Category Archives: Tutorials

Hometown Pokemon

Pokemon in Cape Town! Generation Y?

Google has released a one day Google Maps Pokemon Master challenge, there is only a day left to catch them all. I found one on top of Table Mountain, in my home town of Cape Town South Africa. And you can do it too. All you need is ……………… Ok before that please read this next part first, it gives you a backstory of why Google Releasing this Google Maps Pokemon challenge is so culturally significant to my generation. But watch the official Google Video first.

 

 

 

If you were born from 1982 all the way up to 1992 you are part of Generation Y, this is the generation that is only recently started taking power of the world economy and media.

We generation Y’s are also called Millennials by some intellectuals.The name Millennials stuck because we were all in high school around 1999. Y2K scare? Are you too young to remember.

That is ok, while you were watching Hannah Montana, or Witches of Waverly place, we were watching Charmed, Sabrina, The Teenage witch. While you were watching BEN 10 and Yugiho we were watching Transformers, He Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles. You had Teletubbies, we had Barny and Pumpkin patch. Captain planet, Power Rangers, Dark Wing Duck, Duck Tales, Tail Spin, The Tasmanian devil, Animaniacs.

As us Millennials grew up past 2005 we were starting to work and become successful, lots of internet companies came from GEN Y / Millennials. Facebook, MySpace, Youtube, Google, Android. It was also GEN Y that worked on the first PC’s and consoles. The PC / Internet grew up with us, it changed from day to day just like we did. What does this mean? C:>/dir .

Ok so what is our generation most valuable artistic influance, as in what idea did we create that became part of global culture, nevermind social media, Pokemon.

POKEMON!

Yes we are part of the Pokemon generation, it was cool till high school. You were almost a man, but still a boy, so you got away with it. Sure, Bleach, Naruto and all that is much better. But Pokemon did something we all wanted, they colledted amazingly interesting pets. We all love cats and dogs, and hamster and goldfish and the list is endless. People love their pets. Pokemon takes pets to the next level. Imagine owning an Oddish. Oddish is my favourite pokemon in the world. And I cannot seem to find it on Google Maps.

Pokemon in Cape Town

So finally I get to the point, Google has released a one day Google Maps Pokemon Master challenge, there is only a day left to catch them all. I found one on top of Table Mountain, in my home town of Cape Town South Africa. And you can do it too. All you need is Google Maps App on Android or iPhone. On Android you ca just tap your GOOGLE NOW button and go to maps, then hit the START Button, see GIF below:

Google Maps Pokemon Master challenge
Google Maps Pokemon Master challenge
Find them all over the world.
Find them all over the world.

So Cape Town has Pokemon too, and the Kruger National Park has one, and there are probably more, so you should go and try it out for your self. The game ends on the 2nd of April at midnight. Here are the screenshots from my Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Enjoy, please share more places in the comments.

I love Oddish, he is my favourite Pokemon
I love Oddish, he is my favourite Pokemon
Screenshot_2014-04-01-18-19-01
This game is fun and challenging.
Snorlax was chilling at the Vatican today.
Snorlax was chilling at the Vatican

Screenshot_2014-04-01-17-55-32

Hometown Pokemon
I found a pokemon in my hometown!
Pokemon Servine
My other favourite is Serperior, 87% Males, it evolves to this from a Servine at lever 36.

 

blue jasmine meme

My First Meme – Do you remember yours?

So Wikipedia defines a MEME as:

” An Internet meme may take the form of an imagehyperlinkvideopicturewebsite, or hashtag. It may be just a word or phrase, including an intentional misspelling. These small movements tend to spread from person to person via social networksblogs, direct email, or news sources. They may relate to various existing Internet cultures or subcultures ”

My favourite MEME has to be GRUMPY CAT and the YES BABY.

Here is Grumpy CAT:

Grumpy Cat MEME
Grumpy Cat MEME

Here is the YES BABY:

 

YES BABY MEME
YES BABY MEME

So I always wondered who actually took the time to make MEMEs. It seemed like a bit of work. Yes some are super easy, but others can be very elaborate, even multiple images or animated GIFS are used.

