Entry Number 342
Log Name Holding Pattern
Date Range 03.09.06 - 04.23.06 Previous Entry Next Entry
Rant
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Where it all happens
It's amazing how busy one stays when one doesn't have an "official" job.

I don't think I have worked so long and non-stop in my entire life.

I used to wake up in the morning, rush to the gym to get a workout in before heading to the office. Lots of social breaks in between all that.

I was doing that initially, not wanting to break my routine, but then found that I would get back home around 8am, sit down to work, and not get up from my chair till midnight. An occasional pee break and folding of laundry to interrupt the madness, but it was too long of a work blitz.

So I had to change it around cuz I was killing my arms with such long work periods.

Now I get up at 6am, have my breakfast while reading overnight emails, then start back in to working. Sometime around 10am I get out of the house, go to the gym, run errands and am back by noon or 1am to work another 10 hours. That gives my arms a good break in the middle of the day.

My arm, well, I am happy to say, it's all but healed! Yeah!

Despite the hours of mousing and typing, my arm has gotten better each day over the last month. I no longer have hours and hours of holding camera equipment, and it's given my arm a chance to finally recover. It's a miracle!

I only shoot photos/video a couple times a week, or sometimes it's a marathon when I have 3-4 models in over a couple days for their interactive shoots. But it's not non-stop and I have time to recover.

I actually curled a 30 pound weight this week!

I'm was getting pretty tired of staring at this corner of my office, so I added some artwork and shelving. It's not fancy and I really should paint the walls, but I can't bring myself to tear down all my equipment and tables just to get a coat of paint on the walls. But I spend so much time in this little room, it was driving me mad.

The weather has been amazing. I open the windows and fresh air flows through here with sounds of birds chirping and a view of the mountain. Sometimes I just take my laptop out back and work there for a couple hours and it's really serene.

I have a ton of stuff to go over. Not very many pictures as I haven't gone or done anything "reportable". It's been all about trying to get the site in "profit" mode so I can get a salary going here.

So here are the highlights.

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New Engine for the Site
Months in the making and planning, and not very many people noticed the "new version" of the website. And I suppose that is a good thing. Like a special effect in a movie, if you notice it, then they didn't do a good job.

The beast this site has become was hard to tame in PHP database format. I had seven years of web pages and images that all need to be reformatted and re-added, along with re-mixing and renaming all the photosets. It took me two weeks to just get the photos ready for the new database, and the to re-enter their records in the database.

Not a lot of photography or videos were shot as I worked day and night to get the back log of site content in to the new system

I tend to know a fair amount of many different things. From databases, web design, graphic design, photography, videography, even my people skills seem to be "up there". But getting the site in a data driven format was not something I could learn overnight and for the first time ever, I needed someone to tackle the programming.

Mike at UPDMedia.com took on the designer challenge. We seriously underestimated how much time it was going to take, and the cost tripled. BUT, I don't think that I have ever had someone take my ideas, and totally and utterly quadruple the functionality.

The backend database, several weeks in the making, had one single change by me, and was filled so many new nifty things that I just didn't think would ever be possible, that I still get a little excited at just entering a new photoset. How Mike so captured my needs speaks volumes about his abilities.

So just this weekend I am noticing how easy it is to update the site. No more worrying if I will be sick or away. The site can update itself!

I am not the only one that should notice some improvements. Viewers should notice some subtle improvements.

The site is now the "Same" everywhere. Over the many years page layouts would change and a visitor may end up in a 2000 photospread that would work vastly different from a 2006 spread.

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The site has a new Search engine for finding models, and I plan to add advanced searches based on the types of guys. I could add that now, but as I mentioned, I went way over budget. So it's a feature that will have to wait till I can afford to add it.

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Browsing the contact sheets of thumbnails is also much easier. No longer is everyone divided up by years, but every page displays 18 galleries, and paging through them is a breeze.

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The site now stays "in place" as the galleries of photos load in the frame. A few people wrote me disappointed in the size of these new images, so I went back for the last dozen or so sets and re-added the images at nearly twice the size and can be access via the AutoPlay and HTML Version (and even that has a new navigation system that is awesome!).

