccinations.

Bradford Benn

But then at the same time, if you were coming back from Barcelona, and you had to quarantine occur,

Matt Scott

yes. It’s so starting as of Thursday, last week, not only do you have to quarantine in Canada with your you know, take a test 72 hours before you get on the plane, all that jazz. You now have to isolate, and I’ve been through this, I’ve done the isolation at home, where I can’t leave my house, I’m not supposed to be in my front yard, I can be in my backyard, but I can’t be in the front yard all those rules. And I’d be very diplomatic on that. I’ve done that. That was okay. It’s why we took the whole family when we went to Florida for the funeral was so that when we came back, the whole family could isolate together, it was the lesser of two evils for me to go to Barcelona, and quarantine, upon return for two weeks in a government mandated hotel, at a cost of north of $2,000 out of my pocket, not to mention lost wages last time last time with my family, all that other jazz. I’m not going to do that unless someone makes the case for why me going to Barcelona is an incredibly substantial reason, which I don’t believe, like Mike Blackmon could call me directly and ask me to do it. And I don’t. I’m not sure I’d see the upside of that. Just due to those isolation rules. The same applies for InfoComm in Orlando, and before InfoComm CEDIA in Indiana. I’m being told that CD is going to go off in September. And I got asked last week if I was going to come. I said, Well, Biden currently has a seven-day quarantine upon entry. So that means I come in for let’s say a day of the show because it is drivable for me. Know, you want me to drive in or fly in or whatever. For one day, that seven days on the front end. And I’ve got to get a hotel, right? Yep. Got to do that. I’ve got to pay for food to be delivered and all that other jazz I’ve got to isolate for seven days there’ll be a cost to that we can kind of safely assume minimum $1,000 Yeah, US Go to the show for a day or a couple of days at this point, it doesn’t matter. But go to the show for a day. And then drive fly home, whatever, get home, again, have to isolate in a hotel for two weeks. And not a nice hotel. Like not they’re not bad hotels, but they’re not nice hotels. I’ve stayed at one of them. That that’s at Pearson. I wouldn’t stay there on purpose, and I’ve seen the food they’re delivering and making accessible. Yeah, it’s not like that’s not what I do. It’s not how I eat. Right? I don’t think that you can make me the case. That there’s a huge upside to doing that. That’s three weeks that I can’t really work. I’m sure I could do some stuff. But it’s three weeks, then I’m away from my family. It’s three weeks. I’m away from work. It’s three weeks. Or I’m stuck in a hotel room. Like I watched I don’t know if you saw it, but I watched a bunch of the coverage of the tennis players at the Australian Open. Because I had to quarantine for two weeks before they could play. It looked terrible. Yeah. And they were being taken care of. Yeah. But it looked terrible. Even Federer in his like ridiculous suite did not look good. did not look enticing at all.

Bradford Benn

Part of its you’re in one room, for two weeks, you’re going to go stir crazy good.

Matt Scott

And then I was in my house for two weeks and went stir crazy. Yeah. Like, there just comes a point where? Like, I don’t. And again, I’m not by no means equating the two they are not equal at all. But it gave me even a minor glimpse as to how terrible prison must be. Yeah. Like, and again, I’m not equating it. I did not go through.

Bradford Benn

Well, it’s, but it’s, uh, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s a restriction no matter what, it’s a restriction.

Matt Scott

I really want to go to ISC. I missed ISC. This year, I want to be able to go to InfoComm, I want to be able to go to Expo CD Expo. I don’t, I don’t see it happening. And it’s not because I don’t support the channel. It’s not because I don’t support the show. It’s, it’s because I can’t justify a quarantine for like, we’re trying to feel my wife hasn’t seen her mother since the funeral. And if you can imagine how hard that is to essentially be an only child of her mom now be alone. And not being able to get her because she was supposed to be up here in like a month. And not necessarily knowing if we can even get her up here, let alone us going down there. If I’m going to put up with isolation or quarantine or whatever, with all due respect to the people that run those shows, I’m going to do it so my wife can see her mom. I’m not going to do it I can go walk a trade show floor. And I’m seeing I’m seeing a lot of conversation about what that shows going to look like or any of those shows are going to look like and if you have to be vaccinated if you have to have you know, tests done every day or whatever, I don’t think those are real big sticking points for people. I don’t think they will be but if you have to quarantine coming in or coming out. Those are sticking points. And there will be people who travel internationally for them. But it’s not going to be Hey, we’re going to grab the team and we’re going to fly over from the UK to come to Orlando. As nice as Orlando will probably be in October.

Bradford Benn

weather will be nice weather will be light delightful.

Matt Scott

I don’t for my business it’s not worth it. For omega there’s not the value is not there. And I don’t think they’re, I really don’t think there’s anything they can do to make it valuable unless they’re going to pay for that time. Right Mr. Lebowski, if you’re listening, that’s Yeah,

Bradford Benn

I don’t I don’t disagree with any of your points. But so like, I’ve been thinking about will I go to InfoComm? Because it’s less than 10 miles from my house. Yep. And where it starts to get interesting is the actual physical logistics like, if someone gets a 10 by 10. Booth, and you’re supposed to still stay six feet away?

Matt Scott

You’re standing in the aisle.

Bradford Benn

Yeah. And then how do people stand six feet away from you?

Matt Scott

So, I would I the logistics are in credibly challenging. Yeah. But I would offer and I, I sort of know how it is in Florida. I spent a little bit of time there a couple of months ago. Here. And we again, we just came out of stay-at-home orders we’ve been open for a week today. Yeah. I was in today I was in a Lowe’s. And I was in a grocery store. I was at a gas station. And then some clients. There are people doing their best to maintain some level of distance. And there are a vast variety of people who really give No, no notion to that at all. And no matter where you fall on that debate, and I don’t really want to debate that. But it is shocking to me how hard especially appear, because we have, like Canada as a whole. And Ontario as a whole have hammered this issue. significantly stronger than I’m making the general assumption they have in Florida.

Bradford Benn

Yeah, I can definitely attest to that. I’m

Matt Scott

sure. Yes. They’re not doing it here. There is no, like there’s one, one retailer, I go to for some miscellaneous things, and I kid you not every checkout terminal has a 24-inch-wide piece of Plexi. In the middle of the terminal. I go straight up, you know, four feet, three and a half feet. And the cashier will if this is the glass. Hey, Sir, how are you? What can I get you? Every time. And again, not here to debate that. But we saw it. Or at least I saw it at InfoComm. The official arm sorry, at ISC. Last year, the official rule was elbow balm, the knees shake or the foot thing? Yeah, whatever it was. And there was a bunch of people who didn’t shake hands. There’s a bunch of people who wouldn’t elbow bump, or fist bump or foot shake, or whatever that guy was. And there was a bunch of people who hugged and like, and it ran the gamut. And I view it kind of the same as, you know, I view masks A lot of times, whether I want to wear it or whether I believe it works or whatever. Doesn’t really matter if you do and you would prefer, I wear one and you being the general populace, then what’s the harm in me doing it? If staying six feet away? Whether I personally believe that’s true or not? If that is the socially acceptable norm, then why not do it? So, when you start looking at a show in Amsterdam, in Barcelona, in Orlando in Indianapolis, where and how are you going to design that booth? to like, I haven’t been to a trade show in a typical, like Matt from omega. It’s at a trade show in six or seven years. Right? The majority of my trade show work anymore is press. Right? And, you know, so my experience in a booth is a little different than most people’s anymore, because I’m not walking in trying to find a rep and you know, doing a little close conversation I’m doing a tour, we’re doing a, you know, whatever it is an interview in some way, shape or form? And like, how are we going to how would we shoot an interview? effectively in Heck, forget a 10 by 10, you know, in a 20 by 20 you How many? How many booths are set up to where we can show up with a camera person. Or we can put a set of sticks out, you know, that’s already six feet, give or take. That was the angles. And then I’m going to interview someone way over there and take up a 30-year booth for an interview. There are times that that that would not be a problem at all, depending on whose booth you’re in. right it is. But like, we’ve done in some of the bigger booths, which I don’t have to name who they are. We’ve done walking to her shoots, where we’ve got five, six handlers just trying to keep people out of the way we can actually move through the booth as we’re doing an interview. Yeah I get why they’re trying to do the show. I understand why they need to do the show. For a variety of reasons. I’m not hearing a ton of confidence from manufacturers about it. I’m not hearing a ton of confidence from most people about going to it. And, you know, take I’m trying to think what the numbers are on InfoComm 40,000 ish. 40,000. Yeah is it going to be a successful show of only 20,000 people attend? Will 20,000 people attend? even including exhibitors? I don’t know.

