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Posts from the ‘Tech’ Category

IRON MAIDEN: Legacy of the Beast

WORK

PLATFORM:  iOS and Android

TIMEFRAME:  Spring/Summer 2015 (for a Spring 2016 release)

Working hand in (devil-horned) hand with the digital alchemists at Roadhouse Interactive and 50cc Games — and the heavy metal legends IRON MAIDEN!!! — I mined decades of the band’s trademark lore, lyrics, and imagery to create the high-concept story pitch and full-blown narrative treatment for this genre-busting mobile action/RPG title.

LINK:  www.ironmaidenlegacy.com

PATTERNS = Memos from the Muse

September 15, 2015

brookeburgess

Apologies for the sparse posting this summer, my friends. Work, travel, and Life got in the way (as they so often do), but I intend to hop back on the blog-horse for regular features and updates over the next 6 months at least. As always, your patience with my scheduling weirdness is infinitely appreciated. And speaking of weird…

In my creative and my personal life, I see patterns. 

Something as seemingly random as a rush hour commute with all-green-light intersections takes on prophetic business meaning. Pairs of butterflies circling the deck every morning for a week becomes a relationship omen. Monthly jolts awake after the same bonkers dream, only to see the same goddamn numbers glaring back at me:

(And the less a superstitious double-Gemini says about the thrice-annual shit-show of Mercury Retrograde, the better — back up those files and don’t sign contracts for a month, kiddos…the pattern of ‘Karmic fun’ starts tomorrow!)

Sure. It could just be my monkey brain’s way of making some desperate sense out of absurd, everyday, garden-variety chaos. But what fun is that? Especially when some of the greatest creative and scientific minds in history were/are ardent believers that recognizing patterns and potential connections between objects and events was the key to attaining higher knowledge and artistic excellence???

And that brings us to today’s topic: MEMOS from the MUSE.

Over the past six months or so, a common theme has reared its strange and fantastical head in the stuff I’ve been working on, as well as projects I’ve been brought in to help shape: the WHIMSICAL. The damn term keeps popping up in personal writings, in random conversations, highlighted in reference material, or even blurted out during conference calls. And it always came, it would seem, with the same qualifier: DARK.

How can you NOT smell a pattern like that? If the Muse keeps tickling your brain-balls, then it only makes sense to hear Her out over rib-eyes and a nice cab-merlot, amirite?

So I do what I like to call ‘tracing it back‘.

Follow the breadcrumbs of influence. Find the Alpha of the thought that’s recurring, which might help you predict the Omega of the path that you’re on — IE: the end result of the pattern — what it’s been trying to tell you from the start.

I recalled the shows and movies and books I loved as a kid.

I pondered the stuff I’m drawn to, and the tales I’m now driven to tell.

I revisited the last studio gig I agreed to, and the direction I gave to the team:

The music on that Hellboy 2 short is by my genius composer cousin, Tobias Tinker. We’d been making musical magic together for 7 years…and then that was that. I went off on walkabouts. He made more cool shit.

Last month, I flew my weary ass to his home in Berlin to see if our mutually-creative fires could be rekindled. It only occurs to me now that another 7 years had passed since our last big jam. And there we were, discussing the score on a massive (and massively daunting) audiobook project

‘What’s the vibe you’re after?’ he asked.

Dark, of course,’ I said, ‘but there’s something else…’

I sat up, and I think I felt the ghost of a gear click into place as I spoke the word. And then, in one afternoon, we built the following piece around our masterful narrator‘s silky boom:

A pained music box. Flourishes of harp. Mysterious choir. Moody strings.

WHIMSY.

A month later, I couldn’t help but smirk when discussing part of a (secret = SHHH!) reality TV project’s score with its producers. There was a scene near the end that needed a special sonic touch —  ‘heavier’ than the rest of the program, but still retaining a hint of playfulness and ‘hope’.  I referred the editor to a section from Howard Shore’s score for The Fellowship of the Ring.  

You can probably guess what two words were exchanged. 😉

That brings us to just last week. A designer on a seriously epic (and another SECRET!!!) game thingie asked me for input on the soundtrack.

Let me say this — if you were privy to the IP in question and what these cats have planned for it? Then you’d barf up the same goddamn tags I’ve been chucking since springtime. But that might mean very little to someone not lost in the vortex of signs and symbols…you know…like yours truly.

Thankfully, since I’d been bashing my head on this whimsy trip for months (nay, a lifetime!), there was an easier way to communicate. To share the PATTERN, whispered long ago through the Chaos by the Muse…

To be useful in this moment.

Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away = bombs of whimsy, yo!

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen = fanciful theatricality and fairytale decadence to legendary excess!!

The Dark Crystal = ground zero for ‘dark whimsy’ from my childhood!!!

So…

What are some of YOUR dark and whimsical favourites?

And what patterns have played a role in YOUR creative and personal lives?

Sound off in the Comments…right below the kitten in a top hat…

Because WHIMSY!

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READY? AIM! BRAIN BULLETS FIRED!

March 9, 2015

brookeburgess

Got a story to share with the world?

Join the freakin’ club.

Stats show that over 15 million ISBNs (book registry #’s) were created last year alone. That’s up from the LOW 6-figures just five years ago. The market is officially flooded, my friends. Tsunami’ed, even.

And with that knowledge comes the demoralizing realization that the lion’s share of folks will NOT be willing to take an impulse deep-dive into uncharted waters. That’s why we like sequels. And reboots. And re-tellings. Because people’s most valuable commodity is time, so they’d much rather play it safe and invest this precious resource in what they know.  

It’s like buying stock. In Apple.  Even if you think the new watch is bullshit. At least it’s familiar bullshit.

$10K+??? Totally reasonable...like Scientology.

$10K+??? Totally realistic…like Scientology levels of reasonable

So then…how can the little guy (ie: the independent author) chip away at well-established and deeply-entrenched mindshare (in this case, Big 5-published IPs)? What can we do to turn the tide as Amazon ‘free days’ go flaccid, cheap eBooks glut the market, and mainstream media channels — newspapers, review blogs, and core book sites — crinkle their collective noses at anything beyond their immediate (ahem…payola’ed) gaze?

A BAG FULL OF BRAIN-BULLETS

Enter the ‘meme’.

Coolcat Maw

If you’ve written a cool story, chances are that it’s chock full of interesting ideas. Pithy observations. Humorous tangents. Snappy dialogue. The whole damn gamut. And if these snippets are crisp enough, while still maintaining the core brand message with a complementary image?

Then they are primed for your arsenal.

With a Google Image search and a virtual armoury of free (and idiot-proof) text generators, you’ll soon have an album full of unique promos for your book, blog post, screenplay, comic, or marketing blurb. And this ‘ammunition’ can be fired at so many willing targets. Facebook. Twitter. Tumblr. G+. Reddit. Imgur. LinkedIn. Pinterest. Hell, you could even throw Yahoo a bone.

It’s as if media dashboards like HootSuite were made for this — to scattershot your creative brain bullets far and wide, scoring as many flesh wounds and critical hits as you can with daily firings.

Because the rules have changed, writerly friends.

The language of the Web has evolved to favour the visual.

And as indie authors..?

We’d be fools not to learn how to speak it.

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CASE STUDY: Of Games and (going with your) Guts

January 12, 2015

brookeburgess

(by Brooke Burgess)

Happy New Year, kittens and cats!  With 2015 well underway, I find myself shifting gears out of (fiscal) necessity. It happens. The Beast must be fed, and those games and gadgets and goodies aren’t gonna buy themselves, right? Pity.

Most of us don’t have the luxury of making the things we want to make most the time. Instead, our stars tend to align in service of other masters.  That’s where the term ‘service work’ comes from — it’s your focus and sweat, in varying measures of servitude. So all you can do is cross your fingers, twiddle your rosaries, and pray for decent pay, benevolent bosses, and a pinch of artistic satisfaction after the dice are rolled. I’ve just been lucky to get a few more sevens than snake-eyes.

Somehow — whilst chiseling away at the narrative marble to carve out screenplays, a book, a few comics (animated and otherwise), and potentially cool stuff that never saw the light of day — I’ve been able to fashion a (nearly) functional balance between passion projects and rewarding contracts. Writing and narrative design. Animation. Interactive stuff. You can even scope some of it here.

And I’m about to start work on another one, helmed by one of my fav’ game industry pals. We first collaborated on a pretty cool Japanese co-produced PS2 launch game. This was easily one of the most rewarding and educational experiences of my professional life; the scope was massive, the timeline tight, and the team endlessly ambitious. 15 years on, and things have come full circle in many ways. Colour me optimistic.

 

But it doesn’t always work out so smoothly. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that I swore I’d never work on a game contract again.

Read more

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT…

December 7, 2014

brookeburgess

Happy December, kittens and cats!

With the Holy-days in full swing, it felt like high time for a wee creative break from all things bookish…you know…at least until the Boxing Day deals kick in.

