Artist. Designer. Awkward wad of nerd. Fights off existential terror and self-loathing with Godzilla films.

cookedbrett@gmail.com

Well, look who's dressed to kill!

Hello. It's been a while.

I've been fast at work with my summer classes, heading to the end of the second week. It moves fast, and so do I.

I am ahead of everyone else in the comicbook class, because, well, I'm so enthusiastic about it. We watched a documentary called Comicbook Confidential, which was really good, especially the bit with R. Crumb and the parts with Will Eisner. Also watched How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, which is exactly like my book, only more entertaining because it's Stan Lee himself in front of the camera! Also watched a DVD about the business itself, and breaking in. But no, as far as work goes, everyone else still seems to be doing sketches and working out their ideas. I wrote a short story in about 5 minutes, did page after page of sketches, then decided I hated it and pulled out my second Cyberpunk Blues idea and started it.

I'm nearly finished inking the cover, got the panels and some penciling done on all 4 story pages, and finished pencils for the first page! Here's a peak:


The bottom left corner panel is my tribute to Scott Pilgrim. There are probably other Scott Pilgrim tributes, too, but that one's my favorite.

So I may be way ahead, but I think the inking and coloring process will slow me down quite a bit, especially coloring, seeing as I have no real clue what to do there...

And here's a charcoal drawing I finished shortly before moving back to Johnson City:


Digital photography, on the other hand, I rather hate. It drags and drags.

Other things!

-E3 happened! The best thing? The 3DS, obviously, Nintendo's new handheld juggernaut. While Sony and Microsoft finally revealed their answers to the Wii's motion controls, Nintendo is thinking ahead of the pack. Nice.
-Speaking of Scott Pilgrim, the new trailers are WONDERFUL, especially the International trailer released today.
-I watched Splice two weekends ago with some friends and it was insane. It's like a very modern revision of Frankenstein, just crossing many more lines and making you intensely uncomfortable.
-Been listening to a bit of some new genre of music referred to as Witch House. Bands with symbols for names, making them impossible to do a Google search on, and their song titles are about the same. Slow, dragging, stompy synths and distorted vocals. Weird stuff.

I have also fallen in love with Brett Domino. I am proud to share my first name with him:

I had decided a couple months back that I REALLY want a theremin. Now I also want a stylophone.

Last but not least, I got a part-time job at G2K Games. My best friend works at the Johnson City store and I know one of the managers, and I'll be working at the store in Kingsport once it's opened. I am so very excited.

That's it. Going to bed early tonight, haven't been getting too much sleep lately, and I need it, I do.

[Brett]

49 Theurgy Chains

This is currently one of my favorite songs, by a Thai metal band called Chthonic, called 49 Theurngy Chains:

I rarely listen to death metal. I am quite the metalhead, but it's usually more in the vein of stuff like Megadeth and Mastodon. But this...this is wonderful. I'm not sure I can explain WHY, but I'm going to give it a shot...

For one, having two different singers/screamers makes for an interesting dynamic. One higher-pitched and more manic, the other lower, more monstrous. Following on that note, the, is that a cello? Or a singing voice that's been manipulated? I'm pretty sure it's a cello, but it, coupled with the epic keyboard work, provide a great melodic foil for the absolutely BRUTAL guitars and drums, which sound like machineguns. It's a perfectly paced song, not too long, not too short. The lack of any solos from the guitars is a bit disappointing, as I for one believe that metal and guitar solos are inseperable, but the song by no means suffers from this.

I'm actually trying to put a list together of my all-time favorite songs. I doubt this will go on it, but still. It's only got 6 tracks there right now. I'll post it if it ever gets to a satisfying point.

Classes start next week. Torn between wanting to do a pulp sci fi tribute or hardcore one-on-one fight for the comic class, but I guess I'll decide when I get in there. Finished a painting and started on a charcoal drawing at work today. And I built this last week:

Behold PHMEH, the Reader Eater! Cut from the pages of the 10th anniversary issue of Heavy Metal, 1987, my first and hopefully last attempt at papercraft! The instructions were vague and my large man-hands are not suited for such intricate work, so he looks pretty crappy, but I love him nevertheless.

That's all I've got tonight.

[Brett]

I'll follow you until you love me.

How do you feel about Lady Gaga?

