Month: September 2016

How to Add Real Emotions to Your Screenplay Characters

One of the most critical factors to create a dynamic screenplay story is how your characters express themselves and how they react to others. Not to be confused with normal novel writing, screenplay emotion is somewhat different because you are writing for viewers, not readers. Within a novel you can effectively write out what a character feels and the inner dialogue that surrounds that emotion. Screenwriting has no inner dialogue, unless you know how to effectively (and sparingly) use “on screen” or “off screen” narration. When writing your screenplay, you must capture emotions through mostly images and action, and not words.

Much of the emotion within a script will rely heavily on dialogue, using key phrases that will point towards a specific emotion. Let’s take hate for example: to describe hate within a dialogue you can employ different techniques. If Johnny hates his brother Bill, you cannot directly say “I hate you!” because the audience would not feel or understand the depth of the hate. You can add action and images between cuts of dialogue to express Johnny’s hate, or you can have Johnny speak about his hate to another character who has opposing views to create conflict. Adding a voice over (V.O.) could also show how much Johnny hates his brother, such as “I can’t stand this person, every single moment I look at him I feel sick to the stomach. Sometimes I wish Bill could just fade out of existence… ” and so on. Or you could have your character writing about his feelings in a secret diary.

Various techniques of color and scene can play an integral part in transcribing characters’ emotions. This time let’s use love as the emotion. You can set up a scene in which the surroundings look bright, calm, and soothing. Then you can describe characters or objects as part of the scene. You can write “Birds are chirping, it’s a sunny afternoon, and a Frank Sinatra love song is playing in the background.” Remember that your audience’s sensory faculties are limited to sound and images; thus, it important to use concrete and dynamic images to express emotions.

Any emotion that you use for a character is one you must know or have experienced firsthand. This way you can extract emotions from your own personal life and create scenes that actually have… well… life! No viewer wants to watch an emotionless movie for two hours straight; you need to learn how to transcribe what stirs your emotions into the script.

To aid you in capturing real emotions, you could purposely create moments of emotion within your life and see how you react and how the other people react. You can also observe other people interacting, watch their movements, and listen to the tones of their voice. Try to get deep inside and submerge yourself within the emotion itself. Being receptive to different emotions will help you create more memorable, lifelike characters who viewers can relate to.

If you choose not to take such a direct approach to learning new emotions, then study movies in different genres, such as romance, horror, drama, and action. Make notes about what made you feel tense, unhappiness, happiness, terror, love, hate, and so on. Then try to implement those elements within your screenplay’s scenes.

Source by Brian K. Scott

How to Describe Your Speaking Expertise Without Using the Word "Motivational"

Are you having a hard time figuring out how to describe your expertise without using saying you’re a “motivational speaker?”

Did you know you cannot motivate any one else? You can inspire others to motivate themselves, but you cannot motivate them. The National Speakers Association online directory lists 634 motivational speakers out of the 3,600 current members. If you’d like to think of a way to define your expertise, describe your uniqueness and differentiate yourself without using the word “motivation”, here are some related words and phrases for motivation and/or the effect of being motivated, that you can use today to describe what you can do for any organization – whether the audience is comprised of employees, commissioned salespeople or entrepreneurs:

access wisdom, imagination, ingenuity, acuity, acumen, brilliance, artistry; arouse; compel;

create breakthrough thinking; elicit; embolden; encourage originality; energize; engage intellect; engage imagination; expand awareness; expand possibilities in life; galvanize; impel; induce; influence; innervate; innovate; invigorate; persuade; prompt; propel; provoke; stimulate divergent thinking; stimulate inventiveness; stimulate; urge; utilize ingenuity.

Read below to see if any of these statements are what you do when you speak to audiences.

Here are some complete sentences you can use today!

– You galvanize individuals to tap into their natural ingenuity.

– You stimulate innovative ideas that expand the mind and the organization by sharing brilliant marketing ideas that ensure continued growth, individually and collectively.

– You prompt new ways of thinking that build spirit, cooperation and productivity.

– You demonstrate through story form that the power of one idea, getting organized around it and using all resources to leverage that idea, can dramatically improve your income.

– You urge the organization to brainstorm in ways that are fun and productive – generating increased sales and decreasing turn-over. When the workplace is innovative and inviting of imagination, it’s a place people love to be.

– You incite a spontaneous combustion of creative thinking, dreaming and realization.

And remember…when you’re talking with a prospective buyer about hiring you, And the educational sessions are going to focus on industry updates and current technical practices, stress the importance having of a keynote that leaves attendees inspired.

