Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Corporate Spying Can Get you .. Busted!

I was randomly going through a few members folders looking for something to post, and this one said, "Post me!" so I did. The caption was popular enough that a few people requested it when I was doing a "retro-fit" for those who'd posted extra comments in others captions.

I think it is a good caption, not necessarily one that screams out "I rule!" by any account. However, I think it is a solid caption that hits on many things that people enjoy in their TG captions. First off, you have a relatively normal situation, aka a work office. There is a bit of un-ethical behavior by the protagonist, PLUS the person they are spying on has a magical edge to his work performance. Then the punishment for the action, which isn't quite as bad as it seems, since Bob doesn't get caught in the end. Then there is the topper to conclude it, where it makes your mind think about what happens next. Also, who wouldn't want to look like THAT?!? The fact that the magical device is, for me at least, subtle in its arrangement and integration into the story makes me like it more.

Why did I post this caption though today? Well, it features one of my favorite repeat characters .. Jenkins. He made an "appearance" in one of the captions I posted a few days ago, and I like using that name as someone you never see, but is referred to by the main characters, specifically in captions involving work. I mean, say the name in your head with an indignant tone right now .. "I sent the report to Jenkins yesterday!" ... "Jenkins approved that deal, I swear!" .. just sort of rolls off the tongue in a way that "Jones" or "Smith" don't ... as a generic name that is a bit more specific. Also Old Man Jenkins would've gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids!

DISCUSSION QUESTION: I consider this to be a "consistent" caption, in that, it is about the average quality of a caption that I produce. I make a few clunkers here and there, and occasionally put out a classic, BUT most of my 900+ captions fall into this area of story-telling, skill, and design. At what point did you become aware that your skill level remained fairly consistent? I mention this because I see new members of the Haven hit an imaginary wall at some point. They start off like a house of fire with the first 8-15 captions, then it slows down. The ones that can get over that first hump usually stick around for awhile, and the rest fade away. What tricks did you use to get around or through that wall? What was it that hung you up in the first place?

I will be following up on this topic within the next month. It is a topic I've discussed with others privately, and if I can find that source material, I will expand more about this, and incorporate what others bring up here in the comments.

PS. I just noticed that I had a double "a" in the caption, Sometimes things fall through the cracks in proofing. Oh well! Que sera, sera!


  1. I think it's a common mistake to use up all your creativity within the first few captions.
    I wouldn't say I've noticed an obvious wall (I'm 88 captions in), but it does feel like there's a finite amount of ideas out there. So I now try to make sure newer captions are more focused so as to ration ideas for later down the line.

    It's a stark contrast to some of my older caps where there's a lot going on in a short amount of time. I think it's better the way it is now, each concept has more room to move.

  2. @ Alyssa

    I think that does seem to be the pattern with new captioners. If they can figure out how to get past that first wall, they are more likely to stick with it. In your case, it was focusing on something and making it specifically about that.

    In a way, I do that as well. I tried to strip down a TG caption to its bare essentials and play with the components: tweaking them, parodying them, eliminating them ... all to figure out what is needed and what isn't. I'm sure that in most artistic endeavors, there are people that deconstruct the standards and play in some sort of dadaist sandbox. I wanted to be one of those people, though I don't usually flaunt so much of an anarchistic bent, but a minimalistic one.

  3. I don't know that I've found my skill level to be consistent yet. When I start making a cap to this day, I have no idea if its going to end up a clunker, a classic or something in between. I will say that just before my big writers block last summer I felt that I was dragging the bottom of the barrel both writing wise and design wise. I think that is due to me trying my best to keep up my original pace. In my first 6 weeks captioning I made 30 caps of various quality. I was learning both what worked for my audience, as well as what worked for me. For the next few months I kept up a similar speed, but found that I lost quality control. Some were really good, but most were below par. After I got back into the swing of things I found my range of quality had settled down along with my speed.

    I guess most of that comes from just knowing when a cap isn't going to work, and nipping the real clunkers before they see the light of day. But I haven't made any real classics either. I guess looking at it that way it was early this year that I found my caps becoming much more consistent. No clunkers, no classics. That would put me at 14 months in.

    I haven't figured out what gets me going and what stops me from going. The feeling seems to just have a mind of its own. I would love to figure it out. The main thing that got me through that wall was the consistent comments from members at the haven, telling me that it wasn't a problem if I took my time. I felt REALLY bad if I left someone in debt for more than a few days, but as more people told me they didn't mind waiting, I felt the pressure come off.

    And now that is just part of my modus operandi. I will make all cap backs, but it may take me a few hours, it may take me a few weeks. Knowing that most people are o.k. with that lets me concentrate on making good caps, and not just paying back people as soon as possible.