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Viewers can now see the images bigger than ever before. I had deleted the hi res version of some of the recent galleries, so I couldn't update them with larger iamges, and there was no way I could go back and do 4-5 years worth of galleries, so its going to have to be a "from this point forward" thing for the new larger format on the images.

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Anyway, this is big news for me. My friends didn't even notice a change in the site, I guess since it wasn't a cosmetic change

As of now, ChaosMen.com is very competitive with the major sites now in terms of what runs it.

Where or Where Will Bryan Live?
As of this writing, it looks like the girls renting out my house in Austin will renew the lease. June was when their lease ended, and I didn't want to find myself facing two mortgages and no "real" job.

I was on the fence about moving back, and was leaving the decision up to if the renters renewed. If they decided to renew, I would stay. If not, this place would go on the market and I would head back to Austin, to go in to money saving mode.

It looks like I will be staying in San Diego a little longer. That doesn't mean that I might not go ahead and move back and get a new place in there. Austin is still very appealing to me as a place to live and work, and all my friends are there as well.

I am bascially in a holding pattern, but picking up and moving my entire production to Austin right now is something I don't feel pressured by and if I decide to go back, it will be because I really want to make the move.

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Promo Video
I released a promo video a couple weeks back. I'm trying to find creative ways to bring in members. I am still struggling to get membership up.

The video is a great preview of upcoming projects. Its fun, dynamic, and I'm surprised at how many times people will watch it over and over.

Not sure if you got a copy of it, so I am posting it in the journal for one week only. Even though the file is 5 megs, playing the video will hork up my servers, so I don't want to over burden them.

Everyone is invited to email the file to all their friends, and to have their friends email it out. Hopefully this will generate some interest and memberships.

So Right Click and 'Save Target As', view and spread the promo video with all your friends!

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AVN Online and some Advertising.
Some days I wake up thinking I am not going to make it. Membership is growing but not nearly at the pace I thought I would get. Then by end of the day I am bit more positive, but mornings are challenge.

I keep telling myself, "If you build it they will cum." (sorry!..lame but true)

I seriously think even though the product is the same (guys beating off and getting it on with each other) that my editing is much more advanced than other sites.

Over the next 3-4 movies, if you are a member, view the next releases and look at how smoothly the cuts are. I think most people won't even notice the camera angle changes, because it's so seamless. Anyway, just like my photography, the video editing has become something I really enjoy, and I fear no one notices the time I take in making a smooth video. My friends now notice all the camera angles and switches back and forth, and I don't think I will win any awards for it, but I am feeling like I have really improved in video editing. It's a challenge I like.

The affiliate sites like QueerClick and JustUsBoys, have been doing a great job of promoting the site, and I have also been getting a few positive write ups in magazines.

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AVN Online - THE biggest magazine about the adult industry just did a small blurb about me and the site. You can see it above.

Not sure if that will parlay any memberships, but it's nice to get some recognition.

I took out and advert in JustUsBoys magazine. Not sure how effective paper adverts are. It's something I need to explore further.

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I have been holding off on buying advertising space till I get at least 50 videos up and running. No sense spending money on ads if people show up and think there isn't enough content to take their credit cards out. As it is, there are 40 movies online, and honestly I think 40 videos is well worth $24.95, but when other, much longer established sites, have over 300 vids, its harder to make a sell.

But an advertising campaign is going to be in the future. Budget willing!

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The Photobook
The book is pretty much settled. I have a handful of images that 10 Percent licensed for greeting cards and the 2006 calendar that I want in the book. I am waiting on them to see if I can use them. If not I will swap them out with newer images.

It's not like I don't have a hundred more images that I have shot since putting it together that couldn't be used instead, but some images are "classic" Chaosmen images that I would want in the final product. I just don't want that to slow it the process down waiting for images I may not be able to use till the license expires.

I've also got to come up with the money for it. Printing is kind of expensive and I am doing this all on my own. I've not always been happy with the way my stuff is printed, so it's a bit of a Control issue. I wonder if the printers will take credit cards! I haven't even attempted to shop it around to big producers like Gmunder and 10 Percent. Not even sure they'd want my stuff.

