10 Great Places to Go on Your 18th Birthday!

La Di Da is a recognised 21st birthday venues Melbourne biggest and best parties and events for years now. If you’re looking for some of the best place to go on your 18th birthday then you’re in for a treat! I am a personal party planner and have been so for many years. I have planned hundreds of 18th birthdays and over the years have realized that it is quite difficult to find, without help, some good places to go on your 18th birthday. Therefore i have listed below my top 10 places to go on your 18th birthday.

Remember, it’s the most important birthday of your teenage years and it only comes once in your life, so don’t make the same mistake I did. Make It Count!

So let’s get straight into my 10 Great Places To Go On Your 18th birthday!

# Place 1: Host A Party!
This is the one of the most popular places to go on your 18th birthday and includes having it at home or renting a function room. If for whatever reason you don’t won’t to go to any extreme places to celebrate your 18th birthday, having a party is a great way to see your 18th birthday in.

# Place 2: Go clubbing!
One of the most popular places to go on your 18th birthday is going to a club. This is a very fun and memorable way to spend your 18th birthday and will involve a wide variety of activities throughout your night. Try to go to one of the more famous clubs in your city and dress to impress. Your 18 now you can start feeling like an adult!

# Place 3: Go Shopping!
Whether you have thousands to use on your 18th or hundreds going shopping is a definte must for your birthday. Not only is it fun to do but for your 18th you want to be look slightly different as appose to the old you. Buying something new to mark your 18th is a good way to feel as if your actually celebreating your adulthood .

# Place 4: Theme Parks
This is a very fulfilling way to spend your 18th birthday. If you’re in to this type of thrill then i would definitely recommend finding and going to a theme park in your area. Try and go to a well known theme park in your city as this will make your experience a whole lot better.

# Place 5: Road Trip!
The reason that I love this one so much is it can fit into any budget. Going on a road trip with friends or family can be an enjoyable and memorable way to spend your 18th. If you love the open road at heart and have someone to visit many miles away then nothing shouts “adventure” like a road trip.

# Place 6: Casino
If you’re the type of person that is “up” for a bet at the first glance of a gambling proposal then maybe the casino is for you. Find your nearest one, bring ID and have some good old fun gambling, but don’t get too carried away as you may end up with no money at all!

# Place 7: Go to a music show
Always wanted to see Beyonce, Enrique Iglesias or someone famous live? Well if you can and they are appearing in your country go out and see them. Nothing completes an 18th birthday better than seeing your favourite artist perform. Even if there not available try and see some live music in your local area, it’ll be worth it.

# Place 8: Go horseback riding.
This is a one of my personal favourites. I remember my first horseback ride… It hurt! But after I got used to the idea of an extremely powerful animal underneath me I really enjoyed myself. Horseback riding is a very calming and relaxing way to spend time being at one with nature. I recommended this for all those naturist’s out there who would love the idea of riding off into the sunset on their 18th birthday.

# Place 9: Sky diving or extreme sports.
Sky diving or something similar like extreme sports is a very unusual but rewarding way to spend your 18th birthday. I guarantee that if you are in to this type of extreme thrill then you won’t be disappointed. Remember that skydiving isn’t for the faint hearted so if the sight from the top of a flight of stairs gets yours knees a bit wobbly then I would stick to something like indoor skydiving that is available in some cities worldwide.

Place 10: Rent a condo on the beach
Renting a condo or even staying in a hotel on your nearest beach (even if its miles away) can be a very relaxing and cost effective way to get away from your home town but still be in the comfort of your own country. This is one of my personal favourites so if there is a beach near you and you like a good view then spend a night down there. It’ll be worth it.

Now the thing to remember here is your 18th birthday is a once in a lifetime event and you should really try your best to make it unforgettable, with any budget. I found out the hard way and would hate for you to suffer the same drag that I went through. So I have done the research and produced the ultimate guide on “things to do on your 18th Birthday”, which explains fully the “Do’s and Dont’s” of your 18th birthday, including *101 places to go on your 18th birthday!

Check it out at: [http://www.thingstodoonyour18thbirthday.net]

Victoria Jones has put together the ultimate guide on “things to do on your 18th birthday” which will help anyone with any interest in the area. Click here to for more information:

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Turn Your Charitable Donation Into Tax Savings

The charities to donate to are those who in need of fund for either health matter or family support. Long before “Cash For Clunkers” or “Cash For Appliances” we had Cash For Trash. Donating your unwanted things to charity is a very easy way to potentially reduce your tax liability and lead to a larger tax refund. For example, if you received a gift for Christmas this year that replaced an older item you already owned, think about donating that item before discarding it. What you consider to be junk may 1) be a much needed and useful item to someone else and 2) be a tax deduction for you.

3 great ways to benefit from your unwanted things.

Here are the best three things you can do to get more value out of your unneeded / unwanted stuff.

1) Give your item to a family member or friend who you know can use it. The satisfying feeling you will receive in return for helping out someone you care about is even better than reducing your taxes.

2) List your items for sale on as many free or near free mediums as possible. The Pennysaver, Craigslist, the Green Sheet, and even many newspapers offer free advertising, within certain dollar limits. If you are simply looking to get as much money out of the item as possible you may find an individual or entity willing to pay more than the potential tax reduction value.

