Copyright Notice

This is to proclaim that all materials posted on this blog are property of and copyrighted by Image of the Mind Studios/Arthur Greisiger .
These materials may not be reproduced or copied without permission. They are posted here for you personal review only.

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Other work

There have been quite a few product lines which have been developed at IMS. I am looking at building inventory on these product lines, which may have a direct effect of the momentum of The Gnomes. So I am focusing somewhat on the product showroom and the sales office. That means that activities will certainly have an effect on the Gnomes production activities. Ultimately, those sales & manufacturing activities directly affect the work on the Gnomes, however, focusing on that aspect of things does not really distract from the Gnome activity as much as enhance it, but it does redirect the focus to other marketing efforts as well as manufacturing, since obviously the production line for those products is different than the one for Gnome products. But any way you look at it, refining the shop is required for any direction we take, whether it is the Gnomes or some other project. It would be most advantageous to focus all the energy specifically on details of The Gnomes, but if that is not moving forward as rapidly as we would like, we will clearly move into other projects. Hopefully activities on the Gnomes will kick up to a higher degree, sooner rather than later, because I certainly would not want to get distracted into another direction. Realistically, I will follow the most productive path, whatever it is. Admittedly, directing resources into inventory of other product lines clearly takes away from converting those resources into production assets for the Gnomes though. If you are a potential production partner on the Gnomes of New Hope, I suggest you make your voice known. The Business Plan is almost ready to distribute. AG

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Continuing with work on Illustrating the Storybook

Returning the the subject of artwork. A large part of Volume Three still needs to be illustrated. This means I will need to raise the funding for that operation. I exect that to be around thirty grand. Our approach this time around is to design the illustrations so they can serve the purpose of producing the animations for the sing-a-long videos. The descriptions of the panels are completed and they have been integrated into the layout for the storybook. If it seems like the funds for continuing with the illustrations are not forthcoming, then I expect I will move to applying what we have to the storyboards for the film. I am seeking, as I have for some time, representation for the overall project. So that is part of my current efforts. The business plan that is developing accommodates forward momentum with or without representation. Since we are building a sound stage in the studio, and I have been a filmmaker for many years, we can move forward in-house in any event. The difference being that moving forward with the resources currently available to me is a great deal slower than anyone would want. But we'll see what happens there. I have more work than anyone ever would want to have, so it's not like there's nothing else to do. On a different subject - I started working on Act III of "I AM Alpha & Omega" and it is going to be high opera, based on the Apocolypse. So that' a huge task. Again, we'll see what happens. Main focus for the time being is rebuilding the vehicles that need new engines. That's all for now. AG

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Notes on the Business Plan

The Business Plan has been developing for the last few months. There is a comment in the IMS Virtual Studio, so refer to that for a short synopsis. The materials are not quite ready to distribute, but they will be delivered to Industry Professionals who make a request in that regard. A Restrictive Covenant Agreement will be required and is part of the introductory package. No further business details will be presented on-line, now that we are bordering on production in a number of arenas. After momentum picks up with investment and production management, publicity materials will be presented, but the intimate details of Production management are reserved for our staff and our vested partners. Inquiries are always welcomed and the address information can be found elsewhere. AG

Monday, November 2, 2015

Business Plan

Well, I've been busy getting ready to release the Gnomes to the industry. If you are a producer, agent, studio organization, or other industry professional interested is seeing the business plan, contact me via image.of.the.mind.studios@gmail.com. The business plan will be available on CD Rom and will also contain the required Restrictive Covenant Agreement. The core materials are ready to present, but other details in that regard still need to be completed. No materials will be distributed without a signed RC Agreement. Other work that is continuing relates to setting up the production lines for manufacturing the published items and preparing the inventory to meet demand when this is officially released. Studio activities are a priority right now and posting information online about what is happening will have to take a back seat to production line activities. Other studios activities surround renovations to the facility, puppetry and sculpture. I am also working on producing a collection of dolls as an addition the the numerous products in our showroom. Some degree of work is being done on finalizing the score for publication and I am concentrating to some degree on preparing the sound stage for the orchestral and vocal recordings which will be taking place. We are getting ready to start working on illustrations and animation again, contingent only upon an increase in investment. With that in mind I am relocating the files to the new production management office and setting up/expanding upon the art department. I have posted sufficient information for anyone serious about being involved and do not expect to spend too much time online for the time being. So overall, great progress is occurring, but reporting that progress online is taking a back seat to actually doing the work. AG

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Big People Book

Well as it turned out the processor didn't die. It was a peripheral that was causing it to not start-up. So I moved forward to finish the "Big People Book". This is where we stand. I have focused on finishing the prototype editions of the published books. The e-Storybook is finished (with the exception of the artwork which has yet to been created). There is a rather large list of artwork which is required for the completion of the series. My goal is to put 50K in the bank to cover paying Jency to finish the work. Everything has been identified as to what needs to be done, so once I have those funds she can come in to start working again. I could start on less, but I'd rather have that amount available. The prototype books have all been printed. That includes the "Gnome-sized Booklet" (a small collection which will cost less to purchase), "the Big People Book" (a full size book, approximately 8x10 in size) and the e-Storybook. The packaging for all these products is in the works and we are trying to determine what the margin will allow for a retail price. I am trying to shoot for the "Gnome-sized" Edition to sell for $4.95 retail/book, while I expect the Big People Book to sell for $16.95/book and I expect the e-Storybook to sell for $39.95 for the set. The published editions will be sold individually and in boxed sets. There are three volumes in the set with a total of seven books. Each book is approximately 100 pages. I am currently focusing on setting up IMS Publishing as the manufacturing and distribution arm of the published goods owned by Image of the Mind Studios. I am setting up a production line for these products, even though we do have sub-contractors lined up. I want to make sure that IMS Publishing is one of the manufacturing organizations who will be supplying product, but in all instances, inventory will ship from IMS after inspection. The initial release of the product will be in Bucks & Mercer Counties with the radius centering out of New Hope. I will discuss those plans at another time. But for now I am focusing on preparing the Industry Package and I still am looking to negotiate certain rights in order to secure working capital. If I manage to get past the need for working capital to advance the product line, then I will not be open to licensing, because at that point the management will take place internally. Of course that only refers to the arenas that are within the immediate purview of IMS. other merchandising will still be licensed. There's a bit of an update. If you are a Literary Agent who may be interested in this, do write me, as it is now quite possible to do that. I expect any business discussions to take place at my studio, as I am too busy and obliged with other matters to do anything else. That's all for now. AG

