Categories
art creative writing fiction news opinion technology TV women writing

What revolution?


Fabric swatches on canvas with makeshift cardboard frames
Fabric swatches on canvas

The Netflix film, 365 Days, is not the worst film ever made. That distinction belongs to the threequel, The Next 365 Days. And this is according to journos who got paid to write nice things about it. The films are based on the series of novels by Polish author, Blanka Lipińska.

According to the Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon, stories like 365 Days serve an important purpose. They allow us to watch as the inversion of our values play out in real world scenarios. And as we watch the scenes play out, our tablet or TV screens shield us from the consequences.

Sketchbook doodle from Charlie Esposito

Now, I think that as we broadcast disapproval of fan-fiction hot sex, we are avoiding the real hot topics. We might tell ourselves that we are staying neutral on those issues. But there is no political fence, not really.

Based on my experiences on social media over the past year, these are some questions I feel like asking people I am meeting for the first time:

Are you all in on a multicultural society? Can same-sex couples get married if they want? Can people with wombs please get a prescription filled without a pharmacist asking them to pee on a stick so their religious rules are not broken?

Dr. Emily Porter finds that medical professionals doing their job is going to be very frustrating

Neutrality is a nice word that means we are scared of saying what we think in case someone screams in our faces. Being human is already a lot of work, which is why we elect public officials to help us out. Yet, we keep electing representatives who won’t let us get on with living. They create legislation on matters that should remain private; and drag their feet on issues that are in the public’s interest. This is precisely the reason why more of us are speaking out.

With all of that in the background, I now ask you to consider the artist’s work during times of struggle. One of the best things about being an artist is that we usually end up collaborating to start a movement. The movement is whatever we choose to call it. We make noise as a collective, and people pay attention to our message.

Medusa Marie is on Twitter. Follow her for more fabulous visual art.

Unfortunately, the creative space is most vulnerable to interference. Because we artists are living in a society filled with outrage, our worst enemy becomes what we think others want from us. Fear stifles our productivity. But if we don’t make things, we cannot refine our process and become better artists.

Artists are people with feelings, and this makes us easy targets. And people use their own reactions to our relatively benign creations as an excuse to avoid the draft.

If you are a hobbyist critic, should you pack up and leave? Not so fast. There is still time to get some real work done.

Find balance in everything you do. drawing of stones balanced on top of each other.
“Find balance in everything you do” Artwork by MHBB via Twitter

Here are some people who will benefit from your support: Women, children, minority ethnic groups, refugees, the homeless, the starving, the physically challenged, the mentally unwell, recovering addicts and the orphaned. Dial up your voice to the usual strength. Vote for representatives who can help. Keep writing letters to them until they mobilise resources to alleviate pain and suffering.

Fairies are real and help us achieve our dreams as we sleep. AI assisted digital painting by Simply Veronica.
Fairies are real and assist us in our dreams – artwork by Simply Veronica

The revolution calls you to the draft. There is no need to burn your old scripts. Find a new cause, make some edits, and read them again. You might need a change of costume. Maybe a haircut. Or perhaps a 15-minute session on IG Live will get the ball rolling. The energy expenditure will leave you exhausted and restless. But soon enough, someone will hear you. And then, they will listen.

Good luck out there.

❤️

Postscript: Big shout outs to my lovely friends, Charlie Esposito, Medusa Marie, MHBB, and Simply Veronica. Thank you very much for responding to that last-minute request. Keep inspiring everyone with your activism and hard work.

Categories
art creative writing fiction women writing

The Lotus (Short film): Meet Australian filmmaker Bernadette Walsh

The Lotus: Short film by Bernadette Walsh

Thank you for viewing The Lotus, a short film by Australian filmmaker, Bernadette Walsh. It has been a while since the last short film Friday. When I caught up with Bernadette in Twitter Spaces the other night, I knew her activism would resonate well with you. Read on as she opens a window into her project.

The Lotus: Behind the scenes with director Bernadette Walsh

My name is Bernadette Walsh and I wrote and directed the short film, The Lotus. The film tells the mythical story of a brother and sister who were rescued from the darkest of places, and given a future with hope. I wrote the story in 2019, because I was inspired by the work of Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, an NGO based in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Bernadette Walsh and her sister, Kate Walsh

The Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation was founded by Australian philanthropist Michael Brosowski in 2004, when he saw the need to rescue children from exploitation by labour and sex traffickers. Michael founded the NGO to provide these children with the care and support they would need to help rebuild their lives. In 2020, Blue Dragon rescued the 1,000th survivor of human trafficking. Today Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation is still working with over 10,000 children and youth from around Vietnam.

Transforming the lives of children who were trafficked is hard work. And I knew that I wanted to support the NGO in any way I could. Working together with Blue Dragon, I raised funds through the Australian crowdfunding platform, Pozible, to make my film project a reality. My family and friends also chipped in to offer support.

The Lotus was brought to life by sand animation artist, Kseniya Simonova who rose to prominence in 2009, after winning Ukraine’s Got Talent 2009. Ten years later, she participated in The Champion on America’s got Talent. And on Britain’s Got Talent, she was the only act to receive two Golden Buzzers. Kseniya is an extraordinary artist who brings to life moving stories through incredible sand art. Having previously seen her work online, she immediately came to mind as the person who could breathe life into the story.

Sand art by Kseniya Simonova

The other wonderful, creative and talented people working on The Lotus included fine artist Kate Walsh, who created the storyboard visuals for Kseniya. The original music was created by Australian film composer, Robert John Sedky. And as the narrator, my 11-year-old son, Michael, was happy to offer his voice.

I enjoy testing new narrative styles in storytelling. This is why my next film project, Navigating a Pandemic will be testing more boundaries. For this project, I will be using artificial intelligent software to animate pandemic-related data into a 3D pigmented sculpture. I am fortunate to have the support of a high-performance computer company, which is supplying me with the computing power I need to render the project.

Kseniya Simonova meeting with King Jigme of Bhutan

Next stop? Raising funds to produce the project, and I will do that via the sale of non-fungible tokens. For me, token sales to multiple buyers works in the same way as traditional fundraising platforms. Supporters will be funding the project with the proceeds of their crypto investments. In the meantime, I am working to focus my fundraising activities within the community of crypto investors. The possibilities are both exciting and daunting. Wish me luck.