3) Give your item to a qualified charity. The IRS allows you to deduct the current value of your useable and functional donation from your itemized tax return. The Salvation Army provides a thorough list of typical donations and their monetary values on their website.

-If you have a unique item to donate and are unsure what the value should be listed as you can always stop by a consignment shop or auction house and ask for an appraisal. You can also use online sources – see below.

-Want to know if your charity is considered qualified by the IRS? Use the tool listed below

-Of course this option does bring more than a potential tax reduction. You are helping someone in need.

Your donation does make a difference in someone’s life – a true story.

Carl was looking for work and struggling financially. He was ecstatic to be hired as a salesman at a local appliance store. Carl worked hard every day to make the customers and his boss happy. It eventually paid off when Carl’s boss promoted him into a sales manager position!

Even though Carl smiled widely and graciously thanked the boss for the promotion he was secretly concerned about the manager’s dress code. As a manager he would be required to wear a suit jacket to work everyday. He needed at least 5 suit jackets and certainly couldn’t afford new dress clothes.

Carl went to the Goodwill store with his fingers crossed. With the store attendant’s assistance Carl was able to find enough suit jackets to meet the dress code! His bill came to $40.00 for 5 jackets. Someone’s charitable donation was going to make a big difference for Carl.

How do I make sure I am getting the full value of my deduction?

1) Be sure that you get a receipt for the value of your donation. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a formal document but you should get something in writing from the charity stating the value of the donation and the date on which you donated it.

2) Also note that, according to the IRS website, if the amount of a taxpayer’s deduction for all non-cash contributions is over $500, a properly-completed Form 8283 must be submitted with the tax return.

3) The IRS advises that in order to get credit for your charitable deduction you need to itemize your taxes. Have your tax advisor run some numbers before you decide whether to itemize or go with the “standard deduction”. If your deductions add up to less than what your standard deduction would be then there is no advantage to itemizing.

It is important to become familiar with all the tax deductions available to you, including qualified charitable donations. Arranging your financial affairs, around IRS approved deductions, could give you an advantage when considering your overall tax liability.

Can you turn trash into cash without the IRS?

A different way of thinking about this topic is turning someone else’s trash into your cash! We’ve discussed giving your unwanted things away but is there something you can do with the things discarded by others?

When I was a kid my dad would take my brothers and I to the rifle range in East Butler. After all the adults were done target practicing my dad would send us to the end of the range to dig out all the lead that had hit the side of the hill. We filled up small buckets each week. He took that lead, as well as the discarded brass cartridges, and used these free raw materials to mold and then reload new ammunition. He used some for himself and sold the remaining ammunition to others thus providing him cash from a bucket of lead trash.

Take a walk around your house and neighborhood. Is there trash you can turn into cash?

To learn more visit BowmansMoneyCollege.com [http://www.bowmansmoneycollege.com]

Mike Bowman – Bowman’s Money College

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Want to Learn Surfing?

Aha! Get a surfing app for this coming surfing contest. Whenever we hear of the term “surfing”, instantly a scene plays automatically in front of our eyes. We imagine ourselves on a surf board riding on the crest of a wave and showing off many fancy moves to our friends who are watching from the shore. It is not unusual at all because we often see pictures of celebrities surfing or we see this popular sport in movies.

So wouldn’t you like to learn surfing so that you can turn the imagination into reality? Now when we see others riding on the waves and showing off their moves, it might look like a piece of cake but that is assuredly not true. Unlike any other sport, it is an art and you have to learn to master it so that you can perform the moves flawlessly.

Next time when you go on a vacation, why don’t you try your hand at this sport? Nowadays, there are many surf schools that teach surfing to children and adults. Don’t be under the misconception that they will charge you an arm and a leg. The rates are quite reasonable and the lessons are quite enjoyable and thrilling.

If you are visiting the place during the peak season, then there are high chances of the surf camps being already booked. This sport is a huge hit with teenagers, adolescents, and adults so when the holiday season begins loads of tourists flock to the surf camps that are held so that they can learn surfing. That is why it is preferable that you register quite some time in advance so that you are not disappointed.

How do surf camps work? It is extremely simple. The classes are designed according to the age of the person. For instance, the lessons for small kids and adolescents will be slightly different. Adults will be taught in a different manner altogether. The trained and qualified staff will make sure of your safety at each step so you can rest assured that you will be in good hands.
When you are thinking of joining a surf camp, what better place other than Hawaii? The warm and sunny weather and the blue waters of the ocean form the perfect setting for you to try your hand at surfing. www.surfschoolshi.com is one of the best surf schools in Hawaii as it has some of the most efficient instructors on board. So what are you waiting for? Get ready to ride the waves and scream your lungs out!

Premature Baby Charity Knitting Patterns

Do you want to knit for a good cause? Wondering where to start? Is there a need? With your generous donation, you can help support the educational hopes and dreams of thousands of Indigenous youth across Canada, help the community donate now.

Yes there is!

Whether you are nutty about knitting or an eager novice with your needles paused there are lots of charities to choose from. Knitting for charity can definitely be fun, but it can also be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things you’ll ever do.

Have you knitted for your children? Your grandchildren? Your friends’ children? Your friends’ childrens’ children? Knitting baby clothes is quick and rewarding but sometimes there are just not enough babies in your social circle to knit for. If you love knitting beautiful little items of baby clothing then why not think about charity knitting for premature babies?

