My transcription work will vanish during the next few months

I’m facing a loss of the transcription gigs I’d been using to pay the bills.  It’ll likely have vanished entirely by mid-2018 and quite possibly before that.  The AI breakthroughs in intelligent speech recognition have occurred sooner than anticipated; Microsoft’s R&D division has come up with an AI capable of understanding conversational context and automatically transcribing large volumes of audio with an error rate equivalent to the average human transcriber.

The best human audio transcribers are able to maintain error rates just below 4% given typical batches of audio – with overlapping conversations, and faint background conversations, muddy static or sudden jarring noises in the mic audio, and really obscure jargon, comprising most of the mistakes made by transcriptionists, and this newly announced program (a new form of Cortana) will have a consistent 5.1% error rate with similar audio.  It’s close enough that it’s not worth paying humans to do the work anymore; the AI can do the task almost as well as any human can.

What this means for me: I was pulling the bulk – roughly 55% – of my income, from transcription gigs. Other scattered chunks of revenue came from unrelated freelance work (10%) and 35% from online sales of art products.  As for where I was spending? 45% of my spending in the past year was tied to ramping up that 35% of my income. Repeat: The art sales were losing money, as in: 20%+ loss margin when the low average sale prices, the shipping, eBay fees, mailers, and other materials, were all factored in.

So basically: My effective total cash flow will collapse soon.  And I was making well below $10k/year to start out with.

I need to figure out a promising new business option soon, ideally by November, or this web network and my creative work in general, is at risk of going under entirely.  What I’m hoping for is consistently available work in the $2.50/hr range or better.  But realistically I will settle for half that much.

Last third of 2017 – eBay extravaganza

Okay, I’m working towards offering you some ridiculously discounted items.  I’ve made it clear that I’m putting a fair amount of time each day into freelancing, and that the bulk of that, the most reliable and consistent segment, has been transcription work.  I also have indicated that most industry experts believe that type of work will be entirely automated by 2020.  So at this moment, I’ve got a source of steady income and know it’ll be gone in a couple years, so I’m leveraging that income as a means to set up a list of things which I *hope* can sustain my online presence and productive work after all the transcription gigs are gone.

Because I WANT to finish my videos and games and creative stuff and I WANT to get it all online for you all to enjoy.

From now until Sept. 7, there’ll be a TON of new auctions posted on my eBay shop.  They’ll all start at really low prices, typically in the $0.50-$5.00 range.  I’d like to get my ratings on eBay, currently 195, up past 250, maybe even above 300 by the end of 2017, and in pursuit of that goal, I’m willing to burn through over two hundred dollars to get there.  In other words, an average loss for me of $2 or so on every item I sell.  I’m literally buying large batches of the best value items I can find across the internet, and reselling them for around 25-35% LESS than I paid for them.  Less than any other vendor will sell them for.

That is, I’m ready to LOSE over $200 overall on my eBay storefront, in the next 3-4 months.

If the gambit works though, it just might propel me into a far stronger position by the start of 2018.

So I’ll benefit from this insofar as I’ll ideally gain ratings faster… further establishing my reputation on eBay.   Obviously, the main upside for you is that you could get some incredible-sounding but very real bargains on items that normally would be expected to cost far more.  These fall into various categories.

Category #1: Used books, some of them vintage and potentially valuable. The pricing of the currently listed books will drop even further tonight [dropping 20+% in addition to previous price drops over the past month] and some more vintage or otherwise somewhat valuable books from my personal archives, will be listed soon as well.

Category #2: Art made to order.  You all might have noticed some recent works like this one, which was a pet portrait made to order, personalized for a customer on eBay, for just 80 cents:

Pet portrait, oil pastel – 16″x20″ dog in garden.

It still amazes me how few people take advantage of auctions like these.  There are some that end with ZERO bids even though the size of the item on offer is substantial [requiring 3-6 hours’ labor on my part] and the opening bid price is below a dollar with free shipping.  I have a 100% positive feedback rating on eBay, which I suppose somehow makes me a risky person to buy from or something?  I don’t quite get it.  Maybe I’m just really bad at drawing/painting.  Everybody says my work turns out great – but not many people will pay a whole dollar for it.  It’s puzzling.

