Creative analysis, Writing

people dancing sketch v2

(That’s a sketch I did on Sunday.)

Yep, I’m taking the plunge and participating in NaNoWriMo this year, even heading off to my local kick-off meeting today. Look, I’m all registered-up in order to track myself for the month.

The novel is called Compromised Systems and is inspired by 1984Synners and V for Vendetta. It’s all planned out, chapter by chapter.

I am maybe a little nervous.

If I do manage to finish a draft of my first ever complete novel, then I’m hoping to get someone else to proof it for me before putting it together for digital self-publication.

I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo this year

Creative analysis, Podcasting, Websites, Writing

microphone header 1

Last week I interviewed the composer for Dredd 3D and LimitlessPaul Leonard-Morgan. But it had been a tough interview to sort out. Beyond wrestling with Paul’s jam packed recording schedule (he’s quite popular at the moment) there were technical issues behind the scenes.

First I found out that the phone setup I was going to use wasn’t going to work. I’d downloadable a call recorder and found out that it wouldn’t work with my non-jail broken phone (nothing in the app’s description had said I had to root the thing). I then tried setting up the H4N with the phone and tested that at home… that gave the worst feedback imaginable and my phone was not putting out the best quality audio once the feedback was sorted.

I was running out of time before I needed to call Paul. And so there was only one more solution. I texted him and asked if we could do the interview over Skype. He said yes, I gave him my Skype handle and he replied to give him a few minutes while he set-up.

An hour of frantic testing and failing at finding solutions was resolved through Skype and one particular software recorder (I didn’t have enough time to set-up with my usual podcast rig involving the H4N and a mixer and an M-Audio box). The software? MP3SkypeRecorder, which I found out last week won’t be working with Skype come December. I’d already used the programme for last week’s Nerds Assemble after the hardware setup failed.

What I’m trying to say is that 1) that interview was hard 2) always have back-up recording options and 3) people need to find alternatives to MP3SkypeRecorder and Pamela asap. (I’m getting myself Total Recorder.)

The interview nightmare

Creative analysis, Design, Websites

emily building a web server-01After a certain point, when I’m trying to get something sorted or maintained that I don’t otherwise have the skills to handle, I’ll start thinking about just doing it myself. It’s happened with Hex Dimension today (which has been down for almost six hours at the time of writing and our hosts are looking into it) – I’m starting to think that I’d like to build my own web server for all of my websites. As it is, Hex was “built” by myself after I failed to secure a web designer who’d stick on board.

I know nothing about building web servers, only the names of various web server applications. I’ve never even built a PC before and I’m contemplating building a web server somewhere. But then I hardly knew anything about messing around with the guts of WordPress and managed to cobble Hex together. But I am aware that this all seems a bit drastic – I’m thinking of building a web server rather than changing hosts, which is what people normally do in these circumstances.

It’s just… I have no guarantees that a new host would be much better. They could be even worst. At least if I sorted out the thing myself then I would only have myself to blame.


Doing things for yourself

Critical analysis and reviews, Films, Videogames

Hatchet Job by Mark Kermode

So, it turns out that I somehow ended up with a copy of Mark Kermode’s Hatchet Job almost a week early. I’ve been reading through it during my downtime and I have to say that so much of what he writes about in terms of the concept of writing reviews of media products – tonnes of it is relevant to not just those who write film reviews, but those who write videogame reviews too.

Clearly with Kermode being a film reviewer the book is written from that perspective, but much of what he says is equally relevant to games journalism as well. From giving the text the proper amount of attention before passing judgement (i.e. watching a film all the way through, playing through an entire videogame (obviously not quite possible with MMOs)) and not using personal attacks against creators in order to justify your opinion of the media piece. On the other hand, there is a slight nostalgic hint in the book for the pre-internet, pre-blogging age, when reviewers were taken a bit more seriously. At the same time Kermode is fair and says that reviews by the masses are fine, so long as they’re made by people who are prepared to publicly stand by their opinions – none of this faceless, anon m’larky stuff that so many engage in.

This book won’t teach you how to write a review, but it will make you think more about the act of writing a review.

And by the way, this isn’t a review, this is a recommendation ;)

I’m off to see Mark talk about his book on Saturday and I’m definitely going to ask for it to be signed. The book is officially out on the 10th (tomorrow).

Write film or videogame reviews? You need to get Hatchet Job by Mark Kermode