I've Started, So I'll Finish

Posted Saturday, March 27, 2010, 9:58 PM


I am very good at starting things and then never finishing them. I know I am not alone in this skill, but it is frustrating how many good ideas I begin and then abandon, even though they would probably be really brilliant if they'd been completed, maybe even fortune-inducingly good.

Since completing my first screenplay, I've been aching to write another. Each time I think I have a good idea, and it will thrill me to start on it, I get lost about halfway through and interest starts to wane. This is a bad thing on many levels, not least of which is if I ever want to dabble in it as a career, not motivating myself enough to finish it is not encouraging for prospective Agents or Producers. But then, if I had time and money as part of my motivation, provided by said Producers, I'd be sure to make it a priority and do a better job of it.

But that's a poor excuse for my appalling level of non-completion. My motivation should lie in the strength of the story, and the entertainment I get from creating the characters and sending them on their adventure. Being discouraged at a plot hole is no way to operate. I really have to kick myself into gear if I want to be a writer, even on an amateur level.

When I grew up in the 80s, a series of movies for young teenagers came out with a similar structure and setting. Not the Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink series, though they were certainly significant for many. I am instead referring to the Fantasy/Science Fiction movies where young kids in a small town go on a fantastic adventure, with no interference from adults except as potential enemies. Goonies, Gremlins, E.T., Explorers, Back to the Future, Time Bandits, etc.

But films like that just aren't made any more, and it's a shame. The fantasy films of today are all based on book series. I can understand how Harry Potter might influence a few incidental releases, but every single one, bar the occasional unique animated film? What's going on with that?

I want to write a film like I remember from the 80s. With kids having adventures, involving a small fantasy element, but with only a localised threat to contend with. None of this "Saving the World" nonsense. Just saving their own lives or their neighbourhood is enough of a challenge for most kids, so just leave it at that.

So while I was watching a DVD of one of the recent kids movies, inevitably based on a book series, I wondered if I could come up with even just an original concept that would fit my wishes. Could I come up with a story with a solid beginning, middle, and end, with all the potential for comedy, thrills, and threats, plus a few fantasy elements, something original, that has not been done in a film before?

And rather surprisingly, I thought of one. As I considered each individual element I wanted to include, it all began to fall into place remarkably quickly. I was so excited, I started to write it all down.

So far I have about 60% of the main plot, but the other 40% has to be sorted out before I can begin the script writing itself. Crucial elements aren't yet determined. But as I piece together what I do have, I can see plenty of opportunities for fun sequences, both action and comedic, which hopefully will only strengthen the plot, and lead to ideas to fill in the crucial blanks.

I am so excited by this story, and its originality, that I feel as giddy as I did when I first started putting together my first screenplay, Pegasus Rampant, though I had the bonus of being in recovery mode from my wisdom teeth surgery, giving me time to seriously concentrate on one thing. Nevertheless, it feels very much like I'm in a similar place for this project, so I hope I can maintain that enthusiasm and follow through to a finished screenplay, even if only a first draft. I really want to complete this one, because if it works it will serve as an excellent second example of what I'm capable of.

An interesting thing happened when I was looking through the Thesaurus for some keywords to create a title from. I stumbled on another word, not appropriate for this film, but perfect for another story idea, a short film in fact. So I took the opportunity to scribble down some notes on that idea too. I may revisit that one when discussing our next big project, whatever and whenever that may be.

I Lament The Loss Of Beige

Posted Saturday, March 20, 2010, 5:46 PM


I am a night owl. That is, I prefer to work in the afternoon and evenings and into the night. I do not like getting up early, even though that is a very pleasant part of a day.

This means I tend to work when it's dark outside, and it goes further, in that I prefer to work with the lights out. I will probably have the TV on, which is four or so metres away from me, and my desk will be illuminated by the LCD monitor, but otherwise it will be completely dark, just the way I like it. I don't even have a lamp.

In the days of CRT monitors, the illumination afforded by the screen was enough to let me see everything on my desk before me. It helped that all the items I use are in a lighter tone, beige or grey. But two things have changed in computing that has caused me some bother.

LCD screens no longer have illumination power. They light themselves up, but as for my desk, I can barely see my own fingers.

And computer peripherals have foregone beige entirely, and are all almost exclusively black.

So with no light, and a dark keyboard, I cannot see what I am typing (Yes, I am a two finger typist who still needs to look at his keyboard to type. I am far from alone in this, so get over it).

This has not been a huge bother to me, because I still possess my favourite keyboard, a quiet cheapie I got from Dick Smith that has held me in good stead these past ten or more years. I even remember which store I bought it at. And it is beige, so is a light enough tone to be seen when barely illuminated.

But my other computer, the one I use for my 3D Graphics work, has a black keyboard. Not only is it impossible for me to read the keys in the darkness, but the arrangement of keys is slightly different to my other one, which I am much more familiar with after ten years of constant use, so I often hit the wrong key or have to go hunting at close quarters to find my way. Believe me, hitting "Delete" when you wanted "Page Up" is not a fun mistake to make.

And worse still, my favourite keyboard model is now discontinued. There are other beige or silver keyboards here and there, but with a different arrangement of keys, and there are properly arranged keyboards out there, however they are all black, at least so far as I can find locally.

I remain vigilant, and if I ever stumble upon another keyboard of the right colour and key situation I will pounce on it. But I fear it may be a long time before beige ever comes back into style.

Gosh Darn It!

Posted Sunday, March 7, 2010, 11:00 PM


So about six months ago I messed up with my blog design by accidentally saving over it with a template, completely losing everything I had tweaked it into. Took me four hours to get it back into shape.

Today I decided I would back up the design so I wouldn't make the mistake of doing that again, and had a look around for the link I knew was available to save my template. And there I found a button that said "Save Template".

Did it have an explanation next to it? No.

Did it have a warning after clicking on it? No.

What did it do? IT CHANGED MY TEMPLATE TO THE DEFAULT.

Turns out, the button should actually be labelled "Save OVER My Template".

Fuck shit damn.

So I spent two hours restoring it to something close to what I had before, found the real link that actually backs up my template, and now I have it sorted. Except I'll probably tweak it as I discover things that just don't sit right and need a-fixin'.