The Lotus has received the following awards:

  • Special Jury Animation Award at the Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles (Oct 2019)
  • Finalist at the Rome Independent Prisma Awards (March 2020)
  • Award of Merit at Best Shorts Festival in California (Apr 2020)
  • Finalist Mescalito Biopic Fes (Nov 2020)
  • Finalist JellyFEST Season 6 (Feb 2021)
  • Humanitarian Award at the Best Shorts Competition 2020 (2020)

Follow us on social media:

Categories
celebrity creative writing entrepreneurs men news writing

Curtis Richardson: Rihanna’s multi-platinum music producer chats with Charles Myambo


Happy Saturday, everyone. In this post, you will meet the multiplatinum music producer Curtis Richardson, who has written songs with Jennifer Lopez, produced music for Rihanna, and worked with David Guetta, Tiësto and John Legend. He is speaking with the fabulous celebrity interviewer, Charles Myambo.

How was it working with Jennifer Lopez?

Well, I first started working with Jennifer Lopez before she was mainstream. She came at a time where the world was itching for a breakout Latina star. At the time, its safe to say that Jennifer Lopez was a pioneer, not only in the US, but also around the world. To date, she is one of the biggest stars worldwide, but it was not always this way. Jennifer was extremely hardworking and determined when I first started working with her. She had a day job and needed to balance that with recording music. Combine all that with the pressure of being a Latina entertainer during a time where not many like her were global superstars, and you can see how Jennifer Lopez was a pioneer. To this day, she is one of my favourite artists to work with. 

Curtis Richardson

What are your thoughts on musicians becoming huge without the help of a record label?

You have to understand that record labels are like machines when it comes to artist promotion. The top tier record labels are exceptional at branding artists and giving them exposure to a global audience. If your question is whether artists can be filthy rich without record labels, then the answer is definitely yes. ChanceThaRapper for instance, is independent and extremely well-off. However, if your question is whether an artist can become as big as Nicki Minaj or Drake without a record label, then I have to say no. Not impossible but it is extremely difficult.

The room on Clubhouse

What tough-love advice would you have for aspiring musicians today?

It’s not easy. The music industry is very much cutthroat. You can gain or lose relevance so quickly. The volatility of music fans is simply astonishing and without careful planning and strategy, almost any artist can start becoming irrelevent very quickly. Obviously, you have your Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, and JLo, who are household names globally and they are unlikely to ever become irrelevant. However, that’s part of the issue.

Fight about it

We have young artists who try and mimic exactly what these huge stars are doing while failing to understand that it took years for those superstars to be able to produce one album without promoting it on Instagram and it becomes a hit. Today’s artists need to understand that the music game costs money, requires time and effort, demands creativity, and also social media platforms such as TikTok and Facebook to promote upcoming tracks. Artists also have to be willing to adapt to trend changes in order to become relevant and perhaps even one day become the trendsetters.

If you don’t feel like quitting, your dream isn’t big enough

Do you feel like a celebrity?

No not really. Never feel too comfortable. You can always achieve more. Pride is the enemy of progress.

What was the most difficult part about the pandemic for you?

I love travelling, and I couldn’t travel as much as I really wanted.

It’s not that deep, baby

What is one major thing still left on your checkbox?

I’d love to travel more. I’d like to explore more of the world than I have already. Gain more new perspectives through learning about different cultures, music, ethnicities and heritage. 

👀

Thank you for reading this interview, which was provided by Charles Myambo. Follow him on Instagram. Charles is an actuarial scientist by day. And by night, he is founder of the celebrity networking community, Team Smooth. Since 2019, he has worked with hundreds of celebrities from all over the world. Team Smooth has a vision of presenting the community outreach of celebrities and some of the world’s most notable names and brands. Their mission is to spark positive change in the world by bringing awareness to worthy causes and communities.

Categories
art creative writing science fiction technology women writing

A gift of birth (W I P)

Floral montage with fabric swatches on canvas

A work in progress. Still drafting the story, even though I am about six months behind in writing. The best part is that this delay has allowed me to rethink the story I am trying to tell, and build more rounded characters.

In mid-January, I drafted two scenes to show faith intersecting science and politics. This is an important theme in the story because the politics are influenced by a religious doctrine. Blending them will be interesting, because I do not plan to make anything obvious. In this untitled scene, the science is explained in a conversation between two government officials.

Fabric swatches and acrylic on canvas

“That was their colossal cock up,” shouted the health minister. The minister was not inside his study, so Sebastian was talking to an empty desk this afternoon. The health minister was speaking from a different room, and he was shouting even though his voice was transmitted over voice activated smart mics in his home.

“Sir,” replied Sebastian, “Treasury does not have jurisdiction over private medical cases.”

“You can revoke their funding,” was the minister’s surly response.

“True, but taking away funding from medical research into fertility treatment would be tantamount to a human rights violation,” said a smirking Sebastian. He was rather pleased with himself. “And may I remind you that overseas investors are plugging large amounts of cash into the research and development?”

“Money, money, money,” said the health minister. “She is suing me for lack of oversight. Me, personally. The research shows that uterine cells never generate fetal tissues even when exposed to a massive cocktail of hormones.”

“It was an act of God,” said Sebastian. He was laughing silently because he knew the statement would annoy his colleague. He stopped laughing and raised an eyebrow because he wondered if the health minister could see his face on a monitor somewhere.

Collage elements, fabric swatches and acrylic on canvas

“An outdated notion,” was the swift correction from the health minister’s voice.

Sebastian rolled his eyes, slightly relieved that his mocking behaviour had not been noticed.

He said, “She is with the Congregation, so those notions are alive and well. And support, across the world, has been universally positive. Also, remember that this is a giant leap forward for fertility research. The value of stock portfolios of biotech investors have skyrocketed. Absolutely everyone loves her.”

“Fine,” replied the health minister. “She is raising her daughter, and enjoying sainthood, but why is she suing me … and the government for the near fatal heart attack she suffered minutes after giving birth? I feel sorry that she had to go through that, but the same technology reprinted her blood vessels that were damaged. She is alive because of us and is suing us? Yet, everyone believes her actions are justified. Especially after that fiction!”