Bradford Benn

And the thing that that is, that is the unique wrinkle for me, is the new video displays, new loudspeakers, things that you can have to

Matt Scott

see. Yes, yep. And I’m with you,

Bradford Benn

you know, the, the I can expose myself to the risk for a day and see a thing or have eight days of exposed for us to see one a day. And it becomes an interesting statistics game at that point.

Matt Scott

Yeah, it’s something where, because we’ve talked about this a little bit internally on different things of you know, because when you start doing tracing, right, if you start paying attention to tracing, and even just thinking through how tracing works, right. And we had to do this extensively for some stuff at our church, where, you know, during a lot of this, we had to limit who came in for different things, because, well, I see X number of people as a rule in a day, I write X number of businesses, or homes in a day. What does my circle look like? versus someone else’s circle? Or versus, you know, somebody who services, these machines who’s in 25, buildings, public buildings, every day, we’ll know maybe they shouldn’t be coming out. So even internally, we’ve looked at a couple of things and gone. You know, we really should I should run up to Toronto to go see this device or this thing or that widget? Because there’s one in Toronto and go look at, well, how many people is that person been talking to you on a weekly basis? Yeah. And do I do that? Or do I have them just send me the demo, and I play with it? And, you know, I think the hard thing of any show is that unless you are a major player, you’re not going to get a speaker manufacturer to send you three models to play with, especially if you don’t buy from them already. Right? Like it. We’ve talked about that aspect of a business multiple times. I do like my house that worship business is almost exclusively consulting these days. We help churches solve their tech issues we recommend a litany of products that I’ve got hands on experience with, but I don’t buy anything, right in that vein that much anymore when I go to enter your, you know, console manufacturer, and I want to test that new desk that just came out, they’re not shipping me one, it doesn’t matter. We’re not this massive firm that they know. We don’t buy a thing from them ever. they’ll sell it to me. But I can’t return it. So that I got to try and sell it. That that’s where the shows are so fantastic and so effective. But as I said today, the upside isn’t there. Like, like you said, want it to be. That’s the hard thing is I really want it to be, but I can’t justify it.

Bradford Benn

And as you said, if you have to spend $2,000 a year on money to quarantine, in the piece of equipment, you really want to see costs $1,500 just buying it is cheaper.

Matt Scott

Yeah, especially because I can probably sell it. Yeah. Within a couple of weeks. Like it’s I don’t think I keep hearing that this is going to completely change the tradeshow industry, and I don’t believe it will. I don’t think it’ll be this massive shift. I do think it will mold the way trade shows are run. And I hope to see the virtual aspect continue. I hope to see the education be available, not in person. Because that’s been archaic. That you’ve got to fly halfway around the world to sit in on a class. There’s no method to record that. Especially in our industry. That’s what we are stinking do. As you now have me so boxing. Yep. That was your that was your whole goal, wasn’t it?

Bradford Benn

No, I was just looking for a good conversation that will make 10 go I can’t believe Matt said that. Yeah, that’s, that’s okay should we put in the disclaimer of you know, you and I are voicing our opinions and aren’t speaking for AVNation?

Matt Scott

Sure. Because we’re not.

Bradford Benn

Yeah, we’re not.

Matt Scott

Yeah, this is just such an opinion, this is a great opportunity for that tradeshow industry to continue to evolve. And I think if we view it that way, and we find a way to make the model work, and you find a way to capitalize on it, profit on it. Like I get it, that’s what you’re there for. And anyone who disagrees, doesn’t understand how to run a business, like shows are there to make the show runners money, like everything we do, to some degree is there to feed you. It’s okay. It’s cool.

Bradford Benn

Or coin operated?

Matt Scott

Yeah, there are some really good things that we can pull out of this. And that, you know, we talked about it all the time that if COVID did anything for us, it showed all of these clients in the corporate world that we’ve talked to for years about remote work, and video conferencing and, you know, heck, the court system, how you don’t I was dealing with a lawyer this morning. Today, finally, you can go speak to emotion in 15 minutes, which is fantastic. versus a year ago, when you as the lawyer had to show up, drive to the courthouse. Park, pay for parking, go through security. Get out of security. Go find a restaurant because it’s been an hour. Go find the courthouse, you’re supposed to be in the courtroom you’re in, go sit down, wait for your docket to be called. Could be two minutes could be four hours. Stand up, speak for five minutes to your docket. Sit down, leave. Don’t go back to the bathroom because you haven’t left the courtroom four hours. Go home, get back to the office, whatever. charge your client six hours of your billable time, because you can’t do anything. And the bailiffs won’t let you run a computer inside the courtroom. Right? versus now where you can sit in and in 15 minutes. You can speak to your case speak to your docket. That’s fantastic. They better not stop that. Yeah, the productivity has gone through the roof, which is awesome. We can figure out how to do this will not deviate. Are you in attending in person? in the future? Right? Yeah, there are, there are really good things we can pull out of this. As long as we’re aware of it. Because at the end of the day, no matter how good this is, and this is pretty good. I’ve got you up on a 16-inch screen. It’s essentially like you’re six feet apart from me at a table. Yeah, it’s really good. It’s no good experience. But I’d still rather be sitting around a table, eating dinner with you talking like this. We’re at that point where as good as digital is in person is still better. Yeah, and it will, it will be better for the foreseeable future. Come at me, all you people who think we can do this digitally.

Bradford Benn

I think there are certain things we can do digitally better than we can do in person. I would agree. And I think a lot of it is acceptance by the users, though, for instance, doing an online design review is very possible. But everyone has to buy in and look at the drawings ahead of time and come prepared with notes and all that stuff. And then having an online meeting is much harder, because people all talk at the same time. And it’s not always organized. And collaboration becomes difficult.

Matt Scott

Yeah, I will say that I actually did a design review this morning with a client. And we have done a bunch of virtual reviews in process. As we’ve progressed to the final. And I asked them, you know, do you want to you want to do this one, virtually, you want to do this one in person in your space? And they’re like, oh, if you can come out that be great. And you know, I kind of asked them at the end, you know, what was your take on doing it virtually versus in person? Why do you want to do this this last meeting in person? Like, well, one, we want to see you It’s been a while. That’d be nice to you know, now that we can kind of get out, let’s do it. I’m all good with that. I agree. Anything else? said well, as good as the digital was. There’s still that, you know, looking at the space, looking at the drawing, looking at the space, looking at the drawing, and being able to instantly ask you something, and had you been able to be there and go Yeah, you know, when you look at that in person. And like, again, we were fully digital, this was a full 3d render, we’re moving around, we’re, you know, investigating different angles and different things. Like, I wouldn’t want to do this just on paper the fact that you had, you know, not just the screenshots of it, but you had the model here so we can look at the model. And then look at the space. We didn’t get that from Digital yet. Like, yeah, I get it. There are in again, in this situation, we’re in the space, it’s not a true full conceptualization. Right I saw I saw your wheels turning.

Bradford Benn

Yeah, because like, for instance, for me, the projects I was working on, if going out to the space would be a pile of dirt and possibly a bulldozer. Exactly.

