ship_go_boom: (Default)
Hello!  Five months is a little better than my previous absences, right?

I swear, I'll try to be fannish maybe sometime eventually soon, but here's the quick update on Life Stuff:

The USITT Conference was an awesome experience, and I saw a few people I hadn't seen since graduating (or longer ago) while there.  Unfortunately, it hasn't turned into any career opportunities yet (partly due to the ongoing vehicle woe), and the couple new connections I made there I was unable to follow up on because I lost their business cards as soon as I got home (I just found them again last week - it's probably been to long to email them a "thank you for the talk" message, yes?).  So there was a bit of a lull where I ran out of career-hunting momentum, looked around, went "Well, now what?" and didn't find an answer.  But I've recovered somewhat, and am spooling back up to start again.

I paid the money to make a for reals domain-name-having website happen with Portfoliobox!:  http://www.mcerysjenks.com/home ; I still haven't finished all the tweaks I was advised to do during my review session at the conference, but its full of pretty pictures.  You should look at them.  Also, Portfliobox introduced a blog function about a month or so ago, so I'm planning on maintaining a sewing progress/process journal over there... it should solve both the problem of finding a good way to document the stuff I've done since graduating, and fulfill one of the suggestions I got during my review (which was to find a way to convey what I learned working on each project, which I haven't really figured out how to do in pictures).

I am officially unemployed and have been since March... Well, technically I haven't worked for reals since December, but late March (actually the day before the conference started) was when I officially declined to return to my old seasonal job at the lab.  But I'm now making some LARP garb on commission, which is nice - it at least means my sewing-skill maintenance will pay for itself a bit, as well as being able to maybe soon pay some student loans without pestering El for money.

Basically, I keep on doing my thing and prepping for games and trying my best to stay sane, all with varying levels of success. 

Oh!  And I started computer gaming more.  Finished Portal 2 in about 13 hours playtime, and keep going back to both games to achievement-scrounge.  Also, my latest addiction is a free MMO called Atlantica - I'm playing on a Mycenae server as the character athPasiphae (and yes, I feel like kind of a douche for not realizing that the reason I couldn't just straight up name myself "Pasiphae" was because she appears as an NPC), guild Telemachides.
ship_go_boom: (Homework)
The spoon is not for food.  I need to borrow your eyeballs, and scooping is easier than plucking.  Pretty please?

The reason I need your eyeballs is because... the rough draft of my online portfolio is done!  And by rough, I do mean ROUGH.  Hence the need for eyes.

Specific things I'd like your input on (and problems I've already spotted):
  • I know I have too many photos up.  I need to both weed & organize what I've got posted, but I've been looking at this stuff too long to be good at deciding which ones to pull.
  • Lots of these photos need to be cropped & resized, especially the ones from Romeo & Juliet (because the things I designed & made for that show were abut the size of a paperback novel), but I don't want to put the time in on that until after I figure out with more certainty which photos I'm even using.
  • Should I use a different shot for the front page?  I feel like I should use something I designed at least part of, rather than just built, but the Magic Flute shot works so well as a background...
  • I plan to rescan some of the sketches/renderings, especially the watercolors for Life Is A Dream (you try fitting an 11x17 painting on a 9x12 scanner) - the LIAD rescans will include fabric swatches, as well.
  • Should I pony up the $70 (annual) for a premium account on this website?  I'd get my own domain name, more photo uploads (I'm at the limit, and that's AFTER a freebie 25 photo expansion), and a LOT more layout options.
  • Do I spend time making a personal projects gallery now, or focus on trying to get a hard-copy portfolio done in time for the conference?  I feel like a page for LARP and steampunk garb would be good, if only to show that I did do SOME costuming in 2012, but I don't know if it should be included in the main part of the portfolio, ergo maybe shouldn't be on the "in time for USITT" to-do list...
  • Should I work on expanding the about/bio section now, or save that for a post-conference project?
  • Speaking of About, should that be where I put my resume?  And will I be okay just putting it in as a downloadable .doc, or do I need to do a page for it?
  • Literally ANYTHING ELSE you spot as a potential issue.
I'm going to keep working on this off and on today... a lot of the photos I have up don't have captions yet, and they really should, and I need to clarify some stuff with people here and there before I call this thing finished (like, one of the designers I worked under has gotten married, and another may be doing work under an alias now, so I need to verify preferred names).  But mostly I'm going to make hotel reservations and sew things while letting this stew and hopefully gather suggestions from your eyeballs.  :P
ship_go_boom: (Default)
My search for a patch of internet to call my own is not going terribly well.  Also, my spellcheck seems to have decided I should be writing this in Russian.  Again.  ::fixes::