“Creative non-fiction, sir,” corrected Sebastian. He glanced over on his screen to review the article published in the National Gazette, in which the woman recounted the experience of giving birth to a girl less than a year after male-to-female gender reassignment surgery. Bloating, swelling and discomfort were normal after these procedures. She and her doctors did not know she was pregnant and there were no sperm or egg donors. Her doctors guessed that because of the hormone protocol she received, some of the cells in her ovaries had changed to reproductive cells. After exhaustive tests, they concluded that the most likely explanation was that one of the cells moved to her uterus and started dividing spontaneously. The hormone protocol facilitated the pregnancy, and the fetus was delivered at the six month mark.

Sebastian looked at the highlighted text of an email which was opened in another window on his screen. His cousin, Gala of Vale, was the first person he contacted when the health minister asked him for a meeting. She had replied to him with a voice message. Reading the transcription, he saw that it had everything he needed.

“Technically,” Sebsastian continued, “she cloned herself but this not a flaw in the medicine. She is reproducing, which is, biologically, what her body is supposed to do. Ask your team to focus on that argument and petition the tribunal to force a settlement on those grounds. But while you do that, tread softly. Her story is about family, faith, and the belief in miracles. Something that is lost in our world. People like hoping for things. We shouldn’t try to take it away from them.”

Paper collage with 3D elements

“All right,” replied the health minister with a sigh. “And what can I do?”

“Hire her as a special health advocate,” answered Sebastian.

“Even though she’s suing me,” retorted the health minister.

“Yes. Exactly,” replied Sebastian. He glanced over at the rest of the notes from his cousin. “And for the settlement negotiations, you personally offer money and resources only if she agrees to set up a foundation. Ask the Congregation to join the negotiations as an appropriate third party. As health minister, you will appoint an advisory board to represent the Congregation and the biotech industry. Instead of fighting her at a tribunal, we should help her to build a platform and set an agenda for the next three decades.”

“All right, Sebs. I am going to get legal on the phone, and I want another meeting with all of you before dinnertime today.”

“Yes, minister. We will see each other then.”

Categories
art creative writing opinion technology women writing

A loving me thing: 8 steps to an Instagram turnaround

Hello everyone. This is a followup to my post last year when I realised why IG was sending me followers though I did barely anything. As opposed to the year before. At that time, I reached 300 followers even as I posted infrequently, and used zero hashtags. Shortly after publishing that post, I reached 500 followers.

I have since that point started using hashtags. I also hid reels and archived posts to create a tight, focused grid. At some point, I will take down most of my current grid so I can keep the focus on installations of my artwork.

My Instagram account is attached to Clubhouse (and Spotify Greenroom). Quite a few of my early follows were coming from there because I participated in room discussions. I was also asking people in Twitter Spaces to join me on Clubhouse, and they found me on Instagram as well.

A few weeks ago, I was discussing the above results with a friend, and I came to understand that by posting to my Story daily, I was creating space for Instagram to place ads between accounts. People are used to tapping on the right side of their screens to see new stories, and that gives 5-second ads a place to breathe. I believe that my steady gain of followers daily had something to do with that. In other words, Story is where active accounts thrive, and you raise the likelihood of IG recommending your accounts to people interested in your niche.

By the end of 2021, (CH/Twitter) collaborations with some larger accounts were also boosting my account. Accounts with massive followings were talking about our collabs on Clubhouse and they reposted my stories (about them) to their stories. I have also been mentioned in their IG Live broadcasts. Remember that I am using IG for business and these were my goals all along.

Step by step, let’s review the method I used, with an updated set of 8 enhancements. These are also low effort and consistently applied, with focus on the Story feature.

  1. Share the work of other artists
    First, do for others. Instead of scrolling, think about whether you would like to share a post in your Story. I recommend that you share posts to Story if (a) the account supports you or (b) if the account is somewhat popular. In the latter case, a story mention (using the mention tag) ensures that you stand out in their notifications.
  2. Keep it up in messages
    Socialise via text and voice messages. The more time you spend sharing accounts in a meaningful way, the more you find yourself receiving kind notes from creators in your messages. And sooner or later, you will feel like you’re talking to your friends. Follow up by explaining why you like their work. Be interested in their methods or techniques, and ask them what other projects they are working on.
  3. Follow and share accounts that look like yours
    If an account is doing work that you want to do and it is not too big (over 100K followers), you should try to show that you have something in common. Show your followers that your ideas have been brought to light by another creator. Use the text or drawing feature in notes to make it obvious why you like the post you’re sharing. Be adventurous and you will find support.
  4. Pay attention to accounts with great content and few comments
    When a new post bubbles into view, look for comments first. Then, if this account is familiar to you and you know they will respond, leave a comment. Comments are precious, so offer them generously and try to keep them light and positive.
  5. Check stories and comments
    Quite a few popular creators schedule their posts and no matter how amazing your comment is, they (or their team) might never see it. One way to make sure that an account is active is to look at their Story. Active accounts may be more willing to engage with yours, and this is what you want.
  6. FL!RT
    This is the one time when I will advocate making the first approach. On the account of a popular creative (artist/writer) in your niche, look at comments on their most recent post. Did the post author reply to comments? If not, among the replies, look for accounts that engage with their followers. Come back to the post and reply to their comment. Then, heart some posts on their account, and wait.
  7. Mute
    There are accounts that produce amazing work, but a swath of posts down your timeline two days in a row is no bueno. Mute the account so you can see other posts. Or, if you feel so-so about a single post, hide the post so Instagram doesn’t keep showing more of what you don’t want. You can always see other posts from the account later.
  8. Unfollow
    What’s it like when you notice a live broadcast or a post that seems out of left field? It pays to do regular checks of accounts that you are following. Use the “most/least interacted with” feature in Instagram to check for accounts that are far outside your interests. First and foremost, focus your attention on accounts actively supporting you. From there, branch out with confidence, and bring new friends with similar interests into your fold.

Thank you for reading this post. I imagine you might realise that a low effort method of using social media takes … effort. Overnight, you could have great results, but that’s because you were consistent in the past. None of these methods require you to spend a whole day scrolling. Based on what I have shared so far, create a plan that fits comfortably with your needs and objectives. Never give up on your dreams, the saying goes, but you should be prepared to work for them. Best of luck.

