Being Creative–School Work by xpect

School work was always done much better (as anyone knows from the past 15 years or so) if you could type it on a computer and later edit it and print it. Nobody had that capability in the 80′s at home. In my school existed only a cryptic IBM PC with green monitor and DOS 3 and a version of a word processor that was so difficult to use that nobody would touch it. Latter the situation was a bit improved with the addition of an Amstrad PCW but again the printer was always offline because it was so expensive that the librarian responsible wouldn’t allow nobody touch it. :s

I’ve got a printer? Now I can sell the students printing services.

All begun when in the Journalism class. Our professor asked each and everyone of us to make an individual newspaper. That newspaper would be done in the best way it would be possible for each and everyone of us. Only way in those years would be to print the headlines and text by hand cut and glue on thick paper. Yep, even Guttenberg had better tools in the XVI Century.

So the best way for me? With an Amiga of course and the DTP program like Professional Page. All assembled, edited, collated on that program and printed in glorious black and white 8pin matrix ‘colour’. :-) When my professor saw my ‘newspaper’, he was so impressed that he demanded me to make it all over again by hand, just to not be unfair to my colleagues who did not had a ‘wonderful computer’. I returned with the ‘hand-made’ newspaper the following day or so, with the DTP parts cut and collated in A3 size carton-like paper with the same layout that had in the all printed version.
The professor said something about ‘cheating’ and I something in the likes of “you cannot stop the technical evolution and the capacity for the student to use that same technology to innovate and excel himself in areas that were previously only managed by older people”.
He answered me with a thunderous laugh and a tap on the back inviting me to leave. I left with a feeling that I might had won.

This episode was what propagated the idea for certain students that they needed a home computer for school work. I proposed my services and then there were fliers, signs, word processing, you name it. I know that I blanked a LX-800 printer ribbon cartridge every 2 weeks and that, meant a lot of work. Best of all were the girls, a great deal of them asked me to help them with some kind of school work that needed to be done in the computer. Well very pleasant late afternoons that, such feminine companionship, made the work that needed to be done very light and easy, I might say. And on schedule! Damn!
– Technological Week

Every year we had in hour school a Technological Week (TW), more or less by the end of the second term. In the TW (don’t we just love new anachronisms? :D), each student was dedicated to a single task and many classes presented shows and presentations in the subjects that they choose. Theatre plays, radio, video production, DJ’ing, journalism, science, maths… etc, etc. Well you get the picture.

My task in that great year of 1989 was to make audio jingles for every broadcast that would be made on the local school radio, and video production that would be played at the beginning of every VHS and Video2000 tape production. All that meant some work in the month before TW and many production reunions with different people in my house. By then we had moved to a bigger home just outside the city where I had my ‘Production and Studio Room’ (PSR). First week was an absolute chaos with many people gathering at the same time and nothing much was done in the middle of it besides playing games on the Amiga, drinking soda, telling jokes, farting a lot and not being productive at all.

So I defined some schedule and guidelines on the weekend so we can run by team each day and have some actual work done. Was somewhat my first experience as the leader of a production team(s), that would come very handy for the future. :)

All work was done in Aegis Sonix for the music production and sound effects. It was a really flexible program that could make several different effects just in the editor and then one playing them on the keyboard, by the end I had moved from Sonix to Soundtracker for the final two tunes.
For the video production I used a mix of Aegis Impact, painting with Photon Paint, some animation with Aegis Animator and video titling with unfortunately a software I really do not recall the name right now but was very cool and allowed to use Kara bitmapped fonts for great effect.

Fantavision made very nice transitions for hand made logos on the program. Was great fun to work with it and source of major laughs in the process of creation by me and my colleagues. I could deepen the process of creation, but I didn’t feel like it. The important thing to retain from those weeks was simply the fellowship, the help, the will to make something good and to stand out in the end. They were very creative weeks and I’ve never used my Amiga to this capability before. A real video-audio production box with only 2 floppy drives! o/ Was simply amazing that so simple programs, but yet so powerful at the same time, allowed us to achieve such excellent results.
I really learned a lot that year making cool stuff on the Amiga. I really just wished I had a genlock at the time. With that we could really have made something even greater! Overlaying Amiga graphics over video. I even bargained for a shop to lend us one. But at 600€ at the time the owner was not much convinced to lend it to a bunch of teenagers even if we at the end would put the shop logo and name on the production as a form of publicity.

This experience served us all to learn a lot in the field and to search our own endeavours in the business later on.

Now that I’m sitting here reliving the past and actually writing about my experiences of more than 20 years ago, I strengthen the thought of how really important the Amiga was in defining my career. Once again, thank you for all.

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