Matt Scott

Yes. No, I get that. But there still is. And I think part of it is also that, like we’ll have to circle back to this conversation in a year. Not to say we shouldn’t have one before that, but of circle back to this in a year. If the rest of 2021 gets somewhat back to normal. Because I think right now, the huge desire to go to go to a show, to do a design review in person is partially because you want to go to the show in person and partially because you want to see the design review in person. But it’s also the fact that, you know, again, especially up here it’s been a stay-at-home order for the last six weeks people want to get out. They miss people. They miss interacting with someone other than their grocery clerk. who they want now they know? But yeah, beforehand, they did not know. You’re seeing like I’m talking to neighbors outside that not that I don’t ever talk to. But it’s the Hey, how are you? Good to see you. And now it’s a 20 A minute conversation. because nobody’s seen anybody. So that desire to have a face to face, quote unquote, real interaction is greater. Come, come summertime get through fall, you know, come back to it. And we’ll see. But right now, is not, the feeling is not much different than how this how an interaction would feel in March. Were up here typically, you know, during the winter, most people hunker down a little bit more, right? You’re not seeing people aren’t outside cutting grass. They are for you. But up here, they shovel snow, that’s all they do you don’t always have those huge interactions in those big conversations, because you’re inside in the winter Chrome, come spring, when you first start to see the Robins or the tree starting, but everybody gets outside. And you know, in the neighborhood, there’s people everywhere. And you know, Hey, good to see you. I haven’t seen you since December. Right now, that’s kind of the feeling. And that’s part of the feeling that I feel with trade shows is that there’s such a desire to see people again, that whether they think it’s safe or not, or what have you. The big push is there from at least the attendees, because I just haven’t seen anybody in forever. haven’t gone anywhere. Like, I this is the longest I haven’t been on a plane in. Gosh, 1015 years.

Bradford Benn

Yeah, this is I have no idea what to do with myself. Like, this

Matt Scott

is the longest I haven’t crossed the border. Since I was a kid. And a young kid. Like it. I would cross the border once minimum once every other month for something.

Bradford Benn

Well, now that you are middle age, it takes you longer to get across the border. Oh, yeah.

Matt Scott

Yeah, the stroller. The walkers really slowing me down.

Bradford Benn

But oh, speaking of seeing each other? Yes. I know, we’ve been talking for quite a bit. And it’s been very enjoyable and lots of places we could go and still split off. Maybe I’ll have you back before next year, that way. But if people want to find you, or your company or your enemies, your friends, where can people find you?

Matt Scott

I don’t believe I have any enemies at the moment.

Bradford Benn

Oh, yeah, you do.

Matt Scott Send me a list. Yeah, if you want to connect with me, you can find me on Twitter at Matt de Scott. I’m on. You know, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, yada, yada, yada. Mostly under that name kind of bounces around a little bit depending on where it is. You can Google me. I’m sort of easy to find on the Google so you can find me on av nation.tv You can find me at omega audio video calm. Yeah. So yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

004-Matt Scott Part 1

Talking with Matt Scott - Part 1 of 2

Bradford Benn sat down with Matt D. Scott in the beginning of March for a discussion. This discussion was not focused solely on AV. They covered topics from being a business owner to the impact of social media to how one defines themselves without talking about their job. The conversation went much deeper than expected. They spoke for over 150 minutes, that is 2.5 hours. Needless to say the episode has been edited for length and content.

Matt is a fellow AVNation board member. He’s also the host of ResiWeek on AVNation, as well as being the owner of Omega Audio Video in London, Ontario, Canada. He also has been a CEDIA board member.

Under the media is a transcript of the conversation if you would prefer to read the content.

Project Bradford
Project Bradford
004-Matt Scott Part 1


Bradford Benn  00:40

Now comes the harder questions.

Matt Scott  01:19

The harder questions. Alright, let’s go.

Bradford Benn  01:22

Who are you and don’t define yourself by your job?

Matt Scott  01:28

Can I define myself as a middle-aged white Canadian?

Bradford Benn  01:31

Yes, that would be appropriate rather plain and boring, like most middle-aged white guys are

Matt Scott  01:40

You see that’s tough, because it is amazing how often you tie in your job to your identity. I would always argue that I try not to do that. But now that you asked me the question. I’m not going to say I’m at a loss, but it is tough. It’s because that is such a large part of your life. How would you describe yourself? Let me let me flip the tables on you.

Bradford Benn  02:13

I would describe myself as someone who is a business owner, which is correct. Yes, I realized that’s close to saying what my job is. But it does, like you said, take up a lot of it, and I am someone who tries to make the world a little better and spread knowledge. Because right now that’s kind of my big thing is, you know, I’m seeing how many people don’t know and that sounds bad to say don’t know what I consider common history. But I’m starting to realize like you I know your age. Yes, your middle age, but you probably weren’t alive during Skylab.

Matt Scott  03:01

Skylab. No,

Bradford Benn  03:04

Exactly. I was alive. And I know about it. I was alive during during Skylab. I know that history.. And there are other people who like all the space shuttle is cool and it’s so easy to go to space. And I’m like, No, no, no space is hard. People ask me, “what do you mean Canada has a space agency? I’m like you don’t know about the CSA and Canada arm built by Spar Aerospace, and Chris Hadfield. So I’m trying to spread knowledge. I don’t like the term social justice warrior because I think it has a bad connotation. But I very much am aware of, I come from a privileged place. I’m a white man in America, that is making money at a you know, is comfortable. And that’s a very privileged place. And that’s where I do stuff like, you want me on a panel, there has to be underrepresented people. As I’m turning out my own podcast, I have underrepresented people on at a higher rate than I have typical people. I believe that, you know, lead by example, and share my knowledge and experience with new people. So that you know, hopefully the world is a little better after I leave, not because I left but because I’ve made a positive impact.

Matt Scott  04:42

But I’d like to say that I identify with a lot of that and that’s a large part of my goal. IMy wife and I were talking the other day, I made mention of the fact that I’ve got, if you don’t know, I’ve got three kids, one’s about it, my oldest is about turned six. And one of the hardest things like I’ve run a business for, , almost 20 years this year. And, you know, we’ve been through a lot of entertaining things, and a lot of vertical changes and all kinds of crazy things that happen when you run a business for that long. But I would argue that the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is work on raising my kids, and trying to teach them how to be better than I am. But also help them understand how the world works, and what’s there for them, but how to do it with grace and compassion. I look at life, and it is shockingly short. How long have you and I known each other?

Bradford Benn

Ten years?

Matt Scott

It seems like not that long, but at the same time, it’s 10 years. Now, you look at how quickly time goes by. and all of the stuff of 2020 has, I want to say almost made me more introspective of just life and you know, who I am and what I tried to do. And it’s something where it’s really easy to get caught up in your job, which is why I love the question. Because it is so easy to say, I’m an integrator. I do this and I do that. But it’s hard to separate yourself from your job without sounding like you’re reading a postcard. And I think that is the that’s the genius of that question is it forces you to look at who you think you are? Without? And at the same time? Because as soon as you said it, like in the pre show? We’ve been talking for an hour and almost 20 minutes now. So in that that early hour of conversation, it’s how do you describe yourself without sounding like a headstone reading?

Bradford Benn  07:58

I say this, with truth of you can say, I am a father of three. That’s a pretty big role for people one understand it. Yeah. Or a mother of six, or, you know, a brother or a son.

