Friday, May 21, 2010

The Sims Community Examiner

Hello, all!

Just a quick one:

I have just accepted the position of The Sims Community Examiner, and need your support to get word out, because I get paid for this! Plus, the exposure is great.

The Sims Community Examiner

Please subscribe! It's free and painless!

I'll be writing as often as I can, now that my first article has been published. I'm aiming for 3-5 articles a week, and will cover all kinds of Sims-related topics, and will talk to some EA contacts to get some good stuff for ya. I'll also be talking about Sims machinima, and interviewing some well-known simmers in the community.

**I would like to thank the two commenters on my last post, who gave me more information than I ever would hopefully need on being "impotent". But, if you suffer from the condition, don't despair! There are medications for it. Good luck to ya!**

Monday, May 10, 2010

Creative Impotence: Life is Like a Bowl of Mashed Potatoes

I am feeling completely and utterly...blank. The urge to use many, many, many points of ellipses is huge just to get a post to have a certain number of characters, to make it a post "worthy" of publishing. that works... it working?

How about if I added one more "many" to that one sentence up there? You know...that sentence...?

I'm fooling nobody. I get it. I can't stick a bunch of nothing here and have it mean something. This is the same problem I'm having with machinima, right now.

I had two ideas for a couple of videos, very recently. With video #1, I had gone through the process of building sets, downloaded a GB of custom content, created specific characters, only to realize when it came time to put the plans into action, I was left staring at my screen. Normally, momentum pulls me through at this point; there is a disconnect between my conscious brain and my imagination, and I will not sleep or eat until I finish the video, completely unaware of time. I always pictured myself as Richard Dreyfuss' character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (except with better hair), when making a video. You know that scene at dinner when he's sculpting a mountain out of his mashed potatoes and he just keeps going, piling more on, and his family is staring at him with no clue what he's doing? He doesn't even know what he's doing, but he knows there is significance to what he is doing. "This means something; it's something important!" (Yeah, okay, my age is showing. I'll try to be much younger in a future post.)

So, after realizing I had a pile of mashed potatoes on my screen - nothing more - I scrapped the first video. The inspiration struck for a second video after hearing a 10+ year old song on the radio that suddenly had some relevance to my life. Again, I built sets, and actually did film around 40 clips, then scrapped those in frustration. I started again, slight wardrobe changes, filmed quite a bit, even tried storyboarding a bit (something I have never done! It completely goes against the "mashed potatoes" method!) and those went in the trash as well. With this particular video, I had a concept in mind right away. I made the mistake of watching the actual video, discovered it had a very similar concept, and I loved it. Unfortunately, even if I wanted to do a complete recreation of the real video, I am not sure how I would pull it off, using the Sims. I'm trying to get my own ideas back, and the official video out of my head. Impossible! Shelved. All I see are mashed potatoes all over the place, it's getting messy, and it's frustrating as hell.

I think it may go a bit deeper than simple "creator's block" with these particular videos. At the time video #1 was in the planning stages, I was at a certain point, after a very huge, very distressing, turning point in my life. I will call this "certain point" DENIAL. Video #2 could too easily be interpreted as RELUCTANT ACCEPTANCE, and I want to avoid putting my personal life out there on YouTube and Vimeo. Not possible, considering the subject matter of the song, I later realized. As I went on with the video (or tried to, anyway), I started wondering "how can I possibly be taking steps to move forward with my life, while simultaneously doing this video which is clearly focusing on a very painful - a mind-blowingly excrutiatingly painful - moment, no matter how hard I try to deny it?" It didn't feel healthy. I'd missed the window of opportunity, and doing this video now would feel like taking a step backwards. It also would feel like I was showing disrespect for the many beautiful things about the time leading up to the end, and those memories are what deserve to be preserved. Not the pain. Any "therapeutic" video I have ever done, with the exception of very few, were done "in the moment" in less than 24 hours - BANG - it's out there. It's over. It's part of the process of picking myself up, dusting myself off, and moving on. I've dusted myself off, am trying to regain my footing, and am in the mindset of "Give me a sense of simple satisfaction over tears, any day". PLEASE. Let me just get through this thing called Life, same as I was doing before, and let my imagination run, undeterred by "logic". Stupid logic! Logic - overthinking - kills creativity, places too many boundaries, rules, restrictions. This is why children can sit at a table with crayons for hours, color the sky blue, the sun yellow and give little thought to whether people really should be as tall as the house, or if the sky really is a thin strip of blue hanging overhead. Of course emotions, a product of the other side of the brain, drive creativity, and that, too, is adversely affected by logic, when you are trying to create a "therapeutic" piece. "I shouldn't do this video because this might be perceived as that, and I don't want that. I want people to see what I see!" Well, yeah, but isn't art largely about interpretation, and the viewer's perspective, too? Don't they have the right to their own perceptions, just as I take that right when using someone else's song and turning it into something I, personally, can relate to? CAN SOMEBODY TURN MY BRAIN OFF BECAUSE IT IS MAKING NO SENSE AND IT WON'T SHUT UP!!!

Yes, I've had some pretty big things happen in my personal life this year. Much has been lost: love, life, weight (though the loss of weight is more a pleasant side-effect of a very unpleasant circumstance; nonetheless, I'm gonna keep going with it!). So far, 2010 has proved it is not going to be an easy year. It's got 7 months to redeem itself, and it had better hurry up! I'm about to turn 40, too (NOT HELPING) so 2010 has its work cut out for it. Perhaps all this "real life" stuff is getting in the way of what is normally a very enjoyable hobby in the best of times, and an emotional outlet in the worst of times. I can't seem to turn off the part of my thought process that causes me to question everything and everyone, wondering why many other people my age sometimes seem so old, while I am still a kid, wondering how I got to the age I am now, considering I was much older 10 years ago. Ya follow? Questions, questions, questions...all the time QUESTIONS, and very few answers. And this nagging sense that whatever the hell it is I'm supposed to be doing, I'd better hurry up and do it, because I'm not getting any younger. "OMG who said that?!"

So, to answer the people who are wondering when a new video will be out...there is no answer, at this time. All I can offer you is a bunch of mashed potatoes that have been clogging up my harddrive, a sheepish grin, and hope I will find the mountain where the space ship will appear, the aliens and I will communicate via a giant synthesizer, and my life will become normal, again. The rest is gravy.

"This means something; it's something important!"