There are lots of ways that you can click your knitting needles for a worthy cause. The information here will help you begin charity knitting for premature babies. There is something sweet about knitting a little item for the tiniest of babies. Not only are you providing an individual gift for someone who urgently needs it, but also baby clothes are quick and simple to make! So it’s gratifying in more ways than one. Even if you’re a novice this is a venture you can start and see through right to the end. Read on for some great general guidance on charity knitting for premature babies and some details of particular charities you can have a look at before you decide who to knit for. The charities often offer free knitting patterns.

Where can I find Premature Baby Charity Knitting Patterns?

  • Bliss

One of the many ways that you can support Bliss is by knitting for babies in special care units. Knitted items are most helpful for babies about to go home, but there is also a need for blankets and hats for babies in hospital. Knitted items are often not suitable for intensive care units – stitched cotton is preferable. However for larger babies, and in high dependency and special care units, knitted items are often very welcome.

Bliss asks that to reduce their costs volunteer knitters help by sending items direct to their local unit, and not to Bliss. To find the address of your local unit, and to check which items they have requested to receive, please contact Bliss via their website.

Bliss also use Knitted breasts. The knitted breasts allow nurses to easily demonstrate to women important massage techniques that let them stimulate their milk production and express their valuable first drops of milk. They are particularly helpful when there are language barriers. Woollen breasts are a brilliant free alternative to expensive teaching aids that are used by health professionals to educate new mothers to express by hand before going on to use an electric pump.

  • Bonnie Babies

This charity sends premature baby outfits and blankets to special care baby units around the UK and to parents who need support. A mother who needed a way to deal with the loss of her premature child founded Bonnie Babies six years ago. Bonnie Babies makes premature clothing, blankets, and burial outfits for U.K. Special Baby Care Units and families. Their aim is to show each mother and family that there are people thinking of them and caring for them.

Bonnie Babies mainly makes blankets for premature babies. They provide patterns for toys, hats, and sweaters (including a “5 Hour Baby Sweater!”), but blankets are quick, simple to make, and guaranteed to fit. Families can then continue to treasure them long after the child is grown.

Feed the Children

Feed The Children is a UK charity that has a knitting pattern for a jumper appropriate for children of all ages. They are also look for knitted hats, gloves and scarves.

  • Early Angels

This is a site based in the U.K set up to help people to knit, crochet or sew clothes, blankets and other keepsakes for premature, low birth weight and sadly stillborn babies. They have a wide range of free knitting, crochet and sewing patterns accessible on their pattern page.

The charities have a lot of information on their websites, below is some general advice to help you get those needles clicking.

Colours

Pastel colours are the most popular. Apart from baby pinks and blues other colours, which may be chosen, are: Lemon, Cream, White, Mint Green, Peach, Lilac and Aqua. It is accepted that bright and dark colours should be avoided as they often make premature babies look frailer. When knitting burial garments the advice suggests its best to use colours such as white or cream and to avoid pinks, blues and lilacs, as they are not appropriate for the colouring of a stillborn baby.

Yarn

Premature babies have very delicate skin and can often be allergic to wool; therefore it is best to steer clear of garments made with a wool mix. Acrylic yarn is more appropriate when knitting for preemies. Ideal yarn to use for preemie knits is baby double knit or 4ply yarn. Most preemie patterns will use these.

Size

Don’t put too much importance on trying to perfect the size of a preemie item of clothing. There is a great difference between premature baby sizes and so an item of any size should be suitable for at least one baby. As a general guide premature babies head circumference is roughly the same as their chest circumference. The average premature babies chest measurements are 8″-14″. However clothes of all sizes are needed for preemies, so no matter how big or small your item is it will most likely fit at least one baby.

Fastenings

Plain flat half-inch buttons are best to use for fastening. Avoid nylon and metal fastenings, as they get very hot under the incubator heaters. Do not use Velcro as a fastening, it is very scratchy on the hook side and also damages knitted garments when they are laundered. Ease of dressing is vital for preemies and as a general rule it is best not to use ribbon as a fastening as ribbon can often be fussy to tie on a garment so small.

The charities involved usually have free knitting patterns and advice on their websites so do not be worried by all the details as you really will be able to find a garment to suit both your knitting skills and the babies needs

Knitting items for premature babies can be very worthwhile and rewarding. It is definitely appreciated by the charities and the families who receive them. If you are excited by the prospect of getting your knitting needles working for charity and want to explore charity knitting for other organisations here are some other ideas to help your search.

Charity Clowns

Teddies for Tragedies

Algerian Action

Save the Children

Knitting for Operation Christmas Child

The Sailors’ Society

Loving Hands

Operation Elderly Charity Stitcher

The Baby Pack Project

I hope you find the right premature baby charity knitting patterns to suit your skills and enjoy the rewards of knitting for charity.

I am a mom to one gorgeous little boy who was impatient to be born, arriving early at 34 weeks. I am not a great knitter but know the importance of donated items to mothers of premature babies. Find out more:

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Reformer Pilates An Advance Way To Burn Calories And Stay Healthy

KX Pilates Dee Why offers a range of classes including reformer and mat pilates for people of all levels and abilities. Reformer Pilates in Adelaide is the latest trend for the health conscious and exercise loving people. This is a new method where one can burn at least 250 calories within an hour by only using some simple methods and tools. This statistics is only for the beginners having more than 70KG weight. For an expert practitioner or athlete, the calorie burn can be increased much higher levels like 450 calories per hour. The reformer device or plank offers most of the benefits of Pilates practice. It can be helpful in increasing overall strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance of the body. Later this can lead to daily life improvements like better posture, graceful and efficient movement, and for many, relief from pain associated with physical imbalances such as back pain, neck pain and other joint pains.

