I’m stuck. Which should come as no surprise.
After spending ten years working as a creative professional (AAA, Orlando Sentinel, and Visit Orlando among the highlights, which also includes producing television commercials for a local automotive group) a furlough that started in April, 2020 eventually became a permanent layoff in December.
The writing had been on the wall, but I didn’t start applying for new jobs until late summer -- not that it would have mattered a whole hell of a lot if I had started a month or two earlier. As of today, I’ve applied for 93 jobs and had (multiple) interviews (or next steps) at six of those jobs.
I am, as some might describe, the proverbial barn burner.
When the world ground to a halt last year, I first used the opportunity to deep-dive into my own creative process. I made a mess of videos, uploading regularly to my youtube channel, and found myself drawn to short story writing. I’ve always been a writer (I pumped out a handful of screenplays in my twenties that later became the basis of later published work) and with this newfound lack of distraction, it seemed like an opportune time to spin some yarns.
In the back half of 2020, I wrote a decent chunk of short stories, adapted (and updated) one of those screenplays from my twenties, and in December I landed my crowning achievement: a gig writing a feature-length screenplay for a small indie film shooting overseas. The assignment had a deadline of March, 2021, which I thought was patently ridiculous. In four weeks, I delivered four drafts of a treatment that spanned 23 to 70 pages, a two-page outline/logline/treatment, and a final first draft screenplay clocking in at 103-pages.
I don’t particularly like to print things, but 103-pages of heft is something you just have to feel.
As my love for screenwriting (and Final Draft software!) reignited with a fury, I quickly outlined a second feature idea and started jotting down notes and ideas. I also finished outlining my long-form “Punched, Drunk, and All Out F*cks!” novella (that’s currently sporting a very solid five chapters plus a prologue over on Wattpad).
Then, with the second impeachment trial playing in the background, I turned my attention back to short stories and knocked out a 3,500-word epic that had been percolating since last October. This new story is about a fourteen-year-old girl surviving alone in the Florida wilderness and -- as she’s staring down the barrel of a potential hurricane -- how she comes face-to-face with an angry momma gator and Florida’s own Sasquatch, the Skunk Ape.
While I had outlined “Florida Girls” months ago, the final story poured out in a single day. Again, the satisfaction of holding those fourteen printed pages were immensely satisfying.
Which brings me to now.
The thrill of finishing cannot be understated. And even though I know I can crank out a feature screenplay in a month’s time -- what the hell is supposed to come after that? For all intents and purposes, my screenplays end up being first drafts of a story in another format -- a novella waiting to be finished or (in the case of “Caffeine”) a movie so independent it’s produced entirely by one person.
What I do know is that story is important. Having a library or repository of stories to pull from is valuable.
What I don’t know is how fully realized those stories need to be. I can capture the DNA of a story in a short piece of fiction (“#TextMe” is both a concept for a novel as well as a feature film). The short story format is also great for self-publishing, immediately getting my work out into the world.
A kind of creative instant gratification, as it were.
Fourteen pages, however, pales in comparison to the 103-page screenplay.
I’m sure there’s a balance to be struck -- maybe something along the lines of writing a weekly short story in between chipping away at the long-form material. It’s not like I don’t have the time or availability to experiment with different approaches.
I don’t know where I’m going next. I don’t know if I’ll finally land a job tomorrow, next month, or next year. I don’t know if I should be focusing on long or short-form stories.
But I do know I have stories to tell.
So let’s at least make them good ones.
It should go without saying that I'm a jack-of-all-trades creative (even though I say it ... a lot) and I love getting a chance to flex my graphic design and photoshop skills after I finish a writing project. In this case, I refreshed my 2012 publication (based on a 2006 screenplay) titled "Religiously Roasted Every Goddamn Day".
The third image below is the original book cover I designed in 2012. It worked, but it was never what I had in mind.
The Jesus art in the final design is actually a series of paintings described in the book. As such, I actually created that art -- again -- back in 2012. (There's a version of it in comic-form somewhere called "Who's Your Jesus?" it includes a white Jesus along with the black, green, and yellow Jesus's. Jesusii? Je suis -- oh, hey! It's my blog and I can add whatever I want! Comic: fourth image, below!)
Piecing together the final (2021) design was fun, if not horrifically frustrating. The wide shot (the first image below) is literally a perfect execution of the design I had originally envisioned ...
If not for the fact that it doesn't look ANYTHING like a book cover.
So I played around with the layout and typography. I came up with a variation of the middle shot (centered, closeup on the coffee cup) but it still wasn't sitting well.
How can a book cover not look like a book cover?!
I'll admit that seeing all the artwork laid out like this, if I added the right typography to the comic strip artwork, that would be the most book-ish design of the bunch. Who knows? Maybe when I revise the book again in 2029!
The moral of the story? (What?! Morals? GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE WITH THAT SHIT!)
Stop sweating the small stuff and embrace what you like.
(Although, honestly, I do find myself partial to the wider shot.)
