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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Hills Are Burning: Know The Rules.

The Hills Are Burning: Know The Rules.:

'via Blog this'

It drives me crazy - so many freelancers don't know their rights, and let themselves be bullied by unscrupulous producers. Labor law is actually on your side, guys. Protect yourself and your crew.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Freelancers: When to give it away?

This is something each person has to figure out on their own, and we've been discussing it at work.

When/how to provide your services and expertise for nothing?

The simple answer: when its worth it.


What does that mean?

To me, it means when either the time involved is minimal, or the positives for building and growth far exceed the layout.


Case one happened to me this afternoon.

One of the volunteer ushers at a theater I work at also teaches stage craft at a local, very under funded high school. He popped into the booth while we were waiting for the house to open, in order to ask some questions about gobos (those pattern things that go into lights).
The projections are quite large in this house, due to the size of the throw. He wanted to know how big the patterns themselves were. (About two inches in diameter). He also wanted to know about costs. I gave him some information about making your own safely, that would also be really cheap. He was thrilled, and talked to me about possibly talking to the kids at some point as a guest lecturer.

Cool.

This was all of five minutes of my time, where I was sitting around chatting with my coworkers anyway. Always worthwhile.


Case two, is much more involved on my end.

I shot, and am in the process of editing, a really nifty music video for a non profit group. (Remember kids! Non profit is a charitable designation, NOT a 'you ain't gettin' paid because our wanna be rap star's mom won't spend money'.)

They were a ton of fun to work with, and the post is being done on my schedule, with no clear deadline. These two things are very important to me for something like this - if a gig is a hassle, then its not worth doing for nothing. If there's a time frame, particularly an insane one, they better be paying.


Three is an ongoing adventure with a long time friend. He directs, I shoot, and vice versa. We borrow each other's gear. We also hire each other whenever possible. I love working with him, and paid or not, we make some cool stuff. Days are always smooth and short. See how that works?


You've probably gotten THOSE emails - 'We have no money and we're making an epic that's going to x film festival (yeah, that's not a guarantee, ever) and we need this impossible thing done by next week for nothing'. No.
NONONONONONONONO.

You, no money people, are in no position to make demands of anyone. Plus, I've made the mistake of agreeing. A few times (I was that desperate kid once). They have all been, ego ridden, demanding, and usually obnoxious, as well as delusional about the initial quality of the project. None of these was ever worth putting on my reel, so they were a complete loss. Steer clear of these. If they really have anything worthwhile, they'll find a way to get money for it. And if they do, you won't see a dime if you agree to work for nothing. Unless they have something of real, tangible value to trade, walk away whistling.

In a nutshell: Is the project fun? Are the people awesome? Is it a real non profit, or some jerkwad who's purposely misusing that title? Am I going to walk away with something of tangible value?

That's how I decide whether or not a project gets my skills for free.

A little more on tangible value - is there something missing from my portfolio, or that I need to practice, that this gig will help with? If so, and the time investment isn't too large, I might consider that as well.

How do you decide?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Write or Die by Dr Wicked

Write or Die by Dr Wicked:

It sounds rather extreme, and maybe it is. A tool for those of us (I'm looking at Me, Self...) that can spend an entire day crafting and re crafting a single paragraph in the futile search for perfection. Or perhaps there's a hidden fear that the finished work won't be any good, so we're loathe to get the damn thing done. Or end up with a million word opus.

Anyhow, this nifty little program (free online, ten bucks for the desktop edition) is designed to help you keep putting words on the page. If you get distracted, or agonize over a word for too long, the screen turns red and an alarm sounds, in normal mode. I believe in Kamikaze, your words start unwriting themselves. I'm too chicken to try it, even for random words just filling a page.

Since I signed up for NaNoRiMo again this year, I need something to shut up the inner editor. My goal for writing is 1500 words in a day. I suspect a third of them will be readable, but I need to get into the habit. For those people without evil inner editors or the attention span of a chipmunk, this bit of software is pretty useless.

For people like me, it might just be the bit of a push that they need to get them moving. I'm going to try it for a month. If it does the trick, I'll thank the creator by purchasing the software.

Here goes nuthin...

Friday, October 28, 2011

I found the picture of the two Jack Sparrows!!

OMG I found it!!!

Remember that story I told about watching two Jack Sparrows get into a fist fight? I FOUND THE PHOTOS. Well, not of the fist fight, but the moments before. I can't make this stuff up.




Hope this makes your day, they certainly made mine.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Porn Star Kareoke - How did I not know about this???

How do you make a tacky thing awesome?

Multiplication. It works for anything, really. One garden gnome, tacky. An army of creepy, smiling plaster constructs staring vapidly at the neighbors from your front yard = kind of awesome.

A single cheap stuffed animal carnival prize jammed into the corner of a teen girl's bedroom is just kind of sad. However, sewing a hundred of these little things onto a suit and roller skating down Main Street, USA sounds pretty amazing. (Disclaimer: I have not done this. Yet. I don't have the carnival prizes. If anyone wants to hook me up with them, I WILL do this. And take pictures. And post them here.)

Another great thing I didn't know about until recently was the customization of My Little Ponies. You might remember these smiling little rubber horse shaped toys with nylon hair and a graphic on their butt - I had a collection myself when I was a kid. Until I discovered Breyer horses, but that's another story. (Yes, I was a little girl obsessed with horses. Imagine that.)

Dragons, The Borg, oh heck - pretty much any pop icon you can imagine. Who knew this was a thing? Aren't you glad you read this now? (Proof that one, anything can be elevated to an art form if the creator is good enough at it, and two - you can make a living doing anything.)

But that's not what I wanted to talk about (remember, I warned you about those tangents...).

What I wanted to talk about is potentially the most amazing marriage of tacky that has ever been conceived. Porn stars doing karaoke. I shit you not. Personally, I feel like this is the true spirit of Los Angeles wrapped up, packaged, and presented with a cheap satin and lace neon pink bow. And I'm excited. I must see this before I die, so be aware, LA friends - I'm going to beg to go to this.


I think this will be an experience on par with watching the two Jack Sparrows duke it out on the Walk of Fame. I think I'm starting to miss LA.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Buying with intent, and the excitement of it all.

I purchased a comforter cover.  A brand new, custom printed comforter cover from DENY designs.  It came yesterday, and I've been excited about it for a solid 24 hours now.

Which led to a bit of navel gazing: why on Earth is this blanket cover such a thrill?

It finally hit me.

