Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The only movie making guide you'll ever need.

Save the Cat is a guidebook to making blockbusters that offers incredibly specific advice and appears to have been used in many movies.  Jurassic Park, a personal favorite, is noted as one that had similar parts but not the correct order.

I am not praising this book, by the way, merely pointing out how formulaic movie making has become.  Not at all like Casablan...oh, wait.

Here is the list of events and when they should take place - apparently one page equals about one minute of screen time.

Monday, July 22, 2013

a song a day from Damn Sight Radio

From a Busan co-worker:
If you don’t already know.. I’m writing and recording a song for every day of 2013 and posting them here.  This is the 203rd song so far.
2013-07-22
It’s about the cast of Saturday Night Livelosing at least 2 of its strongest members.  I think Jason Sudekis is leaving too

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Steampunk festival in Coldwater

It's on August 10, at Coldwater Ontario.  I hope to be there for the morning, and possibly with a few guttersnipes in tow.
Facebook page.  Coldwater Event calendar.

In a similar vein, Orillia's Museum of Art and History has a Steampunk exhibit.

So, what is Steampunk?
Squiddo says:
Over the past thirty years authors have been trying to combine the past with the present to create the 'modern' steampunk. This involves manipulating the Victorian industrial era with futuristic inventions largely run on steam. As a sub-genre that is still growing in popularity it is hard to know what elements are "necessary" for a story to be considered steampunk.
Squiddoo focuses on three main points.
Language (Cockney and Victorian), Industrialization, Historicism


One Nanowrimo wannabe says
Air pirates and air ships are a big one! I'm personally a big fan of air ships. :) This isn't necessarily a literary steampunk thing, but goggles are very much a staple of steampunk costumes and aesthetic. As are gears on clothing and such. I use this to a slightly humorous affect. The gears on clothing in one of my WIPs has no purpose beyond the fact that the society finds it aesthetically pleasing and pretty, and people that dress up in steampunk nowadays do. People often use something called called "aether" in steampunk media that's sort of a vague thing. In classical beliefs (and the 19th century), it was thought that aether was some sort of substance that acted as a medium of transition of electromagnetic waves.
The thing about cliches and tropes is, they are cliches and tropes because they /work/ if you want to write in air pirates and what have you, go for it! Own it and make it your own.
This quote is from 2012, so this person might now be a Nanowrimo completer,
unlike me, who remains a wannabe.

Steampunk Canada has more info.

TV Tropes has suggestions on how to write Steampunk:
"Steampunk", of course, suggests steam-driven technology, so you will need to include this in your story. In a broader sense, steampunk also usually refers to a general attitude and aesthetic around that of the nineteenth century, incorporating the styles and fashions, attitudes and politics. This means, of course, that your story will either be set at some point within the Industrial Revolution or the nineteenth century, an Alternate History which spun off from this point or another world which is based on these stylings....Steampunk tends to run on Rule Of Cool; in actuality, a lot of steampunk technologies (particularly those which attempt to replicate modern technologies such as the computer) would have been massive, consumed unsustainable amounts of fuel and would probably have ultimately been unworkable (there's a reason in real life the human race switched from steam to oil and gas). This, of course, does not mean that your story cannot work — it does, however, mean that you need to make sure you get the reader's Willing Suspension of Disbelief on side. In general, as it's such a fantastic genre, the audience will accept quite a lot — but this does not mean they will accept absolutely anything.Steampunk is also an aesthetic. Technology affects the world around us in great ways, and a world based on steampunk technologies would be quite different in terms of politics, attitudes, fashions, etc. You need to keep this in mind; your reader will not be convinced if you simply transplant modern society with a slightly steampunk makeover.

I attempted my own list of tropes or requirements for Steampunk before I began research so lets see how mine compares:

  • Steam powered engines: train, dirigible, ornithopter, etc
  • Above, either biomimickry or loud, clanky, dirty, dangerous massive machines
  • Victorian settings, styles, classes: nobility travel with huge amounts of luggage and servants,combination of guns and swords, repressed emotions and sexuality, flowing booze and copious amounts of food
  • Brass, steel, leather, wood construction, goggles and gears
  • Magic or Magic/science - Mesmer's hypnosis, Frankenstein, ouija boards.

Added the next day:
Boingboing reviews a book on Steampunk Device making.  Amazon link here.

Added March 14, 2014, Steampunk 101.

Friday, July 5, 2013

TWIC: how to- list, marketing and profitable blogging

Behance (via lifeblogger), has a list of 29 ways to stay creative.  The ideas are good but not profound.  The list shines in its presentation, which is one of my weaknesses.  The list covers a few things I am good at but mostly omits the work of creativity, which is another of my weaknesses.  #29 is Finish Something. The actual work of making or writing the dang thing.

A.C.F. Crawford, author of Sailor of the Skysea, has given me his book on digital format asked me to read and review it on Goodreads.  This is part of his marketing strategy.  Many authors are now offering a few of their first books for free to build up a readership before actually trying to sell one.  Scott Sigler (Wikipedia) is the one I'm most familiar with.  Even established publishers do this now with Baen offering the first book of several series' to get people interested in their worlds. Well, Baen is using the technique to re-introduce older authors and series. I like the idea except that it means even more work before seeing that first paycheck.  Self-publishing is a scary gig.

In the above two examples, I've discussed my aversion to work.  Colin Schultz's post appears, at first, to be more my style.  He describes how he writes each blog post in one hour and gets paid well for it.  On the other hand, he had to earn his chops (is that the right metaphor?) before he was offered a blogging position at the Smithsonian.  He specifically says that nobody he knows makes money with Google Ads and Wordpress or Blogger.

The core of his post is how to be successful at science blogging and this paragraph introduces all the elements:
Now, those two goals: to be right, and to be original, run smack into the biggest and most important constraint in this kind of quick turn-around blogging: time.