In Praise of Fountain

I’m getting back to screenwriting.

It’s mostly short film or small fun sketches I’ve been meaning to do more of, but I’m no longer writing screenplays in any of the traditional applications.

When one considers the places you would usually see the screenwriter work in, one would probably name Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter or Celtx. For me, it’s a rather new (comparatively) writing language named Fountain.

I started looking into alternatives other than my previous writing app, Celtx. I realized that if Celtx were to stop development, I’d have no way to really take the screenplays out to another app. None of the other apps out there really have very good exporting tools, outside of taking them to PDFs. I was quite interested, however, when hearing about the Fountain writing language as an almost perfect solution to the problem.

So a screenplay that would look like this on my iPhone:

Fountain Before

Would turn out looking something like this:

Fountain After

Once I got the hang of writing with it, I was estatic. I took some time and even converted all my Celtx based projects (mostly old projects, but I still wanted to have them in the new format) over to Fountain using an application named Trelby (Windows/Linux only). There’s even an app that can help me convert it to Final Draft, if need be- Highland (Mac only). Hell, even the phenomenal Scrivener has support for Fountain.

So for now, I will say that I am very, very happy in the new workflow- it’s making writing so much easier. The Fountain files are just plain text files, so any program that can handle text files automatically becomes a screenwriting program for me.

And as a nerdy, nerdy screenwriter- I love it.

Imaginary solutions to Imaginary problems

I’ve been working heavily on writing a new series as of late, a revamped concept on a script I had thought up of while I was still in high school, carefully writing out the characters, rethinking major plot points, and trying to find some sort of reasoning behind the motivations for each and every one of the characters in the film. Unfortunately, it involves one of my biggest fears.

Zombies. Yeah, the living undead. I’m fucking SCARED of them. It doesn’t help that some of my best friends are absolutely fascinated with the subject. More often than not, regular conversation turns to the survival of the living during an outbreak. An oddly bleak subject, naturally, but it’s given me quite an amount of fodder to write with. Writing these series has proven to be the most stressful, crazy thing i’ve written in quite some time, and gives me nightmares. Most the nightmares involve the characters I wrote myself (with some scenarios I later incorporated into the series, thank you), but a lot of the times, I would find myself scared of the dark. I’ve started to stay up late to the wee hours of the morning, something I had never even considered on doing until about a year and a half ago. The relative calm that comes over my neighborhood (and family members sleeping) can be rather soothing, if you can block out the squaking parrots and the ghettobirds patrolling for the latest felon to wander only blocks from where i live. This opportunity has a large caveat- that same lull also brings forth the fear in the imaginary within myself. I fear sometimes for the imaginary things I had created in my mind- the zombies that once attacked a character in a script now has a slight chance to exist in reality, waiting for me on the other side of my door. It was a silly fear, but enough to give me certain amounts of stress when writing, and that stress would in turn affect said writing, to the point that it would be… unnerving. BB Gun.Talking to Primo’s brother, Andrew, I relayed to him my fears in such a case. He smiled, and gave me a solution- “come up with an imaginary weapon”. I was puzzled, but he explained it rather well- if you fear the imaginary, come with an imaginary weapon to fight it. As such, I’ve been carrying around a cheap little BB gun pistol, a PP9 replica that’s probably 1/2 (or even less!) scale replica of the actual gun. I know it isn’t real- i left the orange tip on there for safety, but it’s there to fight off the imaginary, to reinforce my own mind that I am the one in control. Oddly enough, it works. When I walk around my house, I’ll carry the gun in the pocket of my robe or my jeans, or if I have a particularly heavy scare, I’ll walk around the house toting the small pistol in my hand. The zombie nightmares have gone down to a minimum, thanks to this cheap gun i bought off of amazon.com (it was .99 cents, if i recall correctly. It was something I bought off of the site that was a simple joke). An odd way to explore the power of the mind and imagination, but there you go.

Keeping…

Keeping myself busy. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been working on my portfolio, realizing I don’t have enough pieces for it, so it’s simply pre-production galore. Trying to secure locations, gather a list of possible actors, figuring out possible shooting dates, the list goes on and on. After New Years, my life has finally quieted down a bit so that I can finally get back down to work. The work has doubled for me as I’ve moved to HD, or at least not full HD (I’m working at 1080i). My new camera, while being small, is a beast in nature, and now, I’m having some hardships with the format. My computer can barely keep up with the large file sizes, so I have to have lots of patience as files render. I’m also forcing myself away from using Final Cut Pro as my main offline editor, locking down my sound and cuts on FCP, then moving to After Effects for color correction and special effects, lacking down cuts using that program, and it doesn’t help that effects is being a two timing whore. But hey, the camera pumps out an image that’s been goddamn gorgeous, if my photoblog has anything to say other than looking mighty purdy. I’m really excited about youtube’s new widescreen look- for the work I’m thinking about doing, it’s probably the best so I don’t feel like I’m having to shortchange ideas for short films because “they don’t work on youtube” (that whole thing was a rubbish idea in my mind anyways, disregard it entirely. ) Oh hay, here’s another screengrab. This is footage FROM the Rose Parade, or at least the pregame stuff. I’ll be uploading small clips I won’t be using in a short film up on my own personal account on Youtube. Or Vimeo. Haven’t decided which one yet.
Rose Parade Intervew There’s a batch of new scripts I’ve been able to finally accomplish, and everything seems to fall into place. I’m going to launch my own personal site soon, and get ready to announce the main projects I’ve been quietly working on for my own since I left Cornstalker. There’s whole batches of ideas that I wanted to try beforehand that i can now successfully attempt to accomplish.