Every other bit of furnishing that I've ever owned has been one of these:

Free. (Either discards from relations, friends moving, or clever curbside rescue.  I sleep on Chevy Chase's old mattress - but that's another story for another time.)

Thrift/yardsale.

Semi disposable.  You know the stuff.  Plastic, cardboard, pressboard, usually found in big box discount stores, ubiquitous denizens of college dorm rooms; purchased with the understanding that once one graduates, that stuff will be replaced.  Um.  Some of my plastic drawers date to the college years.

If it weren't for the cat, much of my furniture would be inflatable.  It's cheap, fuss resistant, and incredibly portable.

With the life I've led, that last bit used to be incredibly important - between travelling a great deal and moving about once a year, there's a lot to be said for not being tied down to a lot of nice furniture.

This summer marked the first one in over a decade that wasn't spent frantically shoving things into boxes, which in turn were crammed into my twelve year old hatchback to be carted to the next location.  Not moving is a thrill in itself, and we celebrated.  But it also marked a subtle, if deep change in our lives.

Roots.  For the first time, we started thinking about chairs that didn't double as rubbermaid bins with fabric draped over them.  But the thought of building a 'proper' home space, with decor, and thought, and (eek) money put into it, was more than a little off putting.

Our old comforter died.  It was fairly horrid to begin with - some nasty synthetic fabric that pilled almost immediately, sewn together with what appeared to be fishing line, a pattern that would have felt at home in a 1970's log cabin, lumpily filled with some polyester spin that did absolutely nothing but remind one of how cold the room actually was, and think about getting a new blanket the second that time and money have met.

We didn't actually know that it was sewn together with clear, stiff, nylon 'thread', until it started unraveling.  The cat helped.  So in addition to the pilling, fading, and other attributes, the blanket now sported lots of little pokey bits that had a supernatural power in regard to finding sensitive flesh.

The new comforter itself was a sort of impulse - we found it on clearance after a mark down, and it came with two pillows! So I gulped and paid for it.

It changed the whole bed - suddenly, we felt like our little sleeping alcove had been transported to some luxury B&B.  So I highly recommend not waiting as long as we did on a new blanket.

However, it didn't come with a cover - that proper comforters even needed one came as a bit of a surprise.

So, began the quest for a cover to protect the new investment.  This would be the second non essential purchase related to building a home that I've ever made, and I was determined to do it right.  For weeks, I scoured every place I could find.  These things were either horrible, or insanely expensive.

Seduced by thread count, frazzled by reviews, I came upon the Deny site randomly after weeks of searching. They had some nice looking designs, not too expensive...then I saw it.

Custom design - you send them an image, they put it on the item of your choice!  If I was going to do this 'making a home' thing, I'll do it exactly how I want, and see exactly what I want to see.  Honestly, if I'm paying anything above a thrift store price, I just can't settle.

So I gulped, paid, and waited.

The results are even cooler than anything I'd imagined:



For the first time in my entire life,  I'm turning a living space into a home.  I'm decorating!  Oh yes, there will be more of this in the coming year.

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Tumblr page, and stuff

It's been a busy time, and as usual, I inflict most of it upon myself. Firstly, I got myself one of those new fangled tumblr things.http://digitalis-vitae.tumblr.com/

 Don't worry, this blog will stay right here. Even better, it will be focused more on the writer end of the artistic process. (That's what I'm currently designating my Rorschach pattern of wank - it sounds much more impressive that way, doesn't it?)

 Tumblr is prettier for hosting photos, so all of my discussions about photography, photo postings, and visual epherma will happen there from now on, leaving this space free to talk about making word strings that evoke emotions. I'm trying to be organized about this stuff for once.

 There's also a new Facebook group, Authors Helping Authors. It's dedicated to educating writers about scams, and helping the victims of writing scams - hence the moniker of 'Authors' rather than 'writers'.

 Um, what else. Theater has been busy, and most of the 'net news has been dedicated to Occupy Wall Street. It's unfortunate that major news groups are now just corporate holdings, so all of the coverage has been from citizens like you and me

. I am planning to explore the scene. Just like Spider, only with hair. This protest is probably the biggest civilian political action that we'll see in the states in our lifetime. It's something that I'm not surprised to see, though I am shocked that it took this long.

 We've been legislated into a controlled state, our rights stripped from us one strand at a time for years, but creature comforts have kept the masses distracted for a long time. It's finally gotten bad enough that the public is pissed. The normal channels (voting, town hall) are so mired in kickbacks and bribery that they're no longer effective.

 The public is tired of being treated like chattel - of having their homes, employment, and opportunities to make a life siphoned away, that they will no longer be distracted by shiny toys, shiny celebrities, shiny lies disguised as political rhetoric. Catchphrases and double speak that ultimately mean only that a politician is jumping from one pocket to the next.


 I'm not usually political on this blog. But I'm inspired. And angry. Inspired by the thousands of people making noise. Angry that so many people still swallow the lines they've been fed. Wake up, Tea Party. You are not part of a grass roots organization. Never were. It's a scheme funded by some of the biggest corporate players - the Koch brothers. They sent corporate shills into town centers to gain support for a 'movement' with catchphrases that mean nothing, and the goal is to dump even more money into BILLIONAIRES' pockets.


 They hold up teachers, fire fighters, bus drivers as the enemy, for making a living wage with health benefits. Guess what? Teachers generally get paid crap. I can't count how many times I've heard 'well, city worker x makes $100,000 a year, I wish I was rich like that'. Wake up, dumb ass. That bus driver makes a salary like that on a base pay rate of $14.00 an hour, by working 100 hours a week.

It's a distraction. A shiny statement to take attention off the CEO who gets a five million dollar bonus for running a company into the ground. That's the scum you need to pay attention to - not the guy who never sees his wife and children, overworked at a menial job.

 Please, please.

 Wake the fuck up.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

First Paragraph Review - The Smoke in Death's Eye

I must be mad.  Or have indulged in some bad fish, because I'm at it again.




That's right gang - the first paragraph reviews are back.  For a little while, at least.  I don't think they'll ever be a regular feature again, but if you or someone you know wants to send me one (this time including screenplays!), I'll do it.  Probably not right away, but I'll do it.




Anyhow.  The format will stay the same.  First, the page as I received it (forgiveness for copy/paste directly into email).  Then, the page with commentary.




