Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Screenplays (and the things they reveal)

Permit me a smidge of cryptic (or not-so-cryptic) blogging please?

Today, my filming day became my scripting day, and tomorrow my editing day will become my filming day. I shouldn't stress about this so much. I should just make a crapload of stuff and have fun. If it doesn't get used it doesn't get used and I can get on with my original plans. I have some pretty awesome plans, and if they go through they will make for some pretty epic blog posts, I can tell you now.

Also, last night I had a vivid dream we met IRL and you told me you didn't like me and we would never be together, but then we danced. What was up with that?

Thank you.

So. Screenplays. I finished that screenplay I was talking about previously. I really like the dialogue, but I'm unsatisfied with the ending. If you're a script-doctor I'd really like to hear from you. Of course I mean really like to hear from you in the way that implies as little academic misconduct as possible.

Writing screenplays is not what I usually do. I struggle with the three act structure (thus the lame ending). I script my YouTube videos but they are like informative soap operas. Everything kind of drags on in these story arcs that are pretty obviously made up on the fly. I'll talk about the news a little bit, and then one of my splinched personalities interrupts me and somebody gets angry. There's no three act structure there. The actual structure of a story is something I'm still getting to grips with.

A new experience with the screenplay was scripting dialogue between people of different gender. I thoroughly enjoyed that. When I script for my YouTube videos I can't get too sassy or people begin to talk, but with my screenplay I could make my female character be as smartass as I wanted; but alas, another problem I have is she became a typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and that's bad because it contravines my Number One Rule For Writing:


NEVER MAKE YOUR CHARACTERS PEOPLE YOU WOULD IDEALLY SLEEP WITH

The same goes for constructing alternative personalities online. When you see those 40 year old men masquerading as 16 year old platinum blondes on Second Life you think two things:
  1. You have no imagination when it comes to girls
  2. Stop being such a SLEEZE
So in light of this my Manic Pixie Dream Girl character in her current state just will not do. She needs to be more flawed and less like those girls in the so-called indie films that are all the rage these days. If for nothing else, this has to happen for my sake. I've got to learn on a deeper-than-academic level that those indie Manic Pixie girls do not exist. At least, they do not appear to exist.

Wait that's a lie. I met one once but she was older than me and also taken.

I need to learn that idealising the Zooey Deschanel Indie Princess stereotype is actually just as unimaginative as the aforementioned Second Life gentleman pretending to be jailbait. Curiously, none of the girls I have ever had a crush on looked anything remotely similar to Zooey Deschanel, but I'm talking about Zooey Deschanel as a composite set of abstract ideas sourced from the roles she typically plays.

Book Recommendation: The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. I've read these from about the age 13 onwards and I will still buy them when a new one comes out. I'm just not done with the pre-pubescent (but now well-and-truly-pubescent) evil mastermind turned good. They are funny and have seriously engaging characters and Oceans 11-style plots, and when I am extravagantly rich and famous I want a Butler like Artemis has.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Videos

First things first, images rock. I used to use them all the time. Once again I will not hesitate!



I like it because it looks like the chicken is talking

What did I promise you I'd write about this time? Screenplays. Lame. I'll do that later or something won't I. What was the next thing I said I'd blog about? Videos. Win! Okay let's go.

I need to step up my video production! I'm not ENTIRELY sure I can say this online, but I will say it here because I love you!

As you well know, I applied for a job with the ABC earlier this year. I did not get the job, but my marvellously sexy friend Chris did. The show starts this Wednesday at 9pm on ABC1 and you had better be there or I will disembowel you. I'm so excited for this. You have no idea.


When I say "I didn't get the job but my friend Chris did" I usually get people going "Aww that must be so HARD FOR YOU!" as if I'm secretly bitter that my friend could be more successful than me. I actually do not comprehend this train of thought - he is truly my friend and so I am really, really stoked for him! Jealousy doesn't even factor into the way I think about that whole situation. Plus, there is what I am about to REVEAL!

Even though I didn't quite get the job, the producers have been letting me know that there is an opportunity to submit audience content and that they would like to see what I can make so please would I make something? The thought of being able to do this is very exciting. I can do anything I want and submit it to proper, actual producers for their consideration. Hello! Yes please!

You can do this too by the way, so long as (I presume) you live in Australia. You can submit on the site starting from the 30th of this month.

So I am sitting here trying to think what thing I am going to pull out and submit the very second after the site goes live. That way I will look KEEN! Those producers will be all "Hey we have seen that young man's face before! We interviewed him! And now he is submitting things to us! LET'S PUT HIM ON TELEVISION!"

