Careful, your idea pile is overflowing…

So on Black Friday (which shall now be referred to as “BF” going forward) I can gladly say two things: All of my shopping avoided the BF crowds and were extremely awesome buys. The only store I actually went wasn’t until the afternoon and it was at TableTop Hobby, an amazing boardgames/hobby store that I frequent as often as possible. I picked up Android: Netrunner 2.0 and an expansion pack, which I’ve had my eye on for quite awhile. (Side note: My sis and I spent most of the afternoon and early evening playing Dice Masters and Netrunner at TableTop…was an awesome time.)

The other purchases were, well, less “tangible” I guess. They can’t be physically touched but will have (and already had) a tremendous impact on my filmmaking/creative endeavors. I picked up the complete filmmaker bundle from Triune Films (the guys behind Film Riot, my fav show on YouTube) as well as their “Writing 101 by Seth Worley” lessons. To top it all off, CreativeLive was having a BF sale on Ryan Connolly’s (owner of Triune Films) Guerrilla Filmmaking class that I’ve been interested in for awhile. I am loving all of these digital goodies. Right now I’m diving into the Worley stuff. He talked about one basic idea forming method that I jumped on right away; the Idea Pile.

While I am not going to go too in depth on it (mainly because it is from a paid for product that I am sure Mr. Worley would like to see others pay for), I will see the Idea Pile is genius. It is really how to group all of those random ideas one gets for a film (for example: a random scene, a line of dialogue, a cool moment, a particular camera shot, etc.) By building up this pile until it is overflowing, you can then start placing all of these things on the skeleton of the Three Act Structure. I did this tonight for a cool scene and an interesting character I came up with last night. Several pages later, I have a pretty big idea pile. Time for the next stop, which is when the ideas stop coming. If your ideas stopped coming hard and fast like when you started the Idea Pile, this is the part that will let put some structure to everything you thought of, and then ask questions.

Questions like “what if…” and “why” and “how did this happen” could all then lead to more meat for the skeleton you’ve created. Before you know it you have a full story laid out and now you just need to take that baby and make it in to your screenplay. While I know it is a pretty simple concept, I really dig the idea of turning unbridled imagination chaos into something more concrete ya know?

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

 

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#IStandWithPP

I was going to do a long blog post filled with my reflections about the worst commerce day of the year (Black Friday) and then the terrorist attack in Colorado Springs happened. The idea of doing a post that blasts the evil that is the busiest shopping day of the year and not acknowledge the incident in CO seemed wrong. While I am not going to spend much time dwelling on the horrific incident (the more I do the more my anger increases) I will say a few quick thoughts.

  • This was domestic terrorist attack that was made possible thanks to the horrible actions of the far right.
  • Women’s health is apparently something considered dangerous by the whackos on the right.
  • Those who say it was a “bank robbery gone wrong”…are you really that much in denial of reality? Seriously, get your head out of your ass.

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    I stand with PP…do you?

  • Pretty telling that all 14 GOP presidential candidates and quite a few GOP leaders have said absolutely nothing about the attack. If it were something that attacked what they deem necessary, you can bet that they would be fired up about it. But a place that “kills babies”? Who cares amiright???
  • I’m glad that both Clinton and Sanders at least responded to the attacks. While I would have wished from more than a tweet from both, they at least acknowledged it. Can’t say the same for O’Malley.
  • None of my conservative friends on Facebook or Twitter have said anything heartfelt for the victims (well, one did post a meme honoring the officer who was killed during the attack; what about the other victims? What about the attack on women’s healthcare?) Needless to say it is days like yesterday that show the true heart of the Right.

In closing: My heart, my thoughts, my prayers go to this affected by this horrible terrorist attack. Going forward, I will do more than just post a hashtag in support. I am going to find ways to volunteer at a local PP location. Every bit helps.

If you would like more information about the services Planned Parenthood offers or would like to donate, please check their website here. 