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Audio Book

As part of the pre-production process, I have been recording a sample version of the audio book. This will be available through our agent to industry professionals. It sounds fabulous! Almost ready for retail. I have been doing the voices of the characters just as a way to give it diversity. I can imagine how much better it will sound when we use more individuals doing the voices (like an actual female instead of my rather... different sounding Ferny)

So, the audio book is being set-up as a companion to the Illustrated e-Storybook. I'm not sure how to present those two items together. Clearly, the best economic approach is to sell the two items separately. but that poses a problem of complicating the product, requiring downloads or integration by the customer. I do think it would be much better to design the layout so the customer does not have to do anything in that regard. But the reality is that the expense of setting the products up and then integrating them, ought to be recouped. If the e-Storybook and the Audio Book are integrated, then the cost of the product should be higher. The issue there is that the market will only bear so much. I may offer the integrated version at a discounted price of what it would cost to buy the two separately, but by that time what's the point? Nobody is going to want the e-Storybook without the Audio book attached. In all likelihood, the conjoined product will be a better product for parents to use to keep their kids busy, because the reading will already be there, in the event that the folks don't have the time to sit down and read it, or if the kids want to hear it read later on after their folks read it to them.

We will be doing coloring books so I may publish a version of the coloring book that matches the e-Storybook, although I have to admit that the wide scenes might be more fun to color. I do think that the coloring book layout should also match the audio book, because then the kids can listen as they color.

So these are some thoughts about what we are doing. I still have the goal of setting up the production lines for manufacturing, the only thing that will stop that from happening is if someone ends up buying the whole magillia.

Well, since I happened to be online today I though I'd offer some thoughts. The Audio Book is great, but that's not any easier than the rest of it. AG

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Update

Some thoughts on this project were posted on The Image of the Mind Studios Virtual Studio. Check there for the update. I am still using image.of.the.mind.studios@gmail.com as my primary email, but I only check that occasionally. Use snail mail if it is important and involves any kind of real industry activity or funding. AG

Friday, April 17, 2015

Communications

I expect to be discontinuing my internet service with Verizon due to a billing dispute. Keep an eye on the IMS Virtual Studio for other notes in this regard. If you need to communicate via email use;

image.of.the.mind.studios@gmail.com or Facebook

or preferably back up your communications by sending it to:

Image of the Mind Studios
1325 Industrial Boulevard, Southampton, Pennsylavania 18966

It is not clear how this will be resolved.
I'm sorry for this inconvenience.

AG

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cover to The Gnomes of New Hope

I thought I'd post some of Volume One
as a way of exemplifying the layout of the e-Storybook.

 The image ratio is matched to an e-pad
and it looks great on it.

the front cover

a credit page
(this page reads easier than it appears at first glance)


inside front cover


inside front flap, side one
(in actuality there will likely be in excess of 800 pages


inside front flap, side two


Rear cover


Look for the Introduction to Volume One
which provides samples of the
page layout.

Portions of Volume Two/Act One
will appear when it is ready for purchase.

AG

Introduction to Volume One

    Well, here is the Introduction to The Gnomes of New Hope: Volume One. 
The page layout is is very similar to the rest of the Storybook. 
The difference being that the text in the Storybook
does not have color highlighting the wording.
I think that would be too distracting over the span of 850 plus pages. 

   Also the Storybook has many illustration panels which depict a scene,
 in addition to the sort of clips you see here.
I may yet include the first scene here when
the entire e-Storybook is ready for purchase.
However, there are still numerous programming aspects
which need to be properly implemented, before this can be released, 
So I am no certain how long that will take.








Well, I think this pretty much explains it.
I am looking for Representation for this project
as well as financing for the various  larger aspects
of what we can do with it.

As I mention here we have a good amount of additional
 Illustration work to do and when we do develop t
he funding to proceed with that, 
we will be moving into animation. 
It is my position that I can build the Illustrations 
from the animation artwork almost easier than doing illustrations 
without the goal of making animation. 
Certainly using animation artwork would be more flexible 
than simply illustrating the book.

If you are a television or film professional, or distribution outlet, 
now would be a good time to talk about getting in on the animated products.
I have a puppet job on-line, so I might be shifting over 
to spending some time on puppetry again,
as the green screen on our stage is also moving forward.

The Three Volume Set will be made available to Industry Professionals
upon a written request and submission of 
a Restrictive Convenance Agreement
which I will provide upon request along with some basic terms,
many of which have already been posted here on this blog. 

AG

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Some images

Here's an illustration of the Finale from the Storybook
just to break up the text in this blog.

This is the Gnomeville
The Centre of All Gnomanity!


You can see the assortment of characters we have in this layout.
It looks rather dark and contrasty as it is posted here
but it's just a sample.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Business

I found that I posted a rather thorough update on the IMS Virtual Studio which turned out to be about the Gnomes. Check it out. AG

Preliminary Sales Flyer

Here's a View of "Gnomes in a Gnutshell"

The OFFICIAL RELEASE of the product
will not take place 
until I have orders for 
100,000 units placed Nationally.

This is the criteria necessary
to bring the product on line
for various reasons.

