You Only Get So Much

Alarm clock ticking away.True, that goes for just about anything. But I’m talking about time. Clock’s always ticking, there’s no RESET button and no REWIND function. If people can’t understand that, or worse, aren’t willing to, then they’re people I don’t need. I’m not a content guy. Having the creds I have, looking over what I’ve been able to accomplish doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. It reminds me of the things I still haven’t done, and want to check off my ever-expanding bucket list.

I have a lot of goals I still want to achieve. When things were going bad with my film? I fought through the petty BS and finished it. Then I got it into festivals. Then I got it distributed-worldwide. Check, check, check. Mission accomplished. When I had issues with my first novel, I hired an editor. Didn’t work out. So, I tracked down the best editor I’d ever had, Marge Harris, who I hadn’t spoken to in nearly 15 years. It was tough, and took over a month, but I managed. Check. Novel drafts polished like crystal? Check. Publication? Check.

If someone around you is constantly dragging their personal baggage into your project? Ditch them. Flat out, cut ’em loose. If someone can’t check their agenda at the door and focus on the work? Why bother? No one is irreplaceable. Besides, you may find the albatross’ replacement is even more talented, or has something to offer you never expected. That’s my .02 cents. If someone’s drama or politics or bitterness is an obstacle, don’t suffer it. Overcome it. Much easier to move ahead without that kind of anchor dragging you down. Trust me on this one.

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Currently listening to: “Here’s Where the Story Ends” by The Sundays

 

New school & old school.

You all know I write a lot. Day, night, short stories, novellas, screenplays, blogs.the keystrokes pile up fast. The average keyboard lasts me about two years if I’m lucky. When my Dad passed, my old board was going South, so I got his. Lasted me 3 years, which impressed me. At Christmas, it was getting to be time again, so Pam bought me a brand new one. Same model, same everything. I thought I was set for a while.

Unfortunately, no. Despite me being a lifelong Logitech user, in roughly 6 months, my new board was going downhill fast. The ALT key had popped off a time or two. The space bar was so loose, if I pressed it down, Pam could see under the other side. The other night? The backspace key stuck (much to my chagrin), deleting a few paragraphs of work before I could get a toothpick under it to free it up again. In short? Not good. But, not the end of the world. Just go get a new one, right?

Not so fast. Pam and I went to do some browsing. Unfortunately, most places don’t have models on display any more. And Staples? Most of their boards are now of the chiclet-key variety, which I, not being up on such things, didn’t even know existed. My reaction? Again, not good.

So, last night, my space bar is failing on roughly every fifth word. The ALT key on the left is sticking, playing havoc with me whenever I try shifting from program to program. Since I need to navigate with only the keyboard, you can imagine the state this put me in. Tonight? Back to Staples, gritting my teeth, grudgingly forced to accept the fact I may need to move to this low-profile, chiclet-style keyboard. Until.

Pam’s guiding me around, and sees this funky display. Keyboards of a brand (Rock Candy) I’ve never heard of – nor has she. Instantly, I’m wary. If Pam’s never heard of it? I’m gonna think twice. And, when she said, “Oh, look. This one’s washable,” well, that set off all sorts of alarms. Washable? Must be a joke, right? And if not, what do I need a washable keyboard for? Leading to the bigger question: What the hell does a washable keyboard cost???

“Oh, and the keys are round,” she adds, putting my hands on it.

Now, pretend you’re me. You’re a writer who desperately needs a keyboard. You have a new screenplay you’re working on, and two new subs to get to publishers. You don’t want to have to spend time re-learning a board with a different layout or types of keys or that’s as smooth and unpleasant as a laptop board. Unpleasant to me, at least, because I need a little space between the keys. I like a board with a significant profile between the rows. You know – old school.  Round keys? What kind of nutty board is this?

“It comes in different colors,” says Pam, checking it out. “And yes, they have purple.”

Purple? That stops me in my tracks.

Grimace purple?” I ask, interest officially piqued.

“Grimace purple,” Pam confirms. Me being a worshipper of the big shake-loving guy, that almost sold me right there. Still, I hadda put the thing through its paces.

Rock Candy Keyboard in Grimace purple!

Round keys. In my head, something was rattling around, but I couldn’t put my finger on it (ha-ha) immediately. Not until I stood in front of this thing and started tappin’. And that was when I knew I was going home with this baby. Because something inside had awoken, and I was anxious to see if it was for real.

When I was nine, my Mom bought a $5 typewriter at a garage sale. I found it in the back of my Dad’s closet, and started pecking away. Shortly thereafter, I banged out my very first piece of prose fiction. When I was a few years older, my Dad brought home this monster of a business machine that the bank was retiring. Weighed about 40 lbs, no joke, and had huge ribbon reels. For the rest of my high school career, I banged away on that enormous Smith-Corona (as I recall). I wrote my first professionally published story on that typewriter. I wrote my first shoddy novel on it. I wrote, without exaggeration, thousands of short stories on that machine. I loved that thing.

