Text-Based Games and Nonfiction Storytelling

As part of learning more about game design and development, I have started playing and researching text-based games toward understanding more about nonfiction game development and online interaction. A text-based is just that: A game wherein everything, including scene-setting, character development, and action, is conveyed through text. Some might include ASCII or other images, but…

18 Places to Check Out Documentary Shorts Online

The following post contains a list of several places to check out documenary shorts online. While you can find some for monthly subscription on Netflix, Amazon, and others, this list includes more curated shorts that represent a variety of styles, subjects, and intentions. Everything listed here is presented in English, either through speaking or subtitles….

Interactions and Music Unite Story in Cohesive ‘Florence’

Florence is one of the most beautiful “interactive storybooks” I have ever seen. Available on Apple and Android devices, Florence tells the fictional story of a mid-20 something woman named Florence Yeoh who feels stuck in her life. By chance she meets Krish, a cellist, and they date and move in together. After some time,…

Starting with Smartphone Filmmaking

During the last year or so, I have been looking at different points of entry into filmmaking. This post focuses on perhaps the easiest entry point: a smartphone. A smartphone offers a complete filmmaking kit that fits in your pocket, with recording, editing, distributing, and, of course, viewing. Both Apple iPhones and Android phones offer…

Some Observations from Recent Documentary Viewing

A few weeks back I watched about 45 documentaries in a short time. Part of that viewing was judging for a film festival, and part of that was doing some catchup on recent titles. When watching that many documentaries in such a short period, I noticed some patterns. Drones Drone footage is fun to create…

Some Lessons in Nonlinear Editing

In the last few months I have begun to learn more about nonlinear editing. I can now assemble a simple video with basic edits and sound, but nothing I have produced thus far has much polish to it just yet. Part of the lessons I have learned has involved trying different programs. I have tried…

Some Alternatives to Adobe Cloud Products

Updated August 26, 2019, to include a link to Gimp. Adobe has come to dominate with its extensive program offerings: Photoshop, Premiere, Lightroom, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Illustrator. For the professional, the suite might be a must-have. Some prefer the cohesion across the options, and they like access to conistently updated software. Not everyone supports their subscription…

How to Learn Filmmaking without Pursuing a Degree

For many years, I considered pursing a degree in documentary production. With so many great master’s-level programs out there, from Wake Forest to Montana State, the temptation was quite strong. The desire to take on more debt, however, not so much. Degree programs do offer several advantages: Focused and compressed learning time Access to the…

Nine Steps to the Art of Practice

Like many middle-schoolers, I had the opportunity to choose an instrument and join the school band. My parents vetoed my drumming dreams, so I ended up trying the clarinet. (It wasn’t the same.) As part of the agreement for participating in band, I was required to practice for half an hour every day. So every…

10 Lessons from a Beginner’s DSLR Course

In June 2019, I attended a DSLR boot camp presented by Tom Dunn, a commercial and art photographer based in St. Paul, Minnesota. He presented this workshop through Film North, a film arts organization also based in the Twin Cities. This course is my seventh through this group. While I have taken digital still photographs…