Sunday, June 28, 2009

WHY people 'hate' Manga...

They don't. There are just a whole lot of very new artists trying to draw their favorite characters - who trace and draw poorly.

And there's little more frustrating than spending time critiquing a work, only to have some twit come back with 'It's ma STYLE, and u jus don't UNDERSTAND'.

Yes, we do understand. Understand that without the basic skills, everything you do will be weak. Great anime and manga artists understand and use - anatomy, composition, vanishing points, etc.

There's no point to trying to stylize something, if you don't understand how it works in the first place. You don't HAVE a style yet - 'bad' is not a style.

Each person's personal style develops over time - no two mark - making methods are the same.

The best place online that I've found to learn about art:

From a plethora of artists to share experiences with, tutorials, workshops, competitions - places like this are great for getting your draw on.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Writing Comics!

I haven't tried to write a comic/graphic novel script for someone else, yet. The format is COMPLETELY different than every other type of writing, and honestly, I'm not yet up for learning yet another format well.

Here are a few links to guidelines, for those that are interested:

As you can see, they're sort of an entity unto themselves. Each panel is described in terms of character, place and action, with dialogue as needed. Since I like to draw, I may do one of these myself and post the sorry example if we're interested in persuing this further.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Writing a novel is like... birth to a herd of elephants. Seriously.

It takes forever, can be painful, it's huge, and if you aren't careful, there can be a big mess toward the end of it.

When you're done, you send your elephants out into the world, hoping to see them again at some point. You think about your pretty elephants (the stuff you're proud of), worry about your mutant elephants (the mistakes that you never notice until AFTER sending the damn thing out), and hope neither of them spreads so much poo that no one wants to play with your elephants anymore.

The gestation period is somewhere around forever. One elephant is about two years - but you're carrying a litter!

They're impossible to ignore. I mean, you have a bunch of elephants gestating inside you - it's kinda distracting. No matter what else you're doing or working on, your thoughts keep coming back to those elephants.

I had more to say, but one of my elephants just kicked. Let me know how your elephants are treating you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We don't need no stinking rehearsals...

Did audio/props for a show last night that I'd never seen before, was rather fast paced, and WE HAD NO REHEARSAL. Yi.

It went well. I'm relieved.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Where'd my other posts go? Gah.

I think this site had some hiccups, a few of my recent blogs have dissappeared. All right lovelies, when I can remember what on earth I was talking about, I'll re write them and have more silly posts for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How I started my own writing group

There are great online forums all over the web, where you can chat with fellow writers, get feedback, and meet people with shared interests.

My personal favorite is

I've gotten a lot out of them, and they're great, but sometimes it's nice to commiserate in person, see the physical responses of people reading your work, and of course, get the $&%^ out of the house once in a while.

To that end, I figured I try and start a lil writing group in my area. There are already existing ones, but the happy, fluffy clouds and bunnies 'all writing is good and we welcome everything' love fest isn't all that useful to me.

Rather than trying to call everyone I thought might be interested, I put out an update on facebook, to see who might be interested. (Pre figuring that a third of those who expressed interest would actually show up).

Then, I picked a time and place. I asked about people's schedules, made an educated guess about who would actually show, and picked the location and hour based on that.

Three people showed up, which worked fairly well. I hope to expand the group, but for a first meeting, having more than one person appear was more than I honestly expected. And the enthusiasm more than made up for it - people appeared with shiny new notebooks and pens!

I asked about peoples' goals (after sending an email informing them to think about it). No one seems particularly sure, beyond 'I want to write'. That's okay.

It was very relaxed and silly, and I've given my first assignment. We'll see how that progresses next week.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Whaddya mean you want a title?

I've spent the last two weeks battling my printer to try and get acceptable photos. ('Good' went flying out the window at the end of week one.)

Managed four that didn't totally suck, framed them as well as I could with a limited tool set, and toddled off to the gallery with my only mildly deformed babies.

Once delivered, I thought the whole thing would be over. Oho, no. I have to NAME them, as well as price them. (Trying to put a monetary value on your work is hard enough...) After spending far too much time considering Thing 1, Thing 2, Thing 3, and Thing 4; I made up some stuff and figured no one really cares anyway. Which is not actually true, but I was caught off guard, and needed to make myself feel better.

I wandered around the gallery for a while, writhing with doubts.

Three people came in and tried to buy two of my prints while they were sitting on the counter. The show itself isn't until this coming Saturday.

Maybe they don't look as bad as I think they do.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm being interviewed for a book...

How strange is that?

I don't really know much about it - the writer is interviewing 'creative people' for a non fiction work about creativity.

What the heck, right? Can't hurt me (famous last words). More than a little strange, as I'm nobody special - not famous(maybe a little infamous in my personal social circle), haven't done anything amazing(yet), and am generally as anonymous as any other online entity.

Anyhow, I'm trying to be a self promotion whore, so I said yes. I'll let ya know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Literal Video 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'

The 1980's was a strange time for everything, but the heyday of the music video involved a cornucopia of big budget, surrealist short films.  Bliss.

They didn't HAVE to make sense, they just had to look cool.  Watching some of them (most of them) now, I think we have to breathe a collective sigh of 'WTF?'.

Now their time has come again.  Not so much a revival, but a previously untapped comedy goldmine.

I had nothing to do with the original version of this video, nor its new life, I just think it's hilarious and brightened my day today.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Crushes on imaginary people - I have tons.