The best way to ensure that the updates and practices covered at the conference will be absorbed and integrated is to bring in a successful individual that will inspire the audience individually, engage the intellect and reinforce that the contributions of attendees will be valued. That sets the tone for post-conference behavior.

Source by Mary McKay

How to Make Your Boyfriend Feel Sexy – Seductive Ways to Make Him Feel Like an Adonis!

There are times when it is obvious that your boyfriend is feeling a little low and unattractive. He does not want to go out anymore and seems listless and lethargic. This can be dangerous and can put a damper on the relationship. Here are some exciting tips that will help boost your boyfriend’s ego and make him feel sexy and attractive!

Pamper and spoil him a bit

Maybe you have been too busy with yourself and have neglected your boyfriend. This could have led to him thinking that he is not attractive enough. Feeling insecure and negative will lead to unhappiness and despair. Pamper him and spoil him so that he begins to feel loved and special. Slowly make him confident of his sexuality.

Compliment him in such a way that he feels really hot

A man is as turned on and motivated by compliments and praise as a woman. It could be that you have failed in this area and have ignored his needs to feels accepted and appreciated. It is important to compliment and praise him in such a way that he begins to feel sexy and hot!

Don’t compare him with others

The worst thing you could do is compare him with another guy! He will automatically feel intimidated and think that you don’t like him anymore. He could start to feel like he was not good enough and this may make him lose interest in sex or even the whole relationship in general. If you make comparisons – tell him he’s way better than the other guys!

Let him know that you are as much in love as ever

If he has doubts about your feelings for him, it may make him insecure about himself. If he begins to think that he is not sexy enough or good enough for you then he might go into a shell. All you have to do is praise his sexual prowess and show him through your words and actions that you think that he is extremely sexy and attractive and he will feel really good.

Do the whole romance thing from the start

Sometimes it is necessary to woo and romance your boyfriend all over again. Make him feel sexy and good by sending him little love notes, kissing and caressing him and even making a play for him in public!

Look sexy and inviting

If you look good enough to eat and sexy to boot – he will automatically rise to the occasion and feel sexy too! Add some new Victoria’s Secret lingerie to your wardrobe and excite him. Dress in gorgeous, elegant yet sexy clothes that will make him want to take you home!

Help him along!

Don’t make him despair and lose interest in the relationship by sitting in the sidelines and making him do everything. If you can see him waning and losing confidence – repair the situation by doing something about it. Exert some sexual energy and make him excited about you. This will make him feel sexy and happy too!

Source by Krista Hiles

Published in Tips by sima alaka.

Female Detective – Personality Traits of Female Amatuer Slueths

A cozy mystery is not interesting without a powerful and intellectual amateur female detective. Such fictional detective characters are known as sleuths. The amateur sleuth in a cozy mystery typically has no official association with law enforcement agencies; she may appear at crime scenes, but she’s not paid for her services.

There are certain qualities which a female sleuth must possess. These personality traits make her distinctive; they set her apart from the rest of us mere mortals.

Let’s have a look at the incredible qualities of a female detective.

Intellect

A female detective has to be witty and clever, using her brilliance to carve out minute details which are often ignored. She sorts through all kinds of clues and suspects in a case, using her sharp intellect to consider all possible solutions. She’s adept at questioning suspects, frequently proven to be better than police inquirers and crime personnel. She remembers details, often overlooked or considered insignificant, which lead to solving a case.

Skillful

Being a detective requires skill in various arenas. Not only must a female sleuth have to overcome the stigma of being a woman, and thus, weaker than her male counterpart; she must appear rational, courageous, daring, independent, and in possession of special skills.

Apart from being a detective, the cozy mystery sleuth typically owns her own business or is employed in a profession which allows her to interact with many people.

In addition to her professional skills, her other roles may include being, a wife, a mother, a daughter, or a sister.

The Power of Intuition

A sleuth without the power of intuition cannot be completely successful. This quality is especially relevant in light of women’s natural intuition. They are more vigilant in seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching; and their sixth sense is more active than men.

Their critical thinking and intuitive sense helps them understand people better. They are more logical and reasonable, embodying psychological acuity useful in their interrogation of suspects.

Inquisitive and Sneaky

Without meaning to offend, we can’t neglect the inquisitive nature of women. When a female detective feels something is not right, she pursues until her curiosity is satisfied.

A female sleuth possesses the power of questioning. If she does not understand something, she asks what, when, how, why, where, and who, making sure there are no details she has missed.

