I've been working on the decision as to what to do with the Big Broken Box™. There is a large amount of information to deal with, as well as a bunch of unknowns that need to be known and options that need to be explored, but since I'm doing pretty much pure research and analysis at work these days, my head is all wrapped up in process.
Part of the process that is really hard to define is the synthesis. That is the art of the analyst, the part that is the undefinable quality of what makes an analysis exceptional or mediocre. Essentially it relies on the ability to collect and organize information in such a way that patterns start to emerge, and it can lead to powerful insight.
It's made more difficult when you have a subjective point of view, either from bias or just being too close to the problem. Trying to rid the self of preconceptions is futile, so having another way to try and minimize their impact is important if it's necessary to try and be objective.
One way of doing this is to collect information in a non-subjective manner. Something like ice cream is better than pie is subjective, so trying to decide between the two might be done more effectively by listing the merits of ice cream and pie separately, then comparing them. There is more to it of course, but I'm really getting off the track here: what I'm really trying to do is look at what the issues are with the Big Broken Box™ and my relationship to it (hello subjective), and come up with a "map" of possible solution paths. Hopefully this will spark a possibility that I hadn't thought of.
On to the stuff.
1.) My needs don't match the house's resources.
I find myself doing "living" stuff (sleeping, eating, bathing, lounging, etc.) in a very small part of the house, which is basically bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and to a lesser extent laundry room and other stuff. The "working" stuff that I do though takes up a lot of space in a far more industrial (read: messy) manner: building stuff, making gooey bloody body parts, welding, plastering, stuff like that. End result is that I end up with mess all over the place.
2.) Dog needs more space to run.
Small yard, bored dog, large poop collection.
3.) Studio space.
Ain't got none to speak of. That is a critical need that has become the single biggest block to doing movie stuff (not counting not having a budget).
4.) Mental space.
The Big Broken Box™ is much filled with memory-crap from a failed relationship, as well as being filled with literal crap (or semi-literal crap and not actual feces, though I suppose there is some with three cats and a dog).
Bought the house as-is, knowing it needed repair. Fixed a lot of it already, but there is enough stuff left that is big that I can't easily do by myself. There is stuff that I can do, but I don't have time to do it.
Not unmanageable, but constricting. I'm paying the full utilities and mortgage payment by myself-- actually not that much different than when I was coupled-- and it's a lot for something that I'm not getting the use out of that I'd like. It doesn't allow for a lot of "extra" money for things like repairs and food and movie equipment.
I'm not getting younger, I'm not getting stronger, faster, lighter. More of a "me" issue, since I could improve my heath considerably with more regular exercise, but that's a tangent thing.
Living space needs/wants:
For me, I don't need a lot. For actual bedspace, I'd actually be pretty happy with a "coffiin" like the Japanese stacking cheap hotels. I'd also need a closet and probably dressers and the like, and assuming that at some point I may end up sharing my bed on a regular basis with someone other than my dog, having a fairly regular bedroom may be a reasonable thing.
My own personal bathroom needs are fairly minimal, so a toilet/sink/shower would suffice for most things. However, I really like the luxury of having a big-ass soaking/spa tub in a relaxing atmosphere. My ideal would be a split configuration with a separate but conjoined space for the toilet/sink/shower and the relaxing tub.
A second bathroom couldn't hurt, particularly if we're talking multiple floors.
3.) Kitchen/dining room
Industrial kitchen. Gas stove. Island sink. Dining space could be a part of it, or could be conjoined separate space.
4.) Laundry room
Washer. Dryer. Shelves. Table. Maybe ironing board.
Pretty noticeable that I could use one room just for an office space that could also be a library or den. One place to keep things like bills and paperwork organizized. In a pinch, it could also double as a guest bedroom.
6.) Media room
Invigorated home theater. Also storage for DVDs and CDs. Having a dedicated room for this is a pretty obvious choice for me.
