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Reflections at the End of the Journey

Kelly_CookPart Two of Three, with AURELIA Intern Kelly Cook

I have learned a lot from this project. While there was a lot to take in, what advice I could offer to others planning a similar project is pretty straight forward.

1. Flexibility

First and foremost is stay flexible. The nature of this type of media makes being rigid more of an obstacle than a boon. Rigidity stifles the creative process in this medium because, as great as we’d like to think we are and how capable we are at covering all our bases, often times, another perspective can breathe fresh air into something that runs the risk of growing stale if we remain rigid. As we tried to maintain a modicum of realism, flexibility is much of how life is in that as much as we plan for things, sometimes it just doesn’t turn out how we expected.

2. Groundedness

Secondly, remember this is only your imagination. There is no need to get too attached to your imaginary persona and realize when someone slights your characters or NPCs it’s not a slight against you. This ties into the first point in that just because they don’t go along with what you laid out as a plot doesn’t mean they don’t respect you. Perhaps they simply see an opportunity to expand their storyline in the overall story arc.

3. Strength

Third, expect friction. With as many people as there are in the world, it is impossible to have all personalities of actors mesh together. Some may fall into the category of “Mary Sue” where they are simply good at everything and some even border on what is known as “godmodding,” which is playing a character with super powers who, for whatever reason, cannot be touched or hurt by others. Of course, there are many who simply go with the flow but for those who fall into the latter two cases, this leads to my fourth pointer.

4. Precedents

Establish precedence early and be sure to nip these things early. If you don’t, you can’t expect the individuals in question to change their roles without causing a lot of interruptions. Having said that, one should still stay more in the background instead of always in the forefront micromanaging the story. It takes away from the fun . . . which leads to my final point of advice.

5. Fun

Have fun. Sure things are crazy and out of hand, but in all due honesty, if they aren’t dominating the story, who cares? Just have fun and let the story go where it may. It may prove to be the most interesting story of all.

Reflections at the End of the Journey

Kelly_CookPart One of Three, With Aurelia Intern Kelly Cook 

As Aurelia: Edge of Darkness reaches the final curtain, I sit back and reflect on the road traveled with all its twists, turns and bumps and I am greeted with a mix of feelings on its impending end. Even though it has been only a mere fifteen weeks, I feel like perhaps I have been there all along on the harrowing journey to find a possible answer to the energy crisis.

I feel like I have made friends with some of the characters, mourned the loss felt by some and hated others (characters). It baffles me because while I was committed to the show wholeheartedly, as a show runner I had no real vested interest what the outcome could be, yet I am faced with this wash of feelings for these imaginary people. And this was only the beginning of the unexpected events that had transpired in Aurelia.

In the beginning, I had created the character Flavius Dark to be a sort of antagonist for the web show, and it seemed that was likely his place in Aurelia. For the first few days, it seemed likely that he would be this sort of anti-hero who fought against the system, while the rest of the characters those few early days seemed to be your usual suspects of “good guys” in a fantasy setting.

Interestingly enough, as time progressed it seemed as if we started having more antagonists than good and so, unexpectedly I had to think fast and change the character angle from anti-hero to more of a utility character. I had a vacation kind of in the middle of the show run and while away it seemed it took an unexpected turn.

At first, I was rather panicked, after all the stable show I so nurtured was suddenly shaken up by extreme chaos. Truth be told, it took me off guard and at first I had felt slighted that someone would disrupt the flow. It was then that I realized, the show wasn’t about me or even Lisa (our show creator) but rather the chaotic dynamics that are what make for an interesting show.

These sudden glimpses into the void of Chaos were moments of fresh air and I grew to savor these moments to turn the city on its head. It made for an exciting and dynamic story. Soon after, while still on vacation, the show took another unscheduled twist except from darkness it went to a lighter, more silly mood with the introduction of a couple alter egos of regular “actors.”  Upon returning I have come to realize that when working with highly creative people, expect the unexpected and it has remained my mantra ever since.

Midwinter Gaming Convention

It’s time to shout out to our friends at the Midwinter Gaming Convention. Held in downtown Milwaukee in January each year, this gem of an event features something for every gaming fancy, from boffer LARP to tabletop gaming and everywhere in between.

Click on the image below for more information. Hope to see you there!

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 9.13.43 PM

Aurelian Archives: Unused Artwork

It come as a surprise that there was one planned character in the Aurelian show who never actually made his appearance. For various reasons, we decided to keep Maurius the Puppeteer in the wings, instead of on stage. But we thought you might like a peek at his fantastic portrait anyway, painted by Ignacio Narbona:

Maurius

Crafting the Perfect Ending

With the final week of Aurelia (Week 12) just around the corner, we’ve posted the next-to-last call to action! It’s hard to believe our journey is almost at an end.

As might be fitting for a show about a city that soars above the ground, we’ve crafted a climax that challenges Aurelians to go below it . . . all the way to the dark tunnels under the mountain. Get the scoop in this call to action video:

http://www.theatrics.com/aurelia/site/index/video/RKsr

As always, the actual ending will rely on what the actors do with that ending. But they’ve all been fairly warned: the expedition won’t triumph without a series array of setbacks … due to unleash upon the city within the next few days.

Gone Steaming

Recently, I took the weekend “off” from Aurelia to attend a steam-themed of a different kind: Steam School. This three-day event brought together steam traction engine enthusiasts, engineers, owners and operators, all dedicated to learning the mysteries of the antique steam engine.

IMG_1352In addition to the fun of maintaining and learning to drive the machines, I gained a new appreciation for the true filth, expense, labor, and ingenuity necessary to keep those engines running. The sheer amount of water and fuel alone that’s necessary to run the machines makes maintaining even a single boiler a herculean task.

If you doubt, here’s a video of “firing under load,” or heating the firebox of a large traction engine so it can run the belt of an antique sawmill. Just 30 sec after I ended the video, the belt broke!

Latest Performance Highlight Reel

Aurelia continues its descent into darkness as citizens are abused, kidnapped, and even transformed into mutated creatures. But there are those still holding out hope, fighting back against villainy and continuing the search for a new source of light. The race is on! Will Aurelians find the new source of light by show’s end? Our final week is just around the corner . . .

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