Blogging: Friend or Foe

I’m not a full-time blogger, mind you, but when I have a chance to, I like to blog. 

I can write what I want and I don’t have to worry about anyone editing me.  I can showcase anyone’s designs I want, without any backlash that I’m playing favorites.  I can mix ‘n match outfits without worrying that I shouldn’t.

Before I became a model in Second Life I never blogged.  I didn’t even know that anyone did such a thing!  After I got the modeling bug and had attended a few schools, one of the tips ‘n tricks academies taught us was to market ourselves.  Blogging was one great way to get your name out there and show off your style.

I remember the first time I created a blog post and decided to advertise it in one of the various groups in SL.  Would anyone want to read it?  Would anyone care what I had to say? Would I be laughed off the face of the earth?  People were certainly curious as I watched the number of visits to my blog skyrocket.  I’m not saying I wasn’t under scrutiny, but it didn’t matter.  The numbers didn’t lie.

There are two main groups in Second Life that models advertise their blogging endeavors.  Starwalkers 2010 and Model Looking for Work groups cater to the model-slash-designer-slash-modeling agencies in SL.  Both groups are a must for all of the above.  I just want to mention that Starwalkers 2010 was created by the very out-spoken and, self-described, snarky Mr. Nave Fall.  Model Looking For Work was created by the also very out-spoken and slightly brash, Ms. Dolce Enderfield.

Recently, there has been some argument about what can and cannot be posted in Model Looking For Work (hereinafter referred to as “MLFW”).  While I understand that the group notices in this group should be geared towards jobs for models, sometimes the only way to get those jobs is to have had the opportunity to market yourself through blogging and advertising your blog.

I’d like to say be able to say that just attending a casting for a job will allow you to wow the casting directors and, therefore, guarantee yourself a spot in a show.  It just doesn’t work that way.  The jobs don’t always go to the best, prim-perfect, not-a-hair-out-of-place models’.   Also, if you think for one second that politics don’t play a part in castings, you better think again. 

Nevertheless, many of today’s SL top models got their start from blogging.  For instance, Kay Fairey who’s Miss Bliss 2011.  She’ll be the first to tell you that her blog got her noticed.  Of course, it helped that she knew how to style and it showed through in her blog.

To get back on track, the other day a designer argued in the MLFW group that advertising a blog has nothing to do with a model looking for work.  I wanted to argue that statement at the time but I didn’t have the opportunity since I was in the middle of a fashion show.

Through my blog and by advertising it, I have been offered the opportunity to speak at Model’s Workshop on a certain topic, I’ve been offered the honor to contribute to the Outrageous Glamour website, I was recently offered the position of a teaching instructor at Outrageous Glamour due to the fact that I spoke at Model’s Workshop.  I’ve been asked to write articles for magazines and/or contribute to them and I’ve been asked to write scripts for fashion shows.  

So what do you think now?  Does advertising a blog have anything to do with a model looking for work?  I say a resounding YES!    A blog can end up pairing you with a particular designer if your style matches their vision.  If you have a certain style of writing, your blog can open up doors for a job at a magazine.  Your pictures could potentially jumpstart a photography career as well.

A model’s blog is meant to be informative and a means of marketing yourself and yes, showing off the newest and latest designs from SL’s designers.  If you can’t get out of your little box and you refuse to look at a blog at nothing more than competition between designers,  you’re sadly mistaken and lack the confidence in your own designs!

I don’t think this article will put an end to the debate, but I wanted to voice my opinion on the subject. 

So long for now….

Advertisements
Posted in Beginner, Just for fun, Perspective, Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Got class?

Speaking of taking pictures and classes. NCI is one of a few places that offer free courses in various topics in SL®. Others are SOAP (School of Art and Photography) and Team photoLife® and Models’ Workshop has a photography group that will be starting back up in a few weeks.