Justice and Integrity

A female sleuth is typically known for an inborn sense of justice and fairness. She displays a sense of sympathy without letting a culprit make a fool of her. She sides with empathy over vengeance; humiliation over pride.

In spite of these superior skills, the female amateur sleuth is still vulnerable. She has weaknesses, obstacles to overcome, and challenges to face. These may be the qualities more than all the other traits which make her endearing; someone we want to spend time with.

Source by Rayna Morgan

How To Make Colored French Fries

Everyone loves French fries. However, it is the kids, who are thrilled to eat French fries all day long. However, the fries that are available in fast food outlets are not very healthy, as they contain a lot of unsaturated fat and sodium. So, it is best to make fries as home. However, then you may face another problem with your kids complaining that these fries are not as delicious as the ones available at the local fast food outlet. You can get your kids to eat the healthy fries by being a little creative.

Making colored French fries is not that difficult, as most people have all the necessary ingredients at home. Also, this dish is great for a kid’s party when all kids want to do is gorge themselves on junk food.

Wash six russet potatoes and dry them well using kitchen towel. Peel the potatoes and then cut them into 1/2-inch sticks. This width ensures that the fries cook faster.

Squeeze fresh lemons to get about half a cup of fresh lemon juice. Add the food coloring of your choice into the lemon juice. About 2 tablespoons of the coloring should suffice. Mix the lemon juice well to ensure that the coloring dissolves completely.

Transfer the colored lemon juice into a large container and place the cut potato slices into it. Place the slices in a single layer and ensure that all of them are covered with the lemon juice. Allow the potatoes to stand for about three hours. Thereafter, place the slices on some paper towels to get dry. While you are getting the potatoes ready, preheat the oven to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

You will be baking the French fries to give your kids a healthier treat. Now prepare the roasting pan by spraying with some non-stick spray. Check whether the colored potato slices are dry. Toss the dried potato slices in some olive oil and add salt to taste.

Place a single layer of the slices onto the roasting pan. Do not place a second layer, as the bottom one will not cook. Place the tray into the preheated oven for around 30 minutes. Make sure to turn over the fries after 15 minutes to ensure that the other side also gets cooked. Allow the fries to cool a bit before serving them.

Serve the colored French fries to your kids and watch them looking amazed and delighted. You can be certain that after making this dish, your kids will always ask you these French fries at home constantly; and most probably you will not mind if your kids enjoyed themselves.

Source by Kum Martin

Published in Tips by sima alaka.

How To Improve Your Singing Voice – 7 Quick Tips To Sing Like A Pro

If you are much into music and guitars and have a desire to be a professional singer but whenever you sing, your voice comes out nasally, you are a troubled soul. If you really want to improve your singing voice and try your best to find out those techniques that will prove beneficial in improving your singing voice you need to practice the following breathing exercises.

1. You can improve your singing voice by concentrating on your breath. Keep in mind that if you do not breathe properly, you will not be able to produce the required quality voice. You can check your breath by placing your hand at your stomach, take a breath if your stomach expands in this process, you are breathing correctly. Actually it is your diaphragm that is activated by strong abdominal muscles that expand while you are breathing and provide improved singing voice.

2. Relax your self by stretching your facial muscles, jaws, and vocal chords. By warming up a little you will be able to produce an improved quality singing voice. Stand straightly keeping the feet about shoulders width apart and chin in the outward position. Try to focus on your position while breathing. This will help you in relieving tension which acts as a hurdle when you are trying to improve your singing voice.

3. Another important tip which is helpful in improving your singing voice is to put your soft palate and tongue in a right position. By raising the soft palate, you will be able to resonate your voice and the tip of the tongue placed at the back of the teeth will help it in coming out of the throat.

4. Drinking lots of water is good if you are trying to improve your singing voice. If you have to perform somewhere, include water in your diet as much as you can as it will really help in maintaining voice quality by keeping your throat clean.

5. While singing, avoid strain by maintaining proper breathe control. Staying at your speech level will enable you to sing in a high or a low pitch, thereby improving your singing voice. I would recommend you to sing those songs while practicing that you can sing easily. Once you get used to the tone of your favorite song you can sing it by staying at your speech level as it will definitely support your voice and you will feel comfortable.

6. If you will warm up before singing, it will give you a nice start. You can warm up by relaxing your muscles by taking a deep breath and exhaling it in the same manner. Believe me it will really work in improving your singing voice and you will sing like a professional who hits high notes without straining even for a second.

