Wedding flowers, comics, marriage, and mental load.

I attended a wedding just seven days ago, and it was an incredible afternoon and evening.

The design choices, speeches, and spirit of the event could not have been more bright and joyful.

I want to share one photo of the wedding flowers. They embodied this sense of joy; new beginnings; pure celebration, and shared love between the couple.

Babies breath, white chrysanthemum, and a light-pink rose  represented these sensations. I was definitely grateful to be there.

But where is marriage going in the future? What stresses are there on couples, and how can these be understood and solved?

To start answering these questions, I wanted to share  a short comic on marriage and relationships that was recently translated into English.

On their website, cartoonist and blogger Emma calls her comics “ugly sketches”. Regardless, the content presents a vital discussion about mental load and long-term marriage.

But you might ask, what is mental load?

It’s the finite capacity humans have for information processing.

Mental Load could also be called Cognitive Load.

John Sweller talks about cognitive load from a teaching perspective:

Humans have limited ability to actively plan, and acquire new information.

There is a finite amount of Working Memory available when processing information.

Exceeding mental load too often results in stress.

Ideally , problem solving, learning, and sharing of new information will not exceed cognitive working load (Solomon, 2015, Instructional Design).

In a long-term marriage, under the pressure of a society placing household management demands mainly on women – as Emma delineates in the comic – reducing long term marriage stress between partners flows from making a few societal changes:

  • Manage toys and gender stereotypes given to children growing up.
  • Encourage closer ties between fathers and their families by introducing more paternity leave options for parents.

Emma delineates more of these problems and solutions, on mental load and marriage, in their comic:

Source: You Should’ve Asked, by Emma

The biggest mistake I made sculpting with Gedeo Crystal Resin, and what I learned from it.

Here’s what I learned experimenting with Crystal Resins. The following post summarises my experiences.

Even though it did not turn out what I wanted (mistakes were made) it’s a learning experience.

I set out to design and create an emerald coloured, gold accented jewellery piece as a gift for mothers day. Inspired by things my mum enjoys (French province motifs, and cats) the design was going to be detailed and layered. The finished product would be stylish.

Unfortunately, I fell far short of my set standards.

It was a bit embarrassing, having to scrap the plans and find an alternative Mother’s day present. But the bright side was I learned quite a bit.

I thought that using the resin would be a gimme, considering success I had in the past making shapes out of resin for a cosplay, and then painting the shape with acrylic resin. I was wrong. It was, in no uncertain words, a mess.

Mistakes, though, are a sign of moving forward, on the right track. By making mistakes, we are just learning. They are one and the same, and are nothing to beat ourselves up about.

So for intrepid resin casting students or interested artist, here’s were I went wrong, so you don’t have to.

Philosophy aside, This was the one key mistake:

How long the product takes to set, and using proper mixing technique – this can vary, and it is worth doing a test batch.

Test batches are vital. Resins require two compounds mixed together in specific distributions to set into a solid, clear artwork (or lump). If the resin and the catalyst or hardener are not mixed together effectively, starting in one container, stirring in a second container, and then poured, the resin will not set.

Test batches are important because you can discover exactly how long the resin will take to set:

  1. Combine the resin and hardener.
  2. Start a timer, and gently mix the two products, taking care to use firm, but softer wrist movement to stop air bubbles.
  3. Transfer the mix to another container. Continue to stir.
  4. Stir until the colour of the resin starts to change. Most resins will turn slightly opaque. This is a sign the resin will set hard.
  5. Stop the clock. This gives you an idea of how long the resin will take to set (the pot life of the resin).

Smaller batches take longer to set. This is counter intuitive. You might think that a large amount of resin would take longer to set once the artist adds the catalyst. In reality, heat generated by the resin sets the product faster. The more product, the more heat. (Bruckner, Oat, and Procopio, 2010. Pop Sculpture, Watson-Guptill Publications).

Since I did not create a test batch of a the product I was working with, I had no clue how long it would take to set (spoiler: it was more than the suggested 24 hours in the Gedeo Product instruction manual).

The final sculpt was soft, like toffee, and even five days afterwards, did not set properly. This is a sign of under-mixing the resin and the catalyst element.

What I expected

Ambiance-jade_carousel_large-gedeo-copyright-Pebeo

What I ended up with

crystal-resin-testing-gedeo-product-wallflyer-CC-BY

Other observations:

    1. Suspending glitter and gold inside resin is possible. I did successfully combine crystal resin with Fimo Gold Dust, as a suspension inside the resin.
    2. It is important to keep the resin out of dust, with a cover over it.
    3. Adding a release agent, like a sculpting vaseline, is important to be able to separate the product from the mould

While it’s not an ideal outcome, it’s a learning experience. One that can hopefully be useful, eventually.

You can find more art content on the Wallflyer and you can follow me, Joe, on twitter @thewallflyer .