NCI Calendar link SOAP Calendar link Models’ Workshop Calendar link

Today: Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 6:30 a.m SLT (repeated every 2 weeks)

NCI Class: Clothing – GRAPHICS TEMPLATES

Location: NCI Beach, Sky Classroom Pre-requisite: Clothing – BASICS

Design your own clothing in Second Life using Avatar UV maps! This class will teach you to move beyond the appearance sliders and create Second Life fashions with precisely-placed hems, necklines and accents using your own custom designed textures. In order to benefit from this class, you will need:

* Graphics editing software which is capable of opening PhotoShop documents (.psd files) and saving to the Targa file format (.tga files) with alpha transparency. (Specific instructions will be given for working with PhotoShop, PhotoShop Elements, PaintShop Pro and/or the GIMP.)

* Basic familiarity with how to use your chosen graphics editor.

* SL Avatar clothing design templates available here: http://tinyurl.com/qx4rb

* Your imagination!

NCI Class: SL Skills – PHOTOGRAPHY & JOURNALISM

Location: NCI Dream Seeker, Tier 1 Classroom. Pre-requisite: NONE

New NCI Class: In Second Life we have terrific tools to make great photos and then turn them into historic contributions to RL and SL society. Learn the art of photography, how to make great photos happen, and how to publish your work in the RL/SL history logs of the Blogging Internet and SL news organizations.

 

Posted in Free Lessons, student | Leave a comment

Inspiration for pictures on a theme

Just lately I’ve been going through my files of virtual photography – some good, some not so good and some downright craptastic – so I thought I’d write a post on how I find inspiration for artwork.

Now you may not agree with photo competitions. Maybe you’re not sure about their fairness or even if the originators will carry through the competition if they don’t get enough entries. What I will say is that sometimes this happens, it’s SL life and in any competition of this sort you take the rough with the smooth and learn from it. On the whole, however, and especially of late, those who run photo competitions  have been making efforts to settle things down and to make them more equitable and enjoyable. For me, just joining a competition is inspiration for a start! I would like to be in with a good chance of winning, and the prize is always a good piece of bribery a good incentive. So I would suggest entering some photo competitions, not least because you’ll have a deadline in which to get the work finished but also you’ll get to know other competitors, their styles and strengths. You’ll also gain some understanding of what the judges pick as being a worthy winner.

Inspiration often comes from films or songs or novels. Sometimes I like to drag people that I know into the theme. For instance, this picture  below is a comic representation of the novel 1984.  It was a competition given by Shae Sixpence for the Model’s Workshop photographers. I started off with the avatar picture taken on a white background which I cut out and saved as a layer. Then underneath I added a background which was a combination of brushes using colours from the avatar picture. Then I added various pieces of humorous text as they came to my weird mind and put them on different layers so I could move them around a bit. Next, I drop shadowed the title and avatar. In something like this you have to think what needs to stand out the most. Here, it was the title of the ‘magazine’ and the avatar – since the text was based on the designers of the items the avatar was wearing.

Another inspiration for me is things that builders make. Sometimes I’m so enthusiastic about a particular piece of furniture that I wonder about my geek rating and how high it will go. Here the object of my adoration was a writer’s desk by Isla Gealach of ‘Cheeky Pea’.  I was also teasing my Editor at Scruplz Magazine. As a writer in first life I do know about burning the midnight oil. So that was a start – to get the lighting right. I set the world lighting on midnight and switched on the desk lamp. Lo and behold all the shadows fell just right and so I scrolled back and took a shot. All I did in Photoshop was to sharpen the newspaper on the desk a little and add my daft poem on a black background. Perfect!