I was watching BLUE JASMINE with my boyfriend when all of a sudden her character reacted to something her ex husband said. Her reply to his statement was a heartfelt “WHAT! Are you CRAZY!” . Cate Blanchett won the Oscar for that role a few days ago, and that moment won my heart. The next evening when I got home from work I told my boyfriend about the MEME I had made, and how people in this world was so CRAZY. And the crazy people have the audacity to call us gays predators and try and make laws that discriminate against us. And they use dumb arguments, like the Adam And Eve story, or Corinthians. The conservative republican views are so crazy and sad, but they think it is not ok for a woman who was raped by 3 men, stabbed, to have an abortion. Yes I’m going a bit deep with my argument, but the far right conservative republican mindset will cut you with every “weapon” they think they have.

I defend gay rights all over the social media platforms. I have a rehearsed speech for all 3 GAY BASHERS.

TYPE 1: Holy Man – Uses the bible and says that god created gay people, you were born this way, but you can change.

TYPE 2: Peace Man – This christian gay basher uses derogatory bible verses and 1950 propaganda to argument that being gay is unnatural behaviour because animals in “the wild” are not gay. He is wrong, google it if you do not believe me, you basher reading this blog just to troll me. I see you baby…

TYPE 3: Nazi/Stalin/Terrorist – These are those high school bullies that used to call you a FAG. They would hit you, verbally assault you and break you down to the point of no return. They also believe it is their christian duty to beat the gay out of you. Scare you to death of the social rejection of being gay,shame you. If you do not commit suicide before you turn 21, you should be safe.

Ok there are more types of gay bashers, but if you are not one of these 3 that is great, that means there is hope for your heart. I would watch a BuzzWorthy video about two gay dads, then some ignorant fool will write one of the above mentioned styles of comments. So I used to Google bible versus to fight back, I read more of the bible then them. Then I’d waste 20 mins of my time arguing my case for a open and loving future, where we can all just be bi until proven otherwise.  But those days are over, I can now use my MEME to answer for me “WHAT! ARE YOU CRAZY?” , Cate Blanchett in tears from the frustration of the stupidity of masses. The ignorant, closed minded, shoe boxed lives most people live in. I won’t get too deep, no time for tears, we have LGBT people out there going to Jail for who they are, their colours muted in Russia, their bodies destroyed and vandalised. WE NEED TO ASK THEM! THESE so called LEADERS, these so called SAINTS, these so called righteous men and woman, we need to aske them—–> What? Are you Crazy!

 

SO HERE IS MY FIRST MEME:

blue jasmine meme
Use this MEME to say how you feel when ignorant people spread hate against LGBT people and other minorities.
#bluejasminewhat

 

HOW TO USE: Copy the RED link next to this line called COPY ME:———————->   http://stephenbekker.co.za/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/bluejasminewhat.jpg  

Now when you find a stupid comment, PASTE that red LINK in the line above, and then the MEME will pop UP as a REPLY (COMMENT) Works great on FACEBOOK and Google+. 

EXAMPLE:

How to spread a meme
How to spread a meme

Need to go to bed, sun is rising outside. Will fix my grammar in the morning, writing bug falling asleep.

writing-lesson-temp

Writing Lesson 1 – The World of Stories

Writing Class Lesson 1: The Characters World

 

Out first lesson in writing is about the world your character inhabits. Think of some of your favorite books, stories or movies. Where were these stories set, what era did they take place? What was the prevailing mindset or social mood? I have recently started a new novel called “A Hand For Hire” that is set in the early Greek era. It is important for my story as many of the magical elements and plot twists are based upon Greek mythology.

 

But not only must we think of the physical world our characters inhabit, we must also think of the psychological. A park filled with blossoming flowers, a small gentle river, some ducks and a big tree might seem beautiful to most. But to a woman who just lost her entire family in a car accident this might not be such a beautiful place to her. It might remind her of her family and make her feel the pain again, or she might have a very real fear of flowers that might send her into a rage and make her eat all the ducks raw!

 

Ok I took it too far but we must realize that stories happen in a “real” world and in an internal “psychological” world. When you can explain to me what that park looks like in the mood and mindset of the woman who lost her family then you have a voice, a viewpoint.

 

We will talk about point of view in another lesson but today I want you to remember that we want to not only get to know characters through dialogue with other characters but also through their own internal thoughts and internal compass. If you are writing a novel you have a chance to get deep and into the characters own mind, but be careful if the mind is not solid or cohesive your readers will figure it out and not engage with your novel. If you are making a movie remember that your audience can only see his mood or psychological world through how the character reacts to the world around him. In a movie we won’t hear the sad lady think about how flowers represent death to her, but when someone gives her a flower and she burns it we can get an idea of her thought process, we can see into her inner world by what she does to the outer world.