My girlfriend loves her. Me, I love her outfits, her outlandish style, and I think she's pretty hot, but her music? Oh lord it's awful. However, I have learned how to make her sound tolerable, and that is through the magic of HEAVY METAL:

I'm not going to lie, I have lost count of how many times I've watched/listened to this. Solid guitarwork. Not to mention I love that ridiculous tutu made out of scrap metal. See, the more Lady Gaga resembles an extra off the set of Barbarella or some other similarly ridiculous sci fi b-movie, the more I love her. And with legs like that, she can go pantsless whenever and wherever she wants.

So! If you've noticed, I FINISHED my painting of the sloth with the naked woman. It is entitled "My Favorite Deadly Sins," because it's funny AND pretentious! Sort of.


I love that extreme, distorted perspective. And the pink skin, complementary to the dark green, helps push the figure forward, does it not? First time I've painted in forever, and I think I didn't do half bad. I've got two more paintings to start on tomorrow, completely different subject matter...

I am also working simultaneously on three comic scripts. One for the new chick with prosthetic legs WHO NOW HAS A FREAKING NAME. I've got a few pages of her script done. I think it'll be quite the long comic, the story I want to tell is rather large. The other two scripts are older, unfinished things I look at from time to time. One being sort of my love letter to old-fashioned run-and-gun shooters like Contra, the other being more of the kind of thing you'd see in an issue of Heavy Metal.

Speaking of which, I submitted a picture of myself reading a 1986 issue of Heavy Metal to the website Hot Nerds Reading Comics. Who knows if they'll use it or not, as I'm not sure I'm all that hot, but you know, I felt I needed to represent! Or something.

OTHER RANDOM THINGS I HAVE BEEN INTERESTED IN LATELY:
*The creators of such wonderful films as the Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police (a personal fave) have released the trailers for their new film, Gothic and Lolita Psycho. Check it out, it looks bloody fun. I wonder when their last one, Vampire Girl Vs Frankenstein Girl comes out?
*Finished Snow Crash. Need my own copy. Now reading Flicker, which is all about film, and I love it. Already halfway through it. I normally don't read anything this fast.
*Maybe I've been watching too much of season 1 of Fringe. I'm having Walter and Peter Bishop randomly showing up in some of my dreams. The most entertaining one was Walter trying to instruct me in buying toothpaste that can be used to concoct some power hallucinogenic drug. Um...

Eh, that's it. Back to work.

[Brett]

And down we go!

I'm having issues.

Okay, my last post here was about designing a new character. Since then, I have made a little headway in creating her, but I'm still getting frustrated. I did countless drawings before her true self was revealed to me, and her outfit is 90% there. She has a history, roughly. Father was a scientist, mother was a drunk, portals, kidnapping, horrible accident, blah blah blah. She has a motivation, which is to say, there's a reason for her existing and for wanting to make her the protagonist for a story. Hell, I even found a way to tie it into Black Hole Ghost and possibly ANOTHER story of mine under this folder entitled "Cyberpunk Blues." Inspiration comes from various sources. Some primary influences on this character and her story are my favorite anime, Outlaw Star, A Drowning, which is the first single from Trent Reznor's new band How to Destroy Angels, Fringe of course, David Mack's excellent comic masterpiece Kabuki, and some other stuff I can't think of. Also this photo:

It's still just a painfully slow process. She still doesn't have a name, and while I usually pull female character names from songs, I'm having no luck there. Her personality is having a hard time showing itself as well. I know that when I get to the comic, it will be her telling her story about her past to another character, but that's ALL I know. I don't know how to get the story kicking into gear. Is she being chased? No. Hurm. I REALLY want to throw her into outer space. I just...don't have a terribly great reason. Not yet, anyways.

So when I'm not screaming at my sketchbook to figure these things out, I keep busy with other stuff. Today, I started a large painting of a baby sloth coiled around the outstretched arm of a nude woman. Part of me wants to pretentiously name it "Deadly Sins" when it's finished, tongue placed firmly in cheek, but no. Also wanting to do a large drawing, charcoal maybe, of a sloth. I TOLD YOU I WANTED TO DO SLOTHS.

The sloth baby painting is on an old canvas that already had two other paintings done. So there's two thick layers of gesso under this thing. I also gesso'd over another couple old paintings I had done in the past few years and disliked greatly. One of those canvases will be an attempted painting of our unnamed chick with prosthetic legs in some acrobatic pose. The other one...um, I dunno. I'll think of something. If I don't think of something, I'll fall back to my usual standby: A robot or a naked chick. Or a robot WITH a naked chick.