Many are using Reformer Pilates in Adelaide as a weapon for quick reduction of body weight. This is very beneficial who cannot engage themselves under a constant exercise or training. This method introduces simple procedures of movement in the body. This prepares the mind and body to endure much harder and dynamic calorie-burning exercises. This is a very common method for weightlifters and fighting sports like boxing and judo players to build and sculpting the muscles. For the overweight persons it helps to tone every muscle, especially around the midsection and arms, it can improve the shape of your body and give you a much leaner physique. A lot of people are practising this to lose weight which will lead them to get a leaner, fitter, stronger and healthier body. Pilates technique can help you achieve this goal. Reformer Pilates does much more to offer you than a flat tummy. It can go beyond the toned abs of your body. You will notice the difference in how your body looks and moves, improving your alignment, posture, strength and flexibility within a few weeks of regular practice.

Regular classes will nurture your whole body through a beautifully designed system of movement, using actions such as squatting, lunging, rotation and extension and other easy exercises. The aim is to get our bodies to become flawless, stretching the tight spots, strengthening the weak areas, increasing the mobility of the body and changing the neuromuscular patterns to give the body back its synchronization. After every session, one can immediately notice how much better their body feels and it is now scientifically proven.

How Artists See

Visual art is all about the artist and his/her interpretation of what he/she sees and is trying to depict. Drawing or painting requires that the artist fool the viewer into thinking that the viewer is seeing a three dimensional object, when in fact, it is a two dimensional representation. One of the most important elements of this is how the artist sees the object. Hiring a storyboard freelance artist is a good idea for small scale projects.

Seeing is three phase exercise for an artist. The first part is how the artist interprets what he/she sees. I studied anthropology when I went to college, and I was amazed to find out that there is a culture in the South Pacific, that can distinguish hundreds of colors of green. And did you know that people who live in the Arctic regions routinely distinguish many more forms of snow than do people who live in say the rest of Canada or the United States?

The reason for these differences is that we as human being are constantly receiving vast quantities of information about our environment from our senses, especially our eyes. For the most part, we create a generalized model of what it is we see, and compare what we are seeing with the model. If what we are seeing, basically matches the model, then we give what we see the label we gave the model, and move on. So people in the South Pacific, who see hundreds of shades of green, do so because it is important to their survival. Their models of the color green are much more sophisticated and varied than ours. The same holds true for people who live in the Arctic and need to be able to distinguish various kinds of snow. Their models of snow are more specific and varied than ours.

This modeling process often creates problems for beginner artists, though. When you ask a beginner, for instance, to draw an eye, you usually get their mental model of an eye. The eye is fairly simple, and has the major elements of an eye, but it really could be anyone’s eye. So, the beginner often draws his mental model of the object rather than the object as he sees it. This is why foreshortening is so difficult for the beginner. The beginner artist knows a leg is so long, and if viewed coming directly at him, the shape of the leg does not really match the mental model of its length, so the beginner is confounded, and tries to draw the leg the way his mental model represents it.

So to overcome drawing the mental model rather than what is in front of the artist, the beginner must learn to concentrate on what he/she is seeing, and not on what he/she thinks they are seeing. This is why beginners are given exercises like contour drawing, to teach them to see what it is they are looking at, and not what they think they are looking at. Of course, contour drawing teaches other skills as well, such as eye hand coordination, and feeling the object you are drawing.

Once phase one is mastered, and the student can reasonably draw the foreshortening, and different angles, mass starts to come more into play. Mass is represented by light and value in a drawing, and correctly addressing this requires an understanding of light sources and how light reflects off of an object. One thing that students usually do when they are first trying to master the concepts of mass, is to draw a smiley face on the paper where the light source is coming from. Once in my student days, I did this beautiful watercolor of a colonial soldier in the snow, only to have my teacher point out that I had the shadows going in two different directions. This was a disappointing lesson that I have never forgotten. Usually the best and easiest way to light a subject is with one light source. This produces less confusing images and stronger shadows, but often times there may be more than one light source, and this is more challenging.

In addition to the main light source, often there is light reflected off of surrounding objects. For instance, a white ball on a table, may have a light value on the side furthest from the light source. This light value would represent light that is being reflected from the table the ball is resting on. As well, the ball will have a very dark area that is furthest from the light source, and a highlight that is closest to the light source. Combine the play of light with the shape of the object, and you have mastered the second phase of seeing.

The third phase of seeing is the most interesting and most fun, but it requires mastery of the first two phases. In the third phase, the artist now creatively adjusts the lines and values to maximize the effect of the drawing. So in this phase, the artist draws what he creatively sees. For instance, the artist may not draw cast shadows if these shadows would confuse the viewer about the shape of the mass depicted. Or the artist may well create more than one light source if that will enhance the image.

Also line can be manipulated to heighten the impact of the image or to indicate mass. For instance, the artist may discontinue a line as it passes over a highlighted area to enhance the highlight, or make a line wide and dark to give a sense of weight.