 

Sure you can use VOICE OVER to make all your characters thoughts heard in a film but be warned that in films people tend to judge the weight of the voice overs more harshly. If a character is thinking aloud all the time then the audience might loose interest because they are being told what to feel, not thinking and feeling themselves. It is like buying a new Ferrari but then it drives itself, not the point really.

 

Important to remember is that a story is supposed to show a characters growth from one point to another. The way your character sees the world around him should change as he does. In many amazing movies the physical environment actually changes, like in James Cameron’s movie AVATAR. Or in many Tim Burton films like “Beetlejuice” the house actually changes after the lead characters become ghosts. But most real world stories don’t go through as extreme changes as these films do, rather the character starts noticing more detail or starts seeing ordinary things in new and extraordinary ways. This looking at things through new eyes is expressed well in “The Ghost of Christmas past” or “Back To The Future” by Robert Zamechis. The lead character returns after meeting his adolescent mother and father and has a new appreciation for them and his life. Marty changed, he became closer to his family and his life. His ordinary world remained the same, mostly, but the way he experienced it changed.

 

So when you start a story make sure you have a viable world, be it in space, on mars or in Victorian England. Make sure your character has a point of view, a psychological disposition, that makes him unique. Then make sure as the character goes through his adventure he slowly develops until in the end he can see the old world in a new way or at least how to fix old problems with new actions.

 

Don’t get stuck in research though, it is procrastination. Give yourself 1/10 of time for research. If you write 10 hours a week one hour is allowed for research. You don’t have to be an expert, and if you get writers block because you don’t know the world your character is in don’t let it stop your writing. But on some music and start writing. Get creative and keep going. As you learn more you can fill in the blanks, or change it later. I find that basing loosely on a period is better, a kind of alternative reality. In the end make sure the world behaves in a constant natural way, even if natural means giant big blue birds poo on your lawn everyday. But the giant blue birds can’t suddenly start planting crops on your land for you if they have never done so before, or maybe they can if it is some crazy curse, but you get my point.

 

Get those fingers typing and those pens writing. I’m currently reading “Robin Hobb’s” “Liveship Series”. I have read 9 of her other books and love them all. Her world are ancient but have a alternative reality feel. There is magic, dragons and talking ships but it all feels real.

writing-lesson-temp

So remember a good writer is a good reader. And please go like my Facebook page!!!

Get Educated

Financial advice for Artists, Freelancers.

Financial Advice for all the Artist and Freelancers

 

We all see ourselves as artist. We write, we paint, we photograph, we capture and we create. But in the end if we can not eat we can not do any of the above. We must take care of ourselves financially as well as creatively (spiritually). Nothing makes me get writers block like unpaid bills and credit card debt. Most people have day jobs with clear budgets and outcomes. But as a creative and probably a freelancer it isn’t that easy to know how much to ask for certain things.

 

This is where my amazing Internet skills come into play. I have found a FREELANCE price calculator that takes in all your yearly expenses and gives you the rate you should be asking. What is great about it is that it has a break-even rate so that you know what you need to charge just to survive the year, it also has a Ideal Rate which is the rate you should be charging per hour to reach your yearly income goals.

 

So check it out HERE. (click anywhere in this line to go to the calculator) It is FREE!

 

 

Do yourself a favour and make the numbers in your local currency, then head over to www.xe.com to convert RAND or POUND or YEN into US Dollar and see how much you have been undercharging all your friends and family over the last lifetime.

 

Making prices is really hard and this calculator is the best way to make sure you can put not only food in your own mouth but also in the mouth of your family.

 

Hope you liked this post, please share on facebook, or twitter or whatever else.

Get Educated
Get Educated

 

Remember a good writer is a good reader. And a smart writer knows his financial statements. (substitute writer with artist or whatever you be)

Music to Inspire

Inspired 2 Write 4 Jan 2013

Inspired to Write
Music Post 1

Music to Inspire
Music to Inspire

When I have writers block I have many methods of getting out of that energy draining, guilt filled black hole. The best way to escape the block is to get inspired. There is one thing in this world that has inspired people for thousands of years, yes music.

So this weeks MUSIC 2 INSPIRE is Tegan & Sara, and in particular their song called “Closer”. I love this band and they have been around for a long time and yet just haven’t made it to the mainstream. Grammy-nominated Canadian indie rock band was formed in Calgary, Canada in 1995. Yes that is 17 years worth of amazing music for all your moods, sad, happy, angry, love, angst, joy and elation.