Without further ado:






The lights, a mixture of yellow and neon blue, splash evil shadows against the walls. I liked that. I lived in those shadows, the hum of the Smoke, a never ending presence.
My target leaned against a scarlet red spinner as he scanned the traffic in the air waiting for his clients. A pusher of the worst kind, he sold 24 hour addiction to the net, the matrix, whatever the mutual illusion we call cyberspace really is, but I watched him because he possessed knowledge I needed. I had to be careful though; he hacked the local cams with his built-in wetware.
Despite the poor lighting I could see him clearly. My TacScreen feed streamed to me by my built-in A.I., Artificial Neurological Analyser, ANA for short, to a chip resting against the back of my retinas. The TacScreen, glowing pale green created the effect of being projected in front of my vision showed he was much bigger than me, at least 6 foot tall, but sickly looking somehow. He wore retro style jeans and a fake denim jacket cut off at the arms with no t-shirt showing off the body art on his torso of a skull and cross bones which glowed fluorescent green in the dark. He wore jump boots fashionably unfastened with his jeans tucked at the front of his boots. His name was Demetrez of mixed race. His dyed blond hair, cut in a Mohican and long at the back, sat atop his face framing pale grey eyes which I assume he was not born with.


And now, the commentary.




The lights, a mixture of yellow and neon blue, splash evil shadows against the walls. I liked that. I lived in those shadows, the hum of the Smoke, a never ending presence.





(Ok, the first sentence bothers me for a specific reason that most people might not catch.  Additive color theory. Yellow light plus blue light equals white light.  Light splashes light, not shadows.  So not only are there no projected shadows, the colors chosen would combine to create pure, white light.  Many people are only familiar with subtractive (pigment based) color theory, so even a sharp editor might miss this one.





I have mixed feelings about the jump from present in the first sentence to past in the next two.  The last sentence feels like it has extra words and unneeded commas.)

My target leaned against a scarlet red spinner as he scanned the traffic in the air waiting for his clients.

(Things I like: the casual use of target, and the offhand comment about the traffic being 'in the air' are great for indicating early and well that we're in science fiction, and our protag may not be the nicest guy.  I stumbled on 'scarlet red'.  Does scarlet come in any other color?)

 A pusher of the worst kind, he sold 24 hour addiction to the net, the matrix, whatever the mutual illusion we call cyberspace really is, but I watched him because he possessed knowledge I needed. I had to be careful though; he hacked the local cams with his built-in wetware.




(Story wise, this works for me so far.  We've got bits of awkwardness with the sentence structure.  My other confusion is 'selling addiction'.  How would selling an addiction, rather than the drug, work?  Were this a hard science or present day/real world story, it would bother me more.  Maybe this universe has a drug that mimics addiction for some reason?  But why?  Or maybe the wording is just off.  Were I paying to read this, I'd need to know very soon.)





Despite the poor lighting I could see him clearly. My TacScreen feed streamed to me by my built-in A.I., Artificial Neurological Analyser, ANA for short, to a chip resting against the back of my retinas. The TacScreen, glowing pale green created the effect of being projected in front of my vision showed he was much bigger than me, at least 6 foot tall, but sickly looking somehow.


(LOVE this.  I've seen way too many lousy stories with the 'even though it was dark, I could see' bit.  The why immediately follows the statement, which is great.  There's more stumbling over the name - the Artificial Intelligence Artificial comes off as a little silly, as if the writer weren't sure of the term.  I'm not sure why a visual aide of this type would need to have it's own consciousness, which is AI.  I'd recommend dropping the AI portion of the description, unless this neural net functions as the wise cracking sidekick projecting snarky comments directly to the protag's brain.  More awkward comma placement - this will need a good edit, but shows a lot of promise.)




 He wore retro style jeans and a fake denim jacket cut off at the arms with no t-shirt showing off the body art on his torso of a skull and cross bones which glowed fluorescent green in the dark. 

(Eeek. Run on sentence, for one.  The second thought is info-dump.  A small one, but how important is this list, and what part is significant to the protagonist?  If this outfit is normal, how much would he notice?  I do like the glowing tattoo.)


He wore jump boots fashionably unfastened with his jeans tucked at the front of his boots. His name was Demetrez of mixed race.

(His name was 'of mixed race'?  Somehow, I think this is more awkwardness.  We've also been told he's wearing jeans twice - not needed.  Personally, I think the second mention works better, and the first should be dumped.  As always, these parenthesis are just my opinion.)

 His dyed blond hair, cut in a Mohican and long at the back, sat atop his face framing pale grey eyes which I assume he was not born with.

(I'm guessing that this is a spelling hiccup, unless there's a new hairstyle.  The Native American tribe that the haircut is named after is Mohawk.  Completely different.  It could sprout on top of his head, but the 'atop his face' makes me think of one wicked unibrow.  This whole bit could use rewriting.  I like the mention of the eye thing, though I'd want an explanation fairly soon.)







Thank you,  Jorge Salgado - Reyes, for offering your first page, and I hope this is helpful to you.

Monday, September 19, 2011

CameraSim simulates a digital SLR camera - SLR Photography Demystified

CameraSim simulates a digital SLR camera - SLR Photography Demystified:

'via Blog this'

This is a brilliant little tool for exploring what all those manual settings on your camera are, and actually DO. Extra points for the 'use a tripod' button. (Generally speaking, it's wise to use a tripod ANY time you're using a longer lens - I often don't when I'm willing to experiment with 30 different shots, and there's no client to worry about. Your mileage may vary.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

BBC News - Severed head of patron saint of genital disease on sale

BBC News - Severed head of patron saint of genital disease on sale:

'via Blog this'

Photobucket

I couldn't come up with a better caption than this. Now my brain is plenty weird, and I come up with strangeness that makes people in the grocery store suddenly remember that they needed to be in a different aisle (am I the only one who's chased my roomates around the store with a genuine, whole cow tongue?), but real life sometimes throws me such a great dose of WTF, that I'm all 'you win, world - I couldn't make this one up if I tried'.

This is such a time. Not only did I not know there WAS such a saint, some lucky person could own this guy's preserved head.

The Significant Other is damn lucky that I'm both broke and that this is already over, or I'd totally greet him at the door with the severed head of the saint of GD. I'm still kinda pissed that I missed this auction. Who needs food? I NEED the preserved head of the saint of genital disease.

And then I'd stand outside the local clinic with it, offering Hail Herpes and cleansing via prayer to the head (and all the dumb jokes that go with it). Donations of a financial nature welcome.