But alas, all good things must come to an end. Metal fatigue began to set in. It got to the point I couldn’t repair the little things that kept going. And for my birthday, my parents got me my first electric typewriter. And so, I reluctantly put that beast to rest, giving it to the typewriter shop in town as a donation. Not gonna lie. Think I cried over it.

So now here I am. Three decades later, hundreds of short stories published, comic books in collectible guides, a few produced screenplays, couple of novellas out there, a well-received novel, 14 million copies of my work in print. And I’m here, breathing hard, because this new board? The keys, the keys are round. And they’re separated from each other by a significant distance. And, with the feet extended, the profile of the keyboard is, well, a lot like a typewriter.

A lot like a very old typewriter. True, nowhere near as big, and this thing is virtually weightless. But still, the feel of my fingers on this thing? Despite the differences, there was no getting-used-to-it period. I put on even less felt dots than usual, and just started going to town. And the 15-year-old kid in me? That kid started to laugh his ass off. Because while he shows up often when I get into a groove and feel like a teenager again? This? This is different. It feels like that kid is back in the cockpit, falling through the hole in the page.  I don’t know if that feeling is going to last. But I’m hoping it does. Because there’s no denying, at times the past couple of years, time passing, sightless, thinking about opportunities I missed out on, there have been nights when the kid didn’t show up at all. And even though I was enjoying the work, I felt like an adult. No, not just an adult. I felt old.  Something that never used to happen once I got going.

I don’t feel old right now. How my fingers got accustomed to this board in an eyeblink, I don’t know. But I have my suspicions.

And I think the kid wants to go joyriding.  For my part? I’m gonna let him.

 

 

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Currently listening to: “These Things” by She Wants Revenge

Not ‘Top Anything’, just favorites

David BowieI’ve seen plenty of people memorializing David Bowie. People bidding the man a fond adieu with their thoughts on his best songs, his top hits, things like that. Plenty of remembrances going on, which is cool, because the man touched so many artists’ lives (not just musicians), and left behind countless memories associated with his songs and such, that every one I’ve seen thus far seems remarkably heartfelt.

I mentioned in a piece on Rawckus.com, sharing an anecdote about writing a particularly important short story during senior year in high school, that David Bowie isn’t responsible for me being a pro writer. He isn’t the reason I got into college. He isn’t the reason I hit one out of the park with that tale, largely written to a backdrop of some of his best tunes. That said, the influence he’s been on me as a writer and creator is profound, and so, here you go. My list. Not a Top 10. Not a Best of. or anything close. Just some faves. Songs that, to this day, still get me going when I’m at the keyboard, pecking out a story or screenplay or novel. I hope to give a listen to his final album, Blackstar, in the next couple of days. Who knows? Maybe there are songs in there, new songs, that will have the same effect on me these have for so many years.

1. Heroes
Still my favorite Bowie song. I fall in and out of love with a lot of other tracks, but this one stands out just as much today as it did the first time I caught it-and stopped everything I was doing to listen to it finish.

2. Putting Out Fire (With Gasoline)
Theme song to the film Cat People, and, hot as Nastassja Kinski was at the time, still the best part of the movie-even to the 14-year-old kid who couldn’t believe how much skin they were showing. For a horror guy, the line “Those who feel me near, pull the blinds and change their minds” is still one that gets me revved up.

3. Ziggy Stardust
I play a little guitar. While I know about 50 songs I could play on stage if the opportunity presented itself again (the way it did when I played a set live at BackStreets for my Mom’s birthday a while back), I’m an intermediate player at best. This song? I can’t play it. But I love it so much, I keep going back, keep scratching away, keep getting a little bit further. Eventually, I’ll play it, and I won’t regret a single second of the hours it took to get there.

4. Modern Love
One of the tracks that played on loop on my mid-’80s-era cassette “walkman” while writing the aforementioned horror story. (A knockoff, no less). Too many memories associated with this song to count, and when I’m working out or writing and it comes on? I’ll stop and turn up the volume, just like I did back then.and have been doing ever since.

5. Starman
Two kids listening to underground radio late at night and hearing an alien? Sounds like the pitch for an early Spielberg film. When I first heard it, though, that film hadn’t yet been made, but the impact of it still resonates today. That youthful excitement about confronting the unknown without reservation. Just awesome.

6. The Man Who Sold the World
How much imagination can you put into a song? I’m not sure there’s a limit. And I think David Bowie never worried about the question in the first place, which is why songs like my 5 & 6 picks have been faves of mine for so long.
7. Rebel Rebel
I was a teenager, smack in the middle of growing up, when I first heard this one. If you were fortunate enough to be around before the internet and multiplex theatres with 24 screens or 500 cable channels/streaming movies at your fingertips, and spent your weekends at friends’ houses with a boom box and a lot of homemade mix tapes, you’ll understand. If not? Sorry, you missed out.

8. Rock ‘n Roll Suicide
The only down side to this song is how short it is. Things you learn to live with when an artist releases so much good stuff in a lengthy career, even if you’re still feeling cheated that it’s come to an end.

9. Diamond Dogs
For someone who’s never used drugs (no lie), you might not imagine this song placing so high. But it rocks, and growing up and beyond, that was my main
criteria for songs chosen to spend long nights working to. I’d say, so far, it’s paid off.

