General Updates


Well, the weekend’s over.  I hope yours was great, though it would be hard to top the one Ben and Kristy had.  Once again, congratulations you two!  We’re all very excited for you.

As for me, I have nothing so momentous to report.

On Friday, I saw a decent movie.  I told you about that already though.

I planned on getting some edits for Ghost Hunters (my languishing novel, not the TV show) done this weekend.  I set a goal of three chapters.  I figured one Friday, one Saturday and one Sunday wasn’t an unreasonable expectation.  Well, Friday came and went without progress, but I got one chapter completed on Saturday and started a second in the wee hours.  So, that’s something.

I’ve also been thinking about writing again.  (Hey, for me, that’s progress.)  I read back through some of my stories, posted on my fiction blog, particularly the most recent ones.  I don’t know.  I guess I go through phases where I feel like I can really write, and write well, and other times when I’m disappointed with what I read and feel it doesn’t compare favorably to other stuff I’m reading at the time.  This weekend, I guess I was in the “not as good” phase, because what I read didn’t seem to be of equal quality to what I want to put out and things I’ve read recently.  Overall, I’ve reached a point of confidence in my ability to write, but every now and again, I still think I suck.  So looking over those stories from the recent past, this one specifically, gave me a bit of a sour feeling in my stomach.  I hate when that happens.  I could edit it, clean it up and shore it up, I suppose, but then I get on the guilt carousel, and feel I should be editing instead.  *Sigh*  I hate it.

I saw Journey to the Center of the Earth with the kids.  It features Brendan Fraser as a geologist who goes on a search for his missing brother and ends up in Jules Verne’s novel world.   The movie is a fun romp, but not good for much else.  And is it just me, or are the CGI effects not as good as they used to be in movies?  I mean, Independence Day and Jurassic Park were outstanding.  What happened?  Stuff’s just not as convincing anymore.  Not spending the money on it anymore?  Not as concerned about it?  What do you think?

Oh, and did anyone else watch the Kentucky Derby on Saturday?  Great race!  A long-shot horse, with something like 50-1 odds, came streaking up from the middle of the pack to win by several lengths.  The horse was named Mine That Bird.  I love it when the long-shot underdog wins.  Awesome.  The horse favored to win finished something like second to last.  I guess that’s why they run the race, y’know?  And best of all, no drama.  Nobody got hurt or dead.  Nice.

Anyway, it’s a new job search week, and a new chance for an amazing employment opportunity to drop right into my lap effortlessly.  Are you listening, Lord?

I don’t have much else to share.  It’s just another uneventful weekend around here, so hopefully all of you have excitement and action to write about so I have something good to read.

God bless, everyone.

-JDT-

All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.

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2 thoughts on “General Updates

  1. Computer animation although it somehow looks worse, is bigger and more expensive now than ever before. It’s all animated, everything. Human actors are interacting with computer images. In movies like Jurassic Park and Independence Day, the actors were interacting with animatronics. Actual physical objects that can be touched. They’re tangible.

    You might know more about this than I do, but I thought only SOME of those sequences used animatronics and tangible objects; and those were mostly used to help get timing on the CGI right. (The scene where the T-rex trashes the T-rex skeleton with the dead body of the Velociraptor near the end specifically.)

    Me, personally, I hate CGI. Not just because my own little love affair with Ray Harryhausen’s effects with stop-motion. I just don’t like the lack of realness to CGI. The images are too perfect, if you know what I mean. Man-made things are like snowflakes, there are no two perfectly alike. No matter how much programming goes into the animation of an explosion, a CGI explosion has a finite number of possibilities and I think the human eye and human mind subconsciously notices the limitations of that image. A real explosion has an infinite number of possibilities.

    For some reason, as good as CGI can be right now, I think it still stands out on the screen. That’s one of the outstanding things about JP and ID4 — the CGI seemed part of the environment, part of the actual movie. Those dinosaurs looked like dinosaurs, right there on the screen. With new stuff, you can tell — I don’t know why, but you can just tell. And I think the last 16 years should have IMPROVED that, not caused it to go downhill. 2005’s King Kong is the best example I have of this; while Kong was AMAZING, he also wasn’t. His size kept changing; he was never the same size twice. And the dinosaurs and weird critters from the island weren’t very convincing. The dinosaur stampede LOOKED like a bunch of actors running in front of a green screen. Compare that to the dinosaurs rushing past the actors on the field in Jurassic Park, when the T-rex chased a herd of dinosaurs past the kids. VERY realistic; if you didn’t know better, you’d swear it was happening.