All the same, I’ll be posting a lot more such auctions over the next 2-3 weeks especially.  Around a dozen of them, a new one almost every day!

Category #3: Art supplies: Dirt cheap art supply items, flipped at a loss for me, things like pastel sets, charcoals, sketch pads, paint sets, colored pencil sets, etc.  These will mostly be $2-7 on my shop that ordinarily would be priced at nearly double that.

Category #4: Other one cent auction items: As in a single penny per item, with free shipping.  These include DVDs of ‘House Trek’ [the DVD is almost ready to launch] and the personalized made to order museum.  Even some newly 3d-modeled variants of that museum for different types of occasions are now days from release.


The one other note you should keep in mind is that traffic to my site TriumphantArtists.com has been booming over the past week.  That’s no accident – I’ve been ramping up some huge ad campaigns and they’ve yet to hit anything close to the actual expected peak.  By huge, I mean I’m now expecting 120,000 visitors to the site by the end of the year.  The site already gets about 5000 visitors per month in recent months, but that should spike to 20-25,000/month starting with this month.  So do keep in mind that there will be people looking at the site, and the auction listings. I hope a lot of these dirt-cheap items do actually sell.

Between the ad campaigns, and the active redesign of the site – the eBay page has live updated listings from my shop now, and all the pages load faster… and the articles section is being steadily filled in with some new stuff now… and ‘Another Road Taken’ goes online later this week… yeah, I’m optimistic that there’ll be some items sold, and that some of what sells will ultimately result in ecstatic ratings from buyers who are stunned at what they got for next to nothing…

Take a look at my current eBay listings!

eBay adjustment [new cheaper sale prices!]

EBAY AND ETSY PRICES LOWERED… AGAIN.

Some of my fixed price listings have been sitting for a full year without any orders.  It’s been just over a month since the last sale I made on eBay.

So – all of that considered – I think it’s a good time to lower prices a bit.

So if you’re interested in an original work by Matthew Lyles Hornbostel, now’s a good time to order one.

Most of the custom made-to-order art on my eBay shop is now 10-20% cheaper.  So go take a look!

Also – the Etsy items are also on sale still and cheaper than they were.  An automated Etsy notification was sent to me actually warning me that based on the statistics for similarly sized items in the category, “you may be substantially underpricing your work” and that most other items in my category are priced higher, and therefore able to make a viable profit.

WELL THANKS A LOT ETSY, BUT THERE IS THIS LITTLE THING CALLED A “LOSS LEADER” BUSINESS STRATEGY.

I am well aware of the fact that my prices are low and that I may be losing money on many of the items I make.  That is intentional.  I did that on eBay too for the first three years or so, so I could gain the first batch of ratings from customers and establish my shop as a credible, trustworthy venue with a positive reputation!  After that I could start to incrementally raise prices over time – while still keeping them lower than almost all other vendors’.

Quite frankly, I would rather make under $3-6/hr doing painting or pastel work, or visual effects, video editing/post, game art assets, etc – than make the same level of income doing long strings of tedious tasks like transcription of audio & video recordings for subtitles or other purposes, or repetitively tagging the content of image files on Mturk so people can search and sort through them easily [on various websites, search engines, etc].

And by the way, I HAVE done those things, and they’re a mind-numbing waste of the [creative] talent I have.  But they do pay the bills in times when nothing on my web network is selling, and they do keep the whole thing afloat and inching forward during rough stretches.  I think it needs to be clarified that such income streams, while taxed by the government, are not applicable to [paying actors].  That should have been stated in the actors’ pay post, it was a detail I overlooked… the fraction of my income generated outside of and unconnected to my web network and unrelated to creative work is not considered ‘web network’ revenue and none of that goes to cast members.

ACTORS TAKE NOTE OF THIS FINE PRINT:

This distinction matters; it means that the total revenue generated by the web network I run is the baseline that determines the size of residuals in a given year for each actor on each video or other project.

So while transcription and other similar grinding non-creative ‘in between’ work have generated around $1260/year the past three years, for me, on average… that doesn’t add onto the other income made elsewhere.