Rest assured, YouTubers, that this extra video production will not mean I will stop making things for my RoboFillet channel. That, after all, is what got these producer-types so interested in me in the first place. There are a number or video projects on the go right now so do not fret.

I cannot garauntee that you will actually SEE the extra videos though - at least not right away. If they don't get picked up by the bigwigs I'll be able to put them on YouTube as a bonus video (or if I'm feeling like a holiday, instead of a Poultry Press video) but if they DO get picked up for the show (and I'm hoping that at least one will, or why am I going through with all the effort?) I'm not sure I can actually put it on RoboFillet any more, because it will no longer belong to me. However, if this is the case and you are an Australian then you are in luck because it will be on television and you will be able to see it there.

Finally, in a comment on my last post I was asked to share my specialist knowledge of a specialist here online. Well, although I normally get paid for this sort of thing I'm beginning to think I'll make an exception because I love you. I'll make one book recommendation at the end of each post. Glorious.

Recommendation: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. You might begin to question the meaning of life there in the middle, but persevere because the ending is WORTH IT! I cried several times and felt more alive than before I had started.

Okay that's enough. Let's try and write something like a script so I can jump right in tomorrow.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

News about Work

I've decided it's okay. It's okay if I don't update every day, so long as I update a couple of times a week. I'm not going to beat myself up over leading a busy life. Still, blogging is the bomb, I know this from past experience, so I am going to do this gosh darn.

Still, having said that, it has been some time since my last post. After perusing my previous update I can tell you the following news:
  • I have been sideways "promoted" at work
  • I got that screenplay written
  • I am going to (have to) step up my video production
I will address each in its own blog post. Today: sideways "promotion" at work.

At work, the largest book store on the Gold Coast, I've been given the opportunity to become a children's book specialist, which basically means that I get to spend the majority of my time in the kids section under the Magic Faraway Tree and in the Young Adult fiction section. Sure, it also means I have to deal with the snotty children (as well as the nice ones) but I can totally handle that. I kicked some kids out of the store a few weeks ago after I got some customer complaints. I was all ALRIGHT GUYS WE'VE GOTTEN SO MANY COMPLAINTS ABOUT YOU... GET OUT!!! Like a boss.

Truth is, I feel best when I'm at work. I'm in my element there, surrounded by books, and people come in and ask me assorted questions about things. It's like being PAID to do pop quizzes for HOURS ON END! Why YES madam I know where Beowulf is and NO it was not written by Shakespeare! The Bro Code is over HERE sir, although I cannot guarantee that it will really help you pick up women and also did you know that the actor who plays Barney is GAY? Why YES small child we have MANY vampire books in store because they have been the latest thing for the past three years, let me show you some!

It actually rocks. Whenever I get depressed about having to go to work I think about how I'm going to be working with people I actually like, and that I will probably be able to recommend books to people that day. Recommending books is seriously the best, because I know how awesome the book that I'm recommending is, and I get to share it with other people. I'm confident there because I know stuff about what I'm doing and can actually help people. Plus I try and flirt with the nerdy girls who come in. I'm all HI WOULD YOU LIKE SOME HELP TODAY? and they are like no I'm just browsing thank you and I'm like OKAY NEVER MIND. Like a boss.

The downside of this, of course, is that I'm exposed to a MOUNTAIN of books that I'm DYING to read but that I'll never get a chance to. You've probably all seen that giant pile of books hanging around in the background of my videos. That's my To Read pile and I'm telling you it just does not shrink. Plus, buying books is expensive, even with the staff discount.

So anyway, this children's specialist job doesn't actually pay any extra, but it's likely I'll be able to keep my hours up even if most other employees get cut because I have the special skills of a specialist. Plus I can push all my literary tastes on the upcoming generation of readers. We will have a world of Rohans and Rowenas! THEY WILL ALL HAVE GOOD TASTE IN LITERATURE OMG!

No wonder my dad became a school librarian this is freaking awesome.

I know, librarian's son works in a bookstore - predictable right? Well save it, I've heard it all before.

ZOMGIGETTORECCOMENDJOHNGREENALLTHETIMEZOMG

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

University Life

The old paradox - that I have time to blog but nothing to blog about, and then no time to blog because I have plenty to blog about - holds strong.

In the days I did not blog, I was busy editing videos, going to awesome-but-all-too-short Relient K concerts and meeting up with YouTube friends up in Brisbane. I know right? Blogging gold. But time stops for no man (or something like that) so neither will I.