Matt Scott  08:21

I think that, and obviously it differs depending on who you are. But a huge portion of my life, even within work is based around my family. Like I’ve always been asked why I don’t because like, like everybody, or I would assume most people you get offered or hear about positions or opportunities. And I’ve had a fair share, I don’t know. I’ve had a couple of things and every time it comes up, and usually as that conversation changes, it becomes, well, why didn’t you investigate that further and like, well, the whole point of me owning a business is not necessarily because I want to work for myself or I want to deal with the headaches of that. It’s so that like this Thursday, I can make sure that my schedule is 100% clear. So I can take the kids skiing, because we only have so much time to ski up here. That always becomes a bigger part of, at least in my life, my what my job looks like, I do my job so I can have the freedom to do what I either want or need to do with my family and whether it’s you know, helping my parents out with something, helping my sisters or doing something with my wife and my kids.

Bradford Benn  09:59

Not a bad thing. I do think it is a hard question. Like you said, I know I, I did a whole bunch of soul searching when I got laid off last year, thanks to a pandemic of what do I want to do? And very similar reasons for why I decided to start my own company. I want to have fun. It can be seen by my attitude at times, but I also want to be able to go, you know, like you’re taking the kids skiing on Thursday, Jennifer and I are going to the Tampa Zoo on Thursday. Why? Because she starts a new job next week.

Matt Scott  10:38

Oh, congratulations, Jennifer.

Bradford Benn  10:48

Same thing of the, I can take this off. And, you know, I know you and I have talked about it of the false urgency of now of being a business owner of everyone thinks they can call you at nine o’clock at night, and you’re just there. And I’m like, nope, my phone has an off button.

Matt Scott  11:13

I will say, as a small business owner, that is by far the hardest trick to crack, is to even just bring yourself to it, like I looked at today, and had, essentially two originally scheduled things. Plus, of course, this and had two other things come up. And in the last thing before this, we discovered an additional issue that had to be dealt with, somewhat urgently. Iit’s that being there, and knowing that, you kind of have to handle that, you can’t pawn that off. It’s, it’s everyone looks at, when you are in charge of yourself, I guess, about how awesome it must be. And it is, at times

Matt Scott  12:24

But it is it’s those moments of its knowing that you have the freedom to go to the zoo, because you want to, and you can schedule it. But also knowing that there may be that day where you just have to deal with something. And there’s no option to not deal with something, there’s no one to go above and say, Hey, you know, it’s knowing that that buck stops with you, is entertaining and challenging all at the same time. And it gets even more complicated when you have employees. And you know that, there’s going to be that moment where it’s like,  if we don’t sell this job, I’m not getting paid, because I got to pay my people. And those are the those are the really entertaining sides of running a business. And if all you’ve ever done is be self-employed. I’m not I’m not being negative on that one. But it is different when you’re self-employed versus when you have employees. You know, we’re both in those situations. Those are tough. And those make life a little bit more entertaining.

Bradford Benn  13:47

Yeah, I think, you know, since we both are AVNation, peoples, We were hiring Tim as our first full time employee. It changed a lot of the decisions we were making.

Matt Scott  14:01

Oh god it went from and don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun. Or Yeah, it was still fun, even when we made that that shift. But you know, you want to talk about the rubber hitting the road. Yeah. It’s all fun and games until all of a sudden, somebody relies on you. And especially like, my wife relies on me, the kids rely on me. The if we had a pet, the pet relied on me to buy food for the pet. So the pet could eat. That’s one thing, but their family. Right? So it’s like, you take that on knowing that’s how it works It’s part of the deal. But when you have employees, especially when you hire that first one, and Gosh, I remember that day. You bring them on and in Instantly you go to, you know, we got to provide for this individual and go holy crap we got to provide for this individual. And then your brain starts going and you go, if we don’t provide for this individual, they don’t eat. They don’t have heat. They can’t put gas in their vehicle. Oh, crap.

Bradford Benn  15:46

Well, yeah. But like I said, when we started this, this is that’s kind of what I want to have is you and I always have fun on a podcast, especially when I’m taking over Tim’s show. And you’re just taking me on.

Matt Scott  16:01

those are the best ones to be on. Yeah, like, This is fun. Don’t get me wrong.

Bradford Benn  16:04

But this is a long form conversation, because I think that’s an important thing. Because now, you know, our listener, both of them will now know more about you and realize, you know, a little more about me and kind of the stuff that I think in social media, and in today’s lack of going out and hanging out with people at trade shows gets lost, but also, just, I like having the conversation. I’m loving people listening. And yeah, we got a little heavy, but it wasn’t planned.

Matt Scott  16:44

It just happened. And yeah, I would agree. And I thank you for doing a long form. Because I know having now hosted ResiWeek for like 260 something episodes?

Bradford Benn  17:01

Yeah, like five years.

Matt Scott  17:02

Yeah, like it’s crazy. There are many times because we try to stick to that 30 minute format, right? And there are many times where we’ll jump into something. And it I don’t wanna say you could talk for three hours, but you probably could.

Bradford Benn  17:19

Well, you and I did it. When it was you me and uncle Richie.

Matt Scott  17:23

Yeah. Yeah, it was, gosh, 55 minutes. Yeah. And we really just scratched the surface of it. And sure, you know, was there. Was there just some fun banter back and forth that times Yeah. But you know, I think it’s, I think that’s something that’s lost, especially in the industry of there’s not enough conversate there is so much derisive noise that is camouflaged as conversation and you see it on Twitter a ton. There’s lots of back and forth, then there’s a ton of I’m going to defend my position here is my stake my flag on planting over whatever piece of technology thing you want to discuss. But it’s the longer conversations that make sense. You can’t understand where someone comes from. in 140 or 240 characters, or your missive you post on Facebook, which is why I try not to post missive on Facebook.

Bradford Benn  18:43

I don’t have Facebook. It was hard, but it was like Yeah, because I don’t know what’s going on with a lot of my friends now. Yeah. And people will have call and go Hey, what’s going on? I’ll just check out what’s going on Facebook. I don’t have IFacebook.

Matt Scott  19:02

It It is it is odd how connected we are yet disconnected. If that makes sense.

Bradford Benn  19:12

Yeah, it’s kind of superficial.

Matt Scott  19:14

Which we always knew. We always knew that social media was like that. And, you know, gosh, Instagram is one of those. Now I’m really sounding like a middle aged white guy.

Bradford Benn  19:32

I’m fully with you. And I’ve, I’ve worked at theme parks where people complain because garbage cans have been moved, and it changes the Instagram photo.

Matt Scott  19:58

I will say We were at, I’ve never been so disappointed with the social media life, if you will, then we were down for my father in law’s funeral in late October, and we’re down in Florida. And we had one day where we could do something with the kids so we went to the beach. And we’re down in Delray, go to the beach and we were leaving the beach after being there for a couple hours to go to burger fi maybe, to go get shakes and fries for the kids, and as we’re walking up the beach, and going through the little path through the mangroves, as you come around the corner, there’s these two, probably 14 year old girls, and they have their phone up on the little railing piece. And they’re doing some Tic Toc thing. And completely oblivious to everyone trying to walk past them, ourselves included, to get either to the beach or off the beach. And it’s like, again, I don’t feel I’m that old until that moment comes up. And it’s like, Where are your parents?

Bradford Benn  21:16

But um, you know, I’m I’m gonna get the the Joe Way. retweet on this was we’re gonna name drop on hi  but the fact that he had the house fire and how fast and we all kind of go, hey let’s help.

Matt Scott  21:37

That’s the flip. You watch you watch that outpouring you watch the support for, you know, a random person on Twitter who posts something that was, you know, hard to post. Yeah. And you see the encouraging messages, you see stuff. Like, I know, even myself, I’ll, and I don’t post a ton on anything, really. But I’ll have random people reach out like, Hey, I haven’t heard from you while you’re doing okay. Which we are not like you have my cell number, you can send me a text and say something like that. Or we can have a conversation. But there’s people that I’ve met a handful of times who don’t have my direct number, who will reach out over Twitter or Instagram or Facebook or what have you. And that is the that is the plus side. We are friends because of Twitter.