7.) Spa/workout/hot tub/massage space
Now how could I possibly get by without bringing up the hot tub? You knew it was coming. In larger terms, it's a home spa. A place to exercise, relax, unwind. A place for my massage table that's big enough to set up and move around in. A sauna would be cool too. I wouldn't say no to a pool, but it's probably not something that I'd choose to put in myself, as I think it would be too much maintenance for the use that I'd get from it.
8.) Guest bedroom/entertaining space
Thought about this. Since I'm hoping to be more social in the future, it would be nice to have an entertaining space where friends could crash when necessary. While it could be combined with the library/office/den above, a separate space would be nice.
Practical stuff, like the furnace, water heater, A/C, electrical, that kind of stuff.
Never enough storage.
11.) Broadband internet access
Gotta have it. Cable would be cool too, but I ain't gonna complain. I really don't watch that much TV.
12.) Heated garage
Aside from being better for the vehicle(s), working on the car is a whole lot easier when it's warm.
Working space needs/wants
This is the number two limitation that I have with making movies (number one is budget). Having a space to build sets and shoot is crucial, and if I actuall had the space, a lot of the budget restrictions would be lifted.
As for size, a minimum of around 50 x 50 feet of clear space (i.e. no support posts) and a 16-foot interior clearance would do me. 60 x 40 feet would also work, but that's about as far as I'd want to go. Larger is better, but I'd be okay in a larger space with support posts as long as they weren't invasive. 24 to 32 feet ceiling height would be preferred as well.
Mind you, that's interior space. Soundstage needs things like sound insulation, sprinkler system, electrical, lighting grid, and fun stuff like that.
2.) Workshop space
I do a lot of very messy projects, from woodworking to welding to painting to sculpting to foaming to bleeding and making corpses. I work with a bunch of chemicals and materials and a wide swath of tools. Having actual space to work with is something that I really, really miss. Having proximity to the soundstage would be necessary, and having it conjoined would be ideal. Think theater scene shop. Probably a minimum of 30 x 30 feet. Bay doors and a loading dock would be a good idea.
3.) Green room
Actors and their needs. Space to prep for performances.
4.) Dressing rooms
They don't have to be huge, but at least two. Mirrors
5.) Makeup rooms
Dedicated makeup rooms with lighting and space. I know enough about makeup that I understand the need for dedicated makeup rooms.
At least two. Toilet/shower/sink at a minimum.
A non-green-room space, good for craft services and crew to hang out so as to nopt bother the preparing actors.
8.) Office space
This would probably need to be at least a couple of rooms and a larger meeting/board room.
9.) Kitchen/dining room
Probably attached to the lounge, or combined with. Food prep area and separate serving area. Actors and crew seem to get hungry.
10.) Recording studio
For handling things like voiceover, ADR looping, recording musical acts, etc. Lots of soundproofing.
11.) Edit bay
Need a place to edit.
12.) Outdoor space
Ever watch Buffy? Know the big graveyard? Yeah.
13.) Equipment/server room
As the place gets bigger, the needs increase. I already have need for a server room, and that need ain't gonna decrease.
Seems like this is something common to everyplace. Oh, wait, it is.
Well, we've got scene storage, prop storage, equipment storage, costume storage...
16.) Broadband internet access
Any doubts here?
1.) Theater/performance space
Something that I'd really consider if there was enough space and it was adequately close to the mark would be having a theater/performance space for live shows. It could be rented out, and if it were close enough, become another Fringe space.
2.) Haunted house space
Having a dedicated space available for a seasonal attraction makes it a whole lot easier to manage and put on every year. Since I already know somebody who wants to do this and already has a rather substantial investment in equipment and props and such, it's a natural.
3.) Packaging/shipping space
For some reason, I think that having the facilities to produce and ship DVDs might be a good thing.
I would love, love, love to have a dedicated space just to handle stuff like recycling and processing for materials.
5.) Going underground
I would also love to be able to build a considerable part of the facility underground. Energy savings, environmental savings, aesthetics, soundproofing reduction, it's all good.
Okay, big honking list. Not all of it is necessary, but I had to get some of this out of my head.