7. It will be good to have a vocal teacher to train you in improving your singing voice. He will give you an instant response or feed back which will help you a lot and can solve many of your problems related to your voice.

If you will apply all of these tips to improve your singing voice you will surely find a change in your voice quality, you will be able to hold your voice and can hit high notes so incredibly that will make other singers envy you.

Source by Emma Careyus

Published in Tips by sima alaka.

Basic Principles Of An Ascension Marketing Model

To be successful online selling your information products, you must have a sales funnel. Every successful marketer has one, so you need one too. There are a million different ways to put together a sales funnel, but the ascension model seems to be very popular among most online marketers. In this article, I’ll explain the basic principles of an ascension marketing model and why it’s so popular.

The basic premise is to move people through your sales funnel from low to high priced products. When people start in the sales funnel, they can’t advance without buying the product in front of them. They get introduced to the first product at an ‘entry level’ price. That might be a $10 or $20 product, most likely being a 1 hour product. When they buy, they’ll be introduced to the next product, which might be a 3 hour course for $97.

After that, a 5-10 hour course ranging from $297 to $497 is appropriate for the third products. Finally, the last product in the funnel is the top product you have. Typically, this will be a 10-20 hour course for $997 and up. It could be group coaching, personal coaching, a home study course, whatever.

This model really only requires 4 different levels of products to make it work. Think of the model as a filtering process, where only the right people for you buy your best products. Obviously you’re going to have fewer buyers at each level, but the revenue gained from the higher priced products is well worth it. If you do the math with 1000 subscribers and only 20% buying from each level, the money made is nice.

The good thing about this model is it’s easy to start with. It makes the most sense because you only want people who are serious to buy your products. This model is also easy to grow with as you can add more products to each level. If people don’t buy the first product in your funnel at the entry level price, maybe they’ll buy the next one.

This model is easy to automate with email auto responder systems that do all of the work and thinking for you. This model is the easiest for consistent income. If you know where each level converts at, you can forecast your income for every 1000 subscribers to your list.

The drawback is that it takes time to get people from your starting products to your high priced programs. Depending on your niche or your business, your high end product may be your ‘bread and butter’. If it takes them a long time to get there, it may affect your overall business growth.

Source by GT Allen

50 Marketing and Sales Promotional Plans – Next Set of 15

Hi, we are back again with more promotional plans. Our ’50 Promotional Plans’ have been compiled to help retail businesses reach out to their target market more effectively. Since there are so many creative promotional models out already, retailers can use the best fit to get the maximum visibility, better cost-effectiveness, improve branding and achieve greater sales.

We had previously discussed promotional ideas such as Happy hours, Free trials, Customer care, Complimentary products, Group discounts, Cross promotion, Motivational offers, Fun offers, Group offers, Free service, Spares with product, Selling attractive packages, Freebies, Free shipping, Referral schemes and Block renewals. These promotional ideas were well received by our readers and now we are back again with the next 15 schemes for you.

1) Senior Citizen Discounts: Special discounts for senior citizens, a gradually increasing segment with specific needs, is a great idea. In fact, there is a site entirely dedicated to this segment – seniordiscounts.com. Through senior citizen specific schemes you can promote any product or service that senior citizens may need and build a whole new market segment. For example Super Religare Wellness had a scheme where it gave 10% off to all senior citizens. Even Ayurcare offered special discounts to senior citizens for its therapies and detoxification programs.

2) Discounts to Niche Customers: Select the target segment you wish to focus on – say, a particular membership card holder that suits your profile – and offer them a discount. For example, a top end restaurant providing discounts to Club Mahindra holders would bring exclusive focus to an attractive, new segment.

3) Tie-ups with Banks: A tie-up with banks to provide special discounts for customers who use their bank cards at your retail outlet provides access to many potential customers at negligible cost. Several banks are ready to do this.

4) Early bird customers: How about early bird schemes where customers get special discounts for buying early? Such schemes prod customers into buying early to avail the discount. From travels to wellness centres and even corporate training programs, early bird incentives are always a great way to promote your products and services. Wild Frontiers, an adventure travel site offered a 5% discount for early bird registrations while VITS Wellness Centre, Andheri offered a limited period special discount for early bird couples.

5) Reward the customer for his efforts: Reward your customer for the efforts they put in for their own good. ‘Fitness First’, a fitness centre, rewarded its customers for losing each kilogram, with a Rs. 500 discount for each kilogram lost.

6) Use short codes effectively: Let your customers participate in an on-the-spot contest, and in the process get their mobile numbers too. Give a freebie or a discount to whoever participates in the contest. Subway used this scheme by asking customers to enter a contest: Subway gets the customers contact details such as mobile number and email id while customer gets discounts or freebies.

