Skip Hunt Art Launched on Sedition Art!

A couple weeks ago a friend, and now collector/patron of my work :) suggested I check out this new digital fine art service Sedition Art. He said a lot of my work might do well on the platform so I checked it out. 

Still wrapping my head around the nuts and bolts, but basically the platform allows collectors of art to buy digitally certified limited edition works of art. They can buy, sell, trade and it's all handled in sort of a server-based digital bank. 

Anyway, I've been following the site for a couple weeks and really love the work on display there. Decided I'd give it a shot and see how my own work might do, so I launched my first collection of 5 today. There's a digital painting, a video, and 3 still photos. Eventually, I'll try out some more experimental glitchy loops and such. And, I've already got my first collector! :)

In order to launch, I had to invite 20 people for a "private viewing" before it goes "public" tomorrow. However, it looks like you can view the work by following me on the site too. I'm not certain about that part, but it appears that you can. Maybe the first 20 invited just get first dibs to get in on the editions? 

It's very cool and I'm thrilled to be a part of it! You can check out my first collection HERE, but if the system won't let you view the images larger, they should be public in less that 24hrs of this posting, so check back tomorrow if interested. 

Interesting times we're living in. I'm about to take off for Mexico for anther magical mystery tour to visit some of they places I wandered to on my very first adventure in 1990. I've been meaning to set up a Patreon account so that folks who want to support my work and become patrons. So, I think I'm going to try to keep the majority of my travel posts on that site to see how it does. If you want to check that out, click HERE

Digital Displays for Art? Acanvas is coming!

There's an outfit called Acanvas (backed by LG) who are launching this digital display for artwork. Part of the plan is to sell monthly subscriptions for art, of which I will likely take part. 

The idea of sort of a robotic display that automatically connects to an outlet to charge itself is very strange, but also really cool. 

I don't think art prints are going away anytime soon, but this sort of digital display of your art is definitely coming. It'll be cool to see how it evolves. 

The folks over there asked if they could use some of my artwork to show off the displays on their launch site. I agreed and you can see them under the heading "Station: Bold Primaries"

What do you think? This kind of display have legs? :)

Just Launched Patreon!

Leaving for Mexico soon and just launched on the ‪#‎patreon‬ platform! How My Patreon Thing Works - patreon.com/skiphunt - The way this works is that folks who want to support my work, can become a patron by pledging monthly. You can change the amount to whatever you can swing, down to even $1 a month. And, you can cancel at any time. :)

I'll be adding more incentives as I go along, but I decided to start off with a low suggested monthly (that you can change), and a second level that has the Vicarious Travel Postcard component for $30. If you just want to get in on the Vicarious Travel Postcard, you can sign-up now, and then cancel after the first month. It's up to you.

I was hesitant about Patreon at first. Seemed too good to be true, but I've watched them grow and become quite respected worldwide over the last few years and am convinced it's now a great and viable platform for content creators and artists with folks who'd dig supporting them and becoming a patron.

So, I finally launched this thing just before heading off on another adventure. This one will be revisiting some of the locations of my very first travel odyssey that began in 1990, with a few surprise locations thrown in to keep it interesting.

IMPORTANT: If you are signing up for this reward, you must scroll down on the pledge page to enter your mailing address BEFORE entering your credit card number. Otherwise, it won't go through. I need the mailing address so that I know where to send your postcards. :)

There ya go. That's my story... well, that's where we are now. Please consider becoming a supporting patron of mine and join me for this next great chapter! 😎 patreon.com/skiphunt

New Repository Home for Skip Hunt Images

A New Searchable Home

Over the last few weeks, I've been deleting and moving much of my work off of some print-on-demand site galleries like fineartamerica.com & pixels.com (same as the former, just a different site wrapper), redbubble.com, saatchiart.com, etc.

Lots and lots of images still remain on those sites for the time being, but those images that I'm removing, as well as older images I want to catalog for reference, are being placed here on my main site. 

I like to have a repository for myself so I have look up where an edited image was shot, what year,  etc. They aren't all here yet. Many more to go yet, but this is a start to eventually having everything in one searchable location. 

Most that have been removed from the aforementioned web site galleries, are all located in my new "Galeria" page.

For your pleasure, you can view them all HERE

You're Born Again

You just know something isn't right, but you can't put your finger on it. Or, maybe it's not just one thing, it's everything and nothing at all. 

Thinking about how so few have so much, while so many have so little. About how some can afford a few more years, while other's have to settle for an early rest. 

