Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Pink Flamingo and the Purple Cow

Backstory: The Lindens left Zander a kiosk to offer info on giving a person some gift from SL. Hobo Village is an info hub, so that is reasonable. You can see the kiosk now across form the train station. I called it the Purple Cow. It is ugly.

What do you do with ugly? I checked with hobos in my head. No Problem. That’s what they said. Not the first ugly they have met. The did say that the would make fun of it. “A source of innocent merriment,” one of the hobos said.

So I got Zander to put it right there by the train stop. For God and everybody to see. My hobos had several ideas. The best was a reminder that I have a pink flamingo in my inventory. Now you know that a pink flamingo is the poster bird for cheesy lawn art. An ideal companion for the Purple Cow. Something that a hobo might easily find in the local trash dump.

So I rezzed it. And right away, I know the story. Pinky fell madly in love with Purp. Now I want to tell the story of Pinky trying eagerly to win the affections of Purp.

Initially, Pinky is too shy even to get close to Purp. He (yes, he) stands around looking at her from a distance. (Think Charlie Brown and the little red-haired girl.) He will go between hope and despair several times, as he thinks she may have noticed him and realizes it was something else

Initially, she is impassive. Eventually we run out of ideas for this phase. Then his eagerness brings out a “human” side of her. Giving us a new story line. She is first disdainful. Later she feels sorry for him. (“Happiness is a pat on the head.”) Eventually, she may fall in love with him. I am not sure about that. We may gather suggestions for alternative endings.

I think we will play out this story over several months. Each stage (equivalent to one panel in a comic strip) would remain posed for several days. I will take jpegs and post them on my website. Perhaps we will make a stop-motion vid when we are finished.

How do we show feelings? I talked with Zander yesterday and he suggested putting a heart on Pinky. I reworked that idea and put in a particle script, with images. Now a heart or some flowers float from Pinky about every 15 seconds. Later, we might aim the floating images at Purp. Zander will work on modifying new versions of Pinky to show emotion. I will be working with Zander to pick the emotions we need to show and to develop the mods. Conceptually, this is a straightforward step from cartooning. That does not mean it is easy. (All the easy things have already been done, anyway)

We may also use thought bubbles to tell the story. I have tried out thought bubbles generated by the particle system. The give an interesting effect. And they would give out several thoughts in the same setup. We can also put a thought bubble over a head. And put expressive sounds around. (Think R2D2.)

We can’t modify Purp, but we can make other objects associated with Purp. For example, that pat on the head would be done with cartoon hand and arm in appropriate color. Probably we could do it in 2D as texture on glass.

So there is my idea as it stands. Any suggestions?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Letters from the edge

Letters from the edge
JohnHenry Holliday and I worked out a new device yesterday for the vids. I wanted to do a vid in his dentistry, but he has the information to talk about it. My first thought was audio, but he is not set up for that. The plan we worked out was letter format.

JH will provide me with a (fictional) letter written by Holliday in the early days of his practice in Dallas. The letter will mention several items in his dentistry office. I will visit his office and get clips of each item. We will want items that are historically informative and visually interesting. Probably Doctor Holliday, the AV, will act as guide here, within the limitations of AV movement.

I will read the letter over the clips. A letter conveniently establishes date and location. A letter from this time will naturally tell a story: “Here is what happened since I last wrote. Here is the situation now. Here are my hopes and expectations for the future.”

I will probably tie to the bridge for continuity of concept. Probably I find a letter on the bridge. Clearly not discarded, but brought to me by the bridge. As I open it, the scene will dissolve to the dentistry.

We might want to tell some of the other stories (or part of them) in letters. I could read or somebody else could read. This would avoid voice acting. I am not actor (and don’t even play one on TV.) Kronos can do voice acting, but I don’t know about the rest of us. So the letter device is another possibility.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Story Idea from Kronos

As I watched the Kronos vid, wanted to incorporate the idea into a vid-story. Of course, this has nothing to do with Hobo Village, but we have creative control. So here is a beginning:

As it stands, this is a daydream scene. I don’t want to run it too close to the “Boy Fishing” story, and least for now. Here is a scenario I thin we could start with.