The only numbers that count for actors are the other revenue sources that now constitute the majority of my income:

——————————————————–

-eBay sales [avg. $360/year the last 4 years but generally trending upward over time]

-Art sales I make locally at craft fairs, or elsewhere, or on this website shop, including DVD/Blu Ray releases of video collections and video games. [booming like crazy – over $400 the last 12 months locally, but no success on this website shop yet]

-Etsy sales [none yet despite a strong effort to list items and promote them there, at really low prices.]

-third party or affiliate ad revenue if ever applicable [negligible – under $5/year the past 5 years]

-Freelance work involving creative effort; i.e. videography, vfx, 3d game assets, web graphics, previz, etc. [$240/year on average, over the past 3 years.]

-printed swag like T-shirts on Zazzle/CafePress [minimal so far]

———————————————————-

Do keep in mind that most of the art I’ve sold on eBay ‘made to order’ has resulted in enthusiasm, even ecstatic responses, and that if you buy something there you’re likely to be happy with it [judging from past patterns] but that while I am able to do fantastic pet portraits and landscapes, cityscapes, water scenes, still lifes, fantasy/sci-fi work, etc, lots of things I work on turn out well but portraits are a bit of a risky thing to ask of me as the depictions of the people involved will often look a bit ‘off’ from the real people I’m trying to paint/draw, despite my best efforts.

PROBLEMS PAINTING PEOPLE

It’s well known that the human face is generally the hardest image for artists to recreate correctly by hand, due to the enormous portion of our human brains that is wired specifically for the purpose of recognizing who other people are and identifying their emotional states.  Our minds are finely attuned to facial recognition of [humans] and that’s why the phenomenon of pareidolia is so common [seeing faces in randomly patterned things like clouds or wall textures] and why we can tell hundreds of people apart very easily but can’t tell individuals apart anywhere near as well when it comes to other species.  If the image of a non-human subject is very slightly off, nobody will notice.  If it’s an image of a person, though, the image will seem ‘wrong’.

For example, there’s this portrait of my sister Sarah and her new husband (they got married a few days ago – as of early June 2017 – and it was a beautiful wedding.  We jokingly called it the Sarah-mony.).  The portrayal of the couple in pastel looks a little odd and most people will say so but few can say exactly why; it simply doesn’t quite capture the appearance of the two people I was trying to depict.  It’s close but not close enough to break through beyond the uncanny qualities.

Sarah and Sean have gotten married. I recorded the wedding on video and also made this (somewhat botched) oil pastel portrait of the couple.

So yeah – keep all of this in mind.  There are amazing bargains on custom, made to order work on my eBay shop.  However, there is a risk that portraits (in particular) which I make may, despite best intentions and a lot of careful effort, may not look quite like the people I am attempting to draw.  But I’m generally getting better at it over time.

By the way, remember to take a look at my still art section on TriumphantArtists.com for other examples of the amazing affordable art I create!

And to all those of you who want to see my video work, I’ll begin posting it on a little domain I’ve acquired (HornbostelVideos.com) well before the end of summer 2017.  There’s also another new domain – SpiralSkiesGame.com – showcasing the new minigame I’ve been developing, and while nothing’s loaded onto either domain yet the websites will both become active soon enough with a bit of content at first and more posted over time.

 

Troop 4 party has been a success!

Okay, quick notes:

  1. The Troop 4 party went really well.  Terrific food, and I got the two new videos done fairly well by the deadline, so that’s awesome.  Some of the audio needed work and the animation was spotty on the cartoon, but other than that it turned out great.
  2. With regards to two questions asked of the cast payments, yes, if my network is successful that will affect cast payouts, and no, payouts will not go up in tandem with inflation, at least not directly.  $1/year/actor/video remains $1/year/actor/video [that’s the standard minimum payment] unless my income increases.
  3. Realistically, however, my income should gradually increase over time as I gain a more extensive reputation as a vendor, better skills, more experience, etc, and my income is also likely to go up in terms of dollars as the value of a dollar gradually trends down over time.  I am listing a very high income bracket in the chart below, and that might SOUND like pie in the sky for an artist like myself, but I’m not being ridiculous; I’m actually well aware that the only way I’ll ever reach $200k+ in income by the end of my career is if my career somehow gradually improves, and the value of the US dollar is collapsing during the next half a century and inflation is persistently high.  Which could well occur given America’s rising debt levels.  Even if inflation’s at a historically normal level, though, that still means we should expect the dollar to be worth around 20% of what it is now, by 2060.  So that’s when I expect that sort of income is *possible* for me – the final years of my career, and it would be more like $40k in today’s terms.