This image needs to be revised because it does not include
the lanyard which will be part of the package

We are currently setting up the production line
and are beginning to build our supply inventory
and equipment for manufacturing.

these products will be
MADE IN AMERICA
by
 IMAGE OF THE MIND STUDIOS
and our Associated Partners

If you care to be involved in
The Manufacturing Process
for ANY of our Ancillary Markets,
Please contact me.

More details and images will be posted here
on an ongoing basis. 

A Point-of-Purchase Display
 which presents 18 units
and contains storage space
 for 100 units
is available at additional cost.

Minimum purchase for wholesale pricing is 50 units.

Orders will be filled
on a first come first served basis
in the order they are received.

I am taking Pending Orders
from retailers via e-mail.
A sample package will be available upon request
and submission of a Purchase Order and Deposit.
(Contact me for details)

This e-Storybook is based on the Stage Musical.
It may be appropriate to delay
the release of the Storybook
until we have sufficient vocal renditions
of the music recorded 
so that the album of music can be available
as a companion to this e-Storybook.

Also, it would be most advantageous for us
to release the hard copy
of this Illustrated Storybook
simultaneous to the release of the e-Storybook,
along with some more of the video animation
for marketing support.

These aspects are under consideration
and may require partnering with
other organizations to achieve.
If this is a subject of interest to you
please contact me in this regard.

"The Gnomes of New Hope: 
Zach & Zebby's Grand Adventure"

will be available from this web site
 (after the Official release to retail outlets)
at the retail price of $37.50 
for the three volume set.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Some shots of the Puppetry work


Here's some shots of the work being done


An Early view of the work area, things have changed
quite a bit since this shot was taken!


An earlier version of Zebby's face in clay
with remnants of Constable Warren's features
before it got moved onto a skull
and the mold was made.

Note that the size of the faces allows us
to manufacture Halloween masks when the time is right.


The slightly modified edition of Zebby's face
more in alignment with the illustrations
 after it was taken out of the mold
 and developed fingerprint-face


A side view showing where the seam for the back half of the head is.


 Zebby's face skin being formed with latex.
I'm looking at other materials for this.


A view of work being done on the skulls for Constable Warren and Zebby.

To the left is an early test of Zach's face which got rejected
because ofan inferior quality Plastina and use of an incorrect skull.

The Human skulls are modified in various ways
 for the shape of the assorted Gnomes heads.

 Note also the skeleton/chassis hanging on the rear wall.
These are being modified for use with both
the manual and animatronic puppets.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Never Been So Near, animated video

An Updated Version with comments

I reset the date so this is closer to the top
but I have not changed the comments 

Here's a sample animation.
Sorry it is rather low definition
I'll try to replace it with an uncompressed version
that looks much better!

video

This is the first song that opens the  stage musical.

There are seventy songs composed & arranged for this musical.
A three movement Symphony is in the works

There are multiple versions of the show
designed for different venues
which run
 1.50, 2.00, 2.25, 2.50, 2.75 and 3.00 hours

 But the full version Is The Best
and includes a dance sequence

Most recent thoughts 
regarding insertion of film and music into the e-storybook


The issue right now is Digital Rights Management
and the format of the files
required to include music and video.

Distribution via the internet as an e-storybook 
may be effected by the size of the files
due in part to the artwork.

Inclusion of the music and video
as well as 
the artwork for illustration
may require the product to be distributed as a DVD.

We are reviewing what might be possible in this regard.

It is possible that there will be more than three volumes
due in part to an expanded back-story
which is not included in the stage musical. 


Previous considerations
regarding layout of the e-storybook

Volume One 
An Introduction to the Gnomes of New Hope
 Volume One is complete and  consists of the artwork
which we have been creating over the last five years,
along with a Narrative text,
 which introduces people to aspects of life in Gnomeville.
This is intended to prepare the reader to understand the events in

 Volumes Two & Three
Zach & Zebby's Grand Adventure
A Narrative Edition of the Libretto

  Volume Two is complete  with the exception of
scenes eight & nine not being illustrated

All the instrumental music for Act One/Volume Two
has been converted to MP3 and included in the e-storybook.

However, the music for Act Two
has not yet been converted to MP3
and has not been inserted into  the e-storybook.

The instrumental music is intended to be replaced
by video such as the animation, exemplified above.

The intention is that each of the lyrical songs will be
accompanied by a Sing-a-long  as part of the e-storybook
because the storybook contains all of the lyrics.

Since producing these animations will take quite some time,
 the eBook will be able to updated as the films are completed.
As you can see in the above film, the lyrics are revealed
where in the melody line they occur.

All of the music is designed for use with the stage musical
and some of it is intended to bridge the scenes or be background music
All the music is are intended to accompany stage action
and therefore is specialized for that purpose.
This means that, in some instances, the music will not stand on it's own
or make sense without the context of the stage show.

Nonetheless, the bridges are included in the e-storybook.

Eventually, the use of puppetry and animation in the films
will make the instrumental bridges clearer
when they are used in the proper context.

Production activity: Composition and Arrangement

Shawn and I have gotten together to discuss this after a six month hiatus.
While I focused on other business, preparation of the storybook,
experimenting with film, work on building animatronic puppets
and laying out the e-storybook,
he has been involved in a number of stage productions.

We have discussed what we need to do about advancing the music,
continue with finishing the arrangements,  compositional work
on the Overture/Symphony and more importantly,
bouncing the instrumental music that is already finished 
 for Act Two, which is needed for Volume Three of the e-storybook.

I have moved deeply into  Act Two/Volume Three of the e-storybook,
and am focusing on the text layout, without illustrations.

For those portions of the storybook that reflect the Libretto directly
the illustrations are complete, since the Libretto is fully illustrated.

For those portions of the storybook that have been expanded with
more detailed back-story and embellished text
more illustration work will need to be done.

Our current status is that we are at a standstill 
in terms of music production.

