Comedy Hack Day 9 - Humanize Her

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The 3/4ths of the family went down to Santa Monica a few weekends ago so that I could participate in Comedy Hack Day 9 and here’s the short version: My team went to the finals and we had some crazy projector issues but it was still a blast.

I’m in LA at least once a month (much more as of late) and am the CTO of a Beverly Hills media company, but it was still surprised to me how different Comedy Hack Day in LA was over San Francisco. I figured there would be less developers and more comedians (and “comedians”), and there was, but what I didn’t expect was how seriously people took an entirely silly (but wonderful) event. Differences aside I still had a great time, got to be on the big stage again, and gained some random listening to several conversations about what it’s like to audition for commercials.

Our project was called “Humanize Her” and it was an mobile app that made a woman talking look like a man so you’ll listen to her and respect her opinions. Technically, we used your phone’s camera and then applied “filters” that were pictures of men with their faces cut out. There were two people that could code on the team (an embarrassment of riches compared to some other teams) and the two of us decided to go with a mobile web app as the other developer was primarily a Javascript developer. This was kind of a mistake. The app worked fine and functioned just as a mobile app, but the HTML5 APIs we needed were only on Android’s Chrome browser which effectively made it an “Android App” and then made it 1000x harder to send the phone’s image to a projector. Every Android maker has their own video out cable and even if you had the right cable it still didn’t really work. We managed to get through the Saturday night round with a Chromecast but we weren’t so lucky in the finals when the projector in the theater never wanted to show the video (it worked fine in the pre-show walkthrough, naturally). The presentation was really funny but after 20 minutes of everyone (host, judges, team, and audience) sitting there it just wasn’t ever going to be as funny as it could have been. I think we had a great chance to win the thing, but…oh well. It wasn’t to be even despite Cultivated Wit’s newly anointed CEO doing an inspired job as our iPhone camera man shooting our Android phone.

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Some people on my team were pretty upset but getting to the finals and being on stage is the real treat…still, I’m not known for my ability to let things go, so I came home and made the iOS version we should have made from the start.