7) Special Event promotion: A special event such as an anniversary, festival or a special day like Valentine’s Day is a great time to offer a promotion scheme. Give a special discount to anyone who registers or buys on occasions such as Children’s day, Mother’s day, Father’s day, Teacher’s day etc. For example Gold’s gym offered a special discount for couples who joined the gym on Valentine’s day and Big Cinema gave away free tickets for women patrons on Woman’s Day.

8) Price guarantee: When real estate prices are falling and people do not buy because of uncertainty, a promotional scheme that offers to pass on the price benefit in case of lower prices in the future, drives sales. A limited period offer for those who book during the period, protects those from future price fluctuations. Aparna Constructions in Hyderabad has offered such a promotional scheme in view of the uncertainty in the real estate market to assuage fears of the customers and provide them with a window of opportunity to invest.

9) Surprise gift: Offer a surprise gift along with a service. Getting something free in the most unexpected of times always remains etched as one of the most memorable experiences for customers. It does not matter whether it is a small gift or a big one, what matters is that you have made the customer feel like the lucky one. For example Jaipan sells a combo package of home appliances such as a vacuum cleaner, toaster, blender and roti maker and throws in a a surprise gift!

10) Social causes: If your service has a social element to it, offer a promotional pricing with it. For example, Times Matrimonials, offers a discount for those who wish to advertise in their matrimonial column without a dowry requirement (or without a caste and religion bar). Similarly they offer discounts for senior citizens and widow/widowers and differently abled customers.

11) Environmental cause: A environmental cause like energy efficiency could focus on a specific scheme targeted at its customers. For example the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in India had called for a specific segment, the BPOs, to provide a star rating for BPO buildings for energy efficiency. To promote the scheme, the Bureau has announced a waiver of a hefty registration fee of Rs. 1 lakh for the first 100 applicants!

12) Buy more, get more: Buy 1 item get 10% off, 2 items and get 20% off and 3 items and get 30% off. The more you buy, the greater the discount you get. ‘Allen Solly’ offered this deal in Chennai for its menswear and women’s wear sections. Similarly Bombay Dyeing did this for its bed sheets!

13) Old for New: This is an attractive scheme especially in times when consumers are buying more. Every thought of replacement comes with the problem of what to do with the old. Big bazaar has launched a scheme where the customer can take the old and exchange it for new stuff. It takes care of two problems for the customer – getting a new product and getting rid of the old.

14) Establish a strong relationship with your customer: To find out who is buying your products and to establish a relationship of trust with them is what all retailers wish to do. Ranbaxy offered an innovative promotion scheme of a scratch card + SMS for its medicines. When customers buy medicines, they are provided with a scratch card that has a unique code, which must be SMSed to Ranbaxy. When the customer purchases the same medicine three times and SMSes the unique code each time, he gets a PIN, which he can use to get the fourth medicine free. Ranbaxy also provides the option to the customer of receiving reminders on taking the medicine – a nice way of being in touch with the customer and reinforcing the thought that you care.

15) Attractive add-on charges: A nominal Re. 1 charge for a normal service such as making charges for jewellery attracts customers – even more than a free service campaign. Reliance jewellery recently offered a Re. 1 making charges scheme on jewellery bought at their stores.

50 Promotional Plans First 15

Source by Raghavendra Prasad

Objectivity in Technical Writing – Why It’s Important

What is objectivity? How to keep technical writing objective? How to maintain the objectivity? These are some of the questions, we will find answers to. Objectivity in writing means that the author or writer explains or discusses on a topic without subjectivity. It is an unbiased mental attitude.

Subjectivity in writing refers to the text that contains writer’s personal opinion, use of I, We, and their feelings. Therefore, it can be said that objectivity is to keep subjectivity away from the writing.

Example of objectivity is “SnagIt is an effective and useful screen capturing tool”. If this sentence was to be written in a subjective format, it would be something like this; “I find SnagIt a very useful tool for screen capturing”. According to many experts like Ugur Akinci, Ph.D. “very” kills the objectivity of a sentence and that it can be much better without this word.

Importance of Objectivity in Technical Writing

Technical Writing is about explaining or describing an objective fact, information, or procedure. It does not deal with human emotions, sentiments, or expressions; it would be likely to say that technical writing is objective.