Bradford Benn  22:38

I agree. It’s a plus side. But I’ll also say, it’s freaked me out on occasion, when I’ve been in a trade show. And people have come up and started talking to me, like they know me, and they’ve met me because of how much I’ve posted on Twitter or done on AVNation and stuff. Yeah. And while that’s nice, it kind of makes you take that pause of the what’s the difference between someone you know, online, and a real person? And is that a problem now that not everyone understands? Just because you follow me, doesn’t mean we’re friends.

Matt Scott  23:18

And also doesn’t mean you know me. I’ve had people come up to me, and I’m not sure. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’ll say it anyways. I’ve had people come up to me, and, you know, at a show and, and we chat for a few minutes. And as they’re walking away, like, you know, hey, I thought you were a jerk. Because of the way I see you act online or tease Tim. Right. And everybody loves Tim. So if you tease him and you don’t understand the relationship that Tim and I have, or you and I and Tim have, there’s a lot of we, we have a couple people that you know, you just you tease different people for whatever reason. It shocked me that somebody would come up who I didn’t know and had never met. Like, I thought you were like a huge jerk. Like me? I’m nothing if not polite. Bbecause I’m trying to make a joke out of it. Because it got awkward really fast. And they’re like, No, no, no, just everything I see with you online. You just you seem like a jerk. It’s like, but do I? You start you start looking back and thinking about what you do. And, you know, wondering, am I teasing Joe Way too, too much. Am I teasing Kev too much? Am I teasing Tim too much.? Because that perception that persona is something that you don’t control. I think that’s the really, really tough part. Because I don’t think I’m a jerk and I don’t want to be a jerk. But maybe I am. I don’t know. Or at least it was through their eyes.

Bradford Benn  25:15

I’m in the same boat. There are people who think I’m a jerk and a pompous person. I know, for me, at least it’s changed what I posted how often I post and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. But I’ve also seen people take online way too seriously and some of this stuff gets a little out of hand. I’m not gonna come to this argument, just because you invited me, doesn’t mean I’m going to show up.

Matt Scott  26:03

So we have a rule in in omega. Where if we have to have a dare I say, a confrontation with a client. Right? Or if we’re dealing with a specific issue, we are not having that conversation over phone. Or likely in person, we are doing that conversation over email. Because I want it documented. We’ve been in too many situations where someone was upset and they said stop something or they approve something, to take it to the other end. And then all of a sudden, they’ve forgotten that they approved said thing so when the bill showed up; It was I remember that. And even though we had it documented, and we had a signature, and we had all this stuff, it was so loose, in that, you know, move this that over here, sign, right, that they all of a sudden wanted to debate it or if they were unhappy with the bill it was we’re definitely debating that that thing. So we went to a position where all of a sudden, everything we do in that realm has to be signed off via email. Or you have to get an actual like, we’re not handwriting a change order. We will handwrite it, we will then send you a digital copy. Yeah, a produced change order that you must sign in and return before anything happens.

Bradford Benn  27:36

It’s like I’ve kind of been joking for 20 plus years. If it’s not in writing, did it really happen? Everyone is likepictures or it didn’t happen. I’m like, text or it didn’t happen. Not in writing. It didn’t happen.

Matt Scott  27:51

I somewhat long for the time where a handshake meant something.. Again, I’m really old.

Bradford Benn  28:08

I did an entire attraction on a handshake is a change order to a design built and installed. I used to get change orders like make this room sound better, not to exceed $1,600.

Matt Scott  28:28

I miss those times.. But at the same time, I get why it’s changed for multiple reasons. But the hardest thing with even you know, doing those conversations over email or having debates online, is that nobody gets context. Right? There’s no, there’s no context. There’s no visual cues. There’s none of the typical things that if you and I were hanging out in a hotel lobby, at infoComm, teasing each other or teasing Tim, for example. Anyone who was there in that circle, or sitting around the table, would totally understand that we are joking.

Bradford Benn  29:23

Because we are all laughing together.

Matt Scott  29:25

Yeah, we’re all laughing together .No one is laughing at anyone.. But online, you don’t. You don’t see that. I’ve used this example a couple of times and hopefully he won’t mind but I tease Kev a lot. And I was harassing him one day over something online and I had someone DM me, who I know peripherally, and they were calling me out for my outrageous behavior over teasing Kev. I instantly apologize to them that they were offended at that. And so I am sorry. I’ll lay off I guess it had to explain that. You know, Kevin, I are friends and well, we are teasing each other online. He’s teasing me about Toni Braxton. I’m teasing him about his shoes. We have a backdoor conversation through the about the jokes we’re telling and it’s not a big deal. But on the outside, not knowing myself or Kev, they thought we had taken it too far. So hey, I applaud them for, you know, thinking it went too far in trying to call me out on it. But that’s the downside, or one of the downsides of social.

Bradford Benn  31:03

I agree with you. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to you. And it also I think, is one of the things a lot of people have learned through this pandemic, is like you and I, and Tim, and a lot of these podcast recordings, we do as video, and you’re very few people watch the videos, I’m not complaining, Ingest it in the media, you feel best. But if you and I weren’t able to see each other, some of the pauses would be cut off the body language and all of that stuff. Twitter not having that, or Facebook not having that real time feedback, because it’s the half duplex conversation with a huge time lag. Yeah, it’s like, you know, trying to talk to the Mars Rover, you can send a message to Percy, but he’s not going to answer for another 14 minutes. Having that and understanding that is a huge issue.

Matt Scott  32:08

It’s the same as your typical debate over whatever it is, it doesn’t matter whether it’s politics, whether it’s personal, whether it’s technology, it doesn’t matter. When you when debating was quote unquote, debating, it was trying to answer what you said. So if you and I are going to debate, canon versus Nikon a true debate would be me, listening to your comments on canon, for example, and then trying to refute them what you just said with information about Nikon and why that’s different. But especially with social it’s, I’m just for the most part waiting for you to finish. So I can then respond with whatever I want to say. And it it continually reminds me of because we’ll see debates over AV over IP or AV as a Service or whatever thing you want to throw in there in our in our Twitter work world. But it’s just noise back and forth most of the time. There’s not a Point CounterPoint.

Bradford Benn  33:24

I don’t know anyone who’s ever had their mind changed by Twitter.

This is where we ended to go to Part Two.

002-Caroline Montague

Interview with Architect Caroline Montague

I sat down in February for a discussion with my friend and former coworker Caroline Montague. The conversation touched on many topics that are important to business success. We talked about how she became an architect and how to get more people involved. The idea of how people should work together to help a project succeed through the entire process, starting at the very beginning

Below the video and audio embeds is a transcript of the conversation. The entire conversation is informative and there are time stamps included so that you can find a specific point in the media when watching or listening. However, you must listen or watch to the end of the episode for the blooper.

You can connect with Caroline on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolinesmontague/

Project Bradford
Project Bradford
002-Caroline Montague

Bradford Benn  00:00

Hey, everybody, thanks for listening again, hopefully you’re enjoying your day and your week in this podcast is going to put a little smile on your face. I know I’m smiling because I get to talk with my friend Caroline Montague, who I worked with for a little while on some epic project. So, we’re allowed to say we worked on it now. But um, yeah, yeah. So, but I figured rather than me talk about her, I’ll tell you, she’s an architect. Well, I’ll let her describe herself and then I’m gonna throw her the curveball. So please describe yourself.

Caroline Montague  00:36

Gotcha. Thanks for having me, Bradford. Like you said, my name is Caroline Montague, and I am an architect. I’ve been registered for a couple of years now. And personally, I’m just a theme park nerd, also a nerd nerd. And I recently moved to Atlanta. So I now live in Atlanta. And I’m married to my wonderful husband been been Montague. And it’s been a whirlwind. since I last left Orlando, and it’s been, it’s been an adjustment to, to get to get used to this new new world we live in. So otherwise just happy Southern lady.

