Sunday, December 25, 2011


I'm a bit shocked realizing that I've been working on this for 23 weeks. It's quite a chunk of a year and there's lots of ideas that I'm really excited about but I'm going to stop writing on it. I can't concentrate on doing the first draft of this and the second draft of Ghosts of Starpoint Mountain at the same time. It's taken me longer to rewrite the second draft of Ghosts than it did to write the first drafts of Ghosts, the fourth book, and 23 short stories. I'm think the only way I can get things moving is working on one at a time and that's going to be Ghosts. I finished a chapter with a very good plot point and decided to just stop there.
It occurred to me that, even though I'm finishing the book, I don't have to give up on the character and ideas. I've been looking at ideas for the next video to do. I want something I could do in anywhere in Iowa City that isn't a costume drama. I've been working on one called Line Zero, a mystery/sci-fi video. I started thinking that doing a video version of November Girl is a possibility, too. They both have the advantages of the slightly real world setting which would make them easier to shoot. November Girl also appeals to me as it could be done with a smaller cast. Being a mystery I would need a lot more people to make Line Zero work right. It's also a different focus than doing the book and I won't have to sacrifice one for the other.
I wrote the opening scene to a November Girl video tonight.



We are floating in space above earth. Beneath us we can clearly see the North American continent. The sun is just going down over the western horizon. All is silent and peaceful for a while then there 25 bright flashes across the face of the continent. They are burning nuclear explosions lighting up the night at strategic points across the United States.


Caption: “Two months later…”

Sunday, December 11, 2011


We shot all the green screen shots the video needed on Saturday and it went really well. I've learned a lot about greens green shooting. I put down the mats and carpets and covered about two thirds of the studio with green. I also got rid of most of the shadows. There were a few left but I managed to move them far enough away the they were out of most of the shots. The only thing we couldn't do is move the actors fifteen feet away from the green wall. The studio just isn't big enough for that.
There were some shots we did on location a few months back that I absolutely loved. They were fantastic and important but, as much as I wanted to keep them, I had to reshoot them with green screen. The problem is we shot them hand held in the forest without a tripod. They were just to unsteady to use with out so much fx work it would take much to long to put together right. So we redid them yesterday in the studio and the Josh and I started the fx work. I got some of the basics down, what I knew how to do, and Josh is now good to go on the harder and more complicated stuff. I also went out this morning and took a few photos of a cemetery to use in the back ground for one of the. It looks pretty good.
Susanna was very patient and it worked out great. We had to do combat scenes and she kept going so there are a lot of great shots to pick from.
There was one non-green screen shot we had to do with Jessica. I was embarrassed to admit that I just plain forgot it the first time around. Luckily it was a simple scene with no dialougue, just healing, and I took a new t-shirt and made it into a worn out and damaged kind of outfit for her.
Another bonus was Susanna and Jessica singing for us. There were links to flash backs in the video that I was going to use visual fx for. Since they are referred to as whispers I thought of doing audio links instead. Then they sang to us when we shot at Riverside and it was so good I want to do musical links instead. I was especially looking for a tone, they won't be loud enough to get the lyrics, just the feel of them, and they took it to heart and made it work.
On a side note I seem to be getting a good reputation at PATV. One woman in the lobby said "You were the one who did the fantastic leather work." and it took me a few seconds before I realized she was talking to me. She'd seen the armor I had made for Susanna's costume. Another guy asked me if I'd help out on his production cause he'd seen what I was doing on mine. It's pretty exciting.


Every once in a while I hit a chapter point where I really have to sweat it out. I got to a point where I wanted certain things to happen to add the mystery to November's past and introduce some new ideas. I wrote a chapter and got everything across that I wanted to but it just didn't feel right. In frustration I went a rewrote using the first version as template. It ended up even more of a mess than when I started. For the third try I just tossed out the first two versions and started from scratch. That works much better.
Despite all this I'm debating whether I should keep going or not. As much as I like the character and am excited about the ideas working on two books at the same time is still overwhelming. It's taking away the focus from Ghosts of Startpoint Mountain. It's getting really tempted to just stop on this character at the end of the year and focus on the final books in the Starpoint series.