Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: YouTube

Information card for Jan's reading

My first original video

What more auspicious day to post my first original video on my own YouTube channel, than on Star Wars Day

What’s my first original video about?

It’s a reading, of the kind I love to do–and attend–at science fiction conventions (Ah! Remember back when it was safe to hold science fiction conventions in person?). The video is about 27 minutes long. It features me, reading Chapter One of The Other Side of Fear.

Alongside a picture of the cover, this information card says, "Jan S. Gephardt reads Chapter 1, 'Planet-Bound,' from her novella 'The Other Side of Fear.' Story  © 2020 by Jan S. Gephardt. Cover artwork  © 2020 by Lucy A. Synk. Published by Weird Sisters Publishing LLC."
Here’s the information that accompanies my video reading.

I owe Virtual DemiCon, and the amazing Joe Struss, a lot of thanks. They premiered this video during their event

They also got me off my butt! I’ve known I probably should do a video reading for a long time, but it’s hard to get off “square one.” Especially when it’s your first foray into a new medium. They provided the needed motivation. Thanks very much! You guys are awesome.

While Virtual DemiCon is still available, please do yourself a favor! Check in, then take in as many of the events as still remain online!

This T-shirt design from Virtual DemiCon has a black background and neon-colored words that read, "Welcome to a world without heroes . . .", "CONTAMINATED," "Legions of DemiCon," and  "HA HA" to suggest an evil laugh.
Thank you to DemiCon for this image.

What makes Star Wars Day appropriate?

The original Star Wars movie made a huge impression on me when it came out in theaters in 1977. I may have lived in Kansas City for more than 40 years, but I didn’t move here till my marriage in 1978. So I managed to miss MidAmeriCon I in 1976, where there was a big display and all the stars came to talk about this movie they were making.

In 1977 I lived and taught in tiny Lockwood, MO. I’d watched and enjoyed Star Trek reruns on TV by then. My soon-to-be husband had turned me on to Frank Herbert’s Dune, and the librarians at the Ash Grove Library had by then gotten me intrigued in science fiction stories from Poul Anderson and Isaac Asimov.
But I had never seen anything like like that movie before

I paid the at-the-time-exorbitant price of $3.00 for a ticket multiple times to see it over and over again (No VHS, no Betamaxnot on my horizon till years later! No Blockbuster Video, and certainly no NetflixHulu, or Disney Plus, back in those ancient days!).

I didn’t go back again and again for the plot. I didn’t go to critique the space physics. No, I went to bask in the spectacle (Artist. Visual creature. I drank it in.)

And not long after that, I started writing my first science fiction novel. I still have the typescript somewhere–typed on a manual Underwood in the evenings, after I finished my lesson plans for the day. It’s horrifying dreck, but it’s the first novel-length fiction I ever actually finished.

A gray 1952 Underwood "Rhythm Touch" manual typewriter like the one I used. Many thanks to Machines of Loving Grace for this photo.
A 1952 Underwood “Rhythm Touch,” like the one I used. Many thanks to Machines of Loving Grace for this photo.

Does that make me a “Warrior,” not a “Trekkie”?

Well, no. As time went on, I came to enjoy lots of different science fiction stories, shows, and films. I love Star Trek, too. And–sorry, diehard “Warriors”–a lot of the Star Wars movies make little to no “real-world” sense (don’t get me started on things I find cringeworthy). 

But the visuals, the droids, other-world creatures, the exotic vistas, the sheer spectacle of the Star Wars moviesthose, I still enjoy. They attracted me in formative ways, during my early days of writing sf. And they bring a nostalgic smile to my lips to this day (well, some of them. Give me Darth Vader in a TIE fighter, but leave Jar-Jar in the closet where he belongs).

So my first original video–my own “mini movie”–that opens a glimpse of my science fictional world, is an appropriate thing to release on Star Wars Day. It’s not too long on spectacle. But I hope you enjoy it, nonetheless.