I’ve been a fan of spoken word pieces for a few years now — good storytelling is good storytelling, and it ain’t useful being a slave to format or genre.  But truthfully?  I’ve never had to guts to perform one live.  Live audiences can be insanely hard to impress, particularly when you have a world champion spitting hot truth in your backyard.

Still, the itch remained.

Yup.

I’ve been quietly nurturing a vid channel for a while now; mostly it’s for short films and animations, trailers, and the odd caffeinated rant, and subscribers seem to dig it.  But now, thanks to some solitude, a little tech, WWW image searches, and a pair of mirrored shades..?

It time to get slammy.

There are currently three pieces live.  I hope to post a new one monthly throughout 2015.  Sure…I won’t be approaching Epic Rap Battle’s turf anytime soon…but, if this thing catches on, I’ll (eagerly) begin taking topic requests.  Huzzah.

Peace on Earth, and goodwill to Men…and Women…and furred and feathered friends.

BB

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ENTER THE CAT’S MAW — ON WATTPAD!!!

February 10, 2014

brookeburgess

Howdy friends!

With the first draft of my children’s book complete — and in the capable hands of a hungry team of beta readers — I’m keen to share a bit more with you. And what’s the best way to do that, you ask..?

Enter WATTPAD

This is THE social media platform for readers, writers, and anyone invested in experiencing the collision between technology and the written word.  Millions of users. Countless stories. Mind-bending genres. And it’s all being updated with new content — based on your feedback — every second, of every minute, or every goddamn day!

So take a minute to click the link above and scope the prologue and a chunk of Chapter 1. If you dig it, then please leave a ‘star’ and a comment on the site, sign up for updates, and spread the good word!

Expect more updates soon, dear friends — including release dates, illustrator news, and even audiobook talent announcements (could a voice from the past be making a collaborative return?).

Thanks…for reading 🙂

BB

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WORDSMITHS: 5 WAYS TO SHARPEN YOUR EDIT

January 7, 2014

brookeburgess

I’m about to edit a book. Seems like a straightforward mission statement, right? But for me, the prose editing process generates a special, singular kind of fear. I’ll get to that in a second.

When you’re launching an initial assault on the blank page, there’s a leap-into-the-void, roll-the-goddamn-dice, what’s-the-worst-that-can-happen? kinda quality to the whole thing. That’s why I actually enjoyed the NaNoWriMo exercise – you show up, put your head down, and commit to your daily word count. That’s it. So, if your outline was strong enough, and your characters were clearly defined, and you respected your narrative roadmap (no matter how many shortcuts or off-road excursions you indulged in along the way), you’re gonna end up with something. And, unless you’re a complete tool, said thing will resemble an actual ‘story’, with words and paragraphs and dialogue and chapters and a beginning, middle, and end. Groovy.

But then comes the hard part. You see, in keeping with my oft-stated transmedia philosophy, Storytelling (on singular or multiple platforms) is akin to the mining, cutting, and polishing of a precious gem. Writing in prose has only reaffirmed that for me. The story outline is where one surveys the land and takes soil samples. The first draft is digging and sifting until you find the raw stone. Which makes the hardest part – the detailed cutting and polishing phases, which give the stone its unique beauty and shine — the edit.

Read more

‘RISEN’ : A Transmedia Strategy Overview

November 21, 2012

brookeburgess

Apologies for the stretch of incommunicado, folks – I blame it on a frenzied mix of travel, research, and project launches – but I wanted to keep you posted on what’s baking in the transmedia oven.

You might’ve noticed a feature I have in development in the PROJECTS section called Risen.  Well, it’s still very much alive;  there’s a third draft of the screenplay nearing completion, a graphic novel ‘package’ with artist attached, and cross-platform strategizing fully in progress.   And now, you can peer behind the proverbial curtain and see some of the lever and pulley action that goes into prepping an original IP for the transmedia stage.

IP LOGLINE

At a remote mountain sanctuary, a disabled orphan receives a revolutionary implant to restore his health.  But when the young man finds himself able to manipulate the digital world with his mind?  Then it’s a race for answers – and for civilization itself – against rogue military, an obsessed scientist, and the terrifying Consciousness awakening within him.

Read more

‘Untitled’ Game High Concept

June 29, 2012

brookeburgess

(Here’s a narrative overview I recently created for a game dev client – can’t announce the developer or project specifics yet, but I’m definitely happy with the relationship and the results!)

SYNOPSIS

You and a host of powerful beings were charged with creating Life on a pristine world.  But something went wrong.  Through negligence and arrogance, your creations quickly evolved into a terrifying demon horde, threatening to scour the fragile Eden.   Outraged, your Master decides to wipe the slate clean, and imprison you (his Architects) and the abominations deep underground.  Now, you must harness your divine energy and scattered technologies to destroy your tainted creations, awaken your fallen Brethren, and escape the prison…or remain trapped in darkness forever!