Dogs Don’t Dance
Scene: Ordinary living room. Big shaggy dog (avitar) lies on the couch. Owner (either sex) arrives. Dog greets. Owner gives brief greeting, but is obviously more interested in something else.

We now watch from over the dog’s (attentive) head: Owner rezes chair and does the dance with it. (Owner’s clothes might change to dance-appropriate, but that may be too much foreshadowing.) Owner leaves the room.

Dog hesitantly moves to chair. Movements as dog-like as possible. Dog gets chair animation and starts to dance. Dog changes to become more human like (two steps). Then, at end of dance, dog reverts to dog form. Cuts are about where Kronos put them in his clip.

Need an end, and not a downer. One element of ending is: owner puts food down, dog rushes to it. (Shows that being a dog is not a downer.) Another is some sign of change. My first thought is: Flashy collar appears on dancing dog. Flashy collar remains as dog goes to food. Camera on dog’s head, collar, and food. Hold close-up for cut to credits.

This needs a light touch. We are watching the dog’s daydream. We are saying that even dogs can daydream. I think we can do it.

I don’t know that we will need any voice-over here. The Kronos clip has music. I assume it is provided by the chair. We may have to think a little about copyright on the music. The lead here is the non-speaking dog. We may want some noises, but I can probably find them on the web. Mainly, we need somebody to be a dog and some routine animations for doglike movements.

How does this sound??

Tech notes: “Motion control” by Kronos

Kronos used a chair with animation to see if the motion repeats were precise enough to let him dissolve from one clip to another. In this case, he does, for example, one clip fully dressed. Then another with shirt off. A dissolve from 1 to 2, if the fit is good, will make the shirt vanish. Here is the vid: Kronos vid.

I think the results are as good as anyone needs. There are three cuts. I don’t think you could find any of them except by noticing that the clothing has changed. This is great editing. I think it means that we can use this method generally when a fixed object animates an av.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Show Notes on Easter Eggs

I posted a new vid on YouTube. Title: Easter Eggs. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy_vGu3uMNQ

The vid is not closely related to the objectives of this blog. I have posted on the objectives in another blog.

On the technical side, the main find is that I tried a night vid (because it was about fire) and the results were satisfactory. I also built a set. That was partly because I needed it for the story and partly to see if I got any benefit from the new occlusion feature. I think I did see some increase in frame rate. I am not sure of the benefit, but I will probably use a set for indoor shots where possible.

The other item is a note to myself: If you have a lot to say, be sure to get enough vid to cover it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Anyone for audio?

As I looked at Anya’s suggestions, my tooth fairy reminded me of another item on my wish list.   Those vids will probably require introspective narration.  In a female voice.  Probably with appropriate emotion.  
My tooth fairy is looking for a way to incorporate audio files from other people in the vid sound.  Here are the parts that I think I can handle:
Given an audio file (.wav or .mp3, probably others) of length to fit, I can put it in the audio track at the right place.  
To help in preparation of the file, I can give the length (e.g.30 Sec.).  If cues are needed, I can send jpegs at given time points.  That probably would be in seconds, with some margin for error.    If we have cue critical vids, I can post a preliminary version on YouTube, with my narration.  Speaker could watch vid and do live voiceover for all or part of vid.  I could them make a new track, remake the vid and post version 2.
I could take down the first version if needed.  I would be inclined to leave it up. We are making sausage here and some of the steps will not be pretty.  But I am as interested in showing people how to make sausage as I am in a pretty result.   Give somebody a sausage and you just give them breakfast.  Show them how to make sausage and you can flood the market with sausage.  (A metaphor can get you in trouble if you follow it too long.)
The rest of the job is at the speakers place.  I use Audacity.  It is free, easy to learn, and powerful.  The one thing it does not do is export to mp3.  I have a Creative Laps Muvo.  Software that came with it transcodes from .wav to .mp3, so that’s how Ido it.  I think other mp3 players would have similar software, particularly if the have a recording capability.  
I could work with a .wav file.  But some people might run into file size limits.  Since this is voice, we don’t need much fidelity, so we might get small enough files by cutting the sample rate.  There are various programs to transcode as we need, but I don’t know enough about them to offer suggestions.  
I am sure we can solve all he problems, so let’s start thinking about voice over and voice acting the vids.  That will give us a reason to solve the problems.  