Here's the villainous Darth Vader in his iconic TIE fighter, hot on Luke Skywalker's tail.
Give me that quintessential villain Darth Vader in his TIE fighter! Many thanks ImgFlip.

IMAGE CREDITS

My video may be found on my YouTube channel.  I created the information card with the Cover for The Other Side of Fear,  plus copyright information, etc. Many thanks to Virtual DemiCon for the “CONTAMINATED” design, to Wikipedia, for the original 1977 Star Wars movie poster image, and to Machines of Loving Grace for the photo of the 1952 Underwood “Rhythm Touch” manual typewriter.  Many thanks also to ImgFlip, for the photo of Darth Vader in his TIE fighter.

8 incredible environmentally friendly buildings

The Artdog Image of Interest

In honor of Earth Day, this month I’m exploring YouTube videos that show some amazing environmentally efficient architecture

Today’s video explores eight different buildings on the cutting edge of sustainability. Several even generate more energy than they can use.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eO1GoPbXubg

VIDEO: Many thanks to All Things Human’s YouTube Channel, for this video.

What GM predicted in 1956 for futuristic cars of 1976

The Artdog Image of Interest 

In my research of videos about past views of the future, I wasn’t surprised to find that futuristic cars formed a favorite category. The one I’ll share today doesn’t feature any flying cars, but I still think you may enjoy seeing what General Motors did (and did not) predict. It also represents a category of “musical production long-form commercial videos” from the period, of a sort we don’t see much, today.

As ever, the assumptions about gender roles, and the extreme “whiteness” of all people in the video, speak volumes about the culture of the time.

My Images of Interest in October are videos, all of them drawn from a panel discussion, “Yesterday’s Tomorrow,” moderated by Kathryn Sullivan, in which I participated at FenCon XV. I shared these videos with the audience, and they generated enough interest that I thought my blog-readers might like them too!

VIDEO: many thanks to YouTube and CBS Sunday Morning for this video.

A screen-grab from Lara's video on how to support small artists.

Seven great ways to support small artists

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this post for a longer time than I expected (because of my crazy life–it’s not Lara’s fault!). I went to her presentation at MALCon/Westercon in Denver last July and immediately knew I wanted to share it on this blog.

She’s created an 11-minute video that covers most of this information, so if you prefer to get your information that way, check it out at the link above.

A screen-grab from Lara's video stands in for the original video embed.
Lara’s 11-minute video is packed with excellent advice. (You Tube).

In her presentation, as in the video, she outlined seven excellent ways to help small artists thrive. Her advice goes for all sorts of creative types. She herself is a musician, but her advice applies for artists in many fields. That includes musicians, actors, dancers, crafters, visual artists, comics-creators, and writers.

How to Support Small Artists!

by Losing Lara

In this day and age with FacebookTwitterYouTube, and so much more, it is incredibly easy to create art and put it up online. Whether you are a musician, writer, or traditional artist the world is your oyster as long as you have a stable internet connection. What seems to be increasingly difficult is being a consumer of said art.

Day after day we are inundated with some new piece of entertainment and it can be hard to know what’s the best way to really support the people and art that we love. As a YouTuberwriter, and musician, I have found that my friends and family are surprised when I tell them even the simplest (and free) ways that they can support me.

Because of this I have made a YouTube video, a convention panel that I have presented multiple times, and now a blog post. With the help of artists in several different mediums, we have seven tips that you can help support the small artist in your life.

1 – Participation

This is the easiest step of them all. Even better, it’s free!  If you see a post online that is some sort of interest to you, whether you know the artist or like the subject, then click on it!

Whether it’s a YouTube video, a Soundcloud link, or takes you to a personal website, click on it. That is one more number added to an artist’s closely-studied metrics. The higher the numbers are, the more successful an artist. It starts with you!

You might think that your one view doesn’t matter. But in the grand scheme, every little bit counts!

2 – Go to Shows!

This feeds into participation. Because without an audience, it wouldn’t be much of a show.  A lot of times, this can be free too!

If your writer friend has a book reading at a local bookstore? Your friend is performing in an open mic?  Free art gallery exhibit? Check them all out!