Bradford Benn  01:18

And you actually got to the next one, which was how would you describe yourself not talking about your job, you’re a nerd nerd. And that is true.

Caroline Montague  01:25

I am a nerd nerd and a proud nerd nerd, you have to just embrace it. I’ve always been a nerd.

Bradford Benn  01:33

Not a bad thing. So, of course, I have to ask you. Who do you work for? What’s your job? What do you do? How do you manage to get people to pay you money?

Caroline Montague  01:47

People pay me money to be a project manager. I work for CBRE and it’s actually a subsidiary of CBRE And that acronym is for people’s names. I don’t remember.

Bradford Benn  02:04

And that’s fine.

Caroline Montague  02:08

When I worked for universal creative with you, I was a facility design manager, which meant as a professionally trained architect that I was in charge of executing architectural contracts with architects and engineering contracts with building engineers, anyone that does mechanical, electrical, plumbing, acoustical, anything associated to the bricks and sticks of the building. And that helped give me the proper training to then move on to being a project manager where I am hired as a third party, by an owner or by a client as their owner’s agent, to help them oversee a project that they may not have the ability to oversee, the staff oversee or the knowledge to execute properly. So somebody that has a wealthy benefactor wants to build an aquarium, they would engage with us to make sure that we Shepherd them through the process of engaging with all the different vendors and sub consultants, and all the way through construction and opening of that facility. So it’s a kind of a jack of all trades, you wear many hats, and are always advocating for, for your owner for your client.

Bradford Benn  03:25

And I will say, Caroline did a lot of juggling when we were working together, because we had very much competing needs of building versus scenic versus audio versus acoustic and after dealing with that, I have all the confidence in the world of terms of project managing. So one of the things I want to ask because I was confused when I heard the term at Universal, what is programming?

Caroline Montague  03:57

Yes, programming in my world, the program, that word means all of the square footage in the building and how it is classified and divided. So the program of a building, it also is, what it contains and how it functions. So when we talk about going through the programming phase of a project, if it’s a performing arts center, you need to decide how much space you’re going to allocate to the stage how much space you’re going to allocate to your audience chamber to your dressing rooms and all of your storage. So programming is in my world. The phase that you go through and and the product is the program, which is 100 square feet for this and 2,000 square feet for x so that you have a roadmap going down the line further into future phases of the project that tells you how big everything is supposed to be and whether or not you are under program, which means you don’t have enough space or you’re over your program, which means you’re spending too much money, and there’s not enough budget allocated to an overinflated space.

Bradford Benn  05:09

And this is one of the things I learned, make sure that the program includes AV rack rooms. Because hose fill up really quick and real estate is expensive. So make sure you get it in the drawings and ask for a lot of power and cooling, which is one of those things that is a lot of fun. Also, Caroline and I had the fun of looking at 1,000 page drawing packages to check all of this stuff against program and 3,000 page code and all of that. So it’s not just a single set of drawings that we nav might get have a plan view and a section view. It’s piping, it’s conduit, it’s fire alarm, it’s evacuation routes, it’s landscaping, it’s curbing, its waterproofing, lightning protection, all that stuff. So, you know, as I learned along the way, there’s a lot of stuff that goes into a building. And this is why as the AV people, I always say don’t fight with the architects, they will give you a room with a column in the middle of it. Which Caroline has done once. And it wasn’t her fault.

Caroline Montague  06:24

No, it, it just happens sometimes. And you have to figure out a way to compromise and get around that column. When the column can’t be moved.

Bradford Benn  06:33

Yeah, totally thing wanting the roof to hold up. So big question. My Talking Heads reference, Lord, how did I get here? or How did you get here?

Caroline Montague  06:47

Gotcha. It’s an interesting road. So I happened to interview for a scholarship, I’m gonna go way back, by the way,

Bradford Benn  06:57

that’s fine. As far back as you want, you’re born very young.

Caroline Montague  07:03

So I was interviewed for a scholarship at Georgia Tech by an architect. He was on the board that was making decisions for scholarships. And he offered me a position that summer, my senior year [of high school] summer at his architecture firm. I hadn’t considered architecture before, I had always loved math and geometry and things that were spatially involved. But it didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with myself. So that just kind of encouraged me to go into architecture. So I enrolled in the architecture program at Georgia Tech and got my degree, my undergraduate degree. And when I came out of school, I went directly into work, I chose not to get a master’s degree, most architects have a master’s, they have to have a professional degree in order to practice. And I’ll get to why I was able to avoid that in a minute. But so I went forward into an architecture firm that did apartment buildings, and wasn’t exactly fulfilled by the task. I learned a lot about architecture. I had a wonderful principal that was over me and helped encourage me and foster my team building and just overall leadership skills to help understand architecture as a whole and on a simpler project. An opportunity became available at Gensler, which is a big architectural design firm, one of the biggest in the world and they were starting a hospitality, which is the hotel industry, studio. And that to me was a steppingstone towards theme parks and resorts. I had always looked on online at the Disney and universal job listings. And one of the things they said could help get you in the door was experience in the hospitality industry. So I knew that that was the way to go. And a potential steppingstone towards a future. A future where I could work in the theme park industry, that being the ultimate goal in mind. So then I worked at Gensler for a couple of years got my license while I was there, thanks to some legislation that is in different states. Okay, breaking it down further.

Yeah, architectural registration is by state in the United States. Each state has its own choices of what they will accept as experience and as education. So I essentially apprenticed for five years and registered in the state of New York that is accepted in lieu of a master’s degree. So I was able to get registered and didn’t have to go through the process of getting a master’s and accrue the debt of earning a master’s. So that’s been a boon in my life. I’ve been able to avoid that. As soon as I was registered, I started to look on the horizon and see if it might be a good idea for me to move into the theme park industry fully. While at Gensler, I worked on a on an account for Great Wolf Lodge. They are a large hospitality brand kind of an in a niche part of the market that caters to families with small children and there’s a waterpark included a family entertainment center, and it was an opportunity for me to spread my wings and really work for a client more in the capacity of an owner’s agent, then as an architect, and that helped give me the confidence when Great Wolf Lodge came to a close to apply and work for universal ethic universe. That’s the project that I didn’t know, I was being recruited for. They don’t tell you what project you’re going to be on. They just say come on work for us. And

Bradford Benn  11:04

And sign all this paperwork, and we’re gonna we’re gonna flashy thing you from Men in Black, and we’re gonna pay you but we’re not going to tell you what you’re going to do until you get here.

Caroline Montague  11:14

Yes. So on day three of my job, I found out I was on Epic, which was great. And started work there. I only got to work on Epic for two years. But it was eye opening, amazing, massive project, huge team. And I needed all of those years of experience and everything that I had learned in order to be able to do that job. I think something that if I could tell younger me that I’d want to do is just it takes a lot of takes a lot of experience to be able to hold your own in such an intelligent environment and I wasn’t ready until I had gone through what I what I did with, you know more increasingly complex projects over time. But I made a conscious choice to essentially leave behind architecture and the traditional practice and become a project manager. So when I went to Universal, that was part of what I was doing was changing my career from being an architect, I am still registered. And I can still practice, but I chose instead of practicing, which is arguably a more thankless job to moving on to being a project manager, for in that case that Universal, for an owner, as an owner. In the industry, the term is whether you’re you are the owner, or you are the consultant or the vendor. And when I left Universal, I am now on the vendor side. I think along the way, networking and making a priority to connect with as many people as I could has been very important to me. And it’s been the way that I have found my opportunities. It’s the way that I found my job at CBRE. And now that I’m in my current role, I have grown to the point where business development is a big part of what I do now. I need to lean on to that network and be able to call my friends and call my colleagues and say that, you know, I’m here to do work for whatever they might need. I didn’t understand how critical networking was until I arrived here. and I’ve had to use it.