Sometimes a client gives me a good inspirational idea. Saleena Hax, ace model heheh, wanted to take a photo with a city theme. Now if you are a photographer it really pays to spend an occasional day  TPing around SL and visiting various sims, taking landmarks of them, and placing those landmarks in a folder for later use. I’d visited the Manhatten sim recently and so that came to mind. Off we went and Saleena posed at an intersection of the streets where I could get plenty of the city into the photo as well as her beauteous self. And then I thought, oh yes there’s a song called ‘New York City Girl’ and so the theme progressed. Back in Photoshop I added a frame to divide the picture, recoloured it with colours from the photo, then rotated the whole show and added the text. It’s much easier to rotate your picture to add what will be text in the vertical, and then rotate it back. Lastly, I selected the avatar figure and applied a perspective shadow which is an AlienSkin 5 plug-in effect. AlienSkin EC5 series are one of my favorite plug-in sets, and with just one of those you can do some wonderful effects if shadows don’t work for you directly in SL. Go HERE and you can pick up a whole load of filters for nowt but sssh!

Finally, this picture has the most post processing on it and it’s really only for advanced photography students otherwise it’ll drive you mad. If you’re on Flickr do go and join the MasterMinds group where each week they have a photo competition where the winner of the previous week chooses the theme for the current week. It’s such fun, you’ll make a heap of friends and get good experience in working to a theme. This week it was Max’s choice and here’s his intro – what more inspiration do we need? “All people fall asleep most of the time in their lives and when we sleep we see dreams. Our dreams are very different: Mysterious, magical, light, dark, terrible. Dream, a beautiful part of human life, nobody knows what we are doing there. In dreams we live and breath. We feel love and danger. Imagine that you are in a dream. And show your imaginative dream in your pictures.”

Again, it’s another song which inspired me – R.E.M.’s ‘The Great Beyond‘ which has some really heartfelt lyrics about being trapped in an artificial world and calling out for answers from something which is perceived as having wisdom. I started off with a background landscape as asked for in the MasterMind rules, then placed my cutout avatar sitting in his rocker, sort of falling asleep and dreaming about the song. Then I added bits and pieces from the song all around the avatar, attempting to blend these into areas of the background or at least merging them. After a lot of fiddling, resizing and so forth I joined all layers together and then worked with various filters until it looked colourful and uniform. It’s a process that takes time and may not even work so please do keep an original of your merged layers. If you enjoy that sort of fiddling though, it’s very creative and some amazing pictures can result. Good luck with the fiddling!

Posted in student, Tips, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Chic – sans le freak

My first study in style is …

from Merriam-Webster – Definition of CHIC

1: cleverly stylish : smart <the woman who is chic adapts fashion to her own personality Elizabeth L. Post>

— chic·ly adverb

— chic·nessnoun

First Known Use of: 1865

Related:

Synonyms: à la mode (also a la mode), au courant,stylish, cool [slang], exclusive, fashionable, fresh [slang],happening, hip, in, modish, sharp, smart, snappy,supercool, swell, swish, trendy, voguish

Antonyms: dowdy, out, outmoded, styleless, unchic,uncool, unfashionable, unmodish, unstylish

Do not confuse it with the band.

You can see the definition in Wikipedia, but what I found more helpful was from the Chic Fashionista:

The style tips and advice offered here on thechicfashionista.com is based on chic fashion. Chic is derived from the French word ‘chique’ which means skills and elegance, and over the past few decades it has been used to refer to a woman as smart and stylish. Chic is basically a word that describes a person who is fashionable, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to wear the latest and hottest looks. It means you know what looks good on you, and know how to work with what you’ve got and flaunt it without looking like victim of fashion.

~what looks good with your colors, body figure and personal clothing personality never go out style.

~getting in touch with your womanly side and being playful.

~you know how to cherry-pick the best details and clothes from the current fashion trends and make it yours.

According to a mentor of mine, this is one of the mistakes most models in SL make – NOT making the fashion “theirs”.

And so gentle reader, I shall leave you to ruminate on this idea. Until next time ….

