In which an author explodes in all directions at once.
 
I’ve been lamentably neglectful of this site since the last story went up, and so here is a brief update and philosphiae to keep the wheels turning (1).
 
Multimedia is big business these days (2). It’s a word thrown about like the wizards of Unseen University throw “quantum” as a catch-all term meaning that you don’t really have to understand it. However, I’m very, very proud to announce that Shadows of the Apt has gone Multimedia (4) (5). In this case I am very pleased to provide you with the first (6) instalment of the Shadows of the Apt soundtrack here , courtesy of the Entropic Philharmonic.
 
I’m also got to that stage where I’d like to open the doors a little for similar third party content. You’ve heard Joff’s music, and you’ve seen the art so far by David Mumford and Daisy Abbott. If any other artists out there fancy a crack at something Shadows-of-the-Aptish, then I’m open for submissions. Like Tony Hart, I won’t be able to return your pictures (7) (8), although as I’m also asking for submission via the (multimedia) wonders of the electronic mail. If you have a donation for the art page, then please send it to the cunningly encoded email address below:
 
theinsectman (  that squiggly thing called “at” ) googlemail ( and then a dot ) com
 
Which is a handy little anti-spam piece of business I’ve learned from my fellow fantasy bloggers, and which I’m sure won’t hold up long under the assault of the destructively innovative spam-legions.
 
So, what else can I multimedia you about?
 
Amateur film-makers.
 
The advent of the internet, and the fairly briad distribution of film schools compared to the fairly narrow distribution of film jobs, has given a growing body of people the ability to distribute amateur films. Not make, because people have been making small films since there were films, from home videos on up, but now you can grab yourself a website and actually get your material to an audience, using the global rumourmill of the internet to spread awareness of your creation.
 
And it’s wonderful. There are some specific examples of the film-maker’s art I’m going to point for you, but the process is truly wonderful. The internet has many evils, but it allows artist and audience a freedom of contact never before seen since the age when, well, artist and audience basically lived in the same cave. Some of the high-end amateur films are, in fact, very good indeed. Lovecraft fans should know that the  H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has produced a version of The Call of Cthulhu in the style of a 30’s silent movie, which awes and boggles the mind given the limited resources they had on hand (get the DVD and see the ‘making of’ to see to what extraordinary lengths they went to). In fact, given the generally lamentable quality of mythos films over the years, this stands as perhaps the best, certainly the most faithful, adaptation I’ve yet seen. Another very well known example of amateur film-making taking off is the populatiry of The Gamers, a role-playing games send-up by Dead Gentlemen Productions Now, watching the original, you’ll note that the sound is decidedly ropy, and the pacing has that odd stop-start often associated with amateur productions, but the piece is a work of genius despite all that, worth watching and re-watching, and it’s actually quite hard to find anyone in the gaming community who hasn’t seen it (10). An interesting sequel to this is, in fact, the sequel, recently distributed and extremely glossy and slick, with beaucoup de sponsorship and all manner of bells and whistles – because if you can become the In Thing over the internet, the people with money and influence will suddenly start to listen.
 
So, why am I babbling about amateur film-making?
 
Well…
It so happens that I’ve dipped a toe in that particular lake myself (11), once upon a time, and so I know just how much sheer work and ingeuity goes into getting a film even onto the internet – not just what you see, but the lights, the sound, the logistics, the music – and before the internet there was no ready way for this fountainhead of creativity to reach much of an audience at all. Oh, you could perhaps tout the thing around conventions, but however good it was, the physical difficulties of copying and distribution would be a millstone. These days someone with little kit and a bright idea can speak to the world.
 
(1) I’m amazed that a species that can design “prayer wheels”, ie. a hand-cranked mechanism that, effectively saves you the exhausting work of actually communicating to the divine yourself, has never designed “philosophy wheels”, a similar device that will ponder the infinite for you, so you can get on with everyday life. The nearest would be Adams’ electric monks from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
 
(2) inasmuch as anything is big business at the moment. Newspaper articles have rolled, in a snowball of hysterics, from comparisons with the 80’s recession to comparisons with the 30’s depression to a recent comparison with the collapse of the Mayan civilisation here. Looks like we’re well on track for the apocalypse in 2012 then (3), although not even the most outlandish central american doom-cult predicted armageddon by economist.
 
(3) In fact the actual end of the world is probably the only way the UK Olympics are going to out-do China.
 
(4) and also quantum, probably
 
(5) It’s like going nuclear, but with better special effects.
 
(6) and possibly last. As I’m not a composer it’s not really up to me.
 
(7) If you have no idea what I’m talking about then you’re too young, damn you.
 
(8) Whatever happened to Tony Hart? I picture him sitting, lonely and ragged as an aged lion, on a throne made entirely from glued-together pictures by 5-year-olds. Or is there a darker side? Did his envy at being overshadowed by the stop-motion antics of Morph lead him to set that fire? We shall never know (9)
 
(9) Unless you’re Mr Hart’s lawyers, in which the answer is unequivocably No.
 
(10) If you’re in the gaming community, and you haven’t seen it, then do your bit for increasing the factual accuracy of the website, and go watch.
 
(11) If you’ve scrolled this far down, then presumably you’re looking for the terrible truth. Well then: way back not so long ago, in fact, I hooked up with a chap called Paul Voight, and undertook some hamming for him for his Vort-X and Shock!Horror!Probe! imprints. Worse still I even tried my hand at writing and directing with Shadow Puppets. Now, I can’t say that the direction exactly went off without a hitch, but there’s a cracking fight towards the end, honestly. Paul is still filming, to my knowledge, for Vort-X and Shock!Horror!Probe!, so do go and pay his sites a visit and flick through the back-catalogue. Spot the author, why don’t you?
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