Even if you can’t buy anything from the artist/bookstore/gallery, just be there. Seeing your face in the crowd is a show of support that means the world to artists! Also, if your friend is in theater, ask when the show’s industry night will be. You can usually get discounted tickets!

3 – Share the Thing!

This is one of the most important ways to support! Small artists don’t have a huge marketing team working behind the scenes to get their art in front of as many people as possible. We have you and your pointer finger.

When you see them post about their new book, their new album, video, show, artwork whatever it might be, hit that share button! Memes are great. If you are like me, you share about 200 in one day. Sharing work from a small artist is just as easy, not to mention, more important.

4 – Reviews

Now it’s time to add your voice into the mix! The comment section is a magical (though sometimes scary) place. It can be almost more important than views alone.

All these social media sites run on algorithms. If a post has a lot of views but no interaction its respective website won’t promote it. Especially if your friend is selling a book on Amazon, the more reviews, the more Amazon will showcase the book. Even bad reviews, but of course, good ones are always better. This is also very important on Etsy.

5 – Buy the Thing!

The majority of these tips are things you can do for free. But we live in a capitalist society. Unfortunately, being alive is expensive. An artist creates for the love of creation, but at some point we need to eat. That’s where buying our art goes a long way!

Spotify is great. But it takes 1,000 streams of just one album for the artist to make the equivalent of ONE sale.

Most importantly, exposure does not buy food! Exposure is great for an artist. But art takes a lot of time and work. It should be valued in the same way as spending time working inside of an office building.

6 – Tipping and Reward Sites

If you can’t afford to buy a item, then a lot of artists have a tipping and reward site! On sites like Patreon and Ko-Fi, you don’t necessarily buy a thing, but pay for a monthly subscription or one-time donation.  YouTubers who don’t necessarily create a tangible product go this route.

There are also sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo where someone can propose a project and you can invest in it.  On these sites and Patreon you can either donate or you can get something from the artist in return, while Ko-Fi is only donations.

7 – Don’t copy/illegally download

Whatever your feelings about large corporations, that does not apply to small artists. As I mentioned before, there is no giant team behind these people, they are usually doing everything themselves.

Yes, we are happy when people like our art, but not enough to completely give up credit. Please don’t repost art without an artist’s name. That is literally taking money away from them.  If you see art without credit you can report it and do a Google Image Search (Jan’s addition: or use TinEye) to find the original post.

As you can see, supporting small artists can be easy! I know every time one of my videos or songs gets a like or a share it feels so wonderful and encouraging.

We make art to share with people and even just a like lets us know that there is someone out there. There is someone who sees us and sees our work and takes even just a second to say, “Hey, I see you and I like it.” And really, isn’t that what everyone wants in life?
One of Losing Lara’s songs could be an anthem for the #MeToo movement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Losing Lara makes videos for the internet, performs nerdy music, and occasionally writes a bit. You can find her on YouTubeTwitterFacebook, and Bandcamp.

IMAGES: The video and all the illustrated headers, as well as the text for today’s post, are all courtesy of Losing Lara. I found the cover image for her song I Said No on her Bandcamp site. Please share this post, and give her full credit!

A 1940s-50s vision of a future kitchen

The Artdog Image of Interest 

When I was researching videos of ways the past viewed the possibilities of the future, I found that most seemed to fall into repeated categories. Futuristic kitchens (especially as envisioned by contemporary makers of kitchen appliances, imagine that!) formed a major subcategory.

Oddly enough, the makers of these videos rarely envisioned men as the ones who’d be cooking. Here’s a classic “future kitchen” from sometime in the 1940s-50s:

My Images of Interest in October are videos, all of them drawn from a panel discussion, “Yesterday’s Tomorrow,” moderated by Kathryn Sullivan, in which I participated at FenCon XV. I shared these videos with the audience, and they generated enough interest that I thought my blog-readers might like them too!

VIDEO: many thanks to YouTube and Susan Pine for this video! 

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