Learning Code

Today I learnt basic code.

I am completely useless when it comes to computer science and mathematics, so, believe me when I say anyone who can use a computer can do this. By following these quick and simple twenty lessons you will be guided through the basic concepts of code starting with the straight foward act of drawing a line to the complex act of drawing a snow flake.

While this looks as though it is aimed at young girls (because it is) it is actually incredibly good at teaching people (such as myself) whom have no idea about programming, just how it works. Once I had started I actually didn’t want to stop so, there is an addictive element to it as well. It’s not like I became mad with power and thought “I’M INVINCIBLE”. But it was great to finally overcome my initial attitude towards it.

Now I actually want to do the next level of lessons and who knows where this will stop? certainly not where these skills took people like Elon Musk, but you never know.

Here are some examples of the movement patterns the lessons taught me to create:

CodeCode_3

Code_2Code_5

Code_4Code_6

All in all pretty great way to teach people code in my opinion. This is only the basic lesson, there is actually a whole lot more you can learn from this website. Who knows you could become the next Elon musk.

I’ve included a link to Startalk radio’s interview with Elon Musk for those of you who don’t know who he is. Enjoy.

Fin.

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Filmblueprint by Jeremy Manson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://filmblueprint.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://filmblueprint.wordpress.com.

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Production Meetings on Skype

This blog is a review of my experience using Skype for a production meeting.
Skype
For our course we have to write a digital story. If you are like me and have to juggle commitments such as work, other courses and personal relationships, Skype can be a very valuable tool. Being able to speak to someone from any given internet access point is really valuable when trying to find time to fit things in and it saves you both the money and time it takes to travel to any given meeting place.

Skype is not perfect however and takes a little getting used to.

I don’t know if other people feel this way when they use it but for me I immediately feel shorter (like I’ve been squashed), I unconsciously raise the volume of my voice and I pause awkwardly as if expecting visual cues that never come.

I feel short because I get the sense it is important for me to remain in the frame. I have only felt this way before when I was leaning in the low-set window of a cubby house I had outgrown. I feel that if my head goes outside of the frame I will be cut off from the person or people I am talking too.

My voice goes up in volume because I feel that, I not only have to strain to hear but have to speak louder as well so that the receiver can hear me.

I think the reason I pause for visual cues is a combination of looking at myself while I speak (becoming self conscious) and not being able to maintain eye contact with the person I am speaking to. This is because when looking at the video of the person you are not looking directly at them. This messes with the brains ability to smoothly communicate through body language creating awkwardness in the way the conversation flows.

All of these things are amplified when you add another person into the conversation.

At times the gaps in the conversation that occur can be quite uncomfortable but I find I become more comfortable speaking when I am occupied visually by something else. In fact I find I’m most comfortable when I’m just talking like I’m on the phone and browsing at the same time. I still speak at a louder volume than usual (drives my housemates crazy) but I feel less confined by the visual aspect of the medium when I am looking at something else.

So why don’t I just talk on the phone, right? Well besides the obvious saving of money, I can still get work done and talk at the same time, which for some reason just doesn’t work when talking on the phone.

On the phone you can’t further enrich the conversation by dropping in examples of what you are talking about or share ideas visually and I guess this is what Skype is all about.

In summary Skype is not the most comfortable way to communicate but it allows you to talk face to face without the cost of a video call from your mobile phone, and enables you to enrich the conversation by linking in visual references.

Our meeting was for 15 minutes.
The goals of the meeting were:

To establish what roles each group member would take on.

To decide what our specific story was about.

To make a time for our next meeting.

All goals were achieved within the allotted time.

Would I have a meeting with this group again on Skype? Yes. I found that we achieved what we set out to do and in a very short time too. I especially like that we could share examples and view examples while still talking.

Fin

Creative Commons License
Filmblueprint by Jeremy Manson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://filmblueprint.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://filmblueprint.wordpress.com.

Blue print 1:  STARTING A SCRIPT.

Writing a script can both be one of the hardest things to start and one of the hardest things to finish. I have always found that through teaching others what I have learnt, I in turn clarify what I know and learn a great deal in the process. This blog is intended to give you a few tips on script writing that I have learnt through my study and to start us (myself included) on the path to writing a script that will translate well onto the screen.

This blog is not a be all and end of of what makes a good script. This blog is just offering a diagnostic tool that can help you in the writing process.

The one sentence synopsis.

