GISH

This will be the next almost-week of my life, so if there is radio silence, forgive it.

There will hopefully be lots to share (including the full list, for those who are not participating, though that will obviously have to wait until the hunt is over; I’ll try to remember to save a copy before Saturday) by Saturday afternoon/Sunday morning, but until then I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the wonder that is GISH, and consider — assuming it continues on to next year, which would be its 11th — joining us next time around.

GISH: THE GOOD HUNT

Chalk one up to Perseverance

So, I’ve been hyping myself up to do a YouTube channel, and I’ve been really getting into the idea. It’s something that been on my bucket list for a while — to make an active push to have a successful, consistent YouTube channel devoted to something that I’m interested and invested in. Now, I’m realistic, and I don’t really have an ambition to make a career out of YouTube, so my definition of successful is, ultimately, maybe a few hundred viewers and regular engagement.

I’ve spent the last week writing some scripts for some videos — self-care for creatives, a few writing exercises, with other things planned for the future. I’ve been very excited that I finally had an idea for something that I felt I could do that might actually be of interest to someone else, instead of just vlog updates on my NaNoWriMo progress (side note: I love to watch NaNoWriMo vlog, so this isn’t an indictment of other people making said vlogs. It’s just, every time I film one myself, I watch it back and honestly just can’t fathom that someone would want to look at my face and listen to me ramble for ten minutes. Just… ugh).

Anyway, I wrote some pretty intricate scripts for these videos, and set up a prime spot in my room to film, all with the expectation that I would be able to actually film the first video (I’ve scripted five, thus far) on Saturday, when Kira and Bear were out of the house visiting my in-laws. When they left a little after lunch, I sat down to punch up and polish the first few scripts, give my phone a final hour or so to charge, and went up stairs to film.

And that’s when the trouble started.

First of all, the most reliable piece of equipment I have is my phone, which probably isn’t all that unusual. My phone isn’t the most expensive or impressive, but it makes decent videos in decent lighting, and we had decent lighting upstairs. Seemed like things would go well. Eh… except that my video script was fifteen minutes long, so between re-shoots, retakes, and just wanting to have a slightly more polished look than my vlogs, meant hand-held recording was out (my arm is usually ready to fall off after a three to five minute vlog). I don’t have a tripod that will accomodate my phone, so that was out, and the only surfaces I have in my room are my bookcase… none of which align well to my face. Ok. Ok. So.

Plan B is to use the video camera my father-in-law gave us, which is… literally nowhere. What the actual fuck. I literally talked to my wife about wanting to do a YouTube channel like, two weeks ago, while lovingly fondling the camera. I wouldn’t have told Kira to put it into storage. Would I? If I was in one of my moods, I totally would. Shit. And she’d do it, because I asked her to, and she, like, actually listens to me most of the time. Damn it. Ok, moving on.

Plan C was the SLR camera my father-in-law also gave us, um, a long time ago. It was cutting edge once upon a time, but we’ve had it since the birth of out son, and Bear is fast approaching six years old, and it was only gifted to us because it no longer served my father-in-law’s own photographic needs. But, I mean, it just needs to film a clear video, it doesn’t have to be, like, cutting-edge HD. Which, good, because it certainly wasn’t cutting-edge HD; sadly, it also wasn’t a clear video. So, among the accouterments that accompanied the camera when it was handed down was a USB cable, a case, a few extra SD cards, and not a single set of instructionS. No manual, not even a pamphlet explaining the default settings. So, while I’m sure there’s a way to adjust the apeRture or some shit so that the camera actually utilizes the objectively shitty lighting present even in the most well-lit room in the house, I had no resources to reference in order to troubleshoot it, and oh, man, I was not in the frame of mind to just try to “figure it out.”

OKAY. So. I have now exhausted the options I have available to me to actually record a YouTube video. I should just give up, right?

NO. Hi, hello. My name is Jess and I just bullshitted invented the “visually-augmented podcast.”

No, not a “visual podcast,” those exist and are basically exactly what I failed to do. The “visually-augmented podcast” uses still and animated images and vocal cues to alert you to interactive segments in the video, such as screen-sharing segments and how-tos. Yes. Because I plan to screen-share to demonstrate the writing process for several of the games and prompts, I had to establish that there was, or would be, a visual component, while still acknowledging that, yeah, there’s not a ton of “relevant” video in the, uh, video.

So… how is this going to go? Are people going to buy into it?

I don’t know. I think my advice is pretty decent, I think the games and exercises I’m doing are good, I even think my still images/graphics are fun. It’s not what I wanted, but I’m making it the best that I can.

Perseverance, baby. That was my word for 2020, and every damn day it feels more and more like the right one.

I’m going to make this work, ok? Okay.

Mini-GISH, April 25 & 26

This was not the epic, team-bonding, tear-your-hair out rollercoaster of the traditional, annual, week-long GISH hunt.  But it was a welcome, silly, doable distraction, and for once, I feel like my entries were reflective of the best of my abilities.

Having the hunt be one day — somewhat oddly, somewhat understandably — took some of the pressure off.  My standards, given the very, very tight time constraints, were lowered to something actually approaching doable, and I was able to be gentler with myself about what was actually possible to get done in a 24-hour span.  As a result, I actually completed more entries during the one-day than I did during the whole week of the annual hunt last year.

Of course, the tasks were easier, given the time constraints and the fact that literally no one can leave the house, but it was still a fun, creative activity, and it allowed my son and husband to get in on the action without too much stress as well.

Misha emailed earlier today and confirmed that he’d like to run another mini-hunt in the coming weeks.  Registration for this one was $15 and proceeds went to COVID-19 relief and No Child Hungry, so it benefits worthy causes.  If anyone reading is interested in possibly participating, check out the official website here.  While I am definitely interested in participating, I also hesitate to spend the money on another mini-hunt when the week-long August hunt looms closer and closer.

We organize our team via Facebook group, and since submissions are entered by the person who completes them onto the GISH site itself, we don’t all always get to see every entry, unless they are also uploaded to the Facebook group.  During week-long hunts, when people are aiming for something of a higher caliber (since it’s for points), often people will post variations on a challenge and ask for input or suggestions.  This year, with only 24 hours, less of that happened.  Here is a small smattering of what was shared to the FB group:

Post-GISH, I’ve been mostly sketching; I got my new sketchbook and my new microns, but have yet to crack open either.  The sketchbook makes sense, since my goal is to fill the previous one before moving on to the next, but the microns is just that old, completely counterproductive instinct to horde art materials.  Like, I don’t want to “waste” this ink on anything less than something stellar (which I probably don’t need to mention, is ridiculous).  Old habits die hard.  I still have some details work to add to my last three sketches, but after that I will likely share them here and then upload them to my gallery.

Hope you are all keeping busy and staying safe.