The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

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Visual Poetry and Water and Land at MAINSITE 2021

I was commissioned again by the Norman Arts Council to create a 20-minute video to promote their new exhibitions for January 2021. This video originally premiered during the Virtual 2nd Friday Art Work and the above YouTube is a slightly shorter but timeless version. I liked how well this video turned out and I was able to keep the pace interesting by switching between the artists on different topics. For the artist answers, I pulled quotes from different questions to summarize some of the topics too as each interview was 20 minutes, so I ended up cutting everything in half.

In this video, Executive Director, Erinn Gavaghan, shares an overview of Katherine Liontas-Warren’s “Water and Land” and “Visual Poetry on the Page: With, Within, and Without the Word,” which was curated by Crag Hill. Both Katherine and Crag also share their thoughts on the exhibitions.

Water and Land is a collection of recent works by Liontas-Warren centered on the passages, time and motion, and the symbolism water and land have come to represent in those concepts.

Visual Poetry on the Page: With, Within and Without the Word explores a movement that asks viewers to read the works as visual art. Unlike concrete, written poems, a visual poem “typically includes many other elements than alphabetic text,” including any number of mediums or artist manipulation, including painting, photos, digital manipulation or any other means to “obliterate the boundary between visual arts and literature.”

These exhibitions are open to in-person viewings from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday until Saturday, February 13, 2021.

Thank you to the Norman Arts Council for commissioning this video! 

Healthy Living: Better Balance

Physical balance is the ability to maintain your center of gravity within your base of support and it is different for everyone! Depending on your height, weight and how you walk or stand, your center of gravity might be different from the person next to you.

So…why is having better balance so important? It’s because the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injury in adults is due to accidental falling. Let’s join Maddi Stewart, Physical Therapist at Therapy in Motion, as she tells you all about your balance and how to improve it to avoid injury.

This video is from the Healthy Living Series I filmed in partnership with Therapy in Motion and the Norman YMCA. Catch more episodes on the Norman YMCA YouTube channel.

Reflecting on 2020

Well…

Hello, Adventurers! Typically, I write my end of the year reflection on New Year’s Eve, but I was working with the Oklahoma City Arts Council on a big live-streaming Opening Night event. This reflection is going to be a little different, but last year was a different kind of year.

This is the part where I share numbers on how much I created, but the statistic that matters the most, I’m reminding myself, is that I made it through the year. Also, I made more videos for other people than myself. I’ve been able to help many organizations connect with their audiences through video content and live-streaming shows. I’m proud of that fact.

In the summer, I live-streamed a concert every week for the Arts Council OKC and then again in the fall, but every other week. For Oklahoma Contemporary, I made them about two videos a month. I helped take a live play Namron Players Theatre had planned and turned it into a movie for them. I worked with Therapy in Motion and the Norman YMCA to do a Healthy Living Series. I got to do a big New Year’s Eve show, which was a goal I noted in my previous reflection. Plus, I helped other businesses with some internal videos too.

To thank my clients for this year, I worked with Design Pickle and they made me this thank you card that I sent (and still sending out) to all of my major clients for the year.

The 2020 Client Thank You Card

Overall, I am grateful and proud of what I did create in the year, regardless of who it was for.

Uncovering Oklahoma in 2020

At the beginning of 2020, I raised the bar by producing videos in 4K HDR and closed captions on every episode. Pre-pandemic, I started strong with stories in Tulsa and Guthrie. I released 27 weekly episodes along with three art and event pieces.

With my growing library of content, videos I made in previous years picked up in popularity. Even though I didn’t make many new videos, the watch time in hours for the YouTube channel was 2,542.3, which was about what I got in 2019. Subscribers grew by 365, putting me over 1,000! According to my YouTube channel, these were the Top 5 watched videos in 2020.

5. Gathering Place in Tulsa
4. Magnetic Hill in Springer 
3. Black-Owned BBQ Restaurants Vol. 1
2. Press Waffle Co at The Collective
1. Great Salt Plains State Park

The title for the most-watched 2020 story goes to The Study in Oklahoma City, which was the second episode I did when the lockdowns lifted. The first story I eased myself back into filming was on the Winchester Drive-In Theatre in Oklahoma City, which was my second most popular 2020 video and most-watched via Facebook. Sergio’s Italian Bistro, Pink Elephant Coffee, Re: Earth, and The Study were the most-viewed via Facebook.