Today I went in to the uni for my weekly consultation with my lectuer about my videos and he was only kind-of happy with what I've been making. Like, he was pleased with how the videos turned out, but thought that I'm just repeating myself stylisticly. He's awfully hard to please. He's wanting some crazier non sequitur sorts of things I think. Things that people would pass on to other people going "hey look at this!" which isn't really the sort of thing I'm making now. I guess I'll work on it.

In telling me this he said "I just get this feeling that you've got this crazy, outlandish person inside of you, but he's all imprisoned in a straight-laced conservative shell."

Ever get the feeling someone has summed you up in one sentence? That's me right there. I know when I'm being lame and boring, but I can't help it sometimes. If I'm relaxed and with like-minded people then I can banter with the best of them. I guess I should freewrite more or something.

Meanwile, I can't stop listening to this:

Sound the church-bells,
Let 'em ring! Let 'em ring! For everything
Can be redeemed
We can be redeemed
Oh all of us
Oh happiness!

Thank God.

Finally, my procrastination is reaching critical levels. That screenplay I'm meant to submit next week? I only have a rough story outline... in my head. Strictly speaking it's not my fault, because I was paralysed by writer's block, but even strictly-er speaking writer's block is only for lame people, and not really an excuse at all.

Tomorrow harbours a lazy day because my lectuer is part of some kind of tertiary education union that's going on strike, so there are no classes. That's a win. Win all 'round.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Today's Adventures. Bullet-form.

Seeing as I got ALL POLITICAL just before I'll just do today's regular blog post in bullet-points.

Today I:

-- Got up at 6:40, not getting my required eight hours of sleep. I had dreams about living in alpine regions where two people played piano for each other as a sort of call; calling each other from the opposite sides of a valley. I awoke reluctantly, but felt surprisingly robust.

-- Got to work 25 minutes early to avoid sitting in traffic. I used the 25 minutes to get a coffee and then pimp Justine Larbalestier's book How to Ditch Your Fairy to my workmates during the morning meeting. They should recommend it to girls, I said. And boys. Well, the ones who won't mind if a book has a fairy in it.

-- Served approximately 20 customers during the entire five hours I was there, then went home and put a frozen pizza in the oven. Nutritious.

-- Went out for takeaways with my parents. NUTRITIOUS! Nearly bought my MacBook after learning my pay just got put through today - I had more money than I thought. Went home disappointed because my bank hadn't deposited it in my account yet. Will it happen tomorrow? WHO KNOWS?!?!

-- Redacted

-- Watched Q&A on the ABC. Finished the programme feeling that John Marsden has a better grasp of the way things work than most self-proclaimed social commentators. It appears my faith in the capable insight of Young Adult Fiction authors remains unshaken.

-- Decided to address a Chicken's request for me to talk about the American healthcare reform. Thinking I might make that post into a video after all. Maybe. Afraid that video would explode. Maybe that's what I want. Conflicted.

-- Listened to Owl City for the first time while I wrote this blog entry. I've decided I like his music in the same way I like The Postal Service's music.

Now it's time to go to sleep. I've got a Relient K concert to go to tomorrow night and I am pretty stoked about it. I've got to do that exam and a video tomorrow too though. I've been avoiding that exam. DONOTWANT! =(

Healthcare Reform in the United States of America

Today one of the Chickens asked that my next video be about the American healthcare reform debate. I'm rather reluctant to follow this idea, considering the last time I addressed America as a nation in one of my videos I got called a terrorist (and I was just trying to explain that I think they are funny).

But I figure, what the hell, I'll get some thoughts down here and see what happens. Nobody will care what I write here.

Something that the healthcare debate in the States has really highlighted to me, besides their obvious need for some kind of change in the way their health system functions*, is that their political process is WEIRD. I'm not just talking WEIRD as in I-come-from-a-different-place-and-you-do-things-differently-from-me-how-weird weird, but actually ILLOGICAL-WEIRD. It does not make sense. It is not conductive to the creation of good policy. It's clear that the future of the United States' healthcare does not, in fact, rest with President Obama, but with people (on both sides of American politics) who do not view government and policy as a means to helping people, but as a game that must be won AT ALL COSTS. It doesn't seem to matter how badly the truth gets mangled in the process, but so long as the other side takes a hit, whatever it takes is a good thing.

