Here we are. The end of the rainbow.
It's been a crazy, wonderful year. I've lived, I've learned. I've been out of work, back to work, workin' it. I've had a play produced. And I've gotten lost on the way to a dream and found, if not a better, than at least a different, one.
The project is complete. Check that. As of this writing it is 99% complete. The show has been edited; it only awaits music and graphics, and I have word that both will be done in time. Once I have those, I'm going to try layering each episode with a graphic and putting them up as a YouTube video, but in case I don't have time or it simply doesn't seem to work they will go up separately. I've set up an e-mail account for feedback, and also am setting up a Twitter account and Facebook page. So, busy, busy.
But not so much compared to recently. First, in the past week, my daytime babysitter (yeah, for the kids, not me, har har) abruptly cancelled, permanently. So I've gotten to try and find a new one, in the worst week possible for this to happen. *deep breath* Amazingly, I've managed to deal, but this is still in the process of being taken care of so I hesitate to call "no nervous breakdown" just yet. Adding to which, the past week and a half or so the hubs and I have pretty much sequestered ourselves to get all the editing done ("Kids, don't set the house on fire" and other great parenting moments, heh). An... interesting experience, which has taught me a
1) my husband and I have worked together more closely than any couple ever should, and we haven't killed each other yet. True love, right there. True love. We make a damn good team.
2) Sound effects editing SUCKS. I mean, we didn't even do any organic foley, only pulled sound effects off a computer program, but wading through all that was so incredibly time consuming, first trying to find the sounds that might work, then pulling just the right sound out of the narrowed field, then editing the right part of the right effect into the right part of the right chapter. Eurgh.
3) Writing for radio is different from writing for film. I mean, I knew this, and the script translates well, overall. However, there are a few glitchy points where we only realized in editing that the audience might not know what's going on, and we simply aren't able to fix those at this juncture (sound effects aren't enough to
translate, and there's no vocals to cover it). Well, it's all a learning process, and I can guaran-damn-tee that the episodes will only get better from here.
As will the website. I touched on this before, but just to reiterate, it's not all I want it to be; but over the coming year, I expect to fix that. In the next year, it still might not be there, but it'll be closer. What we've got right now will give the idea of the group and the stories, so the job will be done.
But it's not completely done without thanking all the great folks of spirespire for their support. So, thanks to Amy, Christian, Jess, Corinne, Colin, Stuart, Amanda, Patricia, Sheri, and most of all Shay, for providing this network and platform of accountability. I've followed everyone elses stories and progress throughout the year; not everyone made it, but they gave it a try, and that's more than some people ever do. And, hey, guys: it doesn't end here. If your goals, from spirespire, or any beyond, have not been met, that doesn't mean they never will be. If, after all this, you feel that these goals are not worth pursuing, it's your life and it's up to you. But if it's something you really want, then don't feel you have to give up now. It'll be worth it, so, so worth it, to try, try again. If you do, you'll get there eventually. Maybe not in the way you thought you would; but you will get there.
And speaking of getting there: we go live on Saturday! I... don't know exactly when, as I'm giving myself the whole day max if anything untoward arises and has to be dealt with. But, if nothing untoward happens, on Saturday, this will be unleashed upon an unsuspecting world:
Ok, just the hyperlink there doesn't look too impressive... and it won't actually be active until the site goes live. BUT if you wait until Saturday, then if you click on it, hopefully, it may or may not take you to a slightly more impressive site wherein dwell the fruits of my labor. :) And those of my husband, and cast, and the artist, and the music maker... thank you to all these wonderful people as well, and all my supportive friends and family (and yes, you too, Mom and Dad, last but not least).
So, what's next for me? Well, there are the remaining 8 chapters to part one (we will be releasing an episode every two to three weeks on the website). There are Parts Two and Three. There are all those other scripts burning in my brain. There's my play to try and get published. There are so many different projects, goals,
aspirations, ideas, and possibilities, that I will never have time to even think of them all, let alone ever get to them.
But for now? ...I'm gonna go take a nap.
The radio wire, that is. Or, the speaker wire... the microphone cable... oh, never mind.
I can't believe it. My next to last spirespire posting. In less than two weeks, the journey will be over.
And I'm ready.
Or pretty damn close at this point. Because I have:
1) Three episodes that are fully rough cut.
2) One episode that is fully fine cut (awaiting only sfx, music, and final mix).
3) A website halfway completed.
I have gotten a lot done. And it feels GOOD.
I've been corresponding with the fine folks doing the music and the art and those are now on track to be on hand and in the completed product next week.
