For Gold, Peace, and Freedom


How to Make a Short Movie

October 31st, 2008

movie-production.jpgThis relatively long article (approximately 1,800 words) by Bozsi Rose deals with the various factors involved in making a short movie. As you can tell by reading through the article, there are many tasks that need to be done before you have a production that is viable for releasing to the public.

A “short movie” can be anything from a single shot posted on YouTube.com to a thirty minute high budget film. Filmmaking can be fun but it’s also stressful and demands a lot of hard work and energy. It takes a lot of time, talent, effort, and resources to make a short film. This article is full of tips to make the process easier and less stressful.

Step One: The Script

In order to get people to watch your movie, you have to give them something compelling to watch. Don’t film two people having a five minute conversation about their lame jobs. This isn’t a plot, it’s a conversation. Not to say some shorts can’t be conversation heavy, but a lot has to happen in a few lines of dialogue for it to be the basis of an entire movie.

Make sure you have clear and unique characters. Each character has to have a goal, and each goal has to be as singular as the character, but these goals can’t be easy to meet. You have to have obstacles, big ones. Make sure the stakes are high. It’s not enough to have a character in need of rent money, he has to already be late on the rent and one day from eviction and he can’t have any other place to go. He can’t just call someone for the money. No one can be in a position to give him a loan. He can’t get a cash advance through work. There can be no easy answers. Easy answers kill drama, and film is drama.

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Colorizing Black and White Images in Photoshop

October 30th, 2008

photoshop-tutorial.jpgThis article by Zoltan Gyalog is a Photoshop tutorial for how to add color to images that were originally in black and white. This process can be used to enhance old photos or for simply experimenting with what various images look like with different color profiles. Unfortunately, the resolution in the colorized image near the bottom of the article does not appear as sharp as it did in the original Word document that I received from the author; nevertheless, the basic process remains the same and the image quality can probably be improved with access to the proper tools.

A focal trait of Photoshop is the program’s inherent readiness to achieve a desired result in numerous ways. Colorizing and re-colorizing are robust aspects of image editing for which the software gives you a massive set of tools and options, but even the simplest of those will offer tremendous flexibility and predictability.

In this illustrated example, we will use a black and white photograph of silent movie star Louise Brooks, and will set her into a more colorful existence than the era’s technology could originally perpetuate her in.

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Book Review: Stop Clutter from Stealing Your Life

October 29th, 2008

stop-clutter.jpgThis article by Violet Nesdoly is a brief review of the book Stop Clutter From Stealing Your Life – Discover Why You Clutter and How You Can Stop authored by Mike Nelson. Although I have never really thought about it from such a perspective, the book seems to treat the topic of cluttering as some type of psychological disorder that involves deeper issues and can eventually be treated with a combination of therapy and introspection. Meanwhile, if you’re not that much of a hardcore clutterer and just want to clear up some space in your office, you can look at my previous article on How to Get Rid of Paper Clutter.

Stop Clutter from Stealing Your Life is not just another book about ways to pare down and organize your stuff. Author Mike Nelson states in his introduction, “This book is about more than just decluttering. It’s about balance … It’s about not having to buy more and more stuff to fill a hole in our souls. It’s about learning what’s really important in our lives and not using stuff to hide from life.”

In the twenty chapters that follow Nelson delivers on the promised insights. Using easy-to-understand prose and an encouraging voice he tackles topics like what is a clutterer, common traits of clutterers, reasons people clutter, medical and mental aspects of cluttering and hoarding, and more. He supports his prescriptions with numerous examples and stories, including his own.

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Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Home Based Business?

October 28th, 2008

home-based-business-mistakes.jpgStarting your own home based business can be one of the most exciting and rewarding things you have ever done, but it can also be fraught with hidden dangers and unforeseen obstacles. This article by Sadiyya Patel details four of the most common mistakes that home based business owners make as well as how to avoid them. Frankly, most of this seems like ho-hum common sense stuff, but as one forum poster put it, since common sense is often in short supply these days, perhaps someone actually does need to mention these things.

Mistake #1: Conducting Your Business In A Sloppy or Unprofessional Way

Working from home is no excuse for conducting your business in an unprofessional manner. The way you handle inquiries, customer service, your business operations, your promotional materials, and any written correspondence should be a reflection of the competent professional you are.

If you are haphazard or careless, you will quickly lose the respect of your customers and other business people that you work with. And soon enough, both your profits and your reputation will suffer.

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How To Do a Full Install of the Windows XP Upgrade on a New Hard Drive

October 27th, 2008

windows-xp-logo.jpgThis latest computer tutorial article by Barry Davidson explains how to install the Windows XP operating system on a new hard drive if you only have the upgrade CD. Although I have never had to do this myself, it appears to be a way of getting around the usual requirement of purchasing the full version. According to the article, this technique does require you to have a disc with an older version of Windows on it, however.

How many of you out there find yourself in a position where you have to install your operating system on a new hard drive, but only have the Windows XP Upgrade CD? Anyone who has bought an upgrade CD for their computer knows that during the installation process, the program will ask for a previous version of the operating system. Below are instructions on how to get around that.

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Search Query Sunday, 36th Edition

October 26th, 2008

search-traffic-statistics-36.jpgSearch engine traffic continues to increase, both in terms of unique visits and overall share, thanks in part to interest in Microsoft Office Word issues. Renewed interest in the national sales tax idea, possibly related to the upcoming presidential election, is also helping to drive higher traffic to a few of my older pages.