Categories
art fiction women writing

Thirsty Girl

I am waiting to hear more words. Certainly, she had a working vocabulary and used them to acquire her fancy credentials. Over fifteen thousand followers on social media as a filmmaker, public speaker, and academic who barely speaks. What was her magic formula? I needed to retrieve that algorithm and save myself hours socialising online each week.

I had never heard her speak in more than three full sentences in the two months that I had known her. In my memory, her voice is a deep vocal fry of utterances that I cannot spell out. My brain is trying to make sense of what sounds like a guttural “ghehaaaaa” strummed on a loose D string.

A split second after I decided to leave the space, I noticed a name floating below an avatar. I hopped back in immediately because a few days earlier, she had told me and sixty others that he was her boyfriend. Actually, all she said was, “Lyyyyyyyke, uhhhhm … weeee … him … aaaah.” We grasped the situation when he said, “She’s the wife.”

Scrolling through his media folder, I soon discovered that he was a blond dude bro covered in tattoos. He looked young enough to be her son. He had an alien face for a head, which was fine, but the croaking sounds he was making left me wondering how their relationship got started in the first place.

“… was supposed to fly out to see her this Thursday, but the sex dungeon is closed,” I heard him wailing to the host.

“I didn’t saaaaay you couldn’t caaaaaahm,” she fried, nasally. That was the second full sentence I had ever heard from her.

I waited to hear more words but I gave up and left after fifteen excruciating minutes of silence punctuated by croaking sounds and vocal fries.

“Ribbit!”

“Hyhhaaaaahh.”

The next morning, I learned why a cohost’s microphone was muted. I read his messages to her in the screen capture she sent me, and I understood that he was doing something with his dominant hand.

“No,” I thought. “How was that possible while her boyfriend was sat there talking to them?” But before I could ask any more questions, she sent me a fresh message.

“Holy shit,” it read, “That hot guy you were talking to the other night? His body is like wow. He’s in a room with me now.”

“You should say hello,” I offered. I was still somewhat confused. And I would learn later that the hot guy was married and that his wife was newly pregnant.

“Oh, I already messaged him,” read her smug response. And I was gobsmacked. But what else should I expect from a thirsty girl?

Categories
art opinion poetry technology women writing

Octophina: Life and the art of healing

Fine artist Octophina

Not every artist’s origin story begins with the artist falling unconscious to the floor. But mine does. My name is Sophie. I am a Bulgarian mixed media abstract artist, TEDx speaker, and mental health advocate. Until I turned 32, I was an artist in denial. And I say that because I never had the courage to admit that I wanted to make art.

Octophina is on Twitter

After a very challenging period in my life, creating art helped me sculpt a new self-identity. I was also able to redesign my reality. The process saved me, and every day, I share my story with others to help them find their true calling.

I call myself Octophina because I’ve always felt like a human octopus, who like a real octopus, has at least three hearts and nine brains. Art helps me to use my “bugs” as features. This way of thinking enables me to see every challenge as an opportunity to grow. My path to becoming an artist was an unexpected journey of healing through inner exploration.

If my life had a prequel, it would be my corporate background as a trained journalist specialising in graphic design, PR, and IT. I was also a prominent international food blogger, a certified Mind Body Eating coach and founder of a social enterprise. And yet, despite everything I achieved, I struggled with depression for over a decade. Navigating the world through this brain has been a weird experience. Today, I capture all of that in my art.

In recent years, after numerous traumatic events, including the pandemic destroying my business and leaving me broke, moving alone to a new country to restart my life at 31, and my mom getting diagnosed with breast cancer, I was emotionally, physically, and psychologically drained.

On May 8, 2021, I fainted in my kitchen and when I woke up, I felt completely apathetic about the projects and initiatives I had been passionate about for years. It was as though my entire identity had been wiped out. Over the next four months, I was trapped in major depression. And it was difficult for me to articulate what I was experiencing internally. I felt terrified.

My therapist encouraged me to start making art to clear my mental cache, improve my emotional metabolism, and practice self-care. Today, almost six months later, we are working on a start-up which will merge psychotherapy, art, and blockchain technology. We started this business to help people improve their mental health and financial well-being.

Follow Octophina’s journey on Instagram

In celebration of this resurrection of life, presence and hope for the future, I launched a collection of NFTs on Open Sea called Pain to Power. This is a constellation of reflective artwork I created between November and December 2021. The date of the release is January 19, 2022, is the date my mom got her breast cancer diagnosis last year. After almost a year in hell, my mom recovered completely and is doing well. Sharing my transformational healing art with the world on the anniversary of her diagnosis is for me a celebration of resilience, which is what makes the human experience special.

Art has helped me discover my identity outside of social conditioning, peer pressure, and others’ expectations. As I create art, I am healing emotional wounds and building a healthy sense of self-worth. I invite you to stay with me on this journey.

Outro
Happy Friday, everyone. Thank you for reading Sophie’s story. We are five days away from her genesis drop (first collection of NFT art) on Open Sea. Let us send her our best wishes for the sale of her collection. In the meantime, why don’t you go ahead and visit her website, then follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Medium. She is looking forward to sharing her adventures in art and life with you.

Categories
art science fiction TV women writing

Sailor Song (Music video)

Marinda Botha and Frankie Beagle collaborate for “Sailor Song”

Sailor Song
The music video Sailor Song was a collaboration between me and musician Frankie Beagle. Sailor Song includes paper cut-out puppetry, one of the many artforms I like to create work with. Even though I co-produced and directed this music video, it took a whole team to create this project and I am so very proud of that.

Marinda Botha
I have been writing poetry since I was a teenager and I dabbled in photography, too. I studied to become an actress, and moved to London where I lived and worked for 8 years before returning to my home country, South Africa. During my drama studies, I was introduced to puppetry and there, I fell in love with the medium. On both continents, I have worked with numerous genres of puppetry, but my first love is for wooden marionettes. Perhaps, as a result, I have found myself in daily life observing people and catching small gestures they do, the way a person flicks a hand, a transfer weight, tilt a head, fascinating to watch.