    When I watch a movie, I would rather see real fire and real explosions instead of CGI fire.
    There are some movie makers who get it when it comes to special effects. Take a look at films like The Terminator. Really low budget but that cyborg eye on Arnold looks more real than anything from any of The Mummy or Spider-man. Paul Verhoeven has directed some great special effects heavy films. Robocop and Starship Troopers for example. The aliens that look real are puppets and animatronic creatures. The less real looking aliens are the CGI aliens. The DVD/BD has lots of special features that show you the difference between how the alien looks on the finished product and how it looks to the naked eye. When the effort is done to make a good looking movie without going overboard on CGI, the end result is so much more pleasing to the eye.

    I didn’t realize Terminator was low-budget. It was outstanding, but not just for special effects; it was well-acted and had a great story. I think it’s a success in every area, not just the special effects area. And I loved Starship Troopers. I didn’t like Spider-Man’s effect very much for the same reason; there was a clear, identifiable difference between the guy in the costume and the CGI character. I mean, REALLY identifiable.

    When I saw that first Spider-man movie, I nearly walked out of the theatre because I was so disgusted by the CGI. Almost every image of Spider-man (in costume) was computer generated. With that much CGI, why not go full CGI and get rid of on-screen actors altogether? Get rid of any sets and cameras and costumes. It’s working quite well for Disney/Pixar right now.

    I agree; I thought doing a Pixar-style movie of Spider-Man would’ve been better in a LOT of ways. First, the things the character has to do, and second, there would’ve been no difference between the live action actor and the animation sequences. Besides, Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson??? WTF???

    Think back to the time when you first saw The Terminator. That movie blew you away. It was a low budget film but it looked realistic because the artists who made the special effects did the very best with the technology they had available to them. Special effects don’t cost that much money in the grand scheme of big budget films. Titanic cost 200 million. That money went to building a real boat that would be sunk at the end of filming. The last Spider-man movie cost more than 200 million, and half the film was CGI. CGI is expensive, but it’s also the mark of lazy film making.

    I loved Terminator. I don’t think T2 was low-budget, and of course it had amazing CGI added in, but yeah — Terminator rocked. And SM3 SUCKED. I HATED that movie; I couldn’t have BEEN any more disappointed that Marvel shoved Venom down the franchise’s throat. I hate that character, that storyline, that entire idea, and they injected it only three movies in. How f’ing pathetic. And yes, the CGI was not only less effective than it should’ve been (though it was an improvement over the other two SM movies), but it was actually hard to see what was going on. I couldn’t make heads or tails of some of those CGI scenes. Like the one where Spider-Man and Venom are falling from the construction site, and fighting on the way down. WTF was happening then? I couldn’t see it very well, and still can’t even on the DVD. It was very disappointing.

  2. Hang in there with the writing. I think we all have our up and down moments. The last two weeks or so I was just spinning my wheels but this Sunday I think I finally started moving forward again.

    I’m moving into the realm of almost a year … a year this month, in fact. I’ve had some form of block for a year now. It’s … frustrating. But thanks for the encouragement, Al. I appreciate it.

    And don’t fret over your old works, as you learn and evolve you will always look at your previous stuff with a jaundiced eye. Should you revise?

    It’s not that old a work; that’s the problem. 😦

    Well as I said before IN THE SHADOW OF HIS NEMESIS was written over a decade ago I decided to jut post it to the page in serial format with a few clean ups here and there. That way I could keep the content coming with little or no extra work.

    I’ve gone through similar things with a couple of pieces I started years back. (I have a bad habit of starting a novel and not finishing it. Ugh.)

    Then I decided that the bad guys needed to be changed…

    Then I decided to take out all the vampires…

    Then I decided that the entire book two section needed to be fleshed out and should be set in an entirely different location…

    Now of course I am going to need to fix the ending. Good think I decided to avoid any extra work huh?

    And as a long term Doctor Who fan I can forgive any number of bad effects in a film so long as the movie’s got heart.

    I guess I still don’t know how to FIND the heart if the rest of it is so bad.

    And yes Spidey 3 should have just been Sandman… Venom felt too tacked on…

    Yeah. Tacked on, and tacky. Not to mention I hate Venom. I think Venom’s the favorite character of that idiot who’s running the movie division of Marvel; I read he forced Raimi to put it in the film. Meanwhile, we’ve had the set-up for the Lizard for three movies now and haven’t done SQUAT with that. Gimme a break.

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