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A chat with my tooth fairy

I have my tooth fairy handle my wish list.  That is a collection of things I wish for, but don’t expect to work for.   One of the top items in connection with this project is bypass audio with the actor.  I know that SL is working toward permissive audio inworld.  But I would probably wish for bypass (meaning outside the SL system) because inworld audio would appear on the sound track.  

Bypass audio would work just like the FM ear pieces that news announcer wear so the producer can tell them what to say.  The actor(s) and I could coordinate the action off screen. I could off my UI, set busy, and have the whole screen.  All of us could concentrate on the action and capture, rather than the chat bar.

I have tried Audio messengers with Zander.  Yahoo did not work well.  MSN Messenger was adequate for communication.  The other good prospect is Skype.  I just now set up a Skype account (free).  If any one wants to use that route, you can look for me with my hotmail address.  Skype will allow conference calls, so it may be more useful in the long run.  

I will keep Skype open only to people on my contact list.  

If this works out, my tooth fairy will be relieved.  

Waterslide: SHEDIT notes

Waterslide: SHEDIT notes

More tradition: New Vid: The Watery Slide of Spritely Pixel.   Here are shoot and edit notes.  (By the way, Shedit is used for search convenience.)  

Nothing really new in this.  Spritely’s flyover and slide shown the power of the zoom and tag feature.  I tagged Spritely before the fly and again before the slide.   I then let the system follow him.    It did a much better job than I could have done manually.

The other thing to note is that the audio of the waves was too weak to hear.  No problem.  I dropped in some waves on my voice-over.  I find that Audacity is helpful on that.  I am building up a library of relevant sounds in a project file.  I can then load the project file and copy in the sounds I need for the voice-over.      


The Lady in White, Story Development
I like the arc.  And I like theme of unity.  See my non-fiction comments:  Being One.  A well known unity story is “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”   Such stories probably need a lot of introspection by the protagonist.  Hard to do in SL.  So, of course, we should do it.  

The clothes change is a great plan.  Tells that part of the story fast an without talk.  I think we could do two more vids showing those parts of her character.   I don’t think we would have a story if we stop there.  Missing: character development.  These will look like three people with the same name unless we tie them together with the transition.  It would be an interesting idea, however, to present the three arc point first.  Then think about the transition parts.  There could be more than one story for the same transition.  Maybe we would make several vids for the white to black and several more for the black to bright.  Or maybe other people would make some.  

One advantage we have is that we are not presenting a finished product.  The theater has the same advantage, but its products are expensive, even off-Broadway.    We don’t have to get it right the first time.  It would be great if we get it right the last time.  But, as Huck Finn knows, the catching may be more important than the frying.  

Yes. Hedges in the credits.  She will probably do the bright outfit also.    (Let’s not say red.  Let’s say bright and let her think about designs that convey the feel.  Maybe we’ll do a separate style show on emotional designs.)  

Saturday, May 20, 2006

My Character

Thanks Thinkerer for the comments and thoughts on my character and the shooting session. Here's a shot of the lady in white when first appearing:


and here's a shot of a later scene with the merry widow outift:

merry widow5

Nonna Hedges, the fashion designer of both outfits, saw my blog and said she is planning to update the black outift to better suit :) (She must be included in credits!)

Although these are both medium shots, it would be much better to have some really close up shots as you suggested - because all my scene was done in very far away long shot and has no emotional impact at all.