I'm also pulling out a script I did last year for a 22-page comic that fit under the "Cyberpunk Blues" folder. It's the kind of story I'd love to submit to Heavy Metal. I had ditched the script and started a rewrite, but never finished it, so I'm looking over it again, thinking about those characters.

Also, just gorging myself on reading material. Snow Crash is approaching its conclusion, and after that I'll open up Flicker, some novel that my odd friend Ruta got me for my birthday. Finished reading From Hell, finally. Read a Kabuki volume I found at the local used book store, read Warren Ellis' first Astonishing X-Men run, Ghost Box, as well as his excellent-but-all-too-short Ignition City, now finishing up the first volume of Planetary. Also rereading Elektra Assassin (I saw similarities between her and my nameless chick), and I set up a few subscriptions at G2K Games for myself and my girlfriend. She wanted American Vampire and iZombie, I'm getting King City, Electric Ant (based on the Philip K. Dick story, adapted by David Mack), and Joe the Barbarian. This is the first time I've picked up regular comics in FOREVER. And starting in June, I look forward to the updated Casanova, also known as one of the best comics no one ever read.

Erm. That's all for now. Got some stuff to finish here. DOWN DOWN DOWN

[Brett]

The act of creation.

The Spring semester ended last week. It was my biggest workload, with 4 studio art classes to deal with, but it was also my strongest since coming to ETSU, with the A's finally outnumbering the B's, 3 to 2. SUCCESS.

Summer is in gear and I am starting to grind away with the Creative Process. My time at work is spent reading through comics voraciously and drawing. I swear I think I've learned more about drawing the human anatomy from a few issues of Heavy Metal than I ever did when I took figure drawing. Or maybe I'm just paying more attention. I don't know. Regardless, my figures are getting a little better. I just need to eventually move on from sketches to doing actual pieces. I want to do more than a couple paintings...

I also want to do another comic. Like, BEFORE I take the comic book class in June.

Of course, I'm dry when it comes to ideas currently. When I first did the Ezra Neuro comic, I had envisioned doing two or three more stories with the Radioglyphs. Now, though, I'm hesitant. Ezra is boring to draw, the other characters are laughable and unnecessary, and plus that comic was an experiment. Conceived, drawn, and finished in a week as just a massive creative burst, an exploding bomb with little or no forthought involved at all. I didn't want to get bogged down explaining who these characters were, where they were, what it was they did, or anything. And to do more stories would mean having to actually expand things from the cartoony madness. It would require actually fleshing out these characters that were meant to be nothing more than people that jumped around and fought a giant monster. If I just did another stand-alone thing like the first one, I feel like it'd diminish the inherent charm. No matter what I may try to do with Ezra, I still have to actually THINK and PLAN, and that goes against the philosophy I had with that comic, with that character.

But I found a muse:

Say hello to Aimee Mullins (which is coincidently the name of a girl I have classes with). She is an athlete, actress, and fashion model. With prosthetic legs. I know next to nothing about her outside of what I just told you, but I find her absolutely awesome, and quite attractive too.

So it hit me: you don't see very many main characters in comics (or most other media, I suppose) that are amputees or anything of that sort. I mean, Daredevil, my favorite superhero, is about the only one because he's blind. And sure, there are characters like Cyborg from the Teen Titans and Forge from X-Men, who have robotic prostheses with weapons and other high-tech crap, but that's not quite the same.

Thus, I have decided to design a female character with dual prosthetic legs, much like Aimee up above, who would star in her own comic. This is a somewhat delicate situation, of course. Calling attention to her lack of flesh-and-bone legs too much would be bad. You don't want to get all preachy and trite. I just want a kickass chick who happens to have prosthetic legs. But I can get totally creative, too: I want her to have a mad scientist-type partner, a guy who builds and invents stuff all the time, who is constantly building new legs for her. Like, crazy, weird designs that are borderline impractical, to the point where it makes her nervous when she's about to strap on a pair of jet boosters that are supposed to make her fly like Iron Man.

