Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A New Surge

It's been Ages...


I know it has. I'm sorry - there really is no excuse for my lack of updates. 

I'm posting now though because at this moment I actually cannot write anymore with my physical hand - at least not legibly. I've been hunched over my story-notebook scribbling away with a fever-zeal that I haven't felt in years. My hand has been literally shaking as I write - I've had to struggle to keep hold of the pen. 

I've often had fears about my work through the whole process, and the past few months I've heard a few pieces of advice such as "don't write to please anyone but yourself," "expect that a given amount of people will dislike your work, so focus on making the people who WILL like your work really like it," and so on and so forth. 

I've also been looking towards a lot of my idols and people I respect and taking inspiration from them and I will say I'm going to be changing some things - but it will be for the better. 

Love,
Skinner

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Inspiration Days #2: Masterful Miyazaki

Since a very young age I have been influenced by filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki.


One of the very first films I have a memory of watching (I'm sure it's not THE first, but it's the first that sticks out) is Nausica√§ of the Valley of the Wind. As a child this movie really blew me away with its visuals, its characters, and its way of dealing with various themes.

Nearly all of Miyazaki's movies have a charm that other movies lack - there are no "true villains" in Miyazaki's films. Every character is believable - even the antagonists have good sides and reasons why you feel sorry or pity for them, or want them to be happy in the end.

He is also known for his strong female characters and child characters - which is something I have always respected. In a media where main characters are usually overly buff dudes who rescue damsels in distress, Miyazaki proves that you don't have to be a macho male to be great, and that's always inspired me.

One thing in particular about Miyazaki's movies is that every time I watch one I always get inspired to write. 

I have a few on DVD (not as many as I should...considering I should own them all, really) and there's usually always at least one on Netflix, so today I decided to fill up my inspiration pool by watching two of his movies back-to-back.

I decided to start with my least favorite - but still an absolute classic and a movie I love dearly all the same (that just goes to show how much I love his work that it's my least favorite and I still like it this much!):

Princess Mononoke.



Princess Mononoke is a historical-fantasy set in an ancient Japan where Gods, Demons, and Spirits are still alive and walk the Earth. It's highly environmental and follows the plight of the main character as he crosses a land being ripped apart by manifested hatred. The film is overwhelmingly beautiful both visually and aurally.

What always inspires me about this movie is how the world is absolutely flowing with life - spirits are everywhere. One of the main locations in the movie - the forest of the Deer God - has trees which are filled with nature spirits known as Kodama (the cute ghost-like creatures in the picture). They are curious little sprites that feed off nature energy and are neutral to both human and animals. One tiny scene that I personally love is where a character picks a flower from the forest and walks off - the camera stays on the spot where the flower was...and three tiny Kodama walk up and look sadly at the spot, as if the flower, picked, had died.

Little details like that are sprinkled throughout Miyazaki's movies. They're like candy to me, and I can tell through them that he loves his craft.

- - -

The other movie is the one that started me off on my love of this filmmaker, and the movie that remains to this day one of my all-time favorites:

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.




This movie really is perfect for me. Every time I watch it I'm in love again. Everything about this movie works and expands my mind and imagination. This is exactly the kind of story I'm glad I had growing up. This movie could very well be a reason why I was sent down this path and ended up with Lifebound the way it is.

The movie has a character you will almost instantly adore, a world you will crave to know more about, a history you will demand to discover, species and creatures unique to this story, laughter and cuteness along with tragedy and sorrow; moments that will leave you in tears of both grief and joy. Adventure, exploration, action, prophecy, freedom...the title character rides the winds on a flying machine and you can feel the sense of freedom she has.

The world in this movie is a world at war and on the brink of destruction, but the title character just refuses to give in and accept that fate. The chances of her being able to stop the inevitable are just impossible but she still just refuses to accept it - and that refusal of hatred and war in the face of inevitability is just so beautiful.

Nearly everything in this movie is inspiration for Lifebound. The movie's existence itself and how unique and creative it is just spurs me to create and give my own imagination to someone else like Miyazaki gave his to me.


Closing Words...

Miyazaki has made other fantastic films of course; and many a lot more popular than these two! He's a lot more well known in the West probably for Spirited Away, Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service. Off the top of my head he's also done Arriety, Castle in the Sky, The Castle of Cagliostro, and Howl's Moving Castle.

All his work is wonderful, so if you get the chance, I really must encourage you to give him a chance! Your (inner) child will thank you!

Thanks again for reading.

Love,
 Skinner


Monday, September 24, 2012

It was cold today! This morning! Ish!

I like Winter so much more than not-Winter.

This morning the heater was turned on and so I declare it the first day of not-Summer, which is at least a very good start!

Summer is all hot and bleh. Skinner is bleh.