For the past 20 years or so, I have also been a voice over artist, working with studios in London, while in the UK, and now from my home studio in South Africa. If I had to condense what I am about, what my art, I would say:

  1. I believe in the power of words, in transporting people to other forms of existence and worlds through the use of that age-old artform: storytelling.
  2. I believe that our lives and identities are shaped by the tales we absorb and tell. It is what we come to believe.
  3. I love movement. In another life I want to be a contemporary dancer, say nothing and just move).
  4. I trained as a mime artist in London and still love that form of performance so very much, but everyone hates a mime, right?
  5. I love animation and the delicacy of that medium.
Marinda talks about her upcoming NFT project

I am new to the NFT community but will be launching numerous projects in the next couple of weeks. My spoken word audio art can be found at Foundation and I will be dropping video poetry soon, too. Please follow me on Twitter for updates.

Website: Marinda Botha
LinkedIn: Marinda Botha
Spoken word poetry NFTs: Foundation App
Twitter: Marinda ETH
Udemy: Marinda Botha voice trainer

Sailor Song full credits:
Vocals and guitar – Frankie Beagle. Backing vocals, keyboard and beats – David Driver. Upright bass – Brendan Ou Tim. Saw and percussion by Frankie Beagle. Recorded at The Cooler. Produced and written by Frankie Beagle.

Video credtis:
Puppetry / Director / Producer – Marinda Botha
Co-Producer / Director – Frances Charlton
Director of Photography / Editor – Karien Mulder
Lighting – Damon Berry and Tammy Reid
Cinematography – Nicole Olwagen, Celeste Muller and Karien Mulder
Continuity & Gaffer – Liani Lombaard
Puppeteers – Franqi van Niekerk & Anri Wessels
Make-up – Yowyn du Plooy
Stills – Mark Straw, Nicole Olwagen and Celeste Muller
Concept design – Marinda Botha and Frankie Beagle

Marinda is a voice actor on the feature film, Alien Rescue

Thank you for viewing this post and getting to know this talented artist, whose voice is featured in studio film productions. How exciting it is to meet someone who is dedicated to their craft. Please follow her on Twitter. I have seen sneak peeks of the poetry videos and I have to say that they were stunning. Marinda has agreed to let me feature her work here in future, so please stay tuned.

In next week’s post, we will meet filmmaker, photographer and diversity activist Brissa Marina Page. Stay good until we meet again.

Categories
men news opinion People TV writing

On Leaving (Short film)

On Leaving is a short film by Sagar Kapoor (India)

On Leaving (07:45) is a documentary short by Indian filmmaker, Sagar Kapoor.

Synopsis
Lockdown in India had just started to be lifted, however, due to job loss, increasing COVID19 cases, and other circumstances, the narrator is forced to vacate his rented room. This short film tries to express the feeling of the narrator visiting his room for one last time and how spaces can be personal and important parts of our lives.

Bio
Sagar Kapoor is a filmmaker from India and he grew up in Lucknow, a city known for its delicious cuisine, history, art, and culture. At La Martniere College, he was first introduced to the world of art and photography. Today, he works as a independent filmmaker and illustrator. His documentary films are introspective and empathetic, as they focus on our relationship with the environment. In his free time, he loves to read, write, travel, and cook. 

His upcoming projects are: 
1. Eating clouds, a documentary on a local delicacy from Lucknow.
2. On Death a City; how the uniqueness of a city dies with time and our need for modern infrastructure.

Follow Sagar Kapoor on social media:

Instagram
YouTube
Twitter

How many of you have friends who make films? Well, you have one now. And you will make another filmmaker friend next week. On October 22, 2021, drop by and greet South African poet, voice actor, and performance artist, Marinda Botha. Stay tuned as I feature more filmmakers and creatives over the next few weeks.

Categories
art artificial intelligence technology women writing

Voices from the Metaverse: Thailand’s NFT Community

An imaginative Wednesday cocktail from Z1MPLEX

Greetings, Earthlings. We are back with more art and photography from six of my friends and colleagues in the Metaverse. This post also introduces one of the most organised groups of creators online: The Thai NFT Community. There are many Thai artists on Twitter, and an uncountable number of fascinating projects to enjoy. My timeline speeds by, so I thought it would be best to slow things down and get to know them better.

And as always, please be good enough to follow them on Twitter, where you can see their beautiful artwork in your timeline.

Isreyah Pradabvate
I am a Thai NFT creator and I believe in making this world a better place. If you want that too, please support my artwork because it allows me to give back to communities where I actively engage. My favourite causes are: a positive outlook; sustainability; small community outreach; children’s rights. I use my artwork to deliver messages of support and help those in need.

This sold out project I am sharing with you is called, “My Other Half”. And it is a 1/1 token which I created with my dear friend, 100Acre. She is featured later in this post.

SOLD OUT: My other half project by Isreyah and 100Acre

The story goes, we have a crush on one guy but it will never come true because he is not real. How did we sell this project when there were two creators? We both wanted to be with our darling. Well, we split the illustration into two pieces and named them, “My Other Half”.

The Japanese text on our darling’s chest means “Stay together forever”. Our supporter, astrophotographer Amit Exploring Night Sky, purchased these two tokens without hesitation. He told me that they reminded him of the pendant he gave to his former girlfriend, who is now his wife.

Each half was priced at 0.036 ETH (US $125.76) and we came up with the price because 18 x 2 = 36. The number 18 is a sacred number for longevity in Japanese culture. And guess what? Our collector’s birthday is on the 18th. This felt like a miracle, indeed.

And would you believe that the magic happened during Lily Nicole’s Twitter Space? She drew together beautiful people, energy, and friends to meet there. I feel moved and I appreciate so much how my art could recall the innocent memory of a beautiful couple through my soul sister’s Twitter Space. It goes without saying that our other half doesn’t have to be our dream prince but rather, a bond of sisterhood and friendship, even from afar.

You can follow me on Twitter and stay updated on my work. You may also purchase my non-fungible tokens on the Open Sea platform.

Student of Universe/STU NFT
This is Pete from Student of the Universe NFT Collection project, also called STU NFT. I would like to share with you the story of this community project. I started my NFT journey as a collector around March this year.

