Recent Writing

I was originally planning on posting about editing my current documentary project but I’m a bit further behind than expected so I’ll leave that for a future post. Instead I figured I’d post about my recent writing!

In a previous post I discussed how I’m spending the next little while concentrating on writing scripts more than anything else. It’s been a bit slow going but I do write every day so I’ve made some progress. I just finished writing the third play in a series of three that I started ages ago in my first year of university.  The first script was “Peter and Nick” and was performed that year by the Battleford Community Players as “Peter and Nikki” (“Nick” was cast as female). I eventually wrote a sequel called Peter and Terry and just finished the first draft of “Peter and Michael.” In order to keep myself sane I usually wind up having two scripts on the go in case I need to take a step away from one for a while. This resulted in my finishing the first draft of a super hero centred script adapted from a screenplay I wrote in university titled “Stupendous.”

So with a first draft of those done I hit the same wall I always hit, which is editing. I often find it really difficult to bring myself to edit a project. “Peter and Michael” needs a solid rewrite before I give it to someone for a critique. “Stupendous” feels the same way but I’m starting to feel like I won’t be sure of what to change until I actually send them both to be read. I think a part of my hesitation comes from embarrassment of my work. This is obviously something I have to eventually get over but it’s tough. In the mean time, since I write every day, I’ve started pre-writing two other scripts. I think I’m going to need to force myself to get the first to critiqued so I don’t leave them too far behind and forget about them.

I recently did a cold read of the first two Peter plays and re-wrote some parts of the first one. I’m hoping I’ll finally be able to send it out to some contests soon. I’d also love to do this with all of the previously mentioned scripts. That’s a tough call though because of certain aspects of the story. Which is what I’ll talk about in next weeks post! Sorry if this felt a bit rushed and rambly. I definitely didn’t prepare this much. Next week I’ll talk a bit about what these plays are all about though as I psych myself up to finish them and send them out into the world!

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Playing a Bit More with Obscura Camera

I goofed around a bit more with the app this week. The first several minutes of my very quick shoot were actually very frustrating. I’ve found that the app slows down when you switch between the three shooting modes (raw, filter, and live.) This got a bit irritating. Things ran smoothly once I stuck with one though. I then ran into another problem though. For some reason the app was automatically changing the ISO and shutter speed settings and I couldn’t regain manual control. I also couldn’t find my way back to the instructions screen that came up the first time I used the app. I may have been doing something wrong but didn’t know what. I rebooted the app, though, and for whatever reason regained control.

I didn’t have time to arrange anything with an actual subject yet again so I decided to test the app with my Gizmo plush toy. I’ve gotta say, they turned out super well! I know that everyone’s already aware of how great cell phone cameras have become but I still felt very impressed. This app does give you some great control over settings that allows for even better photos. I do hope I don’t run in to the weird “you’re not allowed to adjust the ISO/shutter” issue too often though. So far, other than that one issue, this app has been well worth it! Gonna try to snap some pictures of an actual person this weekend! I may compare photos on my phone with Obscura Camera vs. photos on my T3i with an 80mm Rokinon lens. We’ll see!

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Shooting the Sculpture Doc

I know this is going up late but I wound up having a busier week than expected. I swear I’ll get this right someday! Anyhow, this week I’m posting what the process of actually shooting the documentary was like. This one’s going to be fairly short, so I’ll include a little clip from the interview and a bit of Aaron working just for the fun of it.

The shooting process involved two separate days, which was actually a lot less than I expected. The first day was shooting the interview and the second was shooting Aaron actually creating his sculpture. I don’t own any lights so for the interview we just used the light from the window and the lights in the basement we shot in. We ran in to troubles with sound because there was some sort of who knows what making noise directly above Aaron’s work space on the interview day. I normally record with a small lapel mic through my Zoom H4Next audio recorder, but this background noise made that audio pretty useless. I shot the interview on my Canon T3i with an 85mm Rokinon lens, The T3i is getting pretty old, but for my broke-ass purposes it still shoots great stuff! The Rokinon lens is easily my favourite for close ups and stationary interviews.

The second day I switched between the 85mm and my 50mm Canon lens. I didn’t bother with audio other than the camera’s on board mic this time. I don’t plan on using much of the audio from this day, and I was operating as a one person crew so I didn’t have anyone available to hold a mic anyhow. (Sometimes I feel like I’m making excuses, but having no money and bare minimum equipment does affect my shoots!) I expected this part of the process to take a few days but Aaron worked impressively fast on his sculpture and we wound up shooting for about three hours and he was finished. I tried some handheld shooting for the first time and discovered I was honestly not a fan of it. It allowed me to get closer to my subject but I found it difficult to hold a DSLR still enough. Some of the handheld shots were okay, some of them kinda stank. I shot a fair bit of stuff on the tripod as well, but in such a small space I found it difficult to get very many angles this way. Before I shoot my next doc I may invest in a cheap camcorder just so I can get closer to my subjects.

So that’s pretty much it. My process was pretty simple and I kinda just dove in and shot Aaron working on the go. We both commented that our projects (his sculpture and my film) were a bit experimental. We were both trying new things and diving into a project, and it was a lot of fun! It’s been an interesting experience being an artist observing another artist work. If you’ve been enjoying these little process posts (I promise next week’s will be on time!) let me know! Also, if you have any questions/comments/discussion points about filmmaking or creating things in general, feel free to comment! Thanks for dropping by!

Also, here’s a bit of footage of Aaron working on his sculpture for the documentary as a bit of a teaser!

 

Trying Out “Obscura Camera!”

Of course, yet again, I managed to forget to plan photos for this week. So last night while I was at Taco Night with my friends I decided I’d see if I could find a camera app for my phone that I liked. I did a bit of research online and found some reviews for iPhone apps that give you some control over camera settings. A few weeks ago I downloaded an app called Filmic Pro that does this for videos and I was quite impressed with it. One of the more recommended photo apps I found was called Camera Obscura. I only had time to try it out for a few minutes last night, but for seven dollars I was pretty happy with it. It gives you white balance options, ISO and shutter speed control, and some decent exposure control as well. So far it feels like my iPhone camera just became 100x more useful! I’ll post a few more photos next week to see what I can do with some better light. For now, these are the two I was most impressed with form sitting at the bar with my pals.

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Stuff is obviously super grainy from the lowlight in the bar. Still, turned out pretty decent!

Pretty Dice

Life got unexpectedly busy over the past few days and I got forgetful again. I didn’t get out and take too many pictures but I do have one I took recently that I really liked. This is a set of dice I bought for roleplaying games. I noticed the way the light passed through them and decided to snap a photo on my phone. The iPhone can take some pretty good photos so I was quite happy with how this turned out! I love the light on the paper mixed with the shadows. I’d love to play around with images like this in different light conditions some time.

Sorry for the late post again. I’ll hopefully be on time next week!