CG Art- The Fox Cycle

My journey with DAZ Studio Continues. I spent the week working on images to go along with my currently running Flash Fiction series- The Fox Cycle over on my KFAT page. The stories themselves cover a large span of time, but focus on the former King’s Musketeer Gerard la Russo and his Indian adopted daughter Renard. Using my meagre talent with DAZ Studio, I decided to render a few images to go along with some of the stories.

Gerard la Russo at Callais in 1698.

Renard la Russo and Claudette Dupris 1710

Ren and Gerard 1717

 

And a bonus picture, since I had some people suggest Tysen didn’t look brooding enough in the one posted last week.

Troubled Tysen

Creative Experiments- KFAT Historical Flash Fiction

Hi All,

Last week over on the KFAT site, my first weekly webfiction story The Inuyama Rebellion posted its final chapter. It’s been a fun run, and I have to say I’ve enjoyed the experiment of writing a weekly piece of fiction in addition to my other writing projects. Of course, I also got a huge kick out of it, since my friend Brushmen was doing great fan art to go with each weekly chapter. (If you haven’t checked them out, then definitely do so.)

Having enjoyed the process, I’ve decided to continue my little experiment, but to get even more…experimental.

For the next nine Mondays (the first one went up already) I will be posting a single flash fiction (1000 words or less) story each week on the KFAT site. These are a little series I call “The Fox Cycle”, and are me doing a little challenge with myself. Each story will be different, and self-contained, but each story will also connect up with all the others to tell a larger story. All of them are historical fiction, take place around the year 1700, and are what you could call an exercise in both character and world building.

What characters and world? Ah, Mes Amis! That would be telling!

I’ve rarely written flash fiction before, so this will be a real challenge in keep my writing tight and using different styles and techniques to bring across a story in the best possible ways. There’s also an additional level to the experiment, but I’ll explain that once the whole story cycle is finished.

Enjoy!
Rob

The Inuyama Rebellion- Part Thirteen | Kung Fu Action Theatre

 

In another part of the forest, a group of Kurokawa samurai in the command of the guard captain of the summer residence came upon their lord. He was sitting on a rock at the side of the road, and when he made no motion to even indicate he knew they were there, the guard captain dismounted and quickly marched over to kneel before him.

“My lord. Thank the heavens you’re safe!”

“No thanks to you, Captain.” The daimyo declared in a cold angry voice, not even looking at the men. “You will atone for your mistake by the morning, I trust?”

The Inuyama Rebellion- Part Thirteen | Kung Fu Action Theatre.

KFAT Updated!

Status

UltraRob

The look of Kung Fu Action Theatre has just been updated! I’ve also combined the fiction section and D-ranger section back into the main site. I will re-integrate the other parts in the coming weeks as well. Check it out, but watch out for wet paint!

Rob

KFAT Restored!

Status

UltraRob

KFAT is now back up again, albeit having lost a few of the improvements and tweaks I put into it last week. Hopefully this won’t happen again. I’m still not happy with the site though, so I’ll probably be rebuilding it in the near future. Since I want to focus more on writing now, I need the site to have a more professional image than the default WordPress template provides. Also, I’d like to integrate most of the content back into one site for simplicity.

KFAT Fiction Launched!

As will come as no surprise to anyone who was reading my posts yesterday, I’ve decided to take the plunge into writing serialized web fiction. At first I thought about writing Flash Fiction, and I may still try my hand at it, but for now I’m going to write serialized stories in a more normal mode. I find my productivity varies a lot recently, and I’m hoping that being forced to produce at least 1000 words a week of prose writing will help to generate some good writing habits once more!

So the plan is to put up a new part of the story of 700-1000 words in length each Monday morning on my new KFAT Fiction website- http://fiction.kungfuactiontheatre.com/. I plan to write a few shorter things first (20,000 words or so) and clear out a couple unfinished projects, and then move on to slightly bigger works. If I find myself getting too ahead on the writing side, I may start posting twice a week, but intially I’m just going to stick to once a week as I’m about to enter my most busy time of the year at work (Yay! September!) and don’t want to miss any postings unless I absolutely have to. (So the idea is to keep a couple episodes ahead at all times.)