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

Deadlines, shmedlines…

Deadlines can be two things at once; an amazing blessing and a dreadful curse. Think about it; it is a blessing because you have a goal in mind, something to strive for and on the flip side, every day that passes by the pressure/stress of making said deadline just increases. I can feel the pain of constant deadlines. At a prior job I spent many days worrying about making deadlines for various reports, projects, and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators.) It made it seem like taking a lunch or a day off was putting me days behind. It was miserable. (For those of you who currently have jobs like that, my heart goes out to ya.) There was the positive side of it though like I mentioned. Once you met your deadline and you were finished…such sweet release.

When I walked away from the career, it was amazing how much better I felt not always having to deal with a constant deadline hanging over my head. However, I felt I started to become complacent. There wasn’t a driving force making me do something. While it is awesome not having that pressure, it is less awesome to have something hold you accountable to get things done. For example, I would hard on a project if I knew it was due in two weeks. Now,  without a deadline, if I wanted to complete a personal project it becomes one of those “I’ll get around to it eventually” things. That’s not good.

That is why I am going back to the deadline route. While Over the next 5 weeks we will have three holidays, I will be traveling all over Kansas for work the first two weeks, going to Wisconsin for two weeks to help my family move, and possibly get things ready for another New Year’s bash at our place, and help my producing partner prep her short film for January (which is followed by prep for mine)…I’m still going to stick to a deadline. Actually, a few of them.

The deadlines will be focused on my creative projects that I am working on. There are quite a few of those. While all of them can be considered a big undertaking in their own right, I like to pile a lot on my plate. So here is what I’m thinking for my deadlines for various projects –

Daily: Update the blog

12/31/15: Both short films have been revised, broken down, locations scouted, and prepping a casting call.

12/25/15: First draft of feature length done

1/31/16: Second draft of feature length completed

2/15/16: Casting call completed

3/31/16: Final revisions made on short films and feature length

End of May: Shorts completed, editing started, start festival submission process.

That all seems very doable. Just gotta find ways to to help me stay on top of these. I did download an app called “HabitBull”, so maybe that’ll help. At least I know some of these deadlines will get some progress today; E., my partner-in-crime (or producing partner if you won’t to be more accurate) is in town today and we are going to be diving headfirst in to this stuff. Can’t wait!

Time to own these deadlines!

Here’s the thing about politics…

OK, let me back up for a second. I am not going to go on a tirade about a specific event or topic within the realm of politics. Not yet at least. This blog, though I’ve had for several years now, is really just in its infancy stage, and I’m trying to figure out whether or not this should be an arena where I should talk about that stuff. That decision will be made soon and will probably be made for me. This links to my social media pages (which is ironic I mention that and you’ll know why soon enough) and I will have to decide whether or not the risk of upsetting people I know is worth it (for a good cause, it always is.)

Now that I have that disclaimer out of the way, I want to discuss the frustration of politics in general or at least, what the act of discussing politics amongst each other has become…it is now nothing but white noise. White freakin’ noise.

Let me elaborate. Today, most of us live our lives online. By that I mean we tweet, we tumble, we instagram, we Facebook, yadda yadda yadda. You get the drift. Every moment, every thought, every little detail of our lives get thrown up on one or all of the social media platforms. I say this as someone who is very much guilty of this. Because of this practice, our core values and ideas start to be condensed into a simple update that is 140 characters or less. Sometimes, we take the extra step to write a paragraph on something like Facebook.

After we do this, what usually follows? 70% of the people who agree start liking and if brave enough, comment. The likes always outnumber the comments and the comments that agree with you usually say “^This” or “Couldn’t have said it better myself, I’m sharing.” Then there are the other sides (not “other half”, because every political topic has many sides, much like a d20 from D&D), where people will (for lack of a better term) attack your viewpoint. What equates to “screaming”, people use their viewpoints to criticize yours. While their intent may be to focus on the post itself and not the individual, many of us take it as a personal attack.  I know that is not the intent; the people who are my friends on Facebook are ones I care for and I know care for me. Yet talking politics on something like Facebook is like talking in a vacuum; the only thing that exists at that moment is my post and not my 25+ years of history with that family member or friend.

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How many of my friends and family must react when they read my posts on Facebook.

