In my New Years Day post, I looked back at what I did in 2012. In this post, I lay out my 2013 goals. That is goals for 2013, not 2013 goals.
I finished this film last year and submitted it to the Hundred Dollar Film Festival. If it is accepted, I do have a little work to prepare it for screening. Not a big part of the work for this year, but something I’ll need to do.
I’ve let this project drag on far too long. It has been a difficult project for me to do. In many ways, the delay in this project has stopped me from moving forward. I really need to get this film behind me.
I want to make a long video with Xtranormal. What I really want to do is to make a feature film, but I don’t feel that I am ready. I have written some longer short stories and scripts, but I feel I need to do a film or video to really learn how to make a more substantial film.
In 2012, I made Make ‘em Squirm: The Sharkbiter Way, which, at a little over 9 minutes, is one of my longer projects. I want to continue my exploration of the capabilities of Xtranormal in 2013. I feel that Xtranormal might be a good way to write a script.
I have had several ideas for what to make. At one time or another, I’ve considered adaptations of several of my stories; Hello, My Name is Bob, The Crying Woman, The Gladstone Barrier, or The Glencoe Project. I’ve also thought I should create a new story.
I need to pick one of these options and move forward.
I still want to write more stories. If Pete’s Plan sells, then I may start to write more short science fiction stories along the same lines.
I have several longer stories in development that I would like to complete. My aim is to have each of them finished at novelette length.
Felix is another science fiction story. I based it on a H. P. Lovecraft story. This one looks like it will end up shorter than my target; unless I add in more twists and turns. On the other hand, maybe I need to explore the characters more. I have about half of the first draft done.
Heat Wave is also a science fiction story. I find that I have drawn a lot on my personal experiences in this one. Like Line of Taxis, it allows me to explore personal issues at some distance from myself. Like Felix, I am not yet finished the first draft.
Bright Freedom is a story I converted from a feature script I wrote. I have a first draft done. I’ve done some notes for changes to the first draft, but I want to leave the rewrite until I have some of my other projects out of the way.
I want to combine and rewrite my two transportation planning stories, The Gladstone Barrier, and The Glencoe Project, into a longer story. Maybe even a novel. Of course, I want to make them into movies too. I shouldn’t try to do both.
I had a commenter on my look back at 2012 post who suggested that I would be more productive if I set deadlines for my projects. I actually did set some deadlines for 2012, but I didn’t find that they really helped me.
Deadlines have their place, but I don’t like deadlines because I find they stifle my creativity. Most of my better ideas come to me when I was doing nothing and had nothing to do. Deadline change the nature of what I create in ways I don’t like.
Never the less, I recognize that I can be more productive than I am. I believe that the approach I need to do is adopt better work habits. Most of what I’ve read about writing suggests that good writers set aside a certain time every day to write. I don’t think it needs to be a lot of time, but it does need to be consistent.
It is not easy to establish new habits, or drop old habits. I can’t allow myself to give up, but I should accept that I might slip from time to time.
At the start of 2012, I did a post about My Goals for 2012. Before I do the same for 2013, I wanted to look at how I did last year.
Make Better Use of My Time
Well, I don’t think I did very well with this. I got some projects done, but I didn’t get as much done as I could have. I have an excuse for the first couple of months: I slipped on some ice and cracked a bone in my arm and a rib. That slowed me down for a while.
I said I would set deadlines, but didn’t. I did shift my focus from short quick projects to longer projects. I got several started, but some of them are not finished yet, so I look less productive than I was.
I read more this year. Forty-four books in total. That took up my time, but Pierre Berton’s advice is “read, read, read, write, write, write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite”, so it wasn’t time wasted.
I completed Contingency and got it into the Hundred Dollar Film Festival. It won the best of Alberta award. That was very gratifying.
I wasn’t happy with the version I finished earlier in the year, so I pulled it out of the Hundred Dollar Film Festival. I reshot it later in the year. The new version was much better, so, if it gets accepted, it will be ready for next years festival.
I set a deadline of April 1 for this project. I didn’t do anything on in 2012. Next year. For sure. Really. I mean it this time.
I planned to use Xtranormal to turn the short story into a film. I never started on it, but I did use Xtranormal to make Make ’ em Squirm: The Sharkbiter Way. I found that a valuable step toward a longer project.