A friend of mine is in love with Edward (for my thoughts on Twilight, see previous posts).

As the eyerolling commenced, she wanted to know what was the problem with having a crush on an imaginary character? Essentially, it's harmless fantasy, as long as you don't end up with unrealistic expectations of real people.

Absolutely. My issue was taking up an imaginary affair with a character that has no personality, no flair. He's described as 'perfect', and that's about it. How much duller can you get?

I got through a rather stormy break up by having a wild fling with Fox Mulder, and moving on to Jon-Luc Picard.

My current imaginary boyfriends are: Spider Callahan (Transmetropolitan:Comic), and Alan Shore (Boston Legal:TV series).

So I like bad boys. Witty, sarcastic bad boys who use their mental prowess to dance verbal circles around their opponents, as well as gain what little ground they can for the common man.

For the record, I've been personally compared to Gregory House. (Hadn't seen the show until a film cast started calling me 'House' - at which point, I had to see what they were talking about.) They were right, I do see the similarities. So much, in fact, that it would never work. Sorry Dr. House, we're just too much alike.

Friday, June 5, 2009

playing with photo montages

window freaky3 copy
Originally uploaded by digitalis_vitae
Effects are cool :)

This is one of those situations where it's impossible to get what you want with one shot - the interior of the space was very dark, and it was a really sunny day.  So either the windows were blown completely out, and you could see wood, or you could see through the windows and the interior is completely dark.

A photographer has a number of ways to solve something like this, depending upon the number and type of toys at their disposal.

One way would be to have an external flash inside the barn,
and set exposure for the scene outside the windows.

I don't have one of those.

Another way could be to set up on a tripod and take multiple shots HDR style, that will meld seamlessly together.

Didn't have that, either.

While I'm generally a minimalist, I wasn't there to take pictures - I was at this location to do lighting for a commercial, not run around with my still camera, so no tripod.

I couldn't get the idea out of my head though.

So I took a couple of handheld shots at different exposures and mashed them together to the best of my abilities.

(I don't recommend this method if you have a better option, and I'll spare you the number of hours and explecitives it took to get those %&$^ window frames to line up from different angles.)

Considering the lack of forethought on my part, the final product isn't so bad.

The Life and Times of the Nauga

This is just so much awesome I can barely take it!

For those of you who may not know, Naugahyde is this durable plastic leather substitute.  Apparently when the stuff was first marketed, there were protesters right and left regarding the animal rights of the suddenly endagered 'Nauga'.

In response, the company assured these rocket scientists that Naugas shed their hides, and no animal is hurt in the creation of the material.

Someone realized that there was an untapped goldmine in there.  So a very clever writer has come up with the complete history and lifestyle of the average Nauga - and you can purchase your very own on the official Naugahyde webpage!

I'm amazed every day, both at some people's stupidity and others' innovation.  We as a species are truly the most brilliant, most cretinous of creatures; all at the same time.  The ultimate paradox.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Goals for the next five days...

I haven't done one of these in a while, and knowing that someone outside of my head is watching helps (thank you in advance!).

1. Print and frame photos for gallery show.

2. Five pages on the treatment/note mess for the thriller.

3. Pack up sweaters that I won't need for the next four months for the move.

4. Outline one short story.

I can be an obsessive list maker, and have been known to put too many things on my lists - many too many things.  Again, that's one of my setups for failure.  I try to overschedule myself, end up behind, and then wind up frusterated; often giving up the whole enterprise as a wash.

What do you guys do to keep your immediate goals realistic?

More Twilight Hilarity - from

I always loved Mad Magazine and Cracked when I was a kid.  My Mom, on the other hand, found such things to be wildly innapropriate, along with PeeWee's Playhouse, MTV, R-rated movies, and soda.  (I didn't get my hands on any of the good stuff until I was pretty much out of the house.)

So, as soon as I got out of the house, I lived on a steady diet of horror movies and strange magazines.  The combination of natural proclivity toward odd, camp and trash, combined with a steady diet of the literary, has made my tastes rather odd.

After years of spending my hard earned cash on such pleasures, I was horrified to find that my favorite magazines were becoming more and more difficult to find.

Imagine my pleasure when I discovered Cracked is not only alive and well, but living on the 'net! And snarky as ever.

To celebrate this discovery, here is Cracked's version of the Twilight screenplay - ten times shorter, and 100 times more honest.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The New Look - Yay or Nay?

I've had a couple of blog statements to the effect, 'like the content, the look sucks giant monkey $&%^'.  (Well, not in those terms because most people are infinitely more pleasant than I am, but the idea is the same.)

So I'm messing around with the template - I can muck up the colors and backgrounds to my heart's content, but this one seems the second least offensive of the plug n' plays. (The first, IMO, being the basic black.)

So, it's up for a vote.  You guys are the ones (hopefully) reading, so you get to choose.

Science Fiction Writer's of America - goldmine of information

Besides being an incredible organization of talented writers, the SFWA website hosts a TON of great articles about writing - from the absolute basics, workshop talks, getting an agent, marketing, productivity - you name it.

Read them.  It'll be the best couple of hours of valuable information that you never paid for.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

One of the secrets to writing... learning.

Read more than you write.  Read outside of your chosen genre.  Read how-to books.  Try everything.  Absorb what works, discard the rest.

And always take advantage of the information available to you.  The internet is an amazing tool, and experts are always happy to share what they've learned.

In the video linked above, three successful horror screenwriters talk shop and answer questions.  You can view the whole session for free.