That's better.  As I was saying, there are not as many free portfolio-hosting sites out there as I was lead to believe.  At least not good ones.

Here is what I need to accommodate: Most of my work is building costumes from other people's designs, but some of that is little bits of work on multiple garments, others I built a full look for a character... so that's at least one page, preferably two.  Then I have crafts/leatherwork, which gets it's own page.  Stage makeup makes 4.  And then we have design work, which is three unrealized looks for Life Is A Dream (ie, sketched and swatched, but never built) and almost every costume that went onstage for The Producers (but no drawings, and research images far enough away from the finished product that I don't want to post them).  I'd love to have a sixth page for LARP/convention garb and my better Halloween creations, especially since I'm doing more and more stuff for other people, and a seventh page for non-costuming stuff wouldn't go amiss (although is not immediately necessary).

Here's what I've come up with so far... anybody have any thoughts?

Carbonmade appears to be the best reviewed, and it certainly looks like a friendly sort of site.  Downsides are that pretty much all you get is a photo album and a bio/contacts page (ie, minimal caption space), and a free account is capped at 5 galleries and 35 images.  I can make a 35-image cap work, but five galleries may be tough. 

Wix is my current frontrunner, mostly because the end result should come out looking like a real website.  Downsides are the little "created using Wix" thing in the corner of a free page, while relatively unobtrusive, is still pretty annoying, and I'm not sure how much freedom you have to add extra pages... I'm pretty sure you can pretty much do whatever, but I'm also pretty sure I won't know for certain until I actually start making a site. :/

I also just started looking into Porfoliobox, which may turn out to be the one I actually want... you can customize the shit out of it, and if I want I can eventually upgrade to a paid account with a for reals domain name for less than $6/month... frankly, it's nice enough that I feel like I need to do a LOT of digging to make sure there isn't some sort of horrible, horrible catch.

::sigh::  Really makes me wish I'd bought Dreamweaver and kept working on my web design-fu... if I had, I'd probably already have a polished website sitting on my hard drive, just waiting for some bandwidth...  Alternatively, I could just wish I'd become a photographer.  Or a painter.  Whatever other problems a non-theatre artists may have, they have got it MADE when it comes to entry-level portfolios.

ship_go_boom: (Not Awake)
So, there's apparently an unexpected downside to soft-shoeing my way out of this funk... it means I am now together enough to be stressed!  Or maybe it's just that the unexpected upside of being perpetually down on myself and freaking out every time I needed to deal with things was getting to live a little while without the looming juggling sensation that trying to keep my shit together brings...