Here’s the chart:

Payments to cast members, revision 

My aim then, is to hold the residuals or ongoing payments, somewhere just slightly below 10% of my total income, and another 10-12% in one-off pay in any given year.   Residuals can be adjusted simply by adding more or less in the way of new content in any given year.  If my income [after taxes] is soaring, I will make more videos that year than usual, with more cast members and locations than usual, and post them online.  If not, I won’t.  The numbers were revised downwards slightly with the goal of making more future video projects per year, [with larger casts] more likely to be feasible over the next half century.

Note that my plan is for 40% of my post tax income to go to making new videos & video games – perhaps 20% as casting budget and 20% as production budget.  Comics and games use the same payment logic for contributing members that videos do.  So if you voice acted or did FMV or simply had your name/resemblance used in a comic book or video game, that is counted as if it were a video.  Then there’s the other 10% or so in residuals… which makes the total 50%.  5% is disposable income focused on entertainment or for allocation in case something else costs more than anticipated.  Another 33% covers core operating costs of the network, like web hosting, and domain renewals, as well as maintaining and expanding the sale product lines on which the revenue depends.  In other words, an ongoing supply of shipping materials, canvas, paints, other bills, etc.  The final 18% is saved up or invested in some way so I have a reserve in case it’s needed later.

The video channel itself, launches in a few weeks.  It won’t contain much initially, and mostly the cast will just be me, but it marks the start of something bigger.

I’ve toyed with the notion of simply bypassing cast members I can’t reach and posting videos anyway [in a space where they have no way to generate revenue of any kind] but it seems there’s no legal benefit to doing so.  I might as well run ads for my services, with the content, and hold the actor’s earnings in a safe place until they finally come out of the ‘woodwork’ and become reachable again – at which point I’ll immediately offer them the money their video earned, hopefully pre-empting the question of ‘why did you release this without my explicit written permission and make money off of it?’

My rule now is as follows:  I will go ahead and post videos over time, even if one or two random people in it are inaccessible and cannot be reached by phone, email, or any other means.  I will tally up all actors’ earnings on every project annually and pay them.  If they are unreachable, I’ll hold that cash in an organized folder or envelope somewhere secure, marked with the actor’s name.  If and when I find them, I will ask them to sign and will pay them.  They may ask for the video or alternately their scene in the video to be pulled – I’ll remind them that it will upset the audience that likes the video and the other actors who did sign, and who do want the content online, but that if they insist the content be pulled, it will be.

What about the signatures?  Legal documents?

I am debating how best to handle that; I like the idea of the digital signature, but the document was way too complicated and long last time and I’m trying to pare it down and make it clearer and leaner for future use.  I’m using eSignGenie for this.

Update, May 2nd, 2017

My production pipeline is emerging from crisis stronger than before.  

A few quick notes: much of the cash I raised from the Crafts Fair, etc, has gone to a new video card for my PC (The old one was the source of long-running random crashes) and a few extra plugins for Unity.  I’ve also made a concerted effort to wrap up some local projects for Boy Scout Troop 4, as the troop looks to be on its last legs and will be unlikely to survive beyond 2017.  One of the scouts is leaving for the navy at the end of the spring semester so I wanted to give him a good send off.  I’m trying to complete Troop 4 TV Seasons 2 & 3 during the next 15 days for that event.