It's coming at you from all directions. You try to make yourself numb, but nothing is strong enough. Keeps at you, cutting and cutting and cutting. Nowhere to hide. 

Then a random song lyric takes over. The chaos disperses... and a mystic joy washes through your soul. You stop, listen, and let the medicine seep in.

You're born again.

"If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dreams 
Where immobile steel rims crack
And the ditch in the back roads stop
Could you find me
Would you kiss-a my eyes
Lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again"

Pay Attention to Intuition & Premonition!

Get these premonitions sometimes...

Tend to not mention them when I do to avoid the usual "lay off the shrooms and vino" jokes ;)

I never ignore them though. They've proven themselves fortuitous on many occasions. One of my very rare evangelical friends believes I get accurate premonitions as well, but he thinks it's of the devil. Oh well, I'll take good info where I can get it. ;)

"Shakti Rising" © 2013 Skip Hunt

"Shakti Rising" © 2013 Skip Hunt

Anyway, just this week there was a house fire in my neighborhood. I actually read about it here on Facebook from another friend. When I went to check it out on my bicycle, I got one of those premonitions that I needed to keep extra aware at my own house for some reason. Wasn't sure why but I haven't ignored it. 

Was planning on being gone already to go out to the Herbalismo A Medicinal Plant Festival of the Deep South but have been dragging my feet on packing a little. Wasn't sure why, but a few minutes ago I happened to go into the bathroom where I keep a battery charger and heard some faint sizzling and sparking. 

One of the batteries had exploded and was leaking acid into the large NiMH charger. The whole thing was really hot so I unplugged it and tossed the whole lot into the garbage. I shudder to think what would have happened had I got out and headed for the festival on time!

Lesson: Pay attention to your intuition and premonitions YO!!! :)

 

Howl + Animated Gif Fun :)

Howl

Usually leave any site that is polluted with the animated gifs the kids have brought back from the dead. But, I have to admit... some of them out there are impressive enough and pretty cool. I especially like the 3D looking gifs and the lenticular multi-lens generated variety. 

Decided to just warp the same image to see if I could get a little motion out of it, and may play with it a bit more.  

"Howl" ~ Guanajuato, Mexico © 2013 Skip Hunt

"Howl" ~ Guanajuato, Mexico © 2013 Skip Hunt

What I Got Out of my SXSW Film Festival Experience

sxswtrashme.jpg

These are mostly notes to myself regarding how or if to proceed with my Chupacabra movie after attending the SXSW Film festival. I thought for anyone interested in trying to make a movie also, but couldn't go to the festival themselves, I'd share the experience of my good fortune.

These aren't facts, but merely my own impressions and what I took from it. Figured I'd jot them down while they're still somewhat fresh after the fog of the partying that ensued throughout the entire film, interactive and music festivals. 

I hit it hard like a first semester college kid, and all I can say is... although it was fun and I can definitely see the attraction some have to going to monster festivals like this, I'm very glad I'm no longer partying at the intensity of a first semester college kid. ;)

Here's what I got out of the film festival portion: 

1. No one is going to read your script. Friends and family might skim it and give a thumbs up, but unless the readers write screenplays, make films, or are paid to read screenplays and know what to look for, the feedback may not be that useful. 

Producers, no matter how intrigued they are by your story, aren't going to bother reading your screenplay either. They will read a one-page synopsis and if it sounds like something that might make money, they might read a 3-page treatment. They won't even entertain reading your script until it's nearly a done deal and even then, they're only skimming to see what props, locations, music etc. that might drive up production cost. 

2. Distributers don't really pay that much attention to films in festivals. They don't even care if your film gets a lot of buzz and/or wins a prize because they don't feel the audiences of film festivals represent the general public and potential profitability. If your film gets a lot of buzz, that only means you were likely good at generating buzz, not necessarily an indication that you've made a good film that might make money.

They typically buy films from the biggest film festivals like Cannes and Sundance. Other than that, the festival circuit is pretty much only good for networking with other film makers. This is valuable experience, but does little to get your film picked up for general release.

3. Out of the hundreds of thousands of screenplays that are written every year, only a few thousand get made. And of those, even fewer were purchased "spec" scripts. Most are written and directed by. And of those, even fewer get picked up for release. 

If you want to write and sell a screenplay, the odds are really stacked against you. Odds are slightly better if you have the skill to make the film yourself or partner with someone who can. 

