Sunday, 28 August 2016

ConBravo: Reviewer Q&A 1+3

This is a sub-post of the whole convention, covering Reviewer Q&A 1 (Fri) and Reviewer Q&A 3 (Sun). Quotes are not exact, any errors are my own, enjoy.

At 6pm Friday, I went to “Reviewer Q&A 1: The Silver Screen”, for reviewers of movies and similar content. It featured Derek the Bard (DtB), Calluna (C), Leon Thomas of Renegade Cut (LT), Diamanda Hagan (DH), AniMat of ElectricDragon505 (AM), and after a flight delay Rantasmo (R).


Photo order is: AM, DH, R, DtB, LT, C

Q1: For Leon, about the Revenant review and actor performance.
LT: Sometimes you get the Oscar for many, many performances; it’s your time.

Q2: For Hagan, anything so offensive personally that you wouldn’t review it?
DH: “Never. I literally go out of my way to challenge myself.” There is a film that’s come close to mentally breaking her, an evangelical Christian drama about snuff and porn called “Remake”.

Q3: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever reviewed?
C: What gave her the most trouble was the pilot to the 70s Spiderman series, a Patreon request. It took two months, as it was really dull, which took time to write jokes for.
LT: “I typically don’t do movies I dislike”, if they don’t light a fire the work suffers, because he wouldn’t care. Objectively, the “Atlas Shrugged” trilogy, it’s really dry and there’s a reason they’re critically panned.
DtB: Hard to choose one genre. For book, “Orphans of Chaos” by John C. Wright (who became a Sad Puppy); teachers as supernatural magic aliens is disturbing stuff. For movie, between “Troy” (terrible if you know anything about the Illiad) and “Sherlock Holmes (2010)” by Asylum (manages to get every single thing wrong). For cartoon, Dino Squad.
DH: Funny story about ‘Sherlock Holmes’ - went to the museum at Baker St, they hire a guy to talk to you in character as Holmes. I said I was upset the gift shop didn’t have the Asylum one with the dragon. After explaining, he said “Sounds better than the damn one with Robert Downey Jr”. I have never wanted a conversation recorded more in my life.
DH: Regards question, what’s the criteria for worst? Quality? Ethically many things are horrible but are really entertaining. If “worst” means “strike from the universe” then that would probably be “Children of the Living Dead”, nothing good there.
AM: “Where the Dead Go to Die”, it feels very unfinished, animator didn’t have animation background, didn’t have a story. (Hagan sent a link of the trailer to RapCritic, within 30 seconds talk devolved to NO NO NO NO.) Or “Food Fight”, 40 million dollars down the drain.

Q4: What’s your favourite movie? For Leon it’s Blade Runner.
AM: Disney’s Fantasia. Masterfully crafted animation with music.
DH: Time Bandits.
DtB: Hard to pick one. “In the Mouth of Madness” (at his wedding, he even met Sutter Cane’s agent by chance) or “John Carter”.
C: She goes through favourites every two years. If only one left, probably “Wizard of Oz”, one of the first she remembers, or “Spirited Away”. Also likes “The Cat Returns”.

Q5: How has YouTube changed from when you started to now?
DtB: Hasn’t been able to produce a review in over a year because of copyright strikes. They compound. He started with Blip, and while they did give a YouTube partnership, he kind of ignored it. When Blip went away, he found a lot of things he’s done, YouTube doesn’t like, which has only gotten crazier through the years. Don’t do anything involving Toei!
AM: Just today I got a copyright strike for the Peanuts movie. I shouldn’t, it’s still fair use, but it is a hard time. I have to mix and match my trailers and audio to avoid the system like a ninja.
C: It’s inconsistent across the board.
AM: Definitely hard; worse for “Let’s Play”ers.
C: Never had Blip, and have had every problem. Manual, automatic, people claiming images, can’t use screenshots for Game of Thrones because HBO. 12 seconds of footage of the “Carmen Sandiego” theme song got 20 claims from the same company. And Japanese is different too, my Rayearth “Let’s Play” resulted in an email 4 weeks later in Japanese Legalese. Just do your research and be flexible, upload privately first, and adapt depending on what it does. At least YouTube can remove background music and keep my audio, so that’s good.
R [arriving]: I’ve never had a video taken down, maybe since I never use audio from the original source.
DH: Never taken down either but have had some blocked, including “Passion of the Christ” and “Vegas in Space”. It’s very strange. Some things are blocked only in America. A review with Tom White of “The Ray”, out of Indonesia, is blocked only there because she used a 5 second clip in the middle, to show part of a hallway fight scene. But it still got hits from the country.
C: “Swan Princess” review, the studio that owns it is now in Japan, so it’s blocked everywhere except there.
DH: Once got a notice “this video is blocked in only 200 countries”, so there’s basically 8 who can see it, mostly tiny islands.

Q6: On crossover and collaboration videos, who are your favourites to work with?
DH: Everyone has strengths, weaknesses, brilliant things. Today I filmed one with LT.
LT: My show isn’t conducive to them, but I’ll do them for others.
DtB: (missed it sorry), his stuff is always hilarious. The Porn Critic, who doesn’t do videos any more, but could take normal lines and make them sound dirty. Toxic Avenger Four.
C: Filmed one at MagFest, still editing. Two people that cause her to break character, which is a good sign, are Luke Spencer (Rocked Reviews) and Yomarz.
R: Did one with Lindsay Ellis recently; enjoyed all the ones I’ve done.
AM: [like LT] reviews isn’t really made for crossovers, did do one with Joey for Smurfs movie.

(*I asked this question :) *)
*Q7: What keeps you going when you’re feeling down or frustrated about yourself or your work?
DtB: I’m only just getting back after YouTube issues. A compulsive need to scream at bad things on the internet.
DH: “The main reason I do it and did it in the first place, I love telling people about weird films.” In university she would show friends, getting two heterosexuals to watch communist gay porn.
LT: Money, it’s my full time job, need to pay the bills. The other reason is that art existing in a vacuum, where you’re the only one enjoying it is fine - but with a shared experience I like getting the feedback to enjoy it more.
AM: Motivation is in talking about what he loves. About animation, and really good films like “Zootopia” or “How To Train Your Dragon 2”. And seeing fascinating production stories, and wanting to talk about them. “When I start a project, I put my focus into it, so it’s mostly the passion about what I’m talking about.”
C: Getting people to check things out. First an English major in college, wrote nerdy papers, then I could write videos. It I really like something I gotta tell people. And the fact I do four different shows helps, if [copyright] issues in Sailor Moon is pissing me off I can work on Game of Thrones.
R: It’s like if ‘x’ thing is popular, I have to review it, determine what my opinions are on it.
C: Then Patreon requests are interesting.
R: Find the thing you want to get out there, and want to say.

Q8: For Rantasmo, regarding a movie.
R: Has toyed with things that don’t have gay, but wants to exhaust his genre first.

Q9: For Hagan, where did the idea come to be a dictator of a small nation with minions?
DH: Originally was just an evil reviewer. And most others would sit, so she stood, many wore glasses, so she took her’s off. Minions were a one-off joke in video 3 that people liked, the gas gun was an ad lib, ultimately “Haganistan” became part of the canon.

Q10: What was the most difficult review to write?
LT: The hardest in that it was the longest was “Mulholland Drive”, well over an hour, a month and a half to do. Hopefully back up on YouTube soon.
AM: Hardest in recent memory was “Zootopia”, in what to criticize. Spent days wondering what was bad, gave it a 10/10.
R: Positive ones are always harder to write. “Here’s a bad thing, joke joke” while different ways of saying something is good is tricky.
DH: Depends what humour she can find in it. “Hack” movies are ridiculous but hard to review because of how they’re constructed. Her “Vomit Gore” trilogy was planned as a single review, but as a form of comedic self harm, she got 8 or 9 pages on the first movie alone. That wasn’t a fun experience.
C: 70s Spiderman pilot [again]. Rewrote the script 3 or 4 times, was so dull.
DtB: A couple were very problematic. Live show plan was original DarkStalkers cartoon, but beyond “this show is bad, here’s how it messes up the game” there’s nothing more to say. The writing for “Troy” was difficult because it was written at a LARP convention, while doing the filming - the only way to manage it with friends. Kept improvising and adding to the video while filming, then leave to go be vampires, then back to filming, then go to be a wizard. “It was a mess, but I was so passionate about my hate for it.” Later had to reshoot a shot, wondered how to shoot a minute of dialogue without bothering to put on pants.

Here Q11 was a Magfest joke by an audience member, explained by DtB. The gag is to stand up, say “big fan!”, hold the person’s gaze, and then ask a big open ended question. “What are your thoughts on 'Bus'?” The gist of the question in the end was things are in production hell, but were scripted out before the YouTube strikes problem.

Then Q12 someone asked DH to obliterate this copy of (some DVD), which she did.

Q13: What is the strangest piece of information you’ve come across when doing research?
R: Cheerleading was once exclusively done by men. Bellydancing was similar.
DtB: When reviewing DinoSquad, he had to look up how evolution worked in order to emphasize how they get it wrong in the video. There’s no dinosaurs in human genetic linkage.
AM: Animation wise, learning production history of “Looney Tunes: Back in Action”. It started as “Space Jam 2”, kept working despite no Michael Jordan, then “Spy Jam” with Jackie Chan, finally there was no creative freedom in the result. Also the history of “Food Fight”, a simple idea that’s a disaster because the director had no idea but was the company boss.
DtB: Did two reviews of “Teeth of Beasts”. His first said some unkind things, and a friend put him in contact with the director. He discovered they had to keep rescripting because things didn’t fit the sets, certain things were only available certain days, the editor destroyed the master copies too early - second review covered that.
DH: In an evangelical christian cancer drama. God decides to make a girl his instrument, so her dancing turns people christian. The director was a cop killed in “Terminator” and the devil is played by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stunt double. Weird connections.
C: Watching behind the scenes for Scooby Doo Wrestlemania, all of them did the Scooby voice, one delivery was so straight. In a movie itself, John Cena speaks Luchador (and there’s a bit in here about surfing while unconscious I didn’t catch).

Q14 was a follow-up to Calluna about “Surf’s Up 2” and wrestling. She doesn’t really know wrestling but may look into that.

Q15: Those who take requests, what’s the strangest?
DtB: Doesn’t take requests.
C: Spiderman again!
DH: There’s “Equestria Girls” and New Zealand had “Weresheep” but the weirdest was an Iraila teen movie “Sing Clara”.
LT: “Chicago”. He doesn’t like that movie (and most musicals) and warned the requester “if you like it, I don’t think you’re going to want me to talk about it”, but it turned out okay.
C: She tells her Patreons, give THREE options, so she can pick the best. Yeah, Spiderman was the best of three.
R: Has had “Dorian Grey”, “Yaoi Fangirls” and creator of “Utena” but hasn’t done enough for something to be strangest. Did have one asking about “Broadway” but that’s kind of a broad topic, like “Latin America”.

Thus concluded the Q&A!
*****

But there was more on Sunday! At 2:30pm “Reviewer Q&A Chapter 3: The World” which had Derek the Bard (DtB) and Rantasmo (R) as above but also “The Dom” (TD) from England. We started with a nice picture of Nash with bunny ears. Here we go again.


Photo Order: DtB, TD, R

Q1 [distilled]: What media do you think brings real insight to a subject?
R: Doesn’t know if he has insight, but Sharknado is a more competent criticism of climate change than Birdemic.
Audience Person: Except then you get [actress] Tara Reid thinking their science is real.
TD: Obvious answer is kids cartoon shows like “Steven Universe”, ladled with topics.
DtB: “Hackers” is an absolute genius way of representing how nerds think, though not how computers work.

Q2: What is currently the favourite stuff you’ve done?
R: A video a while back, on Baldur’s Gate controversy with transgender. Had a lot to say, even though went in thinking he had to weigh in, and writing took a long time.
TD: Probably “Coraline” episode, balance of sketches that worked for once, didn’t pain me to read or watch them, and was a good book. “I’m vastly critical of my own work.”
DtB: “I don’t like a lot of my work.” Matches his standard of the time, but those standards increase. There’s “Wolf” review but YouTube blocked it in North America so he took it down. That or “Gattica”, happy with that and got a running gag, in that it bombed to an unbelievable degree of failure that it almost set a metric. “There’s no justice for Gattica”. Favourite filmed but not released, a “Critters 4” review with Nash at ConBravo a couple years back; real life got in the way, never finished it.

(* I’m pretty sure this next was my question )
Q3: What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in your work, either one time or constantly?
DtB: YouTube’s copyright system.
TD: Usually the scripting; there’s funny available, just have to find it.
R: What I have to say has substance, which can be a challenge at times.
DtB: Agrees there’s trouble writing, but nothing is worse than shooting, doing twenty hours of editing, fixing it, encoding twice, putting a final version up, and then within an hour getting a YouTube strike. Don’t do Japanese ANYTHING. Toei is litigious.
TD: I was hit by Studio Ghibli at one point.
DtB: Toei flags most, but some stay. He likes to think he said something funny enough this time, so they decided “This one can stay up”.