Tales Unveiled in 2020

Jeff and I got three episodes recorded before the pandemic hit. We picked up recording later in the summer and released a total of 11 episodes for our third season. Our episode on Bartlesville was our most popular. Despite the shorter season, we had quality episodes. Great stories from guests all around!

Quarter Minutes in 2020

We made one episode! Go us!

Yes! Science! and Art & Victory in 2020

Due to the audience nature of these shows, I felt it was best to postpone them until the time was right.

The 16th Phoenix Universe in 2020

What’s this? A new category? One of my personal goals was to release a new short story every week for the year. With the exception of A Killer Among the Spaceship Game Show, which was released in two parts and the first part took two weeks, I kept up with my goal. I wrote 48 short stories!

Still, no new books. They were looking good in the first half of the year, but when client work picked up, writing time got spent on short stories.

Make sure to follow the 16th Phoenix Facebook page and Reddit account for more updates.

Top Songs of 2020

According to Spotify, which is how I mostly listen to music, this was my 2020 soundtrack. As always, keep in mind I will often put a song (or playlist) on repeat when writing or for inspiration sessions. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite song?

Plans for 2021

Although it’s a new year and I’m optimistic, but I’m going to be careful with my plans as we’re still dealing with a pandemic.

For Uncovering Oklahoma, with COVID cases rising, I’m playing things safe. It’s annoying when I’m filming a restaurant and someone walks past me to go to the bathroom without a mask. On top of all that, businesses are going out left and right. I’m going to focus on retail businesses and concepts where I can control the environment to be safe. I don’t foresee me making as many episodes as I did in 2019. I hope to get back to doing collaboration episodes soon.

For Tales Unveiled, Jeff and I did leave the show open for more episodes. I would love to travel out of Oklahoma this season or next. We plan to start recording season four in the spring with a fall release. (There’s a Friday the 13th in August.)

For the studio audience shows, I honestly don’t know when I’ll start those up again. I might do them without an audience or I might do something entirely different.

For the 16th Phoenix Universe, instead of a weekly short story, they will be monthly. Writing every week has helped me build my fictional universe. I want to take some time on the stories and maybe release longer stories. I want to build upon other stories I’ve written in 2020 for 2021 and allocate writing time to other works. I plan to revisit all the 2020 stories, send them to an editor, and publish a book collection.

Also during the weekly short story creation, I’ve started two new books. One is based on A Question for the Writers and the other is from Upgrade Cave. I want to finish my other books before I get too involved in those stories.

Now, for new projects! Last year, I did start writing a feature film script although my writing time got spent on short stories. I would like to get that written out at least this year.

One of the first major projects I have in the works for the first half of the year is an interactive branching narrative that takes place in Downtown Norman. More about this later as we’re planning an April or May release.

Finally, I’m researching a project that might be a huge move I’ll make to get closer to the studio goal. Way too early for me to say anything about this publicly yet.

Thank you for following me throughout this year! You can join me on Patreon to help support these projects and get special rewards.

Here’s to happy adventures in 2021!

Healthy Living: How to Protect Your Well Being

What is self-care? How do we practice and simplify it? In this episode, Carrie Jankowski, Licensed Clinical Social Worker from the OU College of Arts & Sciences will explore the meaning self-care and how it effects your well being.

Intentional actions can reduce physical, psychological and behavioral negative outcomes that are a result of stressors. Strengthening these habits can build your capacity to handle future stress appropriately.

This video is from the Healthy Living Series I filmed in partnership with Therapy in Motion and the Norman YMCA. Catch more episodes on the Norman YMCA YouTube channel.

Healthy Living: Strength

Strength training isn’t just for body builders! There are many reasons to practice strength training. It can help you manage or lose weight, increase your metabolism and help you burn calories. Overall, strength training enhances your overall quality of live and improves your ability to do every day activities.

This video is from the Healthy Living Series I filmed in partnership with Therapy in Motion and the Norman YMCA. Catch more episodes on the Norman YMCA YouTube channel.

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