Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Action, Thriller, Comedy, Drama

I think, when people talk about genres, most people think of them in terms of what the story is about. Instead, I think a genre is really much more about who the audience is for a particular story.

I recently came across a fascinating analysis of spec script sales by genre from the Go Into The Story blog by Scott Myers. A "spec" script is when a screenwriter sells a script "on spec," which means they weren't hired to write a specific story; instead, they write whatever they think will be marketable and then hope to sell it to a producer. They are speculating, gambling their time and effort in hopes of a future sale. It's always interesting to see what kinds of stories Hollywood thinks will make them money. What I find particularly interesting, is to see the breakdown by the four major Hollywood genres: Action, Thriller, Comedy, and Drama.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weird Thursday - Weird Vehicles Part 1

Today's weirdness is a day late, but is hopefully worth the wait. We've got a garage full of odd sci-fi conveyances that are (or have been) real, believe it or not. It ended up being rather crowded in our Weird Garage, so this is Weird Vehicles Part 1.

Top Speed: 20 mph
First up is the LeTourneau Overland MkII Land Train. It is like the Antarctic Snow Cruiser on steroids. Perfect for hauling much needed supplies across the Martian tundra (or across earthly deserts,) the Overland MkII was as long as two football fields. It had 54 electrically powered wheels and could carry 150 tons of cargo. Each wheel was over 11 feet tall. The idea was that it would be used by the Army to deliver goods to inhospitable and remote locales, but by the time it was ready for action in 1962, it was rendered obsolete by newly developed aircraft technologies. Sadly, most of the Land Train has been sold for scrap, although you can still see the restored lead car at the Yuma Proving Grounds Heritage Center.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fantasy Map Tutorial

There's a lot of talk these days about "World Building," which helps create a realistic and interesting story setting. But after you have carefully crafted your world of wonder with believable geographic and geopolitical details, you probably want a nice picture of it, right?

I'm going to show you how to make a cool looking fantasy map.

What you will need:
- a graphics editing program (I used Photoshop.) There is also a free program called GIMP.
- a public domain image of an old map.  Some good sources for public domain images are: Public Domain Sherpa and NOAA's Office of Coast Survey Historical Map & Chart Collection. The NOAA site is a gold mine. It takes some searching, but you can even find maps of old west towns, forts, and battles!

What we are going to do:
We are going to take an existing public domain map and modify it to look like the imaginary world we have in our head.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weird Wednesday - Phaistos Disc and Rongorongo

Phaistos Disc - Side A
(click to supersize)
For some reason, I am fascinated by mysterious, undeciphered writing (check out Weird Wednesday - The Voynich Manuscript.) Today, we have not one, but two good mysteries from the Mythik Story Idea List And Weird Things File :)

The Phaistos Disc is, oddly enough, an approximately 3600 year old disc-shaped clay artifact discovered in Crete in 1908. Although the dating is imprecise, and some archeologists do think it is a hoax, it is generally accepted by the scientific community as the real deal.

It has symbols or "signs" in a spiral pattern on both sides. There are 45 unique signs that make up its "alphabet," and there are a total of 241 "tokens" made up of the signs. Many of the signs seem to represent people, faces, and objects such as weapons and tools. The signs have been compared to the symbols in Linear A and Anatolian and even Egyptian Hieroglyphics. There is even a theory that it may be the result of the world's first printing press. But so far, nobody has been able to come up with a conclusive translation.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jon Mac On The Radio

Today I was on the Leo Laporte show, a nationally syndicated radio program about all things tech and geek ;) I've always loved listening to Leo and it was great fun to speak with him.

We talked about using older, manual focus lenses with new DSLR cameras. What does that have to do with writing, you ask? Heh, well I like to think of this blog as being about stories as much as writing, and A) storytelling is important in photographs and movies, and B) Using older lenses that are high quality and 1/10th the price of new ones is definitely in the Indy Author Spirit, and C) I'll be adapting some of the Mythik stories into movies using this technique ;)

Here's the snippet from the radio:

A lot of people are taking advantage of this combination of new and old tech in a lot of creative ways. It's definitely a fun pairing of retro and future :) Whether you're a reader, watcher, writer, or filmmaker, the "democratization" of creative technology only makes the world a better place.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Moon

As you can see from the incredibly creative title of this post, today we'll be talking about the moon. Not just any moon, but earth's moon. We love our moon so much, we didn't even bother to give it a real name and just call it "The Moon." It's kind of like naming your dog, "Dog." But whatever, I guess it gets the job done.

If you've read this far, you're now probably expecting some amazing little known science facts about our nearest heavenly neighbor, or maybe some comical old superstitions or moon hoaxes. Nope! Instead, I'm going to make you look at a picture. (Click the images for full size)
The Moon - Taken with Canon T3i + Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f3.5
Notes: 210mm and 2X extender, plus 3X "lossless" center crop, f22, ISO 1600
Shot as 1080p video @ 30fps - image is about 100 stacked frames

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Storytelling Is Time Travel

This is why there is so much construction
on the freeway of my daily commute.
I'm the last person who would tell somebody how to write stories. But I was (sort of) asked. So here goes:

We're already 10/365ths (or 0.027397260 for you math whizzes) into the new year. So most of the yearly future predictions have already been predicted (December is that magical portal in-between the "Top-[insert number here]" lists of what has already happened and the "Top-[insert number here]" of what might happen - the internet loves lists even more than usual at this time of year.) How does this possibly relate to writing stories, you ask?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Mythik New Year

Happy New Year, everybody! The ol' Mythik Blog has been neglected for a while, but the Underwater Cave-dwelling Sea Monkeys who write this stuff are back to work and have their typewriters warmed up and ready to go.

November was very busy with NaNoWriMo, and although I didn't "win," I did get 45k or so words, which I considered a success and a very good start to the Land Of Lor novel. It is shaping up to be a very fun twist on classic, personal Sword & Sorcery combined with an overall Epic Fantasy feel. Although the main characters and plot lines have been in my head for many years, it has already taken a few unexpected turns resulting in several painted-in plot corners, ha ha. I was so busy writing, I didn't keep up with the planned blog updates. Oh well, it's a trade-off I'll accept :)

December was busy with lots of work at the day job and, of course, family and holiday time. I was able to do a test shoot of video for an upcoming Weird West Thriller.
Screen grab from video test shoot. T3i camera with 30 year old Kiron 28mm lens @ f2.