I'm not about to tell anyone that the same sorts of things don't happen over here in Australia, but some of the distractions that get pulled out in order to muffle the debate in the US are just incredible. Frankly I'm surprised nobody from the Republicans has stood up and said Well actually... euthanasia isn't really the issue we're dealing with here. We're actually talking about how we can best help the sick. Sorry. Surely that wouldn't lose them political points? That would show that they are demonstrably trying to help, or at least constructively criticise what the Obama administration is trying to introduce.

Similarly, I'm surprised nobody from the Democrats has tried to understand where the mainline Republican base is coming from. Instead all I hear over here is that Republicans are demons out to rape and pillage the poor for no reason than their own perverse sense of enjoyment. Surely Republicans can not be this way. What are the conservative thinkers in the party actually suggesting, OR why are they really suggesting that no change is necessary?

Instead of a heated-yet-ultimately-reasonable discussion about what form of healthcare best suits the USA, what we are left with is this political frenzy of noise and static and anguish. The shitty part about it is that in the end nothing gets done and the people (with and without insurance) don't get a better (and cheaper) healthcare system.

*I'm not just going off media hear-say on this one - I have a sister who is an operating theatre nurse in California.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Gossip

I have such a terminally uninteresting life. Like, it's not that I don't enjoy going about my day-to-day activities, but posting them so people from the internet can read about them seems a little strange. What do you care if I meant to ring the tax department today but didn't because I overslept?

I don't know. You probably do, and I'm not sure how to feel about that.

I could have SWORN I set my alarm last night. No word of a lie. Tonight I'm putting my phone on the other side of the room. I HAVE to get up on time tomorrow because I am working. Come and stalk me if you're in the area! It'll be creepy fun!

The truth is, there's some MARVELLOUSLY juicy stuff that goes on that I hear about, or that I think about because it directly affects my life, but posting it to the internet is a level of wrong I just don't want to go near. Like, it's professional misconduct. Like, I'd never be hired for any job ever again if I showed such a gross lack of judgement.

I'll suffice by letting your fertile imaginations run wild. Alternatively if you know me IRL or talk to me on the Skype-tubes, I'll gossip about my things very freely. Well I suppose "gossip" isn't the term. More like, "gravely discuss my future employment prospects".

Heavens to Betsy I may have gone too far! Stop me now before I give the game away!

So anyway, if I want a full eight hours' sleep tonight I have to be unconscious in less than one minute. That's not going to happen because, well, I haven't even cleaned my teeth now have I. So, I must away!

PS: MacBook may be more than a week away. I received a MOST anticipated letter from Queensland Transport telling me I have to give them several hundred dollars to re-register my car. I'm going to stick it to the man and only register it for six months rather than a year because, well, I won't be keeping the car for more than six months if I plan to go overseas! Let the NEXT owner pay Felix's running costs I say; I've got a laptop to purchase!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A Cheque, A MacBook and My Tax

I only got one comment on my last post, which, I suppose, is understandable. I didn't acknowledge how much I appreciated your comments on my other post there. I suppose if I don't acknoledge you then you don't want to talk to me, which leads me to believe you aren't reading, which means I stop writing. But the fault doesn't lie with you, dear reader, it lies with me. I am the only one who can break this Catch-22, and I intend to do so:

Thank you so much for your comments before!

I phrased that paragraph kind of strangely, and that makes it sound sort of inauthentic, but I really mean it. I like to read comments because I feel like they have been written especially for me (and really, they have been). My love languages, for those who know what I'm talking about, are words of affirmation and quality time, so comments actually fill both of those: you took the time to leave me nice words, thus filling all the desires of my needy heart; for that I thank you.

Today didn't go quite as planned. My appointment with my lecturer I was talking about yesterday got cancelled, so I had the whole day to amuse myself doing whatever I pleased. I'm not disappointed about not seeing my lecturer - I'll see him next week.

Instead, I deposited a cheque at the bank and went to the Apple Store to find out EXACTLY how much down to the last dollar I would have to pay to get my hands on a MacBook Pro. As it turns out I'll be able to afford it pretty much immediately, but I'll still sit on the idea for about a week so it appears I'm not being hasty about these things. I'm VERY excited about getting my own computer again because the computer I use at the moment is a PC desktop that is almost 7 years old. It struggles when editing large video files and doesn't have a firewire port. Also, it takes about half an hour to start up properly, like it's an old man rubbing life into his arthritic joints every morning.

