Thursday, January 16, 2020

Buttons, We Don't Need No Stinking Buttons!

Hello everyone, and welcome to, or back to, the Gauntlet of Balthazar - a hopefully enigmatic and curious blog that explores the worlds of writing, art, music, film, media reviews, and of course political philosophy.

While most of my posts here are of a grander and artsy nature, I just realized that for all of my encouraging you, the reader, to follow this blog, since the demise of Google+ there hasn't been a follow button on this page. My bad!

In light of my little oversight I've installed it now, so if you would like to be notified of new posts whenever they appear here just click on the little blue button labeled "Follow" at the top right of the page.

Anyway, that's about all for now, so have a really great day, and as always, till next time.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

From the Graphic Design Studio: The Sovereignty Branding Images

Welcome too, or back to, the Gauntlet of Balthazar for the last part in a series of posts dedicated to multi-nominated and award-winning Nevekari Enterprise's new episodic hard-sci-fi series "Sovereignty".

Now I know what you're thinking - "Where can I see the first episode of this awesome new show you're telling me about?", and you'd be right in thinking that. But what many people outside of the creative fields are not aware of is that the average series you end up binge watching on Netflix took on average nine years to go from concept to debut - and those are often coming from teams that are already established from previous series.

Obviously, for a small company such as ours it would require a lot of money to shoot something like Sovereignty. However, I must confess that even if our bank account was suddenly filled with endless magical cash, and we soon popped out a self-financed project, it is still highly unlikely that it would be picked up by an outlet of note, as they might never hear of it's existence without a notable producer, and an agent with "oumpf" involved.

From my years at the screenwriting, development, filming, etc., gig I think in a nutshell the "agent quandary" can be explained as this - A creator needs an agent to get their beloved projects made and distributed, but an agent will not take on a creator as a client unless they already have a "hit". Thus, this catch twenty-two puts the onus on the creator to create on a smaller scale, and to self-promote him, her, or themselves, in the hope of being noticed by a lesser agent, and to eventually get stolen from that lesser agent by a "big fish" who already possesses the connections required to make these sorts of projects "take off".

Vexing, no?

Anyway, the way we've gone about it, at least up to this point, is pretty simple, and I'll lay out the creative process step by step, in case you're curious, or are starting out on a similar path and want to understand part of what you're up against.

Firstly, an idea is born. Many times this idea can be quite old. In Sovereignty's case, some of the characters and universe building goes back about twenty-five years. Other elements are about ten years old. Regardless, at some point, I believe in 2015, my partner and I realized that his old premise for a novel, and a short story I had laying around were actually built in more or less the same universe, and so it quickly went onto the "to do" list.

Combining the elements was not the problem, nor was the scope of the potential future we decided to depict, and in this case the challenge was how to imbue more emotion into the story-line. And so, an outline was hatched. Invariably, I find that laying out an outline, by act and scene, really aids in establishing the infrastructure of a piece of literature, of any kind. Still, scenes were added, scenes were changed, even character attributes were tweaked, and in the end, the original script for what was at one point called, "The Journeyman Circuit", was finished, and, was a train-wreak!

Sometimes things just sort turn out good, other times they're average, but as award-winning screenwriter's we looked at the document, and just couldn't figure out what the hell was wrong with it. Something had to be changed, but then again, we had other projects we were writing and filming, so it just sat, and sat, and sat - until, that is, some time had passed and we had some distance, and we tackled it once again, in 2019. This time just by deepening some of the relationships, raising the "trauma" bar a little higher, changing the order of events slightly, and ergo, some dialogue, not to mention the title, Sovereignty suddenly worked.

And so, with the pilot script copyrighted I started working on prototype score to use in a trailer video, and soon ended up with a 4-Track EP, the trailer, and graphic design images we could use in various media to help promote the project. Needless to say, we're still vexed by the "agent quandary", but at least if someone does take a look at our homepage, our YouTube channel, our facebook page/s, or the 391 & the Army of Astraea Bandcamp page, Sovereignty appears as holistically developed as it is. Therefore, while I focused on the website page, the video, and then the music in the last three posts, this time I'd like to pin the three still images that have come about in the evolution of the graphic design concepts of the project.