Now, I’m not saying I’m innocent. When I’m scrolling my newsfeed, I do at least one face palm every time. Someone on my feed is posting a meme/article/rant that obviously is wrong or misleading and I just can’t believe they’d post it without looking at all (or any) of the facts. It makes it very hard to stop my clicking finger; my mouse pointer floats over that comment button with excitement as I am getting ready to tear apart their post with so many facts…yet, I realize (sometimes too late) that I am just doing what they did to me just a few days ago. Even though I believe (and often know) that my side is correct, so did they when they responded to my post a week ago. So am I responding to A) Start a grownup dialogue about the issue at hand, B) Post in revenge because they dared to challenge my view not long ago, or C) Just poking the bear? Sometimes its all of them, others just one of them.

We do this over and over again, using social media to speak our complex and intricate view points in small snippets that don’t truly explain all of our viewpoints. They aren’t even good synopsis’s of our views; I feel if they were there would be less online screaming and more online discussion. So that brings me to the point of this post; our reliance of social media to speak for our politics has hampered our ability to discuss the issues we care about as grown ups and in person. You know how it seems more and more people are saying “I can’t stand family gatherings, all we do is talk about politics and religion, so by the end of it everyone is mad at each other!” Granted, that may be something that has been going on for years, but nowadays it seems it is exasperated by the fact we take all of the memes, rants, and updates with us to these family events (“political baggage” if you will) and use them to argue for us. How is this productive? It isn’t! Yet we do it still!

That is my problem with politics today. Not that they divide; they have and will continue to do so. No, my problem is that we have become to reliant on a social media platforms to speak for us and therefore, have become less able to discuss and maybe solve the issues in person, like adults. If the world didn’t rely so much on social media, I would have walked away from them long ago. Sadly, that’s not an option. I have no idea now to fix this problem that I’ve blabbered on about; I just know it is a problem and it infuriates me.

I do know my personal solution though. After writing this post and rereading it before posting, I have come to a decision. I will use this blog to post my political views. However, they will not be sudden reactions to a situation. They will be researched, coherent, and hopefully, able to stand up to scrutiny. Thanks to the template of my blog, the categories are posted at the top of my posts. So, if you have no desire to read a politics heavy post, you’ll know right away to keep on scrolling past. I do hope you take a moment to read what I have to say though. Maybe you’ll agree with, maybe you won’t. If you don’t, that’s ok. We could have a dialogue about it that refrains from using base emotions but instead would be two adults talking. It is possible to do that online. Difficult, but possible. Hey, one can hope right?

A Menu! (An Ode to Mum)

So part of this week I’ll be all by my lonesome (well, myself and two dogs, one who has a pretty nasty cough that I gotta keep an eye on) since the wife will be in the Sunshine state spending time with an old friend. Yes, I am jealous because A) the friend she is going to go see is pretty awesome B) her friend’s son is a blast to hang out with  and C) she’ll be in sunny Florida while I’m in cold Kansas (don’t get me wrong, I love the fall, but I don’t like cold.)

So since I am done for work for the month (besides my other contractual obligation which is more fun and informative than work) I have put my focus on my writing, prepping, and most of all, cooking. Over the past month I have started to dabble more and more in to the wide world of cooking, testing the abilities that I have to see if they are actually worth a darn.

My mums!

Gotta appreciate that Mother/Son dance at yo wedding!

Turns out…I got skill. Mad skill.

Let me back up real quick. I have always had a basic, fundamental understanding of how to work the kitchen to my advantage. The reason for that lies with one person specifically; my dear mums. See, many kids growing up nowadays don’t get the chance to spend time with one of their parents to be taught the necessary skills to be successful in the kitchen (at least it seems that way.) There is a myriad of reasons for that and I’m not going to get in to that here, however I will say that this saddens me. My mother made a point to spend time with each kid to show them the basics on how to cook (while working a full time job that required long hours as well as being hen mother to all of our friends…we lived a block away from school so we became the hangout spot for everyone once school and extra curricular activities were completed.)

