Podcast Review:Week in Whedon

This is my first review of some of the many podcasts I listen to. I decided to start with Week in Whedon because I always forget what it is like and I just listened to it today. I’m working on a uniform format, so things may change in future reviews.

Sound Quality: Excellent
Caster’s Communication Skills: Good
Content: Good
Website: Fair
Scale: Crap/Poor/Fair/Good/Excellent

Week in Whedon (iTunes) is a podcast dedicated to covering all things Joss Whedon. Sam and Kevin cover stories from various websites dedicated to Buffy, Angel, and Firefly/Serinity delivering them in there own style.

It’s a “living room” podcast, meaning it is two people talking about the subject in their living room. At their worst, these kind of podcast are as boring as cat blogs. But that’s not the case here. A husband and wife team, Sam and Kevin alternate back and forth telling the stories, asking the questions and laughing at each other.

I have to confess the first time I listened to the show I thought Sam’s voice was very sexy. I still do. Given these two run a podcast dedicated to a Science Fiction writer, I expected them to look like a lot of SF geeks I’ve met at various cons. While the picture they posted on the show’s Frapper site is certainly the height of geekiness, they are a fine looking couple. I think this will be the last time I discuss the looks of podcasters. I’m starting to creep myself out.

The show is fun and their beginnings are usually hilarious. So funny they don’t normally make it all the way through without cracking up. Today’s was the first one I’ve heard where they said their real names, before saying they were Sonny and Cher. They have a new promo that I’m sure caused people to wonder about my as I walked to my car laughing maniacally at what was coming out of my iPod.

A lot of podcast’s sound quality suck. Normally it gets better every episode and WoW has been around awhile. It’s always sounded good as long as I’ve been listening.

Kevin and Sam are normally able to read their stories and even do so dramatically. Very often they get too cracked up and can’t finish a story, which can grate a little. Sam has the tendency to say “Oh my Gosh” a lot, but I’m sure that’s because Kevin always doing screwy things. Yeah it must be his fault. 🙂

The podcast’s website is a disappointment. It did get better this week because they got a domain that actually means something weekinwhedon.org. It is important to have an easily remembered URL when the main way people will get it is saying it out loud.

They don’t do a great job of putting all the things they talk about into the show notes either. They have a weekly prop watch, but they don’t have those links up. OK I’m just stupid. I didn’t find the “read more” link and wasn’t looking at the full entry. Suggestion: make that link more prominent in your site’s theme.

If you are into the Whedonverse, the podcast will be right up your alley. If not, it will probably just freak you out. But I just received 140 hours of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the mail yesterday, so I qualify. And I wouldn’t have gotten the great price I got ($111.89) if it hadn’t been for WoW pointing me to the DeepDiscountDVD 20% deal.

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PGM: Names

This entry is from my series: A Photographer’s Guide To Models.

I realize some models feel safer if they don’t give their real name out on the internet. That’s OK, but pick a name that isn’t stupid, or that sounds like a stripper/porn name.

Really the more normal the better.

Here are a few I’ve been collecting from new models in Texas on OMP that fall under the stupid category.

Jazey, Egypt, soda, Pink Pantha, Nookie, Brunette Barbii, WikkedMix, Modelingbabe4ever, EthnicEyecandy

Please give me a break.

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PGM: Developing a Portfolio

This entry is from my series: A Photographer’s Guide To Models.

I’m not claiming to be an expert, but this is my take on what you can look forward to and what is expected of you by photographers.

Your first goal is to develop a good portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of pictures of you showing what you look like, what you can do, and what you want to do.

When a photographer looks at a portfolio he’s trying to figure out a number of things about you. He wants to know what you look like to know if you fit the projects he’s working on or if he could develop one just for you. He is trying to figure out what kind of stuff you are willing to do. And he wants to know how versatile you are. There are other things he wants to know about you but those are generally answered via communication or your profile, and we’ll cover those later.

So what do you want in your portfolio?

You want quality. Nothing turns off a photographer more than webcam pictures in a portfolio. We understand you might not have anything at first, but you sure can’t demand really any money to shoot if you don’t have a portfolio. Normally you’d pay a photographer to help you develop your portfolio. But there is another way, Time for Print or CD TFP/TFCD.

TFP means a photographer will shoot you for free in return for getting to use your images in his portfolio. The two of you are trading your time and effort for images for your portfolios. There is a lot of variation in the terms of a TFP, but remember it is about getting images for both of your portfolios.

