Still writing…

Well can’t get into There.come again today. I did finish the script for the second episode of my new series I plan to shoot in there. Overall I think it turned out OK for a first draft. It has more humor than the first episode I wrote, but most of it is situational humor, and not actual jokes, which it really needs more of. Once I get these all sort of pounded out I hope to go back in and go over them a second time with an eye about making them more amusing. Right now I am concerned mostly with A) advancing the plot of the series B) making sure I can film the darn thing and that I don’t go too far overboard with making too many props, sets and costumes and C) Writing stories that have small casts in easy to divide up sequences.

Episode two ran about 31 pages in this first draft format, and I write with double spaces between characters talking, but I write the full width of the page. I am betting this works out to be about a 40-45 minute episode when finished. It was a lot of fun to write the final line of dialogune in the script today:

Corko: Yes giant rogue space moths.. dozens of them came through a space porthole someone had left open, or something, and ate.. holes.. in the uniforms. I had to fight them off. I really had no idea that doing the laundry could be so dangerous!

The characters in this series go way back, as in ‘Sherman, set the Way Back machine.’ Back when I was in 7th grade I started making movies with these very same characters. Of course back then it was on 8mm film and when we started some of them were silent. I kept using the same characters all through Jr. High and then high school, but when I went away to college, for some reason, I started working on other productions.

In 2009 I decided in the fall of that year to shoot an original series using the characters over the summer of 2010. Well closed down so that went on hold. Still the characters are easy to work with and I have about 6 years of previous material I can draw upon. The characters were mostly created my by friends Daniel and Tom, and to a lesser extent others like ‘Fish’, Bob, and Dean. I leave off their last names, as I am not sure they would want to be associated with this sort of thing after some thirty years. Thirty years ago we barely had the technology to edit two bits of film together. If only I had had technology like to make movies in back when I was younger. Ah the things I would have created!

I think my biggest challenge is that this show has five main characters. I know I said I would never do that again, but having that many characters seems to work better from a story standpoint. If I only had three characters it would be rather dull story wise.

Casting for this will be tricky as I need reliable people that can and will show up on a regular basis. That has been consistently my hardest issue to deal with in so in point B above I have tried to divide the scripts up into scenes where only 2 or maybe three of the main characters are involved, however in each episode there are several scenes with the entire cast.

I am hoping to shoot the series in stages. Perhaps doing 3 or 4 of the episodes at a time. I don’t think I can pull off the entire series at once. I guess I could divide the series into two seasons. British seasons can run form 4-6 shows and people think nothing of that. I am hoping to keep them running from 40-50 minutes in length, but I don’t have to make allowances for commercials or anything so they can just work out to however long they are.

It’s great to see come back to life and almost as much fun as seeing my childhood characters from The Gorgon Chronicles return to the screen. Not sure if I should called it something else though.

Next up is episode three, a completely ship bound adventure that adds a lot of character background through flashback like interview snippets. This is basically the only character background episode in the series, and probably will need the most re-writing of the bunch.

Episode 3: The Inspector
Due to the publicity over the previous battle, a special inspector is dispatched to investigate the crew. This episode adds background to the characters through interviews. At the end Witzen ends up loosing his cramped quarters for a small broom closet like room next to the bathroom.

The treatment for this episode is one of the longer ones I wrote. It basically has the entire ending situation written out already. The treatment is a bit more than two pages. I just have to add in some more dialogue to make that part work. The series outline runs about 12 pages of single spaced gunk.

In the end this series is the exact sort of thing I would like to watch, and that’s the best reason for making it at all!

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Writing about… well writing and waiting.

Off and on I have been busy writing for this original series of videos I plan on making once opens up. I started writing the pilot right as my father was dying in late July. It was an odd time to write things, however I needed to keep busy, and writing seemed as good as anything else to do.
The first episode I wanted to do something different, so the story is mostly told form the port of voice of one character and a camera that floats around following a typical day in his life. This made the writing a bit more contrived than I would have liked to have made it. I had to write around how I would be filming this, I did not want to get so over my head that I would just give up when it came time to actually shoot it. I need to go back and do another draft of the script to add in more actual jokes.
This past week I continued writing on the second show in the series. I am about 2/3 done with that script now. This episode is a traditional sort of script that I might write. The camera angles are pretty conventional, and I have had a great deal of fun thinking how this particular episode will look on the screen. The show practically writes itself, thanks to the detailed mega scene-by-scene outline I wrote back in mid July.
I really have no excuse. I should have all eight scripts done long ago, but they seem to be coming slowly. Maybe this week I will find more tine to write. Then again I just blew twenty minutes or so writing this.
The basic plot for episode 2 is like:
The Uniform Field Theory – Corko comes up with a new scheme to provide uniforms to a film crew for use in a movie and the crew suddenly is forced to go into battle in their underwear. This confuses the heck out of the enemy!
And here is a rather poorly written first draft of the opening scene:
Tracking shot down a corridor of the ship ending up at ships stores where Corko and PI2 are having a heated discussion about uniforms.

