The Romantics Pilot pt. 3 “Burned” is out!

HD and Full Screen for the best effect! Please thumbs up and comment over on YouTube as well. You can sub here if you feel so inclined –YouTubeSub

I urge you to watch pt. 1 and pt. 2 first or you will have NO idea what’s going on. It really is a continuation and pt. 4 will be released on Monday for sure. (it’s already done).

The Romantics Pilot pt. 1 – The Sting

The Romantics Pilot pt. 2 – Yoga?

The Romantics Pilot pt. 3 – Burned

12/28/2012 – Today’s Giveaway form!

Back to the Twitch thing. I’ll be working on the minecraft server this week and the webisode will come out today or tomorrow.

As always,

1. follow the stream

2. be present for the giveaway when it occurs or we re-roll

3. check out our twitter and youtube and consider following those as well for the chance at free stuff. (we do contests on youtube and twitter also)

Sorry the form is a little messed up looking. This is the formatting for the new website and will be normal looking next week.

A white Christmas in Texas?

Yes. It is! Believe it or not, we had a white Christmas in Texas. It wasn’t quite one of those days where you can plod around in the powdery white stuff all day but, it was white none the less. My biological mother and my niece and nephew and half sister came over today to visit with her dad (my grandpa that raised me) and us. We had a good time but it really was weird not having everyone here.

This is the first Christmas without my grandma who raised me. She died on January 10th, 2012. That’s a day I’ll never forget.

I had taken an interview for a job making more money than a previous job and gotten a call back. On January 10th at about noon I went in for a long sit down and it turned out, an offer of a job. I did the tour of the facility and signed some contracts. I met some of the people there and just learned a bit about some training I would need to do. All the fun stuff you do when you get a new job. I was starting to get excited about it. It was in the same field I’m used to working in but slightly different and that means new stuff to learn. My phone kept vibrating annoyingly in my jacket pocket during the visit and I just ignored it. I left feeling pretty high on the idea of the new job, more money and a chance to expand my horizons in my field.

When I got to my car I whipped out my phone and saw that my half sister, Amanda, who still lives in my home town had called me about 7 times, texted me a bunch and I had a bunch of voice mails. I figured something crazy had happened on that side of the family or something like her older sister (another half sister of mine who’s always in trouble) had gotten herself killed, or put in jail or something ridiculous. I rarely talked to them on the phone or anything. I didn’t bother to listen to the voice mails or check the texts cause I was about to start driving so I called her.

As I pulled up to a stop light, Amanda answered the phone. She was crying hysterically and I could barely understand her. I could hear a lot of other people in the background. I told her to calm down and just tell me what was going on. She told me, “Wes, Mema just died.” I realized I was sitting at a green light. I felt the life just drain out of me. It felt surreal at that moment and I just didn’t want to drive. I sat there for a minute and finally said, “What?” Amanda repeated herself. I stayed quite calm on the outside and just asked her to explain what was happening.

She told me that my grandma had just brought my grandpa home from his last chemo treatment for this round. She had gotten him to his recliner and headed back to her bedroom. When she got back there she said, “Bill, I don’t feel good” and that was it. She fell onto the end of the bed, draped over it like a limp blanket and that was it. She was gone.

As far as we knew she had no medical conditions. She was lively and worked 40 hours a week as well as took care of my grandpa who has extreme cancer and heart issues.

I responded to Amanda, “I’m coming straight there. I’m not going to go home first or anything. I’m just coming straight to Athens.” I could hear my grandpa in the background crying and asking her if I was coming. He kept saying, “Wes will be here. He always loved his Mema. He’ll be here.” Amanda put him on the phone and he just sobbed and kept telling me how horrible it was when he walked in and she was just draped over the end of the bed. I told him I was on my way and I needed to call my wife.

I called my wife, Adria. She was at work and it took her a bit to respond. When she did, I told her I was already on my way and she could just bring me some clothes and stuff later. I was still dressed up from the interview but I didn’t know what else to do. It seemed appropriate to just start driving straight there instead of going home. It was about a 2 hour drive from where I was.

