Director is Pulling His Hair Out (from my Patreon page)

So, I have spent several hours coming to the conclusion that my idea for using my old computer and old video editing program to make videos for my Patreon page just isn’t going to work.  I began the setup for the third image in the “It’s All Connected Series” taking screenshots of the important steps so that I could load them into Ulead Videoeditor 6 and make a slide show video that I would narrate.

Believe me, this is the most inefficient method of making a tutorial as you can get since it is basically stop motion.  I could put up with that for now if the video quality was good.  Unfortunately, it is not.  I was able to make a temporary video to transfer from the old computer to the new, but playing it back, the images were so blurry that the words, clear in the screenshot, could not be read.  The images and changes were visible but not sharp enough to view details and words no matter what I tried.  So, for now, I am scrapping the idea.

If anyone knows of a decent free video editor, please let me know.  I really want to improve the look and content of my Patreon site but have absolutely no money to do so.  Help!  If you like what I have been posting, please consider helping out so that I can give you better content; which will also be available on youtube since that is how I brought the videos to you so far.  I have lots of great ideas I want to share, but I am not sure how long I can keep doing this.  Help!  Any technical advice, support, or sharing most wholeheartedly welcome and I will try to do something special in return.  Thanks.

Underappreciated in my Own Time (from my Patreon page)

Wow, as a director I am underappreciated for the amount of work I am doing?  I should ask myself for a raise.  I was putting images together to essentially make a slideshow of my artwork for my video put the cues for the switches were off by a second in the preview.  Why is this important?  Well, with Ulead Videostudio 6 you can place all kinds of different transition effects between video clips or in this case pictures.  They can only be placed between the pictures, which are placed in the timeline as three-second clips.  Well, what I was running into was that the first effect would work but the following ones would not.  In addition, I noticed that those images would start a second later then they should.

To begin with, I haven’t used this program all that much, so each time I use it, I have to start from scratch.  Also, with all the options on programs of this sort, there never is a definitive manual that can walk you step by step through every scenario that has excellent reference guides.  Finally, it is easy to set some switch to a wrong setting and not realize that you did.  Worse, the program might reset to certain default setup at the beginning of a project.  If you don’t use a program constantly, it is easy to forget that you need to set some switches to another setting.

After fifteen minutes or so of removing and replacing the transitions, changing the length of the videos, and removing pictures and restarting, I noticed a button on the play button.  The button opened a menu that had options for a quick or a high quality preview.  It was set to quick preview.  Aghhhhhhhh.  I chose high quality and, lo and behold, the transitions were all there.  I need a raise from this chump producer.

 

 

Director on the Set (from my Patreon page)

Here is a little update.  I did some cleaning and rearranging in my computer/library room today to make space to bring my old computer back over from exile.  My old computer is the one with the video editing program and is the one that works with my scanner (it is so old that my laptop refused to work with it).  So now I can work on putting my Patreon video together without having to go to a different room that was more makeshift.  I began playing with how to get jpeg images into the program to run as video, which took a little while since it has been years since I had played with it.  Once I got going; however, I remembered how much fun I had.  I look forward to playing around with the video and hope I can make something pretty good.

All Natural, No Preservatives (from my Patreon page)

As I have mentioned before, most of my art work comes from natural talent since I have had very little formal training.  However, that does not mean I was born with a pencil and sketch pad in hand, drawing from day one.  In other words, many people are said to have natural artistic talent, including myself, but I wonder if that is truly what they mean.

While I have not had formal training, I have spent a large amount of time experimenting with pencils, pens, paints, and computer rendering programs.  The level of quality and skill you see today is a far cry from what I started with.  So, if it isn’t natural talent that has gotten me to this point, then what has.  I would like to suggest natural creativity.

I was born with natural creativity.  I had a drive so strong to create stuff that I constantly pushed myself to get better with whatever medium I focused on.  When I was young, I spent a lot of time building Lego’s like many boys did, but after making the set as planned, there was a part of me that needed more.  I had to see what I could make on my own.  The same thing happens with my art.  First I try basic things, such as shading and texturing until I find myself wanting to do more.  There is always this drive pushing me to make the next piece better.  I learn something from the last piece I created then find ways to take what I learned into a more difficult project.  Just look at the progression of my digital artwork.

Again, I did not study formally; however, I did spend lots of time honing my techniques through trial and error.  It wasn’t so much a result of natural talent as it was a fact of natural creativity creating a need in me to learn on my own.  Each image I saw of another artist’s work made me wonder how it was achieved.  If I could not find how or could not afford to learn, I would look for ways to replicate the effect in some way with what I had.  To me, this is what truly makes an artist.

Let’s Talk About Consistency. (from my Patreon page)

Let us talk about internal consistency in writing science fiction or fantasy.  One of the more egregious mistakes I see in science fiction television and movies is a lack of consistency, which is why, to me, Star Trek the Next Generation does not hold up nearly as well as Babylon 5.  Also, by not maintaining consistency on such things as alien natures and historical events in your writing, you miss out on spontaneous ah-ha moments that can make memorable scenes.