The computer equipment in my studio is failing
for the burden on processing the artwork and music production
 is too much for the equipment that I have
and I've burned out more than one computer.

So I will need to upgrade completely before we can advance very far.

Fortunately I have enough machinery to continue in the
work which does not require so much processing power
and so I am moving forward without working on illustrations.

Once I upgrade the machinery,
will be proceeding to review the musical materials needed
 for Volume Three, return to illustration work,
move back into studio recording and work on scoring.

At that time I will be able to move back into animation.


Older thoughts previously posted

This film represents the proposed animated films
to be inserted in the eBook
along with the instrumental music.

This style of animation will be the first stage in moving forward
toward full animation and when the puppets
are completed for the first scene,
we will film that and either integrate that into the animation
such as you see here or do another version.

Our goal is to proceed with both the animation and puppetry work,
 as you see here, and leave the live performance for the future.

I am continuing to build the exhibition and now have a 1" scale model
which we are using as part of the cyclorama aspect
of the walk thru exhibition/show.

The legit stage design will vary from what you see in the animation,
 but the backdrops and characters will be used in the cycloramas.

My expectation is that the characters used in the cycloramas
 will also be used for the toy figurines and  these figurines
will be available for licensing, when I complete the patent work
on a special articulating joint I have designed for this purpose.

I can discuss this or other licensing at any time.

The Love song Completely (linked above)
is the next subject for an animation
and the illustrations for that are half-way complete.

I will be releasing the Preface to the e-storybook with animations
as a free download and further discussions of the e-storyook
will take place in the near future.

As you might imagine, this is intended to spur further interest
and involvement with our business partners.

If you find this interesting
and would like to help us move forward
by becoming a Vested Partner
 do contact me.

AG

Monday, March 9, 2015

Posting

Since work is now proceeding on items which are more oriented to the studio facilities than this project, I will be posting on the IMS Virtual Studio. Use the link to the right for the ALPHA & OMEGA symbol to get there. AG

Friday, March 6, 2015

Viewing on an e-pad

I've been examining how the e-Storybook looks on an e-pad and I am quite pleased with the results. Since the Storybook is moving forward without the illustrations in Volume III, I have decided to prepare the Libretto as part of that e-pad presentation. That means that the Libretto and the Score will both be made available for review by Industry professionals:  in that format.  I will not be delivering the materials via the internet however.  I will put up Act I, Scene I here as a sample of the layout and design of the Libretto.  So if anyone wants to review the complete Libretto or Storybook I will make those available to Producers, Publishers or Agents. You will need to submit a request, on company letterhead either to me directly or to the law firm referenced below.  As I stated there, a Restrictive Covenant Agreement will also be required. I will post that here and link it to the sidebar in the near future.

In terms of the score; that will not be readily available, since it is still in process and since it is gigantic, being for a 24 piece orchestra, but I will be including the MP3/MIDI versions of the instrumental music. The lyrical versions are in process and will not be included, with the possible exception of a few samples.

Further, as it pertains to releasing the Storybook. I may release Volume I as a way to finance the illustrations for Volume III, although I would rather not do that, as I want to preserve the release for the entire set and to make that happen in conjunction with other ancillary markets. Doing that will be more advantageous for marketing purposes, but, I do need to finance the remaining illustrations, probably to the tune of 50 grand or thereabouts. I am funding those illustrations under the Front Money Agreement if anyone is interested. That means a 300% return (on the back end). Let me know, I could use the bucks. AG


Friday, February 27, 2015

Visual Aids

My recent discussions have been taking up some space here, so I want to point out that there is artwork and video materials posted further on in the blog. I've linked the B&W image of Constable Warren in the sidebar (over to the right here) to the video of his first song. That way you won't need to look for it. I hope to post some more of the artwork in the sidebars too.

In regard to videos- looking at this particular one on YouTube is WAY better than the way appears here. The quality there is far superior to this one, but this is OK if you don't use the full screen function.

We recorded an VERY nice duet called "Completely". So far, I haven't figured out how to post music on this blog without a link to another site, but if I do It will also appear in the sidebar and so identified. I expect that that song will be our next video and so when we start up again with the illustrations, I expect to do the illustration work for that film with animation in mind. This other one was simple a collection of stills that rather emulates an animation, rather than being designed for that. In that regard, I am also looking for a television producer to begin development of a series. AG

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Discussion of Business

Breifly, in terms of the Creative Material- I am focusing on establishing the page layout and numbering of Volume III, by inserting text panels which describe the artwork required on the remaining pages. Volumes I & II are fully illustrated and  Volume III is currently up to page 489 at the end of Scene 10. There are 20 scenes, but S.10 numbering includes the Appendixes, which outline the back-story, under the title The Gnomic Tales. Understand that the Storybook, although it follows the sequence of events in the stage musical, has a very expanded view of the characters, events, and back-story. The idea being to give interested parties, a broader view of Gnomanity.  So, at this stage of the process,  rather than engage Jency (or other artists) to continue with the artwork, I've concluded that I need to finalize the page numbers of the Storybook and identify both the required artwork for the illustrations and the space that those illustrations will take up. It really is The Gnomic Tales that throws a snag in the illustrations, because the previous work we did in terms of illustration did not include those back-story elements. So once I move into S.11 I have a good amount of artwork to use for the panels, although I have expanded the descriptive nature of the text, so we will need more illustration panels than originally anticipated. I've taken the approach of describing the illustration panels because, although that was not the way we developed the illustrations before, I now think that is the most effective step which needs to included in the process.  I can do that myself without incurring the additional expense of engaging anyone else (ie: artists) and completing this step will (not only) expedite the illustrating process (including creating material for animation), but it will also allow me to continue on the path to finalizing the entire layout in terms of the e-book and the hard copy layout.  In this way, I will only need to replace the scenes (pages) in the layout with the newer revisions which have the illustrations. So, basically I am moving the illustration work further into the process and putting a priority on the other aspects of the layout. This will also better serve the packaging requirements of presenting the project to the industry, because the panel descriptions represent the storyboard sufficiently and also allow me to pitch it to potential partners in the assorted fields of endeavor- publishing, film, theatre, etc.  I admit that I am a little concerned about how large this has become, because that may prove to be prohibitive in regards to publishing the hard-copy, but that could work to our advantage in marketing it as an epic tale.