the new camera rocks

Primo Originally uploaded by djmayhem

Yeah uh, this is not a photograph, but a screengrab from my new camera. HV-30. HD footage. I’m busy working on some projects with it. Will write more when i have a chance. Or not being pre-occupied with twitter.

Artist’s Block

Writer’s block is common for many artists- i know of plenty of webcomic artists that struggled to get work done only to feel that their art or their current output is less than satisfactory. To simply call it writer’s block is rather unfair- I rather like to refer to it as artist’s block. Any artist can get it, whenether it may be something so simple as not being able to draw a simple sketch or a musician unable to get the concepts in their head played back upon their musical instrument of choice. As of late, I find that my artist block affects me in cycles. I basically dabble in multiple fields, including writing, filmmaking, minor photography, and website design. When one of the fields feels stifling to me, the other flourishes. As of late, I can’t seem to get any work in my website design field done AT All, but I feel much more inspired in the case of writing- I’m getting scripts done with much more fluidity than before. I’ve gone back and looked at older scripts that I had done on old Word macro templates and pulling out the funny parts that I had written back in middle school/beginning of high school and seeing what I can do with all of it. There’s some small funny bits i found, but most of it was simply sophomoric humor that would barely fit in say, the Disaster or Date Movies. (I wonder if I could ever combine them all and sell it as a bad parody movie. Somehow, those always make money.) I had been using the popular Final Draft program for my mac for quite a while, and I had found it to be rather buggy and well… antiqudated. C’mon, a decent program on the mac has to at least use the mac’s own native spellcheck program, right? Nope! Final Draft uses it’s own spellcheck program, and that has proved to be inadiquate for my needs (the program doesn’t even bring up its own spellcheck, persistently frustrating me), . I made the recent move to Celtx, an open source pre-production suite, and that has made the difference between night and day. While it doesn’t have the technical complexicty that Final Draft holds, the program does do a good job of tying in the script to other parts of the pre-production process. It’s rather simple to tie a character sheet together with whatever props I may need to use, what parts of the script is being shot on a certain day, and other aspects of the post production. Best thing, it’s fucking free (fucking just adds the fact that a program of this level should have some sort of price attatched to it, and being free just sweetens the deal for me). I can’t complain with that now, can i? There is a download serivce available to make the program availalbe to multiple people, but if it had some sort of syncing system in place (with wikipedia-esque editing service) i would be golden. But anyways, back to the original topic. I feel that some of the parts of my artistic enviroment feels restrained at times, while in other times, other parts of my artsy fartsy brain seems to flourish with great gusto. My techy part and my writer parts seems to have been much more proactive, while trying to do any sort of graphic design work or anything along those lines (website design) seems to have gone dead. I’ve tried FORCING myself to get work in those fields done, but they end up looking subpar and crappy. Thankfully, I need more scripts done, so i’m not feeling that far behind, I’m just afraid i’m going to have to play catchup to hit my own personal deadlines. Well, back to work. Maybe.