So when we fitst meet her, the Lady in White has suffered a great loss - what that was is a mystery at this stage, but it affects her so deeply she has to don an outer shell of hardness - the vulnerability we see in scene 1 is cloaked in the black "merry widow" outfit. I am thinking that the two extremes (totally vulnerable followed by totally ice-queenish) could be followed up at the end with a final scene where we see her wearing red or colour - to suggest a full narrative arc in which she comes to know and love herself again - so it is a full journey of grief, self-loathing, and then self-acceptance. It may be that she was jilted in love, it may be that her lover abandoned her, but at this stage I am more interested in the suggestion of the arc and letting people wonder and fill in the gaps for themselves. What do you think? :)

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Bridges: Shedit notes
Starting a brand new tradition here.  (I like new traditions better than old ones.)  The Bridges vid is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYyiJEtb58Y.  New tradition:  When I post a vid, I will also post whatI learned in the Shoot and Edit job.  This may help other people who are thinking about shooting vids.
Opening: I wanted a special effect to make the scene look like a painting.  Couldn’t get it from the effects offered in Win MM.  Maybe they would do in a close up.  I clipped out a frame as .jpg and worked with it in the GIMP.  That has more effects, including the “Add Canvass” option.  I liked the result of that, so I put it at the opening.  Conveniently, I could adjust the display time as I needed.  (Timing on the first part was mainly to fit the voice over.
Lady in White. Now I know I should have done a zoom to medium here.   Get better view of crying anim, avoid seeing that her train partly falls through the bridge surface, focus more strongly on her as she stands by the post.  I also think, when we reshoot it for the episode, we will want it at sunset. I will also want to rework my voice over.  I think I sounded to much like a news promo:  “What is the poison you might be feeding your family at supper?  Tune in at ten for the details.”  
Boy Fishing.   I liked what we did on this.  I did use zoom here.  (For newcomers, that is hold down alt, hold down left mouse key, move mouse.)  This time I could cut out what I learned.  The boy tried to get close to the edge and fell off.  I will make a transparent bar and place it as needed to stop the av on the mark.   I think I may make other transparent prims to use as stage marks.  Actor can turn on “highlight transparent”  to use them.
I didn’t want to talk while the boy was fishing, so I dropped in a boat horn and water lapping to fill the time.  
Bobby Joe.  One problem with this scene was that the horse did not trot well in side view (as captures on vid).  There may have been a timing interaction with the frame rate and the animation.  I cut out the first side view trot and started as the horse exited center stage.  Next time I will avoid side views or use the side rails to screen the leg movements.
The cut also cut into my narration time, so I overlapped the scenes.  While the boy was standing I had an unseen horse trot by on the audio track.  I also used the dissolve-appear trick here.  With the camera still I dissolved from empty bridge to horse trotting.  I think it worked  adequately to show that this is imaginary.  
When the horse reached the end of the bridge, I zoomed in on him.  The zoom attaches the viewpoint to the av, so when BJ jumped, the camera followed all the way down to the submerged boxcar.  
I liked seeing the boxcar so much that I had to figure out how to use it without committing the story to the jump.  You can see how I handled that (without mentioning Schrödinger’s cat).  I followed BJ off the bridge to give more emphasis to the walk away than to the jump.  Jump is short but dramatic.  Walk away is calm, but lasts longer.  
Close.  Return to picture and main theme is example of closure.  I generally want to end scenes that way.  I have not done it with the ad hoc vids.  But for the ones we will script, I will want to have an ending that ties to the opening.  And, except for the last episode, ties to the next episode.  
----All life is art.  It is just that not all people appreciate art.---  