I've gotten items for a cover photo to the project on the website so that will be done soon. Now, in regards to the website... sigh. The website. The website, to be honest, is not all I want it to be. Given the time crunch and my inexperience with websiteing, I've resorted to working from an easy-peasy do-it-yourself template,
which does not do everything I want it to. Not even close. I'm worried it makes my site somewhat staid. However, I then remind myself that this is a beginning; a jumping off point. This project has the ability to grow and expand, and by the end of all things, I believe it will be much more what I had in mind when I started it.
Or, it will be even better.
But for now, the website is rather simple. It's a home site for the group, the Trusty Gamboliers, we (us) that do the shows. Any shows we do will be on separate pages of their own; because, naturally, I do have ideas for other radio scripts! I could keep this going forever! Forever, I say!!! MWAHAHAHAHA! ...So, the site is not perfect... but it's not all that bad either. It will do, for now.
Mainly, I'm trying to focus on the episodes, since that is the product, as it were. The trappings showing off the product should be pretty, as they should attract the listener; but if the product itself is crap, no-one's going to stick around, so product quality should be the most important thing.
On President's Day, I was fortunate to have the day off. My hubs took the day off as well and we packaged the kids off to the sitter's. Oh, happy day. Once we stopped dancing around the empty house, giggling like crazy people, going, "We're free... FREE!", then we knuckled down and did editing. And didn't stop until we had that first episode fine-tuned. Also did some recording drop-ins, both of us. That's right, Episode One has been treated to both my husband and myself dropping some smooooooth lines on it, yo. And it survived the treatment, even.
Not only survived; but it sounds good. I mean, crazy good. We have one mike set up, so only one person can record their lines at a time, so it's a little worrying when you have what's supposed to be a conversation going on. Particularly when two people come in completely separately in completely different months. But then we put it all together... and you can't tell. You CAN'T EVEN TELL.
Now. Like I said earlier, sound effects. Those are tricky but not impossible. I've got a list worked up; we've got an audio library on the computer and are ready to record those sounds that will still need done organically, and we'll knock those off one by one. Same treatment, fine editing and then sound effects, for the second and third episodes. Add music. And you have got yourself a podcast.
Actually, I've got myself a podcast. Get your own.
Next week, I will have a website address ready for you. Instead of March 1st, it's going to go live on the 2nd,
since that's a Saturday and will give me more time to tinker with it if
necessary... but I'll have more details next week. The last week. Of... this
amazing... experience... oh, man.
to miss this.
What Steampunk Means to
The website is working out at last! Which means I'm nearly free to get excited... as soon as everything else gets done.
Until then, I continue to freak out.
But that doesn't (always) make for an interesting blog. So I thought I'd take a moment and digress.
This blog is mainly about my journey, so there's been a lot of posting about my freakouts and fears and failures (well, fears of failures, anyways). But as this session of spirespire is soon to come to an end, I'm finding a lot of thoughts bobbing to the surface that I wanted to address before the goal is complete (at least I hope it will be complete).
I could have done a movie, or now a radio show, about anything: why steampunk? Yes, I've posted in the past here about how it captivated me from the very outset; how it was, simply, tres moi. But why? Is it just, "Ooh, airships and goggles are preeeeetty", or is there something more?
Well, it can't be denied the aesthetics are damn pleasing to my eye. Par examplay, I've always loved gears and rusted machinery. I like intricate metalwork; but I don't like it so much when modern. I like the Victorian era, but I've never been particularly enamored of it; yet when you add airships and perhaps a giant squid, or many, attacking (or manning- squidding?) said airships, it adds that certain je ne sais quoi. It brings the question, how would people of this era build such airships? And how would they deal with it if said airships were run by squid?
Ok, I digress. But it's an interesting question. And one that- to me- is steampunk in a nutshell.
What criticism of steampunk I have heard is along the lines of, "Oh, it's like any other fad. All little top hats and goggles and you wear the uniform and pretend you're cool." Well, maybe you do, maybe you don't. If you do "wear the uniform", I don't have a problem with it, personally. In fact, there's going to be a lot more of that sort of thing for a while, because steampunk is becoming more and more mainstream lately. Which does make it a fad. One which, for some, will fade.
For others? Some may stick with it because of their need to belong to something, anything, to carve out an identity, to feel accepted. No, I take that back; some will stick with it for that reason. And so what if they do? We all, to some degree, want to feel accepted by others. If we choose this group over another, so long as that group isn't committing crimes against man and nature, then what difference does it make? Our lives are our own, and we make our own choices. And no single one of us should feel the right to judge anyone else for those choices. At least, not without trying to see the other person's side of it.