Starting a voice acting career with Nolan North

Nolan North didn’t realise his career in voice acting would be a big deal, or how far he would travel in a career delivering voice and motion capture roles. This post summaries the stories and advice he told on voice acting careers at the Supanova Gold Coast convention in 2017.

North didn’t believe that after recording the line “Grenade! get down” over and over again that this extension of his screen acting would be a viable option.

North continued to find roles that pushed into the new voice acting profession. Like in any profession, his passion for making funny voices caught some attention. Like in any profession, actors improve by meeting and working alongside people who have a higher skill level, or more years of experience. An emerging actor, or even an experienced actor, can always benefit from being willing to learn from new experiences.

The actors job, according to North: “To me, an actor’s job is to deliver a performance. To deliver what I am supposed to.”

Physical acting skills developed and enlisted to build character with gesture and posture, flowed into motion capture sessions. North called on his physical acting repertoire to deliver a performance.

He confides that the willingness to play make believe remains an essential part of acting and creativity.

There’s a clash, however, between the logical, bottom-line focused thinking of delivering a performance, and the creative, powerful thinking of belief and imagination that can be traced back to childhood games. Balance and flexibility, and the ability to retain some autonomy to be creative and play, even when working toward a deadline, comes across as vital in creative fields, and particularly essential to voice acting careers.

Technical skill is important – repeating movements that match up with the direction players want to send the character in with a touch to a screen, control stick, or their W, A, S, and D keys, is one example North highlighted.

Being able to crouch, walk, and sprint from zero, ninety, one hundred and thirty, and one hundred and eighty degree directions from a standing position can prove difficult. North finds that the choreography difficult to repeat, but the technical skill and endurance of moving in different directions cannot be understated. He still dislikes going from a crouching position to sprint backward – sprint 130 degrees back. This type of cardio is a tough workout on an actor’s thighs and shins.

Another reality is that voice actors sometimes fall out the loop – their character directions might change, and their are no realistic channels for the news to reach the actor.

North has found out about dramatic character changes from social media questions often long before he receives a brief or update. This appears to be the reality of a busy corporate decision making network running at a different pace to the professional life of an actor.

In summary, North says that playing iconic roles represents a responsibility to be taken seriously. Consider the other actors in the field. Ask if they are well known for voicing a certain role before. Weigh up whether it fits with your career to taken on a character voices and brought to life by another actor.

And on that topic, North comment in a few lines on his impact created through voicing Deadpool.

You can find more games and film related content on the wallflyer.wordpress.com and you can follow me, Joe, on twitter @thewallflyer

 

 

How to treat fans well, with actor David Boreanaz.

After a long weekend at Supanova, an Australian Comics, Film, Games, and Anime expo, One of the standout moments was a QandA panel with actor David Boreanaz. This post is a summary of how David Boreanaz interacted and treated fans. He treated fans well, and some of his choices stand up as good ways to treat fans.

He invited a young fan and her mum onstage, to sit on the celebrity couch.

This young fan was happy to sit and play on her mum’s phone, but did not want to interact with Boreanaz. Neither did she want to accept any chocolate from him. No doubt, she is a smart fan.

This was impressive since there is some danger in audience participation, regardless of the context in any theatre. It’s impressive that he could put a young fan under the age of 5 at ease for an hour long panel. His did not condescend, speaking across to the audience, and to her. I think this worked toward a calming atmosphere.

He insisted that one fan call her mum, who is avid fan not able to reach Supanova, and spoke to her through the phone and microphone. Her disbelief and shock was enormous.

Another risk an actor could take at a convention is allowing outside calls into a Q and A session. With some charm (and boldly inviting himself to dinner) Boreanaz chatted through the phone, putting his fan at ease. Openness in the face of risk, and willingness to be truthful and transparent with what he felt and wanted in the moment came across in this part of the Q and A.

He was open and honest, and standing up for his experience and opinions working through controversial moments in the Bones and Angel

Without spoilers, many fans expressed varied emotional reactions to the endings of several, final episodes. In response, Boreanaz sympathised briefly with fans, but also expressed his enthusiasm for change, for new characters, for growth, and development. This could become controversial easily, but Boreanaz was diplomatic in standing up for his experience and opinions.

For example, when challenged about acting in Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the content of the show described by one fan as “teeny, pop-stuff” (while the audience groaned in protest) Boreanaz replied by asking “What would Joss Whedon think?”.

With Whedon’s reputation as a writer, who delves into deeper character recesses, there is an argument against the Buffy as a superficial, fizzy and flashy show. Think back to Loki and Black Widow’s exchange in The Avengers movie, or the deeper themes of abandonment in the first Toy Story film. Boreanaz is informed about the wider context of Whedon’s work. He can defend their collaborations.

The level of openness, honesty, respect, but also confidence and diplomacy, came across throughout the panel. When asking about Tim Tams, the audience threw the biscuits to Boreanaz. They must have enjoyed the panel.

You can find more film related content here, and you can follow me, Joe, on twitter @thewallflyer.