You’ll spend time and effort and preparation for a shoot. The photographer spends, time, prep, post and equipment to get images he can use in his portfolio. Some photographers will give you actual prints, some just give you all the raw images and you have to deal with them. You’ll have to sign a model release, giving the photographer the right to use your images for self-promotion and he’ll give you the same.

This is also a great time for you as a new model to practice. Often photographers who do TFP are doing it for practice themselves. Or so they can do the artsy stuff they love, but no one hires them for. Just remember this is a trade. You need to give and receive respect, as well as treat the shoot just like one you are paid for.

Couple more tips on portfolios.

Use more than one photographer. You need variety and rarely can you get that from one photographer.

What’s in your portfolio is what people are going to assume you do. If there are nudes in your portfolio, photographers are going to assume you do nudes.

If you want a specific thing, look for photographers that do that thing. Want goth images? Scan the portfolio sites and find a goth photographer and send him a message asking about TFP.

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PGM: Show Up

This entry is from my series: A Photographer’s Guide To Models.

The most important thing for a model to do is show up.

Hopefully that sounds a little strange to you. Who in the world would make an appointment and then not show up? They’d at least call if something came up.

Sadly every photographer has at least one, and probably multiple, stories about models that didn’t show. Normally without so much as a phone call. Sometimes they’d talked to the photographer the night before and been excited about the shoot. Then at the appointed time, nothing.

And don’t think this was only on TFP shoots. I have a friend who bought a model a plane ticket, talked to her the night before the flight, and when the plane arrived, the model didn’t.

Don’t think you are so pretty you can do what you want. No model is that pretty.

While being pretty is a necessary trait, it isn’t everything a model is. Modeling is a job, and like any job you have to show up and you have to do your work. Work hard and you’ll succeed.

If you are new to modeling, the idea of meeting a stranger in a strange place is probably a little scary. That’s understandable. Photographers are a little nervous about meeting you and inviting you into their studios. But it’s part of the job, and once you get there you’ll enjoy yourself. Focus your thoughts on the good things. The fun of the shoot. The prospect of having great pictures for your portfolio.

This rule is so important that I talked about it before explaining how the internet modeling scene works. That’s in the next article in this series.

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A Photographers Guide To Models

I’m starting a new series of articles for models called “A Photographer’s Guide To Models” or PGM. The idea here is I’ll tell you models some of the stupid things I’ve seen models do. Tell you want pisses off photographers and won’t get you hired. As well as layout a bit of a career path.

Feel free to comment and agree or disagree with me on these things.

Entries include:

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Step 3:Setting Up Your Blog

This entry is from my series: Starting A Blog Using WordPress and Dreamhost.

Now that you have the blog set up and its name should be propagated around the internet, its time make the blog yours.

Things to change:

  1. Initial WordPress welcome blog entry.
  2. The comment to the initial blog entry.
  3. Blog sub-title.

When you come to your new blog you will find it uses the standard kind of boring blue and white theme. We’ll talk about how to change that in the future.

Meta Links
Over on the right hand side of your blog is a column. In that column there are some links under the title Meta. If you haven’t logged in yet it looks like the image to the right. Click on Login and enter your username and password. If you have logged it it will have a Site Admin link, click that.

Now you will come to the WordPress Dashboard. Along the top of this page is the title of your blog and link to go back to it.

Right under that there are a list of words, the first being Dashboard, which is grey. Each of those words is the title of a page of commands. If you click one, it will become the grey one and you’ll get different content under it.

The Dashboard is kind of a summary page, with summary info to the right and WordPress current events in the middle. If you don’t see anything in the middle, that’s OK. It takes WP a while sometimes to get its info and it doesn’t want to make you wait.

We want to change our initial blog entry, so click the word Manage. When you do another list of words will appear under the commands and the word Posts will be selected. Under that you’ll see a list of posts already in your blog. There’s only one right now. Under than you’ll see a list of comments, and right now there is only one of those too.

At this point we could just delete the blog entry that is there and go create a new one. But instead we are going to edit the one already there. To the right of the post in the post list is a link called Edit. Click it.

You end up in the standard editing screen, but with the contents pre filled with the existing blog entry. The only two fields you need to worry about at this point is the Title and the Post fields. Edit them to be what ever you want to have as your first entry. Then click the Save button.

When you do this it will take you back to the list of posts. Hopefully the only post listed has the new title you gave it.

While we’re here lets take care of that sample comment. To the right of the comment date is a link that says “Delete”. Click it to delete the comment. You get an alert asking if you really want to do it. Click Yes.

