New Web Site and Casting Call

Port Sebastian, USAA lot has been changing behind the scenes since the last time I posted here.

I’m now at Port-Sebastian.com and I’m working toward my dream of creating a doll soap opera! This is how I describe it on Port-Sebastian.com:

In the time it took me to develop a clear view of how I wanted to tell my doll stories, I took a couple years’ worth of photos and made several slide show videos, making all sorts of mistakes along the way and changing my mind countless times about the way I wanted to go about it.

Finally, I decided that:

  • I want to attempt to create a web series that is part stop-motion animation and part slide show
  • I want do it with voices rather than the mixture of speech bubbles, captioned dialog, and text-to-speech (in one video) that I’ve used before
  • I want to tell an ongoing scripted story, with scenes and plots and twists, in soap-opera style, rather than simply “glimpses” into various characters’ lives as I’d done before

It’s a huge undertaking. And much of it is dependent on things I cannot control, such as:

  • whether or not I’ll be able to find enough voice actors who are willing to work for free (at least until and unless the series starts earning money), and who will be even fractionally as vested in this as I am
  • whether or not I’ll be able to coordinate with above-mentioned actors time-wise, to record the dialog
  • whether I’ll be able to successfully balance the amount of time this will require with my work and personal life

But, you know . . . I just feel compelled to give it a try! And so, the show is planned to debut in the Fall of 2014.

I have created a four-part introduction to the characters and history of the show, called Port Sebastian: The Back Story, using many of my photos and slide show videos from 2012 to 2014, with some additional new photos and new information.

Now, I’m looking for voice actors. Please see Casting Call for more information, and send in your audition!

Please visit me at my new web home, and subscribe to receive updates.

 

I finally finished it!

Leah and James, Ristorante AmoreI finally finished this portion of the story, after over a year! (I made this video in September of 2013, even though it’s dated June of 2012. I changed the date so they would show up in the order of the story in the album on ipernity.) Click to see the video.

Leah and James went out for dinner after Leah’s visit with her family over Memorial Day Weekend of 2012. (If you haven’t seen the video of that visit, you might want to watch it first, in order to understand some of the content in this one.)

This set is Ristorante Amore, my first detailed diorama set. The waitress is Nicole. Other diners are Dr. Cameron Shaver and his wife, Kita; Ingrid and Fisher and their daughter, Viveka; Naima and Marcus; and Kimberly and Nicci.

I included some conversation between the other diners, for the purpose of establishing a little bit of their back story.

As I began to edit the first batch of photos, I realized I’d gotten my lamps completely uneven (and the plaque over the ice machine was crooked), but I didn’t re-take the pictures. Luckily, I hadn’t taken all of the photos in the video yet, so I fixed the lamps before I finished. I also feel I should apologize in advance for the spaghetti that Marcus is eating. I haven’t gotten my sauce color right, yet! Let’s just pretend it looks like spaghetti, ok? (lol)

Leah got rebodied during this video! I couldn’t resist throwing in a bit of humor around that.

Hope it’s as fun to watch as it was to make!

All photos copyright © GetMeStarted. All rights reserved.
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http://www.ipernity.com/home/getmestarted

Making the move to ipernity . . . and moving forward with doll stories!

In case anyone was wondering why several of the photos in my earlier posts aren’t showing up, it is because I have been moving from flickr to ipernity since May of this year, when flickr underwent major changes that made the experience of using their service unbearable. Many of us doll photographers have been moving our content over to ipernity.com and I, for one, love it there!

This move also gave me an opportunity (ok; forced me, but with good results) to reorganize my photos and my plans for my doll stories. I’m still in the process of organizing everything, but I’m making great progress, and I’ve started sharing my stories!

So, here are the pertinent links:

My page on ipernity:
http://www.ipernity.com/home/getmestarted

GetMeStarted on ipernity

The album where my doll story, Stillframe, begins: http://www.ipernity.com/home/getmestarted

Stillframe Part 1

My cast of characters:

http://www.ipernity.com/doc/getmestarted/album/321097

Cast of Stillframe

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Article: About The Story – Stillframe and Port Sebastian

Article: The Businesses / Employers of Port Sebastian

So excited to be moving forward with my stories! Care to join me in Port Sebastian?

Flashback to Memorial Day 2012 – Leah Visits Her Family

Left to right: Curtis (Leah’s dad), Doreen (Leah’s mom), Kyle (Leah’s brother), Leah, and Braeden (Leah’s brother).

This is a flashback to Memorial Day weekend, when Leah and her family got together to welcome her brother, Braeden, home from a deployment in the Middle East.

I put this video together in response to a comment on a picture I posted on flickr back in February. I had taken a blurry photo of a Dr. Laura Schlessinger doll that I had found at a thrift store and shared it with my flickr friends. I was so happy to find her because I was looking for dolls that could be parents of my adult dolls in my stories. The doll talks, although that wasn’t my reason for buying her, and Flava Sweet suggested that I do a video of her talking. That was what started this whole thing . . .

I took the pictures in early June, which is why I decided to have the story take place over Memorial Day weekend. I decided that Leah and her family got together to welcome her brother, Braeden, home from a deployment to the Middle East.