I love indie bands so much that me and my sister spend almost R30 000 to go to America to go see Tegan @ Sara live! Yes this band inspired me so much that I actually spend all that money and time to go to USA to see them.

Me and my sister at the Tegan & Sara show
Me and my sister at the Tegan & Sara show

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Ok so when writing I let the music play in the background. If I want to write and find my self not in the right mood, e.g.. sad scene, I just play some sad music and I get myself in the right mindset to write what I need to.

Sometimes I play music and I just free right, I just write what the music makes me feel. As the music changes I change the mood in the story accordingly. Free writing helps to open up your creative pathways… so does blogging. So make some play-lists that are mood specific, I have a SAD, Happy, SciFi, Speed , Spooky, Love, Travel and Friends play-list to name a few. When I need to write a happy scene I listen to the Happy Play-list. This method works like a charm for me, so give it a go. I will post more inspiring bands and songs as I get them. If you want to buy there music just click anywhere in this sentence, easy! 

Noteworthy Songs by Tegan & Sara (Click on them and listen to them on YouTube, and buy on iTunes)

On Directing
Walking with a Ghost
Closer
Arrow
Nineteen
The Ocean
The Con

 

Till next time, remember a good writer is a good reader, and it seems listener

screenplay new title image jpg

Writing a Screenplay 101 p1

Writing a Screenplay 101

Part 1: Starting with inspiration

A screenplay is not just black words on white paper, for a screenplay to really become a story you need inspiration. Many screenplays are inspired by a writers crazy flight of fancy. The writer just gets a crazy rush of images or emotions and can almost see it in his minds eye. A massive monster rises from a crowded beach stomping and bashing beach goers with no apparent goal. And that is maybe where the rush of creativity stops. Now a good writer will sit and flush out the details, what is the monster, why is the monster and who is the monster. What, Why and Who are the 3 most important questions to ask when writing a screenplay. If you know what, why and who you will see underneath your mammoth sea beast and delve right into its soul, and in the end your THEME.

 

Now please read my WRITERS BLOCK piece to learn more about theme. Also you will probably get stuck somewhere and suffer from writers block at some point, my article can help.

 

Back to the baby bashing human trashing monster…Always as a writer ask WHY must this monster act a certain why, what must it make the audience see, what must the audience learn after I force them to sit through 2 hours of dying beach goers? This is the THEME. Perhaps the theme is that life is short, and skin cancer is not the biggest threat at the beach. Perhaps a mother needs to learn to appreciate her husband or children more. Whatever your theme is, please make sure there is a theme! NO SNAKES ON A PLANE was a terrible idea, really it was, theme? Don’t put snakes on a plane? If your theme is so stupid and plain right common sense then please give it a skip, no matter how UNIQUE you think the plot is.

 

Unique and crazy plots do not override good old classic story telling. In my next post I’ll cover Archetypes and the 3 act story structure, so you can plan out your characters and story with more detail and with a sense of purpose. I will not leave you in the dungeon of writing alone!

 

Till next time, keep writing, if you can’t write you should be reading. You are a writer, not a watcher!

Spielberg's E.T.

Cure Writers Block Now!

The first thing new writers ask me is, “how long should it take to write a screenplay?”, I don’t answer right away as I know that the next sentence will be some form of explanation from their part of why they still haven’t finished their own masterpiece.

 

One of the biggest problems writers talk about it called “Writers Block”. Writers block is an inability to continue writing your story, or to start a new story. I have had this illness many times before. It normally strikes me at the end of act 2, as our characters need to develop into new ones, having learnt a great deal after their confrontations with the antagonist.

 

But I found a cure, or at least for one of my “blocked” screenplays. I believe writers block is caused by dilemma in story, not dilemma in life. Yes you are probably stuck because you don’t know your characters well enough, or you don’t understand the theme of your film.

 

Theme is the most important part of a story, be it a screenplay or a novel or a web series. Web series make this mistake regularly, they forget theme for punchlines. But a very successful use of theme and comedy was done in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog” by Joss Whedon. Go check it out.

 

If you struggle to continue writing you are probably struggling with theme or character. I was stuck on my screenplay for almost 10 months! Yes I had written 72 pages and just couldn’t end it off. Yes I had planned it on paper, cue cards, software but I was stuck.