For my first story, I chose to serialize The Inuyama Rebellion, which is an ongoing adventure story set in feudal Japan that I’ve half completed, and which I thought felt like a good fit for this kind of format. As it’s already partway done, I decided to put the first third of the story up on the site in handy bite-sized pieces to help give new readers a good taste of what to expect. These first eight pieces take us about halfway into the second “episode” of the version which has been heard on the KFATales audio fiction podcast, and I do eventually plan to finish the podcast version as well once the serialized version is done.

Enjoy!

Rob

Interview with Rob on Wander Radio

This past week I was interviewed by the always cool Jack Hosley of the Wander Radio podcast about Kung Fu Action Theatre’s recent changes in direction and various topics related to audio drama and e-books. It was a fun interview, so go give it a listen!

Sherlock Holmes and the Tolling Bell

For those few who aren’t familiar with it, the Sonic Society out of CKDU in Halifax, Nova Scotia acts as a showcase for the best in modern audio drama. Each week Jack Ward and Shannon Hilchie show us how the Audio Drama form is not only still very much alive, but thriving in the internet age. They’ve been doing it for many years now, and each summer when CKDU is on hiatus they do a special internet-only program.

This Summer, Jack came up with the idea of inviting existing modern groups to do re-creations of some of our favorite OTR (Old Time Radio) shows from the classic age using our regular actors. In my case, I found a script online for an episode of the Sherlock Holmes OTR show that aired from 1939-1947, and being a Holmes fan I decided to produce it. These were “original” stories, as they ran out of classic Holmes stories pretty quickly, so it’s one I figured that most people had likely never heard.  After a quick (and quiet, since this was a “secret” project) session of casting I put the show together and it hit the web today. Enjoy!

WuXia versus Kung Fu

Recently I’ve been watching a lot old Shaw Brothers Kung Fu movies on Youtube, and it occurred to me that from the point of view of someone not really familiar with the WuXia genre (ie most foreigners) there’s probably something they’re missing when they watch these films.

The WuXia genre is the Chinese equivalent to the American Western, or the Japanese Samurai film- a romanticized action story genre set in the past where good guys and bad guys are clearly marked most of the time. Its roots trace back to the Water Margins tales, but the genre really hit its stride in the early to mid 20th century when serialized pulp adventures about Xia became a mainstay of the Hong Kong and Taiwan publishing industry. Thus, just as Westerns flourished in the early part of the 20th century when film rose in popularity, so did the WuXia genre when the Hong Kong film industry bloomed somewhat later on.

Which brings me to the thing that most viewers outside Chinese speakers fail to understand when they watch these films- Kung Fu films are really two genres, not one. There are the Kung Fu films, and the WuXia films, but they are not the same thing. The WuXia films came first, because for the most part they are adaptions of those printed stories I mentioned above, and the Kung Fu films came later- generally being original stories created specifically for film. Knowing this, it’s actually not that hard to figure out which one you’re watching- if it has a complicated story with sudden jumps in time and location, it’s usually a novel-based WuXia adaption they’re cramming into a 90 minute film. If it’s a fairly smooth film with a simple linear plot and limited cast, it’s mostly likely a Kung Fu story made specifically for film.

To give actual examples- compare Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (a WuXia film that most non-Chinese people have seen) to Enter the Dragon or most Jackie Chan films like Drunken Master and you’ll see the differences. The other obvious hint is that a Kung Fu film is usually based around literal hand-to-hand combat, whereas most (but not all) WuXia films feature swordsmen as the main characters (thus WuXia films are sometimes nicknamed “Flying Swordsman” films by some reviewers). WuXia films also tend to center around the Jiang-Hu, or “Martial World”, and their byzantine politics as different clans and societies struggle for power against each other, whereas Kung Fu films generally amount to variants of “you killed my father/master/mother/sister/brother/dog- prepare to die!”.

It’s sad in some ways, that a lot of the scorn that the “Kung Fu” genre tends to get from the general non-Chinese public is actually based on the simple Kung Fu films, but the more complex WuXia films tend to get lumped in with them. While many WuXia films are indeed also crap, there are quite a few gems in there as well, such as the Sentimental Swordsman movies. (Although it too suffers from the typical WuXia problem of too much story and too little time.)

Not that “pure” Kung Fu films are always bad, movies like the 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Iron Monkey and even The Karate Kid are cinematic masterpieces that everyone would benefit from seeing. The point I’m trying to make is not that either genre is better than the other, but that they are different, and it’s a difference that’s worth being aware of if you’re going to appreciate these movies for what they have to offer-good and bad.