Acceleration in late February 2018?

Despite a strongly positive reputation on eBay specifically, I do struggle with some notoriety for being ‘unreliable’ in the timing of new releases. 

This has been the case for years, even before I had any websites allowing a wider audience to notice my work.  Why do I keep falling behind on my scheduled releases? Why do I so frequently disappoint everyone on the web with how slow my work goes?

It is largely due to the amount of my time dedicated to earning money to make content… and the generally abysmal rate at which that money is earned. We’re talking $5.50 per hour in the best cases, and often no more than $2 or $3/hour.

When the total list of videos and video games I want to release [in the near future] looks like it’ll cost at least $10,000 more to complete everything I want to complete – between hardware, equipment, art supplies, miniature elements, and other costs – well, that’s a problem. That’s about 3000 hours of work just to finance everything and probably another 3600-4500 to actually make the content once it’s paid for even if no setbacks or major problems occur.  So let’s say I average 11 hours a day on this, it’s still about 600 more days to get all these things done. And as usual, nothing ever goes as smoothly as I’d want it to.

Now, I’ve had a tendency to drift focus a lot in a rotation, from project to project, making incremental progress on things in a sort of loop, but quite frankly I’m getting tired of the perception that nothing’s happening and I want to upend that.

In the last two weeks, I have made – saved up – a decent amount of money and also upgraded a few critical toolsets. That’s great. But now I’m looking at the mind-numbingly tedious sub-minimum-wage gigs I have been doing all the freaking time to cover the bills and the eBay auctions of artworks for customers that I make no more than $2/hour on or so, at best, and thinking “Why can’t I try to pare this back? Do I really think this is the best use of my time? Is this what most of my audience actually wants to see me doing?”

And the answer’s definitively a NO.

The audience here wants:

-Games, Videos, Comics, Artworks, and assorted creative stuff available to everyone, either dirt cheap or ideally completely free, and they want that stuff soon, they don’t want to wait forever for the content to materialize.

Now, there’s actually a way to make that happen.  It’s a simple well-worn concept that underlies a ton of things from broadcast TV networks, to Google, Facebook, Twitter, to the various blogs you see across the web.

Advertising.

The problem with ads on a website is that for them to be viable, you need a LARGE and LOYAL audience  – a lot of people visiting regularly.

I’m only currently at 1% of the level needed for the ad revenue to be substantial enough to replace my need to sell products or work on freelance gigs [transcription & such].

At the threshold of 100x as many visitors as I’m getting now, advertising covers everything on my network.

At or above that threshold, none of the products [videos, games] I release need to be anything other than freeware.

All the games – free, 100%, and production would double in speed across the board… on everything I’m doing.

I WON’T BLUDGEON YOU WITH REQUESTS TO VISIT MORE OFTEN OR RECRUIT A BUNCH OF FRIENDS SIMPLY FOR THIS REASON.

I want to instead entice you to do that with some cool stuff that’ll make you WANT to come back often and which will make this network EASY to recommend to friends.

So here’s my idea. The last two weeks I earned a fair amount of cash.

The next 3 weeks, I’ll work on wrapping up some exciting things, actually finishing or at least getting to a point of viability, on a few new items you’re all getting tired of waiting for.

Then the final week of February, if all goes well:

-a large but finely tuned ad campaign will draw a few thousand new visitors to my web network.

-systematic restructure of my web network, new content appearing in various places.

-New video material, all the House Trek stuff and a couple of other things too, posted on HornbostelVideos.com, with a higher-quality disc version [with animated menus and special feature stuff] available on this website’s shop for $2.99 download or $11.99 DVD / 14.99 BluRay.

-Some added comics stuff and completion of the several articles sub-sections that are still vacant.

-A new batch of pyrotechnics elements, both real video content and some clips done with advanced gas/fluid simulation, in the stock media section.

Fireball Simulation

The material’s all shot or simulated at 120fps, and slowed down to 24fps and 30fps variants. The free video files will be reduced-resolution 960×540, the paid versions 1920×1080. [full HD!] and the paid versions will show up on HornbostelProductions.com for $5.99 as downloadable content on HornbostelProductions.com, $14.99 on DVD on HornbostelProductions.com, or $16.99 shipped on a data DVD through eBay. (I was considering a $14.99 price on eBay too, but given the typical fees I have to pay there, which come close to 20%, $16.99 is basically As low as I can justify.)

I’ve ordered two new additional high-speed cameras, and will be setting up some black backing, reflective mirrors [really it’s a nice clean thick cardstock type material with a very reflective mirror-like coating on one side sort of like aluminum foil without wrinkles.] set at 45-degree angles, telephoto lenses, fireproofing supplies, etc, for the recording of the real-world pyrotechnic elements. All the equipment required is en route, and I’ll try my best to make the recorded material look amazing. The idea with the mirrors is to minimize risk to the camera. These are old-school Hollywood methods basically, you can set the mirror above or below the effect and align the camera to focus on the mirror, so you get the explosion billowing towards the camera in some interesting ways without actually endangering the camera. As for shooting at 120fps, that makes the effect look bigger and more impressive [and makes it last 4x longer when reduced to 30fps or 5x longer at 24fps] than the limited-scale effect it actually is. Recording at such high speed allows a miniature to move physics-wise as though it were 16 times bigger than it actually is, giving the illusion of immense scale and mass. The effects in question will only be four or five feet or so in size at most, in reality and will dissipate within two seconds. But they’ll seem far bigger as recorded, gigantic even, and the effects elements could each last up to 8-10 seconds when played back at a typical speed.