Now that comment is gone.

Last thing on our list is to fix the sub-title of the blog. It is under Options at the top of the page, so click that link.

The thing we are looking for is in the General sub tag is is called Tagline. Change your blogs tagline to the right. For now don’t change anything else, unless you think you know what you are doing. Changing the Title is probably OK. Click the “Update Options” button at the bottom of the page.

Now we are done. You can click the View Site link at the top of the page to look at your improved blog.

I want to keep these post short so I’m going to stop now, but come back next time and we’ll talk about categories.

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Step 2: Installing WordPress

This entry is from my series: Starting A Blog Using WordPress and Dreamhost.

Check Step One’s Results
OK in the last episode we set up our domain. This means that we told the world about our domain, so lets see if that works. Go to your browser and enter the URL of you new blog. Do you get anything in the window? You should get a directory listing.

The other thing that should have happen was a new directory in your Dreamhost web directory should have been created. At this point you could fire up your favorite FTP client or SSH into you account and look to see if it exists. But if you got a directory listing from your browser we know there is a directory there.

Doing The Install
Now for the amazing Dreamhost one-click install of WordPress. Go to the Dreamhost panel -> Goodies -> One-Click Installs.

There is one-click to install but 3 steps.

The first is pretty obvious…select WordPress Weblog as the software to install.

Next select the domain name of the blog you want to install. Here things were a little weird to me. Since when I created my subdomain I didn’t uncheck for www.blog.photographerandmodel.com to work, that’s what is in the popup. May mean I have to make some changed after WordPress is installed. We’ll see.

Select your domain. Leave the field at the right blank.

Create a new database. I’m going to assume you are working on a clean install, so you need to create a database. Remember I said you need a one word tag for various things in the install? This is where I was talking about. These field are never seen by the world, but you need something you can tell at a glance what goes with what.

I’m naming my database, pmb_wordpress. “pmb” for Photographer and Model Blog, and duh _wordpress for what is going to be in the database. I’m using “pmb-wordpress” for the database’s subdomain because an underscore isn’t allowed. Make sure the popup is set to the correct domain.

I’m not going tell you either my username or password. The username can most anything and the password as well. Use something with both letters and numbers for you password.

Then you click the “Install if for me now!” button. An wah laa, you’ve installed WordPress. Or at least you’ve started the process. DH says it’ll take 10 minutes.

Dreamhost will send you an email to let you know when the install is finished. It will contain a link to take you to the page to finish you installation. Clicking on it will take you to a page where you enter the name of your blog and your email address.

Once this is done you’ll be told your password. Copy that password and log in as “admin”. Now you’ve got your blog!

In the next installment I’ll talk a little about posting to your new blog.

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Step 1: Creating a Domain

This entry is from my series: Starting A Blog Using WordPress and Dreamhost.

If you signed up via Dreamhost and got your domain through them this step is done. If not or if you are creating a new blog on a Dreamhost account follow along.

When you create a domain on DH two thing happen. You domain is entered into their nameserver so the rest of the world will find it and a folder is created in you account directory.

I’m going to create a subdomain off my empty photographerandmodel.com domain. A subdomain is the thing in front of a domain. Normally you expect this to be www, but you can make it anything. When I started my photography site, I made a subdomain of reactuate called photo. So if you enter http://photo.reactuate.com/ into your browser you’ll go to the photo site.

For photographerandmodel.com’s blog I’m just going to create the sub domain blog. So my blog’s url will be “http://blog.photographerandmodel.com/”

Step 1: Got to the Add Domain pane of the Dreamhost Panel.

At the bottom of this panel you’ll see a field to enter the domain or subdomain you want to add. Enter the full domain, as shown, but no http or anythings that are URLs. Just the domain/subdomain.

Step 2: Pick a Plan

Once you do that you will be asked what plan to add it to. I’ve only got once choice and if you’ve got more than that you probably don’t need this tutorial. Click the radio button and click “Continue”.

Step 3: Setup Domain Hosting

This is the part that creates the folder for your stuff. That is if you pick the default settings, which is what we are going to do.

The only thing you might want to change is the Web Directory name. I’m just leaving is standard, but you could pick something shorter. If you are going to only have one blog something shorter would probably be nice. But I have a lot of domains and they should just look like their domains name.

That’s it for your domain set up. As the final page tells you it might take a couple of days for your domain to start showing up. Subdomains are a little faster, but it will still take hours.

You can spend the time you are waiting thinking about what your first post will be. Or writing your biography for your about me page.

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