From top to bottom throughout this post, the first, (the video still and Soundtrack EP cover) was taken from a composite of NASA (and other) images of Mars created in a number of overlapping 2-D layers. The second is a 3-D CG still (created in DAZ) that adorned the top of the page dedicated to the series on our website (and the first article in this series), but now marks the main page chevron / link to the page. The third, and last, design is the replacement of the previous image. It is a 2-D image that started life as a gratis download from Pixabay by a contributor named Richard Reid (reidy68). I've changed it pretty severely from the original, and as you might imagine, it under- went many dozen permutations in Adobe Photoshop CS6 in order to reach it's current state.

Anyway, I believe that for the most part the came out fairly well, and as far as development goes, I think that the first few episode scripts, the series bible, these images, the video clip, and album / EP are quite enough. I hope that in the long run they will aid us in at least appearing coherent to you the viewer and listener, other creators, and ideally, the all too elusive gatekeepers.

So, keep rooting for us - like, subscribe, follow, etc., and please feel free to communicate your feelings about these images, music, or regarding any other content that appear here.

Till next time.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away: Introducing "Sovereignty" - The Soundtrack EP

As promised here is the third installment in this Gauntlet of Balthazar series of posts dedicated to multi-nominated and award-winning screenwriting and creative content company Nevekari Enterprises new episodic Hard Sci-Fi series "Sovereignty".

While the first post introduced the concept and script in general and specifically the dedicated web page on our site to it, and the second post featured the video trailer for the project, this post highlights the 4-track extended play single released digitally on Bandcamp on December 20th, 2019 in anticipation of the web page and video debut on the 31st.

Two of the tracks, "In Hermetica" and "Arsia Mons" were released previously in less fully formed versions and now reside on the 391 & the Army of Astraea "Battle and Realms: Catalogue Volume II (2018-2019)" compilation, once again on Bandcamp. I personally prefer the new versions of these tracks (respectively the Wahrheit Mix and the Collier Mix) and think the two new tracks - "Sovereignty (Main Title Theme)" and "Transgenic (DSY Series Mix)" really do capture some aspects the mood that I feel different characters in the scripts emote.

Anyway, the embed is below, or you can find the album on the Sovereignty page on Nevekari Enterprise's website or on the Bandcamp 391 & the Army of Astraea page.

Please feel free to "follow" 391 & the Army of Astraea on Bancamp, or to "like" Nevekari Enterprises and Stubborn God Productions on Facebook, "comment" to the Gauntlet of Balthazar here, or to like, subscribe, share and click notifications on Nevekari Enterprise's YouTube Channel.

Thanks for playing, and as always, Till next time.


Monday, January 6, 2020

From the Writer's Studio: Introducing "Sovereignty" - The Trailer Video

Welcome to, or back to, the Gauntlet of Balthazar for installment number two in introducing the most recent project from multi-nominated and award-winning screenwriting and media content company Nevekari Enterprises, and our new episodic Hard Sci-Fi series "Sovereignty".

In our last episode I briefly explained the premise of the series and posted links to Nevekari Enterprise's homepage and our site's Sovereignty page. While I often straddle a narrow line of how much to reveal, or not to reveal, about a project that hasn't yet made it's transition from page to screen, I am hopeful that just enough is being said about a project to intrigue you, the reader and viewer, to be curious about said project.

Obviously there will always be some disconnect between creator and consumer in regard to projects in their proposal state, and I imagine that most people who consume media just sort of take it for granted that series and films magically appear on their whatever screen they are sitting in front of, and they are oblivious to how long it may have take the project to move from a notion, to concept, to an outline, to a script, a series bible, more scripts, more revisions, concept trailers, and eventually an actual pilot for a series or a film.