How the three FX setups will work

-New game content. I’ve had some frustration with WebGL releases from Unity as they were tricky to debug at times, and WebGL apps require that the game files AND the RAM usage fit within a 1GB limit, to run in a web browser. That said, I am now realizing that these limitations aren’t so bad if used for a lower-res demo version of an ambitious game and not a full-res one. So my plan is to release some of my game content in WebGL form, but with quarter-res graphics. That is, all textures switched on export to half the vertical and half the horizontal pixel count they’d ordinarily use. That reduces file size and memory use on all these projects from around 2-4 GB to under 1GB as far as web-embedded release goes.

So I’m aiming to launch a lower-res ‘Miniature Multiverse’ demo and a bit of other stuff like an early ‘Vivid Minigolf’ reworking posted in HTML5 WebGL form near the end of Feb. 2018, barring an unplanned complication. Neither is the full game feature wise or content wise, they’re both early beta releases with a lot of the content not yet included, and lower-res textures.  They will, however, be freeware, and playable on my web network [embedded in the page, with a bit of ad stuff underneath.]

The idea on most of the games, videos, everything, is it is all going to be accessible free in some form, either the full, entire version for free, as with the comics, or some sort of reduced-resolution form, but otherwise as functional as the full version in the case of video and video game content.

If this succeeds, that’d be great. I’m hoping ongoing traffic levels have climbed 10-fold by end of February, covering a full 10% of my production costs, and that most of the other 90% of my costs in running this network can be covered by sales of high-value products that have better profit margins than before either because they don’t involve shipping [downloadables] or because they’re high quality enough and widely viewed enough that they end up selling for a bit more than they would have before.

Update: There’s been an extensive ad campaign ramping up – and fortunately 200+ people have viewed the stock media section of TriumphantArtists.com just in the past 72 hours.

By the time of launch, I think that figure will be more like 1200-1500, and I’m optimistic that the new pyrotechnic stock media / stock footage collection, which will have cost me a bit over $250 in incendiary materials, other materials and camera gear, will ultimately result in an explosion of sales. [Pun intended]

 

 

 

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!

New VFX stock footage .GIFs!

All of the video archives in the ‘Stock Footage’ section of TriumphantArtists.com, now have little .GIF previews so you can see what you’re downloading before downloading it.

Here are some great examples of this, in the ‘pyrotechnic’ category:

 

HD pyrotechnic stock footage

All of this is free and royalty-free and you can use it in your own video projects.  Please, however, don’t try to sell the content or pass it off as your own work.  You can, however, redistribute it for free by sharing links to TriumphantArtists.com.  Okay?

I have ordered a video camera capable of recording 720p HD video at 120fps.  That is, when played back at 30 fps, it’s 1/4 speed, slow motion footage.  So the blasts of fire and sparks will look HUGE but they’re really quite small – the nature of high-speed video means that at this framerate everything should move as if it were 16x larger.

The collection will be a modest batch of ‘zero-gravity’ pyrotechnics elements for all your indie sci-fi blockbusters.  These are also great for exploding aircraft shots and other explosions that are in the air.

I’m shooting these essentially the same way Hollywood would, but with somewhat cheaper supplies on a smaller scale, and no salary involved.

There’s a little remotely triggered bundle of explosive material, ignited electrically from a switch & radio setup – when the switch is flipped, the radio signal activates an electrical charge and that ignites/blows apart the rest of the materials like coffee creamer, debris chunks, etc.  The whole explosive rig is hanging beneath a fireproof black backdrop [Duvetyne cloth] and the surrounding area is sprayed in advance with Fire Gard, a fireproofing liquid, to minimize risk of other things catching on fire.  I’ll also have two fire extinguishers on hand, and three containers of water, two of them with spray nozzles, one is basically a large bucket.

I’ll be triggering this from a safe distance wearing a protective mask/goggles.  I’ve read up on relevant precautions and will do this as safely as I am able.

The ‘zero gravity’ recording will be captured with an HD camera and telephoto lens; these won’t be under the explosion for obvious reasons, so I’ll be using an acrylic reflecting surface [like a big cheapo mirror] positioned at a 45-degree angle directly under the blast, with the camera viewing and recording the reflection of the explosion off the surface.

I’ve plugged in the physics numbers for the sequences and can say fairly confidently that the main portion of each fire burst effect will last about 2.5-3.6 seconds when played back at 30fps.  Maybe some drifting smoke and haze after that but not much else.  There may be about seven or eight of them in all.  They’re, as I’ve said, small effects by necessity, but the high speed photography will help with that.

This recording effort may occur within 2-3 months, and other supplemental effects for a few of my video projects, a few months after that.  If the idea of highly affordable pyrotechnic and other useful video effects elements at under $1 per clip, sounds great, then by all means keep an eye on the TriumphantArtists.com stock media page.