Which is not to say that my shit or my head is entirely together yet, but I'm continuing to make progress... I'm writing this from the comfy papasan couch in my sewing room, which I hadn't just curled up in since I moved it out on my apartment a year ago, on account of how it was so buried as to be unsittable.  The sewing room is still a bit of a mess, because it's where all the random knickknacks landed, and there's really not enough usable space for everything... But all the fabric is rolled up and stacked in the fabric closet rather than spilling loosely out of said closet and over a three-foot swath of the floor, the ironing board is hanging in its place against the wall rather than perched on top of a small sewing machine console/table (the machine in it is crap, I don't really use it), the tv is on the recently-vacated table with a dvd player connected to it rather than sitting in the exact middle of the floor as a lifeless obstacle, and I can access pretty much all of my sewing/drawing/musical supplies quickly and without moving any furniture.  In other words, it looks like a very over-cluttered office/art cave, now, rather than a poorly-planned storage room.  I may set the "finish unpacking the sewing room" project aside once I get a couple more little things dealt with in here... maybe see if I can get the big curio cabinet in the living room cleaned and organized enough that I can port some more of my knickknacks into it...

Of course, I also found a couple boxes worth of stuff in here that migrated into the bedroom, so I'll have to get some cleaning done in there AGAIN.  >:(

^But yeah, above is the good of things... the rest (other than having an excellent day of LARP two weeks ago and making a pair of fabulous furry cloaks) is not so much bad, but more just a stressful variation on neutral.

I have to schedule another batch of student loan payments for tomorrow, and make hotel reservations for the USITT conference, and I have the feeling that between the two of those, my tax return is pretty much going to disappear into the aether and then some... We're fine financially, when it gets down to it, but there are enough expensive things we want or need (new mattress, office chairs, maybe some dentistry, a less crappy main tv, possibly a new washing machine, insurance...), that I'm a little afraid we might over-splurge in a way we'll only notice if I'm still unemployed three, four months from now... and although I'm fairly hopeful, I'm not exactly expecting to have a job by then...

The real stress-causer, though (on top of general "grownupping is HARD" house maintenance), is trying to get this damn portfolio ready for the conference.  I've Googled my ASS off, yet I still can't find any sort of software that is designed for putting images with brief captions on a printed page (admittedly, I've been mostly looking for free software, but I haven't even seen recommendations for buyable software).  Apparently, everybody that still uses a physical portfolio goes at it cut-and-paste style... which results in fairly ridiculous advice like "figure out where on the page your pictures go, then print out a page with the captions in the right place to glue the pictures to."  ...WHY CAN'T YOU JUST PRINT OUT A PAGE WITH THE PICTURES AND THE CAPTIONS?  And right now, all the materials I have to put in the thing are either digital-only right now, or on three different sizes of paper, or need to be cropped (usually 2 out of 3)... so really, doing all of my layout work in the computer is kind of a necessity.  As I said before, I should be able to do it with a graphics program like Gimp or Corel... I have both, but neither of them are particularly intuitive *or* designed for page layout, so it will take a lot longer.  Since I only have five weeks (and still need to do some material-gathering), I'm worried that I won't have anything polished enough to be worth having reviewed by a professional panel, which is sort of the whole point of this exercise...

So, I think I'm going to start with Plan B on this one - ie, a web-based portfolio.  There are a lot of web-hosting services that are designed to host portfolios, a lot of them are free, and some of them are even geared specifically towards theatre.  I get that done, so I'll at least have something presentable to show (even if it isn't ideal and will require taking my laptop into the interview), and then try to get the hard copy done in time as a finishing touch.  I know that I'll need the website eventually, anyways, since a lot of places apparently ask for an electronic portfolio before they even decide to interview you now, but a hard copy still seems essential for taking to an actual interview... trying to talk a group of strangers through your work while you all cluster around a computer and fight over the mouse sounds just unbelievably awkward and unprofessional.

In other news, I've felt like I've just gotten up and still need a cup of coffee in order to function ALL DAY.  It's after 5pm.  I've been up 14 hours.  But I am still SO TIRED and have gotten next to nothing accomplished today.  Pretty much I got that student loan payment in somewhere between paragraphs, and that's it.  I was supposed to go to the butcher's shop next door and get tasty meats for dinner... I even had El text & remind me to do that...  But I didn't.  Look's like prefab food AGAIN.  :,(

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Cerys, The Great Whatchamacallit

September 2014

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