UPDATE: This is the chat conversation I just had with the SO about it -

SO: so, how much did the head go for?

me: expected to go for between six hundred and 1200 dollars
I would have done it.

SO: almost seem worth it
seems even

me: That's the only kind of useless item I would have done it for
SAINT HEAD OMG
I didn't know you could own such things
now I want one
I love you Catholics, making a billion saints so I have the opportunity to own the severed head of one of them.

SO: there was even a dog that was suppose to be a saint

SO: To have a real sanctified alter in a Roman Catholic Church, it needs to have bones from a saint in it. Not all of the bones, sometimes just a piece or a finger joint

me: dog saints? gotta have a saint? You guys are nuts.
PIECES OF SAINTS? Now that's just gross.


(Yes, functionally I'm five. Parts of dead people are gross yet compelling.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More 'stranger than fiction' - true stories from my otherwise boring life

Since people seemed to enjoy my Jack Sparrow fistfight story so much, I figured I'd start sharing a few more 'gems'.


This is an oldie.

When I was a kid, my parents (specifically my mom) were travelling artisans. Mostly renaissance festivals, to be specific.

We trekked down to Florida one year to participate in a show at Vizcaya in Dade county. If you ever get a chance to visit, go. The show was a bust, but the scenery is breathtaking, and it was worth the trip just for that.

Anyway, you're here for a story, not a travelogue.

Another artisan that we knew, let's call him Fred for the sake of protecting the innocent, was also there. Fred was a super fun guy, as long as you took his pathological lying with a large grain of salt. He always had entertaining stories and a gift for telling them.

One morning, Fred runs into our booth. He points toward the ocean, which we were set up next to.

"You wouldn't believe what I just saw!" Generally, no.

"An 80 year old Elvis impersonator playing The Cars on a Mandolin!"

Say what?

As we're trying to parse that statement into something that makes sense, the gentleman in question walks up the marble stairs from the water into our view. All activity ceased for a moment, as we stared in shock and admiration. That little old man wearing a spangled jumpsuit and playing for all he was worth will be embedded in my mind forever.

You go, mandolin Elvis.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The guts of a great book trailer



Click the title of the post for some background information.

I chose this article to give you guys some idea of the amount of work and workflow required to create an awesome book trailer.

I can hear gasping and fainting right now about the prices. Yep, I realize that not all of you guys have that kind of money to put forth for your book trailer - but unless you have some skills of your own, or have a favors relationship with a great video creator, you may have to get creative in other ways.

A couple of the trailers I've posted previously were created by the writers, one paper cut out stop motion comes to mind.

Now look into the people you know and what they might be able to help you with. This fellow knew quite a few athletes, and had them perform doing what they did best. He didn't try to get them to monologue Shakespeare. I bet you know people who are amazing at something, and can use that for your book. Heck, I can imagine the time lapse footage of someone knitting being really awesome, for instance, and could be a great shot for a cozy mystery. (You do still have to light and frame the shot.)

Do you NEED pros? I'm shooting myself in the foot a little, as this is how I make my living...

For the quality above, yes. For a trailer that does it's job? You may not. Depends upon your approach. If you want something action packed and heavily stylized, finding a pro is probably your best bet. And a thought on performance and voice overs - find an actor or vo artist who's just starting out, but be sure they have some sort of reel. I can't tell you how many trailers I've seen with friends and family doing this, and it mostly doesn't work. You might have a friend or family member with unusual talent, just don't bank on it.

Of course, if you're just making a trailer for the hell of it, just as a fun activity, do whatever you like.

SUNNY GUY on Vimeo - I shot this

SUNNY GUY on Vimeo



This is my first stop motion project. The second is in post now, and I must say - I LOVE the medium.

I wasn't really sure how much patience I'd have for the art form, as I'd heard it's notoriously slow and fussy.

It is - and suits my own exactitude and pickiness very well. Since every shot really is a still, you can muck with every frame of your movie!

Why, yes, I'm a gamer

Boy, Games Sure are Getting Close to Movies: The ‘Bioshock Infinite’ Trailer - NoFilmSchool


Here's why. This is fifteen minutes of actual gameplay. They're calling games like this 'interactive movies', and the storytelling innovations get better every year. Inspiration is everywhere; this is just one of my sources.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Terry Pratchett - Official Website : Wyrd Stuff

Terry Pratchett - Official Website : Wyrd Stuff

Terry Pratchett's 'Wee Free Men' is currently available to read on his website for FREE. DO IT DO IT DO IT.

If you have not had the pleasure of reading Sir Pratchett and exploring his unique fantasy world, this is a treat not to be missed.

Pratchett originally wrote 'Mort', the first novel in what became the Discworld series, as a parody of the serious fantasy genre. Discworld has since progressed into a 20(?) novel 'series' (in quotes because each novel works perfectly well as a stand alone) with well rounded characters the reader can care about, deep themes ranging from women in the military to Middle Eastern politics, all wrapped in a rollicking adventure with grace and humor, set at a page turning pace.

I'm always careful about buying one of these, because I'll be unable to tear myself away from it until it's finished.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Regretsy

href="http://regretsy.com/>Regretsy Makes me happy.

It's like the worst of fan fiction on display, only for the crafting universe. Poorly constructed, often born of a mind that would give sane persons nightmares, these 'crafts' are the worst of the worst offerings on a site for all things handmade, Etsy (barring all of the retail items there, of course).


The mind doesn't boggle so much that there are people out there that are lousy craftsmen; not everyone's creative bent translates well through manual skill. What does give me pause is that people have put these things up for SALE. The equivalent of (often x rated) macaroni art on craft paper. And often at an exorbitant price point.

And I thought self delusion belonged only to us writer-types.

VIVA-LA-CRAP!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sometimes real life is stranger than fiction

It took me a little while to figure out how to get back to this blog.

I've been thinking about that 'write what you know' advice, and another level on which it often fails.

Real life experiences can sometimes be stranger than fiction, and more importantly, they don't have to make sense.

I visited the walk of fame in Hollywood a few years ago. Struggling actors dress up as costumed characters and busk for change from tourists in exchange for having their pictures taken. Some spots are considered 'prime', and there's a bit of competition for them, sometimes violent.

There was a person dressed in a spectacular Davey Jones (from Pirates) costume, and a fairly viable Jack Sparrow set up shop on one side of him. A few minutes later, another Jack appeared on his left. The Jacks glared at each other behind the scene stealing Davey (neither Jack was particularly good performance wise, and both were relying on the attention of the center performer). They began catcalling and harassing each other.