*gets down off soapbox* Anyhoo, part of what draws me to steampunk, and a great deal of what keeps me with steampunk, is that it's not just an aesthetic. That is to say, it's not all about the look of the thing. There's substance behind it. It embodies an idea: freedom of imagination. See, steampunk is about a specific period of time, specifically the Victorian Era, which in true history was already a time of great change, of great upheaval in people's everyday lives. One can imagine it seemed to the people then like anything was possible. Perhaps it was. Perhaps it still is.
Great upheaval? Yes, I think we can all attest to that, in some form or another, during the past so many years. People are losing jobs, losing their way of life. Beginning to question their way of life. Anyone else notice how crafting and such, making your own of pretty much anything you'd like, has gotten more popular? I venture that it's not just because people are at home more, and have more time on their hands. It's because people want to feel empowered. Doing things for yourself makes you feel that power. It grants you an independence, an equal footing, with others, where you can say, "Sure, my pal Rupert may have a great job as a quality control systems analyst inspector technician... but I made my own speaker shelves."
That may not seem like a big deal on the face of it. ...But can Rupert make his own speaker shelves? He goes and does the grind of his job every day. More than likely, during much of it, he goes through the motions, like so many others. More than likely, he doesn't really care about his work. And more than likely, he has nothing to show for the hard work he's done at the end of the day.
But you? You have a set of speaker shelves. You have something to show for your work. Plus which, you now have the knowledge that you have the power to make speaker shelves. And if you can make speaker shelves, you can make something else. Maybe you'll try a spice rack next...
The steampunk subgenre community has a very definite footing in the "making" culture. Makers and their
makings are yet another thing I didn't know was a "thing" until I found steampunk. I checked out videos on YouTube of the Maker Faire, and was simply bowled over. People... well, make, these things. These things, both useful and fairly useless, but all pretty damn amazing, considering they're made by regular folks who simply... sit down and build, and make.
I am so dragging my family here someday.
Many steampunk adherents are quite proud to make their own costumes, weaponry, instruments, shoes, teapots, tissue boxes, videos, music, and modifications to computers and lighting fixtures and school busses and whatelsehaveyougot? It's more than your average cosplay (term encompassing but generally referring to when people dress up as characters for geekery conventions, which I would do in a heartbeat if I could afford to go), since that, generally speaking, is directly copying an existing character, or slightly altering but still leaving it recognizable. It's more than most other genres I can think of, like Renaissance Faire adherents (and I love me some RenFaire) who can make as many super awesome leather cuffs and pointy boots and wimples as they want, but (save the odd set of fairy wings) are generally pretty strapped by their necessary adherence to historical accuracy. Steampunk makes awesome stuff, and costumes are part of it, but it has the freedom to go further. With ANYTHING. The idea being, "What if fill-in-the-blank were created in the Victorian Era? What would it look like? How would it be made with what was available at the time?" And, given the platform to spring from, your imagination's off and running. Squid powered airships, here we come.
I have seen this idea starting to play out in other alternate history fiction. Alternate Rome, alternate Renaissance (hey, the Faire welcomes steampunk time travelers for a weekend each year now, so there ya go), alternate Japan before Outlanders shoved their way onto its shores, all addressing the possibility of future technologies invented the past- well, the idea is limitless. For the time being, however, steampunk has the most to offer on the subject, at least that I've found. The most thriving community for dreams. The most raw fodder to power imagination. The most opportunity for we, as a people, to become who we know we are, and to realize our true potential.
Besides, those little top hats and goggles
NOTE: Sorry for the day's late posting. Just an example of how scatterbrained I am right now that I can set aside time to absolutely, positively, make certain I type my post so I don't miss my deadline... then completely forget to post it. As I point out below, better late than never, eh? EH? Eh.
There are just over three more weeks left until my deadline. So let the ideas flow! Let the creativity commence! Allow things to gently fall into place! And so on and so forth...
Why aren't things just falling into place?
So I sat down last night to work on the website. As I'm new to this website business (did you know they have websites on the internets? Cool) it all seemed quite overwhelming, so I elected to go the old fashioned route and sketch a layout on paper. So I grabbed a couple blank sheets, sat down, and wrote:
And that's where things kind of stalled...
What really sucks is that I didn't do anything else. Seriously, me? Time's a wastin'. Gotta step it up. Do it. Do it now!!!
I really am my own worst critic. I put too much on myself and then freak out (sometimes reeeeeallly quite impressively so) when I can't do everything. And I do this WITH everything, from work to home to podcast projects.
