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Wes B

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About Wes B

  • Birthday 05/12/1952

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  • Website
  • Location
    Johnson City, NY, USA
  • Occupation
    Retired Engineer & Programmer, currently giving my wife reasons to learn patience

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  1. Actual punchlines aren't copyrightable, as many of the "new" jokes we hear are actually the same old ones we've heard for years, only with a new coat of paint, and the serial numbers scraped off. However, copying specific comedy material is verboten, and if it's already been published in an actual work somewhere, you might get into some real trouble. Fortunately, there's a convenient way to deal with this and still get all that you want... First thing: Almost every joke we hear has been endlessly recycled and mutated from old ones, so we laugh at the same humor patterns (there are roughly 10 or 15 of them) over and over. While there are occasionally truly original jokes, most are formulaic. If you learn how formula humor works, you'll be able to categorize most jokes into one of the patterns, and even sometimes anticipate punchlines. (This is both a blessing and a curse...) Second thing: if you've already heard the joke before, chances are, a lot of your readers have already heard it too. That means it won't be funny if you use it directly anyway, so it's best if you don't. (Your friends may chuckle politely when you tell them a joke they've already heard; readers may not be so kind. People are much meaner when doing things behind our backs...) SOLUTION: since most jokes are already recycled, and we don't recognize them when they're adequately mutated from the ones we've already heard, then in order to be funny, you'll want to take the basic idea, but change it enough that we don't immediately recognize it. In this way, you make it funny to everybody, and you avoid accidentally making too close a copy of what may already have been published somewhere. So perhaps, instead of bringing a horse anywhere near a cliff, use some completely different animal, that may react in a totally different manner, in a way that has completely different consequences. Just make sure that the consequences are really significant, and do exactly the worst unexpected thing they can accomplish. Frankly, this one horse joke has been so used, used,used,used,used,used, and USED in exactly the same way for so long, I'm surprised someone hasn't had the imagination to change it around a little. (It seems to be the only joke that defies mutation.) I think you're the one to show everyone else that it can be done. (Then the rest will realize they were merely horsing around, or perhaps only being a part of a horse...) And you won't have to worry if you're copying somebody...
  2. Windows also has voice recognition built right into it. I used it for a while, back when Windows 7 was the thing. It's part of the provisions to make Windows available to those with various impairments, but anyone can turn it on, and wherever there's a place where you can type from the keyboard, you can instead speak into a microphone. The setup at the time required me to read aloud a number of "standard" paragraphs so it could determine my personal speaking style, but it worked fairly well, as long as i spoke clearly. (It actually had me learning to enunciate my words more carefully.) If you google the four words voice input to windows, you should find all you need. A cheap microphone is all you need to try it out.
  3. Or maybe, made FOR teenage boys with too much time on their hands. Made by people who know that these teenage boys have extra money, who also know that they want some of it, and who know of buttons they can push to extricate some of it... That's not to disparage anyone here who enjoys the films. Some have reasonable stories, and most are visual and technical treats. We each enjoy what we each enjoy. In fact, my now-grown daughter saw most of the earlier star Wars films first with me, when she was growing up. She now still travels five hours to come see each new one with me; I wouldn't change a thing. Some traditions work, just because...
  4. Sorry... SFX is a movie term, not a writing one, so I'm making presumptions on people that I shouldn't... SFX means Special Effects.
  5. Sadly, more than a few modern movies are merely SFX-driven; character and plot are almost nuisances that have to be vaguely satisfied, somehow. As technology for newer and better effects comes available, the stories almost seem constructed so as to allow them to use the effects to the fullest. It often limits the story, but can even put limits on the genre. F'rexample, studio backlots are expensive to maintain and upgrade, and location shooting can quickly burn through a budget. The recent tech called Digital Backlot totally erases these problems, but it originally had a flat look, vaguely like a realistic comic book background. Ever wonder why so many movies started getting made about comic books? Now, the technology is better, but comics movies have become "a thing". And they give so many opportunities to show off more SFX...
  6. I don't think you'd have any reason to apologize for that; you're probably picking story examples that others here have a greater chance of being familiar with. After all, there are far more books made than movies, and an individual book takes longer to read than to watch a movie. Just by the law of averages, many more people are likely to recognize your movie examples. This probably even goes for many who don't watch a lot of movies (like myself). In fact, in spite of my watching relatively few movies in recent decades, even I use movie examples more frequently than book examples!
  7. GIMP is a very handy tool, not just for editing photos, but for captioning them, creating artwork, and lots of other things. There are free third-party add-ons that can do jazzy filtering, like making the picture look like a watercolor. (This is nice when i want to drop a piece of one picture into the foreground of another, but it looks fake. Turn it into a watercolor, and it all matches, nice'n pretty...) Another wonderful free tool is Blender, which can make nice video animations. I've seen some YouTube videos on using it to make whiteboard animations, which might be used to point to our websites from YouTube. While Adobe gives all the power to do this, it gets a little cumbersome.