Transportation Planning Story (Novelette)
I wanted to write a novelette based on one or another of my transportation stories. I made some more notes about ideas and developed the story a bit, but didn’t get to any actual writing.
I did start three stories I hope will develop into novelettes. I based Bright Freedom on one of the feature scripts I wrote in 2011. I got a first draft done, which was mostly a direct conversion of the script into prose form. I cut out some material and added some as well. I restructured it a bit. I left it for a while to work on other projects before I did a second draft. It is still on hold. The first draft came in at 17,400 words.
I worked on two other novelettes. Both were science fiction stories. Felix is about an expedition to Mars to search for a lost robot rover. The idea came from an H. P. Lovecraft story. I have about half of the first draft done. It looks like done the first draft will be less than 8,000 words.
Heat Wave is the story of a scientist who runs into resistance to his research. I met a researcher several years ago who told me about their experiences, which gave me the idea for the story. The story also incorporates some of my own experiences. It looks like it will end up about 10,000 words.
I did some research into the market for science fiction stories. It looks like there are quite a large number of magazines that publish science fiction. Some don’t pay very much.
One magazine has a long list of clichéd stories they won’t publish. Unfortunately, Heat Wave is similar to one they list. I could fix that with a different ending, but the ending was the point of the story. I plan to finish the story the way I planned, and then see how people react to it.
I wrote a shorter science fiction story, Pete’s Plan, which I submitted to a couple of the magazines. Both rejected it, but there are many more to try yet. I rewrote it after the first rejection, and I plan another rewrite before I resubmit it to another magazine.
Several of my projects this year were not planned. That included Make ’ em Squirm: The Sharkbiter Way, as well as the short stories and novelettes I worked on.
My 2012 goal was to post at least one blog post a week. I did 58 posts. I did miss a couple weeks because of my accident. I didn’t had as many visits to my blog in 2012, but that may be partly due to changes in the way visits were counted.
My Goals for 2013
Next week I’ll do a new set of goals for 2013.
Now that I have finished and posted the video version of Contingency, I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to do next. I’ve got many projects I want to finish. If you have some time, I would like to hear your opinion.
When I wrote my New Years Blog, I planned to do updates April 1, July 1, and October 1. I did one update in late March, but did nothing in July. I missed October 1, but now should do.
I tried to make Some Days . . . for last years $100 Film Festival, but wasn’t happy with how it turned out. I bought some new film and plan to redo it for next years Festival. The submission deadline is December 1, so I can’t dally over this one too long.
I should have finished this one and sent it off long ago. There are times when I almost feel afraid to touch it. It shouldn’t take much work, but since it has already taken so long, it is hard to think I am almost done. It seems like I have a million excuses to put it off until another time.
I’d written and published this as a short story. I wanted to turn it into a movie with Xtranormal. Partly this was to experiment with Xtranormal to see if I could use it as a tool to develop a project more before I made a real movie. I haven’t done anything on this, but I did something similar with my Make ‘Em Squirm video. Lately I’ve wondered if it would be better to use Then the Phone Rang for my experiment. I think it may be easier to do.
I wrote this as a script, but wasn’t happy with it. Over the summer, I converted the script into a novelette. I have a first draft done, but decided to leave it for a while before I do a second draft. I’ve come up with some ideas for the revision and I started to review what I have for revision. The story does need more research before I can finish it, but with a better second (or third) draft, it should be easier to get feedback from other people. The main character is a woman, and since I am not, I really feel I need to get a woman’s perspective on the character.
This is an idea I had quite some time ago, but didn’t start on it until August. It is a science fiction story. I got about half of the first draft done. I did all the parts where I had clear ideas what I wanted to do. The rest of the story will be harder to do.
This is another science fiction story that I developed. I reimagined an H. P. Lovecraft story. I think its connection to Lovecraft may be quite obscure by the time I’m done. I wrote some notes, ideas and outlines, but I haven’t started to write the story itself. The end of the story has been a challenge to me. The one in the Lovecraft story doesn’t make much sense after the other changes I made.
I wanted to turn one of my transportation planning stories into a novelette, or maybe even a novel. I’ve done some work on how to do that, but I don’t feel particularly inspired by the idea these days.
