Sunday, May 02, 2021

I never wanted to be an artist.

 I have never wanted to be what I was clearly born to be.  An artist.  A creative person.  Someone who goes around innovating and making stuff up that did not exist before.  

I wanted to do that with electronics in the late 70's and then silicon chips in the 80's.  I used to put circuits together from Practical Electronics magazine and small A5 project books you could get from Tandy's.  I loved a bit of soldering and etched circuit boards I had drawn out with ferric chloride.  I built a working digital clock with TTL circuits.  In fact one summer's holiday my childhood friend and I took over the top of his families freezer as a work bench and built the thing on top of it.  They could not get anything out of it for six weeks.

It was recalled in legend how disciplined we both were.  My turning up there every morning for work.  We loved that.  It eventually worked too.  I took the time pulse from dividing the 50hz mains signal by 50 then by 60.  four Led readouts.  A lot of peripheral work was done on the box alone.  Vero, I've never forgotten you.  What a great company.

Sadly I never had the mathematics ability.  But nonetheless I can now admit that I spent years in O and A level exam subjects that I was never destined to be any good at, trying to develop my self.  Whereas ordinary lazy youths would take the easy paths, I always tried to force my intellectual and academic growth.  That's okay up to a point.  It did my head in and I crashed and burned around march 1983.  Within weeks, courtesy of the now legendary actress Cathy Tyson calling my home one Tuesday evening, I had been inducted into a theatre group called Loose Hinge to do 27 venues in 3 months.  Our play was called the same as the group, and we got paid nothing but love and butties.  

That started me off, and the rest should be detailed in one of these blogs at some point.  But this was not the point.  I had wanted to make something of my life that was nothing to do with bouncing around on stages.  I couldn't.  Which explains a lot about my cv.  What I could not understand was why the only thing I could put energy into and gain more out was being creative.  Arts.  Designing, inventing, improvising, doing stuff like that.  

Now I am worrying about how to store small sets for WarZoners season 2, my making YouTube film with old Action Men dolls.  I finally understand why adults make ships in bottles.  The problem solving.  The techniques you have to learn and use.  The painstaking detail work.  It's great.  So many problems to solve.  So much to achieve the finished product.  Here is the first image of what I am up to.

To the trained eye, a number of elements are present.  The magazine they are reading was put together with downloaded images via MS Word which allows enough scope with the capacity to insert text and picture fields you can move around.  Then colour printed.  That technology alone was a luxury when I was torturing myself day and night simply to finish a philosophy degree that many would have casually moped through after a hard terms drinking and smoking.  Then there is the composition of the image with four rows of images.  Magazine at the front, the two action men reading it with a third on the right relatively behind and in shade.  Then the 4th sailor somewhat out of focus and view.  Finally the bulkhead, which will be reused as the ships corridors, and what is meant to be a torpedo.  

If the water - missile had been on it's side I am sure that would make sense.  As it stands, literally, it looks like an ICBM that a nuclear submarine would launch vertically.  Or an air tank.  So win win.  The business of how the picture was lit is not to be underestimated.  Three different light sources were used.  One overhead floor for the back, one spotlight for the two heads at the front and one beneath the magazine.  I had to research film lighting to see the possibilities.  

Lighting will be a thing in series 2.  Certain cliche'd set ups as I love to call them now, will feature characters as much defined by how they appear as what they actually say and do.  Dare I say this is my gateway to using real people in the future?  Ach, I am far too old for such nonsense now.  I mean, what do I have to say about life that a film could capture?  Hmmmm.....

Yes, the boys need cleaning.  You can indeed see 47 years of accumulated fungus on their faces. I was going to incorporate this into a story.  Yes there is indeed a new model of Action Man present.  I went and bought him on Ebay.  A solid toy with good joints.  Chunkier and more indestructible than his predecessors.  That folks is the chief engineer and a character he will be.  So much so that you won't ever understand a word he says.  Except for the subtitles permanently following his every scrambled word.  

WHY AM I DOING THS?  Well, because it's fun and I want to see how far I can develop the art form before either sanity stops me, or I come off furlough and get back to real working.  So far feedback has been good.  If there was say, real money or wider media interest I would have been inspired to work on the project more than I have so far.  Damn you sanity, you ruin everything.  

Project for tomorrow - getting to our local arts and craft shop to check out balsa wood and how I am going to build an internal corridor hatch.  Complete with wheel and chunky hinges.  Then spray the whole thing silver.  Crazy!  So far I have two foam blocks to use, one as the doorframe, and a 2 litre bottle of pop to cut up as the actual curved door itself.  If it only has to be seen open or closed I think I can build a prototype.  An actual working hinge you can see moving may not be necessary.

Having a hatch would mean you had a corner and a second angle to block the end of a set up.  The characters are against a wall or a pane, but if you tip the camera at an angle you will only see off the edge.  Aha - put in a hatch!  Simple as...

Last week I started the song that features in episode one as well.  I have not recorded a tune like this in years and was surprised how easy it was to come up with a simple verse/chorus glam rock tune.  One you had the drums on my sequencer to ride, it was easy to come up with the bare bones of such a cliche'd genre (Its' all on the beat.  The drums lead with lots of HEY!'s going off).  My vocals were done on my Zoom R16's onboard microphones and sounded terrible.  After Sunday's day of rest it's time to use my proper microphone and re do them.  It was noticeable that the song failed due to elements not working.  So the drums are okay, the bass and lead work but the vocals killed it.  I think the drums and the vocals are what make a glam song.  The actual music kind of supporting it all.  Hey!  

I recall the Stranglers were a band where the guitar was actually often the most inconsequential instrument.  The strong drums, the eloquent arpeggios of the keyboards and the deadly rotostrinq power of JJ Burnel's overdriven lead on the bass were signatures of the band.  But of course, that's a generalisation that every Stranglers fan could easily argue with me over, song by song.  

All this observation from a man who just wanted to master basic transistor theory, eh?  

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