Q4: With the loss of Blip, how has the transition been?
DtB: I had no dedicated Blip audience, it was embedded on other sites. YouTube is a great way to build a system, but it’s psychotic and run by androids.
TD: I was never on Blip, know it did screw over a large percentage, now sort of getting back on track.
R: I was on both at a certain point, so not as hard for me.
DtB: You got an automatic YouTube partnership coming out of Blip that others couldn’t, or it worked like that for me.
R: There’s many hits from Saudi Arabia and he has no idea why.
DtB: They do download the most gay anything.
R: I know that homosexuality is illegal; there weren’t that many comments on it.
TD: I want to show all my friends so they can be mad too?
R: Having a certain number of dislikes traffic wise doesn’t really hurt, but can turn some away. May turn it off.

Q5: When you decide to review, how often do you rewatch?
R: Depends what it is.
DtB: Agreed, if a cartoon show, watch episodes through once, only need to get the gist. For a movie, once without notes, then second time I know where to make the notes and what to talk about. “Hilariously, the movies I hate, I’ve watched more.” Had to watch “Troy” four times, third time was with person scripting with, fourth was to make sure he said enough mean things.
TD: Only watches the film once, but with editing, feels like seeing it more. Doesn’t watch afterwards.
R: “I don’t watch something in it’s entirety more than once.” One watch, and review based on that.

Q6: What about “50 Shades”?
DtB: There’s lots of specific stores you could go to, to see a movie that would be better produced about that material, and they’d charge a lot less.
TD: Not everyone knows, but it’s deeply offensive to BDSM, vastly misrepresenting. Not speaking from experience.
R: That’s the opposite of my subject matter, so I don’t know much.
DtB: Does seem a little straight for you.

Q7: How has the review culture changed in the last four or five years?
DtB: Back in the day - since 2010 - there was a lot of people. It was Nostalgia Critic to start, and people who began surrounding him. On ‘That Guy With the Glasses’ (TGWTG) forums.
R: To an extent.
DtB: [to Dom] You were just doing videos and decided to apply.
TD: Pretty much.
DtB: There was someone who got into the system when someone else sent an application. Leeman Kessler of “Ask Lovecraft”. He contacted me wondering “who is this Linkara guy, and there’s this Skype chat with 80 people”. The community’s been very condensed over the years. People flooded to Blip, and as they started restricting, things died down, there were fiascos, it’s becoming more dispersed. People aren’t as close as they used to be.
R: Losing Blip did close things off.
TD: Biggest issues, being taken seriously and the saturation of the market. The former’s been better, the latter seems worse.
DtB: Oh no, back in the days, everyone in the forums had a show, there was a whole sub forum, things didn’t get lost.
TD: Doing YouTube now, it’s been said is like throwing a glass bottle with a message into a sea made of glass bottles with messages.
DtB: People search shows with cartoons in it, you end up at the top of the list. So every video has to be decent, every show will be someone’s first.
R: Production value has become more important.
DtB: With less and less excuse for having poor production.

Q8: What was your most difficult review to work on, and the reason?
TD: (missed it - the book was surprisingly awesome). Then “Roger Rabbit”, necessitated changing the very nature of his show to accommodate it.
R: (spaced out again), what more can I say.
DtB: “Troy”, scripted at a convention where we also did LARP. (See question in Q&A 1 that referenced this.)

Q9: For Rantasmo. About a video from 2 years ago regarding gay visibility in Children’s Media, are we anywhere close yet, consider updating?
R: Probably won’t update that particular video as he doesn’t do broad genres as much any more. There will be a “Steven Universe” episode; we’re slowly getting there.
Audience Person: Recalls “Braceface” which had the gay character, and then another one, so they had to meet.
R: They brought that show to the US but not the episode with the gay character. Regards original question then, no, moving away from broad genres.

Q10: Your knowledge of video games?
TD: Ehh.
DtB: Depends on the system.
TD: Console? PC? I’ve been known to game.
R: I play them.

Q11: When scripting what you don’t like, do you feel you get too nitpicky, attacking things you would overlook in a different show?
DtB: Did that for some early book reviews, which is why they won’t be reposted online. “Scent of Shadows”, while not a good book, had me comment on the author being a Vegas showgirl. “I cannot believe I wrote that ... that’s beyond the pale.” Try not to do that. One movie review led me to talking with a director, who had a book on the subject of the difficulty of making the movie.
TD: Has the opposite issue, needing to excuse things in ones he does like. “For the bad ones I think I’m tough but fair, for the good ones it’s equally unfair but more positive.”
R: Said something about Rose McGowan’s acting he wasn’t fond of, experimenting in being bitchy. Not a good look for him.
DtB: Many started with negative reviews because that’s what [James] Rolfe and [Doug] Walker were doing. It’s taken time for the community to find it’s footing, and a review style that’s not rabid.
TD: Notes he fell into that trap. “Am I allowed to be nice?”
DtB: It’s where the energy and enthusiasm come through more in my style.
R: Since taking the word “rant” and putting it in my name, things have changed.

Q12: Dream crossover or guest star?
DtB: Jeffrey Combs. Don’t care if he’s just sitting in the corner creepily eating popcorn for the entire review.
R: Louis Virtel (sp?), really smart and funny. Asked him for “Showgirls”, he was interested, but wires got crossed. Would be cool some day.
TD: Doug Walker. It’s achievable.

Q13: What inspired you to start, how did you differentiate from that?
R: Lindsey Ellis. There was a TV show that doesn’t exist any more, “InfoMania”, it targeted woman and gays which informed his show a lot, then Lindsey’s style of reviewing.
TD: “I was kind of doing the show before it was a show.” It was the personification of what he would yell at his friends, ‘they can’t change that!’, so when he did a film degree, it made sense to combine them. Perfect situation.
DtB: Nash. He’d rant to Nash and Kathryn about books he read with insane plots, and they’re like “wait, what?”. Nash had started doing his show, and he said you have to start a show too - that’s what people are doing now.

Q14: Which reviewer is your favourite [to watch]?
DtB: Lewis [Linkara]. I try to keep up with his show, it’s funny.
TD: I try with everyone, specifically Nash. I can have his going when I’m setting up equipment for my show. And I love Rantasmo’s show.
R: Nostalgia chick stuff, Loose Canon.

(* Me asking again)
Q15: For The Dom, about dealing with dyslexia while reviewing.
TD: Specialist schools helped, spelling is still atrocious. Reading out loud can stumble over words; fine reading otherwise, and for his own scripts, it’s okay as he also spelled them badly. Not an issue when reading for pleasure.

Q16: Can you think of a remake that contrasts and gives insight to the original?
DtB: “New Ghostbusters” taught me how much of a scumbag Venkman is.
TD: (title unheard), missed it when they were just zapping the bad guys.
R: From “Last Airbender”, gathered how not to make a movie in general. By contrast, liked “Lady in the Water”.

