Dinosaurs and other Updates

Summer has been fairly busy. On top of entertaining a kid during a pandemic and planning for homeschool, I’ve had other projects in the works. I was asked to submit work to a by invitation-only call for cyberpunk stories to a journal overseas. Regardless of whether my story gets picked up for publication, it was an honor to be asked, especially as I haven’t written in this genre before. I’ve been volunteering locally as I’ve been able. Remote meetings are a lifesaver for individuals with chronic illnesses/ conditions like migraines, arthritis, and motherhood (ahem), so I hope this trend continues after the pandemic. The ability to turn off the video and audio functions is especially appreciated. A laughing, streaking kid in the house did elicit momentary panic at one point.

In the relatively quiet moments and through the chaos, I have begun to make significant progress on my biggest project to date [Master’s thesis be damned]: an indie narrative game combining many of my favorite subjects.

Here is a peek at the main character:

Mini Dino Pixel Art.
Mini Dino Pixel Art (side view). Suzanne Skaar. 2020. All rights reserved.
Dino Front view Idle 8 19 2020
Front view Dino character, idle. Suzanne Skaar, 2020. Animation/ pixel art. Work in progress. All rights reserved.

My last programming class was in high school, more than 20 years ago, so I have been teaching myself Unity, a development platform which is free to users up to a certain revenue bracket. Brackeys tutorials on YouTube have been on repeat for months in the house. They are awesome: go check them out! Thanks to the site Beepbox, I have also been working on digital music composition for the first time. I first started using Audacity for podcasts a few years back, and it continues to be a great tool for artists. [While I’m not ready to share some of my serious attempts yet, my co-conspirator did willingly lend her vocals to this “parenting dance anthem.” It was created using Beepbox and Audacity.] 

Other snippets of the game art are up on the No Mine! Studios Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages. I’ve set myself a soft deadline of December (6 months from when I started) to get basic art in place so I can focus on research, writing, and mechanics. This game is a one mother show. If you are on the above platforms, please follow for updates, like, and share. Your support means a lot!

Geek Girl Con 2019 Details

Hi friends,

Moderator and Panel Creator Symantha Reagor just confirmed that I’ll be speaking with other amazing (and hilarious, and insightful, and …) creators on the Chronic and Creative Panel on Saturday, November 16, 2019, at 3 p.m. We’ll be addressing maintaining creative practices for individuals with chronic conditions/ disabilities. As a Certified Disability Management Specialist who has been diagnosed with migraines, arthritis, and glaucoma, this is a very important topic to me. This will be the second year I have contributed to this panel, and I can’t wait.

GeekGirlCon is held at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. Get your tickets soon!

Cheers!

Suzanne

Quick sketch: GeekGirlCon 2019
Quick sketch. Sharpies, brush pens, poster paint pens, paper. Suzanne Skaar. 2019

 

Terrorium: A Recap

Now that The Grand Cinema’s 253 Film Screening has happened, I can share some of the work I did in 24 hours (with a 8-hour break for sleep in there).

When I met with Derek Schneider, Candace Schneider, and Caleb Fisher for the first time, I had recently finished working on a presentation regarding immigrant and refugee stories in Tacoma, WA. Much of my other published written work has been on social justice and political issues. I have spent years doing uncredited written material for educational and non-profit institutions, as well as confidential reports for vocational rehabilitation cases. Derek brought forward the concern that he typically produced comedies.

After focusing on such serious material for a long time, I made it clear I was ready for a fun project, and so…

I wrote a script that can be summed up as a feminist poop joke meets Japanese monster movies. And then I scrambled to prepare the costumes and props in time for the shoot.

It’s not completely without redeeming qualities. As a migraine sufferer, I hope this project will draw attention to some people’s reliance on chemical air fresheners in the work place. But let’s be honest: in 72 hours, it’s pretty darn hard to create a 253 second film that meets a competition’s required elements (includes dialogue “back to square one,” references fake news, has a white dress, and includes a scene from a well-known movie) AND serves society beyond entertainment value.

 

Hastily made buildings
The day before the shoot, Director Derek Schneider dropped off a load of cardboard boxes per my request that we create a model city to destroy. While painting the grid in my yard, a neighbor’s Husky decided to rampage through the city a little early. (Thanks, Shiner.) Actors helped work on this project in between takes on set up until the very end.
Robot 1
Actor Sarah Dullanty was awesome to work with. I told her the idea for the costume, and she helped piece together her arm bands and staple claws while I worked on the rest of her costume. She also used her costume making skills to create straps for the inside of the box so she could have more mobility. Paul Figueroa created little satellite dishes for the buildings, and was more than happy to make extras to serve as the robot’s ears.
Robot 2
In case it’s not obvious, Actor Sarah Dullanty could not see while in this costume. Props had to be placed into her hands.
Robot vs Turtle 1
Actor Alicia Longman was also great to work with through this whole process. Honestly, the whole crew rocked.
Robot vs Turtle 2
The turtle armature is light, but not sized to actor Alicia Longman as I met her for the first time on the day of the shoot. For the face, I cut a N95 air filter mask in half and painted it like a turtles nostrils. The elastic did not want to stay on her head, so we used painters tape on the sides. We wanted bad props, and I think we succeeded.
Air so fresh_low res
Label design for the air freshener, which is the catalyst for the robot vs. turtle fight. Yes, I know, it’s impossible to genetically mutate into a robot. That’s not how science works.

 

 

I’m looking forward to my slightly more serious next project, this time as writer/ director/ and probably producer. If you’re interested in working on a feminist dark comedy series for the web, hit me up. I’ll need editors, sound, actors, funding. Camera operators would be great, too. More information to come.

 

 

[All photos and text by Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved. 2019.]

News

It’s time once again for the “oh wait, I’ve been working on everyone else’s projects what about my own website I should really do something about that” redesign. Please bear with me as some links may need to be re-set.

Thanks to a fun year of health issues, from bilateral hand arthritis to glaucoma to chronic migraines and finally getting to experience my first biopsy sans sedation (0 stars, do not recommend), I have been a little preoccupied. It hasn’t been all bad; even the “bad” has provided some great comedy material.  I presented for the first time on a panel at Seattle’s GeekGirl Con in 2018 and ran for office. The latter did not go as planned, but it allowed me to address my concerns regarding equity and access in Pierce County. I also left a three-year long career in vocational rehabilitation services, and I’m figuring out next steps.

Fortunately, I have several projects in the work. I am still heavily involved in my community. I have been focused on helping Tacoma’s South End Neighborhood Council undergo some overdue changes in term of outreach, website, social media, and neighborhood engagement. I’m currently working on a historical research project, which will be presented at Tacoma artist Lynn Di Nino’s April 2019 Tripod Series. I’m getting caught up on editing and uploading photos from the past year. And as I have received several requests to help on various political and social justice campaigns, I am once again offering my services as a paid consultant. Other projects will be announced as dates and details are confirmed.

Thank you for your continued support of my work.

 

Cheers!

 

Suzanne