Laugh, cry, groan .... take a break from 2020 with a jaunt back to 2005 where VHS still (kinda, but not really) mattered, video stores were a thing, and the prequel trilogy was falling flatter than an overcooked pancake.
Check out my first promo for Videorama below and stay tuned for some truly typographical insanity coming soon!
Read Videorama for free on Wattpad or get it on Kindle here.
This was the first project I edited on an M1 Mac and as much as I would have liked to patiently wait for a beast of a system sometime in 2021, deadlines and availability pushed me to the base M1 Macbook Air.
First, the finished video:
[EDITORIAL NOTE: This blog has been lovingly enhanced with original art from my comic series "Seminal Works", featuring myself (Krumbine), the angry, drunk Professor, and a quick cameo by Lincoln Squatch.]
I can't believe I'm saying this (again), but don't be an asshole.
That's my job.
Let's set aside quality and whether or not a creative work is objectively (or even subjectively) good. Instead, let's talk about friends, family (chosen or otherwise), and other random internet people that are deserving of creative support.
I've spent the past 10 years in various professional creative environments and a 35-year-lifetime in the middle of personal creative development -- which is to say, I've experienced a spectrum of support, both good and (really, unbelievably fucking) bad.
Here are some helpful tips on how you can avoid being the bad kind of supportive friend.
(Or: How To Be the Bad Kind, if You're an Asshole)
How to Maintain Friendships and Influence Positive Creative Growth -- or -- Six Tips on Giving Helpful Feedback (Without Being an Asshole) | a musing by Jordan Krumbine
Let’s be honest: it comes up.
There’s a lot of writing online and not all of it is great. Sometimes good can be a pretty big leap, for that matter.
On the other hand, maybe the writing is okay -- better than bad, right? -- but it just didn't click with you as a reader.
Either way, the walls have closed in, the lighting has gone dramatic, and suddenly you find yourself in the horrifying position of providing feedback to your creative friends.
It’s a theme that pops up a lot in Twitter’s #WritingCommunity and even if it's not writing -- it could be a video, an illustration, music, really any creative endeavor -- these tips will ensure that the feedback you're providing is both constructive and supportive.
If you still blow it and piss off your creative friends, well, that's on you, you horrible fucking, insensitive monster.
Let’s get into it!
I'm not gonna mince words here. Video editing is sexy as fuck.
Sure, there's a lot of tedious grinding (ten hours of footage don't magically become a solid 90-second edit by itself), meticulous organization (what happened to that sequence we lost from an edit seven revisions ago? No problem, I've got it right here), and more man hours than most normal men know how to fill.
And did I mention the grinding? There's a lot of grinding.
But even with all of its unsexy bits flapping in the breeze for everyone to laugh at, video editing is still sexy as fuck.
Because once you've paid your dues on a project and ground your way through the tedious bits (or paid an assistant do them), the video editor sits at the helm of the most creative ship.
I paint with moving pictures and my canvas is the Final Cut Pro timeline.
Maybe it's footage I shot myself--or maybe the footage comes from a fellow creative wizard, an expert behind the camera that can turn every shot into a cinematic masterpiece--or, as is often the case in this profession, the person is the exact opposite and my job as a video editor is to overcome the creative shortcomings exhibited behind the camera.
My point is that, regardless of the footage, the video editor is the person who makes the story happen.
Sitting at the helm of this most creative ship, I navigate the narrative, control the soundtrack, and deftly maneuver every twist and turn with flourish and aplomb.
I can make you laugh.
I can make you cry.
I can make you gasp.
I can make you sigh.
And if I'm good at my job, I do it all completely behind the curtain, invisible to the casual observer.
That's right. Despite the typical viewer staring at literally every second of my work as a video editor, if I've don't my job well, you won't notice it at all.
You'll be too busy paying attention to the story.
You shouldn't see the seams. You shouldn't see the failures behind the camera (I already fixed it in post!). You shouldn't hear sloppy audio cuts or music that doesn't fit--brutal edits that slap you in the face, jarring you away from the most critical element.
There should just be story.
Lovingly shaped, enhanced, polished, and made to shine through the expertise of a video editor.
I'm telling you ... it's sexy as fuck.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jordan Krumbine is a professional video editor, digital artist, and creative wizard currently quarantined in Kissimmee, Florida. When not producing content for the likes of Visit Orlando, Orlando Sentinel, or AAA National, Jordan is probably yelling at a stubbornly defective Macbook keyboard, tracking creative projects in Trello, and animating quirky videos with LEGO and other various toys.
I'm on a quest to find a better way to engage with my fellow creatives on Twitter! I'm professional video editor by trade, and since most people have something to promote (even if it's just themselves) I decided to offer custom-made gifs during my Wednesday #WizardingComplete⚡️ Twitter Animation Party.
The fourth edition of this party took place August 5, 2020. Here are some of custom gifs I animated for fellow creatives! Be sure to mark your calendar and follow me on Twitter to join the party next week!
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