Now in terms of the Business Structure- I've come to the conclusion that the most effective direction, in which to proceed, is Executive Management. I have decided that we need to build an Executive Producing Team which will consist of seven Executive Producers. Each producer will be delegated a different aspect of the project, which I've begun to define. I will discus those arenas of delegation in another posting, after I review my notes, but basically each Executive Producer will need to buy into the project, because all parties to the Joint Venture will need to be vested. My terms as writer are ten percent of the budget and ten percent of the gross. Those seven producers will be responsible for gathering the budget in each of their respective fields and providing that ten percent to me, as their buy in. This is only a buy-in for the writers share. There are other terms pertaining to music rights which need to be addressed separately, as well as the various ancillary markets, which are all separate markets operating under their own specific terms.  but all of those terms are to be developed & refined by the producing team under the Joint Venture as a collective endeavor based, on outlines and basic premises which I have already developed. There are also other categories of investment which are managed by the producing team and which, are subservient to the JV.  Those other categories allow for other producers to be engaged under the various appropriate titles, such as Associate, Supervising and Managing Producers. They may or may not be responsible for gathering funds, depending upon what they bring to the table.  The other aspects of the management structure will not be discussed here, but you may find some comments on that subject at IMS Producing Partners or the IMS Virtual Studio.

So, I post these subjects for those of you who are far enough into this aspect of the industry, that you might end up becoming one of our Executive Producers. It is my belief that posting these discussions will give you an idea of how I plan on going about this project and if you are onboard with my thinking in this regard, then we might possibly move toward coming to some agreement or working together. I assume that some of the more savvy individuals I have known, or will meet in the future, may be watching the progress of this project. But I also want those of you who have contributed and are continuing to contribute to be appraised of the progress and our overall methodology.

The more detailed information, that may be considered classified, will be available on the subscription site IMS Producing Partners. AG

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

CG Animation

  I've been getting a fair amount of comments about how incredible the Gnomes would be as a CG Animation, like some of the products Disney and a few other larger companies are producing. I tend to agree, but this is not an arena that I have enough expertise in to believe that I could implement a quality product in CG. I've been studying some of the work, particularly "Tangled" and "Frozen" and it is quite impressive, but I have to be honest and say I wonder about the number of people in the credits. It seems like too many cooks in the kitchen, although the meal was excellent, albeit, formulaic.

    I was also recently reading a blog about hand drawn animation. The writer seemed to imply that it was a dying art form. Well, I'm afraid I have no other choice but to use hand drawn animation. So that is what I intend to pursue, but I am thinking of it as part of the developmental process for packaging, rather than a finished product.

   I certainly do think that The Gnomes would be an excellent CG project, if it was to be done right. As I think about the story line and the embellishments which I have written into it, it is ripe for the picking in that regard.

    Well, in order for me to have moved the story forward in terms of a stage production, I needed to skip over certain details, which are generally required in film. But interestingly enough, as I am finishing up the third volume of the Storybook, I realize that I have been filling many of those details in the Storybook.  I've been consciously thinking of it primarily from a literary/illustrative point of view, for the sake of a book, but as it turns out, that point of view is essentially a storyboard for the film. So I guess that, in part because I have been a (sometimes) filmmaker for so many years, I think in cinematic terms.

     As I continue to define the illustrations which are still required, I've been looking more deeply at the circumstances which have been set up in the overall story.  In a number of scenes, there are instances where there is definitive drama occurring in the forefront, which is supported by implied activities or characters around that drama.  I'm thinking that - taking that backdrop drama and putting it into a cinematic environment will be a lot easier than I originally thought and that - that will really give the overall picture substance.

  For the stage, there are a number of elements within the scenes that inherently are dramatic, but which need to be "selectively" skipped over due to time and space constraints. Those elements can only be referred to in such a way as to advance the overall story, as it fits into the theatrical boundaries of a stage show, but they are still there none-the-less. I have made certain that those elements were not overlooked.

    An interesting comment was that the Gnomes is better because it doesn't depend on magic to bring the story to a resolution. It's true that some stories are so disjointed that the only way to solve certain circumstances is to use some sort of magical power as the answer to the question. I have consciously worked to avoid that as a solution in the Gnomes and fortunately, I think that works on our behalf.

    It has become apparent to me that the cinematic sense is inherent in the story, because I was aware of that as I was writing.  But it is true that the cinema was only able to come forward periodically;  because first the stage show, then the literary presentation and finally the cinematic aspect have been the order of priority. Interestingly enough, the structure is more refined in regard to cinema than I thought, particularly after studying these other films.

   So that being said, I am even more enthused about opening a dialogue that will lead to active production of a CG product.  I do think that this would be the right direction to go in and I do think that such a product could support the theatrical presentation, although it is still a question as to which format should go first.  Of course, because of the magnitude of this project and the amount of work over 25 years that has gone into it, that dialogue will need to take place with a well established and substantial organization, something I am not sure how to bring about. So in the meanwhile, I will continue along my path doing what I can.

Unfortunately, the talents and resources to do a CG Animation are beyond me right now, so it seems the inevitable that the first outlet, I will be able to approach, will likely be the book products along with some basic animations using the illustrations.

AG

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Most Recent Game Plan

As you can see from the various posts here, the subjects move around to the assorted arenas which are in need of attention. This has the net effect of nudging the overall project forward in a collective fashion. Over the years this has been an effective approach, but of course is has taken years to get this up to where it is.