Q17: Reviewing - as analysis or product? Whether something’s good, or more philosophically? (sorry, that garbling is my fault)
TD: Depends on reviewer. What’s a good balance? Only giving facts has danger of getting boring but you don’t want to end up forcing an agenda.
R: Ask do you have something of substance, versus “this was good” “this was bad”.
DtB: Preference for reviews that are entertaining. Then can learn something but enjoy the entertainment, what someone has managed to say with how they’re funny.

Q18: Craziest thing a fan’s ever given you?
R: Don’t know I’d say fan, but yesterday someone tweeted me a picture of his butt, that’s the most harassing thing. For objects I don’t have anything.
TD: Jerky tentacles from Japan, from a US fan stationed there. Have yet to try, but not out of date until 2030.
DtB: Can’t think of much. A model of the ‘Clean Couch’ from “Spirit of the Century” game was given to Big Mike and the rest of us. A fan did buy me a wand at a convention, that was pretty boss.

Q19: Personal passion products?
R: Working on a visual novel, hope to submit.
DtB: Have a list of things to review but no specific - wait, there is. In the works for years, a project discussing trends in urban fantasy cover art. He created a system, like a woman on cover, with backless dress, looking backwards, plus a flaming weapon, with some sort of animal, gets “X” number of points. With the point scale 1-12 you’d know the quality of the book you’d read.
TD: Pitch of an ultimate crossover idea, in far off future.
DtB: Also movie “Bus”, trying to turn into a documentary. Or mockumentary.

Q20: Any media of objective quality some can’t appreciate, or so bad it’s good?
TD: Sees objectively fine stuff every day.
R: More the latter than the former, appreciate camp to a great degree. Showgirls is really fun. Southland Tales wasn’t good in the way it was trying to be, but I enjoy it a lot.
DtB: A few comedy shows friends watch. “Arrested Development” I don’t find funny. Interview office style I don’t like.
R: Parks & Recreation? Start with Season Two. It was trying to be “The Office”.
DtB: I like “Mitchell and Webb”, some people wonder why.

Q21: Something learned about yourself by doing your show?
TD: “I’m a smug git. Not a great revelation.”
R: His way of speaking has improved, feels more comfortable talking in general. You see how little energy you have and how much you really need to appear enthusiastic.
DtB: Learned to be a better performer, and more comfortable speaking in front of large groups.

Q22: What percentage of your online persona is a character, does it blur?
DtB: For starters, I’m not actually a wizard.
TD: What? I believed in you!
DtB: Initially was trying to portray more of a character, in some areas ripping off Lewis. Decided he wasn’t good at it, now turns existence of ongoing plot into a joke. Lampoons anyone trying to bring in plot, it’s him talking about his opinions and feelings. Will put on a different outfit with a silly voice if it’s not that.
TD: Intention was to be different from the character, being weird, but now thinks the person on screen is less of a jackass than real life. Opinions are definitely his, if he doesn’t notice it, he can’t say it.
R: Rantasmo is an exaggerated version. While basically the same, it’s nice having that barrier, being more than just the person in the screen.

Check them out on the Internets! DerekTheBard everywhere, The Dom is more popular now than BDSM sites, and NeedsMoreGay is Rantasmo. (“I’m impressed you were able to get that.” “It wouldn’t be a very good porn site, like CouldBeBetter.com”)

Thanks for reading through, more Q&A to come, follow this blog or the Main ConBravo post for when the links go up.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Not Teaching: Week 8

Normally, next week, I would go into school for a day or two to set up my class, photocopy things, and do all the other necessary stuff that I don’t get paid for. It still hasn’t consciously hit me yet that this won’t happen. In fact, I’ve actually had two dreams in the past week about going in to school. (For one, it was a snowstorm, and I knew I wasn’t teaching but I had to get graph paper there... snow days are a myth.)

Previous INDEX Next

It must have hit my subconscious? There’s still a bunch of recap stuff I need/want to do before Labour Day, and yet I’m still busy editing my Time Travel story. Because I know I have the time for it, and the inclination, and that said desire will likely wane in September as my stats continue a slow slip.

Plus, trip with my wife next month - my poor wife who has worked the equivalent of 14-days out of the last 14 days (with Saturdays off). I’m getting better at cooking. Incidentally, I give up on the roof; it’s apparently not going to collapse, so whatever.

Item counts run Sunday (August 21) to Saturday (August 27).

Step Count: About 51,250.
Sunday and Tuesday were horrible (under 4000, barely went outside). On Wednesday I mowed the lawn and walked to the comic store to buy the latest BTTF comic, so 14,000 steps made up for that.



Writing/Art Related Items (from Sun to Sat):
 -ConBravo recap did go up, five subsequent Q&A posts need edits.
 -Complete rewrite of an old ep in T&T Book 4 (now Parts 78 & 79); Chartreuse is taking over. Then more since - currently playing around in Part 82. Each part is at least 4,000 words. I should probably be more impressed with myself.

Non-Writing Items for the past week:
 -Out with friends on Monday night
 -Mowed lawn and did some weeding
 -Finished “Outlander”! Took 14+ months! (Because there’s little time to read from Sept-June.) Started “This Is Not A Test”, bought at TMC.
 -Yoga Thursday
 -Treated my shears to remove rust
 -Medical stuff online

PROBABLE PROJECTS in the coming week:
 -Catch up with #OttSlowChat on Twitter
 -Finish ConBravo recap edits
 -Post recap about CAN-CON (from Oct 2015)
 -Medical appointment Wednesday
 -Trim the hedges

Jennifer Parker's pretty kick-ass in the BTTF comic.

WOULD BE NICE items:
 -French Citizenship project
 -Post recap about OAME (from May)
 -Post recap about Math PD (from Feb)
 -Do more editing on my T&T story
 -Catch up with web serials I’ve enjoyed
 -Write a TANDQ article on Decision Fatigue
 -Write a post about types of praise/encouragement
 -Organize all the paper clutter from school
 -Organize all the electronic clutter from school
 -Weed through/organize emails
 -Do another Parody Math Video
 -Actually market some of my creative stuff
 -Catch up more on “Bones” (no spoilers past S11.12!)
 -Get back onto tumblr.
 -Read some of the books sitting at my desk

Is anyone actually looking at these posts? If so, come back next week, if you’re so inclined.


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Friday, 26 August 2016

ConBravo: 2016 Main

I made it back to ConBravo, a convention in Hamilton for “everything geek” at the end of July this year (2016). I previously attended in 2015 and also in 2012. As usual, at all of the sessions I went to, I took notes; time to summarize those and put it out onto the web. Hopefully you’ll find this sequence of posts to be of some use.