Also this evening I finally did my tax. I'm pretty much finished now, but I can't submit it tonight because I have to ring up the Australian Taxation Office and check that Google AdSense income REALLY DOES count as "foreign income" and is therefore not taxable. If they tell me I have to pay tax on that I'm going to be pretty annoyed because I've pretty much escaped paying tax at all for the '08-'09 financial year. That makes my heart happy, because I dread the thought of my money going towards the running of our refugee detention centres or other things the government does that I have a moral objection to. I mean, that's kind of ironic, since I'm all for government supported healthcare and public education, which are supported by taxes, but hey if I want to flirt with Christian Anarchism then I will do so until I convince myself it's a bad idea. Give to Caesar what is Caesar's etc...

Speaking of refugee detention centres, how awesome is Liberal Senator Judith Troeth! When I heard she defied her party so Labor could pass the bill to scrap immigration detention debt I yelled "Oh THANK GOD!" at the television. The fact we used to charge illegal immigrants for the cost of their detention just irks every little part of me all the way down. At least now we won't be doing THAT any more.

I should probably go and study for an online exam I have to take at some stage during this week. It's for a subject I have very little enthusiasm for and the readings I need to learn are SO BORING. Then again I suppose that's what uni's all about.

Tomorrow...

Monday, 7 September 2009

Capitalisation is a WAY OF LIFE

This evening I was listening to a song on Tumblr and my Mum clapped her hands behind me suddenly. I exclaimed "oh shit!" in front of my mother. I AM SON OF THE YEAR.

Today was a pretty ho-hum day in general. I went to uni and listened to my lecturers rant and rave about storytelling (IT'S A WAY OF LIFE! Oh you have an idea for what to put in this story? That's BRILLIANT. Just BRILLIANT. That is SO BEAUTIFUL!) Later I met up with my friend Mitto and we watched UP, which is probably one of my favourite Pixar films. It's just... I nearly cried several times. I'm not one for weeping in the cinemas but there you have it. They where old and in love; what was I supposed to do?

Luckily, it was dark and I was wearing polarised 3D glasses, so nobody could tell.

Tomorrow I'm meeting with my lecturer about the videos I'm making for my channel. You probably don't know this, but I'm totally making these videos as an assessable Advanced Screen Project for uni. Technically I'm supposed to be making a short film with a group of other third-year students but I didn't want to do that, so I convinced my lecturer this would be a good idea instead. As a result I get a special tutor who is helping me think through how I can use my videos to better help my future career. WIN.

I'm really looking forward to meeting with him tomorrow because the video I made this week stretched my usual style, and he's really been looking for me to do that. I'm going to be going up to the uni feeling all accomplished and stuff. It's going to be totally BOSS.

But yes... look at the guy who's writing in his blog with nothing to write about. I guess that's my cue to leave!

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Um... hello?

I used to be good at this blogging thing. I used to tear it up and make lots of textual-noise on this, the Internet, a series of tubes.

"Used to" is the key phrase here. But then I went to Peru and got out of the habit. Plus having a publicly viewable window into the mind is somewhat concerning to me. I'm fairly certain that my public angsty entries from a few months ago didn't do me any favours when it comes to getting that job with the ABC... but in the end I think THAT was for the best. Not that television isn't something I want to do in the short- or medium-term, but because not getting the job means I can do other things I love just as much, and I don't feel like I have to impress someone I've looked up to for years.

Still, every time I read The Hayleylujah Chorus I have this almost-unstoppable urge to log on and spill every tender detail of my life. I mean, I've been pretty obsessed with Hayley (in the least creepy way possible, I swear) for what amounts to a semi-decent amount of time now. We don't correspond all that frequently any more besides leaving excited and strongly-approving comments one each other's videos, so I appreciate being able to hear how she's doing from her blog.

Far out that sounds so creepy. And actually kind of needy. That totally isn't the intention there, just that I'm sure that there are people out there who are just as not-creepy as me who would have the same sort of interest in my life, so I feel like I have a kind of responsibility to blog for them too. Do unto others etc.

Plus, blogging is very cathartic. I like it for that reason. Write every day they say. Keep it up! Keep it up!

So I've unlinked my blog from my Facebook. If my IRL friends want to read my words they're going to have to have enough interest to come to the site itself (or take the time to read the feed in an RSS reader). IRL friends are marvellous at misunderstanding things written online. Then the explaining has to start. Ever with the explaining.

So I will blog, and they will not be notified on the lazyweb, which will be a wonderful incentive for me to post whatever I damn well please. Plus, when I get my MacBook Pro in a week-or-so's time it'll get even easier because I will be able to blog FROM MY BED or FROM THE LOUNGE or ON THE VERANDA. Portable technology is portable!

So see you tomorrow, Chick-chick-chickens.

And leave me a comment or two would you? No comments is SO discouraging you have no idea.