Bradford Benn  13:42

Yeah, I have found that out in the past, or five months of starting being laid off just like you . I decided to forge my own path and start my consultancy. And the first thing I did is I went through all my LinkedIn contacts, and many of them got sent calendars. And there’s a story about that that I’m going to cover in a previous [future] episode of why the back cover is the way it is. If you’ve not received your calendar yet, Carolina, I apologize but it’s in the mail.

Caroline Montague  14:19

I don’t think I have it yet but I’m going to I’ll check the next time I go into the office. Okay. So I guess the way that I use AV daily in a professional sense is I did it more at Gensler design firms manipulated a little bit more than project management firms. And so we had, we have at CBRE something called the Liquid Galaxy. it’s about 12 monitors that are in a kind of a semicircle, and it can be manipulated and it’s a loaded Earth. It’s like Google Earth and because CBRE deals in big buildings and campuses and large master plans, they’ll bring in a client and sell them on a piece of property by showing them how it works in in 3d how they would integrate their property into it. And I think that is an example to me of our company using AV to leverage that technology to sell a client on a on a piece of property or on a building that that’s a very clear example. Another is, when I was at Gensler, we had the Oculus, and you could walk a client around in a building, walk them virtually around in a building and show them their space, they could look up and see it spatially that it isn’t used as much as I might say. It isn’t used as much as you might think. It’s expensive to use it and time consuming and most clients come to you and know relatively what they want, and don’t need something in 3d like that, where they have to put on the headset, it’s simpler, you might have renderings done, or 3d fly throughs. And that’s a way to also spatially communicate. It’s funny, architects can see two dimensional drawings and understand it very easily in 3d, we don’t have to have renderings in order to understand what’s happening. But a client, or maybe another vendor, they may not have that skill, they didn’t go to school for years to learn how to do that, and they didn’t train in it professionally. So it’s a great tool to communicate to a client, what they’re getting, so that you can avoid issues. I don’t know if BIM ties all the way into AV, but BIM modeling, building information modeling. But that is a way that I have really been able to help put together a building and assist when we have conflicts, I don’t know if it’s AV necessarily but because you get this 3d images out of it, that’s where it really helps.

Bradford Benn  17:20

I would say, that definitely impacts AV. Because we’re usually the last thing that gets loaded into BIM. and the one that everything collides with wsas proven a few times on our project, but also on other projects I’ve worked on. I’ve seen catwalks, literally put in exactly where the speakers need to go and that arena is still being used. And we had to move the speakers. But it’s interesting to hear about the virtualization center the panorama, that’s something I didn’t realize, had been done. And I didn’t realize how little VR is used, because from you and I working together, we had VR models, you know, of all sorts of stuff. And I was great at always walking into and getting stuck in a wall. So I think the idea of a panorama that you can control might be better.

Caroline Montague  18:17

Yes, I think it depends on the project.

Bradford Benn  18:19

Yeah. And obviously it depends on on the client and and how the client works best. Like you said, some people can’t get the idea off of the drawings they need to see it. You know, it’s one of my things is I’m very happy I took drafting in high school. This is way back when before you were born. And I actually used a T square and pencil and an eraser and scale rules and did all that. But I can now like you said, see the building from the drawing and look through and find stuff.

So here’s, here’s the question that everyone’s been waiting for. How can we as the AV industry help you both as to do your job and it sounds like the panorama room is a great tool, the Liquid Galaxy. But also as the interfacing with you as the owner for app, how can we help you? How can we make wrangling all these trade easier?

Caroline Montague  19:35

Well, I think  the best example I can give is when I was new to the project. We were at Universal working together. AV was a brand new field that I really didn’t know much about. And you took the time, about an hour I’d say and you flipped through a set of drawings and you educated me on the jargon on how it goes together. What the words and the acronyms meant and to me, if you are an AV consultant that is interfacing with a project manager or with an architect that may not be as familiar with your trade, it is profoundly helpful and, and a very productive use of time to help educate them about what the system is, and how it’s all put together, I would have been lost the entire time, if I hadn’t taken that hour with you to fully understand and flip through your drawings and understand what the system is and how it’s put together. I think a lot of the time we don’t slow down enough to, and we aren’t humble enough to admit that we may not understand it, that we may not get it. And probably on projects where AV consultants are hitting their head against the wall and they just can’t get their team to understand that it’s that they literally don’t understand they need your help. To break it down to explain what it is and why it’s important.

Bradford Benn  21:04

I think the best thing that’s come out of this so far, because the relationship between owner’s reps, and AV is often tumultuous to put it nicely.

Caroline Montague  21:17

Yeah, there, I think one of the important things to keep in mind, in our industry is that it’s important to play nice to be a team player that is that is not looking  to only better their own games.What I mean is we’re all just trying to get through it together, trying to make sure that the project succeeds. You make you make nothing good happen when you have a vendetta or when you are overbearing or just downright mean. And I’ve made mistakes in my career that resulted in losing a job by not being nice by not being genial and had to learn it the hard way. And some people just have to learn it the hard way. And you’ll get a lot further and earn much more respect. If you are kind and firm. I’m very firm, I’m very no nonsense, but there’s nothing mean about the way that I interact with everyone. I think that’s an important thing to remember is not to let your ego get in the way and to to work with a with a with kindness in your heart, and honesty. Always being important.

Bradford Benn  22:41

Before I let you go and get back to work, I have one question that the AV industry is struggling with? And I know you’re very aware of it. Because you and I have talked about this previously. How can we help get the underrepresented involved? Is it showing them the fun we have of going to the theme park now becomes work? Is it giving them Legos and saying build the building? You know? Aany ideas on how to do that?

Caroline Montague  23:20

Yeah, um, so I think one of the biggest barriers is having the 18 year old who are choosing the trajectory of the rest of their life, understand that this is a trade that we are here. There are some high schools that had that engage with the design industry, the design and architectural industry that offer programs to kids that have no idea what architecture is. Tthey don’t understand how a building is put together, or even that architects are a thing. They understand construction as a whole because you see it happening.  I myself unless I had had that opportunity that interview for that, for that scholarship with an architect, I wouldn’t have thought to enter the industry. And it’s even harder for those that aren’t given opportunities. I haven’t done it in a few years, but I used to volunteer with a program at a local high school that was architecture really geared. I volunteered my time, we donated the materials to help them understand that architecture is a thing. And to in the very basic level explain what it is. And that to me if you engage early, they have the opportunity to push their future towards that it’s very difficult to engage with someone who has no idea you exist. So I think that’s that was a way that I felt I made it meaningful. impact was just at least exposing them to that reality to what we do. And having a little bit of fun with them. to me is a big way to, to to help the future.

Bradford Benn  25:16

I’m looking at the big hand on the clock. And this last question is going to be easy. If people want to get in touch with you and network, what’s the best way for them to do it? Well, I

Caroline Montague  25:31

You can always find me on LinkedIn. I’m connected to Bradford and my name is Caroline Montague, as you already know, I work for CBRE that’s a really great way I always take a look I’m on it frequently. If things are going and it looks like we should connect then I’ll give out my email address. But LinkedIn is my preferred way to network and connect with people virtually.

Bradford Benn  26:01

I will also put a link if it’s okay with you in the show description so that way they get the right Caroline Montague they don’t and they don’t get a you know Caroline Capulet was that would be bad.

000-Staggering Exposition

Welcome to the first episode of my new podcast, available in both video and audio format. In this episode, I talk about why another podcast and how my home studio is setup. The transcript and images are included below the media.

Does the world need another podcast or blog? This was something Tim Albright and I have been talking about for a couple years at AVNation.tv. Due to nondisclosure agreements with my previous employer I was not able to create the show that I wanted. Now that my employer is me, I can do it. Tim told me to go and have fun and do a show that I want to do. So this is what I’m doing. It’s called Project Bradford, the AVNation editorial staff had a vote and I lost. I wanted to call it Bradford’s Variety Hour or Bradford’s Variety Show, the reason is, is not every show is going to be the same.