Web Magazine: The Journal of Transportation Fiction
I still want to do more on my transportation planning stories. The challenge is to come up with an approach that works. When I looked for a place to submit my science fiction story, Pete’s Plan, I came across some on-line science fiction magazines. I thought that might be a way to get some help with my transportation stories. I did get some people express interest in writing stories when I first promoted my stories, so I think it might work.
I find that if I work on too many projects at a time, I never get any done. I don’t like to put projects aside though. Some Days . . . has a clear deadline, so I think it needs to be my first priority. What else I should work on, I’m not sure.
I just posted one of my more successful films, My Next Film on YouTube.
You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAPOadsMxW0 or on my site at: http://dynamiclethargyfilms.ca/filmlist/my-next-film/
In the film, Patrick Aull talks about his last film.
It debuted at the 10th annual $100 Film Festival in Calgary 2001 November 17, where it received an Honourable Mention in the Best of Alberta category.
The Calgary International Film Festival screened it in 2005.
It appeared on the Movieola Cable Channel, and they still show it from time to time: http://www.movieola.ca/search.php?searchBy=0&keyword=My+Next+Film
Please have a look at it.
A little while ago, I read an article about Vimeo: Why Vimeo Is the Web Video Platform to Watch. The article makes the case that Vimeo is the place to go for people who want to make or watch videos that are more creative.
The site has a reputation for a more sophisticated and supportive community. After my experiences with some of the people who comment on YouTube, that is appealing. See my article Why Do People Hate my Film? I think people there are more likely to enjoy my work than many of the people on YouTube.
So far, it hasn’t drawn any attention on Vimeo, but I think I will eventually post all of my videos there. If you haven’t seen If I Knew . . . yet, have a look and let me know what you think of it.
It was a little bit of everything this last week. At least I made a little progress here and there.
Back in 2010, I submitted my script The Doorman’s Sacrifice to Amazon Studios. It didn’t get much interest or feedback. I lost interest in the whole thing. This week I got a note that they’d changed their rules. Initially you had to agree that you gave them an option on the script that lasted for a year and a half. If they wanted to, they could extend the option, but they would pay you for that.
The rule change was to reduce the initial year and a half option to 45 days. They also now allow you to delete the script after the option expires. I decided to delete my script. While they had an option on the script, I couldn’t really do anything else with it. Now I can. Not sure what. I can’t have all my projects on the front burner.
I only worked on Bright Freedom for a couple days this week. I still kept it to about one hour each day, so it was a tad over 2 hours I wrote. That got me about 1,800 words. That brings me close to 4,800. Altogether, I think I am almost a fifth of the way through.
I am not too happy with my writing though. It seems like I use the same phrases over and over. It will need a fair bit of rewriting to fix that. I need to talk to some people to see if the basics of the plot are realistic. I suppose I should clean it up as much as I can before I have other people read it. On the other hand, if the plot makes no sense, then that effort would be wasted.
I’ve been trying out some Google AdWords to promote my Orville Sharkbiter story. I got some free ad credits a while ago and thought I’d experiment a bit. I did a fair bit of analysis of the statistics AdWords produces. I don’t seem to have much difficulty getting people to click the ad, but if the campaign is to work, I need them to share the page. That hasn’t happened. Yet.
I read a book a short time ago called Made to Stick about how to create viral messages. I used some of the ideas to develop some Ads, but I’m afraid to use them. Some people might find them misleading, and get angry with me. It is not just a mater of attracting people, but it has to be the right kind of people.
I have an old Super 8/Regular 8 movie projector that hasn’t worked for so long I don’t remember when it stopped working. I decided to see if I could get it to work again.
I transferred some old home movies to video 28 years ago, but I’m not happy with the quality of the video bow. I think I can do better now. I also want to transfer some of the super 8 film I shot for Weekend in Calgary, Who Shot the President, If I Knew . . . and a couple abandoned projects. I think I could reuse them. The CSIF does have a Super transfer system, so I could use that too.
I investigated on-line to see if I could get any information about the projector, a Sankyo Dualux 1000. I was surprised to find out that replacement parts are for sale on the internet. In fact, some people have “new in the box” projectors. I found a copy of the manual that I downloaded. It is in Spanish or French, but it helps a little. Apparently it is still a popular projector because it is good for video transfers. Sanko hasn’t made any for over 30 years.