So now the overall thinking is along the lines of aligning the various components to work in concert with one another and this is within the grasp of actually taking place. There are sufficient pieces of the puzzle categorized into groups and partially assembled that the overall picture and how it fits together can be clearly seen.

This brings us to the next focus of attention. Even though the arenas which are identified in other posts remain active goals and are being pursued in the context of the overall picture, there are other areas which still need to be identified and developed. Budgeting is a significant aspect of production management which needs to be addressed and of course that is tied to a plethora of other issues (as any producer knows). From my point of view budgeting for the larger productions is currently outside my scope of attention and that will require my partnering with other producers who are more accustomed to that level of production.

So, I am currently pursuing, the final establishment of the progression out of the printed page into the simple theatrical presentation into the more complex. What this means is that a simple presentation is a Storytelling event with two puppets (and some exhibition embellishments) to the little theatre, and then onto a developmental regional presentation (with more than one production management structure) and then onto the higher level productions which lead toward a first class production.

The presentation in cinema and television take very much the same pathway and is coordinated with those efforts, not so much as an individual production, but more so. as it is meant to be a support mechanism for the overall production objective, which includes all markets and merchandizing. Yes the larger cinema production is a goal, but the smaller work required for experimentation and marketing support, particularly as it pertains to installations in the e-Storybook, also serves as a foundation for the larger cinema and animation work. So this smaller work is being pursued in conjunction with the remaining illustrations for the storybook. There are discussions about that in other posts, somewhere on this blog.

So each of these arenas has some degree of development going on which are coordinated with one  another and thus affect release and distribution.

Certainly, you can see that entering into a retail market such as toys (for example) involves a significant investment, as does publishing, distribution, and support of those markets. Relatively speaking the investment in those markets is miniscule in comparison to the film and theatre expenditures required to bring this fully into the public eye.

It is my position that dribbling this out into the market, because I am anxious to do so would be a profound mistake and so I am continuing to develop the smaller aspects of the entire scope of the markets into which this product can reach, simply because that is within the scope of my resources.

Of course this all implies that I am actively seeking associations with individuals and organizations who can contribute resources that I simply do not have, as I have spent the bulk of my years and attention involved in development. That's not to say that the 350 plus productions I have been involved in do not serve me well in terms of conceiving not only the structure and scope of the production, but also the aesthetic elements required for success.

Those are my most recent thoughts. AG

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Core Narrative Materials

     (Some of theses thoughts are already outdated in the context of more recent events)

    The most recent activity taking place, in regard to finishing up the publishing layouts for The Gnomes, is to continue on laying out the page spacing; as if the illustrations are complete. To explain what I mean - although Volumes One & Two are complete, Volume Two needs a few more illustrations and Volume Three is still devoid of many of the required illustrations. Advancement with the illustrations could take place with further funding, but until then it will be stalled.

    So in order to move forward and establish the actual page numbering for publishing purposes, I have chosen to continue working on the layout by inserting text panels in lieu of the actual artwork. These panels are sized accordingly and contain descriptions of the artwork that is required, for that space in the Storybook. Approaching it this way establishes the position in the layout, the size of the illustration and instructions to the illustrator. So I have determined that this it the best way to advance, particularly with limited funds, which now seems to be the case.

    There are many changes occurring around this project, changes that involve the working space , the art department, the offices and the shop.  My stability in this regard is somewhat erratic and hindering the progress. So this leads me to believe, and quite justifiably, that the single thing which would solve these difficulties is funding.

    It has gotten to the point where I have to buy my own time... or someone else might do that by buying into the project. The point being that my resources to advance this project are extremely limited right now. So, if you are reading through this blog keep that in mind, because this appears to be the most important element that is needed, even though - I have tried to avoid selling any of the project off, other than to back up the investments already made, I'm afraid that we may have to do that.

   So this consideration is on-the-boards right now. Either selling interest in the stage musical, book publishing, or film projects or selling interest in Image of the Mind Studios (as a restructured business endeavor) (added 2/6: understand that these thoughts are essentially me thinking out loud about what the options may be and are not necessarily any definitive course of action)

   As I mention numerous times, I am seeking representation for The Gnomes of New Hope: Zach & Zebby's Grand Adventure, or preferably funding - which I  hope and believe will expedite  entering into the appropriate marketplace with  product lines, which include film & television versions of the show.

That's all for now, it's late. AG

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Release of the Libretto to the Industry

Release of the Libretto

Well, I've moved forward sufficiently with the e-storybook, the hard copy layout and other ancillary markets, that I feel like it is time to release the Libretto to the Industry.

If we were to move into production with some of the foundational activities, in terms of sets and other design/construction, then that would be a good thing.  It is clear that we will need to secure a self-contained management team, as conversations I have had with a few venues indicate that they would rather see a four-wall, but that limits our run at each venue. Therefore, we need to build a tour scenario to present previews in numerous cities until we can settle into a space that will give us a decent run.  One way to do that is with a reduced design which uses strictly drops and flats, not my favorite way to go, but certainly that design needs to be developed for the smaller venues anyway, as an option.  Ultimately, the smaller show (of that nature) would be a rental, possibly in conjunction with the puppetry version.  The initial thoughts regarding that design for the show, were that it could easily be put up in our current studio space and shot for film/television or as tests to analyze the material, or the way the show looks to an audience as a puppet version, so proceeding in that direction has multiple applications both in house and for touring.

Clearly, in regard to touring, each show needs to pay for the trip to the next venue, so I am also developing a  licensing/option for theaters who want to assure that the show will run in their house. That will provide some of the costs to move the show in. Basically, a prepay on the percentage of the house assuming a certain number of performances.  I will post on that at another time.

After the work on scoring is completed I will be moving onto budget issues. Until then anything I say is purely speculative. Also until then, the options are wide open in terms of production management. Once the budget is developed and the production funds are gathered, then we will be locked into a production management scheme. So if anyone wants to offer a proposal, I would suggest doing it before we become contracted and therefore obliged.