The Lady in Black

Lady in Black
Some comments from Anya’s blog:  
I am creating the backstory for my character in Thinkerer’s narrative - the lady in white first appears dressed in wedding garm, caught in a private moment of grief on the Hobo bridge. Thinkerer suggested that our appearance and clothes should be suggestive of narrative, provocative for the viewer. So here, dressed in black is my outfit for a future scene: clothed in Nonna Hedges’ “The Merry Widow” costume (isn’t she just the most divine fashion designer - my favourite on Second Life!!). Does this suggest narrative? I mean, a private moment of grief, a public show of strength, resilience, and even a little haughtiness to hide the scars that wound her soul.
The picture is at:  http://anya.blogsome.com/
I like the lady in black.  Good reversal. We would use this dress near the end after she has clearly found her strength (so that it is not interpreted as escape from reality). She could be the lady in black right after the bridge scene.  As first she is mourning the loss of her groom.   (Not that he died.  That would force her into black.  Better that she is choosing to wear black.)  Later she is wearing elegant black as a sign of her victory over despair.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Bridges: Concept
I just posted “The Bridges of Hobo City.”   The broad concept is of a short-story anthology centering on the bridge.  The stories are told in vids.  Each story is made of 3 or 4 episode (vis) of 5-6 minutes each.  These specs will match a half-hour TV story rather well, so fit with what people are used to.  The vid I just posted is an introduction.  I expect that we will do it over later.  That vid has three stories.  I assume we will make more.  I assume there will be more players.  I am sure we will get more skilled.  

I expect that we will make each vid stand alone, so that each can be posted separately. I will work out some tagging method so that people can access the parts of a story together.  Notice that I did not say who writes the stories or who does the camera work.  I assume that we will use the blog to exchange ideas.  The final shooting script will have to be worked out between the lead player and the camera-editor person.  Over time, we may have several camera-editor persons.  


Doctor Holliday, DDs.
I had a conversation the other day with Doctor John Henry Holliday, DDs.  On the bridge, of course.  A most interesting person.  And right in our time frame.  I am thinking about how he might work into a scenario.  He will have be the lead, of course.  He is too strong and too well-known to be otherwise.  And since he is best known for a shoot-out, I would prefer a reverse.  He does something kind.   Maybe medically helpful.  Maybe just insightful:

Luke:  I am looking for a great warrior.
Yoda:  Wars do not make one great.

This might work best with first person commentary by the famous dentist himself.  Maybe he would tell the story in voice over while the vid shows the action.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Lady in White

The Lady in White
Anya (who played the Lady in White in the introductory segment) is going to do the main scenario development for the story.  But I am imagining the title comes from a local legend that tells of a jilted bride who threw herself off the bridge years ago and is still seem sometimes at night walking on the bridge, looking for her lost lover.  

What I think we might do with this is reverse it.  Maybe start with this story being told.  The bridge, however, remembers the true story.  Meaning flashbacks, I guess.  I don’t think we are up to distance dialogue yet.  But maybe we can handle monologue.  Stream of consciousness.  I have a feeling Anya could handle that and send me the file.  I could put in the audio strip I make.  

She was not jilted.  She turned him down.  (Think of some reasons.  And not just that he was currently unfaithful.  Maybe not even something that shows him as  not bad, just wrong for her.)   She does not jump off the bridge.  She meets her crisis here and faces it down.  She goes on (married or unmarried?) to a successful life.  (I leave the hard parts to Anya.)  But, by the way, her name was Calleta.  Where have we heard that name before?   We probable close with a sign saying “Thank you for visiting Calleta.”  

But this is just my idea.  I don’t mind if we dump it.  Ideas are easy.  It is the doing that gets tough

Some Blogging Basics

Some  Blogging Basics
Readers:  Anyone can post a comment.   Blogspot sends me a note and I approve or reject it.  Only then does it appear.  I hate to require approval but if I don’t, we will get spammed.

To be a contributor, send me your e-mail address.   I will tell Blogspot and they will send you email.  You will need to register with Blogspot if you don’t already have an account with them (free).

If you are contributing, you may want to download a plug-in from Blogspot that lets you post directly from MS Word.  More convenient.

If you are following the conversation, you may want to set up a feed via RSS, Yahoo or other aggregator.  I use Yahoo because it gathers things in one place for me.  Also because it does not think my RSS feeds are different from my Reuters news feeds.  So when I go for my news or mail, I also see any updates to the blogs I follow.  

BOY FISHING, Kronos comments

Kronos comments
Authorization for Kronos  to post is pending.  

I see I don’t need to give Kronos stage direction.  Barefoot.  Yes!! Yes!! We don’t see his feet until near the end.  