There are three categories in technical writing, User Documentation, Software Documentation, and Technology Marketing Documentation. These categories involve products, applications, software, and machines and writers, specifically technical writers cannot pronounce their personal experiences and emotions for them. The writers have to be impersonal and objective in order to convey the product effectively.

For example, I have an IP phone set to describe its features and procedures; I should rather use an instructional voice for the users than telling them how I use it. Users want to see what is the ‘action’ and not the ‘actor’ because the position where they stand, they are actors themselves. They do not need to see a competitor sitting next to them.

Users’ interest in the documents is the motive behind technical writing, which fairly and impartially should be objective and clear. The more objective is a technical document, the more it is easy to follow the words. Objectivity also changes with the level of users, i.e. layman, experienced, and technical along with the three categories of technical writing.

Prominent Features of Objectivity

The following features can help you maintain objectivity in the documents.

  1. Objectivity results in no jargon and useless words
  2. Objectivity allows to differentiate between the words used in technical document, end-user, and marketing documents
  3. It shows the product upfront, instead of the writer
  4. Objectivity comes with Passive Voice
  5. Active Voice is used barely

Source by Rafia Shujaat

Field Herping Techniques & Tips

This is a quick guide to different field herping techniques that are quite common and productive for field herpers across the globe. As well as providing a few different techniques for you to employ, I’ve also added a quick “tips” section that deals with weather conditions, timing, and some different topics that need to be dealt with by most herpers.

Techniques

Flipping: Flipping debris can be extremely effective when looking for herps and is the method that most field herpers employ regularly. Flipping can refer to anything from natural cover like logs and rocks to artificial cover like tin, wood, and trash (that’s right, trash!) Snake and other herps love to utilize cover because it gives them the sense of security they need, and it is easy for them to thermoregulate by hiding below it during the hot hours of the day. But, flipping seems to be extremely good during the spring and fall seasons as a rule of thumb. Caution should be taken when flipping because you never know what is going to be under the next log you flip and you don’t want your hands to be the first thing to find out. When flipping, remember that as you flip debris you are changing microhabitats and that you should try to put everything back EXACTLY where you found it to keep these vital microhabitats intact.

Bark Ripping: Bark ripping is basically a way of searching for milk snakes and other small terrestrial animals that love to squeeze between the trunk and bark of downed trees. You do exactly what it sounds like, taking a potato rake or snake hook and ripping the bark away from the tree to reveal what lies beneath. This is not a tactic that I don’t employ much because, ethically, I have a problem with it. I feel that caution should be taken when doing this because you have to remember that there is another microhabitat living between the bark and the tree and when you are destroying it, you are destroying that hide for another herp and any microhabitat that may have been thriving before you came along.

Hiking in Habitat: If properly done, this can render a lot of finds in the field. It takes a lot of preparation and research to strategically hike in habitat looking for visual encounters, and finds can be very spaced out with lots of walking and work in between. I personally use this method a lot and have had moderate luck with it by researching what types of habitat my quarry is going to be located in. Most of the habitat you’ll want to walk will be where two habitats merge like a tree line; the perimeter of ponds, streams, and lakes; rock outcrops; and sloughs seem to be very productive in my experience. I find it enjoyable just to walk out in nature as well and if you want to hike first and herp second this could very well be the choice for you!

Road Cruising: This is considered the lazy man’s herping, and can get very expensive with the current gas prices. Basically you want to try and locate very remotely driven roads that pass through good habitat. Drive slowly because your target is normally small and can be difficult to see. I like to try and keep it around 20mph, but you have to figure out what is the right speed for your eyes to adjust and search effectively. I also like to turn my fog lights (low beams) on because I feel that in my car it lights up the street that much better. Generally the best times to road cruise are in the spring and fall, right at dusk/twilight. Road cruising also seems to produce more finds in the southern US than other places due to the extreme temperatures during the day and the considerably cool nights during the spring and fall. If you are wanting to road cruise for amphibians, going during or after light rains is perfect and has produced a lot of finds for me in the past. I would suggest giving road cruising a try, as it deserves a very proficient place in field herping, but if you really want to experience herps in their natural environment then this probably isn’t the method for you.

Dip Netting: Dip netting is a technique that is specifically used for finding amphibians that reside in shallow water. You take a net on a pole and basically walk the shore line and skim the shallow water for herps. I don’t do this much as I don’t like to carry the net out with me, but it is one of the most efficient ways of finding many different species of salamanders and definitely deserves a place in the field herping methods. There are many people who are very skilled with this method, and it takes time and practice to truly learn how to dip net efficiently. The one note I’d like to add is that care should be taken to check the net often as you can catch a herp quickly and drown it by dragging it through the water for a long period of time.

