Film, Books, and Some Thoughts

My wonderful actors, my sound man and I spent a few hours this last Monday shooting some pickup shots. They are meant to correct some errors in footage as well as provide improved continuity, and I think the shots are working very well. There’s still a lot of work to do, though. After I finish my initial edits, I will send the project to my color-correction software, where I will fix the color of each shot so they blend with each other well. After that, I will apply a ‘look’ to each scene, paying particular attention to the scenes shot in the Meadow, as they must have an Otherworldly feeling to them.

After color work is more-or-less done, I send the project back to my editing software and apply my special effects. Sometimes I think I bit off more than I should have, but I still believe this will result in a decent film. And Angela Cooper, half-gypsy shaman and brilliant psychiatrist, would probably agree!

Then on to the sound: first, apply filters to the sound so it doesn’t seem boxy or fake, as well as fix a few sequences where there’s too much background noise. Then I will edit for consistent volume.

Next, music: I will score the short film (it’s looking to be about 12 minutes all told). I’ve already begun work on “Angela’s Theme”, which I think has the feel that I want in it. After that’s composed, played, mixed and mastered, I will create the titles and credits, including my “Dancing Goat Studios” logo and title, which I hope you’ll enjoy 🙂

Then, if it seems good enough, I will limit my screenings to private showings for the moment while I submit to various festivals. If it’s turned down, after six months or so I will put it up on YouTube. If it’s accepted by a festival, it goes on YouTube after that festival has shown my film.

Like I said, it’s a lot of work. But I’m enjoying it!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’m working on “The Diamond Angel.” I ran into some complications with the plot, but once those are resolved I plan on building my first draft over the next several months. It’s entirely possible that I’ll have something resembling such a draft by April or so. Then it’s on to revision after revision! Alpha readers! Beta readings for the writing group! Once it’s in good enough shape, it’s off to the editors. While all this is going on, I am commissioning a book cover from a fine artist I know. It ought to be gorgeous if her other work is any indication.

Which leads me to some thoughts: the original reason I embarked on this filmmaking project was to promote my novels. I wanted something that would draw readers in, and I wanted something more than a simple book trailer. I had no idea I would enjoy the art of filmmaking so much. Consequently, I am finding that the writing has slowed down quite a bit, which is troublesome to me as I enjoy it as well. So I’m pledging to myself, with all of you as my witness, that I will get back into the swing of writing immediately so that I may meet the goals of the schedule I’ve outlined above.


Update on Straja, and some tiny fiction

The short film, “Straja,” is in post-production. This means that I’m busy piecing together all the shots and determining what needs to be fixed. I did find some shots that I wanted to re-do, but as someone once said, once the cast members have left the set it’s much harder to get them back together for that project.

So I’m working around the issues I found. I believe I can get two of the actors together for a few shots and some ADR (Automated dialogue replacement, to replace poorly-recorded dialog), but the third actor is unable to help for various reasons.

If I’m fortunate, I will be able to release the film early next year. I’m going to see about putting up some production stills in the meantime, so keep an eye on this site!

In related news, the third novel, tentatively entitled “The Diamond Angel,” is underway. I hope to publish this, the (probably) final installment in the story of Angela Cooper, late next year (2016).

Meanwhile, for your edification and amusement, here is some ultra-short flash fiction:

For sale: Last remaining human, cheap.



The next short film, “Straja”, is slated to begin shooting in August. The script has gone through several revisions and several rehearsals, and we have a full cast! I may seek some assistance from experienced crew, mostly to do things like hold reflectors or the mic boom.

This film is a prequel to the novels, and depicts an Angela who has not yet experienced real tragedy in the Otherworld. Though confident, she lacks the measured tone of her more mature self as seen in “The Soul Thief” and “The God of Battles,” and she has not yet seen some of the more bizarre or horrific things that can be found in the Forest of Souls.

This short film, depicting the Otherworld as it does, will make use of several special effects. No CGI! I don’t have that kind of budget. But it should be interesting, nonetheless, and in particular I am going to put some serious energy into the transition into the meadow of her patient.

As this film will deal with mental health issues (as do all the stories), I am particularly sensitive to the problems encountered by those of us who are not neuro-typical. Fortunately, I have an adviser who is atypical and who has gained the capacity to handle it. My adviser will help me steer clear of the more obvious pitfalls; my own experience with atypicals will further be of help. However, there may still be a mis-step here and there, hopefully not too egregious.

In the meantime, I am in post-production for “Falling Rock” and will be screening some very rough cuts for my cast and crew soon. I am still gunning for a September release! I am also considering creating a poster for the film as well as a thumbnail still that would show up when you see the film online. Please note, however, that if it seems like it would be good enough for a festival (it’s my first, so that’s probably unlikely), I will not release it publicly until I’ve submitted it to several festivals and either been accepted (and subsequently shown it) or been rejected. Film festivals want “first release” films that haven’t been seen in public yet…

Ta for now!

What’s in a name?

I was making notes regarding the third book in my “Gypsy Dreamwalker” trilogy, and in the process of abbreviating the title realized that I could no longer take it seriously. “Lady of Light” reduces to “LoL.” That’s rather inauspicious for a dramatic novel.

I am therefore changing the name of the book to “The Diamond Angel.” I like that better, anyway, and it places the focus squarely on a certain personage to whom my Gentle Readers are introduced in the second book, “The God of Battles.” Now, “Diamond Angel” reduces to “D.A.”, but since a District Attorney is arguably at least as serious as any other supernatural being, I think I’ll stick with that. At least until something better comes along, anyway.

Meanwhile, work progresses. “The Explorer” is starting to look less like an independent story, however, and more like one thread in the woven fabric that is the third novel. It could be quite a bit longer than the second book! I don’t wish to lay out an enormous tome without careful thought, though. Let’s see how this shapes up. The first two novels were more definite in form, but the third one has proven more, ah, Mercurial. This is to be expected, however, since there are numerous threads, storylines, what-have-you, all of which beg to be explored and brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

Mr. Miscellaneous

I’ve always been a bit frenetic in my interests. I used to regret this lack of focus and would struggle to keep from becoming distracted by the next glittering thing, but inevitably my struggle would end in failure. Now I have come to accept this as a facet of how my creative mind works. It’s all part of the lesson to trust my muse: if I follow her, my inner muse, she rewards me with greater inspiration and joy. She merely expects that I respect her and the work that she inspires me to produce.

The latter therefore implies that, though I’m easily distracted, I must follow through when possible. This has proven to be easier in some ways than I expected, in that if I abandon a project for a time, I will return to it if I simply relax and avoid becoming too emotionally attached to it.

So now I’m working on several projects:

  • “The God of Battles” is at the line editor now; I’m an ecstatic worry-wart
  • My novella has taken a gorgeous turn into darkness; I’m chronicling the disintegration of my character’s mind and, for perhaps many reasons, I am enjoying this
  • the book trailer for “The Soul Thief” is moving right along. In fact, I’m about to go record some voice-overs and creepy sound effects
  • the rules for the game of “Theurgy” are once more getting some TLC
  • my studies in filmmaking are filling me with yet another burst of excitement, particularly regarding the notion of no-budget DSLR-centric moviemaking

I expect the novel, novella and book trailer projects to come to fruition this year. The game rules are somewhat likely to be completed, and if I keep my interest in filmmaking I will start producing shorts for distribution via YouTube here and on Facebook. Let’s see if my muse approves!