We’re going to categorize them as we do them. Some are going to be exposition, like this episode and post is, some are going to be long form interviews. That is what drove me to start this project. In the 1980s, there was Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow show that came on after Late Night with David Letterman. It was a long form interview. The show was cancelled and then Bob Costas had the Later show, people have said that David Letterman is now doing this on his Netflix show.

I’m still going to appear on other AVNation shows, I’m still going to do other shows. But this is my chance to talk with people and get to learn more. It’s not solely about AV people. They will all be AV adjacent or technology related. The idea being is let’s learn, let’s talk. It’s not just going to be about what’s the next technology.

A lot of the stuff we do on AVNation is live to recording. There are times I want to be able to talk with people and not worry about the time. There will be editing, there’ll be retakes.

I don’t know what we’re in for. Tim doesn’t know what we’re in for. Matt Scott already decided he needs to come and take over my show so I can see what it’s like. I am just going to see what happens. It’ll be an adventure together. The goal is to provide a show that is entertaining and not just technology talk. It is about getting to know people and learn new things.

Project Bradford is going to post every Thursday. The show will be posted both here at Advisist.com as well as at AVNation.tv. For this episode, I didn’t book a guest. I am going talk a little bit about my studio, how I do things, because people have asked on Twitter. I think it’s worth sharing some of the tips and tricks.

When I have linked to an item on Amazon, I get a little money, for being an Amazon affiliate.

I’m going to go through my studio, go through the basic components of it, I’m not going to go into every single detail, because I think it can get a little overwhelming. There will be additional information shared in the future. The video might be the most informative way to learn but fear not I have created a simple flow diagram, an audio only version, and this text version. I want to provide you content in the way you want to consume it. If I am missing something, let me know.

Drawing of Studio Connection
Click to embiggen...

At the heart of my system is an ATEM Mini. It is from Blackmagic, it has four HDMI (High Definition Media Interface) inputs, it has two stereo inputs that are both mic or line level, one monitor out and one USB-C (Universal Serial Bus C connector style) out. The ATEM Mini appears as a webcam to a computer. You can use the hardware with multiple conferencing platforms. it’s interchangeable with all the different operating systems. In the easiest way to put it, it is a webcam that has super powers.

One can select any of the four inputs to be routed to the program out, you also can do a picture in picture, downstream key, and an upstream key. This allows for doing a lower third graphic across the bottom of the image. The ATEM can also do green screen or Chroma Key in real time. The audio does not need to follow video in this hardware, one can embed new content as well from other inputs.. It is configured either through the software using an Ethernet connection and IP (Internet Protocol) connection, through a USB connection, or through the hardware itself. There’s only one control, the downstream key, that is not accessible through the hardware interface. The ATEM is compatible with Open Sound Control. This feature allows for much cleaner integration with the system then I had expected.

The next piece of the system is an Elgato Stream Deck XL, a 32 key controller, each key can have multiple functions. The keys have little LCD color displays on them so that you can tell you have you programmed them to do. The software has multiple profiles that allow for the functions of each button to change dynamically. I use this hardware to send out commands to various items, not just to the ATEM Mini, but also to QLab. I also use it in my normal day to day computer use. The fact that I can do a quick key or quick text becomes very powerful. When I’m filling out a web form, I have a button that types in my email address; I have a button that types in my street. It also helps address the issue of different key commands for different software. I created a button that’s labeled crop and using Stream Deck profiles, Adobe Photoshop, or Illustrator, or Lightroom, or even Preview on my Mac, the same button does the same feature.

The Stream Deck also can send MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) notes as well as other protocols. There is open-source Companion software available for the Stream Deck that acts as middleware to control multiple system. I am able to do what I needed using MIDI and Open Sound Control. The Stream Deck connects via USB to a computer running the Stream Deck software. In my system it is connected to a presentation computer that’s running Qlab.

When I am recording or participating in a meeting, I do not use typical slide deck software like Power Point. I use QLab which is software designed for theater use. It allows for both cue based actions and random access to content. QLab can receive a MIDI note from the Stream Deck and act on it such as triggering a change in the ATEM via Open Sound Control which QLab supports via scripting. It also can trigger various cues based on the MIDI note, it can be playing a video clip, display text, or play a sound effect.

The free level of QLab software is very powerful and typically address most uses. Purchasing or renting additional licensed features adds things such as DMX control, scripting languages, video effects, and more channels of audio. One of the unique uses is having QLab overlay a countdown timer on a video output. This simple thing allows me to keep meetings on schedule. There are other uses such as updating a calendar that is included in a background. QLab gives me a lot of freedom and flexibility. beyond just the typical use of presenting a slide deck.

The video and audio output of QLab goes into HDMI input number one of the ATEM. The second input is a camcorder with a clean HDMI output. There is only video, no other displays or notifications on the HDMI connection. Most of the Canon products as well as GoPro have this ability. I went with a camcorder as one not control the depth of field or how wide of a view on entry level webcams. Using the camcorder I can adjust the zoom as well as setting it to “find faces” helps smooth out the focus changes compared to entry level products. The added ability of being able to record my content at the same time has allowed me to go back and fix mistakes. I am using a Canon Vixia Camcorder that has a resolution of1920 by 1080, which is the resolution that the ATEM Mini supports. I purchased a refurbished unit which cost about US$150 dollars.

Input number three of the ATEM Mini is a GoPro Hero 4 that I have mounted in the corner of my office. It provides a wide shot. This allows for my wall mounted white board to be seen during a meeting. I have found sometimes just the change of scenery is nice. I also have a GoPro Hero 8 that works very well as an overhead camera. This ability is very beneficial when reviewing D size drawing packages (24 inches x 36 inches). I also can bring in my Canon digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR). I don’t use this very often, but if needed there are more camera options.

This number of cameras might seem excessive, but I might not hook up a camera, I might use a digital signage player, I might use Apple TV, I might use Clickshare, I might hook up another computer. There are a lot of options I have because of the ATEM Mini.

I have a video monitor connected to the single HDMI output of the ATEM Mini. That is a limitation of the ATEM Mini, there is only one output. It is switchable between any of the inputs, the preview bus, or the program bus via the software. The newer ATEM models have quad video as well as audio meters on the same single output. I use the monitor to set up the Chroma Key values as well as being a confidence monitor during meetings.

The last computer is the web conference or “work computer”. It runs the conference software. The ability to offload many of the processor intensive video tasks, such as virtual backgrounds, allows for the computer to stay within its “comfort zone”. I found when trying to display AutoCAD drawings, being able to offload that video workload made the meeting go much better.

The last part of the studio is audio. I have a microphone running into a digital Soundcraft UI24r mixer. I have used the Soundcraft presets to configure a foot switch to mute the microphone. For me using the foot controller is easier than remembering what the keystroke is in the different software. Using the digital mixer does allow for some basic signal conditioning. I place in a high pass filter, a de-esser, a gate, and a compressor to provide a better experience for the far side.

That’s is an overview of my home studio. I did not go through all the HDMI cables, audio cables, Ethernet cables, and Ethernet switch, they are industry standard nothing special about them.

I hope this quick overview to give you an idea of some of the things you can do. Sometimes you just need that little bit of humor by playing the Jeopardy theme when someone’s thinking or a wrong answer getting a buzzer. Obviously, if you have questions, please leave comments, hit me up on Twitter, leave a comment below, or use the contact form.

Peace and good health.


The opinions and ideas I present, do not necessarily reflect the views of Iffat Chaudhry or other people. It doesn’t reflect the views of AVNation, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of my friends, my enemies, my wife, I would say my co workers, but it is just me. These are my opinions and ideas.

Project Bradford
Project Bradford
000-Staggering Exposition
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