This escalated to fisticuffs after a little while.

That's right - in real life, I saw two Jack Sparrows trying to beat the crap out of each other while Davey Jones watched, shrugging and waving to the crowd.

If I put this in a story, no one would believe me. It didn't make a whole lot of sense (perhaps in the context of desperate actors?), and it had not much to do with the rest of my day. I have no idea how this would fit into a narrative.

Mostly, this was an excuse to tell you all about the fistfight between Jacks with Davey Jones keeping score, which was just awesome.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Book Trailers (thoughts on the good and examples)

Looks like the obsession with book trailers is here to stay. The topic keeps getting hotter, and I can't honestly figure out why - I've purchased exactly zero books as a result of a trailer, so I'm wondering how many of you guys have different experiences.

That said, there are some titles that made my radar because of an exceptional video. I just haven't purchased them yet.

That said, most book trailers, even for the big guys, kind of suck.

I did some digging and found some that don't:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_jyXJTlrH0&feature=player_embedded







This one, the writer created herself - so it can be done.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

OMG ElfQuest online!

The entire ElfQuest series.

I'm having a major nostalgia attack right now - these were my absolute favorite comics ever as a kid.

I was quite the aspiring artist as a kid; I can remember being surrounded by art supplies in my little 'nest' in the loft of my parents booth at the renaissance festival (yup, my mom is an artisan/crafter, and we did shows as far back as I can remember).

When we first started doing that kind of show, my brother and I were far too young to be much more than trouble. Rather than allowing us to run wild on the grounds (a popular, yet honestly dangerous practice for many families), my folks set up a 'clubhouse' in the storage loft of our booth. What a brilliant, sneaky move. The only way up (unless you could fly) was a ladder built into the wall. My folks could keep an eye on us without having to constantly monitor our activity. We had a private, relatively quiet space all our own, where we could 'spy' on our parents and patrons coming into the booth, as well as a window to watch the shows and adventures that happened outside.

Our clubhouse was totally tricked out with pillows, blankets, snacks, toys, books, and whatever other weirdness that we could carry up the ladder.

One of the things that I did up there was tirelessly draw things. People walking by, critters out of my head, whatever struck my fancy. I did fairly accurate plants and animals at the time, but my human anatomy was influenced more by Warner Brothers than Da Vinci. When proudly displaying the fruits of my labor, a friend had asked if I was an ElfQuest fan.

I didn't know what it was, so he kindly lent my brother and I the first four graphic novels.

We were hooked. I can remember sneaking in my sleeping bag with the flashlight head half unscrewed to dim the bulb, so that my parents might not notice that I was up well past bed time.

Now the whole series has been scanned by its creators, and is available online for free. I'd love to know what you think of the series, if you're new, or share other memories of it if you discovered it long ago.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Space Case - A Visual guide of what NOT to do.

Space Ark

Wow. Just...wow. This is pretty much a textbook teaching tool of what NOT to do.

Check out that website design circa 1993. Difficult to read turquoise text. Funny shapes in the text, RAINBOW text...

And that's before you even get to the excerpt. I dare you to read past the first sentence. DARE you. Double dog stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole dare.

Demanding that agents pay $35.00 to read a copy is a nice touch, too. I'm not sure which is the best part of this, though the artwork is up there in caliber with the text, which is equal to the web design.

This is pure comedy gold, and made my evening.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'd like to support you, but the book sucks...

This is happening to me more an more often, as self publishing becomes (supposedly) as simple as uploading a MS onto CreateSpace. (There are other one button uploaders, but this one seems to have the most traffic.)

I've been told that this digital self productions and distribution mechanism is the 'great equalizer'. While you could always pay a printer for bound copies of your manuscript, the 'ebook revolution' (sorry for the number of quotes) allows anyone to upload a copy onto, say, Amazon, and reach a network of millions of potential readers with one click.

POTENTIAL readers, not guaranteed readers. Amanda Hocking is a fluke, darlings. A wonderful, hard working fluke and, if to judge by her blog, a capital human being to boot.

Amanda Hocking is not you. Or me. And the people trotting her out as an example of self publishing success are feeding into the illusion that it could be you. Or me.

I could win the lottery next week as well - the odds are about as good. Intellectually, I know this. I also know I have the self promotion skills of a hamster. Yet late at night as I stare up at the ceiling waiting sleep, I wonder if I could be the next break out.

Everyone does - so don't feel guilty about that. Miss Hocking did it the best way she could - she had covers designed, hired editors (who still didn't help as much as a publisher round would) and is also incredibly prolific.

Are you any of these things? And do you have a bit of disposable cash to spend on a cover and a real editor?

Doing this right is HARD (as Miss Hocking herself has mentioned, particularly at the editing end of things), and most people just don't do it right.

Which brings me to my current quandary. Each and every person has this little voice in the back of their head that just KNOWS they're going to be this exception. No matter how logical you are - it's the same little voice that makes a person play lotto (if you do), take 'opportunities' that may not actually be as presented (I'm guilty of this one) etc. It's called hope.

This springs eternal in the artist, and isn't totally a bad thing - it keeps us from giving up.

The issues I see, are where hope and ability don't mesh, and the creator genuinely doesn't understand this. Add in the research and practice factor, and goals will eventually be reached - but that only happens when the artist understands what level they perform at, and what to do in order to reach the level that they want.

This self publishing thing cuts out the middle man, sure. But that middle man involves all of that research and practice and learning. I have honestly yet to see a work of fiction on CreateSpace that comes anywhere close to a commercially published story, in terms of writing, story arc, or grammar. Sorry guys, that's just the truth.

And the authors themselves are relentless promoters. Usually, not good ones, just relentless. I get dozens of new updates every day from friends and acquaintances who have opted to self publish.

I do want to support their efforts, I really do. I just can't bring myself to buy something where the excerpt either bores or makes me cringe. If the grammar is fine, the writing is flat.

And don't get me started on covers. This is THE thing that's going to make someone click on your book - and the covers range from god awful to non existent. Some of these writers are even trying to charge others for their cover design 'skills', which is terrifying. Owning photoshop does not make one a cover designer. People spend years of time, effort, and schooling to become designers. There's a reason.

For whatever reason, the cover design tends to be indicative of the quality of writing within - I keep waiting to be surprised by a gem that just has a lousy cover, but it hasn't happened yet. I have no idea why this is. Perhaps the same people that have delusions regarding one skill have similar issues looking objectively at their other skills?

