Not all bad news – good news, bad news post!

Bad news: As stated in the previous post, the transcription work I have been depending on to pay the bulk of my bills, is going to dry up soon.

Good news: It’s still mostly around for the moment, and isn’t gone quite yet.

Bad news: The eBay shop is still losing money each week.

Good news: I made 8 sales there in the past 60 days, and that will hopefully push my ratings to 200+, perhaps leading to higher bidding totals and items breaking even or even being frequently profitable?

Bad news: I thought that’d happen at 100 positive ratings, or 150, so how will 200 be any different?

Good news: It’s different because the frequency of bids on my auctions IS increasing over time, and because traffic on my websites is climbing too.

Bad news: The large wave of bids is concurrent with a hurricane [Harvey] that will likely dump near 20 inches of rain on Houston, flooding everything and stalling all outbound mail.

Good news: I already notified customers that there may be unavoidable delays related to this, and they’ve so far all been okay with that.

Bad news: Two items will sell later this week, and those customers may be confused and frustrated if power goes out here and no communication is possible.  They’ll be wondering ‘What is going on with this Matthew Lyles Hornbostel? Why is he not responding to my questions?’

Good news: Power is not that likely to go out, and I am in a great position to grab a bit of epic hurricane footage that could perhaps be used in my upcoming short art video ‘Storm 2’.

Bad news: This also delays recording of ‘The Annoying Magician!’ and some fragments of ‘Tinyville 2’ until a month from now.

Good news: Plenty of work to do before then anyway.  I am posting the articles section pages a bit at a time on TriumphantArtists.com, plus am closer than ever to to launching a first batch of [fully legal and self-created] content on HornbostelVideos.com, plus the comic ‘Another Road Taken’ and some game/interactive media material is on the way too.  Watch for the Spiral Skies update – showing some more of the small Unity 5.6.3 engine based adventure/puzzle game – to appear before long on SpiralSkiesGame.com, plus some largely empty fan art pages fixed and filled with content, and some even bigger updates regarding the church virtual tour program, as well as a little top-down racing game I’ve been debugging.

In case you are curious here’s a teaser for the historical preservation effort related to the Church of the Redeemer Episcopal in Houston, Texas – the entire building, which is largely demolished now, is being actively reassembled in a virtual realtime 3D form thanks to some $360+ in donations for that purpose from various church members, covering the entire cost of the project.  Too bad the crowdfunding process that worked here, failed on the far more imaginative project ‘Miniature Multiverse’ years ago – but whatever.

Parish Hall of Church of the Redeemer, recreated in 3D
Parish Hall of Church of the Redeemer, recreated in 3D

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.

 

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.

FEBRUARY 2017 RECAP

Recapping the recent events of February 2017, just the last month, to remind everyone that despite appearances, a lot of updates do actually happen on my web network if you keep looking:

-eBay auctions with low starting bids continue.  Look at these three in particular, especially the top two as they’ve gotten relatively few views so far compared to the third but are nonetheless impressive value:

Pastel Pencil art, 16×20 inches, starting at $1.99

Oil pastel art, 18×24 inches, starting at $2.49

Acrylic Painting, 18 x 24 inches, starting at $2.99

-The new batch of polls continue to go largely ignored by website visitors.  I’ve gotten *hundreds* of visitors to my websites in the past week, over 700 actually, but the polling page seems to be a bit hard for them to find for whatever reason.  It’s a shame, too, given the amazing opportunity for the few who actually take a look at that page.

The polling page.

-Membership options just launched.  There are some stupendous perks to being a subscriber and signing up for a Premium Membership status here.

The most obvious is free shipping while a member and 15% or more off all HornbostelProductions.com store items.  You could get some great bargains on handmade art doing that right now.  $4.99/year for 15% or more off everything, and a list of other extras.  Really reasonable.

Membership benefits

-The VFX section of Articles were just recently posted.  There are four new articles on TriumphantArtists.com, and they are all in that category.

VFX and 3D art-icles

-Still Art section has a few new images and is now sortable.  You can now view the artworks I’ve made, organized by year, art medium, or size.

Still Art Page – now sortable!

-Ground work laid for some big stuff updated in the next 30 days.  As in, major news related to ‘Spiral Skies’, release of House Trek content, and a new batch of HD stock footage, as well as more comics stuff, finally a new vlog entry, and continued expansion of the articles section with even more valuable information.  There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes and it’ll be publically revealed over time.

-That goofball auction of five hours of my time.  Nobody bid, but I am not really surprised given the brevity of the auction.  It was kind of an experiment and it failed.  Time to move on.  Maybe I’ll try that idea again later on with a longer build up beforehand.