This final phase is where the artist can ignore the reference and work just on the artwork. The purpose of this phase is to improve the image artistically, even if it starts to move away from the original reference. I remember once doing a portrait, and my friend saying to me that it wasn’t as important that the portrait was a slavish reproduction of the person, as it was that the artwork was as artistically excellent as I could make it. After all he said, the model is never there when the viewer is enjoying the art!

Keeping these phases in mind as you develop your art skills will help you learn one of the most valuable skills an artist possesses, his or her ability to see like an artist.

My name is Jim Genovese and I have a passion for drawing and painting, and like to draw using a variety of mediums. My primary focus is on classical figure and portrait drawing and painting, but I sketch everything I can see, or imagine. I am always asking myself the question “If I am not drawing, what am I doing that is more important?” I teach drawing at a local college. For more information please visit my website at [http://www.CheatedAngelStudio.com] and my blog at http://myartistpath.blogspot.com, or follow me on Twitter (ArtistGenovese).

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Autistic Artists And The Art Business

I’ve been thinking about this one for a while and is a topic which is particularly concerning for me as an artist trying to get my work out there and seen. I am not diagnosed as autistic officially although I do have a great deal of trouble dealing with social situations and meeting new people (quite terrifying and exhausting). My daughter has high functioning autism and a lot of her behaviour is similar to mine, so maybe I’m a high functioning autistic person, maybe not, maybe I’m just crap as talking the talk and being around new people. The problem however is that in the art world there is an expectation that you socialise, you attend art previews, you get to know people, you network and approach galleries and people in the business in order to sell yourself. What if you don’t have those skills due to autism? Is the art business missing out of a huge chunk of untapped creativity because that creativity isn’t good at marketing itself? This is a question that a lot of shy or introverted people have to deal with, but what about the autistic artist? If I’m at a social gathering with lots of new people I find that I have to go for a ‘time out’ walk or sit in a quiet corner after an hour (sometimes earlier). Sensory overload I suppose. The art helps because it ‘gets it out’ as I like to say. It provides hours and hours of focus alone where I can think and become lost in the action of making my picture. It would be nice if others appreciate my work but if they don’t, fine it’s for me primarily anyway. This leads me to another question or problem with the autistic artist making it in the art business. Often artists receive commissions or alter the style of work that they submit to an open exhibition or prize so that they appeal to the judges’ taste. The autistic artist has no concept of pleasing the tastes of another, the art is about what is in their mind and expressing it. That isn’t to say that artists who are not autistic don’t produce art that comes as a true expression of themselves (that is what art is about), it’s that some artists know how to please the audience. Concept artist play an important role in the development of video games.

Another difficulty for the aspiring autistic artist is that they often have a favourite tool to express what is in their mind (although other artists have favourite tools they do seem to mix in other media). My favourite tool is charcoal pencil. I realise that I will have to expand on that so I’ll stretch it to some paintings later this year, however I’m not massively experimental in terms of materials and techniques used such as fabrics, printing etc. Many well known artists seem to have quite a wide repertoire of techniques which I would feel overwhelmed by if I were to incorporate it suddenly in my work. It makes my head spin thinking about it. I attended art college for a year and for the most part hated it because the pressure was on to play around with various media. That isn’t to say it is wrong, of course not, art college is about experimentation. I could probably manage an introduction to printing, learn everything about it, spend hours with it and perfect it and then move on to another technique (but leave the printing out). Lots of techniques introduced in a short space of time is very worrying for myself. I love working out of my comfort zone (that’s where you learn) but I can’t handle lots of new materials being introduced in a short period of time and being expected to work with them. I’m unsure if this is an autistic artist problem or not but I do notice that many autistic artists out there seem to have a favourite form of expression that persists more with their work than I see with other artists.

I think that maybe the expectation of the art business for artists is sometimes very difficult for those with any form of autism (or learning disability). The expectation of networking, socialising, presenting art to galleries, pleasing the audience with commissions may seem easy or even fun to many aspiring artists (or for introverted people they can learn skills to overcome their problems), however the autistic artist will struggle with the ‘small talk’ needed in networking, they will struggle with gauging what people are looking for and they will be oblivious in many instances of art fashions. Are these good or bad things? Maybe bad if you are autistic and trying to make a career in the art business however very good for producing original art (but you might have to accept that you won’t get much notice off the public). There is a significant area of art that has identified the difficulties that I have highlighted above. This is outsider art. Some dislike the term, however it is for ease of simplicity a way of describing the many artists who have a need or necessity to make their art outside the mainstream art business. Some artists have profound learning disabilities, some have mental illness, some just don’t like the mainstream art world, some just want to create their art individually without influence from what is fashionable or what is popular.

For those of you that wish to find out more about outsider art see http://www.scenesbydean.com/

To summarise, the mainstream art world is a scary and difficult place for an aspiring autistic artist. There are many barriers although there are some projects for young adults who wish to get their art seen however this excludes adults over the age of 25. What about them?

To see some examples of my work my blog is http://janesprostonart.blogspot.co.uk/

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How to Build a Storyboard

A storyboard is the most often used tool for getting a sense of how an idea will work before putting it down on tape. This article will guide you through the process of storyboard creation, and help you visualize your videos before you press the record button. Once a concept artist done written a script for a film or animation, the next step is to make a storyboard.