Of course, the idea still works. Sure, he's a mad inventor, but what would she do? I was thinking she'd be a space pilot, but no. Not quite. My girlfriend suggested that she repairs robots at the same time I considered making her a satellite repair technician. I'm still undecided. Unlike Ezra Neuro, I want to flesh her out. Also, she needs a name. Hurm.

Also of influence is Olivia Dunham, played by Anna Torv in Fringe, which is my current favorite TV show. My girlfriend got the first season on DVD for me, and I watch an episode or two almost every night. I love her to death because she's a very badass FBI agent, going out of her way to get things done. One of my favorite moments is in the pilot episode, where she's chasing a guy across rooftops. He jumps off a roof, hits the wall of the adjacent building and lands on the fire escape and runs down the steps. Without thought, she makes the same leap, hits the wall, lands, then leaps off the fire escape and onto a dumpster. She also is not afraid to draw her gun and start firing, if she needs to. Absolutely awesome.

So there we have it. The beginnings of a comic are coming together.

And yes, I still plan on drawing and painting a sloth or two. Yes yes yes.

Anyways, it's time to start creating. I need to find a proper soundtrack to work to...

[Brett]

Kaiju stomp.

You'd be surprised at how many people actually enjoy (or at least pretend to enjoy) Godzilla films.

To celebrate my birthday, I decided that I would have a Godzilla marathon at my place. I sent a number of invitations out, expecting only a few close friends and my reluctant girlfriend to show up. Because, really, Godzilla movies? Who would want to just sit around and watch Godzilla movies?


Surprisingly, more than you would expect. Or well, more than I expected. I was afraid having a bunch of my friends (many of whom had never really even met each other) in one location could spell disaster, but no, we all sat around watching movies and having a good time, eating pizza and drinking Mountain Dew.

I've never really had a birthday party since I was little, but this was a blast and I'd love to do something like it again.

Yesterday was ALSO Free Comicbook Day! One of the nerdiest days of the year! And I uh, spent way too much money. >_> Alien, Astonishing X-Men, Ignition City, and an older issue of Heavy Metal were my claims.

...Yes, I love Heavy Metal. I admit it. I confess. Yes, I know it's garbage, the writing is usually pretty crappy and badly translated and it's all violence and nudity, but it's my guilty pleasure. It's the best, cheapest way to see comic art from European and South American artists, and a better deal than anything Marvel or DC is currently putting out. Because seriously, I am getting so sick of superhero comics, with a few exceptions, and there's not much else coming out right now which interests me (or which I can afford), so I find myself digging through old, obscure stuff. The weirder, the better, and some of the stuff in Heavy Metal gets pretty weird, I assure you.

Anyways. Finals week starts tomorrow, all I have are critiques, and I'm readying myself. I have to print a bunch of stuff at Kinkos and mat or mount things too...

After that, a month of freedom to actually read all the comics I bought (and two novels and the first season of Fringe I received as gifts), work on portfolio stuff (SLOTHS), and then it'll be a month of summer classes: comicbook illustration and digital photography!

My work is never done...

[Brett]

BLACK HOLE GHOST IS FINISHED

Watch and rejoice! Show your friends! I’m promoting the ever-loving crap out of this thing. It truly is one of my greatest endeavors as an artist, one of my ultimate creations, and I am really quite proud of it.

So, looking back at all the work that went into this thing, I’ve decided to do a little post-mortem, to give you some information and a look into how I created it.

IN THE BEGINNING:
Everything starts with an idea. Black Hole Ghost is the combination of two separate ideas from my first year of college, 3 years ago. I had just finished a lousy stop-motion thing called Godzilla Vs the Zoids, which was clearly just an excuse to set a couple model houses on fire. But doing stop-motion for the first time inspired me, and I started thinking of doing another project, one with live actors, in black and white. My favorite film (which I just finished writing a paper on) is Pi, and so that served as my basic framework and influence. I wanted to do a story about a hacker who gets in over her head and starts being attacked by ghosts. That was literally it, I never really tried expanding upon it.

It never happened, obviously.

A little while later, I got a new idea. I wanted to do a sort of photography project, pictures with journal entries, about a girl who starts dreaming about her doppelganger and so decides to hunt it down to kill it before it finds and kills her. Nothing too outrageous.

The only link between these two projects was that I wanted Sierra, who plays Gemini and her Ghost in BHG, involved. She IS a Gemini, oddly enough.