Provided you've got a story to tell that's compelling to others, and you have any storytelling skill, your best bet is to simply start making movies with whatever you've got. Even if its shot on an iPhone or the family video camcorder, etc. Put it on YouTube and spread the word. If its good, and it shows you have real talent, it will catch on and Hollywood will eventually find you. 

Many (including myself) get way too bogged down with having to have a high level of video gear. There are many cinematic gear-heads who only see mostly bits, codecs, compression, sensor size, quality of glass, jib contraptions, etc. From what I can tell, although I can certainly appreciate a finely crafted bit of cinematic art, none of that matters to a hill of beans if the story isn't good or the acting is bad. You can make a film that looks enough like a "real movie" to be convincing to the average viewer with a very minimum of gear and a little creativity. 

In short, a great story told visually with an iPhone, some decent actors, and a level of production that at least isn't distractingly bad… will absolutely trounce a poor story, with bad acting shot with state-of-the-art production equipment any day of the week.

4. I got mixed reports on whether its better to start with a short film. Some have made short films, posted on YouTube, and ended up getting deals to shoot feature films based on their original short alone. Your odds are better if your short can be easily expanded out to feature length or adapted into a TV show. 

Many said making good shorts is actually harder than a feature, though I can't imagine why. Seems like it would be easier to get the help you need for the shorter period of time it'd take to make a short film. And, because good actors are vital... you might not be able to afford to pay them for the time it would take to make a feature, but they may be willing to help you out for a couple days on a short film if they like the story.

Some said after you've got the story nailed down, access to help, locations and gear... you might as well go for it and make a feature since you've already got most everything in place. And, you might even get lucky with a feature that gets picked up for distribution. That's a lot less likely to happen with a short.

5. Nobody has a clue what will be successful. From the top to the bottom, its always a gamble with regard to what will resonate with the general public. The most seasoned professionals with the best track records are just as clueless. They look at all the data on whats popular now, whats been popular, and what they guess will be popular by the time the film is made and ready for release... then they roll the dice and hope for the best.

6. Screenplay perfection is a waste of time. It's just a rough guide and most of it will likely get changed while you are shooting anyway. And, since no one who you hope to get financing from is actually going to read your script, its better to spend your time nailing a great one-sheet and/or three-page synopsis. 

7. Screenplays are a real chore to read. There are some free screenwriter communities out there like Trigger-street and Zoetrope, etc. that you can get your script read by peers after you read and review their scripts. At Zoetrope, you have to read and review 4 scripts before yours gets reviewed. This isn't fun especially if the scripts are a formatting mess, aren't that interesting to you, or don't appeal to your own taste.

That doesn't mean the script you didn't connect with wouldn't make a great movie. Just means it hasn't found it's audience. A script about a gang of hooligans who head out terrorizing suburbia on riding lawnmowers shot with a Pixelvision camera might not be your cup of tea, but if there's a big enough audience who wants to see that, it's a success. 

I've read several scripts now and have offered my reviews, but to be honest… unless I really liked the story, my feedback was likely useless for the writer. Those reviewing the screenplays on these sites are only doing it because they want to get their own script reviewed, thus the feedback might not be all that useful. Although, it is good to read scripts to see what works and what doesn't I suppose. Or, at least see why some scripts with good stories are so difficult to read so that you can fix the same problems you might have in your own screenplay.

The process of honing a script to hopefully sell is a bit futile for a script you want to make yourself,  but it may be very useful if for no other reason than to make sure you get to the point with your story and make the reading process as easy as possible. Again, if you're going to make the movie yourself and you are just hoping to give someone an idea what it's about to someone who might fund your project, your time is better spent honing a one-page and/or three-page synopsis.

There's a very respected online industry site called The Black List that will host your script for $25 a month and make it available for review to Hollywood types. You can pay an extra $50 to have your script read by a professional script reader and scored 1-10. However, if that script reader is having a bad day, or just does't dig your story and scores your script with less than an 8 out of 10, your script will not make the newsletter and has been effectively killed dead in it's tracks on that site by just one person.

Because there is so much content constantly being generated, the gatekeepers won't bother wasting time with anything other than the highest rated scripts in the newsletter. There's just too much stuff out there and if you don't get lucky with a high score on your first professional review, it's a waste of money to keep your script on this site. Also, there have not been any verified success stories made public. 