PI2: I still do not understand.

Corko: What’s to understand?

PI2: The whole plan seems a bit confusing.

Corko: Well let me go over it again in simple terms that even a robot like you can understand.

PI2: Hey!

Corko: You see, even after 40 years of war, people never get tired of entertainment. Diversions are all the rage among the masses. And more recently, even though battles rage on, movies about the war have again become popular.

PI2: I understand the first bit. Its the part about making money I do not Grok.

Corko: Well, in order to shoot a movie about a way you have to have good looking costumes. And with rationing the way it is most film budgets just can’t afford realistic looking uniforms. And that’s where we come in.

PI2: and this is where I get confused.

Corko: It’s simple PI2, it’s simplicity itself. The film crew will use our uniforms in place of wardrobe.

PI2: But we are short of uniforms ourselves. Where will we get enough to outfit a battalion of actors.

Corko: Laundry night is Tuesday, so we wait till the others have gone to bed. The we collect the laundry .

PI2: But that’s only 24 uniforms.

Corko: Right, but then we sneak in and silently ‘borrow’ the ones they would be wearing tomorrow .

PI2: Ok so the commander always keeps a spare uniform in his locker for those ‘brown trouser moments you fleshies often seem to have, so that works out to.. Uh

Corko: 29 uniforms you non functional walking calculator! Which is just the number of the cast playing good guy soldiers for this epic new movie “Battle Beyond the Beyond!”

PI2 looks at a poster for the movie on the wall

PI2: “Battle beyond the budget” is more like it… I still don’t understand.

Corko: What?

PI2: How do we get the uniforms off the ship, and to where we they are filming this movie, and then back again before people wake up. I mean were are light years away from any system.

Corko: That’s the beauty of the thing. We don’t have to!

PI2: That does not compute!

Corko: We don’t have to go to the movie… The movie will come to us.

PI2 looks confused

Corko: Just before lights out, you will disable the ship’s sensors, just long enough for a shuttle to dock in the forward landing bay. The crew sets up, we collect the uniforms and deliver them to the forward hold, which I set up earlier as a sort of base of operations for the film crew.

PI2: So that’s what all those “Do not open! Vacuum open to space” signs were all about. Say, won’t Smitty notice those too?

Corko: I paid him a bit to look the other way.

PI2: So you deliver these uniforms.

Corko: and the weapons too.

PI2: and they film the movie in the forward part of the spaceship? I hope you charged them for that too!

Corko: Of course I getting something for that too, but they are only shooting the part where the spaceship gets boarded by the Valarians. They are on a very tight schedule and should be done in less than five hours. Then they return all but 4 of the uniforms and take off before anyone wakes up.

PI2: What do they need those 4 uniforms for?

Corko: Well there is more to the movie than just the one battle. After they leave here they go back to their studio and film all the other scenes.
PI2: Your fleshy mind is so devious… so interesting… So when does this plan go into effect?

Camera dissolves to a backwards tracking shot of the hallway during the last line.

As I wait for to open back up I have mixed feelings about that there will not be a set opening day. While I think this is a good way to deal with the land rush issues, I also am sad that I probably won’t be around to shoot any footage, until hours after the homecoming itself. I did so want to be there when people started arriving in droves. Still it will be a very exciting time!
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The abuse of the few or the one…

This post is a response to a issue raised in Mr. Wilson’s blog  entry

If you have not seen this PAZ it is out in Duda Bay (or was.. I am not sure if its there or not anymore)  Here is a vide of it though:


I have given this a lot of thought. I have been thinking about this since this was first posted on the blog, and I have come to the realization that it is backwards. I am starting to feel a lot like Ben the overliteral dermestid beetle, but here goes anyhow. Look at the typewriter. The original keyboard layout made it possible for people to type very fast. This lead to the mechanism jamming. Instead of fixing the mechanism, lets just re-deign the key layout to slow down the typists and make their work harder for them!

There has a history of this as well. If something is wrong, it must be the membership’s fault. That does sound sort of harsh, but from my point of view it is both true and wrong. And some of the following is a bit ranty… Ok maybe a lot.

< RANT >

Signs: People like Jopy and his followers put them everywhere. The wall of advertising around Karuna, sealing off of Zephyr, etc. Problem partially caused by large amounts of signs given away as levelup prizes, and low prices of signs in early beta.