Winter though! That is the time for dreams and gathering warmth and seeking ideas. Time to gather 'round the imaginary hearth and tell stories.

Basically - hopefully the productivity will increase as the temperature lowers.

Love,
 Skinner

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reality scares me

You know what will be really really great about Canvas?

There won't be any political parties.

At least, not like we have today.

Not to the point where people won't be able to watch the news or listen to people talk without needing to take a xanex and write up a whole world light-years away from the Earth where they can live on to escape all the stress and anxiety that comes with the mind-numbing insanity that people are driven to by the religious-fervor that is party-loyalties.

...actually that was going to be the full post for today but I guess I can expand on that and make it into a full fledged thought.

Almost everything about this world stresses me. I'm sure a lot of my family knows this or at least suspected it but I suffer from a lot of anxieties. Videogames are my vice and it's probably fair to say I'm addicted; and LifeBound is my real meditative-like relief. LifeBound is where I make my ideal world where there are no anxieties or stress. There's problems to be sure and there's obstacles and hardships and pain and tragedy - but...well...

I wrote a poem in college; I'll share it here.


Reality scares me.

Where have all the monsters gone?
from all the stories I read as a kid?
I was promised a beastie under ever bed
A crawlie in every cupboard, 
A creature under every stair,
Where's the lady with snakes in her hair?
Now I'm all grown up and there's just humans
killing other humans

Where have all the monsters gone?
from all the horror flicks shown on Tv?
Where's Dracula, waiting to descend upon a neck?
Where's Wolfman, I've got a silver bullet ready.
Where's a mummy to run from in a long chase scene?
Or Frankenstein's monster, all big and green?
Why is it that now all I see are friends yelling at
friends, over friends.

I could deal with a monster. I could handle a monster.
I could understand a monster. I could accept a monster.

But reality scares me. 

Where have all the monsters gone?

The difference in LifeBound is that there's nothing that I personally wouldn't be able to overcome. Wouldn't want to overcome. People work together in LifeBound.

Happy are worlds where there are monsters - for in worlds where there are none, people will attack eachother.

Love,
 Skinner

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oh what a world, what a world...

So here's a small little tidbit...

The world that Lifebound will take place on - that is to say, the actual planet itself - has a name. I have named it Canvas.

There are a few reasons for that.

The name foremost refers to a painter's canvas. The people of the world gave the planet the name Canvas because "It is a fresh foundation upon which anyone can make something for themselves, if they try."

Also among the reasons is because this world is truly my canvas. It's my ultimate canvas. This world will be my best showcasing of my craft and what I can do. Whatever talent I possess, it will appear on Canvas. It'll have to be perfect...and it's the size of a planet!

Love,
 Skinner

P.S.: I've known what I've wanted to call the planet for a long time now, but I've decided to reveal it just now because I've got this other idea coming up that will probably be posted in a few days and knowing the planet's name would probably be important.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Writing!

Good writing day yesterday.

It's funny though what can put a stop to a writing session.

Usually for me it's not "not knowing what happens next" or getting tired or losing focus.

It's something much more inane.

It was how to perfectly word a single sentence.

It wasn't even an important sentence! It was nearly a throwaway sentence! I could have easily and probably should have thrown the sentence away it was such a throwaway sentence but I was got so focused on the challenge of making it a perfect sentence that fit in the context and convey exactly what I wanted it to convey that it drove me mad and made me lose fifteen minutes of time and I still couldn't get it right.

It was a completely mundane action that had no fantasy in it whatsoever, and I even mimicked the action exactly in my own room over and over again in-person to get it right but to no avail. I was just stumped.

Frustrated, I saved my work and gave up in exasperation.

I'll almost certainly take the line out and change it for something else when I go back, but I'll write it down and put it on a post-it or something on my wall and deal with it in my spare time.

Yes, I know I'm very weird, thank you.

Love,
 Skinner.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Forest Lights

My digital clock I keep below my computer monitor is reading a bright red 4:11. It's pure darkness outside. 

...Just two inches above that my computer's clock tells me it's 4:07...I just now realize they're not synced up...I decide not to bother fixing them though...

Anyway, I'm writing this post now, in the dark, because an idea has just come to me and it is this darkness that has facilitated that idea.

The scene I'm having such trouble writing - that I wrote about in my last post - it occurs at daytime. Not for any reason; it just did because it did. It occured at daytime because in my head there was no reason for it to not occur at daytime because daytime is when events occur - when things can be seen.

-but night's domain is just as long as day's; and events do not need only to happen in the sun.

As I sat here in the dark with the fans blowing I started to envision the scene I've been having so much trouble with happening under the light of the moon instead of the warmth of day, and everything changed and was suddenly made all the better for it.

I'm not sure if this will fully break the writer's block that has been built up but...

I think it's time to enter the forest. 

Love,
 Skinner