So, a few more helpful hints:

1. I understand the being 'so close' frustration, I really do. Here's where you might think this option is viable - if agents and editors have requested fulls. That means either you're nearly there, or you are there, and there's just no room in the line up right now. If you're not getting past the query or partial stage, there's a reason.

2. Unless you have a graphic design background, don't do your own cover. Please. It's going to suck. Don't assume you'll be the magical exception.

3. You CANNOT edit your own work. Your mom, teacher, college prof, etc, also cannot edit your work. Every single time I've seen something edited this way, it sucks. Every time.

4. Be aware - if all of your sales are coming from friends and family, there's one of two things going on: either your marketing sucks, or your book sucks. I'm sorry to say, it's probably both.

I can't help but feel for some of these books, if not the writers. How many could have been something with a real editor and copy editor, with a real cover design, etc. Now those first rights are gone, and the poor writer is stuck with an unsellable mess where they could have made a few bucks.

I hear all the time 'better to have it out there to maybe make money, what's the harm?'. Besides your first rights being gone? If it's terrible, no one will probably notice it, and it'll disappear. No big deal - unless you count all the effort of writing the thing in the first place.

Your work is worth more than that. If you are going to self publish, please do it right.

Comprehensive guide for comic book scripts

The Ultimate comic Guide

For all you aspiring comic writers out there!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Atlanta Nights Movie website

I decided that this little blog o' mine already covers two pretty broad topics, and isn't really the right place for updates about my personal film project - especially as this blog's goal is primarily educational in nature, rather than promotional.

So from now on, all news, silliness, and updates about the film project will appear on the official site, rather than my personal blog. (If something really interesting happens, I may post a link, but no more endless movie posts here.)

Feel free to follow and comment on that site as well, I run both of them, so you're still talking to me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Positive reviews that DON'T help.

A friend of mine's mother writes short stories, and they were looking for an inexpensive way to have them bound to share with friends and family. I just sent a link to Lulu.

While there, I figured I'd do some perusing to see what's new and interesting in the world of...

GAAAAAAAAH MY EYES!!!

Followed by sighs of incredulity.

Each and every one of the competently (not even well, just competently) written blurbs that I've read so far has been either from a book put out by a commercial press, or an anthology collection from a well respected magazine. Those are also the books that sport covers that don't make my eyes want to leap from my head and run under the sink, where blessed darkness may ease the burning.

Yes, I'm sure I'll hear 'there ARE well written self published books' recited back at me like the mantra that it has become. My response?

Who the hell wants to waste hours digging to find the one that appears at least competent? I clicked on about fifty links this morning. There was ONE self published fiction that looked well written, and it was only marginally fiction: a series of hauntings from one county in Tennessee. While marginally fiction, the book appears to be interviews and history, with a bit of paranormal speculation.

Every single other blurb that I read was swamped with awkward sentence structure, clunky writing, and in some cases, mind boggling spelling and grammar issues. If the blurb is incomprehensible, the thought of suffering through an entire manuscript by that writer makes my hands shake.

The only thing worse (or funnier, depending upon your taste) were the obviously shill reviews from friends and family, raving about how great they were. When a self professed non reader takes the time to say how 'grate' a book is, and how it was a 'page turner' without hinting at the story itself, that doesn't help sell a book. When 'a reader' waxes on about the skill of a writer (which is clearly belied by the blurb) with zero other thoughts to that book, it kills any semblance of reliability of that review.

Reviews CAN help you sell this thing to someone other than Aunt Edna, but only if that review feels realistic and balanced. I'd be far more inclined to take the chance on something that 'could've used another round of copy editing' or 'exposition fell flat in some places, but still an enjoyable story' far more than 'teh gratest book evar writen' and 'I couldn't put it down' without saying WHY. (Didn't that type of advertising go out of fashion in the mid 1980's?)

Used car commercial language is silly in used car ads. It's absolutely dismal in an obviously biased, poorly thought out review from a friend that wants to help. Honestly, it doesn't help.

And for dog's sake, do not give a raving review about your OWN book. It makes you appear a bigger ass than those other reviews.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Atlanta Nights, read the book

I've had a few people asking me just how bad this book is. While I can wax philosophic for ages, I found an online PDF so you can experience it (and this book is quite the experience) for yourself!

(Link by clicking on the title of this entry.)

If you like the book, consider buying a print copy from Lulu - the proceeds go to the Emergency Writer's Fund.

If you want to see this become a movie, consider donating to my kickstarter fund here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1603898280/atlanta-nights-the-movie

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Is that gig really worth it? A guide to how I figure it out. Part Two

All aspects of our lives are composed of relationships, including business, and none more so than entertainment.

All of your actions and choices reflect upon those relationships - building them, altering them, sometimes severing them.

There are more people asking for one's time an expertise than several lifetimes can fill. How on earth to choose which relationships to cultivate, which to stand on the sidelines for, and which circumstances it makes sense to walk away from?

The number one way I figure this out is: does this person need me? The answer, which you might think strange, should always be 'no'.

Huh?

Let me explain. The people that I want to work with are talented and motivated in their own right. They don't need me holding their hand every step of the way, and will manage whether they have my assistance or not. They'll want to work with me because our sensibilities mesh well, we share a goal, we can help each other.

I have both personal and professional friends in this category that I'll go out on a limb for, go the extra mile every time because I believe in them just as much as they believe in me. We do great work together. But if I were hit by a meteorite tomorrow, their projects would move on, whether I'm there or not.

That is the person I want to work with. These are the people that I'll fly across the country for, that I'll volunteer time and effort to help.


The other sort, are the ones that like the idea of fame and fortune, rather than the process of making something. They expect that merely knowing someone who works on films is enough to make them a famous actor, a top tier writer, whatever. (These are most often the strangers that want you to work for free, too!) Somewhere, they think making films is like playing lotto, at whatever stage. Some have the 'great idea' that's been floating around for a decade, unwritten. Some have even gotten to the 'made a movie' stage, but didn't realize how much time, effort, and expertise goes into one until it is far too late.

I suspect you have friends like this too - 'I could write a novel, if I only had the time', 'I have this great idea...', 'I could be an artist/graphic designer/pro blogger but...', and a slew of others.