In the Thai NFT community, I discovered a lot of amazing NFT art projects. But after I collected and flipped (relisted and sold for a profit) tokens for a while, I felt that I wanted to be part of something bigger. Something that could inspire and change the world in wonderful way.

At that time, Thai artists were not adding utility to their NFT projects. However, I soon found one perfect project that I loved. After collecting a lot of artwork from it, I talked to the artist and found out that we had a lot in common. As a result, we launched a partnership, created a road map of our project, and spun this universe into existence.

Students of the Universe NFT Collection

This is how the Student of the Universe NFT project was born. Our Discord channel was built from August 15, and we launched the collection on Twitter shortly after that.

Here are the core values we plan to put into our project: Deliver great art, create a community of learning, and deliver valuable utilities. I am proud to say that we now have 123 tokens for collectors. View our collection here on Open Sea. And keep up with us on Twitter. We are waiting to meet you.

Jehn’s Bloom
My preferred name online is Jehn. I am a writer, fine artist, and amateur photographer from Thailand. I cherish fragility, gender spectrum inclusion, and divine creation. And I do art based on this concept: ‘Of flower, love and queers’.

I use soft pastels on Indian handcrafted paper and my 10 fingers as a blending tool. These are only the specific combinations which I use. And this is what I do to create a unique effect, which you may have already noticed. Follow me on Twitter and get to know me and my friends.

Z1MPLEX NFT Lab
Hello, I am Zimplex, a mixology cocktail bar owner from Thailand. In my home country, I am known for creating visually stunning cocktail shooters using spirits, liqueurs and syrups. In other words, I love to create artwork in shot glasses.

These drinks have been subsequently visualised into unique and physical generative NFTs. For my main project, I remove the shot glass from each photo by using a retouching tool, and then I let the solid form of cream liqueur stand out.

These are then transformed into mirror-image artwork and video installations like the one embedded below. And, there is my side project, ‘Shooter Monsters’, which is a problem/solution project for those wondering how my cocktails look before I turn them into artwork.

For more delicious drinks, visit me at my bar in Thailand, or follow me on Twitter for updates.

100 Acre
Hello, I am known as 100 Acre in the NFT community, and I am Ploy’s collaborator in our project, “My Other Half”. She was featured at the top of this post. I would like to share my project, 100 Acre Kindergarten, along with some artwork from the collection.

My primary inspiration is my artist alias, 100 Acre, which refers to Winnie the Pooh’s 100 acre wood. The 100 Acre Kindergarten collection is similar to a collection of children’s stories. It was created to be a place where I, as well as those who view my work, can unwind and enjoy life as we did when we were children.

Each token in this collection introduces a new character of an animal universe, with their own personalities and backstories. When the project is complete, there will be 100 characters in total, with 85 being common, 10 being special (coastal area kids), and 5 being rare (parallel world kids).

Thank you for viewing my work. Find me on Twitter where I hope you will also become part of our 100 Acre world.

Go2Skull
My name is Wake and I am known as go2skull on Twitter. (My name is pronounced ‘go to school’). The story behind my project is that if you see someone looking for a way forward, and they are in the dark, be a light for them. The Fairy Tales in Postmodern Era project is a retelling of classic fairy tales from the perspective of social activist movements in my country.

Fairytales in the Postmodern era by Go2Skull

I got this concept from my full-time job. I am a teacher in Thailand. I have witnessed efforts there related to student activism in areas such as children’s rights, human rights, bullying, racism and sexism. So I would like to participate by helping to reflect their struggles. My artwork gives me a way to do that. Until wrongs are made right, I will continue on this journey.

¯_( ͡❛ ͜ʖ ͡❛)_/¯

And with that powerful message from Wake, we are at the end of this curated post. I was amazed to discover that some artists are also social activists and community organisers. Isreyah and Pete, thanks for helping to set this up.

There is never enough time to hear everyone’s story in spaces, which is why this post was necessary. I am happy that I was able to discover more about each artist and their worthy causes. My gratitude goes to them for sharing their stories. Best wishes on the road ahead. Thank you, everyone, for reading.

Categories
about me creative writing entrepreneurs opinion poem poetry women writing

Greetings from the Metaverse + Twitter (Spaces) update

Happy Monday, creators.

Photo by Anna Shvets

Does anyone remember that time last year, when I was crying into my phone about Twitter? Well, I took my own advice and it seems to have worked. I was miserable because I felt I had to change myself to fit into what I thought would gain traction. However, with this new account, I started out with the intention of doing what I wanted to do.

A musician I met on Saturday had this to say this morning.

Being a person with broad interests and unquenchable curiosity might have helped. After deciding to focus on non fungible tokens as a subject, I had no idea that all of my favourite topics would collide under that niche.

Unlike my previous post, in which I showed how you can get Instagram’s smart tech to work for you, Twitter is tricky. I can only give you generic advice with the caveat that everything depends on your specific subject matter. As you read, remember that I am using Twitter to promote sales of my creative projects, including fiction writing and fine art.

Social audio, specifically Twitter Spaces, allows me to hear from machine learning specialists, Buddhist and Hindu philosophers, philanthropists, musicians, authors, poets, programmers, game developers, actors, singers, tech venture capitalists, marketers, attorneys, architects, publicists, and blockchain specialists.

My work has been to use Twitter Spaces to create one large thought bubble, wherein everyone discusses a topic from the perspective of their areas of expertise. Reaching for a cognitively rich experience has made my time on Twitter stimulating instead of exhausting.

An example of a good bio tweet

In the list below, I will share some general ideas for working within your own niche with the help of Twitter Spaces. The most important principle to remember when marketing or promoting your work on any platform is simply, “Do what works, not what you like to do.”