For about 3/4’s of the drive I didn’t cry. I just thought really hard. It didn’t seem real and I didn’t really know how to act. This was the first time anyone REALLY close to me had died. I almost didn’t believe it. I felt like I needed to see it for myself. This lady was my mother. She raised me as well as a human being can. Let me tell you, this lady was meant to lovingly raise kids. I believe in my heart that she was put here to raise me and I would have been dead or worse if it wasn’t for her. She was my connection to my family. She was the cornerstone of my belief system. She was the ideal person I would want to be.

About 20 minutes from Athens, the reality started to sink in. When I started seeing familiar locales and places we went when I was a kid. The East Texas life was all around me and I started to cry. I cried for about 10 minutes and then I didn’t cry again until I saw her in a coffin at a private viewing.

I’ll summarize the rest. I realized after being there for an hour or so that my grandpa could NOT take care of himself any longer. They had sort of hid that from us. We didn’t realize how bad off he was. My wife couldn’t come down right away because of her job so I didn’t get to see my wife for several days. That was really tough on both of us in that situation. I was asked by their kids, my aunt, uncle and biological mother, to sort and take care of his finances. My grandma did all of that stuff and he had no idea how any more and didn’t really have the ability. I stayed with him for 2.5 weeks straight through the funeral and made all the arrangements with some help from their kids. Everyone was gone except me and him and my wife had to go back for work as well. I had to call the new job and ask them for some time already. I was supposed to start in 1 week. They told me I could wait a month before starting which was very generous of them.

Long story short, my grandpa needed such excessive amounts of care we spent almost 30k dollars in the next 3 months taking care of him when I couldn’t be down there. He asked to move in with me and so I purchased a new house to accommodate him. My wife and I had just purchased a house already but it was a 2 story with all the bedrooms upstairs. I had to call and cancel the new job and then basically just be jobless. During this time he went into the hospital where they found a cancerous tumor on his colon and removed 20% of the colon. He ended up in the hospital for 17 days and came out with hospital psychosis (no sense of time. no sense of anything. waking hallucinations all the time.). He was basically an invalid for 3 months including when I moved him up here. I spent the first several months he was here just cleaning up and trying to get him back to feeding himself, walking and using the bathroom himself.

And here I am today. Things are going well considering. We have the Twitch.tv thing going as well as our webisodes which are doing well. I don’t think I’ve ever worked this much in my life though. The army was pretty close but this usually leaves me no time to do anything. My biggest problem is not working out. Since she died, I haven’t worked out even once. I don’t know what happened. I just lost the will. It’s coming back though and I will get it straightened out.

I guess the moral of the story is this, never take anything for granted. You have someone you cherish that you just don’t see often enough cause it’s a little to far to go? Prioritize saving the money and the time to do it as often as humanly possible. Tell them you love them every time you see them. Talk about the memories you share and the things that created that bond. Let them know how much you cherish them and never let them think otherwise even for a second. There is absolutely nothing more important in this entire world that taking the time to make your loved ones know they’re loved and taking time to receive the same.

At this holiday time, remember to make every second count.

Wes

Here are a couple of pictures from today.

The world didn’t end as far as I can tell.

So we’re all good I think! I’m celebrating Christmas with my wife today and then relatives tomorrow. I’m also intermittently working on the new minecraft server and enjoying myself thus far.

The new minecraft server for now, is capable of holding about 80 to 100 people simultaneously. We have only the basic mods installed such as Essentials and Worldguard. We lucked out with a pretty amazing seed from what I can tell so far. I’m actually quite looking forward to minecraft Mondays at this point. I’ll give you folks a little taste of our plans for the server. Aaron is over the moon on this one 😀  There will be a few pictures at the bottom.