Hitchcock is “notorious” for having done it. Spielberg has been known to hire armies of artists to do it. Now, thanks to new technologies, even the most basic videomaker can make use of it. If you don’t do it, in fact, you could be opening yourself up to problems you might not otherwise have.

We’re talking, of course, about visualizing your video project before you shoot. You might have heard of it by another name: storyboarding.

A storyboard is the most often used tool for getting a sense of how an idea will work before putting it down on tape. It involves, simply, drawing a still image of what a final shot might look like. Storyboards consist of a series of images, much like the panels of a comic strip, that give you an idea of how to compose different scenes. Perhaps more importantly, they illustrate how these scenes might (or might not) fit together once you begin editing.

But storyboards aren’t the only method of preproduction visualization. Some people use models, dolls or maps. And with the explosion in desktop video technology, several programs are available that allow you to do this on your computer.

So maybe you’re asking, “Why do I need to go to all that trouble?” The simple answer is: to save yourself more trouble. Visualizing your ideas before you shoot allows you, by yourself, on your own time, to get an idea of what will and what won’t work. True, this won’t solve everything, but it can go a long way toward giving your production a professional finish.
The Greats

As mentioned above, Hitchcock was well known for storyboarding every shot in his films. In fact, he was so meticulous about it that he considered that phase of the production–drawing the storyboards–to be the actual process of making the film. For him, shooting the film was just a necessary evil; the making of the storyboards was where most of the creative work took place. The storyboard not only determined exactly what the shot would look like; it even decided what kind of lens to use. Production for Hitchcock, then, was simly a matter of creating live versions of the storyboards he’d already made.

Who can forget the shower scene from Psycho, its every shot communicating new terror? Or the plane chasing Cary Grant in North by Northwest? If Hitchcock had decided how to shoot either of these sequences on the location, there’s little doubt they wouldn’t have come out as well–as slick, as carefully put together.

But how can drawing a few storyboards have such an effect on the final outcome of a film or video? The main reason is time. Storyboarding is done before your video ever shows up on tape. Rather than spending time with your fully charged and powered up camera in your hand trying to decide what and how to shoot your video, you sit in a room by yourself and go over the script in detail. In essence, you pretend you’re shooting the video and you draw each shot as you go. You can then review these drawings in sequence to make sure everything will go together the way you think it will. If it doesn’t, its best to know this beforehand. That way, you can make changes before you shoot, sometimes eliminating the need for re-shooting.

Another potential method is the use of models. During the production of Raiders of the Lost Ark, for instance, director Steven Spielberg used a model of the Nazi airfield in order to plan the sequence where Indiana Jones fights under the flying wing.

If you’ll recall, that sequence involved Marion (Karen Allen) trapped in the plane while Jones (Harrison Ford) fought the mechanic under the plane while it rotated and then a truck of soldiers pulled up and started shooting machine guns while the gas cans got knocked over and the fuel ran toward the truck and Marion fired a machine gun from the plane and Jones knocked the mechanic under the prop and then–Whew!

Now imagine trying to explain in words a sequence as logistically complicated as this one. Enter the model. With almost no effort, Spielberg was able to show his cast and crew exactly what he wanted. “The plane turns this way,” and “The truck comes in this way.” The results are clear: the sequence stands as a masterpiece of modern pop cinema.

Okay, so you might not have plans to build a scale model of every shot you want to get. Even so, it might help you to lay out your more complicated scenes using some kind of model. Maybe a shoe box could represent your house, and a couple of matchsticks could stand in for your family…you get the idea.

Remember, the main idea behind any form of preproduction visualization is to be prepared. True, this means a lot of planning beforehand, but it can potentially save time and money later.

For Example

Before we get into actual use, it’s probably best to begin with two exercises designed to give you some practical insight into how this whole process works.

For the first exercise, you’ll need a storyboard template. Storyboards used for Hollywood movies are large–usually only one image to an 8 1/2 by 11 piece of paper. But remember, they also have professional artists who do nothing but create storyboards for the movie. If you want to make them that large, by all means, do so. It’s all a matter of how much time and effort you want to put into it.

Because that size is probably a little larger than most people will find practical, we’ve included a storyboard template here for you to copy. It’s probably a good idea to take it out and make plenty of copies now. You’ll need at least one before you continue.

Now get a videotape copy of your favorite movie and put it into a VCR with a good still frame and a remote control. Sit down in front of the TV with a pencil and a copy of your storyboard template.

Now find your favorite scene in that movie, but don’t try one that’s too long. No more than a few minutes is best to start with. It may very well surprise you to see how many shots (or edits) there are in such a small space of film. Just to give you an idea: the shower sequence from Psycho has 52 shots in a span that lasts only two minutes and eight seconds.

So you’ve picked your sequence. Now freeze the frame on the first shot of the sequence and draw a still representation of that image.

“But wait!” you say, “What if the shot is a long pan of the Manhattan skyline finally settling in on a closeup of a man’s face? I can’t draw one picture that says all of that!” You’re right. That’s why there are two methods for indicating motion in storyboards.

The first is to use an arrow to indicate the motion the camera will take. Using the arrow can eliminate the need for a second drawing. In figure 2, for example, we start with a medium shot of a woman and then dolly in to a closeup. This storyboard depicts the opening medium shot; the arrow indicates what the shot will do.