As I have said numerous times before, I am seeking representation, mostly because I am swamped and the work that is required on the core materials is taking the majority of my time.  I would like to have the freedom to concentrate on matters other than management. For those of you who are producers, you know how complex that can become. So I am seeking partnerships in both production and distribution. Since this material is now ready to move forward, I suggest that the opportunity is ripe. My goal is a national campaign, so I need competent & trustworthy persons/organizations who are able to implement that plan in partnership with IMS. This is frankly the objective, which I intend to pursue.

I am not expecting any producing organization to step up to the plate on this (although I would be pleasantly surprised if that did happen), so I am proceeding on the assumption that the production team will be primarily Image of the Mind Studio employees. With that in mind, persons who are interested in this opportunity should make their voices heard. But I also want to make it clear that I am seriously looking at relocating to the Poconos and that may effect our progress. Building or adapting a facility is no small endeavor, but it may be a priority. So keep that in mind.

That being said, I am going to proceed with licensing and/or partnership with television and film companies, so as to free myself up to concentrate on establishing this new facility - The Theatrical Development Centre. I am uncertain as to how much energy I can expend in this direction. I would hope that it would not impair the progress of The Gnomes of New Hope.

Restrictive Covenant Agreement

I've met with legal council regarding the conduit through which this can happen, so we have established that link in the chain. The Libretto will be released, when I feel as though a flash drive is fully prepared with the appropriate materials.  The Score along with recorded versions of some of the music will follow as a separate release, as I am currently reviewing these materials for publishing the score.

There is still quite a bit of work to do on the music (as I have discussed below) but there is enough to give an idea of the entire show,  realizing of course that the actual recordings with a music director/maestro and a full complement of singers/musicians will GREATLY improve the MIDI generated music that we currently have.

A major issue we are facing right now is the failing computer systems that we have been working with. A great deal of important files are now locked on more than one failed hard disks and it will not be inexpensive to recover those files.   Fortunately the bulk of the primary file have been backed up multiple times, but I am finding that some of my primary management documents are inaccessible to me. In particular, a spreadsheet which identifies the five different versions of the show to fit into assorted timeframes. This is quite distressing, but I am hopeful that I can recover this important analysis document.

 Review of the core materials will require a signed Restrictive Covenant Agreement, acquired via an request to review on letterhead to William Dudeck c/o Eastburn and Gray, 60 East Court Street, PO Box 1389, Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901. Once we receive a request we will send out some preliminary materials and proceed from there.

That's all for now.  AG

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Music Production

Recently, I have shown the the studio and some of our materials to a few folks, fellow thespians, musicians and other people interested in the creative process. This has caused me to think about the larger picture again. So I will give a review of where we stand with that.

Equipment

Our work on the music is on hold for a few reasons. First and most importantly, I need to finish the layout for the book production. I talk about that below.  But also the computing systems, which we have been using for music production have failed. The dilemma here is that to replace the processor is not a matter of replacing the one we were using with another of the same type. That machine was a custom built G4 that cannot be replaced without rebuilding it again.  Well that is simply not a good idea, since the cost does not justify that course of action and the functionality would limit us to older technology.

So the new Mac seems like it might be the right course of action. But to those of you who know about these things, we're talking about a chunk of change there. that also involves redesigning and upgrading all the operating systems and programs and adding in a learning curve as well, which makes that course of action rather prohibitive.

So upgrading in increments, the way it has always been done will likely be the approach, unless a surge of resources becomes available.

I am currently using a Quad G5 for the GFX work on the books and it is likely that I will shift that machine over to the music production, once I upgrade the PCI cards to link with our hardware and bring Digital Performer up to a newer version. I am rethinking the voice package we have been using.  I'm considering switching over to Mach V from Reason, but again there is a learning curve involved there.  However, I believe Mach V will interface better with DP, since they are both MOTU products.

So far I have been unable to set up the virtual instruments using Reason, but the rack in Reason is nice and easy to use. Possibly an upgraded version of Reason, but the MIDI functions in Reason don't come close to Digital Performer. The main problem with using Reason for the tone generators is that switching between programs in the middle of mixing creates problems. Mostly, doing so interferes with the process and does not allowing for smooth adjustments to be made, particularly on the fly., but also in the final mix.  I have to say that once you obtain certain settings in Reason, then topping off the mix with the mixing board and meter bridge in DP works fairly well, but that's only good for the final Mastering process, not the sub-mixing.  The problem I have with using two programs with mixing capabilities that is; layering plug-ins between two programs is not a good idea, or so it seems to me. That creates a situation where you loose control of the purity of your signal and it becomes confusing if you have to locate the source of artifacts which might show up. It is hard to determine if the artifacts are in the original signal or somewhere in the insert settings or even in the signal path.

Basically, unless I find out otherwise, I think the simplest approach here is to change voice programs, to one that interfaces better with Digital Performer and will continue to do so through upgrades.

So, all that being said- I feel like the entire methodology needs to be rethought in regard to the studio systems. Making changes in our working systems was a point of contention, so I deferred in that regard, but now there is no choice in the matter.

The Score

All of these facts are some of the primary factors which preventing us from moving forward to record more of the music.  But in addition to these systems issues, there is scoring.

As it stands now, the score is possibly 60% printed and in various stages of being transcribed.  Some of the orchestral scores have been finished, but only on those pieces which have Piano adaptations and Lead Sheets.  Some of the Piano scores are adaptations and some are reductions.

Initially we started to work on Piano Reductions together, but Shawn was frustrated with working with Quickscribe and decided that he did not want to do scoring. We debated this many times to no good end.  So I continued on with it, prefering to do adaptations, mostly because many orchestrations simply cannot be transcribed for piano. I also believe that since a Piano Adaptation is my interpretation of what we were working on, that an adaptation would allow me more latitude to reconstitute a workable vocal version of my melody lines and lyrics without stepping on Shawn's toes in regard to the orchestrations he was working on.