Burn paper in drum.  Great.  Just right. Unity with scene.  

I thought he could use sit command to enter car.   We will see him jump in.  (Camera  will not catch earlier exit from car, so viewers will not see him jump out.  

Might put top down on car.  But may be hard to get car to work with that.  But we might just make the car change (via dissolve) as he reaches it.

This exchange shows why collaboration is good.  Works best when combining inputs from different viewpoints.  Kronos is an actor.  He knows how to tell story in action.  

Other item from Kronos
I've created a 'Huck Fin" version of my character, proportioned better for the smaller size.
(see attached).

Any thoughts on obtaining costume elements?  Maybe a straw hat, leather shoulder bag, suspenders, distressed tshirt and pants.  I thought you might have found someone interested in doing costumes or finding costume pieces. I've looked about a bit but have not had any luck so far.

Huck Finn is good as is.  But a little change in proportions might improve.  Clothing additions might be good.  Let’s wait on details, see if somebody wants to supply costumes.  I would like a pail he can carry in, then place beside him for the fish.  

Monday, May 15, 2006


Scenario:   Boy Fishing
Opening shot:  (Noon) Fancy car drives by.  Roar engine.  Squeal brakes. Car stops.  Backs up as if the driver owns the road.  Driver exits. Big business man. Blue suit.  Important. At least to himself.  Looks past box cars to bridge.  Walks rapidly to bridge.  Walks rapidly onto bridge.  Stops and fish pole.  Hesitates.  Takes and activates pole.  Morphs into boy.  Goes to rail gap, far end.  Stand at post ending rail gap.  Fishes.  Catches fish.  Sits on edge (if possible).  CUT.  
Now twilight. Boy hesitantly starts back to land.  Fishing rod goes.  Boy steps off bridge.  Morphs back into business man.  But somehow younger.  Mentally, at least.  Jumps into car.    Leaves quietly.  
Backstory:  Something makes him angry.   He drives out here without knowing why.  
Front story: What made him angry is resolved by new perspective.  Or rather, old perspective that he had left behind years ago.  On the bridge.

Tech Notes: Setup

Tech Notes: Setup
Kronos asked me to describe tech side of this vid work. Here is a start:
Vid capture Fraps
Free version available. I use the registered version ($37).

Vid editing: Windows Movie Maker.
Free with Windows. Adequate for most purposes. I may need a better editor later.

Audio Capture and Editing. Audacity
I use Audacity rather than the built-in narration feature of Win Movie Maker. Audacity lets me build and edit the audio. I can cut out some sounds and mumbles. I can cut in sound effects. I use the sound effects for atmosphere and to fill those long pauses where I didn't know what to say. Free, open source.

Sound effects, source: FindSounds
You can search for sounds by name. Page shows the wave file and lets you play/download files. After download, I use Audacity to convert them the form required by SL.

Still Image editing. The Gimp
Free, open source. Win Movie lets me turn a selected frame into .jpg. I can edit that in the Gimp and put it back into the vid, specifying a run time.

I am using a lapel mike that I got along with a Creative Web Cam. Seems to do the job.

Graphics board: NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5700

Storage: I am using a USB2 drive with 120GB. I easily filled my C: drive with 35GB of .avi files. Now I routinely transfer all new clips to the USB disk as soon as I get them.

Kronos sent me this link to a camera test he did. http://oncameraintensive.com/SL/SL_tst.mov

It shows interesting special effects. I have generally held to standard SL view over head of av. That’s because I am doing voice over (narrate scene or stream-of-consciousness) as coming from av. So the av is a character in the story. I am introducing some special effects from time to time.

In “Hard Out There” I opened with a wide swoop shot on the av. With av seated on beer case, the viewpoint comes loose. I could get the view that Hollywood could only get with a crane. The shot lets me say that TM is sitting there alone in the Village, then swoop in on TM. Feeling lonely, like somebody waiting for Godot. That’s the mood I want to establish. And to break. I don’t think I did it all that well. But I may get it right later,

The next vid, to be posted in a day or so, will illustrate zoom. I will post on that after it is out.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Spritely Pixel on Carriage.