I'm not a pro blogger (obviously). I have no one to blame but myself for the unwritten words to my novel. I'm not really an expert anything - that's right, I'm NOT an expert. I do share observations on life and work that have worked for ME. They're designed to be helpful, so hopefully I can save you some of the heartache that I've gone through on my path. That's all.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Is that gig really worth it? A guide to how I figure it out. Part One

This is a topic that springs up from time to time, usually inspired by conversations with fellow friends and colleagues in the industry, who are tired of being taken advantage of.

There are so many factors to cover, that this is probably going to be a mini series so that I don't ramble too much, nor have the post end up the length of my languishing novella.

(Me, pontificate? Perish the thought.)


Ahem, right - back to this part of the topic.

How the heck does one choose projects? There are zillions of them, ranging widely in potential, both creatively and pay scale.

My most basic is a sliding scale based on those two factors. The less I get personally out of a project, the more money I'd better see - or the project better be insanely simple. I once got conned into shooting part of an infomercial for free, because I was flat out lied to about it, the 'producer' claiming that it was a documentary on research for new cancer treatments. To say I was irked would be a bit of an understatement.

What I've come to notice, is that newbie producers genuinely believe that the whole industry runs on hype and bullshit. Save that crap for promotions, where it can occasionally work that way. Experienced producers understand that honesty is the most important commodity that they have. They are honest about the scope of each project, the requirements, and the rates.

So baby producers - stop lying, stop exaggerating. The only people who believe you are in no way experienced enough to add value to your production. Don't tell me that a piece that hasn't been shot will get into Sundance, let alone win - you cannot predict that. And if you start your pitch with 'this will be great for your reel', I'm going to smack you through the phone. Really want to impress potential crew? Try 'we believe in this project and have really great catering'.

On awards - really, nobody you want working on your movie cares. Now, if you have an extensive track record of major awards, by all means, mention it. Single awards, or even a series of them for a single project is not so impressive - it makes that work sound like a fluke. There are so many factors for each film, and each one is unique. Honestly, seasoned production is far more worried about good accommodations, decent food, and the checks clearing.

As a brand new production person, by all means take a wide variety of offered projects - you'll get your hands dirtier, and learn more that way. Only you can tell where your limit is, and you'll figure it out in time.


More on that 'great for your reel' thing. Yes, everyone does need material, and to keep shooting stuff. Here's where it breaks down - why should I kill myself on a project for no money when I have a network of pros who all want to shoot personal projects in their free time, and understand what goes into it? I can take a day with some friends to shoot something awesome and have a great time getting more footage for my reel. You're asking me to do what I'd do for a friend, but we don't even know each other. I can collaborate with friends who are also seasoned pros to get great footage if that's all I'm looking for. So this is NOT a prime selling point.

If I want to read the script before deciding whether to work on your project, send me the thing. Trust me, I don't want to steal your student film project opus idea. I have plenty of ideas of my own. What I'm looking for is a script that's both strong, and seems like it could reasonably be shot in the number of production days allotted. Refusing to send me the script tells me two things - you're a paranoid egomaniac who's going to be a nightmare to work with, and that your script probably sucks. (Believe me, this is a safe assumption.)

Out of the scripts I've been sent (figure around ten or more every month) over the past, let's say five years, I've been excited by the writing on...

One.

So yeah, chances are the script alone isn't as brilliant as the writer/director wants to believe. The vast majority are nearly unreadable. The remaining ten percent are just awkward, overdone, or tired - I think mostly because the creator is only familiar with either blockbusters, or the top few films of the last decade or so. Watch widely. Read widely.


More thoughts on that sliding scale in the next post.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Your old writing

People often ask about one's old work - if they can read it (I'm not that evil), what it was like, how long you've been writing. Not one writer has ever sprung fully formed from the first sentence - we all have trunk novels, stories, and whatever else is formed of words on paper, in varying degrees of awfulness. Through a series of moves, my old work is long lost, and mostly forgotten.

I can, however share this 'gem' from memory:


My best friend and I were huge ghost story and Twilight Zone fans, and decided to become 'rich and famous' or somesuch by writing our own. (We were six or seven at the time, I suspect 'rich' included such things as getting our own pony.)

The memory is a bit fuzzy, but I believe the story had to do with a woman reading about a train crash and then perishing a few hours later the same way. Nothing wrong with the basic premise - the writing?

All I can clearly remember was the debate about the title, remedied by using both ideas. This masterpiece was called:

'The Fantom book of Fate/The Phantom book of Phate'

We thought the spelling change was terribly clever, but couldn't agree on which to use - so of course we used both.

I suspect the rest of the writing was equally inspired.

Friday, March 4, 2011

MARScon - the trip and pre convention

I made it to Minnesota!

The trip was not without it's interesting points.

The first exciting bit was that I nearly got dropped off at the wrong airport. My dear friend Gene was kind enough to drive me, as he had business in the general area anyway. While in good spirits, neither of us were at our mental best at six o'clock in the morning. After two hours of joking about which airport I was headed to, there was some confusion about which one was actually correct...

After being dropped off and finding my gate, I was left with a great deal of time to kill. Two flight attendants sitting next to me were debating the breed names of brown and white cows. I mentioned Jersey and Gurnsey, the only two I know. (I've seen cows at the county fair, and that is about the end of my intimacy with the subject.) We looked at pictures of cows, discussed farms - which a relation of one of the attendants had just purchased, complete with some sort of brown and white cows.

Turns out, they were Hereford. I find a new use for my smartphone every day. Discovered that the camera bag that I have is both overly bulky and awkwardly designed, yet I still managed to nearly forget it under my seat in the waiting area. Minor heart attack #1.


The first leg of the trip, I more or less slept. Southwest has this 'open seating' policy, where you pick your own seat, and board based on where your ticket appears in the line up. I chose not to pay extra in order to board early, a choice I will continue to make. Families can board earlier, so if you choose not to, you don't have to be near four screaming children. For that alone, I like the open seating plan.

I usually get a little airsick. I had a layover, as SW had no direct flights. This actually isn't a bad thing, particularly if you choose not to check your luggage. I suspect that would add a layer of tension to an already tight trip. Somwwhere between getting on and off the first plane, I lost my second boarding pass. One of the cow attendants (meaning one of the guys I'd been talking about breeds with) assured me that they could print a new boarding pass quite easily.

Getting off the first plane, I looked around rather blankly for someone who could help with the boarding issue. Some bank promotion was going on, and they followed me for a while telling me the advantages of the flyer miles through their bank. If they had told me where the help desk was, I might have accepted some of the literature that was thrust toward my face.

Getting a new pass genuinely was as easy as the attendant had assured me, once I found the desk.