Other things I’d tried to get done prior to this I couldn’t, including the video channel, etc.  The computer being down for about 10 days had a lot to do with that.  In broad strokes, my production schedule is like this:

MAY 2017 – Troop 4 stuff screened for Troop 4

JUNE – AUGUST 2017 – Work on some interactive-media stuff like the Redeemer Virtual Tour, Spiral Skies, and also finally launching the comics and video channel, which I’ve devised a clever, or maybe just stupidly deranged and risky, plan to deal with.  This plan involves having the videos/video channel all on a separate domain with no links out of it, but various links in, no real way for me to profit [even slightly] from any of the videos if they take off or prove popular.  I will pay out residuals from other sources unrelated to and not in any way benefiting from the video channel.  These residuals will be kept extremely simple:   $1/year per actor per video released that they were in, plus a one-off $5 payment for any new project they participate in [a payment for taking the role] and a second one off $5 payment when the project is finished and goes online.  The math on this works out fine by me; if all my projects end up online over next three years, it could add up to $1500+ in payments to actors by the end of that time… and over $12k after 20 years [distributed among all actors].

If one actor tries to sue me [cease & desist] I’ll pull the video in question offline quickly, and attempt to avoid legal conflict, so just keep in mind that videos might go offline at some point if somebody complains and if they cannot be convinced by me or the other cast members, to allow the video to go back online then it’ll stay offline.   I know I’m taking a risk of screwing myself over massively and that even if that does not happen, I’ll still lose a lot over time, but it is worth it to me to have the videos online, because I like people to be entertained, darn it, and it bugs me to have this gigantic backlog of awesome stuff that nobody is able to view!

As for Fall 2017, I will try to wrap up some of the family stuff – 1999, Globe, and Fortress Siege 2.  That’s basically it, that’s the plan.

 

Craft Fair went well

I’ve made over $250 in total at the craft fair.

Items such as the kitten artwork [colored pencil, faved a lot on Etsy but not bought by anyone there] and the Easter chick sold, so it seems my depictions of animals were well received as usual.

I’ve also sold a spectacularly large item on eBay, made to order for a customer there.

Impressionist landscape artwork

That was a colossal 5′ by 8′ item on canvas, I’ve shipped it and it’s on its way to the customer.  It cost them $108.

So – all told – I’m in good shape to push things beyond where they were before.  I’m ordering a new GPU (video card) for my computer and will try to set that up soon.  I’ve also acquired a few other smaller things that I need, and much of that is related to a virtual tour of the former Church of The Redeemer meeting location.  That’s one of a handful of Unity 3d projects being developed in tandem, so any shaders, plugins, etc, used for this will also be useful elsewhere.

The Redeemer DVDs were generally very popular and the Blu Rays less so even though they look amazing on a high-def TV.  1280×720 video may not be flawless resolution but it’s well above 720×480.  If you’re online asking for a copy, keep in mind that aside from a teaser for the virtual tour, pretty much everything on those discs is church service footage only of interest to the aging people who attended the church prior to 2011.

It’s not exactly a seat of your pants, high octane thriller.

But – it may well lead to some exciting videos making it online, ones that are shorter but way cooler looking and faster-paced, than a church service.

Right now I’m slashing prices on all of my Etsy listings by 20-35% (until May 10) so that’s worth a look.  The eBay listings also have mostly dropped by 5-10% as sales there have slowed down slightly lately.  A lot of that kind of stuff ebbs and flows.  Sometimes I see 3 or 4 people all commission unique artworks in a single week, other times I can go a month with nothing much selling.  So it’s hardly consistent and right now I’m expecting a boost in activity, partly due to the sales and reduced pricing, and partly because I have launched a bit of advertising this week.  So if you like an item I made, that you see on Etsy, buy it before it sells to someone else.

MY ETSY SHOP!

MY EBAY SHOP – OVER 180 RATINGS, ALL POSITIVE!

NOW SELLING ON ETSY, under $35:

Winter Landscape

UNDER $30!:

Fantasy Coast - gouache

UNDER $20 FOR EACH SET!:

Still Life series batch #2

Old still life series, batch #1

Lot of four old fantasy art landscapes

Set of 5 old landscape artworks

Old batch of floral artworks from 2000s onward.

There are INSANE bargains all across my network right now and you should definitely take a look if you haven’t already.

 

 

 

Crafts Fair in Houston TX and other news

Okay – a few notes.  One is that after a great deal of frustration I’ve gotten my PC working again.  I backed everything up and then it went from bad to worse, from ‘blue screen of death’ to ‘black screen of death’ in which I could not even reach the command line.  Fortunately I found a way to get back to BSOD, then from there I wiped the C: drive and reinstalled Windows, followed by copying the backed up data back onto the C drive.