Solution: this one was two pronged. I think I recall this correctly that signs were removed from shop (punish the membership for the behaviour of a few) Then later the amount of time they were able to stay in world was curtailed (punish the small amount of members who still had these signs, or who had paid lots of money for a remaining sign in auctions). This also caused further problems as it was somehow tied to skill levels. Occasionally this meant that you could not drop a sign in your own neighborhood as your skill limit was not seen as being high enough for some reason. Though later PAZ dropable signs were invented, and a remove foreign object command was implemented. However the time limit was never removed, nor was the bug associated with dropping them ever fixed. So the punishment of the membership continued/s

Quest Kits: People kept dropping them in piles, and used them to block entrances. This was annoying. This was caused by.. giving tons of them away as levelup prizes. There is a small problem with not being able to finish some quests on the same day you start them called the Out of Order bug.

Solution: Remove them from shop ‘temporarily’ while they were fixed.. back in 2004 (punish the membership of There for the actions of a few) Later an invisible quest kit was sold, but quite a few members refuse to do invisible quest kits. Members created many patch files to get around this punishment. If the membership is doing flips and twists to get around a need that they have… you are doing it wrong. Four plus years of begging and pleading for a useful community tool to be re-added to shop (not fixed, just re-added and sold, making the company money) and nothing. Yet one person sets ouf a few pickles and the way the world works is changed almost overnight. I just need to think of a better ‘squeaky wheel’ here. I probably should also mention raffle tickets.. but the hour is getting late and I am spending far too much time writing this thing.

< / RANT >

 Now we come to the drop trick issue… so right now there is what, one member abusing the system? How many people really own that many giant pickles? I should point out that I have only used this trick a few times while decorating Lagoalnd. Mostly to try and get around the 50 drop limit in my hood as I wanted to have more trees spread about. I would admit that this trick is outside the realm of what There wants you to do. But for each tree I added inside my hood I used a drop inside one of my lots to acomplish it, so they are paid for. However when I started in There, there was no fee to drop anything anyplace. There were no PAZ’s or neighborhoods. You paid the price for an item and you could decorate with it just about anywhere. So about five months later There decides to revise the way items work via the PAZ. So now the membership was being punished by paying again for the items already bought in auctions. Now a member had to pay to keep that item in world too. So $ x2 for and the payments keep coming.

The membership grumbled and accepted this. It was the end of beta after all. So while I can see that having a pickle sitting like 500km away from the PAZ is a bit outrageous and could possible be used to abuse someone else… what difference does it really make? Financially is this person not paying to keep that item out? I suppose I could complain that my 200×200 PAZ is too pricey to keep out when I could use a 50×50 and get the same effect, but I would lack the environment and other features that I get in that large PAZ.

The next big point would be… why is Mr. Wilson contemplating punishing the majority of the members for what the few.. or the one is doing? Yes it is a trick/exploit, however the member, from what I can tell is paying to do this exploit. Time is still ticking down inside that PAZ. Refills will have to be paid on all those pickles to keep them in place. Right now with no hoods, trying to put out 40 meter road sections to make a city backdrop for my movies might be very tricky indeed without the ability to use this trick. Yes, I can see with no support this could be a big issue. I guess the issue should be weighed in terms of… the membership:

Will the membership be OK with the removal / nerfing of this trick/exploit? Will that cause the company to loose money? Will it make the company more money? I cant see it loosing them too much money unless people are really abusing others with it. I don’t know the track record with this.

Will the membership be so irritated that they use fewer PAZ’s? As in I can’t connect my two PAZ’s so maybe I will just have the one out? Will that cause the company to loose money? Will it make the company more money?

Will the membership be irritated enough to choose to not have their PAZ out? How many people use this trick anyhow? Will that cause the company to loose money? Will it make the company more money?

Will punishing the membership help the company make more money? Or will it loose the company money? Would punishing ‘the one’ hurt the rest of the membership? Would this gain the company money? Would it cause the company to loose money? ‘hmmm maybe it would cost the company money. I mean that one would not be setting out multiple PAZ’s all over the place.

I started to think back and I realized what this all reminded me of:

From my point of view I used to be able to ride my bike anywhere (an analogy for decorating wherever) and now I have been confined to this small box. Once in a while I might like to stick something outside the box.. like to create a drop zone outside my paz in space so people can take out their vehicles and the like.

Perhaps the problem could be solved without ‘nerfing’ the system, like the typewriter was. It looks like this may be happening. I would suggest that a limit of 40-60 meters would be useful as an outside limit, but I am not sure what people need for their space hoods. Would a larger distance be required? It sure would be hard to place trees out in a hood like Lagoalnd what that sort of restriction, most of mine came off a mostly empty lot near the center of town.