Proposed shooting script.
Players: Spritely Pixel as Ashley Ravenal (of the Tennessee Ravenals); Kris Kaloche as Julie Hamilton. They are aged about 30, elegantly dressed.)

Opening shot: Side view of bridge. Just before carriage is positioned.

(Stage direction: SP will position carriage on bridge. Empty. TM will cut positioning activity and use a dissolve transition to next scene. Viewer will see carriage appear.)

Shot 2. Carriage alone. 30 seconds.

(Stage direction: SP and KK take positions side by side facing water and Hobo Village, where side boards are missing. TM will be getting view from HV side of bridge. TM will cut out positioning so the view shows them appearing.)

SP and KK stand motionless for about 15 sec. Then may use movement or animation to show an emotional moment. (for example, one turns away, they hold hands or embrace). They then sit in carriage.

Carriage moves slowly along bridge to land. About 45 sec. Stop near land. Hold 10 Sec. CUT

(Stage direction: remove carriage for TM to get 30 sec of same scene w/o carriage. )

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Bridges of Hobo Village

Scenario. This episode will be an introduction to the bridge and the stories that float from it. It will be my first effort at conveying the mystery of the bridge. It probably will not be my last. The bridge is the star in this episode. I will do the first part with special effects and voice over. The general notion is that this is a painting. On the wall of a museum? No. This is a painting you can enter. You can walk around in this painting. You can meet other people. You can feel its past. This is a bridge to another world, a world of imagination.

That leads to why I used the plural. There are many bridges here. As many bridges as there are people to imagine them. As many bridges as there are happenings that someone can imagine.

Here is where the vid needs the SL players.

Shooting script. Players will appear on the bridge (TP in I hope.) Each player will suggest some happening by appearance, walking around, animations, or attachments. The suggestions will not be specific. Different viewers might see different suggestions (different bridges).

Each player will stay a short time, then vanish (TP out). Voice over will note some appearances and speculate about the meaning.

At first, there will be only one avatar, and intervals between. Then they will appear more frequently. Think summer shower. A few well separated drops, then increasing to crescendo. Crescendo at about 4 minutes of shooting. At crescendo, whole cast is on stage (on bridge). At 4 minutes, everybody stand still. I will do a dissolve to the same bridge empty, making everyone vanish.
We will do some last minute arrangements to sequence entries and exits. And to match people with time. We do not have to get it all in one take.

Suitable avitars should not break viewer expectations of what might appear on the bridge. Best choice: ordinary people who look as if they could have been on the bridge between 1850 and 1950. I would especially like to have someone in a business suit and someone who looks like Huck Finn. I have a script for them in a later episode. Please avoid animals and wings. Those would break mood. Ladies in Victorian dresses would be great. Also great, a lady with a bloody knife, and the lady on horseback, sidesaddle.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Carriage on the Bridge

Scenario. Opening shot: Near the far end of the bridge. Near where the guard rails (GR) are missing on the HV side. Camera on HV side, looking at GR spot. An elegant carriage appears near the spot, empty. Headed toward land. Soon two figures appear standing at the GR spot. They are Ashley Ravenal (of the Tennessee Ravenals); and Julie Hamilton. They are about 30, elegantly dressed. Their relationship is ambiguous, but clearly affectionate.

Their position, near the GR spot is also ambiguous. Are they about to jump in a suicide pact? Are the just admiring the view (which is not HV in their time frame)? A little tension here, which will not be resolved in this scene. (Voice over will probably convey this.)

The figures get in the carriage. The carriage starts slowly toward the land. As it reaches the land, it vanishes. (Voice over will note that this is a view of the past. It may speculate about the back and front story with hints that other vids may tell the rest of the story.)

I think this will make an interesting scene, but will welcome suggestions on revisions. There is probably enough time for a little more action if we can think of some. The characters might hold hands and/or embrace (while standing). Julie might turn away as if crying. None of this will be explained. Until other episodes. (We are moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas.)

We will also be interested in a whole story (or stories). Suggestions?

