Sunday, October 28, 2012

Keeping it Running

I am not mechanically inclined, so when my husband needs me to order something for him to keep one of our cars or another household machine running, I just have to accept that I'm somewhat limited in knowledge, and look for exactly what he asked for at a decent price. So looking for a pillow block gets easier in some ways under those limitations. It does help that mechanical items are not often subject to much variation between manufacturers, so simply looking for the best price or easiest way to get them--online in my case--works out well. I order, they ship, he can have them for when he is ready to do the project he is working on. We all save time and I save a little money.
I've been having a lot of fun creating animated videos with my new iclone5 program. Here's a funny (remember, 1st attempt) rock band clip I made yesterday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Keeping it Hot

Well, maybe at least warm. I have a feature film that will be starting principle production soon--with winter coming on! Keeping warm may be difficult. I've thought about pushing the start to spring when it's warmer, but that will cause a delay that could lose some of my lead actors, and they have experience and talent I am not anxious to lose out on. So, maybe bundling up in some down winter coats and drinking lots of coffee and hot chocolate will do the trick. If we can get it all together and start before the snow falls, it shouldn't be too difficult.

Scattered and Exhausted

I may be exhausted but it's a fun way to be tired. I've been doing so much, in so many different directions lately that I may be spreading myself too thin. I have taken a day today to step back a bit and clarify my thinking. One thing has come into focus: it may be hectic but I'm learning a lot and having a great time doing it, so how bad can it be? One of the things I have been pushing forward on while still keeping up with all my other professional and paid endeavors is filmmaking. In the past week I completed two short films: one animated and one live with effects. Both were a lot of fun. Here's the live action short:

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Being Heard

Does it matter how well you play the guitar or sing if no one can hear you? Not really. That's why a good amp is so important. For anyone who moves around and travels to gigs, having a solid amp that is easily portable is also important. A great amp that you can't manage to move won't help you much, and we all know how hard it can be to find enough help as it is without having to hire extra muscle to move massive equipment.

Do Over Intro

Hey, here's a clip of the intro for my new short film "Do Over". I've been working hard on it. It will be a total of about 10 minutes long, and have a lot of fun special effects in it.

Adding it All Up

Being a self-employed writer has a lot of perks. It also has a lot of headaches, and keeping track of the accounting is one of them. I would advise any writer with a lot of work to find a good CPA. It can save you so much at tax time, and keep your head above water. It's not nearly as expensive as you might think. I would be lost without mine. Keeping track of the tax code even if it never changed would be a full time job, but it does change and that makes it nearly impossible to navigate unless you do it all the time. Many writers won't need someone like  until they have many sales and multiple projects. You may be able to get away with doing your own taxes in the beginning, but once you have a lot of expenses and many income streams, it's time to sit down with a pro and make sure you're not paying more than you have to. It's hard enough to make a living as a writer, and self-employment taxes can be quite shocking for new writers at first. Self-employment tax is far higher than the taxes you might be used to paying when working for someone else. That's where a good CPA will save you money, making sure you are taking all of the deductions you are entitled too--and maybe more importantly, not taking the ones you aren't supposed to. No one wants the dreaded "A" word (audit in case you aren't familiar with that nasty initial).

How Do You Get Thousands of Followers

My husband asked me the other day, quite perplexed, how do you get so many followers on Twitter. He has a fair number for an average person who just tweets for fun. His list is about 800 strong, and I remember those days well. Once you are into Tweeting as a form of exposure and to keep in touch with fans your list will grow--it has to. I simply don't have an easy "how to" answer for accumulating thousands of followers. I don't do anything specific, I just Tweet, follow those that interest me, and follow back those that are truly pertinent. I do not follow back or initially follow anyone that doesn't have a shared interest of any type of who I don't find interesting. In other words, I don't just follow to get numbers. I never use "follow back" services. Those are just like junk mail. A really good follow list is made up of people who are interested in what you have to say. Of course, there's a responsibility there too. While some of my posts are definitely promotional, there has to be a fair number of what I would call "connection posts". If possible, more than any number of promotional posts. I can tell you that even if someone who follows me would be who I considered of the same interest, if their feed is 100% promo or links, I'm not biting. Who wants that? Keep it real and make your followers count.

Dressing for the Occassion

My husband has a job where uniforms are the dress code. He is a paramedic and has a closet full of the same shirt and pants outfits. In a lot of ways it makes things so much more simple. You never have to worry about what you're going to wear that day. Of course, in most professions that require uniforms there's a very good reason--recognizability. You know at a glance who you're dealing with. It's important in professions where people are walking into strangers homes and into difficult accident scenes, people know right away who you are and why you are there.

Short Film Intro

I have been really busy working on my short film "Do Over" the last few weeks. There are a lot of special FX in it and I have begun to realize why those guys get so much money for their work. It's hard. It's been a lot of fun though and a real learning experience. Here's a short blip from the film so far that has one of the FX features in it.