Friday, June 23, 2006

Boy Fishing, last bits

We are closing in on the Boy Fishing.

Fire drum. I have one from Zander’s build. I think we can adjust it to suit.

Car: still need to test.

Voices in the head. Here are my ideas on the script. These are independent items, so they could be voiced independently and sent to me via e-mail. They are short enough to send in .wav format, but I can handle .mp3 or most others.

The order here is not relevant. I will use (and reuse) the clips to arrange the audio track. These are all voices in the man’s head. He is recalling or imaging what the people (might) say. Note that these voices are prominent as he drives up. They diminish (volume down as at distance) and vanish as he goes on the bridge. The are not heard as he returns, except for the one about prompt reply, which is heard just before the letter toss.

Business voice (reading from letter): We believe this offer is a substantial advance in your career.

Business voice (reading from letter): We have been impressed by the work you have been doing in your current position.

Business voice (reading from letter): We will need a prompt reply.

Business voice (reading from letter): We hope you will find this an attractive offer.

(I think I can do the business voice.)

Man’s voice (informal, worried): It’s a long commute. I wouldn’t get home till late.

Man’s voice (informal, worried): Maybe we could move closer.

Man’s voice (irritated): Damn! Why do they have to put hay bales in my way?

Man’s voice (informal, worried): I’m still in the middle of the Benton project. Who could take over?

(I an hoping Kronos will do the man's voice)

Wife’s voice (concerned): Will we have to pull the kids out of their school?

Wife’s voice (concerned): You’d be an hour later. I’d have to feed the kids earlier.

Small boy’s voice (probably done by female): When can you play catch with me, Daddy?

Teen girl’s voice (matter of fact): Dad, can you help me with an algebra problem now?

(I am hoping Kronos has students who can do these voices, with screen credit, of course. If not, I will try to get help from TCU students.)

I think these will tell the story. But I am open to more suggestions. And I understand that actors work their own phrasing.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Boy Fishing, Props

I have been working on props and prop use for the Boy Fishing. Here’s where I am so far.

Car. I have two cars and know where to find several more. The script calls for an open car. It needs to be sufficiently well controlled so that driver can bring it smoothly down the road and park on the mark. If parking on mark is a problem, I can put up a transparent wall. Driver sets highlight transparent and drives into wall. I have not determined that the cars I have will meet the well-controlled test. But I will keep trying.

I will soon post a vid showing some cars. These are driven by michael64 Gibb. I think he has a brown truck that meets the control criterion. We can’t use that truck in this story, but scripts can be moved if we can get the permissions.

Hay bales. I have that; I will put out copies (phantom) when we need them.

Letter1. I think we need to establish this early, so we need a version the man can carry. I made one with envelope jpeg on both sides (for close up). Attached to hand, looks plausible. No script. You just attach from inventory (right click). I think this is in his hand as he walks up to fishing rod. Is replaced by rod. Reappears in his hand as walks off bridge. (Pause. Dissolve cut to cover attach.)

Letter2. We also need a letter to throw on the fire. I made this as a physical, plastic, and temporary version of Letter1. Physical plastic makes it fall realistically. Temporary makes it convenient to work with. Physical things can fall through surfaces. Temporary will last about 2 min. ( I am told.)

Throw gesture. I have a (common) gesture called pointyou that looks plausible with letter in hand. I can send if Kronos doe not have.

Fire drum. I think I need to rework one of the existing drums to be short (cut off). I would like a clear shot of the letter falling in.

Pail. For boy to carry fish in. Haven’t found one. I may make one. Not essential.

I think that's all we need. I will send prop letters to Kronos for test. I am using he convention: PropAt means prop to be attached. PropPT means prop physical and temporary.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Boy Fishing

I think we are ready to start planning on this story. The title, by the way is just a working title. It telegraphs too much of the story for us to use it in the vid.

Here is my (revised) thinking: Main character is 35 year old male, married, two children. He is giving too much attention to career and career advancement. His family knows that but he does not. He is a sympathetic character. (Change from my previous idea.) His crisis now is that he has received a job offer that will eat up even more of his time. He will have less time for his family (maybe more commuting time) and he will leave his current employer in something of a lurch. But the offer is a big step up.

Open: We see him driving along the road that will pass HV. As he approaches the RR station, his way is blocked by bales of hay in the road. He parks and gets out of the car. (We do not see him jump, SL style, out of the car.) During this time, we convey the above background by voices in head.

(Note: I have checked out two free cars and doubt that they will work for us. We need to find out more about cars. I suppose I might be willing to do a vid about cars if somebody wanted to give us what we need.)