So here’s the plan. I’m currently creating an undestroyable spawn area to give you a feel of the background story of this world and set the ball rolling for future RP stories and quests. The way that works is we write a questline or a story outside of the game on our forums and make it occur or somehow appear in the game. For example: let’s say you’re walking along and you find a hole in the ground. It doesn’t look like an ordinary hole because it’s lined with gold blocks that you can’t mine for some reason. So naturally, being an explorer, you decide to jump in and see what it is. Once inside there’s 1 dimly lit torch and a chest. You open the chest because of course, you’re a greedy soul who needs ALL the phat lewts you can get hold of! Inside the chest is a book. You open the book and read it and it’s a story of a long lost civilization. Maybe a recent flood or enderman uncovered this hole and its been buried here for centuries. The book speaks of a place with vague directions. Also in the book is a footnote that tells you to read “The history of this long lost civilization” with a password included. That’s your queue to pop open the forums, find a specific post titled the same and use the password to read a history/clue written by myself or Aaron and leading you onwards throughout this quest. More such clues will be found. Will there be treasure or just epic, ancient landscapes to observe? You’ll find out!

To us, this is the MOST epic way to play minecraft. We’ve done it before when we only had a few people involved and it was fun but always wished we had a LOT more people so our hidden secrets and stuff would be found and explored. On top of this we have other plans. Towns that we will have the viewers apply for and run for Mayor of with full control of your town and its citizens (who you will recruit yourself). This comes with the Towny plug in. This will give us factions to war against/ally against etc… You’ll be able to do big quests like the one I outlined above that are hand written by us (and eventually some our viewers that wish to participate in that) but also there will be mundane quests to earn currency to purchase your own lots that are only modifiable by you as well as pay for teleports from NPC’s and possibly to even use in-game with other players to purchase potions, enchanted items etc…

Add to this that we will also run Raids. That’s right, raids. Where you will quest as a team following our MOST epic story based quests (all related to this world and its backstory to flesh it out) and end up in full on Raids with an end boss (played by an OP/Admin with powers related to the quest) content and rewards.

I hope that gets folks excited about Minecraft Mondays. Even folks that have never taken a liking to the building aspect of Minecraft may enjoy these events and participate.

You guys rock and I’m looking forward to having a loyal group of friends to really do this stuff with. I think previously not having anyone to really share our creative stuff with is what put me off of doing it. Have a happy holiday whether you celebrate Christmas specifically or not and I’ll see you all Wednesday!

Few pics of the starting area for the new server.

Another day on the set of “Pen and Paper” in the books!

Before we start, I thought it might be cool to post a few of the industry words/terms we use here and what they mean.

Lav or Lavalier – This is a small lapel mic and a transmitter. Ours are wireless and most are today but there are still some in use that are wired all the way to the receiver. These little guys can be a life saver in wide shots where getting a boom pole close enough to the talent but out of the shot is impossible. We use these almost exclusively in “The Romantics” car scenes because we have no extra hands to hold a boom!

Talent – These are your actors.

Foley – The reproduction of everyday sound effects which are added in post production to enhance the quality of audio for films, television, video, video games and radio. We have to do this quite a bit. When you’re micing someone at their mouth and they are walking, rustling keys, setting something down on a counter, etc… the sound you get from those farther away actions isn’t always great. So the way we do this is to get a really loud signal from the voice/dialogue and then add the other stuff later. For example: In The Romantics, we add the sounds of car doors opening and closing, walking across gravel/wood chips/asphalt etc…

ADR or LoopingDialogue that turns out poorly in post production (because of recording issues. background noises. low signal. all kinds of things) must be re-recorded in post and dubbed over the film. This typically requires a studio type setting where an actor will watch himself in the designated scene and act out his lines into a mic. You see this a LOT in tv shows today and it’s sloppy and noticeable. We’re trying to keep this to an absolute minimum.

—>    It was amazing outside today. The only reason I know that is because we stepped outside to shoot a scene and it ended up being way too bright to do it. It was about 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a nice a little breeze. Amazing! We all ended up standing around talking for a few minutes because subconsciously, the weather made us feel so good. Then it was back inside to start again. _

—>    Today was probably our last BIG day where we had almost everyone on set at once. We only have about one and a half more full days of filming left for Pen and Paper. Getting really excited but, that’s definitely not the end of the work on this episode. We have tons of Foley and sound effects to record. Aaron has a massive mountain of editing to do. We have the almost insurmountable task of promoting this thing and getting it seen. We have plans in place for all of this but it’s going to take a lot of work.