I've got a shopping cart all lined up, and I may do pre-sales, but I don't want to jump the gun. I want to make sure the dang books are at the press before I start pre-selling them.

The books will be shrink-wrapped, but I plan on doing personalized autographs for anyone buying from my bookstore. I may try to do a cross promotion also with membership sales.

You guys have GOT to buy one. Seriously, if you have been reading my journal for a hundred years, it's your civic duty to buy one! ~hehe~

Bill has done an amazing job putting this book together. It feels so right! The images flow in to each other, with themes developing and transitioning. The book is 220 pages and is giant compared to other books. I will put some sneak peaks online as the book gets closer to the press.

It's gonna be awesome!

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Brokeback Mountain
I know I am WAY behind the times on talking about this movie. I never got away from working to see it in the theatres, and I actually picked up a copy at the Albertson's checkout stand. (Props to them for carrying a gay DVD at the checkout!)

It's a beautiful movie. Cinematography, acting, editing- it's all amazing. The sound, well, we had problems with the dialog. In fact, we turned the sub titles on partway through so we could understand what people were saying. I may go back and watch the first portion again but with the subtitles on, cuz I sure missed a lot by not understanding through the thick fake accents and mumbling.

The movie depresses me, almost as much as Schindler's List did. Seriously. I can't shake it. It makes me so sad on many levels.

Why can't we have a happy gay movie?!

Does every single gay movie have to have a fag bashing in it? I can name a half dozen gay movies where the lover is gay bashed or dies of AIDS, and I bet if I spent some time at IMDB.com researching more gay themed movies I could come up with a dozen more.

It's as if the director's says, "Ok, when do we fit in the fag bashing scene? We have to kill the lover now. Bring on the gay tragedy!" When I watch these movies I am always waiting for that "scene". Ang Lee didn't disappoint on that count.

Are there no happy endings for us? I can name a dozen romantic straight films where the couple meet, hate each other, fall in love, separate, and finally live happily ever after, DESPITE Adversity. Where are those stories for us?

Can we not win in the fight against adversity?

Heck, I would have been ok if the guy died simply by an accident, and their love was never played out as it should have been. Sad, but not such a stereotype. But the gay bashing was just too much for me. It was such standard vehicle in gay film making that it obviously hit a nerve with me.

YES! I know, the movie was about how society made it impossible for these guys to be together. I got that point, over and over and over again. 75 minutes of scene after scene of how their love could never be.

But do these directors think so little of us that we can't get beyond that? They spent years being in love and straight people would have conquered it and found a way around it.

Sure the movie shows how society treats gays, especially in small rural communities, but it also shows how miserable we are, and how we can't have happy endings.

When my parent's learned I was gay, the one thing that they worried about was how sad and alone I would be as an adult (Not realizing that I am pretty much a loner by nature anyway..and being alone makes me really happy!). I think this movie just reinforces that there just are no happy endings for gay guys.

I think this movie would be appropriate in the 1980's. It would fit with the theme of all the movies that were done about gay people back then. But I think it's time for some dreamy endings.

I want a story where they conquer their restricted lives, throw caution to the wind, and live happily ever after..just like straight people do.

All that being said, and can't help but say that I absolutely love this movie, despite my feeling that it's a giant step to no where. It's an awesome piece of work.

But I will say it again. Where are our happy endings?

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Conjure One Album
One of my favorite bands, Conjure One, released an album last year... apparently. I have so little time to check out new music, and my XM radio keeps me so happy with new music, I hardly ever go searching out to see if my favs have new stuff.

So I decided I wanted to see if Poe had any new songs, and next thing I know, I have downloaded the latest Conjure One album. Poe sang a couple tracks on their first album, and lo and behold she has several new ones on this Conjure One's Extraoridnary Ways album.

I fell instantly in love with it. It's hard to believe that it is better than their debut album. If you like Delerium, you will love Conjure One. And Poe is one of my all time favorite female singers, so its packs quite a punch for me.

I've probably listened to the album 50 times. So give it a try. You can find info on Conjure One Here or you can go to iTunes and download the entire album


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