Sunday, August 31, 2014

Writing the Micro-Sitcom

It's been interesting trying to sustain Life with Jess over the course of ten episodes. The simplicity of the Plotagon platform makes it easy to turn dialogue into animated scenes. But the limitations are challenging. Only two characters can appear at a time. There are very few animated actions available, and no ability to move the characters around a scene, other than jump-cutting to a small number of preset locations.

The main puzzle has been figuring out how to bring in plot points that can't be visualized. The solution so far has been exposition, which is not ideal, but has proven to be an opportunity to add humor, as Jess describes her plans and exploits while Samir plays the naive straight man.

Although there's been a number of running jokes, like "that bitch Lizzie," these two videos are my first attempt to sustain a major narrative through two episodes. Although some of the jokes depend upon having viewed prior episodes, they hopefully stand up okay on their own. These are edited versions of the raw video from Plotagon.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Art, Ego and Social Sharing

My name is Botgirl Questi and I'm a compulsive social sharer. (Hi, Botgirl!) Over the past six years I've posted 15,000 tweets, 2000 blog posts, 250 videos and 3000 images on Flickr. Not to mention Facebook, Plurk, Tumblr, etc. And do you know how much money I've made from all this effort? Zero. So why do I keep doing it?

It's complicated. Or if not complicated, at least complex: A twisted web of reasons tangled so tightly that it's hard to discern between art and ego, creativity and compulsion. In any case, I'm happier when I'm doing it than when I'm not. Happier creatively lubricated than blocked. So fuck it, right?

Here's my new favorite character musing over the topic.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pseudonymous Interactions: One Twitter Conversation with Three Animations

I had a great conversation on Twitter yesterday with Strawberry Singh. I thought it would be fun to use Plotagon to animate it. Since neither Strawberry nor I have avatars on Plotagon, I decided to use the main protagonist in my Life with Jess series. After viewing it, I got the idea of using the same script with different characters to see how it would impact perception of the dialogue. Given the pseudonymity of virtual experience, what do you think after watching the depictions. Does the actual gender, age, nationality, etc. of the person you're chatting with make a difference to you?

One Twitter Conversation with Three Casts from Botgirl Questi on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Hidden Message of the Fourth Wall

I'm still awed by the ability of a fictional character to come to life in my mind. A character like Jessie seems to speak for herself, often with ideas that surprise me, the alleged author. So when the fourth wall breaks in this video, it's not about bringing the viewers' attention to the fact that they're watching a fictional character. It's about me acknowledging the fact that the character actually does have a mind of her own, camping out somewhere in my brain. Our sense of an atomic self is its own type of fiction. And fiction is its own type of reality.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Red Christmas: A Horror Story

I'm still playing around with Plotagon. This video is based on a 100 Word Story originally written for Crap's podcast. I added human voice acting to replace the automated text-to-voice in the raw Plotagon video, along with extra sound effects, a new music track and some video effects.