You know, a lot of the content that you’re reading this month was prepared last month… No, really, I spent a few weeks ramming through as many words and as many interesting articles as I could. Hopefully you’ve been kept entertained, but we’re not out of the woods yet, as we’ve still got another half of NaNoWriMo to commit to. Today’s post is a quick update on how the event’s going, how my novel’s going, how many words I’m at and more.
I’ve never had a huge understanding of League of Legends, but it’s a lot of fun to watch. I remember being at a gamer pub in London (Meltdown), where they hosted what I presume would have been the World Championship at the time. It was all new to me, so I didn’t pay it too much mind, except for the fact that people were genuinely fascinated by it… And I found there were lots of quirks that made it a lot of fun to watch. Naturally, this has led to me trying a number of games, but… I’m a big scaredy cat and like my safety.
As is evidenced by an article on this very site, and to anyone who is near me for even the shortest amount of time, my favourite way to play Magic: the Gathering is in the Commander format.
I’ve already talked about it before, but I’ll quickly recap the rules:
- Legendary Creature(s) or Legendary Planeswalker(s) as your “Commander”
- 99 card singleton (one copy of each card) deck (You can have duplicate basic lands)
- 40 life starting life
- Being dealt 21 points of combat damage by a single commander is an automatic loss
- Traditionally played multiplayer but is viable in 1v1
I’ve been trying to think of a way to get our UK Geek Events page to be, you know, better. It was fine for a little while, but constantly updating it has become tedious and if I’m being honest, clunky. So I got thinking about how to make this better, how we can do something as a community and how we can catalogue all of the great events that take place across the UK. I figured we might as well turn it into a Google Spreadsheet, as at least everyone will get access to the data this way.
Let’s preface this with, yes I am a 90’s kid and yes, I had a couple of Tamagotchi in my life. It all started I believe with one from 101 Dalmations. I also then had a Pikachu one and I had a few smaller ones along the way, from monsters through to just ordinary pets. For the unaware, a Tamagotchi was a small device which you could carry on a keychain. On this device was a little virtual pet, or creature that you had to take care of, from feeding, playing with and even sometimes “cleaning up” after your pet. I, like many kids from that era, loved Tamagotchi… But why hasn’t it translated so successfully onto mobile?
Genuinely exciting for writers and aspiring writers alike, NaNoWriMo is a huge challenge for anyone looking to complete a novel. Whether they’re experienced writers, aspiring novellists or just a hobbyist, NaNoWriMo is a set goal to work towards throughout the month of November. Now that we’re less than a month to go, I thought I’d talk vaguely about the story I’ve been working on the details for, as well as a bit of a general chat about writing in general and how I’m feeling leading up to the massive endeavour… Also about how Discord is helping me prepare, so there’s something! Excited ramblings may be contained within this article, so don’t say you’ve not been warned!
Not too long ago, I had the pop up to officially say that GeekOut UK has been active for 6 years. In that time, we’ve gone from me and one friend in a pub, to making friendships that will last a lifetime. We’ve gone from two people, to hundreds upon hundreds of different faces, all of whom have left their mark on us. To everyone who has ever looked at the website, or been to one of our events, thank you. There’s not much more for me to say than that. Your continued support and friendship has meant a lot to us.
I’m a great proponent of the internet as a tool for delivering easy to digest learning materials, and yes, YouTube is awash with exactly the kind of tools I’m talking about.
Movies especially have an abundance of video essayists who talk at length about films and the film industry, taking wildly different approaches to the art form. Nerdwriter is a current favourite, whose short discussions that may dissect a single scene in a film, deeply explore a particular technique, or occasionally delve into a different topic. Lindsay Ellis does extensive studies that delve deep into the industry, historical relevance of certain creative choices, or shed light on some behind the scenes processes you might not have heard about before. The Closer Look, Every Frame a Painting, Lessons from the Screenplay, there are many of incredible students of film out to share their thoughts and insights.
For academia in general, Kurzgesagt, CGP Gray, some of the extra vlogbrothers content like SciShow; for literature Tale Foundry, and to an extent Terrible Writing Advice; for tabletop RP, Monarchs Factory, Matt Colville; these are the talking heads, the voices of people who have learned enough to want to share and impart what wisdom they can. Though most of it is heavily slanted by the perspective of the author/essayist/YouTuber in question, most strive for an objective approach and back their opinions with research or extensive experience.
I have been spending vast portions of every day studying the talking-head genre, because some time before the end of this month I’m hoping to put my own videos out there. Not something you’d think I’d consider too difficult, I’ve written 500-2000 word articles twice a week, almost every week, plus Top 10 entries, and most of those have been released on time (here, the author coughs by way of acknowledgement that this does not include today’s piece). I also like talking, especially to an audience, be it a half dozen gamers sat at a table, or a hundred or so gamers who are fool enough to want to listen to my opinions.
So where’s the hang-up?
First of all, a moment of gaming the algorithms on YouTube, what I need to produce has to last for ten minutes. After some experimentation playing around with an autocue generator, I’m estimating a minimum of 2000 words, and I – unfortunately – have a tendency to write concisely, too concisely. So it has been a lesson in padding and drawing out subjects without making it dull listening. This also presumes a script, which I’ll come to momentarily.
Second… talking to a microphone is a world apart from talking to an audience. I invested in a moderate quality microphone, poor audio quality is a killer for videos like this and frankly my webcam was proving inadequate. But here this thing sits… glaring at me, unresponsive. As someone who – by necessity – feeds off the reactions of the audience to inform the content, a microphone is a maddeningly passive audience.
Do I improvise, or do I script in full? I know there are plenty of talking-heads who do one, the other, or both. In my early attempts I tried to strike a balance, writing my script as if it were a D&D game plan, a few notes on talking points, a rough idea what I want to talk about and when, enough to structure without being restrictive, but I learned afterwards that I have a maddening idiosyncrasy that makes editing that style of essay impossible: when I’m thinking, I draw out syllables so that the space in between is almost non-existent. So effort two reads straight from a script, and, while better, I find I stumble over the words that I have written. I entered into the idea thinking it would be the perfect for someone who enjoys talking as much as I do, and here I find I’m learning to talk all over again.
When I put down my keyboard I’ll be trying again, and again, to get this right, possibly trying a few other approaches. I write purely to vent, this is a topic on which there are a thousand answers, none of which right for everyone, it falls within the category of “practice making perfect” and “finding what is right for you”.
I’ll be back when I have a right answer.
Hey all – From time to time, it’s nice to talk about some of the changes that are being made on the website and the reasons behind them. The astute amongst you may have noticed our front page banner has been updated; it now finally says GeekOut UK. But along with that, if you’re a regular visitor to the website, you’ll have likely seen a couple of changes – Not just to the front page. If you’re not a regular visitor and wondering what changes have been made, then look no further. Today I’m going to talk about some of the behind-the-scenes and what changes we’ve made and why.