Ah, well. Enough of that. It was just a bad day, I'll have them. Got to keep going. We have done a little more
editing; going to really plow into that in the coming week, just had a few extra personal things to wrap up (okay, when I say a few, it's more like a ton). I believe the music is being or will be being worked on this coming week? Not sure... oh, yes, I can check, but as I have mentioned, I hate to bug! Especially when I'm not paying someone and they're doing it out of the kindness of their hearts! Nor do I know how the art's going. I'll... I'll find out eventually, all right?
Ok, as I said. Enough of that. Next week I will have something to post about; I can say that with every inch certainty, because if there's one thing I'm good at, it's knuckling down and doing things when it's close to the wire. Just wish I could knuckle down, say, three months before... but hey, better late than never, right? Heh.
And part of said knuckling down is getting to work, so I'll close here. Goal for next week: complete layout of website, get bare bones editing done on all first three chapters, and have begun fine tuning.
So shall it be. ...Hm. No.
It hath been decreed. ...Uh, nah.
Make it so. ...No, wait, wait, I've got it...
"Progress is a Myth" is in fact a line from the podcast, a line which this week I can proudly state is itself a myth (did that sentence make any sense?)- because I am doing things! Yay!!!
The things being done:
Getting visuals in the mix- oh joy!
A website template is begun- oh rapture!
And as of a half an hour ago- a sloppy edit of vocals of Chapter One is COMPLETE- oh cup runningeth over!
Now all we have to do on editing is to tighten the edit, add a few minor vocals, create sound effects, and add music. And then rinse and repeat for Chapters Two and Three.
All I have to do on the website is figure out what exactly I want and where it will all go.
And all I have to do on the visuals is- oh, crap, haven't I done that yet?
I like this getting-things-done feeling. I think I shall keep that up. Yes. Next week, more progress will have been made. And it will be good. And a dream will be that much closer to being realized.
What? It's Wednesday already?
Seriously! I cannot believe how fast a week goes! Every darn week Wednesday rolls around sooner and sooner. I'd better start doing things as soon as I hang up this blog otherwise I'll never get anything done.
Recording didn't go but I'm not so concerned about that. I've already got just about all the recording for the
first three chapters done. Editing didn't happen but there's a halfway decent excuse for that: I'm trying to edit together a DVD for the play what I wrote, and trying to get it done before we do editing on the podcast. Two different projects in two different programs, but it's all taking up space on the computer, and it's been a month since the play, so I should get this done and out of the way. And I tried. Really, I tried. And then I tried some more. And then there was some yelling at the screen... there may have been some thuddings of the mouse against the table... and then I decided to take a little break. The break is going on two days now. Not certain I'm ready to go back just yet.
Last goal was to work on the website. Finally, I figured out how to set up the site and monkey around on it. Yay! However, I just don't quite know what to do with it yet. I have vague ideas but nothing definite.
So, here we go:
1. Have a website design worked up. I have some thoughts toward this, but don't think I'll be able to
implement them all on this current platform. So the plan is, I'll do up a design and just throw in all the things I'd love to see... and then I'll cut it down, bit by bit, until I get to the best site that I'm able to get. I know for
certain that, whatever I end up with, it won't be anywhere near as good as I want. But I also know that that's just for now, just in order to meet the looming deadline, just to get something out to the world-in the future will come a new website, with everything and then some. This is just a start. And a start is important.
2. Speaking of starts- I will start the editing! That is, I will finish the editing, and then start the editing! Yeah! Take that, computer!
3. I don't know what else I'm going to do! But by next week I will have thought of something!
I blame winter. Nothing like freezing temperatures to make you huddle up on the couch with a comfy blanket
and make you not want to do bloody anything. Must fight this. Right after a nap.
Things are moving right along, and I couldn't be happier. Lining up art for visual accompaniment (bam!), lining up music for musical accompaniment (boom!), lining up folks for recording (whoops! *scurries to phone to text actors*). Goals have been pretty much met from last week, with the somewhat exception of starting a bare bones site. I'm stuck on a domain name; naturally the one I wanted is taken. I need to pick something, well
obviously something not taken, but something descriptive of the show, but not something sterile, something that is both memorable and easy to spell.
This could take a while. Until next week, at least.
Hopefully next week I will get more recording done but this week I'm concentrating on getting all this other stuff lined up. It's easier in your head; "Oh, I need music. I shall get music." Line from Point A to Point B. But nothing is that easy; what kind of music do I want? Where in the show do I want it? When will my head explode? So on and so forth, and the line proves much more convoluted than it seemed at the beginning. But I suppose that's life, innit it?
Anyhoo, with so much to do, the blog is a little short this week, BUT: making up for lost time! Behold and enjoy an excessively long clip of outtakes!!!
I am resolved of all blame for the "sexymonkey" title. Really.