Saying that, Sovereignty is by no means our first rodeo as far as episodic series, pilot scripts, series bibles, web pages, or concept trailers go, but it is Nevekari Enterprise's first completed Hard Sci-Fi series. For those of you who have trouble with the distinction, a Hard Sci-Fi is generally a relatively near future outing with the technology being presented in it as falling within as a linear evolution of our current mechanical prowess. Unlike Space Operas, like "Star Trek", or Nevekari Enterprise's "Partisan Earth" which present alien races and "unexplainable" tech, or "Space Fantasies" such as "Star Wars", which present little adherence to the laws of physics and gloss over the inconsistencies of the synthetic languages presented therein, a Hard Sci-Fi must by description only include social, political, linguistic, and technological paradigms that are likely possible evolution's from their current paradigms.

This is not to say that everything we come up with will come to pass, or that we would even like things to turn out this way, but nonetheless, they are presented as possible future outcomes. However, at the heart of it all must remain the human relationships that navigate through the story-line. I think this is an element that is sometimes forgotten by fans, and often creators, who may not understand on a deeper level what they are doing, and what / why they are writing, when they "get a clever idea".

As I always contend, raw inspiration is wonderful, and attempting to gently sway the viewer's sensibilities to another philosophic position is admirable (hey, the ancients called it catharsis), but there is a fine line between presentation and propaganda. I like to think that for the most part we present situation we create objectively and display various characters reacting to those situations in a range of normal human reactions. Thus, while I am personally an advocate for nation-states, an ardent  globalist may watch the series and find a character he or she identifies with and promulgates their preferred philosophy. It's often a hard literary road to hoe, but as we all know, even the worst villains believe they are the hero of their own story.

Please do enjoy our new little trailer embedded below, and if you could, please visit Nevekari Enterprise's YouTube channel and subscribe, like, click on notifications, share, and leave comments both here and there if you'd like.

Till next time.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

From the Writer's Studio: Introducing "Sovereignty" - A New Hard-Sci-Fi Series

Welcome back to the Gauntlet of Balthazar for a series of posts featuring a new episodic hard sci-fi series created by the multi-nominated and award-winning screenwriting team and media content company, Nevekari Enterprises. This particular project is titled "Sovereignty", and as the name implies, the philosophic fulcrum that the show rests upon is the eternal debate between how much power a government is given by its citizens and how, and in which ways, individuals wrest or demand their own or local power.

Clearly this is a very prescient issue in the west of late as the culture war between various forms of Marxism and Classical Liberalism has become something of a daily exercise in metallic bickering on both sides.

Obviously, as a socially Liberal, fiscal Anarcho-Libertarian with a strong Conservative-Republican streak, you might have discerned from my earlier forays into politics posted here that I am outspoken in my disdain for all things Communist, Marxist, Socialist, Democratic Socialist, Intersectionalist, Globalist, and Post-Modernist. Thus, to be clear, I am patently FOR national sovereignty and the unique cultural identities that individual societies possess, and ideally, should preserve.

Saying that, Nevekari Enterprise's "Sovereignty" addresses the push and pull of individual rights, ethnic and civic statehood, and larger regional block identities such as membership in globalist organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union.

As a hard-sci-fi, Sovereignty takes place in the year 2158, in the aftermath of a series of dramatic changes to our current social milieu. These are not limited to, but include, a period referred to as "the Great Crisis", during which the collusion of aggrandizing warfare, environmental calamities and fiscal collapse has led humanity to the brink of extinction. As a result, the formulation of the United Nations-like Earth Sphere Government was formulated to quell the resultant anarchy. In a series of conflicts termed "The New Lands Wars", eventually most of the world's nations have come under the hegemony of the Earth Sphere. However, as humanity has expanded past the boundaries of Earth, throughout the solar system pockets of those seeking cultural and political rights have formed and define the conflicts that drive the series forward.

Set aboard a damaged and "de-annexed" (i.e. sovereign) transport ship known as "the Journeyman" our main characters negotiate the fractious world of system-wide politics marked by Earth Sphere purists, Transgenic rights advocates, Martian separatists, powerful corporate entities, crime syndicates, the media, and Artificial Intelligence.

Please feel free to visit our homepage at for more information about the themes and story of this timely project.

Till next time.