Writing one sentence to define what your movie is about is actually harder than it sounds. Defining your concept and who the story is about is intended to do a few things and do them very well. It should clarify the deeper meaning you are expressing with your story. It should clarify who the audience is going to follow on this journey. It should identify if you are trying to say too much at once with your story. Most of all it helps to break down your script into the key beats of the story. A movie can have many different structures, different structures will change the way this sentence can be used but for now just think about simplifying what you are trying to say by writing the sentence about the protagonist of your story.

Who is doing what to whom and why?

The one sentence synopsis has to answer this question in order to communicate what you’re film is about. The following is a breakdown of this sentence to give you a few ideas about it’s function.

The “Who”
The “who” is all about your character and as a writer they will often be a reflection of you as a person or a part of your personality. Stories seem to hold truth if you really do put yourself into the main character. Not an idea of your self but a true representation of how you honestly react in situations. Self exploration is a very big part of writing truthful stories. Ask your self: What am I truly capable of? Often searching the darker side of one’s self helps to define things that you may have overcome or things that you are capable of. These things often make interesting insights. A lot of writers will research a subject or person very deeply until they understand it/them enough to write about. For one reason or another they don’t want to write about themselves. The “who” is the protagonist in the story and should always take actions that move the story forward, toward an end. The “who” depicted in the linked image is a stationary detective. He is the observer who can’t do anything to stop the horrors he witnesses. His stories are left untold. 

The “What”
Let’s move on to the “what” It is important that the protagonist is doing something and doing it for a reason. The “what” is the action(s) the protagonist takes in order to overcome the “whom” in order to get what he/she wants. Deciding what your “who” wants is a very important step in deciding the “what” they are going to do to get it. The what in this story much like the character in Alfred Hitchcock‘s, Rear Window (1954). He watches and functions as a window for the audience to peer through. Other student’s work.

The “Whom”
The “whom” is the opposing force to the “who”. It is the force that is working against the “who” reaching his/her goals. This can often be where the writer focuses on their weaknesses and personifies them into a character. This is perhaps the funnest part of writing because it is like playing a game of chess against yourself. You have to wear a different hat and think “how can I make life more difficult for my “who”. Stories are not interesting without conflict, create conflict whenever you can. The whom depicted in the link is the dark characters that generate fear through their actions. The stationary detective is powerless to intervene.

The “Why”
The best place to start before you do anything is to define a truth or rather the “why” of your story. Your truth could be something that means a lot to you or a message you want to share with your audience. Hard truths are harder to tell because your audience don’t really want to have there expectations let down with negativity or have their optimism crushed. You can do this, it is called “the theatre of cruelty” but it is often better to torture your audience by making you main character suffer and make your film about something that offers them hope.
The why can be posed on many levels, Why is it important to tell this story? Why does your character do what they do? What is your character’s motivation? etc. In the four image story the reason for the protagonist to observe is to make the story exist. If nobody sees it did it really happen? The reason the story has to be told is to illustrate that there are many untold stories out there, so, don’t be a stationary protagonist, start writing!

Exercise:

Something that can be used make this whole process easier is brain storming. You take the truth and you write down 100 words that you associate with this truth. You start with the obvious ones and keep going until you’re moving further and further away. People can only remember about seven things in a list off the top of their head. For example when I ask you to name the seven dwarves without googling them you will only be able to say about six really quickly. If I ask you to name a soft drink, you will most likely say the brand leader and if you were to go down a list you would most likely only get to seven. The two important points here are that people generally have the things they see the most at the top of their mind and people have a limited amount of total recall at any one time. Top of mind awareness can make people immediately reject a truth that is presented to them in an obvious way because they know it already. It is not new or interesting to them. Brain storming helps you find ideas that push past top of mind awareness by going outside of the common associations into ones that are that are “unexpected”. To help come up with a way of presenting a truth in an unexpected way write a list of 100 to 200 words that you associate with this truth. Start putting words from this list into coherent ideas that inspire you to write about your truth. The more people you involve in this process the larger your pool will be. #cmwp Once you have completed this brain storming exercise try to structure a one sentence synopsis defining who is doing what to whom and why. This one sentence can be used far beyond initial concept. It fact I believe the “who is doing what to whom and why” is bests used for deciding what happens in each specific scene. I hope this has been helpful and please comment if you agree, disagree or would like to discuss.

Fin.

Creative Commons License
Filmblueprint by Jeremy Manson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://filmblueprint.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://filmblueprint.wordpress.com.