He (Kronos, this is your character. What is his name?) looks around. Head voices remind him that he has been here before. He moves past the boxcars, HV side. Passes a drum with fire (establishes it). He walks with some conflict. Head voices tell him he is wasting time. Should be doing something useful. As he walks onto the bridge, head voices pause, then resume more softly. He takes the fishing pole and attaches it. Shows it clearly. Then changes avatar in to Huck Finn. (I don’t really mean Huck Finn, just the type. He is Everyboy.) Huck is still holding pole, for continuity

Head voices get faint and fall silent as he walks to rail gap where he will fish. (I will put up a transparent bar. Kronos can see it by using highlight transparent. Kronos can just walk into it. It will stop him.) We see him catch one fish. Maybe we see him sit, if that will work with the pole. Cut. Set to sundown. Dissolve to the sundown view. He stands up. Picks up pail (if we have one), detaches pole, walks toward land. As he crosses to land he stops. Morphs back into man. We cover the morph with a dissolve. He may look just a little younger. He is barefoot, but camera does not see that yet.

The head voices are silent. He walks toward burning drum. Head voice mentions job offer. He tosses paper into the drum. (Need gesture here.) He walks back to car. Camera picks up bare feet. He jumps into car. Drives back the way he came. Fade to white.

I think that will stand by itself. Just one vid. How about it, Kronos?

Stories: Tech Notes

Stories. I mean the kind of things we are planning to do with Lady in White and Boy Fishing. A story has an opening, main character, character development in the middle, and closure. Character development means you get to know the character and the character changes. And you don’t do stories in one try. At least I don’t. None of the vids I have done so far qualify as stories.

The Bridges vid is potentially an introduction to stories. And I don’t figure we’ve done it in one try. I figure that after we do some of the stories, we’ll go back and redo the introduction.

Now about those takes and retakes. I assume that the first take is rehearsal. I assume that I post it, we look at it and see how we could do it better. After we think we have enough improvements, we do it again. Since I have the original clips, I will generally be able to reuse any content we like. I can re-cut the original and we need. That will work only if the scenery has not changed and we are using stored avatars.

Similar comments apply to audio. I can use audio done by someone else. In whole or in parts. I suspect I can use audio in any likely format, but we would want to do a test with some things. I know I can use .mp3 and .wav. After the first post, someone else could make new audio for the whole thing or for particular scenes. I’m hoping that Kronos will do voice acting for us. Maybe some of his students will also be interested.

I don’t think these stories will work well with just my voice-over. Other devices I think we could use:

>Stream of thought: from the head of the character (not necessarily done by the person who performs the avatar.)
>Head voices: Second person voices in the head of the character. These need to be done in appropriate voice (child, wife, parent. Etc.).
>Letter: read by plausible reader (sender or recipient).
>Narrative from character: essentially what I have been doing, but with a different voice. And done better than I do it.

Ideally, each vid (about six minutes) would be a story. A more extensive story might be told by a series of several vids. We still will want to have the story elements in each vid, but the closure needs to be forward-looking. Example: ending of the first Starfleet vid.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Starfleet Command SLQ, Rpt 1

I posted another vid:
I don’t have much new in the SHEDIT part. The vid shows good work by zoom and tag. All I needed to know was that the shuttle was about to fly. I tagged it just before takeoff and got excellent follow. If you look close, you can see me standing uselessly on the ground while the system does the camera work.

On the writing side, I think I got some things I wanted. Frank fiction. Interesting opening. Forward teasers. Closure without ending the story. No near as good as I want. But as good as I can do now. Maybe next week…

The Pink Flamingo and the Purple Cow, More

Days of Whine and Roses (thanks, Kronos). I have been working on ways to show emotions in Pinky. I put in a particle script that emits hearts, flowers, and an emoticon. I put in an audio script that emits pitiful (I hope) whines. I put more (unused) emoticons in Pinky, so that feature can show additional emotions by changing the image list in the script. I am going to make thought balloons to give Pinky cognitive communication as well as emotion. I think I will rework the script so that the emissions are in a fixed (not random) sequence. Then I can write a sequence of thought balloons, as in a comic strip, to tell a story.

One episode I have in mind is: Pinky mourns that she ignores him. She won’t even give him the time of day. Then a clock appears near her. Pinky is thrilled. Floats a foot off the ground. Emits smiley faces, happy pictures, colorful particles, happy sounds. “She loves me!” Probably the next step is the slide down: “Well, at least she noticed me.” “Is the clock running?” “The clock is on the ground.” “She hates me.” “What did I do?” “How can I make it up to her?” “I think I’ll go out back and eat worms.”

This episode is in Phase 2, after Pinky gets up nerve enough to approach her.

One other thought: Maybe Kronos or one of his students would like to play voice actor for Pinky. I could put audio clips in rather than thought balloons.