 

So then one day I went back to the very small town in rural, South Africa where I had lived as a young child. It suddenly dawned on me! This was my story, I was telling it about the fear or returning to that small, backwater, scary, religious, conservative trap of a town. I couldn’t wait to get home. As soon as I got back from that trip my laptop was burning as I typed my fingers raw. I wrote 32 pages that night and it was done!

 

Ok, it wasn’t done, I then went back and redrafted the whole story with my new revised, focused theme. And everything improved so much with my focused theme. Characters had more depth, I knew what they would do next, I could see them alive and doing stuff in my fictional world. I no longer wondered about the next step, cause I knew the theme and the point I wanted to get across to my audience. Most importantly I knew what the character wanted and feared.

 

So writers say this a lot but “Write what you know”. I finally got what they meant.  Yes you can write the next STAR WARS without having lived in space, but the themes and characters must have a real life basis or inspiration for it to feel real. Theme should push your writing forward, it should make you challenge your fictional characters into new situations that  push them to develop as characters.

 

And this is where art imitates life. If I didn’t go back to that town to confront my fear of failure and desolation I would never have scene the theme of my story so clearly. I believe most directors tell one story over and over again as they deal with that issue in their life. Look at Steven Spielberg’s films. E.T. is about a boy that discovers something magical and out of this world, but needs to hide it to keep it. Jurassic Park, a scientist discovers his life work but must keep it secret or else greedy people will want to steel it.  In “Hook” Robin Williams goes back to the magical world where you never age, but no one believes him, and if he tells the secret it will be lost forever. Similar themes are all over the Indiana Jones movies and even in Schindler’s List a man must hide people, in a way he hides innocence from evil. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is also about a man that discovers something amazing, but no one believes him at first, they make him out as a loony, but it the end they come to see their mistake. So this is my 5 cents, Spielberg deals in his stories with childhood fear of rejection, of being called a fool for believing in something different.

 

So find YOUR theme, your story, your dilemma in life, and write the living text out of it. As Spielberg has shown you can write about anything but still have the same underlying theme. It doesn’t have to be your main theme but make sure you work your dilemma in there, the audience will love you for it.

 

If you are a writer please leave comments about your thoughts on writers block below. Have an amazingly creative day!

Spielberg's E.T.
E.T. Was one of my favorite movies as a child, and represents the cure for writers block.
Stephen Bekker's face

Pressed for WordPress

We got internet in 1995, I remember it took 30 mins for a small picture of Warcraft to download to my PC, I was 9 years old, I sat there looking at the pixels load thinking this was the best thing ever, now I get mad if my ADSL line doesn’t get at least 4mbs, it eeks me to rage if an HD 1080p YouTube video has LAG or buffers!

So being no stranger to the internet I only today, the 8th of December 2012 got my first WordPress blog. I have blogged on other platforms but they just felt dead and stuck.

As a selfproclaimed control freak I have researched WordPress for years and other means of internet expression. But now I finally made the jump to WordPress. Why? Well I had a myspace…and I have Facebook pages but all those sites kinda rely on you forcing your poor friends and family to read your crappy thoughts and ideas.

Given some thoughts on Facebook or twitter might be genuis, but your gran and aunt from rural no where might have missed that episode of “The Real L World” or “New Normal, even stuff like True Blood or Lady Gaga might make them sick to their conservative stomach.

So WordPress allows me to blog to the WHOLE WORLD. Yes now Billions can see my cr@p and roll their eyes at my pretentious self deceiving image of myself and my abilities.

Ok, so this blog will focus on Movies, TV, Film making, Directing, Video Editing, Cameras and other movie tech. Also scriptwriting, and storytelling in general.

Each post will cover one or more of those topics. And I will also give links to awesome utilities and sites I have found on the internet. And maybe I’ll even sell you some books online, that I’ve read and find AWESOME!

Another SO: I write kinda sarcastically and very blasphemosly, don’t take offence, or do take offense, whatever.

I will not SWEAR, but these words will replace them:

FRAK (see Battlestar Galactica)

BLERG (See 30 Rock)

Gosh (AKA Jaweh)

So any other harsh words only seem harsh cuase your probably a conservative internet trolling child molester.

Love you. Working on my first storytelling post as you read. Cheers (that means goodbye in South African, Cape Town

Stephen Bekker's face

This is me! Well with some help from Airbrush in photoshop., slang)