The day or two after that?  Mostly spent reinstalling a long list of utilities and software packages.   Then and only then, could I resume work on a range of projects that had been unfortunately on hold while the computer was screwed up.  This has been a huge hassle and I’d like to replace the aging video card as I’ve long suspected it as the root of my PC issues.  I know what other better cards are compatible with my desktop, and I am planning to get a replacement, as soon as I’m able to factor it into my budget.  To that end:

I’ll be attending a crafts fair at 5700 Lawndale, Houston, TX, this Saturday April 22nd from 9 am to 3 pm.  This is the Redeemer Lutheran church buiilding and they’re hosting the event and organizing it, plus some Redeemer Episcopal and Missio Dei Houston members are also involved and participating.  

Anyone who wants to meet me there can do so, I’ll have a booth and will be selling handmade art and will also have some great freebies available.  Some of those free items may run out quickly so it’s advised to show up on the early side of the event, ideally during the first hour or two.

There’s a massive crafts fair there, plus garage/yard sale and bake sale, bbq, etc.  It’s basically one of those huge fundraising deals, which I’ve attended in the past.  The booth fees are $25, which gets you an 8 foot table, although it may be too late for anyone else to sign up now.

The vendors keep whatever’s raised, generally, and I am hoping to sell a few handcrafted artworks at this event.  I will also have some other stuff like stickers, pencils, prints, push pin buttons, and DVDs/BluRays which are going to go fast it looks like.  I’m still agreeing to hand them out for free on a ‘pay what you want’ basis.  My dad says they should cost $20 but I’m fine with just handing them out.

Church of the Redeemer DVDs
DVDs of closing services for Church of the Redeemer Episcopal Houston

Those are mainly of interest to people who have been a part of the Redeemer Episcopal community, but the handmade stuff has much broader appeal.

I have sold a set (triptych) of three artworks at one of these old events, at a price of $90, which was later appraised at $150 by an art dealer.  You might find similar bargains here; many items will be marked 15% lower than on Etsy, given the local nature of the event and the fact that they won’t need to be shipped, so shipping isn’t built into the pricing.

What is?  Well, materials, plus a rate of about $3 per hour for my creative work on each item.  Some items are a bit more if new, or less if old.

Worth a look for anyone in the Houston area.

 

Still reeling and coping with the setbacks

I think in a few days I’ll have the PC operating normally, more or less.

While the Windows OS update was screwing up my plans for a video channel release (previously scheduled for May 10 but now pushed back by two weeks.) I also found a message in my spam folder notifying me that vividminigolf.com was not set to auto renew and that it was expiring.

Fortunately I got it renewed within the grace period, that brief span between when a domain expires and when it is purchasable by other people.  But for a couple days the site was down and the game was inaccessible.  Sorry about that.

I think things are getting back on track, more or less – I have a few options for getting my PC working again ranging from mild [replacing faulty AMD drivers] to severely annoying [reinstalling the OS] but all of them depend on first backing up everything on the internal drives in case something goes severely wrong and the hardware is basically unrecoverable.  That is unlikely but I’m backing all the content up via command line anyway.  This takes some time, and involves a lot of copying of subdirectories to and from a 128gb flash drive.

The first attempt to acquire signatures from a few cast members failed; I’m now revising the terms and will send out those forms on a person by person basis beginning with an initial set of 40 people or so on May 17.  The terms for cast members are now even more generous, to the point where under some circumstances the video channel might not prove to be viable.  I recognize that if the channel on my website were to take off suddenly with above 500k viewers, and the other stuff – the sale items – don’t grow at a similar pace, the cost to me could be enormous and might cause a systemic failure of my web network.

Why?  Because I’m using sale products as a substitute for conventional third party ad revenue.  Should the sale products disappoint and fall below a certain ratio relative to the video views, the profitability of my websites go down and maybe even go negative.  The threshhold at which this happens was, in the original document, very unlikely to be crossed, but now I think the odds of the video channel losing money are hovering around 25%.  This is something that I can adjust to some degree to improve things if they get bad enough, like:

-writing most upcoming videos with smaller casts of about 3-4 persons instead of sprawling ensembles.

