So much has transpired over the last year that I don't even know how to begin to explain my absence from this blog. Losses to mourn, changes to adapt to, new opportunities to explore, challenges to overcome, care giving to be done, a much needed respite to be taken, it feels as if I lived the entire third chapter of Ecclesiastes within the span of a year and its brought me to the here and now and the final verse of that chapter (v. 22 NIV)..."So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?" And that is exactly what I have been doing over the last several months, enjoying my work. This past year has been my time to be silent and now is my time to speak, putting the past behind and pushing forward.
I started a new adventure into the world of online teaching. It seemed easy enough, create a tutorial, step it out, then film it (which I delusion-ally thought had to be way easier than still shot tutorials), upload it, and a class was born...not so much. Soooo, I have spent countless hours learning the real ins and outs of creating an online class. First I had to learn to use a digital video camera, learn about lighting and angles, smooth transitions for close ups as well as how to use an SD Card and remember to actually put it in the camera when filming. (look at me go using real live computer jargon!)
(An Artist Field Kit)
After learning to be a camera operator I discovered I needed to be a set designer too and stage all the supplies and step outs for each film segment which kind of called for me to have a script of some sort to keep all the segments in order. Soooo, I not only became a camera operator but a set designer and a script writer. Surely there was not much more I needed to know right? Wrong!
Filming was a bit of a challenge for me. I had to try to keep focused on what I was doing while checking the monitor to make sure I was still in frame and give verbal directions at the same time. Sheesh! Now I was blocking scenes, directing, filming, and a narrator all at the same time. Are you kidding I can't chew bubble gum and walk at the same time!
(Handmade Art Journal)
Big huge sigh of relief when most of that part was all done but then I had all these little SD Cards that contained the video and somehow it had to get from there to the computer so I became a member of the not-so-geek squad downloading the videos and spending a frustratingly long amount of time trying to figure out where exactly they downloaded to. Then the panic really hit when I figured out I had to actually edit all those segments. I added technical engineer and editor to my job description list. Now some of you are shaking your heads wondering what is the big deal, well, I am not a tech type person, I do not embrace technology easily, and it makes my brain hurt to learn all that stuff that until this point I did not really feel like I needed to know.
I first tried to figure out an editing software that was just too difficult for a novice so I had to start all over again learning a new program that was much more suited to newbie. Let's just say that dummy.com, the Google, and YouTube became very close friends of mine as they walked me though endless hours, days, and weeks of frustration. I learned how to trim video, to make smooth transitions between clips, add captions, animations, title pages, credits, music, take stills of video clips, add photographs to the video, as well as technical stuff like the difference between a wlmp (which I still don't know what that means) and a wmv file and a MP4 and something about pixel size or some such nonsense. My son came to my rescue on more than one occasion during this process.
And all was going along swimmingly until...my editing software crashed, died, kaput! I tried to reload it via the web but it was nowhere to be found. I was frantic. My son called me with the bad news, Microsoft had pulled to package that this program was a part of back in January and I could not get another copy. To say I had a melt down would be putting it mildly, it was more like a hissy fit on steroids. I decided to quit. This was just not worth all the hassle. Once again my son to the rescue, somewhere on the deep dark web where all things hide he found an archive of the software. He walked me though giving him remote access to my computer and he installed the program and I was good to go again. Did I say I was enjoying my work? Not so much at this point!
I left out the parts where I had to create lists of materials, resource lists with links, an intro and a promo video, chapter settings, still shots of completed projects, written class description, create an artist cover package, create class kits and give away items, submit test videos, etc. Fast forward a few more weeks and I did it! With the exception of learning the trim tool and save settings (which my son taught me) I leaned to do this on my own, with a little help from my new best friends, dummy.com, the Goggle, and YouTube...we make such a great team!
(An Artist Field Kit plus 3 Bonus Projects)
This might not seem like a huge accomplishment in this tech savvy day and age but I am not of this current era. I did not grow up with a computer, cell phone, internet, etc. integrated into my everyday life. I still like pencil and paper, landlines and tangled curly phone cords, snail mail, actual books with pages to turn, dialing in a static channel to find music or playing actual vinyl records on a stereo record player. This was a major feat for me!
Thank you to my son who never got frustrated and might have snickered a time or two over my less that smart tech questions and issues. Thank you to my husband who never complained about the lack of cooking going on and the laundry being damp because I forgot to turn on the dryer (more than once) and for his support in cheering me on that I could do this and meet the assigned deadline. Thank you to Zinnia, who kept cheering me on, holding my hand, and talking me down when my frustration was running high. Her best piece of advice, "You only have to learn this once." and at the end of the project, "You got this, you did it."
I am ready to emerge from my sheltering cocoon (which is scary) and embrace this time of enjoying my work. I am breaking my silence and keeping my eyes on this new path to see where it leads. Wish me luck!