There's likely some potential at the Black List, but it's a gamble too. Let's say you pay for a script review and get a high rating. Then get a couple more high ratings and your average is an 8 out of 10. Then one person reads your script and thinks it's horrible, giving it a 2. Your script that was showing so much promise to get read by gatekeepers, has now been dropped to around a 6 rating and will be ignored. This site is worth watching though. If anyone figures out the best way to do it, it's going to be these folks. I got to chat one-on-one with the founder (Franklin) of the site/service, and he was very generous with his time and very forthcoming about what the site is and what it is not. He made no promises, but I felt his site might eventually be a good way to get quality material in front of the right eyes.

8. After you manage to pull together all the help you need, find the money, and eventually have a finished film, then comes the most difficult hoop to jump through of all... distribution. Getting the right people to see your film is a huge hurdle. Film festivals are expensive to participate in, and thats provided that you even get accepted in the first place. And, the sheer volume of films they generally allow into festivals makes it even more difficult to get anyone to see your film. Knowing that many of the buyers don't even pay that much attention to festivals is also discouraging. 

On the bright side, there are so many other new methods to self-distribute your movie online and by renting local theaters who can project your film digitally, that finding an audience is certainly doable if you've got a good story that's well executed. 

There's also a new service through Vimeo where you can offer your own movie for sale via video-on-demand similar to the way many view movies via iTunes, Hulu, and Netflix. This is brand new and means that there is essentially no gatekeeper to you getting your film out there and available via pay-per-view. Vimeo also lets the author keep 90% and they keep 10% after payment processing fees.

I also learned about something brand new called the "JOBS Act" where contributors can actually own a piece of equity in your film, but I didn't get any other details out that. Sounds very promising though.

9. Importance of your film's log line and to a less extent, it's title: Festival attendees are typically getting information overload. They aren't likely reading up on all the films showing. They are getting so many shiny postcards handed out on the street by all the film makers. These get barely more than a glance and then straight to the garbage or stuffed into bag or pocket with a couple dozen more or them. There are also tons of emails & blog posts about all the films you should see, etc. Add to all that, they're also trying to network in a fog of non-stop happy hours and parties. 

When they finally get to the decision making process of which films to see, they're skimming the log lines for the films that sound the most interesting. They'll also lean more toward documentaries because they figure a bad narrative film is just a waste of time... while with a bad doc might at least teach something you didn't know before.

So here's where I'm at... I'm confident I have a compelling story that I can consistently keep a varied audience's attention for the length of a feature-length film and that they'll feel rewarded by the end. What I don't know is if my written screenplay version of the story is compelling enough to secure funding or make a great movie that will generate that same feeling of satisfaction that the oral version does.

I'm confident that my visual skills would direct a film that would be a pleasure for a wide audience to view. But a film that only looks good and doesn't have a compelling story is still just a good-looking failure.

Finding a small group of talented people who already own great film making gear, and who would be thrilled to go on an adventure in Mexico shooting a guerilla-style feature film in Guanajuato, Mexico and in the peyote-rich desert of San Luis Potosí would not be that difficult. A talented crew could likely be found to work for no more than the cost of covering their travel expenses. This would get me partners with plenty of heart and desire to co-create, but wouldn't get me seasoned professionals with experience. "Pros" would have to be paid and would not likely be willing to make due with low-end gear. I can accept a creative crew with heart easily if I can't secure funds for professionals.

Getting at least 2 VERY talented actors who are still unknown enough and willing to be in an independent film for nothing more than their expenses paid, would be the real trick. 

I'm confident I could find the bare-bones funding via limited partners and crowd-funding, ie. Kickstarter or Indiegogo. I'm confident I could find the talent who would value the experience enough to be involved for no other compensation than their expenses covered, especially here in Austin, Texas. I'm confident my locations would offer a very high level of production value to the look of the film and that my visual direction would ensure that. I'm confident my story is good enough to enthrall a large enough audience for the length of a standard feature film. 

What I don't know if if the story I've written will be as successful holding attention for an hour and a half of screen time as my oral version has been proven to do.

Much to consider and digest. But right now, all I want to do is go shopping for new motorcycles and dream of the open road. ;)

Pepper/Mace Defense Spray Stocking Stuffers?!

Turns out Pepper/Mace Sprays CAN be checked

On my last trip in Mexico, I was unfortunately jumped by some fellow on the street late at night. Caught me by surprise and landed an nice punch squarely on my kisser. Don't worry ladies, I'm still pretty. ;)

Anyhow, there's nothing I could have done to prevent this and to be honest, I was really lucky that all I suffered was a little bit of swelling and temporary fear. After the stars cleared, the young fellow was still dancing there and throwing punches at me. I'm not an experienced fighter, nor was I carrying any weapon to defend myself. 