Oh, and next week, I will:
1. Do some more recording.
2. Get a domain name picked and the website work started.
3. Begin basic editing work on the first three episodes!
So, here we are again. One week ago I promised I would knuckle down and concentrate. Which I did! Yay me! Woo hoo!
I also promised that I would get things done.
Well, I did... kind of. That is, most of the things I've done have been various little things of not much interest by themselves, just a few of the little steps you need to take to get things done. The annoying little steps. Of which there seem to be waaaaaaay too many.
Here's what I did:
1. Checked out website builders; three different platforms in total. One just proved a pain in the butt to figure out what the heck it did and I was able to discount it from the running. The other two are incredibly similar, but one of them I have a passing familiarity with, so I'll probably wind up going with that one. I'd love to try something different, but there's not enough time to accommodate any additional learning curve.
**Next week's goal: To have begun an extremely basic website build.
2. Lined up recordings. Hopefully. As ever, it remains to be seen who might show up. But still! I have done my part (well, I still gotta get the scripts printed out and clean house) in asking people, and actually getting responses in return. The responses were maybes... but still!
**Next week's goal: Have three people done with their recording. Boo-yah.
3. Given some thought to the music. That's about all I've done unfortunately; of course I'd love to have a sweeping epic theme, but the London Symphony Orchestra is "busy". Huh. Like they've got better things to do. Riiiiight. Anyway, I do think I've got an angle on it; I've had a public domain song which is entirely appropriate picked out for a while. I'd love to have the theme done a different way each time; like maybe
klezmer once, heavy metal once, smooth jazz guitar once... you get the idea. Now I just need to find lots of different people who can play different kinds of music.
The London Symphony Orchestra might have been easier.
** Next week's goal: Find people who can play music. HELP IS APPRECIATED.
I've just spent the night writing both this and an extremely complicated character rundown for a prospective recorder (recordee? recordinator?) on Thursday, plus I've got the sniffles so I'll close up shop for now. We re-open next Wednesday; stop by and see what's new.
Happy New Year to one and all!
With the new year comes a narrowing of focus. The play what I wrote has completed its run, the holidays are over, and while there are still many things to do, they are not unmanageable. It's time.
I have got:
1. Two more actors to record, and one more to finish recording.
2. Editing said vocal tracks into hopeful coherence (unlike this sentence).
3. Sound effects to record and edit in.
4. Music to create, record, and edit in.
5. A website to design, create, and launch.
And I've got TWO MONTHS to do all this in.
On the bright side, that's not technically correct. My SpireSpire goal is to get the first three chapters up and running by March 1st. So the editing, sfx, music, and website all have to be done, but not for the whole thing; and all the vocals on the first three chapters are recorded.
This goal is not insurmountable. But I do need to knuckle down and concentrate. I'm foregoing auditions for my theatre's next play- which I hate to do, it's an amazing script and I'd love to try out even though I don't think there's a part for me*- but I've gotta do what I've gotta do, and now is the time to do it.
In the coming weeks, reasonably expect to see steady updates. ...I mean, you already do, as I make it a point to keep up with posting every week, but this time I will actually be doing stuff. I mean, I already do, but stuff of consequence to my blog. I mean... oh, never mind.
So, as soon as I am done writing all my thank-you notes from Christmas (have you finished yours yet???), edited the DVDs of my play for the cast, and coordinated my husband's birthday, I will knuckle down and concentrate. Fersure. *But, hey! Anyone reading this who acts, go to http://www.albrighttheatre.com/ to check out the auditions this weekend. It's a really great show. :)
You know what's weird? Celebrating the holidays with family... when you've written a play about celebrating the holidays with family.
Luckily, my family really bears no resemblance to that depicted in my play.* Really! I mean, granted this was my family in law I'm talking about, but even my own personal family is ridiculously sane. I think that's because we keep most of the wacky below the surface. :)
So, the holidays! I survived! Hope y'all did too. Survived being a relative term, of course; my kitchen is overflowing with dirty dishes, fridge is bursting with food we've got to eat, kids have toys we have to find places for, decorations to take down (I don't waste time; love Christmas, but when it's over, then it's over). There are two family birthdays coming up real quick, theatre DVDs to make, scripts upon scripts to write and revise, et cetera I won't even go into here...
...oh, yeah. And a podcast project to work on.
But right now I'm just listening to Enigma and
trying to relax. I'm not good at relaxing. Quelle surprise, I know.
But if I spend all that time relaxing, how am I ever to get anything
third most frequent question I've gotten asked about the play, surprisingly. I
would have thought it would be the most, but in fact the most frequent is "How
long did it take you to write it?", with "What's it like seeing your vision come
to life?" coming in second.