I recorded several minutes of the sounds heard from my back yard on a Saturday morning, to add some realism to the story taking place on Doreen and Curtis’ back patio. I made video of the Dr. Laura doll saying each of her phrases, so that I could splice it into this video, and I downloaded a few sound effects to use.

Then, it took me two and a half months to edit it and put it together, and another month and a half (almost) to post it! I have a follow-up scene that I want to add, but I’ve been working on the diorama set and have had a lot of “life” interruptions. I will get that done as soon as I can and add it here, but I can’t wait anymore and I want to share my video!

While editing the video, I made a lot of mistakes and try-try-agains. I tried using voice-changing software to make my voice sound like a man, since most of my characters in this video are men. I tried several different programs and just couldn’t make it sound right. No matter what I do, my voice, when deepened, only sounds creepy; not masculine. *Sigh*

I tried a few different text-to-speech applications and eventually decided on the two that sound the least like computer generated voices. They don’t pronounce everything the way I would have wanted them to, and the accent is often on the wrong part of the word or the wrong word in the sentence, but it will have to do.

I settled on using ten phrases, to work into the story, but the doll actually has more than that. This is a video of the full repertoire of phrases that she says: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG4VBpmoWeU.  (I didn’t make this other video, but it’s very cute!)

I’m still learning how to use Windows Live Movie Maker, and I didn’t realize I couldn’t “layer” sound. I wanted to play my “outside sounds” in the background behind the dialog. That required mixing in another application, and now I’ve begun to learn to use one called Audacity. I’ve learned a lot doing this! lol

My apologies for the awkward silences and bad timing . . . it’s my first talkie, and I’m just so happy to have it finished, so I can move on with my storytelling about Leah and James!

If you have trouble understanding the text-to-speech, drop me a message and I’ll post a transcript!

Thanks for watching!

See the whole story here.

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A 4-Day, 4-Doll Weekend!

Four of my dolls got to go on a road trip this past weekend, to the Washington DC area. Carolyn, Janice, Kiersten, and Ryan piled into the car with us and we set out:

We checked into the hotel, went for dinner, and then settled in for the night:

The next morning, we went to the Live Butterfly Pavilion and the Gems and Minerals exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History:

Afterward, we fed some birds at the National Mall Park. (See the corresponding video.)

The following day, we went to Luray Caverns, VA, and Kiersten made a friend:

On the way home, we stopped at At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD:

What a fun four-day, four-doll weekend!

See the rest of the pictures from the trip.

Introducing Myself

So, where to start, with my new blog?

Well, as I said in my “About” page, I played with and dearly loved Barbies as a child, and that is really where all this began. I was born in the ’60’s and played with Barbies in the ’70’s, mostly. I did have a Skipper doll in the ’60’s, and a little house for her that my parents made for me, complete with a kitchen sink, stove, and refrigerator made out of wooden blocks, and a pink and white gingham couch. I wish I had pictures of them.

My Skipper looked like this:

Here is one of the original commercials:

My sister, who is about 6 1/2 years older than I am, had Barbies (and a Francie, who she loved), and sometimes she would let me play with them. That was such an honor, to me, and made for some of my favorite childhood memories.

I have another blog  where I write about all sorts of things in my life, and in 2009, I re-published three posts that I had originally published in 2008 on an old online diary. In the posts, I wrote about the Nostalgia Room I had wanted to create for my home office at the time. (Here are part onepart two, and part three)

I got back into Barbie and Barbie-sized dolls as an adult partly as a form of therapy, which I will write more about in a later post.

I had an idea, almost a year ago, to try to build an apartment building for my dolls. It was going to be a big project, I knew, and time-consuming, and would require both a large space to work and a large space to keep the building when it was finished. While I don’t mind when a hobby project takes a while to complete, the child in me didn’t want to have to wait for a long time to be able to play with it, and the space thing was an issue. Where would I keep it?

Finally, after doing some searching online and finding that there are so many adults out there who make dioramas and room boxes for their dolls, and noticing that the diorama sets and room boxes can range anywhere from quick-to-put-together to long, involved projects, I decided to make diorama sets instead. I can take them down and put them back up easily, and when they are down I can pack the pieces in plastic tubs and flatten the walls for easy storage. I can begin by making walls, cabinets, etc., out of foam board, and then later, when I get better at it, I can venture into constructing  out of wood.

And I went to town. Both literally and figuratively. I began to collect dolls, clothing, fabrics, craft supplies, and all sorts of other stuff that I can make stuff out of. My partner (who I call SS [for "Someone Special"] in my other blog, and I will call SS here as well) suggested that we turn the dining room into my doll room since we never use it for dining, and I have been working ever since to organize it and get some of my sets built.

I set up a flickr account under the username GetMeStarted. I chose that name because when I was a kid and my sister was a teenager, I used to always ask her to “get me started” with my dolls before she would go out with her friends. We have always been very close, and during those years, when she was spending more time outside the house with her friends, she was mindful enough of her little sister’s pangs of missing her that she made sure to spend a little time with me before she went out. Getting Me Started consisted of brainstorming with me to help me figure out a story that I was going to play out with my dolls that day. We could choose names and careers for each of the dolls, decide where they lived, and even think up names of fictitious local newspapers and radio stations for their town. As time went on and I discovered my love for writing, my sister remained my favorite brainstorming buddy, and to this day, she still happily plays that role.