You were the First. 

A being of pure Will, infused with unfathomable power, and charged with a sacred Mission.  But you were the first of many.  A legion of beings would soon join you in this new realm.  Together, you would craft incredible technologies, and harness near-limitless energies to engineer the primordial sparks of Life.  And as lightning and otherworldly fire filled the skies, and the first creatures twitched and stirred beneath swirling dark waters, you could feel the growing pride of the One that had set these events in motion.  And it was Good.

But it would not endure.

As time passed, and the web of Life on this young world grew infinitely more complex, a division began to form within the ranks of your Brethren.  The sheer scope of the plan and the energies at your disposal tainted the weaker amongst you. Some went mad with the weight of responsibility.  Some even whispered of rebellion.  But the greatest flaw was harbored in the hearts of those who fell prey to the lure of Ambition.  Fueled by newfound arrogance, these Architects used their powers to veer the course Life far from the intended design – one of harmony and symbiotic balance – and down a path both twisted and profane.  That was when the monsters rose from the mire.  When onyx-horned and cloven-hoofed things clawed their way from molten cracks in the world’s womb.  When creatures of unspeakable horror howled at the sky with blood-soaked teeth and mindless hate.  And that was when you understood what must happen next, for the grand design had been defiled.

You had failed in your sacred Mission.  The punishment was swift.

With thunder and fury, the One shook the foundations of the world.  The oceans drained into bottomless rifts, and towering mountains crumbled to dust. Through a veil of fire, the earth yawned open, and swallowed beast and Brethren alike in jaws of stone.   And there you would remain…for eons.  Trapped in a forgotten chasm beneath the earth, and shackled by otherworldly machines of your own making.  Abandoned in the dark, with nothing but the shrieking demonic hordes, and the cries of your fallen brothers.  Everything had been taken from you…save for your Essence.

And that is the key to your salvation.

Though disembodied, you are still an Architect.  Through sheer force of will, your prison matrix shall become your liberation, as the technologies transform into the armor and weaponry you’ll use to break free and destroy the abominations.  And as you battle through countless chambers beneath the earth, you are sure to find your fallen Brethren – imprisoned, as you were.  Free them, and you’ll become infused with their essence, as well as the unique tools and gifts that they possess.  Call upon them in a moment of despair, and divine Might shall rain down upon your foes!

You will taste defeat – it is inevitable – but each time you fall, you will retain the knowledge of your prison, your foes, and the arcane powers you have acquired.  Thus armed, you embark again on a desperate quest for freedom and redemption.  You were the First.  Now you are the Last.  This is your only Mission…

And you will not fail again.

Getting ‘Personal’…

June 23, 2012

brookeburgess

These days, those ‘in the know’ say that it’s all about establishing your personal brand.  That potential partners and collaborators and clients need to know who you are, what you do, and where you stand professionally.   And this ‘you-ness’ needs to be infused in everything you touch:  your website, logos and imagery, promo materials, and especially your work.

And, as you can see from the shot above (and my url), I’m down with that*.  There’s nothing wrong with a little self-pimping, as long as it’s aligned with the spirit of one’s services and skills.  At the same time, I also believe that it’s okay to blur the lines between business and personality – hence ‘personal brand’.  By exposing different facets of yourself, you improve the chance of connecting on more (and perhaps deeper) levels with potential partners.  Which can only lead to a more satisfying relationship long-term, with fewer creative clashes and unpleasant surprises in the cards.

That’s why I’m not exactly shy with the social media presence.  Do I compartmentalize?  Absolutely.  But it’s not like the Facebook timeline is hidden (even if I do go on regular extended ‘hiatuses’).  And Twitter‘s out there for everyone to see, where I showcase my love of weird film/TV, mixed martial arts, and naughty comedians with wild abandon.  Which ties into a not-so-secret Tumblr feed, chock full of candid pics, short stories, and the occasional NSFW animated GIF.  And that page has been known to feature late-night ‘confessionals’ and small video experiments from my YouTube channel.

We all have so many sides to ourselves.  Combined, these tell our story.  And just like the transmedia principles I work with, I believe that the more we’re willing to share of ourselves – the more facets we cut, polish, and shed light upon – the more we’re able to shine.

* Logo/imagery created by (the Great) Dane Cypel.  MacBook/iPhone skins by Gelaskins.  Bizzy cards by MOO.

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