—>    Having said that, if any of our friends from Twitch, YouTube and Twitter want to help out, we will have a kit we can send you to post flyers and such around your college campus or wherever is legal and makes sense to throw them up. These flyers will be the SHIZ too. Just wait till you see them. Hopefully they’ll make people proud to support this project and your friends jealous! Maybe, for all the folks that help us put the word out physically on college campuses and the like, we can get you one, full-size poster of one of these flyers in your kit. What do you guys think?

—>    So today we did some finishing up of a scene that takes place around a table in a super cool setting and then a kitchen scene. The kitchen scenes are always a bit tough because of the crazy amount of echo, all the appliances that make noise and the lack of space to really maneuver especially my boom pole. We got it done though and it looks great. We may have to some ADR on that scene later if our lavaliers picked up too much noise. We’ll see! Hopefully not.

—>   After that, we moved outside to set up for a scene at the front door of the house but it’s supposed to be an evening scene and the dark, overcast weather decided to clear up at that moment. We then moved back inside for the kitchen scene. The kitchen scene was challenging. I kept tripping over my cables and smacking the back of my boom into stuff hah. Justin, our camera guy, made this scene look freaking amazing as always. This guy is a real artist with his camera. He’ll be doing some shots for our promotional stuff too that will be amazing. Aaron talked about his plans for the movie poster type stuff (promotional stuff) at the end of the cast and everyone got extremely excited about how amazing the ideas sound. The sweet thing is, with this crew, if we come up with an idea we can make it happen.

—>  So we finished up with the shoot and then Aaron had to shoot a very quick little scene with Vincent as Lipton to finish up our newest “The Romantics” episode. That will be coming out this week.

—>  And that’s all she wrote for today! I’m attaching a couple of photos from today. Trying not to give TOO much stuff away about Pen and Paper yet so I apologize for not having too many pictures to post. I think these are fairly interesting pictures so you can get an idea of what our set looks like at least.

As always, love you guys and I will see you on the live stream!

Wes

Twitter Contest Winner and BONUS WINNER!

Thank you guys for participating on Twitter. It took me a few extra days to get the winners announced due to real life delays. Thanks a ton for participating in these community events. I hope to continue doing stuff like this to reward our most loyal community members. You guys rock!

Winner #1 – Your choice of any Steam game up to $60usd

Winner #2 – Bonus! Your choice, any game off our games list.

 

#1 leviathan_6

#2 Stacy @lerabbitcake

Congratulations to the winners! You can e-mail me at theromanticswb@gmail.com or send me a twitch message with your e-mail address and the game you choose. Thanks for participating. New contest coming next week!

Wes

Powerup4charity is TODAY! Let’s hook those kids up!

December 14th, 2012

From the organization: “Child’s Play seeks to improve the lives of children in hospitals around the world through the kindness and generosity of the video game industry and the power of play.”

I’ll be starting the stream today at 11am CST or GMT-6 on the powerup4charity twitch stream. You can find it here – http://www.twitch.tv/powerup4charity

I will DOUBLE the total amount of money donated during my cast time up to $1000 USD max.

(This means if $1000 is donated during my time, I’ll donate another $1000 for a total of $2000. I will do this for any total amount up to $1000)

If you can find it in your heart to spare ANY amount of money, please do so. No matter how unfortunate we feel sometimes, there is always someone out there less fortunate than us. There are 2 ways to donate which you can find on the Stream page. One is a chip in where you can donate any amount and the other is by purchasing the Power Up “Music to Game By” album.

Here is the direct link to the charity’s paypal donation site. http://www.chipin.com/contribute/id/178ae4a48aef409f

If you don’t feel comfortable using that, please feel free to go to their Twitch channel and donate there, underneath the video window.