Updated, at last…

So I haven’t really posted on here. I can’t really explain why, as i’ve probably had plenty of times the last couple of weeks to do so, but i didn’t. Perhaps it was just my state of mind, being worried about one thing or another, but now, my schedule has cleaned up- i had a rash of tests the past week, and a couple more coming up this week that for once, i feel prepared for. New things have happened, actually… My friend Primo and I (along with two other friends) went on a photography excursion into downtown LA. We traveled out into the area of Fairfax/Hollywood, checking out the graffitti in the area. Most of it was done by the extremely talented CBS crew (google image the words “CBS Graffiti” to check out their work.), and it just had me thinking. Talking to Primo about it, there was an appreciation for this type of art in the neighborhood, something i had originally considered to be a nuisance. Now, I just sat in awe at some of this work, some of it so wonderfully blended, a mix of colors that made a blank wall just… so amazing. But anyways, back on subject. We were walking down an alley to find a photoshoot. Primo, being the usual loudmouth, started talking to the people on the photoshoot. “What are you guys shooting for?” He asked, pushing his chest out to show that damn camera that he won’t let me touch (too expensive). “deviantArt, an art website.” One of the people near some boxes said. I basically froze, and Primo grinned. We both have dA accounts (Primo’s and my own). We started talking freely to some of the people there, admitting that we both had accounts. One of the ladies there introduced herself as Heidi, and asked for our accounts. We both wrote it down for her, and gave it to her. Day later, we both are now subscribed to deviantArt’s pro accounts for four months. Pushed me enough to get new crap on my page. It’s sweet. Thanks again, dA people! On some other fronts, I’m finally shopping for a video camera of my own. I’ve always had to borrow a camera of my own, and it proved to be a bother for a while. Finally, I decided a while ago I’ll probably be getting one of my own, at least a very good one with 24p support. Doing my research, I think i might even just go completely HD on that side, go 1080p. Any further than that, and I’ll probably won’t be able to edit anything (2k/4k range is probably not even possible with a pro-sumer camera). So, probably a Canon HD camera. Going to do more research on that. Websites… I’m going to make a somewhat intersesting announcements on my future website plans. Not just yet, as i have to get some of the sites fixed up soon. I’ll make the announcements once the time comes for them.

i talk. and talk. and talk.

Well, i’m in the midst of school and work, so its oddly busy for me to be working right now. Daylight savings time came, and went rather… slowly. i didn’t realize until i woke up this morning. i woke up this morning to find my cell phone an hour ahead of everything else. disoriented me for a little bit, but other than that, i think its been allright. The weekend was dedicated to studying and to working on the Team Mayhem Productions site. One of my biggest problems as of late is the use of my nickname, Teammayhem. People all know me as Teammayhem in the webcomics world, and it ain’t all that fair to where i got the name, Team Mayhem Productions. There’s two other people with me on that front, and to be only known as THE teammayhem is a bit selfish on my part. So i guess with the launch of the Webcomics Report, I’ll be going by a different name. No clue as to what yet, but i want to sorta…. display a new image for myself. Teammayhem is the snot nosed kid who started writing two paragraph reviews back when he was sixteen, and i want to evolve from that point to something much more. So I guess i’ll start shopping around ideas in my head to what to do exactly for this issue. I want to create a new image for those who know me, and to create an image that can be easily approachable by those who don’t. So yeah, I’ll work on this. On the subject of Team Mayhem, its working oddly… well. No really, projects are moving and maturing much faster to what they originally were supposed to do. Zombie was always being held up as I’ve had multiple people drop out and move away from the project, a crushing blow to my own resolve to the project. But its odd- Taylor and Primo (the two other members in Team Mayhem) have become my own resolve. I get calls from Primo on random ideas he gets for the project, and he’s writing an episode of it all by himself. Taylor’s promised to see this project through to the end, so we’re pooling our resources and making this series. Writing… is coming along to me much faster now. I’ve looked through a review that took me close to two months to finish and i was able to rewrite most of it within a week. I can’t explain it, but it feels like i’ve just been powered up, feeling a lot better about myself. It really does help to get my work done and be able to multitask much more efficiently than ever before. I’m still working with the Cornstalkers, even as a coder. Supposedly, i’m still referred to as the Code Monkey, but i really don’t have much say to what to do in the project. I have no comic of my own to represent in the fray, so I’m sticking to what i can do best for them- Coding. I’m working on two versions of their site that i was hoping to get done by the UK Webcomix thing, but that ain’t happening anytime soon. But this and other projects i hope can help push the collective into a different fashion then would be a regular comic collective. I guess it’s just to push around and see what i can get done. oh, and i have an absurd amount of projects for myself- 1 music CD, 3 short films, 1 storyboard, 1 animation pilot, and 4 scripts. wooo. Oh, and I’ll be doing something special from now on- I’ll be listing the webcomics I’m reading. Webcomic Readings: nine lives Lightbringer (to be reviewed)

updates. oh joy.