-The Vineyard Video Leisure Group is now moving closer to fruition.  I posted a teaser image for it just this evening.  [See previous post]

Vineyard Church of Houston, video production group

On a lighter, campier note:

Vineyard Houston Texas video production group

There’s a video production leisure group tentatively planned for May-July 2017.

It’s led by my dad and I, we’re meeting at the Vineyard Church of Houston, in Texas, right after the second Sunday church service.

Many of you know I’m not a fan of faith in general, as religions generally seem to lack any clear basis in reality and, in my view don’t have any valid claim to moral superiority when compared to genuinely humanist forms of secular reason, but I’m doing this because it seems like fun, church setting or no.

I like the people who I expect will attend this group, and still want to maintain and improve those connections.  My dad (Scott) will be there and so will I… Salvador is likely to attend sometimes.  And a few other friends and church members.

We’ll discuss how to make video productions from concept to completion, from pre-production to post, from vague idea to final edit.

Should be fun.

 

I attended the Art Market at the Houston Vineyard in December 2016

Firstly, big thank you to the Houston Vineyard for putting this together, lots of artists in the area had booths, which was great, and the atmosphere was very nice, well decorated, good snacks, pastries, and hot cider, coffee, hot chocolate, etc. The live nativity was cute, some church members filling in the roles, including a baby as the baby Jesus. There were three goats and a donkey there and they handled the bright lights and music and guests well, though one of the goats was apparently a bit rambunctious and kept messing with the guy playing Joseph. The main issue here was, I think, the lack of local promotion beyond the obvious laminated banners at the building itself. Simply put, visitors were sparse, and many of the ones who were there were already church members. I think there were more vendors than visitors in the art market, at all times, only at most six or seven people browsing at any one point and most of those not interested in buying anything. I cannot say anything about foot traffic with confidence, of course, as my booth was in a dead-end section of hallway leading to a door to the main area of the church (off limits to most everyone during the event) and I didn’t notice every single person who walked into the venue. However, even though there weren’t many people looking at the arts/crafts the few who did show up at my table were awesome. Everyone commented on the art on display, many people were impressed by the Southwestern piece I did specifically for the show, and there were also many other items that drew attention. Ann Armstrong and some other local artists walked by when the pace slowed down and we chatted. Ultimately, I sold three items. One was a small pastel work on paper, of a dog, one was the NYC skyline artwork, which has been pulled off of my Etsy shop because of this event, and won’t be activated there again. The third was the Southwest oil pastel mentioned earlier, which I fortunately was able to photograph before selling it. Southwest Artwork, oil pastel I also had some people really impressed by the video reel (vfx reel and short films) that I was playing on a cheap Android tablet on the table. There was a lot of enthusiasm as there often is when people actually see my video work. I still want to get hours of that content online in the next year, and if things go well enough business wise that should be feasible. I have had a former cast member, Bradley Wallace, once say, “One day we’ll look back and say, we knew Matthew years before he became famous”. That’s something he said that I still remember, and although I’m hardly ‘famous’ and my work is still very cheap (“You’re undercharging”, say my uncle and other family members) it is sometimes valued higher later simply because it’s so cheap to start off with. A decade ago I sold a triptych (three paintings) for $90, which was later appraised at $150. That was at another crafts fair way back in the old Redeemer days. My work is *still* quite affordable, obviously, which you’ll realize once you learn that the image above was of a 36″x54″ oil pastel item, which I sold for just $45.00. I’ve probably put a total of around 6-7 hours into it, so I made more per hour with this than with the vast majority of the work I do. (My usual going rate is around $3.50-$5/hour in practice.) People say I undercharge, but in my experience this is how much my work is valued by the art market; if I aim anywhere above $5/hr the stuff usually won’t sell. (Art valuation is really screwed up, BTW, and I feel much of the modern art out there is grossly overvalued simply because the artist has a ‘name’, but maybe that’s just me.) $4/hr or so, instead, seems to be the sweet spot right now. It used to be $2-3 per hour but business has been really good lately and now it’s up to $4. And really, I’m very happy with $4/hr, even if most others wouldn’t be. It’s a type of work I love doing, and if I can line up 7 1/2 hours of work per day at that rate that’s $30/day which is not at all bad, IMO. At $30/day, if I can do that consistently, I’ll make $10,500 in the next year… enough to pay bills and recurring baseline costs, pay a bit in rent to my parents, and with an extra 4-5 hours a day free to work on my own personal projects! I could get several game productions and a couple dozen videos released online next year if this goes as well as I’m hoping. Maybe some of that will be lucrative in its own right, which would be phenomenally awesome. (By lucrative, I don’t mean I’m trapping that content behind a paywall. It will all be free but with some ads and also DVD editions available on this shop.)