On the second leg of the trip, I sat next to a lovely woman who grew up in Minnesota. She splits her time now between NY and Arizona. When I found that the next leg of this plane's trip was Tuscon, I had a brief bout wrestling with myself as to whether or not to just stay on the plane. Particularly when we arrived, and the tarmac was decorated in snowdrifts.

But I'm here, and the excitement should begin in about an hour. Next up, the night before

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I will eat almost anything

I had a location scout today for an unrelated project, but that's boring, so I figured I'd confide in all you wonderful people instead.

Everyone has an inner child somewhere, or so I've been told.  Mine lurks so close to the surface that I might as well still be four years old sometimes.  One example is that I love texture - so much of the world comes in through our fingers!  I adore visiting posh shops around the holidays, just so I can feel all of the sweaters on display.  It takes real self control not to run my hands through barrels of flour or dried beans at bulk food stores, they just feel so marvelous.  The staff neither understands nor appreciates the sheer tactile pleasure of running your hands through barrels of dried peas, though.

For whatever reason, I'm very aware of certain basic instincts (no, probably not what you're thinking!).  The dear SO bought some chain maille making supplies for his new hobby, including these really cool glass rings to weave into some projects.

Upon unpacking them, I had this almost irrepressible urge to put them in my mouth - they look like little life savers, only brighter, shinier, with some sort of beautiful depth.  (While I managed to keep my mouth glass free, I can totally why a toddler would want to try and eat one.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

fairyhedgehog mention!

A special thanks to Fairyhedgehog for giving the film a shout out!

http://fairyhedgehog.blogspot.com/2011/02/support-worst-film-ever-made.html

You should check out the rest of the blog.  Its funny, down to earth, and has some great insights!

Oh my gosh!

Atlanta Nights: The Movie has been announced on Making Light!

Special thanks to Theresa  Nielsen Hayden and  Jim Macdonald for doing this:


 http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/012847.html

Check out the comments section, I was laughing my butt off.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Interview, and a bit of sprucing up

I've just done my first interview for the project - less nerve wracking as it was via email, so I could think about what to say rather than stumbling and stuttering like a Morlock in direct sunlight.

Since I didn't sound too bad, and there's some extra bits of information there, I'm going to share it with all of you wonderful people!

Interview at Writers Gone Wild

Neat, huh?  As other movie flavored stuff solidifies, I'll be sharing it right here.  Or most of it, anyway.  There will be some exclusive video footage only available to Kickstarter donators - access granted for all donations of one dollar or more!  I did that on purpose so that anyone who wants to follow the whole process and see what I'm up to, see full interviews with some of the greatest living science fiction and fantasy writers, and really get some inside info can have access very easily.  Much cheaper than going to a convention, and you can watch right at home!

Okay, shameless plug over.  I don't want to be a pest to anyone, especially my readers.  This is kind of an important project despite it's silliness - making the rest of the world outside pro literary circles aware that there are sharks in the water.

The word spreads!

Holy carp!  This little movie project of mine made it all over Twitter (I have no idea where this started from).

Nick Barlow mentions it on his blog here, http://www.nickbarlow.com/blog/?p=1330

Which is a repost from SF site news here http://www.sfsite.com/news/2011/02/13/atlanta-nights-optioned/

My mind is boggled.  Things like this keep me going though - this is going to be an interesting adventure.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Atlanta Nights, the movie!

You know that big announcement that I've been talking about?

This is it.  I've purchased the film rights to Atlanta Nights, and am making the movie.  The worst book ever written will now become the worst movie ever made!

It's a big step for me in terms of film making - I've worked on plenty of features before, but this is the first time helming up a whole project.  It's nerve wracking, exhilarating, and pretty much any other word you can imagine that describes a roller coaster ride.

For the basic info about the project itself:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1603898280/atlanta-nights-the-movie


It's nearly all I can talk or think about at the moment, so if you guys have any questions at all, do post them in the comments, and I'll be happy to answer them!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Secret proejct

I've been spending a ton of time working toward putting together a film project - more news soon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The bright spot in a really lousy week - life imitating art.

My week, and weekend so far, have sucked massive donkey...ears.

Started out well enough, I got a last minute call for some video work which was a wonderous little cash infusion in a usually completely dry month.

The first phone call came - a mutual friend of the other shooter and I had died due to cancer complications. Meh.

When I got home from the job, I found out that a college buddy's mother had passed away.  Then, I found out again.  Yep.  Two different friends, two different mothers, all in one week.

Two of the funerals took place on the same day, at nearly the same time.  It has been a long time since I've had a dilemma of this particular nature, and am not looking forward to experiencing it again.

I have about six million things that I'm obligated to work on, and can't concentrate on a single one.  (This blog has taken over an hour.)

To ice the crap cake, someone tore the rear bumper off my car last night.  

The one bright, and more than a bit surreal moment in an otherwise miserable chain of events:

As the officer I had filed the report with began to drive away, a woman poked her head out of the window of the apartment building that overlooked the parking lot.  

"I seen it! I seen the whole thing!"

I didn't even know anyone lived in that building. (Well, I knew, but in that vague, diaphanous sort of way, like 'the building isn't falling down and there are curtains in the window', but I had never seen anyone come in or out.)

A spark of hope?  Hanging onto that idea like a monkey with the last banana on Earth, I clumsily encouraged her to tell the story.  Luckily for me, she was more than happy to talk.  With the occasional 'shaddup' to some small creature at her side, we got an approximate time.  I felt like the MC of a mystery movie, where a 'deux ex machina' character pops out of nowhere to drop key pieces of evidence.  That bit was pretty cool.  Alas, no license plate number.  I do however, feel better about the neighborhood, and amused that there actually are people who spend the evening peering out of windows.  I totally would, except the sole window of my apartment looks over the HVAC systems in the middle of the building.

Being the brilliant (if someone hits me over the head with it, I'll notice) detective that I am, I didn't think to extend the conversation - but I did pick up a piece of the perp's car, left next to my dead bumper.

Hopefully, some light will appear at the end of this tunnel.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope your holidays were marvelous!  I was down for the count with a head cold that left me as a prime contender for the role of Reagan in the remake of Exorsist.

My first job of the new year involved creating a time lapse video of  the building of a windmill for a Christmas tree farm.  In four feet of snow.

You can read the details of the adventure here:

http://filmmakeriq.com/groups/screening-room/forum/topic/trying-out-this-time-lapse-thing/#post-new