Sarcasm is with me. Everyone, rejoice! So yes, updates for everything I’m working by, ordered by project! Cornstalker Working currently on a new blog system that i found, called PHPBB Blog. the name is exactly what it means- it takes a forum, and displays it in a bloglike system (any posts after the initial first post are comments). The final version was released, with a bug or two. i’m working on making the output a bit more purdy than usual and getting it just right (small bugs here and there, which i can hopefully fix). I’m also working on a rough version of the site entirely in CSS, by scratch, which im extremely and utterly proud of. really, i am. Cornstalker Radio **Those who know about it, can know im writing a song or two and the scripts. Spring, hopefully? I gotta talk to the artists involved, and get my own shit together. **Team Mayhem.net **I scrapped the site. completely and utterly. i was using a template, which left a lot for me to desire. i’d rather build it by scratch, so i can be proud of the design and work away at making something completely and utterly cool. I’m still going by ‘s early mockup, but with a little twist to it. Joomla has helped every step of the way to make this perfect for its content. And yes, we’re getting new videos and such to throw on there. and OOH, new music from the awesomely cool Think Alike. There’s a music video planned for one of their songs, as well. **Webcomics Report **After a bit of a mixup, im back at work on the webcomics report, trying to get the site on something of a working status. Yes, its another site designed entirely in Joomla, but this time around, it’s going to be a little different from the usual Joomla shit i do, so bringing those features to work seamlessly with one another has been something of a struggle for me. Plus, i have all of my reviews written down by hand. I need to type them up and edit them. ETA… March, maybe? I hope so. I want to have something of a jump start before applying to my expos again as press. **Unnamed Comic Yes, this is the comic I’m serving as producer and assistant writer to. The artist and writer of Blue Eyed Devil is working on this one, but it’s had some setbacks, as one of the main stars have dropped out, so we’re looking for new comics. If you couldn’t tell, yes, this is a webcomic, and to where we’re hosting it on is still a mystery to us. I’m looking to all of our choices to where we can host it, so as soon as we have a good buffer, we’re launching SOMEWHERE. Yes, SOMEWHERE. I wish i could tell more, but all i can say is that it’s going to be fun, action wise. first big action sequence takes place in an elevator. with a sawed off shotgun. joy for violence. **Blue Eyed Devil **Yes, this comic is going to make a quick return. Gonna pick it up once we get the chance. **Zombie **The project has been greenlight by all of the other Team Mayhem Productions members. I’m writing the pilot and the second epsiodes, in mind for a 15 episode run. So yes, expect me to start blabbing on and on about working with zombies. I pray we can get sneek peeks and trailers done in spring.

Workin’ hard, i think…

So its been a big push for me to try to find a job so I can start driving. 20 applications, only one call back. Might be going in Monday for the interview. So yeah, hoping for a job so i can get out of the house more often. I am working on new reviews, but I’ve been working on them a little bit at a time. Expect a cluster of them right before Comic Con. Speaking of Comic con, there’s a great possibility on receiving a press pass. I sent in the request in early June, and just now, I started getting press releases for the various events going on at the convention. Hell, as it turns out, NBC has a show coming out called “Heroes” that actually interests me. Other than Law and Order. If I get the press pass, it’ll be a green light all the way through, and I’ll be down there for a couple of days, thanks to a webcomic artist friend (Laemkral, from the very amusing comic “I’m Always Right.” Yeah, when the time comes for me to return to CG reviewing, he’s at the top of the list, after Sincerely from “Oops, Nevermind”, because she nags me all the damn time about it.) and there’s a couple of people I want to meet (Liz from Stuff Sucks.) and stuff I want to get (Stuff Sucks T-Shirt). So yeah, hoping for the best there. I just don’t want to start a job and have it get in the complete way of things. I could always tell them that my family reunion is over the weekend… With my free time, though, I’ve been working on writing. The pseudo machinima film, Purgatory, is getting a re-write after letting R.L. Peterson of the always awesome “Go For It!” (he needs to return to writing that comic. It rawks so fucking hard) tear it apart. He pointed out some problems with the relationships in the main characters, as well as the piss poor pacing. He suggested just separating the script into episodes, but hell, I don’t want to have two short film series on my hands, so I’m re-writing certain parts in order for them to flow much smoother. Plus, I have an idea with some of the characters and a couple new scenes. Team Mayhem is due to have another film up soon. Real fucking soon, which I’m happy about. We have only three short films, but hell, some music videos are coming soon, and talking to Taylor, it seems he has more coming with his band, Think Alike. He offered to me to make music videos for the band, which somehow got me to writing all these ideas for music videos. Unfortunately, I think I have to listen to the songs and meet the band before it goes any further. So yeah, here’s for me hoping that this summer will turn out better than last year. If only this depression would give up.

When a CD goes the Hoffa way.

Yeah, I was beginning to work on Purgatory. It was going to be interesting, really. I’ve gotten to build only Laurel and Death so far, and I needed the CD to prepare the houses that I want to build. So I look for the CD for The Sims 2 Nightlife, and whoopty doo, its gone the way of the dodo bird. I can’t find it anywhere. Friggin great. So now, I’m installing Daemon tools to mount fake CD images to get it to run. Might let the game run faster, considering that it won’t have to load from a CD every time I go into build mode (the site GameBurnWorld.com helps tremendously. Recommended for any serious gamer.). So now, Taylor finally saw the script. He was laughing over and over again as I acted out certain scenes for him while driving to burbank (to pick some stuff up for his band- Think Alike. I’m posting new songs of theirs on Teammayhem.net REALLY soon.) and instilled in me once again the joy of writing comedy. Been moody as of late. Dunno why. oh well. time to get back to work. That’s probably where I’m happiest, really.