My mother took a very “Peanut Butter and Jelly” approach to teaching us kids. By that I mean she broke down cooking as if we had never heard of a pot or pan before and explained it very simple details. To clarify, the PB&J approach would be like if an alien landed in your backyard and you were trying to teach it how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You can’t assume it has the same understanding of a PB&J sandwich that you do, so you have to reallllllly simplify it. My mums did the same.

Now she didn’t do to talk down to us, no, she did it to make sure we understood the foundation of cooking before moving on to more complicated things. So she taught us everything from boiling water to make a cookies to browning meat and more. Those skills stuck with me and I’ve always done pretty good when I tried to apply myself culinary-wise. Of course, only when I tried…when I got lazy (which was most of the time when I started living on my own) I just snacked/microwaved/heated up process/pre-packaged food. Needless to say it really dampened my palate.

Now, several years after having been happily married and in a position where I can actually put some effort forth, I have started to improve my craft in the kitchen. I’m not saying I am the next Jamie Oliver, Alton Brown, or hell, a Guy Feiri (wait, on second thought, I know I’m better than Guy…what a joke), but I am saying that my mother may have fostered a seed in my that is just now blossoming in to a full fledged talent. That doesn’t mean I am never going to screw up when I make something; on the contrary, it means that I will most definitely screw up. Yet, that screw up will teach me even more on what to do and what not to do when I make something. Screw ups are part of the process, not the end.

So I set out to discuss the various options I am looking for the menu this week and I ended up writing a thank you letter to my mum for teaching me something valuable when I was younger. How about that?

So Mom, thank you. I am forever grateful for what you did for me long when I was little (though I know at times it was hair-pulling aggravating) and I will say for the many future mouths and tummies I plan on satisfying, they thank you as well.

But don’t think you can stop cooking when we come visit 😀

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

Tabletop Fun FTW

So this will be a  quick update, again with the rapid fire approach. I’m getting ready to hit the gym so I gotta keep it quick.

  • I feel most updates will follow this rapid fire format. I, like most people, have about a million random thoughts bouncing around my head. At least a couple of them I want to put down in some form of documentation. Doing it this way allows me to get some of them down while giving myself time to develop ideas I want to write about further at a point in time down the line.
  • Yesterday was the kickoff of Midwest Gamefest. Now, I didn’t get to go even though I have a four day pass; had family obligations. However, today I will be joining the many other tabletop fans in the KC area for some dungeon crawling, card throwing, and random scenario beating fun! Along with my sis, who has gotten the tabletop bug as well.
  • I’m testing a new workout tracker app for my gym workouts called Strong. Sort of simplistic but I like it. So far my only bone to pick with it is that when I was trying to input my workout for today (so I know what I gots to do at the gym) it crashed a couple times when I was making edits. Don’t know if that is an app or a phone issue. We shall see.
  • Next week I shall have about four days without the wifey. She’s hopping on to a plan to Florida to visit an old friend for a few days; I’m pretty sure the dogs will be sick of me by the time the trip is done. I like to carry on full conversations with them, very animated like, and it drives them bonkers.
  • Last thought for now (hopefully I will sit down and do a Midwest Gamefest recap tonight): I am going to start a daily “Try this out” or “I Recommend…” thing. I want it to be wide ranging in its variety. Some days I recommend a game, others a youtube video. Maybe a song from the radio or a book I finished. Heck, maybe even a recipe (which would have an accompanying post showing my efforts in making said recipe.) Today I think I’ll start with that is taking the internet by storm.
  • Today I recommend: WTF (Where They From) by Missy Elliot ft. Harrell Williams, the music video. Missy has been out of the music game for some time and then recently dropped the single and music video for her new song. Much like most of her music, it is not for everyone. She has a unique approach to the idea of using “ear worms” in her music, which I respect her for. There have been times I couldn’t stand one of her songs and other times I can’t get enough of it. However, one thing I have always loved about her is her approach to music videos; they are a filmmakers dream. Often utilizing insane (in a good way) ideas, gorgeous cinematography, and the editing…probably some of the best editing you will ever see in music videos. Her new effort is no different. So, enjoy!