FRIDAY: FROM INTRO, TO EVIL


The trip from Ottawa to Hamilton was uneventful. I managed to avoid the long weekend traffic, passing the airport around 1pm and finding myself with some time before check-in. So I looked in some comic shops there and found book 4 of “Bill & Ted Go To Hell”. Also ended up with some time after getting my badge, so had a slice of pizza at “Nations”. Ended up being my dinner. Also needed their Help Desk because my phone doesn't do 'apps' and there was NOWHERE to find out who was at what panel. No pdf, no png, no printout, only 'app'. Had to fly blind the entire weekend.

Opening Ceremonies, 5pm. Video by Wondershock. Mark Tjan remarked on how it’s year seven and some prior memories. Also about being hit by anxiety, mental and emotional burnout. But the way the con has changed him and brought new people into his life is something he wouldn’t change. They didn’t run through the massive guest list like last year, and got to ALB (or “Alb in Wonderland”, Angelina) delivering the Keynote.

“If you’re in here, you’ve likely had someone in your life say this phrase to you: Wow, you’re obsessed.” ALB heard it very early. She had every “Lion King” item she could get her hands on. Pogs, trading cards, sneakers, pencil cases, and she even dressed up for Halloween - not as Nala, but as Simba. Then it was every Harry Potter item, including newspaper items into a scrapbook and getting an old trunk. She entered a costume contest at age 12, and won. She wanted to be like Hermione so much, she became a better student!

“There were many more obsessions. And I thought that this was normal, because this was my normal.” When she became a teenager, upon realizing that not everybody breathes their fandom, she started to tone it down. Worried that if people saw how truly passionate and obsessed she was, it would scare them.

In 2012, she went to her first convention - San Diego ComicCon, her first time out of Ontario on her own. And she saw that she wasn’t the only person who liked stuff to the same degree. She’s now met the majority of her best friends at conventions. ALB concluded by saying, to everyone in the room and all attendees - “Wow, you’re obsessed. And I love it!” (If anyone’s keeping track for me, my Sailor Mercury obsession seems to have progressed to Nanoha.) Opening Ceremonies wrapped up just before 5:30.


At 6pm, I went to “Reviewer Q&A 1: The Silver Screen”, for reviewers of movies and similar content. That will be separated into another post and linked here; it featured Derek the Bard, Calluna, Leon Thomas, Diamanda Hagan, AniMat, and (after a flight delay) Rantasmo. I got a picture after that with Calluna and The Dom (who was in the audience); one for the scrapbook along with the Linkara photo from 2012.

From 7pm until about 8:30 I was at the Marketplace, caging the room for possible commissions for my T&T characters and other items of interest. I ended up buying a large Nanoha figurine, as it was under $100 and acts as a good counterpoint to the similarly sized Fate figurine on my desk at home. I then looked for dinner but the only place still open nearby (that was fast) was the Dollar Store. So I bought Jaffa Cookies. (Jaffa, Kree!)

At 9pm I went to the “Evil Inc. Screening and Panel”, featuring Doctor Holocaust, Toronto’s Greatest Super Villain. We got a screening of a couple of videos that will be coming out (maybe by the point of this recap they are out) and then there was Q&A. For context here, part of the filming had been done in a church with a lot of debris.

DocH remarked how every warehouse they wanted to rent said “sure, for about 3 Grand per day”, hence trying churches as a cheaper alternative for renting space. One had their sanctuary under construction. (YES! “How do I explain that I’m an internet person who wants to pay $125 to die on your rubble? ... I’m shooting a video about redemption.”)

They filmed in the middle of a heat wave. And then a bunch of their footage came back blurry. Which was a crushing devastation, because they didn’t have time to reshoot everything. The solution was the framing device of a detective discussing events after the fact, incorporating flashbacks. They’d had to rebook the space to refilm - and the detective was a REAL criminal investigator! (A forensics expert that DocH LARPs with.) His limp was ALSO real, because DocH hurt his knee speed-walking to rebook and was on a cane for a couple days, including while filming.

Someone asked DocH if he had any tips on writing. DocH said he’d once taken a course where Ty Templeton (Canadian comic book artist & writer) happened to be his instructor, where the tip was “Write what you know”. Because sure, stretch beyond your comfort zone, but if you write subjects you’re intimately familiar with, readers will know that it’s real when they read it. “I don’t know about being a super villain, but I do know about struggle.”

One of the biggest problems is money, he’s always had to make stuff out of pocket (only recently has a regular 9-5 job that pays well). In terms of a question about webcomics, DocH said you can only pick 2 of the following 3 things: Someone with talent (ie- with a similar vision to what you want). Someone willing to work for free/inexpensive ($600 per panel per page is a going rate). Someone who keeps to a schedule. You only get two of those.

Regarding the big dramatic reveal made at the panel, I’ll offer this quote: “Holocaust. It’s a great name for a super villain, it’s a terrible name for a content creator.”


COPY RIGHT & WRONGS


When that wrapped up at 10pm, I went to have a look at Copyright Basics for Crafters & Artists, which was already in progress (9:30-10:30pm). Toni from Quiltoni was finishing a presentation and fielding questions. Key items: DO NOT print works that are not yours. DO NOT trace. DO NOT do photoshop effects on official artwork.


"We're gonna copyright the unit circle!"
(I write this webcomic, see...)
That said, if something like a silhouette is changed for purpose, it’s parody. That’s okay: “A work created to imitate, make fun of, or comment on an original work, its subject, author, style or some other target, by means of satiric or ironic imitation.”

Getting a copyright is super easy. Toni was often going through Canada/US customs and didn’t want to get charged duty on bringing her stuff back. First, get a business licence. (Google “Canada Border Business”.) In Canada, you do not have to collect sales tax unless you make more than $30,000. If you do make even $1/year, declare it, it shows you have extra income if you’re applying for a loan. In the States though, only register as a business if it’s going to be beneficial in some way, they have licenses and taxes for everything.

In terms of copyrighting your business stuff, the government wants to help you. Note you can only do it if it’s based on your content - her Totoro quilts cannot be copyrighted. The cost is $100 to $1000 depending on what you’re copyrighting and what you’re doing with it. Question raised about “performance copyright” (mailing yourself a copy of something, sealed to a date) - you’ll pay a lot in lawyer fees. Because going after anyone means suing them with a “cease and desist” letter (they’re unlikely to simply stop).

Notable difference: An image or idea has a copyright. A name has a trademark instead. And you can’t get a trademark on a derivative (taking part of one name and part of another). There’s a database where you can look such things up, and info on what you can and can’t do with lyrics is here: http://selfpublishingteam.com/quoting-lyrics-and-dodging-copyright-issues-guest-post/

If you think there’s an infringement, make sure it’s deliberate. Don’t buy illegally printed stuff. Educate yourself. Her resources slide will be on the Craft Hacker forums.