Meanwhile, people are continuing to find creative ways of dropping their cell phones in the water and then worrying about how to fix them. My wet cell phone repair page now has 14 comments, some of which are pretty funny to read. It seems that there is a certain segment of the population that considers cell phones to be an essential part of civilization and cannot imagine what life would be like without them. If I could find a relevant affiliate product or even create my own e-book on cell phone repair, I could probably make a few sales from it after I get the pages set up properly. But before I research this particular issue, we can take a look at some of the other topics that our searchers are asking about before arriving at this site.

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GlobalTestMarket Sends Out Newsletter, Satisfaction Survey

October 25th, 2008

Today we received the quarterly newsletter from GlobalTestMarket, a paid survey company that has turned out to be one of the better ones in the industry in terms of reliable payments and earning potential. Last week I deposited another $60 check from them, and I’ve already managed to accumulate more than half the points needed for another payout redemption. My previous article including payment proof can be found here.

Dear GlobalTestMarket members:

Thank you for your continued participation in GlobalTestMarket, the community where your opinions shape the development of the products and services you use. GlobalTestMarket is a truly global community, with members in nearly every country around the world. Keep reading this quarterly newsletter for the latest news and updates, survey tips, contest winners, and Garth’s latest tribulations at the Beijing Olympic Games. Also, be sure to fill out an important GlobalTestMarket member satisfaction survey (worth 50 MarketPoints!). The detailed feedback you provide us in this survey will help us continue to improve your experience as a member of the GlobalTestMarket community.

Best regards,

Gabriella McNabb

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Online Dictionaries: Much More Than Words and Meanings

October 24th, 2008

electronic-dictionary.jpgThis latest article by Anne Solomon is a discussion of online dictionaries, many of which have recently expanded well beyond the standard word + definition format of most traditional dictionaries. One of my favorites in this category is Answers.com, which seems to be a sort of information aggregator for words that includes Dictionary.com definitions, Wikipedia snippets, thesaurus suggestions, and entries from several other more specialized dictionaries depending on the specific word used for the query.

This particular resource is very handy for WordPress bloggers because it has been linked to our ‘Write Post’ interface through the use of the ‘lookup’ key. All we need to do is highlight any word in the text of a post that we are writing, press ‘lookup’, and the Answers.com page for that word will open up in a new window or tab. This little feature has contributed significantly to the educational experience of my blogging efforts and is definitely much faster than the old-fashioned method of using a paper journal and printed dictionary to write our daily entries.

Online dictionaries offer information and language resources galore as well as fun. They are indispensable tools for kids and students, the home and the workplace. No longer dry and weighty, dictionaries today are educational and entertainment hubs that are well worth visiting.

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Book Review: Oracle Night

October 23rd, 2008

oracle-night-review.jpgThis article by Phil Copple is a review of the book Oracle Night, a novel by Paul Auster that may be of interest to other authors because it explores issues relating to the writing process and the ways in which fictional writing in particular can actually affect us. If you would like to check out other reviews at Amazon.com or perhaps purchase the book, simply click on the cover image in the upper left of the page.

In Oracle Night Auster returns to a theme that fascinates him — that of writers and the process of writing. More than this, the book explores the questions of how and why to write, and how fiction can affect our lives.

Auster’s protagonist, Sidney Orr, was a struggling novelist before being struck down by an illness that should have taken his life. Despite the predictions of the doctors Orr survives, but is left a weakened shell of a man, barely able to leave his apartment. The novel starts several months into Orr’s recovery, when the reader is informed of his habit of taking small walks every day, walks which speed his recuperation. Whilst Orr still has his life, his ability to write has left him, meaning that his wife Grace is their sole provider.

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Clearing Your Web Browser Cache: When, Why, and How

October 22nd, 2008

clearing-browser-cache.jpgAlthough it is not something that the average computer user may think about, it is a good idea to know how to clear your browser’s cache should you want or need to do so. I have been in the habit of clearing my Firefox cache fairly frequently after I was unexpectedly tagged with a Trojan horse application that I traced back to a web page from a traffic exchange. My antivirus program caught it before any damage was done, but before I removed it I looked at the details and location of the Trojan in an attempt to figure out how it had slipped past me initially.

It turned out that the program was a small file that was simply sitting in my browser cache, having slipped in there from one of the web pages that I had surfed through from the traffic exchange. Clearing the cache removed the file instantly and subsequent virus scans came up clean. Meanwhile, this article by Anne Solomon explains what your cache actually does and provides instructions for how to clear it in the Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari browsers.

When you surf the Internet your web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari) makes a copy of the pages you visit and stores (caches) it on your hard drive. This means that it doesn’t have to download all the details every time you visit the page. For several reasons, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of occasionally clearing your cache, especially if you are not the sole user of your computer.

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MindField Online Introduces New Website Design

October 21st, 2008

mindfield-logo.jpgIt seems that this week is becoming a popular time for programs to redesign their websites. Not long after I discovered the new features at Amazon.com yesterday, I received an email from Mindfield Online about their new site design. The changes had already occurred by the time I received the message, so I clicked through to the site to see if anything was different. Although the logo seems to have remained the same, after logging into my account I noticed that the layout looks cleaner and better organized. The sidebar column has been moved from the left side to the right, and there are clearly marked links for editing profile information, checking which surveys you have completed recently, and cashing out your earnings. To find out more about the program, you can look at my previous Mindfield payment report and review article for a detailed explanation. Meanwhile, the official announcement from the company on the new design is posted below.

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