Posted in student, Styling | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Second Chances – or when you blow the first one

About a week ago I attended a casting for an agency that I really wanted to get in to. (why anyone would go to one they wouldn’t is beyond me but I digress) The short story is, I did not. Get in that is. I almost didn’t go and to be honest I’m not sure why.

These things happen, you enter a contest, you don’t win. You go to a casting, you don’t get in. (Dr. Seuss of fashion?)

 


Rejection sux. Especially when you know you are just as good as many that are there – you just may be having an off day.

I’m not too sure I was having an off day but I was pretty sure (even as soon as I arrived) that I simply did not hit the mark with their styling request. I suppose I could have turned around and bailed but if I had, I would have blown a great opportunity.

Call it Project Runway oh wait that is already taken. Ok Style Study?

I am fortunate to have met models that 1) seem to think I have some potential and 2) take pity on me (lol). It was because of blowing that casting, that I have been given a second chance. A chance to study styling and discover my own style. And I thought I’d share with you, gentle reader, my experience. Maybe it gives you hope if you didn’t get what you wanted. Maybe it just makes you laugh at me. Regardless:

If I get it all down on paper, its no longer
Inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to …

Anna Nalick – Breathe (2 a.m.)

Posted in Perspective, student, Styling | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Couture on a Budget?

A prospective model posted a comment the other day in one of the modeling groups about the high cost of modeling academies and the cost of clothing and accessories.  She griped about the overall expense of being a model from beginning to end to which many replied that if she couldn’t afford it then she shouldn’t be doing it.  A more heated group conversation ensued and let’s just say that the new model didn’t make many friends. 

However, she got me thinking and, while at times that can be dangerous, I wanted to refute some of her findings especially regarding clothing and accessories.  There are so many stores in SL right now that are having 50% off sales.  Free Group gifts and Hunt items are also abundant.  All these things add to your inventory and can only enhance your accessory choices when modeling.  Not everything you wear has to have a price tag of over $1000L for it to look good. 

A very good example of this is a friend I knew in high school.  This girl could wear a $5 t-shirt and make it look like it cost her $100.  How did she do it?  It was her presence, her confidence and her choices in styling it, which sometimes only amounted to her wearing a simple necklace with the t-shirt.  I could have worn the same t-shirt back then and it would have looked like I spent $5 on it (or less).  Quite simply, she just had that je ne sais quoi. 

In SL bargains are to be had everywhere so you can make that simple t-shirt look like a million bucks.  You just have to look.  Maybe sometimes you just stumble across them too like I did the other day at Glam Affair.  Tucked away on the 2nd floor and up a flight of stairs is the Glam Affair Outlet.  Here you can find dresses, pants, skirts, scarfs, shapes, and men’s clothes, etc. for $10L each.  Yes, you read that right.  $10L each!  Granted, sometimes you can pay $10L for something and it absolutely looks like you spent $10L for it or you can spend $1000L and it can look like you spent $10L too.  I feel the latter is way more heartbreaking but in either instance it’s up to you to make it look like it cost you an arm and a leg. 

Below are the 2 oufits I purchased that day at Glam Affair.   I would put money on it that no one would ever guess I only paid $10L per outfit. 

Glam Affair Epoca Outfit

Glam Affair A&A Mine Yellow Outfit

Posted in Beginner, Perspective, Shopping, Styling, Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How much do you know?

Many bloggers try to post what they know about contests and fashion shows but I doubt anyone captures them all. (Although CSLTM comes pretty darn close) Inspired by the calendar on SLHunts blog, I decided to start a Google calendar for castings, contests, and shows. This is in its Beta stage… or is it Alpha?

Anyway, anyone can contribute, you just need to send me your e-mail address. ALSO, anyone can embed the calendar into their blog so it isn’t like you are contributing to something that I’m getting credit for. So if you have the information, please share it!

Contests etc. calendar

P.S.: You can simply IM or e-mail the information to me, but I cannot guarantee it will be posted in a timely fashion. That’s just the God-honest truth.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment