Friday, March 14, 2014

While I'm waiting... (and waiting, and waiting...)

One of the reasons I haven't been around here much since last summer is how soul-grinding it's been not having work and trying to find it. The fact that the world can get along nicely without you and what happens to you doesn't really matter much is probably in the back of all of our minds but this kind of thing really brings it home. I'm not utterly depressed, but I can compare this, in a way, to having cancer and trying to find a cure. I keep firing off resumes and every so often I get an interview but nothing seems to work. I found work in December that put it into remission, as it were, but only till January when they came up with what I'm pretty sure is a bullshit reason to get rid of me. Frankly, I think they were just looking for someone with the requisite skills to get them over the hump. It was pretty crushing all around. But hey, that's not really what I wanted to talk about here. Sort of just preamble.

More preamble. Jim over at On the Road recently posted an entry in which he talked about how he writes his posts as they occur to them and in fact saves them up so that he can post regularly. It also means he has something to post at times when he really has nothing to say just at the moment. I think this is brilliant. I've tended to just blather here whenever something occurs to me, and then it's crickets for weeks or months. But I do actually have some things I could be posting every couple of days or so, at least for a while. I think I'm going to give that a try.

So. Heart of the matter time. I've been a subscriber to Adobe CS/CC for about two years now. This gives me access to most of their creative programs. I've known how to use Photoshop and Illustrator more or less low-level-expertly for nearly 20 years. But there are a lot of other programs. So while I sit here waiting for the phone to ring and hoping something finally gels for me before I'm in debt I'll never get out of and I've cannibalized my retirement savings, I'm keeping myself busy by learning new things. They probably won't help in my career, but they're keeping my mind active and trained to learn new things, and that probably will be key when... if... I land the next job.

I've been fooling with Premiere on and off for about ten years, but I've gotten more involved with it in the past couple years. I like being able to make fun little videos and it's exactly the kind of thing I wanted to do back when I was a teenager. But back then, working with audio was really all my friends and I could actually do. But now, for a few dollars a month, I have abilities at my fingertips you would have needed a half-million-dollar studio to achieve just 20 years ago.

The program that's really got me enthralled at the moment is After Effects. I've been aware of it since the 90s but it's always been a mystery to me. I've never been really clear... I'm still not... about just what exactly it can do. I understand most of the other programs, what they do, and how they do it. They're reasonably straightforward and you know going in what you're going to achieve. But After Effects is almost literally like having a magic box. You reach into it and you pull out some indescribable wonder that floats in the air. If you want to see what I mean, just go to YouTube and do a search on After Effects. I promise you, you will be amazed. There seems to be no end to the visual effects you can create with it. And so, a lot of my very, very free (in every sense of the word) time lately has been taken up with following tutorials on YouTube and pulling magic right out of thin air in AE. I've been using what I can do there as a springboard to presenting ideas and things that I find funny, mostly in the form of a little fake TV station I made up. Just about all the programs I know get used to make these things... elements come in from Audition, Photoshop, Illustrator, and AE, and typically get assembled in Premiere. So just for something to do, I think I'll start presenting some of what I've come up with here every couple of days.

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