-minimizing location shoots off my property.

-increasing promotion frequency [advertising] of related sale products in the video channel playlists in an attempt to boost revenue on the channel to a tenable level.

-promoting my video channel only subtly and emphasizing the shop on most non video pages.

My hope is that the video channel will raise about as much revenue as it costs, maybe even prove mildly profitable somehow.  That would be amazing, and in my view the effort breaking even is still something of a victory.

Since we’re discussing the shops and sale items, I think it’s a perfect time to point out the stuff I’ve got piled into the Etsy and eBay shops right now.  There’s more there than is usually the case and you should check that out.

I’ve got a bunch of antiquarian magazine issues [I maestri del colore] on sale right now on eBay, substantially undervalued, someone could absolutely buy a lot of 20 and flip them, reselling them as individual listings.  That might actually make you a tidy profit.  But those listings are ending right about now!

My eBay shop

I also have a bunch of my old work on sale on Etsy now.  Lots of stuff.  Batches of old artworks that have been around a few years and haven’t sold locally – but which are now on sale at really great low prices!

My Etsy shop

I am screaming profanities right now

My PC, the one I do pretty darn near all my digital work on, is stuck with a blue screen of death.  Again.

When this happened I was initially yelling at my computer at the top of my lungs and crying.  I have been so far unable to start it up [to desktop] but after some effort made it to the command prompt and am attempting a number of possible solutions.  I am incredibly frustrated and it goes pretty much without saying that I’m going to miss the April 10th goal I had set for myself regarding the video channel.

I feel sometimes, no, I KNOW, that I’m doing things that push my pathetic hardware and tools to the breaking point.  I don’t have any other choice; this broken down pile of garbage is all I can currently afford.  If it goes down permanently I am stuck with a serious mountain of problems and I don’t know if my web network would survive that.

I am selling a lot of old vintage books, or trying to, but although they are apparently of some value nobody is bidding on them.  I hope that someone buys something soon on Etsy or eBay, from me, as that would give me access to options like buying a good replacement video card sooner, rather than later, and having local backups of key files instead of relying solely on a cloud service.  Basically I get the sense that my workflow has a minimum of redundancy and that when one of a few dozen key things fails, everything in the pipeline grinds to a halt.  Maybe some things could even get ruined permanently as has happened occasionally before.  Things breaking, stalling, progress in fits and starts, is happening way too much lately.  Really hoping for a breakthrough here someday.

I’ll keep you all posted as this fiasco progresses.

Am hoping that some of you will buy something from me on Etsy as I am using this delay as an opportunity to make and post new art there and also some batches of old works I might as well list at low end prices.

And again, there is the magazine stuff from 1964, I Maestri del Colori, old art publications that I am trying to sell right now, among other eBay listings.

Thank you all for being so patient with me generally.

I know this has been a long, slow wait.

If you haven’t already noticed the ‘ways to help‘ page on TriumphantArtists.com, um, now would be a good time to do something on that list so maybe, just maybe, I can get things moving again.  Again, thank you.

Houston, Texas residents take note!

LOCAL SERVICES & EVENTS RELATED TO MY ART/VIDEO WORK:

If you’re in the Houston area, especially somewhere near the Eastwood neighborhood or University of Houston, the downtown area, etc…