Luckily, the guy got spooked by some other folks approaching and took off, but it got me thinking about what I'd do if it happens ever again. My friend Ruth there in Puerto Vallarta, loaned me a small can of pepper spray for the week I was there. It was really nice to know that if I did need to defend myself, I had something right there in my pocket that could at least buy me some time. I'd thought about carrying a knife, but you have to get in close to use it and there are legal issues to contend with. That, and they might just take it away from you and make matters worse. 

With pepper or mace spray, you can nail them at a distance. It's easy to carry, etc. but others told me there's no way you're going to get one of those on a plane, and that you'd have to buy it when you get there.

I just checked the U.S. TSA checklist and you can in fact check "defense spray" in your luggage"

"Self Defense Sprays - One 4 ounce (118ml) container of mace or pepper spray is permitted in checked baggage provided it is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge. Self Defense Sprays containing more than 2% by mass of Tear Gas (CS or CN) are prohibited in Checked Baggage."

So, next time I travel you can bet my backpack will need to accommodate just one more item. :)

I don't know which product is most recommended, but I found these on Amazon that have good reviews, are inexpensive & appear to meet the TSA specs. If you know of one that's a better choice for travel and would be approved for checking in luggage by the TSA, please drop a link in the comments below.

Using your iPad and iPhone as Mini Soft Boxes

Macro Photography Lighting Tip!

Sometimes I like to switch it up and focus my photographic perspective at a macro level. This is something I do frequently to keep it fresh and force myself to "see" a given place more completely. 

One problem with doing macro photography is getting light in close. For low-light or studio type set-ups, it's particularly difficult. There have been postings about using your iPad or laptop as a miniature soft box light source and I've meant to try it. Until today, I hadn't got around to it until I read yet another article about using the iPad. 

After a quick search of iTunes, I found the popular app that folks appear to be using, but noticed this other app that ALSO works on your iPhone and allows you to connect and control one device from the other. Perfect! A portable, easy to use 2-light macro setup. 

I've got the app on my iPhone and iPad. So far it seems to work very well. Will take it for a spin and update this post later with sample images.

There are several apps that do this sort of thing in the iTunes app store, but I chose this Photo Light HD (Softbox) because it's a universal app that works with iPad and iPhone. It also was updated this year and the developer was quick to reply to my questions. 

Skip Hunt | Austin, Texas
kaleidoscopeofcolor.com + skiphuntphotography.com + skiphunt.carbonmade.com

Chia Tip

How To Get'm Down Nice & Easy 

While recently traveling in Mexico working on my Chupacabra story, a friend was raving about the benefits of Chia seeds. I asked, "you mean the same ones they use in Chia pets?" She confirmed they are the same and then referenced some indian runners, and a whole host of other health benefits. 

I figured since I was headed to the San Luis Potosi desert region known as Wikikuta to write and hang out with my old pal Mescalito, and since my diet in the desert tends to be pretty minimalistic, I decided to give them a try.

They're supposed to give you energy too, but I can't say that I experienced anything drastic, if at all. I didn't feel tired for the most part, so I guess that's something. Everything I've found on them has been positive and they're cheaper in Mexico, so I grabbed a couple hundred grams or so.

What to put them in or on was a question. You can sprinkle them on pretty much anything because they really don't have much flavor. They are high in Omega 3's, but not any more than eating a little salmon. Still, it's a convenient way to get some healthy stuff into your diet.

I'm told the Tarahumara indian runners mix them in water I believe, so that's what I was going to try. The trouble is, the Chia soaks up the water and forms this gel stuff. Not as gross as it sounds, but they also sort of all clump together into slimy, gel globs floating in water. It's not too tough to just drink them down, but they were also adhering to the sides of the plastic bottle I was using and just clung no matter how much I shook it up. 

By chance, I wondered if citric acid would help keep the chia gel globs from sticking together and make for a more uniform energy drink concoction. So I squeezed some limes into the mix and it worked perfectly! Not only that, anything with citrus works including orange juice. I mix a little sweetener in as well depending on which citrus form I'm using. So far, my favorite mix is sort of a pulpy lemonade. 

Again, I can't confirm any of the benefits of using Chia and they aren't cheap now that I'm back in Texas, but like I mentioned before... there doesn't seem to be anything but positive reports regarding their use and a little bit goes a long way. You just need to find a way to mix them up without them turning into gel globs, and citrus does just that. :)

If you're already discovered Chia and have other tips to share with me, drop a comment below!

Skip Hunt
Austin, Texas