PRE-PRODUCTION:
Fast-forward to this semester, I’m in a class called Film & Animation, and we have to do a solo project and/or an animation. Either just a short animation to stick into a live-action production, or an entire animated short. I went digging through old notes and found the stuff I had scribbled down for those two ideas, and somehow came to merge them into one thing after asking, “what if you see your own ghost?” Writing the screenplay took very little time, especially after my friend Shannon pulled me out of a mental block by pointing out to me that the answer I needed was already right there in the script, as well as citing Pi. I kept it simple, deciding to go the silent film route not only to give it another unique layer, but also because I had no clue how to record dialogue that didn’t sound crappy and unprofessional, as well as knowing that trying to sync audio would be difficult. I kept the entire thing in one location, my apartment, for ease of shooting. I finished it up, got in touch with Sierra, worked out the storyboards, and that was all there was to it.

SHOOTING:
Using my roommate’s camera made everything so easy, almost criminally simple. I spent an afternoon shooting Sierra in the apartment, learning the ins and outs of the camera as well as settling into a groove in working with her. We got quite a bit done, but the footage had to be tossed because Sierra cut her bangs, and the inconsistency would’ve been way too blatant. I also realized that I had shot her in one shirt towards the end, and in the next scene after passing out, she was supposed to be in a different shirt. Rather than reshoot the scene using the proper shirt like any reasonable man would do, I just wrote an entirely different scene, the one in which she undresses, takes a bath, then puts on the right shirt before encountering her Ghost. This worked beautifully, because I love how she looks at herself in the mirror wearily RIGHT BEFORE seeing her Ghost. It also lengthened the film a little bit, as I was afraid it would come out too short. We wrapped up shooting EVERYTHING involving Sierra in a mere two days of work. Shots of the ghosts were done later, and in one case, the screaming face towards the end, I just had my friend AJ send me a couple photos of himself screaming. Convenient, considering the man lives in Texas, yes?  I played the ghost in the bathtub because I knew of no one else willing to strip down to their boxers and sit in a half-full bathtub. Believe me, it was uncomfortable. I suffer for my art, you see.

POST-PRODUCTION:

This is where the bulk of my time was spent in and out of class. First off, the entire thing was shot in color, so I had to take over 1800 images and convert them to black and white in batches of 200 or so using Photoshop’s Automate function. I also spent a lot of time tweaking the brightness and contrast values in smaller batches, again, wanting this to look similar to the way Pi did. I could’ve just loaded it all into iMovie and convert it to black and white at once, but I wouldn’t have been able to play with the contrast and such the way I wanted to.
Then came working on the ghosts. Every ghost has a horizontal static filter laid over them in Photoshop, and in 90% of the shots, the actors had to be cut from their images and pasted into shots with Sierra in them, except for the times I forgot to shoot a background. For instance, in her first appearance, the Ghost is sitting in the office chair and is completely solid until she gets up. Never using a tripod made things difficult, too. I learned quickly to love the Quick Mask mode, though I was pretty sloppy. I wanted it to look primitive, and it shows with some places where I either didn’t cut close enough or cut too close to the ghosts. All that static, and the transparency flickering in and out for all but a few shots of Sierra as the Ghost and the shots of me in the bathtub kind of cover those ragged bits up though. Still, it was time consuming, editing the ghosts into shots one frame at a time. Having them flicker on and off screen was both for convenience (less work to do) and as a nice, creepy effect.

EDITING:
Getting all the shots in proper order was a pain, but getting it at the right speed was moreso. iMovie refused to set the individual frames at the speed I wanted them to be, so I had to settle for everything moving at a Speedy Gonzalez pace first. I edited it in batches of 200-300 images, saved them as individual video files, then loaded them back into iMovie, where I stitched them all together, then isolated segments and slowed them down manually. I had help from Ryan, one of the ghosts, in determining the amount of time the title cards should stay up on screen in order to be read clearly and without really rushing it. It is a bit too wordy in some places, but I was afraid that if I didn’t explain much of what was going on, none of it would make sense. Finally, I worked on getting the proper aged film effect going. Still a bit too staticky, but it still looks good.