Funnel Traps: Funnel traps are a good survey tool for various herps, but are generally used for snakes more than anything. Normally these traps can only be used on private land unless a permit is obtained for surveying purposes on public land. A funnel trap is constructed of a wooden box with hole on each side. The top should also have a hinged lid of some sort so that the trapped animals can be retrieved safely and easily. Then a ¼ to ½ inch chicken wire is normally used to make a funnel that the snake can pass into, but can’t get back out of is created at the four holes that you created on each side of the trap. From that you should be as much black, tarp fencing as you can and make equally long strings of it out from the traps so that animals that run into the fence have the option of going around the fence, or directly towards the trap. These traps should be checked often as the snakes can get cooked in the sun, dehydrate, or eat one another if they are there for too long. Many people like to make sure the trap is shaded and they’ll put water containers into the traps to try and reduce the fatal importance the problems present. I have not used funnel traps, but if you’re trying to conduct a survey of an area or find a targeted species this is a great way to approach it.

Tips

Time of Day: The time of day that you go out looking for herps can be very important and, many times, will determine whether or not you have a successful day. If 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. are your favorite times of the day then you may very well be cut out for field herping. During the early morning when temperatures are just starting to rise and at twilight when the sun is setting is when most herps are actively searching out food and their next hide, so this is the time to find them. During the summer, the only times that will most likely be suitable for herps to be out and about will be during the early evening and into mid-morning because afternoon temperatures would kill them. During spring, however, I have had a lot of luck between 1-5 p.m. on days when the high reaches about 76F. I find lots of snakes basking in the warmth of the sun, and this seems to be the perfect temperature to find many diurnal snakes during the months of March and April. Road cruising is normally best at dusk, and when twilight hits I normally like to be at the road that I plan to cruise that night. So, important times to remember are morning and twilight if you want to have the best luck finding herps.

Time of Year: The best times of the year for field herping seems to take place during the spring and fall months when the rains are more frequent and they daytime highs are not at an extreme. I have found most of my herps during the months of March, April, May, June, September, October, and November. During the early spring and late fall months are when flipping natural cover and road cruising tend to produce the most herps for myself, and habitat hikes produce a lot of finds for me during these times too. Artificial cover tends to produce a lot of finds during all of these months as they are normally better heat conductors or insulators than natural cover and provide better cover when temps begin to rise or drop to more extreme levels. During the late spring and early fall months the technique that has worked best for me has tended to be habitat hiking later in the evening with lamps because many herp species are very active at this time and you’ll see a lot more of them crossing your path than you would imagine. As a final note, it is obvious that in extreme cold and heat snakes and other herps cannot survive very well outside and field herping is very difficult if not impossible during these times. With that said, many people in the South and in California have found herps during the winter months, and I have had luck in the North and Midwest during July and August where the midday temps don’t get quite as high.

Wet/Dry: Wet is always going to produce more than dry! That is just a field herping fact. The only time wet will be a detriment to your finds is when the microhabitats under natural or artificial cover are flooded or overly damp. Most species will not thrive in these conditions, but some amphibians find this perfect. But, if it is considerably or extremely dry outside, you’ll see your field herp finds drop off quickly. Most species will go into a state of “hibernation” during this time to conserve as much water as possible and survive the period of drought. During these times your best bet is to only check places in close proximity to a water source, or to wait until a rain comes because the herps will come out in full force. This is another reason why spring and fall are the best times of year because most precipitation comes during these months and the herps will be out and moving. Road herping can be phenomenal for finding herps after a good evening rain, and if you don’t need to get up early I would suggest hopping in the car and taking a drive if one of these light showers occurs because it will most likely pay off.

Moon Phase: Some field herpers swear by moon phase and wind speeds, but I haven’t seen much evidence that supports this case. It is documented that nocturnal species are not going to be very active during new moons or full moons because there is more light and thus, less cover for them to move under. I have seen some evidence that wind does have a factor however when it comes to road cruising because herps tend to avoid open spaces during winds over 10-15mph. I’ve still found plenty of herps in habitat during these winds, but road crossing during these gusts is almost null and I would suggest refraining from using this method and stick to places where gusts are blocked by trees and other natural barriers.