  1. Spend time on Twitter. Can’t tell you how many times I have had people tell me they had no time but wanted to know the one tweet they could post so they could gain 10,000 fans overnight.
  2. Curate your feed. Do not scroll. Stop and engage with tweets for about ten minutes. Like it, share it, or toss it. Use the “Not interested in this tweet” option and add specific reasons. This helps the smart tech to learn more about you.
  3. Tweet a bio tweet like the one in Sreeran’s example above. Thereafter, when you enter a space, say your account name and your personal tagline and the smart tech will index your account under the correct topics of interest.
  4. Join Twitter Spaces and listen in as a priority, even if invited to speak.
  5. Use your time on a speaker panel to give a voice to your engagement. You may want to say that you have commented, liked, or retweeted a speaker’s tweet.
  6. Support other accounts more than you tweet about yourself. We use the word “shill” to mean “self promote”. Shill for others because as a rule, do for others and they will do for you. If you receive no support from an account, focus on other accounts until you find your group.
  7. Take your time and work consistently. Results will multiply over time, because your diligent effort will earn you trust within your network.
  8. Keep the hashtags to a minimum (2 – 4 maximum) until you meet your ideal threshold of engagement in terms of tweets, retweets, comments and likes. Thereafter, use them rarely.
  9. Avoid negativity. Rephrase your words positively (for the smart tech). Do not follow accounts that are antagonistic towards your principles.
  10. If you must be outspoken, discuss and debate in spaces where your ideas will be heard, even if others disagree. Same rules go for all audio spaces. Keep rants super short.
  11. Quote tweet. Own the conversation by bringing it to your timeline. Bring it up later in spaces and ask for feedback, shares or other engagement on your tweet.
  12. Tag accounts and mention them in tweets with requests for answers. This raises your engagement by putting you on their timeline. It is also a great way to start a conversation.
  13. Consciously disengage. When you disagree in a comment, etc., the person with whom you disagree gets a boost by the algorithm because the smart tech will read your engagement as POSITIVE interest.
  14. Avoid engaging with inactive accounts. Twitter’s smart tech loves fresh content, so keep within a view/comment/share threshold of about 17 hours.
  15. Follow accounts that you genuinely like and want to support. As a rule, I avoid following popular accounts and add them to lists instead.
  16. Any support you receive must be reciprocated. And focus on supporting accounts that give you support in return.
  17. Analyse, rinse and repeat. If you start gaining support from your activities, try them again and see what happens. If a thing is working, keep doing it, regardless of whatever “advice” you receive, including mine.

Remember to try many things. Do what works and not what you like to do (for example, staying off Twitter or only tweeting about yourself). After joining Twitter with a fresh new account on June 19, 2021, my account now has 3107 followers today, September 27, 2021. The final push to 3000 happened last night (Sunday) when the count was at 2992. Thankfully, when I asked for some help getting over the line, my friends were there to offer their support. And that is how it should be. That’s all for now, and thank you for reading. See you in the metaverse.

Categories
art creative writing science fiction technology writing

Weaving Silk

Sculpting with light on the Silk web app

Happy Thursday, everyone. I am having an epiphany after using AI software to sculpt with light. It was an interesting conversation, with much guesswork on both our parts, but I think we understand each other. I am using the Silk web app for a second day in a row. If you want to try from your desktop browser, it takes a lot of tapping around, but eventually, you will get used to it.

Layered

Back to my epiphany. I wonder if anyone reading this is familiar with the hypothesis that we are living in a simulation? By familiar, I don’t meant listening to Elon Musk worshippers who say, “Our world is a simulation”. I mean have you looked at the math and tried to weave a hypothesis on your own?

I have some thoughts about this. The math says that in a complete simulation, the processor speed would intervene in the operations of the simulation. Put differently, if there is no level five of a video game, a genius player will spool for eternity at the end screen of level four. At some point, this player will resist every attempt to gaslight him about what’s going on.

Sainted

Some scientists have taken plant-based substances in order to access the cheat codes and escape the program. They seem not clever enough to acknowledge that they lack the correct plugins to decode what they are experiencing. Or perhaps they use the math as an excuse to go on trips and escape the truth, which is that a genius rigged this game and coded them into it.

Many trips later, they are left with a pile of printouts on their office floors, and no-one knows what they are talking about.

Blended

PS: Thank you for viewing my video installation. If you are using social media to share your work, and your reach is low, do not take it personally. Yesterday, the results of my first attempt at light sculpting went viral on Instagram. I was getting audio messages to please post more. Weirdly, the same presentation had only a few views on Twitter because the smart tech did not show it to anyone. The same thing happened this morning, with this version, so I will have to rethink the “get seen on Twitter” theory that is being sold to digital artists. Glad this is happening now and not when I have something major to release. Have a great Thursday.

Categories
about me art fiction opinion science fiction technology women writing

The Quarter Percent: Effortless book sales with social audio?

Quarter Percent – Trailer

Can you, as an author, achieve effortless book sales using social audio? Please read this post and learn what I have discovered. But get some popcorn first, because there is drama. 

It has been a year since I published my novel, The Quarter Percent, and if someone had told me to relax because that people would ask to buy it, I would have thrown a tantrum. And yet, since joining social audio nearly eight weeks ago, I have had lots of people tell me they bought my novel. First, in my Clubhouse profile, I mentioned writing my second novel. Then after a number of requests to share a buy link for the first one, I added it to my Twitter bio.

The Quarter Percent, novel by Lily Nicole, cover art
Cara de la Reina

I’m not using social audio to sell books, by the way: the book sales are a side effect of staying active on the platforms. By staying active, I do not mean staring at my phone all day. Instead, I make time for active participation in spaces or rooms on a range of subjects.

Last year, I collaborated with several artists and we produced artwork for The Quarter Percent. We focused on key scenes and events. One of the scenes opens in front of a graffiti mural in the foyer of a refurbished warehouse. Tensions in a friendship, the transfer of power, and a generous gift are overseen by a portrait of King Cordial’s late wife, Queen Cara. The scene, mural, and cover art are called Cara de la Reina or ‘face of the queen’. To write that scene, I did a lot of research into warehouses and architectural design because the description of the interior had an important function. It set up a contrast between the home’s cool, trendy, laid back atmosphere and the next level scheming that would take place there. 

North to South

Based on other research, I knew that a cover with a face was ideal, and I assured my publisher that using the mural art was going to work. A year later, this is my avatar everywhere, and saying so in the first paragraph of my Clubhouse profile has made promotion effortless. When people ask me why I don’t use a selfie, I tell them that I am using social audio for business, and I don’t want to attract the wrong sort of customer. Seeing that I get book sales without doing anything extra, it stays right there.

