I've decided to retire this blog — I don't really see myself updating it any time soon, and haven't for over two years anyway. I intend to leave the content on-line for the forseeable future, but have converted it to a static site. As a result, dynamic things like search and comments aren't really going to work.

You can find me on Twitter or on Google+ if you like. Alternatively, I'm usually on IRC as LawnGnome on Freenode.

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Archive for May, 2007

One Down…

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Gentlemen and, uh, gentlemen, I think we have a final cut.

– Me, three and a half hours ago

After one of the most insane months (eh, no one of about it, on reflection) of my time at university, the visual cut on my film project is signed, sealed and delivered, which means that my role as editor is done. I’ve now handed the project off to our sound man for music and foley work and it should be in bright and early on Monday morning. That is, before the due time. Which, considering I thought we were toast four days ago, is nothing short of miraculous.

Therefore, I go to Albany for a four day weekend with some friends. Back next week, when I will bitch about having to write a full-blown television script and start serious work on my Google Winter of Code project.

Peace out, y’all!

Deciding What to Buy Based on the Hotness of the Threadless Model

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

I need more T-shirts. Of course, by need, I actually mean want, even though I don’t have room for them, but the Threadless sale caught my eye, and now I’m considering dropping a few dollars. Never a good thing, particularly given the search criteria I’m using.

Really, I think the fact I’m considering it despite my poor student status is due to the fact that I feel like I haven’t slept properly for ages. The weather co-operated last night enough to allow for the final scene1 for the film project to be shot, so I now get to spend three crazy days in a cramped editing suite with the director and sound dude in a frantic attempt to get the visuals completed by both the due date and (more importantly) Friday morning, so I can go to Albany for the long weekend before panicking about my final TV scriptwriting assignment.

Sleep deprivation ho, then.2

Anyone have a shovel and some lime?

1 Last night’s version of the make-up is at right (well, hopefully — your mileage may vary if you’re reading this via a feed), and it’s a far better photo than last time. We re-shot the scenes from Friday that I was in, so the different blood patterns are OK. Yes, the blood looks fake in that photo, but that’s due to it still being wet and being directly under a rather bright fluorescent light when the photo was taken.

2 Obviously, I haven’t started my Google Summer of Code project yet, but the schedule I proposed didn’t have me starting until next week anyway. At this stage, I should be able to stick to that, even with the scriptwriting assignment running far, far later than I originally anticipated.3

3 I’ve got to stop putting footnotes in my blog posts. Seriously, it’s sad.

Thank God I’m Not a Method Actor

Saturday, May 26th, 2007


One of the downsides of studying film is that you occasionally get roped into actually appearing on the other side of the lens. This is one of those times. Brilliant make-up work from our art director, Lauren, though — people who knew I was wearing make-up were wincing in sympathy.

And I get to do it all again on Monday. Curse you, weather!

No Leaf Clover

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Man, it’s hard to believe it’s been more than three weeks since my last blog post. May is that month of craziness at uni where everything becomes due seemingly at once, and it’s easy to get freight-trained by the light at the end of the tunnel.

Still, I think the light now is actually daylight, mercifully. I’ve just finished writing my first ever breakdown for a television script (university assignment rather than paid, sadly, but baby steps…) and am a reasonable chunk of the way towards writing the final script for the same episode. Even my film project, which seems to be falling apart around me, doesn’t seem quite so insurmountable now — probably because I know that, one way or another, my part in it will be done in eight days.

Incidentally, writing half hour scripts is hard when you’re used to short films and short stories. This hasn’t been helped by trying a few different screenplay writing tools, although that is an excellent form of procrastination. My short summation of the state of the screenplay is:

  • LyX with the Hollywood style: This is what I’ve used in the past. Has the advantage of being cross-platform and producing nice output, but it’s really restrictive in terms of formatting (no side-by-side dialogue, no easy title page customisation — although that’s got more to do with my weak LaTeX-fu than LyX itself), and it’s just not a great solution for larger projects since there’s no automated scene or character handling.
  • Celtx: Interesting open source project based on the fragments that should have formed XULRunner. (Sorry, different rant.) Not overly open sourcey, it has to be said — the Web site’s not chock-full of information to people interested in developing it. Promising, and does quite a bit besides just screenplays, but with some obvious issues: no side-by-side (hey, I needed it for a recent project, so I’ve started caring about it) and, more importantly, can’t generate production-quality PDFs without calling a closed source Web service.
  • Word + Simply Screenplay: Ah, the closed source part of the discussion. I only include this because it’s what the short film scriptwriting unit at my university uses. It’s unremarkable in every way and is really just another Word template that gets some of the way there. Very flaky, too, due to its heavy use of VBA.
  • Final Draft: I can’t really wrap up the discussion without mentioning FD. Closed source, only runs on Windows and OSX, but it’s an industry standard. And, honestly, it’s not a bad one. Pricey and less pretty than Celtx, but it is very usable, and provides a lot of useful extras.

For now I’m using Celtx, even with its flaws. I want to like it a bit more than I do right now, but it looks like it’s going to be an excellent program in the long run, and a real open source Final Draft competitor. It’s just not quite there yet.

In Orbit

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

This humble little blog has ended up on a couple of Planets lately: specifically Planet SoC, the Google Summer of Code planet which is getting a limited feed of GSoC related posts, and Planet Linux Australia, who are unfortunate lucky enough to be getting a full feed at the moment.

So, uh, hi. I’m Adam. For the benefit of the Planet SoCers, I’m going to be working on a GUI frontend for debugging PHP applications. When I’m not doing that, I spend entirely too much time in film edit suites, writing scripts of both the film and computing variety, taking part in the usual third year computer science group projects, and trying to work my way up the PEAR bugs-fixed ladder. When I’m not doing any of that and I have money, I go to excellent conferences and take part in ill-advised experiments with wireless networking.

Sometime this year I hope to get a full night’s sleep. I’m planning it sometime in December after OSDC. Until then, expect occasional rambling blog posts. Like this one.


Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

How did I spend my Sunday morning?

Lift Off!

Apologies for the murkiness of the photo (there are better ones, I’m sure, but I’m limited to what my father snapped with my camera for now), but that basically sums it up. Off into the wide blue yonder with the benefit of some rather hot air and a balloon. As it turns out, it’s good fun — and surprisingly quiet and gentle when the burners are off. (Balloons also do a rather good job of scaring sheep, as it turns out. Cattle just seem to be curious.)

Well, good fun, apart from having to be in Northam at 5:45 am on a Sunday. The only other downside was that I missed the end of the World Cup final. Still, highly recommended.