This blog describes my journey exploring storytelling - words, images and the sensations they generate. The lot, basically.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Notes from the Underground

"Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself."  

- Pat Conroy


I am told Beethoven filled scores of journals during his life. Apparently they ended in a room somewhere, never to be looked at again. But Beethoven believed that even if his writing was never read again, just the process of writing it down, would help anchor it in his memory.

One of Beethoven's many journals


In addition to anchoring, I also find that jotting your ramblings down in a journal helps free up mental processing cycles - as you are not trying to juggle a million unfinished thoughts in your head; Then there is the process of forcing yourself to explain yourself as you write and the wonderful clarity you gain from looking at your thoughts from the outside in; And of course the useful benefits of being able to painlessly look up what you wrote as and when you need to. 


To this end I keep an assortment of journals grouped into various broad topics.

Various journals focused on other topics
... and have done so for years and years. 

Some of my older journals
But this post is about a special journal of mine.

The Master Journal

Anybody who has worked with me, have picked this book up from my desk and inquired about its nature. This is the book I write all the things I learn about 3D, VFX and art - either through courses, own observations or things taught by more experienced colleagues.

Some of my many, many pages of scribbles
Obviously, this book is absolutely key to my work, but beyond that I have never given it too much thought. Then one day my Executive Producer picks it up, leafs through the pages and exclaims, "One day Marque will publish this book and become and a millionaire!"

Nobody becomes a millionaire from publishing books on 3D and VFX, but I appreciated the compliment all the same. What is more it gave me the idea, that perhaps others could benefit from these bits and pieces I have collected over the years?

Do we need yet another tome on VFX and 3D? I think CGWorkshops, Digital Tutors, Gnomon Workshops and cmiVFX are all doing a splendid job teaching a lot of useful techniques and getting people a good grounding in various software packages. 

But to be perfectly honest, what I find in a lot of courses and training materials may be great for teaching a beginner the basics, but 90% of it I rarely use in day-to-day productions. However in the trenches of actual productions, what is very valuable, are clever little workarounds, that save you time or simplify the work you need to do turn a shot around. These are the kind of things, which I definitely note down in my journal for safe keeping.

So if they help me, they can help others too. I will not "publish my notebook and become a millionaire", but I will share these bits and piece which I have found valuable as short blog posts. 

I think I will call them Production Proven Shortcuts. That's what they are to me.




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