The second method is to use a series of drawings for a single shot. Figure 3 shows the long pan of the Manhattan skyline. Notice how the opening of the shot comes first. An arrow again indicates the direction of the pan. In the second panel, another key phase of the shot appears, another arrow and finally, in the third panel, the final part of the shot. By connecting these and using careful description under each storyboard, you can effectively communicate the shot while using only still images.

So you’re ready to continue. Let the tape roll again until the next shot appears. Freeze frame. Now draw another picture. Continue until you get to the end of your sequence.

For our example here, we’ve recreated the first few shots from Psycho’s famous shower sequence.

Remember, storyboards don’t have to be full of detail. Look at these simple stick figures; though theyre not very detailed, they effectively communicate the way the shot will look. And that’s the idea.

The second exercise is far simpler. It involves getting your hands on the closest thing to printed storyboards that are out there: comic books. Not only can reading comic books give you ideas about composition, they can give you ideas about new ways to communicate motion or action, and ways to draw as well.
Trying It Out

So now you’re ready to try storyboarding one of your own projects. Let’s pretend you’re making a short video (perhaps four minutes in length) called Boy Loses Girl. The story is simple, involving a man getting a call from his girlfriend, leaving his apartment to drive to his girlfriend’s house, talking to her and then leaving the city.

Take your script and read the opening scene. Now close your eyes and think about the way it ought to play on screen. What should be the first image the audience sees? Perhaps you want to open with a wide shot of the house. Maybe you think an extreme close up of the telephone will be better. Both of these shots are different; both communicate different things. But drawing them first and then looking at them in series can only help you see which one you like best. And that also saves you time when youre shooting.

If you’ve decided to go with the closeup of the telephone, then you don’t need to shoot the exterior of the house. And vice-versa. It also saves time in editing because when it comes time to put it all together, you already know exactly how to arrange the shots. Of course, this isn’t to say things won’t or can’t change. But the value of storyboarding is enormous nonetheless.

Continue with this procedure until you’ve storyboarded your whole script. Now look at your drawings. Yes, that’s the way you want your video to look. Now it’s time to ask the question: is it possible?

In order to determine that, check each shot against the location to make sure. In the case of this project, you have three essential locations. If you’re like most low-budget videomakers, chances are you’re going to use your house or apartment for location number one, a friend’s house or apartment for location number two and your own town limits for the final location.

If, for example, you’re planning a wide shot inside your friend’s apartment and it’s a studio, chances are you won’t be able to make it work unless you have a wide-angle lens. Answering this question is yet another way storyboards can help you.

Remember, storyboards allow you to shoot the video before you shoot the video.
Newfangled Ways

The procedure described above is, of course, the old-fashioned way. And if you don’t like to draw–not even stick figures–then thanks to advances in desktop video technology, you don’t have to. Now there are computer-based ways to create storyboards.

ShowScape, produced by Lake Compuframes, combines a script-writing program with a feature that allows the importation of graphics for use as storyboards. It prints these in a side-by-side format–that is, the storyboard panels are on one half of the page while space for descriptive text is on the other half. ShowScape also sells the storyboard forms ready to use in a computer printer with instructions for formatting. ShowScape is available in DOS, Windows or Mac formats.

A similar package is available from Morley and Associates. Called Scriptwriting Tools, this program’s primary use is for script formatting. (Depending on what the script is for, it must follow a certain format. This means that scripts for documentaries are written a certain way, different from those written for television, the movies, or radio programs.) One of the formats Scriptwriting Tools will produce, however, is for storyboards. This allows you to create illustrations on the Mac or import graphics from other files and plug them into a template with three boxes for drawings per page.

Finally, there is PowerProduction Softwares Storyboard Quick, the only package of these three devoted solely to producing storyboards. Using pre-drawn characters and props, you point and click to drag these items into a storyboard frame. The program then allows you to resize items, reverse their direction or create new shot sizes (e.g. long shot, medium shot, closeup). Multiple storyboard formats are available in a variety of frame numbers per page, as well as a variety of aspect ratios. What’s more, you can import scanned images and video captures into the program for use as a backdrop. This means you can take a photo of your location and actually pull it into the computer to use as the background for the storyboards you create.
Not Just Fiction

“This is all well and good,” you say, “but what if I don’t make fictional videos?” The simple answer is: it doesn’t matter. Any kind of video can benefit from the kind of planning that storyboarding provides.

So you’re shooting a wedding video? It’s true, technically you don’t have a script. But in a sense you do. Traditional weddings, at least, follow a fairly set format. Create a simple outline of the service as it’s planned, then think about how to shoot it and storyboard as explained above.

As was the case with Boy Loses Girl, imagine what the first image the audience sees will be. A wide shot of the church? A tight closeup of the groom’s trembling hand? Again, each of these shots is different and communicates different things. Plan the whole shoot this way. Will you shoot the exchange of vows in a two shot (with both bride and groom in the frame)? Or will you intercut closeups of both the bride and the groom? Will you include shots of the presiding clergy member or justice of the peace?

By drawing each shot out, you’ll have a much better idea of what goes together and what doesn’t. What’s more, you can present your plan for shooting the wedding to the bride and groom. Instead of just describing the images, now you’ll be able to assure them they’re getting the best product possible by showing them your ideas.

