April 21st, 2006

Rat: Inflatable

Answers #7

These are answers from my Ask Me Anything post. Post any new questions over there.

1. How far East have you traveled?

2. Do you have a favorite typeface?

3. Do you have any pet peeves about your improv workshops at FC?

1. Well, it depends how you want to divide the globe. I've travelled through Greenwich; if you use the great circle of zero time, that means that I've been quite far east. If we use the international dateline, I think that the easternmost area I've visited would be Switzerland.

2. Hmm, difficult question. As I know you know (that I know), I have a love of typography, though I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination.

I'd have to say that, for overall utility, my favorite font is definitely Garamond. Not unusual, I know, but the overhanging nose on the "a" and the nice proportions are really appealing. The serifs and wedges are good (witness "b"). Plus, it is usually provided with a stylish italic face (see "f").

For titling or other uses, I've got to give a nod to Zapfino, one that I've been really into lately. This is a particularly appealing font to me since I like long ascenders and descenders (thus, short x-heights) in styled fonts. Zapfino bears a passing resemblance to my own writing. (I wish it were more than passing!) But the flow and sweep of the lines in Zapfino are wonderful, compared to some similarly-proportioned handwriting fonts such as Cezanne; those curls don't appeal to me.

Finally, for a funky font with less of a calligraphy appearance, I've got to give a token nod to Dauphin. It's a bit funky, with slightly varying capital heights and odd wedge descenders. It contains a few curious throwbacks to earlier letterforms (see "d" and "y"). Besides, it has a lovely set of numerals (though there are many, many typefaces with similar digits). Since I've generally seen Dauphin as a free font, I'm guessing it's modeled off some commercial typeface, though I couldn't say which one.

3. My biggest pet peeve is that there isn't enough instruction. We have fun, play games, and all that -- which is good -- but we rarely get a chance to seriously focus on skills. This is partly due to the fact that we have to assume that participants have zero skills since it's open to anyone. And we usually do get a broad range of talent in the room. This makes it very hard to design activities which will allow advanced people to stretch themselves while not loosing the beginners.

I'd really like to see more practice at scene building skills, such as blocking, sharing focus, and character status. But it takes more concentrated practice to develop these (i.e. it stops feeling like "games" and more like "practice"). It would seem that the con environment isn't suited to that as much. The result is that our scenes suffer and we really don't advance much, year to year. *sigh*

But we still have fun, which I guess is our goal. Less learning, more silliness!