SPECIAL LOCAL EVENT VIDEOGRAPHY

Well, I’m going to begin offering local services like videography [low-cost event videography for weddings and other special events] fairly soon.  My fees are around minimum wage and in practice more like $4.80/hour when measured accurately, so really super affordable compared to many other services, and I offer multicamera coverage of events so if one camera has a problem, for any reason, none of the events that are taking place are lost.  Price is $7.50/event hour plus an extra $4 per DVD or Blu Ray delivered the week afterward, and these are DVDs/Blu Rays with disc art, cover art, and a few basic nice features like that.  But while I will do this work for cheap, I won’t do it for nothing, or as has often been requested, for a loss.  (Incidentally – I’ve still got ten batches of video from the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer closing ceremony lingering on my desktop PC – I recorded all that for free – but I won’t deliver it on discs unless somebody actually covers the cost of that!  That stuff is *still* just sitting in a folder on my hard drive years after the fact all due to the church members’ unwillingness to pay $4/disc for it!  Kind of a dumb stalemate there, and doubly dumb given that for another $150 I’d be willing to make a realtime 3D tour of the entire church building as it was a decade ago, in Unity 5, and include that on the discs.  1/3 of the building is already sculpted in 3D, but that too is stalled because nobody will cover the cost of completing it [even though I have 14-mp photos of pretty much every surface of the structure inside & out, hundreds of them, and the skills/tools to generate a full realistic 3D version of the structure that players can walk around in on Windows and Mac.)  The worst part is that many of the church members are senile tech-illiterate dodos who probably will never even realize this blog exists or what they could have had very cheaply.  Sorry, but I refuse to coddle you anymore or continue absorbing losses doing things as an unpaid volunteer for you all.

(I don’t believe in your ancient myths any more either and I’m agnostic, nearly atheist in practice and generally no longer willing to quietly accept idiocy and irrational wishful thinking that defies logic.)

 

LOCAL SCOUTING PROGRAM AND VIDEO SCREENINGS THERE:

Boy Scout Troop 4 meets at the Church of the Redeemer Lutheran and I’m still somewhat involved in the group as a sort of leader / Assistant Scoutmaster despite having turned 18 well over a decade ago.  This group is awesome with some great but aging leaders and a fascinatingly funny legacy dating back a century, which includes great events, parties, camping and hiking, road trips, video productions, even a flight to Hawaii for a week once in 2005! – but if there aren’t a few new scouts inbound (plus a parent or two volunteering) the group is likely to continue to deteriorate and will disband entirely at the end of 2017.  That’d be a shame but not a surprise.  The BSA – a largely bloated, inefficient and corrupt non-profit institution and not really adhering to its founding ethical principles anyway –  is not adapting adequately to changing demographics; when over 2/3 of young Americans [under 30] are non-religious* and the organization actively bars non-believers from being involved even if they’re idealists who truly are trying to be good to others [just without faith in a God] then it’s no surprise that the organization is going downhill and generally screwed in the long run.  Their efforts at inclusivity have been slow, confusing and mismanaged [the multi-stage acceptance of non-heterosexual scouts] and they’ve hit a bad stage where they are adopting policies which alienate both the conservative religious groups and the emerging secular culture.  It seems like they don’t know what the hell they’re doing.  The fragmented culture of America, to be fair, has become something of a minefield for this sort of organization and controversy is seemingly found everywhere.

So if the troop is headed for dissolution, at least it’ll have a legacy living on through the troop’s website, the comic books, videos and even the little T4 adventure game in development.  Some time this summer I want to set up a big HD projection/sound system and play all the T4 movies, remastered, for the group, both current and past scouts, complete with drinks & popcorn.  It’d be a great chance to see why the troop is amazing – a big party and local boys ages 10-17 and their parents are encouraged to drop in and watch when that takes place.  (TBD)

 

ART MARKET and VIDEO PRODUCTION GROUP:

Vineyard Church of Houston, had an Art Market last Christmas and likely that’ll be an annual event so keep that in mind for the end of the year, as I’ll almost surely have a booth there again at the end of 2017, and also there’s a Video Production / Movie Makers group there probably September-November 2017 (if pastor Michael Palandro approves it, which he might, given my Dad’s consistent and steadfast supportive position in the church and my undeniable credibility as far as relevant skills are concerned, or he might not, given some of my openness about not believing in God.)

WALL ART, MURALS, ART TUTORING, ART WORKSHOPS, 3D PREVIZ, all made affordable:

You can commission artworks – handmade wall art, murals, and similar – from me (again, quite affordably and a bit under minimum wage) locally as well.  I can also teach art and video skills locally, and I’m able to create virtul tours/previs cheaply for anyone needing to show a potential client what a redesigned or ccompletely new property or location could someday look like.

Try emailing me via matthornb@gmail.com if you need an actual creative job done in the Houston area and maybe we can work something out.  Please though, no more emails from scammers.  I’m tired of evil, pathetic brain-dead criminal morons trying to con me and failing miserably at it.  Don’t even try.  It’s a waste of my time and yours.