Saturday, May 31, 2014

Perfect

Here is song number ten, Perfect Little Robot. I started thinking up the lyrics to this song more than a year ago while I was sitting at a computer doing a very boring job. I won't go into the gory details. But the first four or so lines came into my head pretty much all at once. And a tune, though not the one I ended up with.

And that's an interesting story, really. The original tune was nearly monotonous, not in the sense of being boring, but in the sense of having few note changes. But I wanted to have the "robot" parts done with an auto-tune effect to make them sound more mechanical, so I came up with the current tune to give more variations for the auto-tune to correct.

But when I applied the effect, it didn't help the illusion at all, and it made the lyrics much harder to understand. So I ditched auto-tune, but kept the melody, which I quite like for this song.

This is another one of those times, too, when I really need to thank the Berklee School of Music and Pat Pattison for offering the online songwriting course I took through Coursera. The tools I learned to use in that course really gave this song far more lyrical depth and forward momentum than I would ever have been able to achieve earlier in my songwriting efforts.

And so, here it is:




I hope you like it. Meanwhile, I'm moving on to the next song ASAP.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Slipped In At Number Nine

Song nine should have been song ten, but I've had trouble finding time to lay the tracks for Perfect Little Robot, which has multiple vocal tracks, backing tracks, and effects.

On the other hand, Minor Pentatonic Blues, a song that just popped into my head during an online music class, needed only a guitar, a voice, and another guitar. And so here it is.




If you're not a musician, you probably won't get it, but it's a fun little tune anyway.

More stuff coming soon, including quite a number of videos that just need to make it through post-production, probably after the Memorial Day holiday. Company coming, and I still have a queue of Fiverr clients to deliver to.

Ah, life. Makes creating art challenging.

Pun intended.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Here They Are

Here are the two videos that I uploaded this morning:




I'm getting in front of the camera, behind the camera, and at the computer to edit much more often now, so I think I will be able to catch up on videos.

But only time will tell for certain.

Monday, May 12, 2014

New Videos In Motion

I bought myself a birthday present a while back: Apple Motion. And I intend to be as annoying as possible with it until I get it out of my system. I already sent my mother a funny video with text effects for her birthday, and I used Motion for a more prosaic video for a Fiverr client, who needed a logo beside me on the screen (something that would have been more work in iMovie).

And I used it for the next two videos in the Challenge, which will be uploaded in the morning: Get Horizontal, and Fiverr British Gig. That second is, as you might have guessed, an actual Fiverr Gig video. Is that cheating? I don't think so, and I hope you'll agree when you see it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Finding My Niche On Fiverr

I've had a couple of gigs languishing on Fiverr for quite some time, and neither got any bites. So, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to put my voice and face on the line and offer a gig for doing voiceover narration, and a gig for speaking in front of any graphic via green screen.

And things just started happening. I've gotten seven gigs in less than two weeks; five are already completed. They run the gamut from straight commercial work to "what really happened" video narration to appearing in someone's YouTube trailer video.

I've discovered a couple of things. First, recording voice narration with my current set-up is really easy. I've got some great tools, and the biggest problem is finding enough quiet time in the house to record a clean track. But it's not that big a problem.

I expected the same to be true for the video work, and the green-screen part of it is certainly simple enough. But when you're being paid four bucks (Fiverr takes 20%) to do an on-screen performance, you don't really have time to memorize 30 seconds worth of lines.

This is where me teleprompter comes in. It's something I built some time ago from scrap lumber and a $1 picture frame, and it worked really well on its first test. But, not using scripts that often, I stopped using it as a teleprompter and started using it as a framing aid.

So when I went back to using it as a teleprompter, I had a couple of nasty surprises. First, when I had tested it, the lights were not so bright as the ones I used for shooting in front of my green screen. And the screen for the test was just my phone, which is pretty bright.

But the phone is too small for the working distance I have to use for the green screen, so I had to switch to my old tablet, which is not nearly as bright. Between that and the light shining on my camera and the inside of my hood (a cardboard box), I couldn't see the text at all.

So I had to very quickly rig up a shade for the box, which I made with an old t-shirt (because no one in the house had any black paper—boxes and boxes of craft materials in this house and no black paper). I couldn't find anything to hide the camera with, but I discovered that if I moved the tablet to the outer edge of the platform, the image would appear above the camera and be very readable.

Not the perfect solution, since I'm looking above the lens and not into it, but it worked out very well. You'll get to see soon, because I'm shooting a couple of Challenge videos against the screen with the teleprompter this coming week.

Sound was another issue, but that was only because my microphone setting was wrong. I have to re-do one gig because of it, but I warned the client that it would be so and they were very understanding. In fact, they are giving me another job before I've even finished the first one, based on the first version with the bad sound.

I don't expect to make a fortune on Fiverr, but it does add a little money to the budget for something I spend time doing anyway, and it gets me at the mic and in front of the camera on a regular basis. And that can only be a good thing.

Maybe I need to offer some writing gigs, too, to keep me at the keyboard.