The problem with the projector is that the drive belt has disintegrated. Replacements are available, but expensive. Some people suggested using an O-ring, which is much cheaper and easier to find. I tried an elastic band, and that didn’t work. I also worry about the bulb going. Fortunately, the bulbs are still available. The bulb seems to be working OK now, but I wonder if I should get a replacement one, just in case.
I looked to O-rings in Rona and Canadian Tire. They both had O-rings, but they were all too small. I asked my brother for advice and he said that an auto parts dealer should have what I’m looking for. He gave me the names of a couple of places in town that he thought would the best to try. I went out searching and visited several places before I found one that I thought would work.
I tried to install the O-ring a few weeks ago. The ring itself seemed to be the right size, but in order to install it I have to get it through some thin gaps, and the O-ring was just too thick. I suppose that if I more completely disassembled the projector that I could make more room, but I didn’t have that much confidence in my ability to put it back together again.
I decided that if I cut the O-ring in half lengthwise that I could get it to fit. It took a long time to cut it in half. I tried to install the cut O-ring last Monday. It worked! It was easy to install and it was just the right length. The projector seemed to operate well enough. Unfortunately, the next day when I tried to use the projector to screen a Super 8 film, the O-ring broke. When I cut it in half I must have weakened it.
I was at a loss as what to try next. I couldn’t see myself getting back out to buy another O-ring again for a long while. Even then, I couldn’t be sure I could get one skinny enough to fit through the thin slots.
Although an elastic band didn’t work when I tried it before, I decide to try again. This time I picked one that was thicker and shorter. I thought that would keep it from stretching too much, which was the problem last time. That seemed to do the trick. I’ve used it a few times, the project has worked well, and the elastic band looks like it is in good shape. We have several more elastic bands of a similar size, so if this one breaks after a while, it will be fairly easy to replace.
One of the joys of filmmaking is the struggle to keep the old equipment alive. On the other hand, the old film equipment does hold up better than newer video and digital equipment.
Last week I went over what I did last year. Now it is time to look at what I’ll try to do in 2012.
Make Better Use of My Time
Time and again I find myself with too many projects on the go, and I can’t make headway on any of them. This year I will try to keep my focus on one major project at a time.
Last year I had a bunch of goals for the year, but that leads me to try to do them all at the same time. This year I will try to set deadlines for each of the major projects I want to do. That way, I can space them out over the year.
Another way to focus is to stick to longer projects. When I do short small projects, I tend to want to just get them done and work on the next one. With a longer project I don’t think there would be the same pressure and I will create something that will catch people’s fancy.
Somedays . . . and Contingency
I need to have final versions of these films ready in time for the $100 Film Festival. The festival starts the first week of March. That pretty much sets the deadline for me.
My Most Difficult Case
This film has been on my back for far too long. I don’t think I really have all that much more I need to do before I have it done. I want to leave it until after I’m done with Somedays … and Contingency. I think I can safely set a deadline of April 1 for this project.
The Crying Lady
I did three feature scripts in 2010, but right now, none of them really seems to get people excited. The idea I feel best about now is The Crying Lady. I did it as a short story in 2011, but didn’t get much feedback on it. I think that the idea has potential and I want to do more work on it.
One way to get more feedback is to do a video based on the story. The website Xtranormal allows you to easily create animated videos. I believe I can use it to make an animated storyboard from my story. That will give me, and others, a better idea how the story would translate into a film. I will shoot for completion my mid May.
The story is still too short for a feature film, so I want to expand it somewhat. To do that I plan to do some blog posts and maybe short articles about the themes and details of the story. I did something like that for my transportation planning stories. This would help build and audience in addition to help build up the story. I won’t set any specific deadline for these, just let them happen as I develop the ideas.
Transportation Planning Story
I would like to develop one of my transportation planning stories into a longer form. The two stories I did last year run about 6,000 words. I’d like to build that up to at least 20,000 words. I have some ideas about how to do that and have several pages of notes.
Given my other priorities, I don’t think I can get to it until May. I’d like to set a deadline of July 1, although, that leaves me about six weeks and it took me that long to write the 6,000-word version. I’ll revisit this goal in April.
I have a bunch of ideas for small projects, but as I noted before I don’t want them to be a big part of my goals this year.