MUSIC:
Arg. I decided to do the music myself, because I am a masochist. I knew literally nothing about Garage Band, the program on the Macs in the computer lab, and while I can play guitar and bass, I have no understanding of playing a keyboard and only a rough intuitive idea of what sounds good and what doesn‘t. And yet I did not let that stop me. A number of the tracks feel shoehorned in, but I think that also adds to the feeling that this is like a “rediscovered” silent film. The visuals are rather choppy, so why not make the audio a bit choppy too? I really just picked from all kinds of synthesizer options with names like Constellation, Ominous Dancefloor, and Metropolis (which is coincidentally a masterpiece silent sci fi film from the twenties!) and just pressed one or two keys at a time. The ominous, ambient intro? Me pressing down on one key, holding it the entire time, then pressing on the key next to it for a short while. Seeing as how he had four separate appearances, I did a little 4-note thing for the Man in Black and decided to stick to those four notes to do variations of for his subsequent appearances, sort of like a theme. Except his second appearance, which is only 3 of those notes because I’m an idiot. Oh well. Each track was only one or two layers of sound. I just wanted creepy, artificial, ethereal stuff, very much like the soundtracks to the Metroid videogames and Clint Mansell‘s score for Pi, and I think I succeeded.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:
I still feel weird about the title. I also don’t know if the “voice” of the title cards really matches with Sierra’s performance, probably because I only hear it in my voice because I was the one who wrote it all. Maybe I could’ve gotten Sierra to help out with that, but I was asking enough of her as it was and didn’t have that much time anyway. You know, apart from it being a requirement, animating the ghosts themselves, and the uncomfortable, jerky effect it has, there was no real reason for this to be stop-motion animated. It was just how I always envisioned the thing. Some shots are still too brief for my tastes and I wish I could‘ve shot a little bit more to give it a little bit more length. The pacing feels a bit too quick. You can tell in the close-up of her typing that the laptop is still just on the desktop, but she really is typing something specific which I TOLD her to type, not just random stuff. There are other inconsistencies, too, like a bracelet she had.
If I were doing it as a comic drawn myself, the Ghost would’ve been fully nude, to further emphasize the fact that she is the id to Gemini‘s ego, completely open and unrestrained, hiding nothing. The bathtub ghost probably would have been too, because I am an equal opportunist when it comes to nudity in art. Nevertheless, I think Sierra did a fantastic job in portraying Gemini and the Ghost, and I feel we really succeeded in contrasting the quiet, weary hacker and her wilder, more emotional and animated ghost. I’m still not sure why I insisted on Gemini never removing her goggles (even in the bathtub), what importance they were to her, aside from how they looked cool and further contrasted her with the Ghost. I guess the meaning of those goggles is just something for viewers to speculate about. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

It was time-consuming, painful work, but I’m proud of what I’ve made and would love to do something similar again…just uh, not any time soon…

[Brett]

Jammin'

So yesterday was my first roller derby experience, and it was quite awesome. Of course, how can a gang of chicks on rollerskates slamming into each other repeatedly NOT be awesome? Our friend Shannon, aka Big Daddy Voodoo, was one of the announcers, and did a fantastic job. It's a lot more exciting than any other sport I've attended, and brought back memories of getting knocked around left and right during soccer. Vicious stuff, highly recommended.

So! Projects. I finally finished the Student Entries poster for SOAPIFF, and I am quite proud of it. It's going on the website um, eventually, but here's the final product:

Much thanks to my comrade AJ for allowing me to use his face. Actually, the photo is MEANT to be in Black Hole Ghost, and will be seen in that, but it works well for this, don't you think? Also makes a good Godzilla reference without overtly showing it.

Speaking of which, Black Hole Ghost is completely finished with the exception of MUSIC. Which I'm currently doing myself using GarageBand and a USB keyboard. With all the crazy options in that program, it is way too bloody easy to make really bad synthesizer music out of a bad old videogame or a bad sci fi film. It brings to memory the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode where they watch Pod People.

Point being: The soundtrack to Black Hole Ghost MIGHT sound like a bad 70's sci fi film. I'm trying my best for it NOT to, but you know.

HOWEVER, I have to do a "Machinima" in Second Life, which is to say, I use a program to record my actions in Second Life, load it into an editing program, and produce an animation. So I will doing an infomercial about...THE FUTURE. With aliens, UFOs, robots, and other fun stuff. And for that, I WILL do really bad 70's sci fi synthesizer crap. So yay!

No I do not know how to play a keyboard. Yes, this makes it more fun.

Now, food. AWAY.