One of the things that kept me away from re-watching Star Trek the Next Generation and some of the following series (except for Enterprise, which many fans panned) was the episodic nature of the shows.  For the most part, each episode was like a stand-alone movie that did not necessarily depend on anything that had gone before.   Yes, there were a few things they would remember from earlier episodes and would from time to time give a nod to or reference, but for the most part it was as if the slate had been wiped clean after each show.  The strongest episodes to me were the ones where they came back and explored aspects of earlier episodes from another angle.  Examples of that are when they spent time exploring the aftermath of Picard’s capture by the Borg while the Enterprise was being repaired and Tasha Yar’s Romulan daughter from the episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise”.

Babylon 5; however, spent a lot of time on consistency, mainly because it was a fully planned story from season one to season five.  Yes, there were a lot of changes during the course of the series, but the overall plan helped to minimize the problems.  I believe that they even had plans set up to cover situations like losing a lead actor.  What is more important is that aspects of character’s personalities, species histories and natures, and episode histories were kept consistent.  Unlike STNG where characters who were portrayed one way in an episode suddenly are portrayed another way just for the sake of the episode.   I don’t mean to jump too hard on STNG because at the time I did enjoy many of them, but as the series and then DS9/Voyager continued, I saw a phenomenon that really turned me off.  To me it seemed that major characters would fall deeply in love with a different character every few episodes.  It felt like the producers were watching the internet, checking to see who fans felt show be couples.

Look at the Worf, Riker, and Deanna relationship.  First it was Riker and Deanna while Worf loved a Klingon, having a child with her before she died.  Riker and Deanna moved on and Worf moved into a deep relationship with Deanna.  Then when Worf moves on to DS9, Deanna is just gone and he ends up marrying Jadzia Dax.  Just because you may not be able to get the former actor for a role doesn’t mean you should just drop the history you created.  For example, look at how J. M. Straczynski handled the loss of Richard Biggs and Andreas Katsulas in Babylon 5: The Lost Tales.   When asked about G’Kar, President Sheridan says “He is off exploring beyond the rim” and is later told that Dr. Franklin has gone with him, handled simply with a line that fits the characters without changing or warping other characters to fit into some new reality.  Also, in the final episode “Sleeping in the Light”, Garibaldi, Sheridan, and Franklin shared a funny story about a Pak’ma’ra that takes advantage of the species traits established much earlier in the series.

Another good example, so far, of consistency comes from Brandon Sanderson’s Mist Born books.  In creating the world, he set down very specific rules for the system of magic used by the people.  In some ways this codification of magic rules could have tied down what characters could do, but Sanderson found ways in later books to accomplish new actions using the same rules instead of ignoring them to write the scene he wanted.  In other words, he allowed the limitations of the world he created to define how he wrote the scenes.   Another example of attention to details comes from “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” movies directed by Peter Jackson.  Just watch the extras to see how much time was spent catching continuity errors.

Consistency can have a strong effect on people who watch movies or read books a lot, possibly damaging their opinions over time by confusing them or forcing them to make rationalizations for errors.  Star Trek and Star Wars are ripe with those.  I find myself cringing every time someone says how good Rogue One was because I want to say “but did you see…”   So, while I still mostly enjoy many commercial science fiction and fantasy offerings, even when consistency is an issue, I find myself irritated more as I grow older.  I even choose to forgo some offerings because I just don’t want a good memory tarnished by sub-par efforts, even from the original creator.

Check back for Future Updates

I am currently working on the first of two posts.  One is about consistency in story writing and the other is on natural talent, but that may come way later because the first one is turning into a beast at 520 words already and gaining momentum.  So be patient.  Long time readers will know that I really try to flesh out all my feelings on a subject I am passionate about.

Hello, who am I? Why do you blame me? (new $1 reward from my Patreon Page)

Here is the latest entry on Robert Garbin’s Patreon page

 

“These are some of the mysteries facing the protagonist of this month’s story “Stubborn”.  That and the world of misery he is wandering through.  Do you know who he is?  Can you make it through this torturous world with him and can you continue even it there is no hope of redemption?

  

“The man paused at the edge of the plain, watching as the ground devoured the wailing waters of responsibility before his eyes, leaving his heart laden with the guilt that he felt honor bound to carry. Soon the land before him was as parched and barren as the mountains he now left behind. A hot, dry wind blew through the dead, brown grasses of the plain, dredging feelings of remorse from the solitary figure that moved silently onward. He knew no other way. Madness returned as he conversed with no one.

Where did I go wrong?

Long ago, cried the land.

What have I done to deserve this torment?

Everything, rasped the grasses.

Who was to blame?

You moaned the wind.

Did I cause this desolation?

Yes, echoed the earth.”

Will stubbornness be your strength or your downfall?  Come with me on this journey and find out.

 

Also, don’t forget to grab your free copy of “The Fall of Blessing and Prosperity”.

  

“How do I tell a tragedy? 

Do I start at the beginning or the end?

Should I show how events affected me or how they affected the world? 

Must I tell you why they occurred or why no one tried to stop them? 

I do not know.”