I have several ideas for short stories and articles lying about. I would like to get some of the short stories done. Articles, except those related to my major projects, are not a priority for me. I do make some money from them on Triond, but it isn’t so much money that I would lose out if I didn’t do any. Half the money I get comes from one article I wrote three years ago.
I enjoyed making the two shorts for the $100 Film Festival, so I’d like to do some more along those lines.
I won’t set any deadlines for this kind of project
My experience has convinced me that ideas can just pop up at any time. I’ll keep that in mind and try to stay flexible in my plans. If something catches on fire, I will want to run with it
I plan to do a review of my progress several times throughout the year: April 1, July 1 and October 1. That will help keep me on track.
At the start of 2011 I did a post about My Goals for 2011. Before I do the same for 2012, I wanted to look at how I did last year.
A year ago I decided that one goal in 2011 I would rewrite the three scripts I did in 2010 and write two new scripts. I didn’t do that. Early on I decided that I would write some “longer” short stories to practice writing for a longer format. I did start to convert a couple of my short stories, The Abattoir Project and The Crying Woman, into scripts.
My First Feature
I didn’t set a goal to start a feature this year and I didn’t make one.
I set a goal to complete a short film in 2011. I did better with this goal. I completed two shorts for the $100 Film Festival. It is the 20th annual festival and the organizer asked me if I could do a film. I shot both on 16mm. I still need to do a little more work on them before they are ready to screen. The festival runs in early March, so need to get that done early in the year.
I wanted to finish My Most Difficult Case and submit it for distribution. At first I made progress, but then a person I hired to help took my money and didn’t do the work. I sued him in small claims court. I got some of the money back, but all distracted me from the film. Patrick Aull gave me some good advice that will help me get it done.
I did a sound track for Extra Special Care and put it on my website.
My goal for 2011 was to complete three short stories I had started in 2010, and if that turned out well, I would try to do enough to publish another book. I published five stories:
The Crying Woman and
The Glencoe Project and The Gladstone Barrier were part of a larger project idea to do a book or movie about transportation planning. I hoped that it would be easier because I had 30 years experience in the field. It proved to be more of a challenge than I expected. I’ve put it on hold for a short time so I could work on other projects.
I published 13 articles this year on Triond, 11 articles on Bukisa and 8 articles on Wikinut. That is more than I planned to do. Actually, I didn’t plan to write any. I didn’t make much money. I did better early in the year, but then views dropped off later.
Part way through the year I decided not to post to Wikinut anymore. I get a lot of people who read my posts there, but it doesn’t pay very well. I feel that posting there just undercuts views on my other pages. I haven’t posted much to Bukisa recently. I intended to report reworked versions of some of my blog posts, but never got around to it.
My 2011 goal was the same as 2010, to post at least one blog a week. This will be blog post number 78. I would like to have more people read my blog.
Several people had suggested that I work on my characterisation and dialogue, so I made that a goal for 2011. I did some reading on the subject and did some exercises. I think I improved my dialog a bit.
Website and Promotion
I’ve done made some changes to my website. I enjoy the work on my website, but I don’t think it helps draw people to the site.
My Goals for 2012
Next week, after New Years Day, I’ll do a new set of goals for 2012. The results this year were mixed, but I still felt it was worthwhile to set the goals.
I made progress on three projects this week.
I published a pseudo book review. It is an idea I’ve been toying with since I began work on Line of Taxis. The story is about a guy I call Orville Sharkbiter. When I did Line of Taxis, I changed his name to Orville Stark-Lieder. You can hear him mentioned at the end of the film on the radio. I would describe him as “the boss from hell”. I’ve had some good feedback on it so far.
I got the film I shot back for my $100 Film Festival film this week. I was disappointed with how some shots turned out, so I want to reshoot them. The dead line for submission is this coming Thursday, so I’ll have to live with what I have now.
I actually have two films now. Somedays . . . is a very short gag film that plays around with the SMPTE Universal Leader. I had the idea several years ago, but I didn’t want to make it because I thought it would be difficult. I came up with an easier way to do it, so it wasn’t much extra work to shoot it on the same roll I shot for Contingency.
Contingency has evolved a lot since I started to work on it. Originally it was meant to be a sort of history of the $100 Film Festival, in part modelled after Man with a Camera. Now it is more about how things didn’t have to happen the way they did. I keep getting new ideas for the film, which is a good sign. Although, with only a few days left before the deadline, I need to stop at some point.