From there I went to “Webcomics Q&A” at 10:30pm, which will be a separate post. When it ended at 11:30pm, I checked into the “Unpopular Opinions Panel” in progress (11pm-12). They were transiting from ‘Not liking something that is popular’ into ‘Liking something that people generally don’t like’. I hung out for a bit but was tired and ultimately returned to the hotel. (Where I heard things were adorably interesting in the room next to time.)

FYI, I didn’t check out the “Pub Quiz”, but as Nash was running it and I watch his show, he’d remarked on a few bizarre guesses, namely: “A Disney afternoon series with original characters that was their first animated drama.” ... Gummi Bears. (No, Gargoyles, key word drama.) And the 8-bit Remix of Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” being identified as Aerosmith and Bon Jovi.


SATURDAY MORNING CHARACTERS


I had breakfast at the hotel and got to the Con a bit before 10:30. “Saturday Morning Cartoons” was still going on with Derek the Bard... it was an episode of the Ghostbusters cartoon series. Some guy stealing chickens. Okay. At 11am was “Social Conscience for New Media” with Rantasmo, ALB, Ryan Consell, Steve Saylor, and (a lolita blogger I can’t find the name of, sounds like Succato). Which deserves it’s own post, look for it next week.

At noon I went to the Reviewer Autographs. I did the thing where I have sheets of paper for signing, plus chatted a bit. Told Calluna I was enjoying her “Life is Strange” Let’s Play, after coming on board with Rayearth. Diamanda mentioned a movie with a Christian Evangelical take on evolution. Derek the Bard is working on uploading his old videos.


I’m not huge into video games but asked them what video those reviewers might recommend I watch. Shane “Rerez” had one on the worst console, Adam Koralik has created “Back to the Future” vids, Dex the Swede does comedic video games, and Steve Saylor suggested “Two Blind Guys, One Bomb”. I then spun by the Marketplace to pick up my commission, and also chatted with Erika Szabo (another reviewer/gamer).

I dropped back to the hotel to leave things there, then returned in time for “Reviewer Q&A 2: The Video Game” at 2pm. Again, all Q&A will be in another post (it featured most of the video game reviewers of the prior paragraph).

Following that, around 3pm, I ran into Dominic “The Dom” in the halls. He hadn’t been at the autographs (he’s not an official guest) so got him to sign something for me; apparently his 2nd autograph ever. Then I dropped into the “Character Creation Workshop” already in progress (2:30-3:30pm) courtesy of DiceAndStuff.com

Consider that the background gives character. (What if Luke Skywalker had been raised by an Imperial family?) Age, occupation, who they follow and why, species/details, name... and disposition. Fill in the blanks. They are ___ and ___ but ___. They are great at ___ and ___ but not at ___.

Meaning break it down into X and Y BUT Z. For instance, random example, “She is bubbly and happy but psychotic” - start generic, with whatever you’re thinking about. Then you ask why. Is bubbly a situational thing? Boil the base generics down to something more specific, to end up with, perhaps, “She is excitable and enthusiastic but a sociopath”.

Consider what happened before the story started. What event resonates most with the character. How the story affects them. Why is the story affecting THEM differently from the others around them. Why do they care about what is happening. What elements of their Disposition cause conflict with the other characters. What conflicts arise from their weak attributes.

Every villain has a reason why they became who they are. If the characters start veering off course, focus on the antagonist - who could knock them back on course. Or mess with their course while they’ve veered off for “a pogo stick battle”. The villain can even be the main character. An analogy would be “Firefly” where people are doing their thing but it’s all in the shadow of the Alliance.

Items can definitely become characters (like a magical sword), with a supporting character giving said item to another. In “Lord of the Rings”, the ring is a character: It has an age, name, disposition - but is trapped. It corrupts people, but they’re not good at doing what it wants. Settings can also act like that, consider the Briar Patch in Sleeping Beauty (it has age, occupation).

You DO have to get into the personification of an item or setting or event though - who do they follow and why? “Sword keeps refusing an owner” gets tiring after a while. The sword becomes relatable and believable with the why. It hates/wants virginal characters? It’s more like the sorting hat in Harry Potter? “If you can understand how it thinks, you can react to it when it does something unusual.”

Main characters cannot be static. They must evolve and change, otherwise they’re not a main character, they’re in a supporting role, and the focus should not be on them. A riff from when you were 12 may still be good as you layer more things in. Are you still interested, inspired and compelled by it? Then it will be compelling to others.


SATURDAY EVENING RANDOMNESS


Leaving that panel, and passing by some cosplayers dancing in the halls, I went to see some of the “404s Fiasco”. En route, I also ran into Shane Fitzgerald, who remarkably remembered me from 2012’s “Auditions for the worst movie ever” in part due to my made up Scottish accent. This was his first return, in a media capacity. I don’t think I’ve ever been recognized that way before. Neat.


This ticking box is not a bomb... or is it?
The 404s seemed to be creating this epic story, with prompts when the audience could vote using either a “red” (no) or “green” (yes) card to advance the story. A key protagonist was “Jim the White Mage” though at one point his powers were removed. (“Now you’re just Jim the White.”) I participated in a couple votes, but left early to catch the “2016 Anime Season Discussion” at 4:30pm.

Said anime discussion turned out to be a more random than I anticipated, including some comparison of present to past, and I don’t know how to write/spell most of what was spoken. I didn’t want to spend TONS of time deciphering, so will offer the following, and I don’t recall who said what:
-If you haven’t watched “Big Order”, don’t. Run, run away.
-“Erased” needed an explanation of the time power; when it would turn up, rules seemed to be changing.
-“KonoSuba” was good, but why only 10 episodes? There was a time skip from Ep8 to Ep9 that didn’t get animated, and now it’s picked up for a second season.
-“Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress” has been called ‘Attack on Titan with Zombies and Trains’ but can be enjoyed on it’s own merits.
-“RWBY” (Ruby) is an American anime series which is great but feels like it’s being dragged out.
-“Re:Zero” is recommended although the panelist got tired of the constant cliffhangers and notes the manga’s really long. He hopes this one will have an end, unlike “Log Horizon” or “Full Metal Panic”.

I left early to find some dinner, ended up at “The Works”, reading. The waitress mentioned how (apparently) many customers are from Ottawa (like me) or the United States. I briefly returned to the hotel, and came back for “Audition for the Worst Movie Ever”; I was a bit late at 7:10 but the line was still filing inside. Audience names were dropped in the red hat for male roles, the other hat for female roles.