[Brett]

Like you never had wings.

Hello there. It's been a while.

I suppose some of you are eager to find out what's been going on, huh? Well, let's start with the bad news: I failed Works in Progress. Again. This makes two strikes, one more and it's bye-bye BFA. What's troubling is that practically everyone else failed it as well. I only know of maybe two people who passed. TWO. Out of like, twenty or something! I've heard they had to buckle down more because people were graduating through the BFA program that didn't really deserve to, but isn't this a bit of an overkill? I don't know. You can speculate all you want, I'm sick of thinking about it. My plan is just to work my arse off this summer to have a brand new portfolio to show next semester. And if I fail again? I'll hopefully still be able to graduate on time with a BA after getting a couple semesters of Spanish out of the way.

And now on to more pleasant things.

REJOICE! For the editing of Black Hole Ghost is completed! I just need to cut together the final credits, finangle around with it to get the right old-fashioned film look I want, and add music. Then I will throw the thing online and we will all celebrate and you will love me. And I made this for it, or well, for a gallery/temple I'm creating in Second Life:


I love that shot, for some reason.

I've done other, similar pieces for the gallery/temple. I'll be putting them up, along with screenshots of the place itself, in a new gallery once it's all done with.

In Typography, my Flash animation of the lyrics to Dance Commander went over quite well. I MIGHT put it on Youtube, if I can figure out how. No telling whether I'll really bother or not.

I am also working on a pair of poster designs. A Call for Student Entries poster for the Southern Appalachain International Film Festival, which will go on their website, and one for the Knoxville Horror Film Fest, which may not even get used. But at this point, I'm getting pretty bloody used to rejection, y'know?


Isn't this one of the greatest book covers ever? And it's EXACTLY how I pictured Palmer Eldritch when I was reading my own copy, except for the wings, but those are just sweet. I'm posting it because, well, for one it's pretty awesome, and for two, I just came off of another of my Philip K. Dick kicks. See, I read a huge chunk of his work back to back, burn out, read something else, then head back, and this is my third burnout phase. I finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and while I still have FIVE more novels of his to read through, I also picked up a collection of 21 of his short stories, read a few of those, and read a bunch of stuff about him online, as well as worked about halfway through an essay of his entitled How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later.

I guess that, as much as I read of his stuff, as fascinated as I am by him, that PKD is one of my favorite authors. He's certainly not the best, and his works are all quite flawed: the main characters are almost always some kind of blue-collar everyman, the women deceptive, his dialogue is weak, there's little sense of urgency, no real climax or third act, things just kind of end. Not to mention they almost all deal with the same themes of the questioning of reality and paranoia. But I keep reading his works because they're so weird, and have this almost David Lynch, Twin Peaks feel to them. I wish I could explain it better, but I'm not sure I can.

But alas, I'm burnt out again, and because I read William Gibson's classic Neuromancer during my last break, I'm borrowing my girlfriend's copy of Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson. She claims it's a parody of Neuromancer, as well as one of the major inspirations for the creators of Second Life. Not too far into it, but it is both hilarious and awesome, and I am loving it.


Also, sloths are adorable. And always smiling. I'm planning on doing a lot of drawings and paintings and stuff of them during the summer, for that portfolio.

And that's all there is tonight.

[Brett]

Dance, monkey, dance!

So today I take Works in Progress. I took it last semester and failed utterly, so now I'm on attempt number 2. I'm feeling more confident this time around because I've really gone over my portfolio, I know what to talk about with each piece if I am asked, and I've practiced with my girlfriend. I also think I've made a lot of leaps and strides since I failed it last semester. Nothing like failure to wake you up, huh?

I'm still worried, though. I'm still concerned. My girlfriend goes in before I do. We'll see what happens.

IN OTHER, LIGHTER NEWS!

Our group project for the film and animation class is completed and uploaded to Youtube. It is simply one of the greatest things you will ever see. Our friend Joseph put on a gorilla mask and danced around campus and downtown to the happiest song ever, Tunak Tunak Tun. Give it a watch:

Also, I've ditched the song from the previous blog in exchange for Dance Commander, by Electric Six, also known as the greatest song ever. So I had to start a new Flash animation from scratch. I still know next to nothing about this program, but I'm making progress.

That's all for now. COMMENT ON MY DANCING GORILLA VIDEO!

[Brett]