How about when you shoot your daughter’s birthday only for your familys enjoyment? Storyboarding still serves a purpose by helping you plan what to shoot. And by shooting what you’ve planned, you’ll know that you’ve shot everything you need. Shooting according to your storyboard plan can also prevent needless overshooting. Why shoot five minutes of each present when you’ve planned it so you only need one shot of the whole pile?

Wrapping It Up

Storyboarding, whether you do it by drawing the shots out or working with models, is an effective and easy-to-use tool.

By investing time up front, you can potentially save time and money later. What’s more, by presenting a carefully thought-out plan to those with whom you’re working, your final product will come out looking more polished and professional.

And that alone is worth the investment.

How To Catch More Waves and Get Surf Fit Fast

Point One: Surfing is Your Best Surfing Training.

Surfing is a unique sport that challenges our minds and body’s in many diverse ways each time we paddle out. The fact that mother nature doesn’t provide us with a perfect play and practice environment whenever we surf and forces us to battle with wind, wave chops, swell direction, tides, currents, water temperature, flat spells, seasons, and a moving playing field, means that the more time spent in the water (within reason) the better progressions we can make with our surfing skills and abilities. Surf comp developed an app for surfing live events, I have installed it in my IOS and it works well.

This fundamentally means that to get better at surfing requires that your base training, be surfing. Paddling out in a variety of surf spots, practicing skills on different boards and learning to read the ocean should be priority in your surfing training. But and this is a very big but, get ready for point two.

Point Two: Strength Training is Very Important

Conditioning with correct land and water based strength movements, exercises and drills can excel a surfers performance, reduce the likelihood of injury, enhance endurance and increase performance consistency every time you surf. This is especially true if you wish to surf well both now and in the future. The thing is, there is a fine line between doing what is beneficial and what is not. There is also a fine line between balancing time spent on your board and time spent performing surf specific fitness to bring about the best and fastest results.

Let me explain. World class coaches consider time as one of the most important training variables to consider whenever they prescribe sport conditioning programs. Time under tension is a strength and conditioning variable that dictates the outcome of any exercise or movement, therefore extremely relevant to every repetition and every set during your training. Coaches also consider total training time for each individual and each workout, while also taking into account the law of diminishing returns. In the training world this translates to mean that the longer you strength train at any one time then the lower the output or results you can achieve.

For surfing training and conditioning this often further translates into a basic truth we all tend to forget. Less is more. Especially in today’s modern world where we are often time starved to surf train in the first place. In order to improve explosiveness and power (speed x strength) at the same time as developing paddling power and endurance, while also building a strong and supple surfing body, it is of paramount importance we play particular attention to time under tension and total training times. Put simply, spend your time wisely when performing surfing strength conditioning so that you get the most bang for your buck.

Point Three: Focus on Building a Functional Athletic Body

It doesn’t matter if your a complete novice just getting your feet wet or a seasoned pro on the world tour, having a functional surfing body will always equate to better performance in the water. A functional surfing body means good physical alignment and structural integrity which is why so many athletes focus on posture and incorporate things like yoga and dynamic flexibility into their routines. Remember, good surfers are good athletes. Period. Great surfers must therefore be great athletes. People tend to forget this obvious fact. It’s a pretty simple concept. Why should surfers be any different from other athletes?

Point Four: Train don’t Drain.

In most cases this means short, sharp, surf specific workouts are better than longer draining sessions. ‘Train don’t Drain’ is another well know conditioning phrase that expert coaches throw around because it is all too common for exercisers to follow over zealous training programs that lead to energy depletion rather than energy cultivation. This is particularly relevant to surfers who need to be ready to perform at anytime.

You see strength and conditioning is one of the best things to quickly improve your surfing performance yet can hamper your goals if training parameters or movements are not specific to your sport, body and lifestyle. Why do you think professional athletes have coaches? We are not the same and every exercise or training methodology is not suitable for every athlete.

Point Five: Paddle Out as an Athlete

If you want to achieve fast surfing fitness combined with a more powerful surfing body develop an athletic mind set each time you paddle out. This means focusing on improving your surf game every time you surf. Work on your paddling speed whenever you paddle, focus on repeating specific movements you want to master even if it means falling. Most of all it means practicing getting into the right mental mindset prior to surfing and maintaining that mind set in the water.

There are many surfing athletes in the water with high skill levels all wanting to catch the same waves that you are paddling for. Many of them have focused on both land and water based surfing training and like most athletes will have performed most of the hard work prior to entering the water or competition. They may have worked on surf specific fitness in a pool, they could have worked on improving flexibility with weekly yoga classes or they could be hitting the gym with a surf trainer so that they can surf hard when they get to the beach. Either way you look at it, if the athletic conditioning work has been done all ready, you just have to paddle out and surf.

Hayden Rhodes has coached professional and amateur athletes improve their minds and bodies through private coaching, scientific C.H.E.K. personal training protocols, functional diagnostic testing, hormonal balancing, nutritional coaching and performance conditioning principles.

If you are a complete novice just getting your feet wet or a seasoned professional surfer (or anywhere in between) there are always training secrets and strategies to improve your personal performance and your surfing body. To find out more simply visit SurfTrainingSecrets.com

For a free 5 day coaching guide with insider secrets to boost your own surfing performance head over to the website SurfTrainingSecrets.com

If you have questions or comments simply drop me a line, so that I can personally help you improve your surfing body and surfing performance.

SurfTrainingSecrets.com

Powering Surfing Athletes

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