  8. Hey, thanks, SW! I know the Adobe stuff can be frustrating to learn (I'm really just a few steps ahead of you in some areas, & you're probably ahead of me in others...) but the great thing about steep learning curves is that we still only have to climb them once. After that, we reap the benefits. If there are lots of benefits, it's worthwhile, looking back. And the wild thing about the Adobe suite is that it's like buying a moderately decent car, and then only finding out later that the thing can also fly!
  9. I *think* i remember a discussion here on this back when I first joined, maybe a year or more ago. Could have been somewhere else. Anyway, if anyone's Familiar with the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, or a very similar but more publicly available near-equivalent, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, you get 16 personality types, with four independent "preferences": Introvert/Extravert, Sensing/iNtuitive, Thinking/Feeling, Judging/Perceiving. The MBTI questionnaire is more used by businesses and is tightly controlled, while the KTS one is openly available in the internet, with lots of useful info is available on it. I'm pretty sure we had a lengthy discussion here about our individual types (as you might suspect, I'm a very analytical INTJ...) and how we could use the various preferences in a character to mold a realistic compound personality that roughly matches one of the 16 main types. The availability of 16 types gives a LOT of flexibility in characters, and that's completely independent of motivations, which add an even broader spectrum of colors.
  10. As an added benefit, the items created in one program can sometimes be used as "ingredients" for creations in another program, so they can build on one another. The ways that outputs from various programs can interact can be almost startling, as a lot of creative thought went into making them interact in clever ways. For example, I would normally think of various layers in an image as just static layers, e.g., just foreground and background elements. yet those layers can be animated independently in another program, and moved around the screen to come together into the final image, and they don't have to be foreground/background, but just interacting pieces. I now notice this is done all the time with logos and the like in advertisements, but it's a a wonderfully powerful tool with lots of possibilities that I'm just starting to get a grasp on. My (currently very modest) website doesn't yet contain any videos, but I hope one day to make some pleasant additions...
  11. While I'm not in a position to read right now, I had a thought... You can tighten up your blurb & remove repetition if you can live with changing the list order: the abusive husband, the woman running away, or the angry horse. ...and as a longtime fan of Black Beauty (or was it Mr. Ed...), I wonder if the horse might deserve a few words to say, as well...😁
  12. It doesn't have to be an autobiographical story, though it could be. Understand though, that you have insights into an experience that the rest of us can only guess at, and would probably guess at poorly. You could also weave a fictional story around that experience. Ernest Hemingway was an ambulance driver in WW 1, and was severely wounded when a shell exploded very close to him. In Farewell to Arms, he wrote of a fictional character, going through the same thing. The experience of the explosion is totally eerie, completely unlike anything I'd have expected, but thoroughly realistic. (He gives the impression of remembering everything in slow motion, with no real mention of the light and sound we'd expect. In fact, I think he remembers it as silent. There's chaos and confusion, and a sense of sudden appearance and disappearance of intense heat.) it's surprising and memorable. A gentleman named Thomas Moran was stricken with a mysterious infection that put him in intensive care for months, slipping in and out of coma, though he eventually recovered. He embodied those experiences through a fictional character in a remarkable novel, The World I Made For Her. He places us inside that experience, but also inside a fascinating story (presumably, most real multi-month experience inside an ICU are not gonna be all that fascinating...) So, your own story may or may not be fascinating; you know it better than me. Yet even if you choose to tell it, you also have the option to produce a fictional world, with a story designed to fit around your unique experiences. I suspect it would be fascinating to many, many Christians. After all, it may be a scary thought, but any one of us could also have to experience it, someday...
  13. Now, in THAT description is an extraordinary character, capable of an extraordinary story... ...and you are uniquely situated to be the one to write it...
  14. Iago is the enemy hidden in plain sight: the person you completely trust, and perhaps even love as a best friend, but who secretly plots your destruction. To me, a well written Iago-like villain is more terrifying than Hannibal Lecter. Lecter may be brilliant and unspeakably evil, but at least the characters know it. They may expect he'll outsmart and destroy them, but at least they know to be on the lookout, and have some shred of a fighting chance. With Iago, there's no clue that the enemy is within the gates. There's dramatic irony, if the reader knows who he really is, while the protagonist doesn't. And unlike truly "flashy", made-up villains, Iago looks like people we really know. We are vastly unlikely to ever encounter a Hannibal Lecter, but could have bought iago a cuppa coffee, just this afternoon...
  15. He showed us how to create some seriously dark characters, which stories sometimes need. We not only see the darkness, but a great look at the sad motivations. I'm surprised that more writers don't create villains like Iago in Othello. He's particularly scary because any of us could have a Iago in our lives, and never know it...
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