And now, I will highlight some amusing incidents from last year’s promotional campaign. A book marketer told me he had no idea why I would give away free copies of my novel. He had no idea how that would help with book sales. One colleague suggested that a political assassination to help me get mega downloads. Another said to give up drafting if people did not download the beta version. Later, a young lady clickbaited and free trafficked me to her blog after saying that people would never download the $0.00 promotional Kindle copy without reviews, while agreeing that people would need to read the novel to review it.

A tale in the crypt - storyboard of first scene of last chapter, The Quarter Percent
Ruby Castle’s crypt with a statue of Saint Joan on the left.

On top of that, someone has been earning money from views of my trailer on a dodgy platform. Every marketer I hired to promote the book has denied having merched the trailer. I only found out because the analytics on WordPress finally appeared in February and showed me a cascade of clicks out to my blog. The owners of the platform are not answering emails or taking phone calls so I cannot find out who is doing this.

Amid all of that drama, you will understand why I gave up on promoting my novel altogether. But I am happy that l have stumbled upon an effective way to sell it.

Costmary is talking with her publicist Karen Aoki

Regardless of the obstacles, I enjoyed the creative process from last year, and I will expand on that for my upcoming novel. My first idea was to create art prints and posters. Still researching styles that I want to use, and practising on Procreate. Currently, I am producing instrumental compositions for piano, violin and cello. These will match the mood and themes of the story. My YouTube channel is dry and ashy so I asked a composer friend to help me out. I am hoping to share the music with artists and creators who like listening to music as they work.

About an hour before publishing this post, I talked about the project in a business networking group and I was encouraged by the response. The music will also be my rehabilitation after sacrificing brain cells to ratchet YouTube (for research purposes). 

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Keep creating, and thank you for staying in touch. 

Categories
art artificial intelligence creative writing entrepreneurs fiction opinion People science fiction technology women writing

A reel turnaround

Hello everyone. I am sending happy weekend vibes to you. As you might guess from the title, I’m back on Instagram. Does anyone remember last year how I spent three days on Instagram and then spent another four trying to deactivate my account because they kept burning hashtags and deleting my posts?

On Wednesday, I downloaded the app again and created a fresh new business account. My experience is much more pleasant because I’m not using captions or hashtags. Instead, my method for increasing my engagement has been to make demands and threats. This has worked so far.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I get asked daily why I am not on Instagram, so I created this business account to connect with professionals I meet through social audio.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to make friends with someone who works with Google to train business owners to use Instagram for marketing. Thus, I have a strong incentive to not toss my phone out the window.

Instagram’s smart tech is impressive, something Marvin Stone would have approved of. I’ve only been on there for three days, not scrolling or searching for anything, and it showed me my favourite dish: charcoal grilled eel on sticky rice. The person who posted the image also has his headquarters at Starbucks and like me, he has the same drink every time he goes there. I had better behave or that thing is going to publish all of my secrets.

So in one of the scenes for my upcoming novel, I wrote about a social media application that shows only one post at a time. One of the characters, Mimi Hollingsbrook, is preparing for her work day. Because she works in the Royal Household as Baby Pudding’s nanny, she has agreed to keep a low profile on social media. Against her better judgement, she decides to look at her feed, and notices something in a caption from a famous influencer. She has a meltdown after reading it. Within a few minutes, her response, which is full of expletives, gains 5 million likes. This prompts her to permanently archive her account. In a later scene, Mimi is given a taste of power when a quarter percenter asks her to decide about that influencer’s future.

When writing notes about the social media applications I would be using in the story, I thought about reactions from readers. I was convinced that this feature would never be adopted in the real world. However, at the moment, the trend is to be super minimalist on Instagram, with as few posts as possible. At this rate, if I don’t hurry up and finish drafting, I will be publishing historical fiction.

In further news, I have been sucked into the vortex and I am now managing my social audio apps on two phones. One for Clubhouse, Discord and Twitter, and the other one for Greenroom and Instagram. That’s because one of the apps keeps crashing if I’m in audio spaces on two others. (Don’t ask). Juggling two phones might look cool on TV but I’m an introvert, so it does not feel right.

Why, oh why couldn’t I have found a marketing firm that was good at their job? I could’ve been friendlessly redrafting my new book right now.

Please send prayers. Thank you.

Categories
creative writing fiction technology women writing

Oh, Gloria …

Where seconds before, castanets were rapping their clat-ta-tat-tat, a deafening silence fell on the host of avatars in the room. Friendly banter was interrupted, a question went unanswered, and earphones were unplugged from devices to broadcast the newest tirade over speakers. Someone in Brussels unwrapped a lunch sandwich and listened in.

Gloria was in the room. This morning, she presented with glossy grey locks, which billowed in a nonexistent breeze. Her flawless, peaches-and-cream skin was buffed to a high shine. But that was not why everyone was squinting at their screens. They were accustomed to seeing a dark-haired vixen in a slice of underwear, sat with her knees exactly fifty centimetres apart. (Someone attempted the pose at home.) Today, everything, including her shoulders and most of her neck, was covered.

A stream of pings followed. “Everyone, get in here. Gloria is wearing clothes.”

Master had stopped the castanets mid-clat to croak at the host of avatars, “Reverence! Gloria is having a bad day.”

“And today’s crisis is…?” thought everyone. And they waited to find out. In New York, a spoonful of breakfast cereal was returned to a bowl. “What… exactly?”

A summary was sent in a backchannel. It read, “Dental emergency at the dentist, who has Wi-Fi, so Gloria can be here with us shortly before receiving treatment for the dental emergency, and then stay here with us, in fact, during the entire procedure, so we can be there for her.”

“Surely,” went one dictated response, “the care and feeding of her children comma who materialised out of thin air only last week comma should be the focus of concern question mark.”

After that update, volume buttons were pushed all the way down. But unable to see this, Master squeaked again. “Praise Gloria. Genuflect, you peasant scum!” No-one heard him. The rebellion had started.

Three hours later, Master punished everyone by giving Gloria his proxy. “Host the room for us, will you? For your teeth, dear.” A dubious honour it was, to be the doyen of disenchantment, dueña to disconnected souls.