The idea is to deliver the dialogue for each scene straight - if you laugh, or corpse (pause, not knowing it’s your line), you’re out. Helping organize, vote and deliver the dialogue were the voices of Link (Jonathan P), Zelda (Cynthia P), Calluna, Tom White and Derek the Bard. The story took place in the “magical kingdom of learning” with kids meeting (for instance) the racial sensitivity leprechaun, woody the talking chair and more. There were prizes (bad movies) at the end.


At 8:30pm I wandered by “Karaoke”. They seemed to be showing occasional videos in between actual singers, I heard a couple songs. I headed back out to line up for D20 live, meeting Errol and 'Manda en route; they had been MCing the Masquerade, which had around 30 entries. They’ve also recently put a web series out there about Sidekicks, go look for it.

I watched D20 live through to 10:30pm, that being a little past the intermission, when the titans showed up. That’s also going to go in a different post (this is getting long)! Then I went to check out “The Best and Worst of the Internet”. It was essentially a clip show of many videos, from the screaming duck toys, to people getting upset with cell phones, to cats, to a bizarre Spanish soap opera.

It was still going on past the 11:30pm end, but the majority of the videos were really not my style of humour, so I went back to catch the end of D20 live. To find that not only was it over, the room had been cleared! Apparently there were some really good dice rolls that wrapped things up early.

Thus I wandered down to “Fanfic Mad Libs (18+)”, which seemed to be a guy at the front calling out for things like ‘verb ending in -ing’ as everyone else in the room randomly talked. Given the chaos and the tone of the room being ‘masticating’ and ‘weenis’ I left to check out DanceBravo. People were throwing around rainbow rings and there was a guy dressed like Marty McFly Jr. That seemed as good as it would get and I’m not a huge dancer, so I left at close to midnight.

As I left, I saw a Juliet Starling running up the stairs and then a bunch of reviewers were chatting on the street a couple blocks away, so maybe it got better after all.


SUNDAY WRAPUP


I picked up a breakfast sandwich en route to the Convention Centre. First I dropped by the “ConRunners Meetup” a little after 10am, wondering if it meant people who run around to many cons, or people who actually run the cons. Turned out to be the latter, though with some of my “AC-Cubed” experience I didn’t completely stand out in the crowd of six.

I left before 10:30pm, to catch “Atop the Fourth Wall Live”. Linkara was doing a Star Trek comic, featuring “Captain Kurt”... well, on page 3 he was briefly “Kirk”, but then not so much later in the dialogue. Yeah, as Linkara said “this comic isn’t very good”. There were no answers about the planet of android-types, but it was inoffensive.

That only took 20 minutes, so after a vote about what next, we watched the Blooper Reel from the AT4W movie. That left 18 minutes for some Q&A, so I think I’ll flip that into the D20 recap post (one question related back to it). The panel ended by singing the theme song a cappella.


PHIL CLARKE
Commission, by Storm Cup Creations
I dropped back into the Marketplace at that point, buying some items I’d seen back on Friday, including a volume of the “Toronto Comics Anthology”, a short manga “Star of Destiny” by Drew Byrne, and a “micro blocks” Sailor Mercury (I considered a new tapestry, but that background was sky, not water - she’s not Uranus, seriously). After a quick trip back to the hotel to drop that stuff off, I returned for “Digital Art 101” at 1pm.

The lineup for that panel was impressive, but everyone did get in. It need up being a Q&A style, so I’ll append that to Friday’s Webcomics Q&A panel (there were some crossover panelists). At 2pm, I went around to the “404s improv workshop”. People were already in groups as they ran improv (it had started at 1:30). A few tips I caught in the half hour or so:
-Avoid only describing circumstances. Move things forward with actions. (It was sunny. And hot. And I was sweaty. Boring. Do something.)
-If you can skip over a contribution, that’s a problem. Consider “Yes AND” to accept what was said, and then build off of it.
-A good problem solving exercise is “Has this ever happened to you?” in infomercial style. (“Oh no, I have all these pennies that no one wants! Has this ever happened to you?” “Have you tried toddlers? They’ll eat absolutely everything!” “You shouldn’t get a piggy bank, actual pigs will eat the pennies!” “It’s called a wishing well, stop feeding coins to children and pigs!”)

I left before 2:30pm to get to “Reviewer Q&A Chapter 3: The World” which had Derek the Bard and Rantasmo (like the first) as well as “The Dom” (substituting for someone who had to go) bringing the British opinion in. Again, Q&A gets separate posts, this one will group with the first on Friday.

I chatted briefly with Manda afterwards, and then with Dominic himself, as well as some others who had come from England. Talk shifted from their trip, to Brexit, to sports. After about 15 minutes they headed off, and I decided to buy some Dr. Holocaust stuff (signed). I looped back for “Let’s talk Anime & Youtube” at 4pm, with Tristan and Erika Szabo, missing the very start but, hey, the rest is (you guessed it) in another post.

That wrapped up at 5pm, which was when the “Closing Ceremonies & Feedback Panel” happened. Amazing staff were thanked, and sponsors too, and there was a group hug thing. Then were was this random game show asking riddles of people who had barely slept for three days? Okay. Questions from attendees started, they didn’t have a count of attendance yet, and it was after 5:30pm, and I hadn’t eaten since 9am. So I went to dinner (lunch?).

I returned to my hotel in time for “WebFictionChat” on Twitter at 7pm. Alas, the hotel didn’t get the Space channel, so no Sharknado movie. Yes, I was actually staying the extra night, rather than driving the 5-6 hours back to Ottawa that evening. It gave me the chance to go for a morning walk in Hamilton on Monday, and see some family before returning.

So THAT was ConBravo 2016. Mostly. Here’s a summary of the other posts I’ve been referring to, which will come online over the next week or so:
-Reviewer Q&A 1 & 3 (Fri/Sun)
-Webcomic Q&A + Digital Art (Fri/Sun)
-Media Social Conscience (Sat)
-D20 Live + Linkara Q&A (Sat/Sun)
-Reviewer Q&A 2 & Anime Talk (Sat/Sun)



If I’ve messed up on spelling a name, or you have something to add, or there’s something you enjoyed reading/learning about, feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for getting this far! O.o

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Not Teaching: Week 7

Two weeks until school officially resumes. Meaning I would probably have enough time to pull off the rest of the recaps on this blog (stretching back into 2015), cue the serial on it’s blog through to the end of September, and then continue to stab at the math web comic blog week by week. If that sounds exhausting, welcome to my life for the last 10 years.


Previous INDEX Next

Okay, I exaggerate - I’ve only been writing serials for 5 years now. Still, there hasn’t been a day this summer when I haven’t felt like I needed to be getting something done. And you’ll see the “To Do” list is as long as it was in June! On the plus side, I haven’t felt actual GUILT for not doing things, like I do the other ten months of the year, but I swear it’s been 10+ years since I’ve thought “I have nothing to do today”.