Where do I go?: The question I find most beginning field herpers ask is, “Where do I go to find herps?” Here is the best answer I can suffice, and this is how I went about getting into field herping and targeting certain species. The best way to find herp habitat is to contact people and do as much research as you can. Good places to start are field guides for your area and to contact people on various forums. There are many forums specifically dedicated to field herping, and most people are more than willing to share information with you for the area you’re in. Another great place to start is by contacting your local Parks & Wildlife department or Natural Conservation Museum. The receptionist may not be able to provide information, but normally somebody on staff is familiar with the local herps and more than willing to help out a novice herper in search of information. Public lands are normally easy to find (i.e. parks) but you need to make sure that herping is legal in these areas, and if you are planning to collect you need to make sure that it is legal or you have the permits necessary to collect native species. If you talk to these people enough and get into their circle, many times you can end up being asked to accompany herp surveys and help out if you are known to provide good records and ethical standards. Another great resource for scouting good herp habitat is Google Earth. This gives you an amazing topographical map that will tell you elevations and show you landmarks of interest that can really improve your field herping experiences. If you’ve contacted these places and are still having trouble you are always more than welcome to email me with inquiries and I’ll be more than happy to help you get started in the field in your area. My contact is [email protected].

Selecting Habitat: Selecting habitat can be made very simple with a little research on your target species and some time in Google Earth. I like to find habitat that has multiple habitats meeting in a close proximity so that I can walk these changes, and I like them to be near a good, constant water source so that I know it’s a good “oasis” for herps. Other good habitat tends to be rock outcrops on hills that face south or southwest because of the wind and sun exposure this direction receives tends to be more ideal. I normally herp more forested areas, grassy plains, creek bottoms, sloughs, and water sources more than other habitat and this seems to produce a good amount of targeted herps for my area. You just need to pinpoint the habitat that best fits your species (i.e. sandy or loose soil for pituophis and other fossorial species or woodlands and marshes for Agkistrodon) and look at maps for areas that you can access legally and fit these characteristics in your area. Remember, just because you didn’t find a herp the first time you try a spot doesn’t necessarily mean its bad habitat so check back from time to time and see if your initial feeling and research was correct.

Acquiring Hunting Property: Private property can be VERY useful for field herping and if approached correctly it can be easily acquired. NEVER GO ON PRIVATE PROPERTY WITHOUT PERMISSION!!! This can lead to serious confrontations that could end up with an angry farmer shooting at your, a ride in the back of a cop car, or worse if you’re unlucky. I grew up hunting in Iowa, and after watching people approach landowners for so long, I can assure you that it is very simple. Always approach landowners with courtesy and respect, and make sure that you state what you are requesting and what your intentions are with your found quarry. Most landowners will have no problem with what you are doing, and the more personable you approach the situation, the better the relationship is going to be. With a little conversation and possibly a cold drink, you can normally get a landowner to allow you on the land whenever you would like. A great thing about acquiring private property is if the owner allows you to, you can begin setting up your own “tin fields” which are just fields created out of roofing tin or sheets of plywood arranged strategically to provide good shelter for herps, thus better results for you. Once again, make sure that the owner is okay with you laying down tin in a certain area before you actually go about creating the field and getting yourself in trouble and possible kicked off the property for good.

Creating Artificial Cover: Artificial cover can be some of the most effective herping sites you can possibly make if they are constructed correctly. A good material to use is roofing tin because it is a good conductor of heat and it has a decent heftiness to it. Weight of the material is very important because herps like to be under something that is solid and secure and a light piece of balsa or a really thin sheet of metal doesn’t provide the type of cover they seek out most. When it comes to placing the material in the field, I like to find spots where two habitats collide and place artificial cover in these areas because most herps tend to be at these intersections. I also like to place cover so that some pieces are in the shade and some pieces are exposed to the sun so that the herps can thermoregulate between the different pieces. Another good way to provide artificial cover at different thermal gradients is by piling the cover at different levels so that the gradient is from the top to the bottom. Just make sure that when you search through this cover that you put the pile back just as it was to avoid disturbing microhabitats. After you have chosen a spot and placed your cover, it is best to wait a couple of months before the cover really start producing good finds. This allows the microhabitats to form under the cover, and a “moisture seal” is created between the ground and the cover that is desirable for herps. For this reason, you want to try and create several different tin fields so that you don’t over-herp a certain area and ruin the moisture seal that needs to develop. Over-herping can also create too many disturbances and animals will recognize when an area does not sustain the security they desire. This is only a brief introduction into creating tin fields and setting up your own AC is entirely up to you and what you are targeting with the cover. Locate some good habitat and try to set up some fields that will provide you with herps in years to come. Have some fun this season, and safe herping!

Source by Payton T Ruddock

Published in Tips by sima alaka.