Also, if I have a problem with a restriction placed on me and the membership by the company, why should I take my complaint to a person who did not impose that restriction on me?

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Waiting for There

After There closed in 2010 I found myself retreating into the past.  The past is safe and the outcome is predictable.   This is the formula Hannah-Barberra found so effective when they made TV series that were only 13 half hour episodes long.  Children like what is familiar to them and given the choice between watching a re-run and a new episode many will choose the one they have seen before. It holds no surprises. The ending will work out the sam way it always has.   It will always be Old Man Harrod or The Creepy Janitor wearing a mask.

For me, I did not start watching Scooby Doo episodes again. However I did watch a lot of old movies. No matter how many times you watch it King Kong always dies at the end.  My favorites are the old Geo Pal movies. I watched them on that portable DVD player I won several years back in the There Film Festival as a prize. Those soon gave way to TV series.  You can only watch Destination Moon so many times before needing to give it a rest.

Which brings me to what I was watching this weekend. Being that Halloween is tomorrow I  watched the safest and most atmospheric TV show ever made (aside from maybe Dark Shadows (which if you ever watch it has the brightest lighting of any creepy show ever))  which was…

                              Sapphire and Steel!

Now if you have never seen it this show is all about atmosphere.  Thats it.  They don’t offer many if any explanations of what is going on, or why the characters are there, but they do offer up atmosphere.  So thick you could cut it with a knife, but use a fork so you get every last morsel of creepy goodness.   Did I just write that down?  never mind it sounded better when I was thinking about it in my head.

Ok so there is a lot and there are characters which are regulars on the show.  So I guess it is not completely about atmosphere.

Plot: there is something wrong in time. Often something out of place, or some malevolent  force trying to get through a corridor in time. 

Characters: These are elements.. Ok some of them are elements. other are precious stones.. and wait.. the main character is neither.  Steel is more of an alloy than an element.  I think the person who created the show just was not a science major and di not know the difference between elements, minerals, and alloys.   Ok but I digress. The main character is probably Steel. He is played by David McCallum (of Man from Uncle fame and now on CSIS) and a close second is Sapphire, played by Joanna Lumley (just after she was a New Avenger, but before she was Absolutely Fabulous). I think Sapphire gets top billing just because it sounds more interesting that way… or maybe because it is an alphabetical sort of thing.  Steel was hard and uncaring. He wanted the job finished and often he did not seem to care at what price or cost. Sapphire showed a lot more warmth and compassion towards the humans they encountered.

Anyhow, neither of the main characters is an element, however most of the other ‘interdimensional agents’ are elements like Lead, and Silver.  The stories and situations they are put in often raise more questions than they answer and always there is that creepy atmosphere. Did I mention the atmosphere before? 

Like a lot of British shows of the day these were done as weekly serials. From 1979 – 1982 these ‘agents’ investigated creepy nursery rhymes and the like.

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A few more testing things!

Portafuns were an experiment in mobile funzones which were released sometime after Black Friday.  I was rather concerned they would be more broken in this version of There than the old one, however they appear to work exactly the same as they did before.   So if you have one of these items, you can relax and know that it will work.

Portafuns came in three flavors names cryptically A, B, and C.  I forget which is which now.

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8 Years – and counting!

From looking at my old calendars, today was’s big launch day back in 2003! Wow eight years have gone by so quickly! I can recall the excitement in the air when opened it’s doors and there was a massive media push! There was even a page in Time Magazine that month.

As I sit here looking towards the future, I can’t help be think how exciting opening day will be in there this time around! The community coming back together, being able to hang out with quite a few old friends, not to mention all the new freinds we have made in other worlds and hangouts. Thanks to the hardworking staff, It looks to be an exciting time indeed!

Here is a video from the opening day!

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Durrett’s Canyon Funzone (back at least for a while)

Guyman’s Gorge Funzone (back for a while at least)

BABS driving a flying saucer right into the soor of the Mizmar Cafe!

And I was so excited when my tiki house came back!

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Jumping off!

Ok so not that much to report. I need to be in testing but I have some Real Life things this weekend. I have noted the animated There Games targets are not falling over again. Problems continue with my and other 3dGP’s change me’s   Here is a silly video.

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Sunday afternoon…

Testing sign links with Salty Silver!


Some off quest kit bug where my clues vanished from sight and my inventory too!


PAZ putback feature test


And a special treat.. ok a test of dog treats!

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One busy guinea pig!


Back in August  when I first got back in I went  looking for Mirage, but it was not there. That was an odd feeling I have had repeated many times now.  I was also wearing my fox costume and flying on one of my favorite Bellcraft hoverboats.  Mirage is now partly back. Hopefuly the rest will follow soon.

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