Maybe that will actually be a thing at some point in my year off? Maybe. Dubious. Onwards!

Item counts run Sunday (August 14) to Saturday (August 20).

Step Count: About 55,700.
Monday was not good (2500) but all other days (excepting today) I managed over 8000. So, maintaining?

Saw the new "Trek" movie this week

Writing/Art Related Items (from Sun to Sat):
 -“In The Dark”, a short work based on a prompt at WFG.
 -More writing and editing in T&T Book 4, feels like it’s going slow.
 -ConBravo recap scaffolded, needs final edits, should go up this week.

Other items (not teaching or writing) for the past week:
 -Read my “Bill & Ted” comic books
 -Read the ‘Craving Change’ book for Lifestyle Changes
 -Got some sewing done
 -Passport photos and renewal accomplished
 -Yoga Thursday
 -Got bedroom and living room more tidied up
 -Still managing more of “Outlander” (reading while I’m walking now)
 -Saw the new Star Trek Movie (ST: Beyond)

PROBABLE PROJECTS in the coming week:
 -Yoga Thursday
 -Medical phone call
 -Finalizing the roof situation, if possible
 -Dealing with more of the recaps as listed below

Those two have a video web series that started today!
Go Check That Out!

WOULD BE NICE items:
 -French Citizenship project (* ONGOING, EXCESSIVE PAPERS IN FRENCH)
 -Catch up with #OttSlowChat on Twitter
 -Post recap about OAME (from May)
 -Post recap about Math PD (from Feb)
 -Do more editing on my T&T story
 -Catch up with web serials I’ve enjoyed
 -Write a TANDQ article on Decision Fatigue
 -Write a post about types of praise/encouragement
 -Post recap about CAN-CON (from Oct)
 -Organize all the paper clutter from school
 -Organize all the electronic clutter from school
 -Weed through/organize emails
 -Do another Parody Math Video (** NEW )
 -Actually market some of my creative stuff
 -Catch up more on “Bones” (no spoilers past S11.12!)
 -Get back onto tumblr.
 -Read some of the books sitting at my desk

And that’s where I’m at, still with that entire offline side-list that should get promoted onto here come September. Come back next week to see if I’m still around? x.x

Previous INDEX Next

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

261: In The Dark

Over at “Web Fiction Guide”, GeneralRincewind again posted a challenge, to write a short story (under 1001 words) on a particular theme. The new theme being “Just Dialogue”, hence a story which “is purely composed of dialogue, no story tags or descriptions”. So, as happened last time, I figured I’d give such short fiction a try. Enjoy!

=====

IN THE DARK


“I was sure I left the matches over here. Jean, are you awake?”

“My my. What’s the problem?”

“Did you move the matches?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Don’t worry about it. Go back to sleep.”

“I can’t. It’s pitch black, I couldn’t turn the lantern on, and when I stumbled over to the light switch, it wouldn’t work either.”

“So? It’s night. You’re better off being in the dark. Sleeping.”

“No, no, I’m not. Something’s wrong, and without light I’m liable to stub my toe while moving around.”

“So don’t move around. You were sleeping peacefully on the couch a few minutes ago, how about you go back there and fall asleep again.”

“Not until I figure out what’s wrong with the cabin’s generator.”

“Oh, for serious? You can do that in the morning, now is not the time to be obsessing over the lights.”

“Jean, we’ve been married for how long?”

“I don’t recall.”

“Almost ten years now. In all that time, have you ever known me to ignore an electrical problem?”

“The place isn’t about to burn down.”

“You can’t know that. More to the point, I do this for a living, and this cabin has been a part of my family for over twenty five years. It shouldn’t take me long to figure out whatever the problem is.”

“The problem is that you woke up. If you’d stayed asleep, you wouldn’t have noticed the issue with the lights at all.”

“Well, I’m awake now. Incidentally, why didn’t you wake me when you went to bed?”

“You looked peaceful.”

“Ow! Dammit, I forgot about that chair..."

“Please, go to sleep already. Maybe an animal gnawed through the wiring, it’s not like you’ll be able to fix that tonight.”

“At least if I see it, I’ll know. Somehow, it’s the not knowing that bothers me.”

“Maybe you’re better off not knowing.”

“The matches aren’t over here with the candles either. Worse, I think our visit up here coincided with a new moon, that’s not helping. My eyes are gradually adjusting though.”

“Okay, know what? You need to drop this and go back to sleep. NOW.”

“Fine, Jean, fine, I’ll at least shut up so that you can rest... wait, there’s something on the floor over there. Did an animal get inside?”

“Whatever got inside, they’re going to be very annoyed with you unless you go back to sleep.”

“I’m serious, there’s something there. Did you hear anything earlier in the night?”

“I heard nothing until my eternal slumber was disturbed by your constant babble.”

“Ha ha. Okay, whatever that shape is, I’m sure it wasn’t there before tonight. Give me a second, I’m going to poke it with a candle.”

“That’s not smart. Don’t get close to it.”

“It didn’t react. Something about it seems familiar though. Wait a minute..."

“You’re not going to go back to sleep, are you.”

“This is a body. Jean, oh my God, this is..."

“Now you’ve done it.”

“Jean, how can I be hearing your voice from over there when your body is over here?!”

“My my. I warned you.”

“J-Jean??”

“I told you it was better off being in the dark.”


END

***
Time 4 Backstory

 I tend to write a lot of description. My first thought going into "just dialogue" was - how could anyone manage 500 words without some form of speech tag, let alone 1000?! LUNACY.

 In terms of analysis, it would need to be restricted to two people, MAYBE three if one of them had an identifiable speech impediment. Or a weird inflection. Or was a mime, with the others describing those actions. I briefly considered using a blind narrator, throwing the reader into the same darkness I felt I was experiencing. I went for a blackout instead.

 You know that old cliche of “turning a disadvantage into an advantage”? I tried using it here, in that if I was going to be deprived of the ability to describe the dialogue, that would be the whole point of the story. I like to think that the tale goes a bit differently when the second voice is understood to be Jean (husband or wife, I deliberately picked a gender neutral name), versus once you know the reveal at the end... that the second voice was... NOT Jean. If you feel like re-reading a second time with that in mind, my work here is done. Aside: I’m not fond of horror (reading or writing), so can’t speak well as to whether things work in that context. Feel free to comment though!


 Other short pieces of fiction on this blog include:
-“Suppression” (post #246, the prompt on fantasy disabilities) 
-“No Reason” (post #200, about time travel)
-“Time for a Superheroine” (post #100, also with a temporal theme)

 My longer web serial can be found at: Time & Tied