Lead Sheets

We came into disagreement about the importance of Lead Sheets. My belief was and is, that, as the producer, I need Lead Sheets (and scoring) to present the product, not only to our financial & business partners, but for the benefit of helping the singers & musicians to easily lear the material.  It is my contention that I need these materials during the process, not after the entire score is fully written.

 Shawn's belief was that the singers do not need Lead Sheets and should be able to sing against the orchestrations and that no work on piano reductions or scoring should take place until after the entire show is orchestrated.  Sorry, I don't buy that. Every singer I know wants to hear their part on the piano.

The other factor her is that-  there are seventy songs in this show and we already have spent nine years to do that. I can't wait another ten years of meandering along to see this finished and moving forward.  So this was a serious rift, which more or less led us to stop working on the music. There were other issues over the operating systems and techniques of mixing/mastering the music, which put the kabosh on our progress.

Status of the Music

All the lyrics and melody lines are finished for the entire show, with about a dozen songs still needing orchestration. I have decided to stop orchestrating, until I have all the Piano Adaptations and Lead Sheets finished for the primary numbers, which is something I have to do on my own.  I don't need adaptations for the bridges and instrumentals, since the Lead Sheets are only for the singers.  Some of these numbers require divsi, so I'm working on that as part of the adaptation.  I'm assigning instruments to the voices to define that divsi, but for the time being I am not worrying about divisi inside the parts, only between them.  So the Vocal tracks are derived from the Piano Adaptation, which contains the re-constituted melody line, which seems to have been divided by orchestration.  Something I have to say I did not approve of and made repeated appeals to preserve.

 So as it stands, it's up to me to do Orchestral Scoring, Piano Adaptations and Lead Sheets. Needless to say Orchestral Scoring will be last on the list. My approach is to do all the rough drafts first and worry about refining them after I decide who the Maestro will be. I asked Shawn to perform that role but he does not want to do that. So I don't know how that's going to pan out, but first things first - lead sheets for the solos and the duets, trios and quartets. Much of that is done, but entering into the recording process will need to be considered in the light of how far along the other materials are developed. Mainly because once the momentum starts up, we ned to keep up with it.

Other Factors

 Of course, one other major factor is funding. Our performers have to be paid. So that means significant capital influx to make that happen.

When you consider that some choral numbers have more than a dozen performers involved you can imagine the resources we will need. Certainly we will be doing the solos first, followed by duets, trios, quartets and so on.

It may very well be that continued work on the music will have to wait until the books start producing income... and that's still a ways off.

I'll address more of these issues later.  AG

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

e-Storybook & Hard Copy Storybook

e-Storybook Update

    The production line activities have been put on hold. Prototype assembly has proven methodology and some suppliers have been lined up. There are a few supply and service vendors who are missing from the puzzle, however, other facilities issues are standing in the way of fully setting up the production line. None-the-less, the designs and implementation methods have been confirmed, although there are variations to that theme which may come into play. I am continuing to construct the materials for distribution to industry partners and focusing on those aspects as opposed to entering the marketplace, even though I would certainly like to see an increased cash flow. So for the time being I will need to use investment funds, as much as I would prefer not to.

Hard Copy Storybook

    It has become eminently clear that a presentation in the book stores will require a hard copy edition as well as the e-Storybook version. Some folks are simply not up to date with the e-book scenario, so we need to assure that we are meeting all the demands which might come about in the distribution and marketing effort. Since we are also developing a puppet show presentation to accompany the book release, the cost and effort involved there demands that we do not hinder our sales potential by limiting ourselves to one book product.  With these facts in mind, the production efforts in terms of publishing set-up, has shifted to the hard copy book layout.

History of the Layout

    When the storybook began to develop out of the Libretto (or simultaneous to it) the first effort was for a published edition. The page layout took a number of turns until it settled into the existing format (further down in this blog is a posting showing the page layout). After repeated printings which dealt with alterations and corrections, it became clear that if I were to shift my goal to that of producing an e-Storybook, then I would not have to contend with the expense of wasted printing supplies, but then also - the alignment and page set-up issues would be eliminated for the time being.

   So the idea of a hard copy book was put aside in lieu of the e-Storybook. This greatly simplified things (not to say that made it simple). So as the e-storybook began to grow, mostly by the inclusion of artwork on every page, the project took on the form of a three volume edition.

    An earlier concept which was developed were the "Gnome-Sized Editions" and the prototypes for these editions were produced and abandoned (for the time being). The larger issue with this format was and is the reality that the artwork is not displayed to it's best advantage when the editions are too small. We have over five years and a lot of money tied up in this artwork and we need to present it in it's best light. So the Gnome-Sized Editions will have to wait until we finish with the larger Hard Copy Versions under consideration.

Published Editions

   Numerous published products are in development. An additional item which is expected to advance into production is a coloring book. This is a relatively simple item which will support the marketplace for the younger children.

   In one way it would be most advantageous for these assorted editions to be released simultaneously, not only for the distribution aspect but also for the shared marketing costs. Whether or not this can happen depends largely upon the investment funds available.

   In that regard, the budget materials, production line, personnel, supply & service vendors, and distribution outlets are all under development. I am not taking the position that, as a writer, I am sitting on the sideline waiting for some other organization to come in and fulfill these needs. As the proprietor and Artistic Director of IMS, I am obliged to develop this business and pursue these other arenas. Should other organizations wish to be involved it is on them to step up and make their voice known, otherwise I am continuing on my path to building the studio and access this project as a primary asset (although numerous other of this nature exist). Once these elements are in place and fully functional, these other products can be installed into that system.

I am going to stop here in order to avoid a dissertation. AG