Spritely Pixel on Water Slide

Proposed shooting script. No scenario on this. This is part of my documentary series (Second Lives). Here it serves to show what a shooting script might look like. These documentaries will illustrate things that we might use in subsequent vids, if we have a story that can use them. The present theme is: people enjoy themselves is SL.

TM will take position. Waves arm to show camera rolling.

SP comes out of his house in swimming trunks. Pauses facing slide. Flies to water slide, holds in flight.

(CUT. TM will reposition near slide. TM waves arm to show camera rolling.)

SP flies to top of slide and lands. SP initiates slide (face forward.).

TM will drop to follow the action. TM will try to catch plunge, but may need a second take on this.

SP surfaces and swims to landing. Rises to landing, stands, climbs stairs, enters house. CUT

Spritely: We probably have time for about 1 min of additional interest. One or two other things around the house, maybe. Not the dragon, not the carriage. Those each rate separate vids. If the carriage is in the yard, I will casually get it in frame while vidding the slide.

I will cut this clip into an episode. I can make the establishing clip on my own.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Public Blog

This blog is open for comment. SE will moderate to suppress spam. SL Players who want to add substantial comments may prefer to use the collaborative feature: You can post on this blog just as I do. To be an authorized poster, you need to get a Blogspot account and give me your ID code. I will then list you as authorized to post.

You can also contact me by e-mail: webmaster@thinkerer.org. Note that additional information about this project is posted under something completely different on my website. The website will carry permanent information, such as stills of the actors and links to current videos. There are also notes about the software I am using. It is just as the little bird told you. Cheap. Cheap.


I did a little research into the status of Ballentine Beer, to see if there might be any problem with copyright infringement. Here is a site with details. Ballentine ale

I can’t find indications that Ballentine Beer is currently sold. I do find several instances like this:

12/04/04 The Marty Crane character on the TV sitcom Frasier is apparently often drinking Ballantine Beer. According to reliable sources, Alec Baldwin was seen drinking Ballantine on a cameo performance on "Casino" on 15 November 2004.....

It appears that Ballentine Beer has appeared publicly from time to time. I don’t know whether these were paid product placements, but they seem not to have offended the owners of the Ballentine copyright (Falstaff, I assume). I would expect that such use would be viewed as free advertising, rather than copyright violation.

The site above displays various logos and labels that were certainly under copyright in the past. If the Lindens are concerned, Orhalla could contact that webmaster to ask if there have been any objections to the use of these labels. (It is not an official site.)

On the other hand, the worst that could happen is a take-down order. The presence of this material on the web suggests that there would be no such objection.

Second Life Players

SL Players are people who have a serious interest in participating in video-making in second life. The most likely form of participation is as an actor in a video episode. An episode is a single video of about 6 minutes.

Players may also contribute to episode scenarios and to shooting scripts for episodes. I am assuming that anyone acting in an episode will want to review the shooting script and see if it can be improved.

As a start SE will take the job of preparing episode scenarios and shooting scripts. SE will also handle the vid collection, editing, voicing, audio work, and publication on YouTube. So all we will need is stories, scripts, and acting. And whatever avatar and set modifications are needed for the story.

In the long run, we will also need full stories to integrate several episodes. But we can wait on that.

What shall we do while waiting? Elaborate what we can do in making vids. That’s what the episodes do. I will write some trial scenarios and post them here soon. None of the existing vids is a good example of an episode scenario. But I understand the power of yet. As in, “I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.”

As an aside, the blog title does not mean that we are limited to Hobo Village. I would prefer to start episodes at Hobo Village to give viewers a familiar anchor. I would prefer to stay with places that are in flying (and visual) distance of HV to help maintain a sense of place. And we would probably need a connection to HV to integrate an episode into a longer scenario.

What Stories of Hobo Village?

The stories we will script here. This is a collaborative blog to develop stories (in video) about Hobo Village, a place in Second Life. In this case we refers to Selby Evans (aka Thinkerer Melville) and other interested participants in Second Life (known here as the SL Players).