10. Moonage Daydream/Sound and Vision
I can declare a tie. And why not? I could have listed 50 Bowie tunes and still would have had to make some tough choices down the stretch. But while plenty of songs deserve honorable mention (Young Americans, Absolute Beginners, Changes, Ashes to Ashes), these make my list because of how they make me feel when I’m in the cockpit, behind my desk, banging away on new fiction.

There you have it. Songs with vast crossover influence in and on my life. Listening to WLIR, (a station from my youth that still lives, online), with them playing Bowie tunes all day, I’ve been reminded why these are the ones I’ve settled on. Farewell, David, thanks from one of the many millions who were strangers to you, but who you influenced and made countless memories for.

There’s a star-man waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds.

I think we did meet him. And indeed, he blew our minds.

The Cure? Take one tablet and, whoa – what?

The blind guy has a tablet. Strange? I’ll say, mainly because I despise the app-driven world, and don’t deny it one bit-I need a tablet like Amber Rose needs breast implants.

Or so I thought.

Here’s the thing. Work has been tough lately. My laptops have aged out. So has a Netbook I got for Pam back in 2010. Meaning, I can’t navigate sites to play internet radio. Working in silence sucks, and while I’ve managed for a couple of months, well, that wasn’t gonna cut it in 2016. So I started looking on Craigslist for someone ditching a laptop. Found a couple, but nothing worthwhile. Heck, I could’ve taken one with a screen crack (after all, I don’t need to look at it), and if I needed Pam to check something out, I could use a splitter to plug in my desktop monitor. Problem solved.

Not quite. I needed something that had an operating system that I could update. And, that was pricey. I didn’t want to go for a brand new laptop, because even  a cheap one that had enough RAM to run my screen reader was a $400 investment, and that was cutting corners.

Tablets, though.  I called up a place that sold Android, got some answers. Pam called on a relative who’s developed for Droid to double check. Could it work with a keyboard? Was there an app that worked like Jaws, that’d let me bring up a browser and click Favorites?

Joe working at his desk. Over the shoulder shot showing laptop, tablet, speakers and keyboard.

Well, that’s what I’m finding out this week. Pam nabbed me one for a song, brand new, that came with a case and Bluetooth keyboard. And so, either I have access to all the tunes I want, and my tablet becomes my glorified office stereo, or perhaps it’s back to the drawing board. I’ll let’cha know how it goes.

Hopefully to some goth and New Wave.

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Currently listening to: “Girls & Boys” by Blur

Scared? Fine, admit it & get on with it

“I was going to get back on that story, but I got so caught up in my workout that I just called it a night. I’ll get back to it tomorrow.”

“Duh! Went online and got stuck in a debate about Freddie Gray/Post Malone/all these Hollywood remakes/insert your personal waste-of-time here.”

“Did you see that episode of House of Cards/Game of Thrones/Orange is the New Black?! I just couldn’t stop watching!”

Crap. All of it, crap. But you already knew it. Let’s face it–you just didn’t, or still don’t, want to admit it.

So you’re a writer. You’ve got a new project you’re working on. Maybe it’s a novel. Maybe a screenplay. Maybe just a short story. And, you started it, and, you got going great guns, and, and.

And, you hit the wall. Maybe just for a night. Maybe it’s been a couple. But the bottom line is, you went off the rails, and you haven’t gotten back on track yet. Know why? Yeah, you probably do, you’re just uncomfortable about it. You got scared, that’s all. You got spooked for whatever reason and now you’re looking for excuses to explain your lack of progress. Truth is, you didn’t get stuck talking about whatever was trending on Twitter or Facebook, that’s just a convenient out. You don’t give a rat’s ass about Post Malone and most of you probably hadn’t heard of him until last night. You might’ve gotten caught up in an episode of somethingorother, sure. But.it’s the 21st century. You have NetFlix. Or a DVR. Or OnDemand. You didn’t have to abandon that idea that had you banging away at the keyboard until all hours just a few nights ago.

So what? Who cares if you didn’t know for sure where you wanted to take it. You jumped into the tale and got wrapped up in it and then, when words weren’t flowing like pot smoke at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, you hit the brakes. You. just. s-t-o-p-p-e-d.

Welcome to the club. Who hasn’t? You think King never tossed in the towel for a couple of nights when the Red Sox got into the playoffs and there was hope up in New England for a change? You think Dean Koontz never said, “Screw it,” and took off for a couple of days just to take a break? Wake up-this is writing. This isn’t Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy trying to stuff unwrapped chocolates down her shirt and into her hat and down her throat because it was success at that rate or failure, no in-between. Take it easy.

Good news is, there is a solution.

Take the night on. Put away the TV remote, give your stairmaster a break, pull the cord out of your router and just start going at it again. If it sucks? Who cares? You’ll know it soon enough. That’s part of the game. If you don’t know where you’re going, sit back with a hot chocolate or a cup of coffee and outline some possibilities. Just start thinking about the story again, that counts as progress. What brought you to the spot you reached before you ran aground will come back and want to play some more. That’s also part of the game. Don’t like where it takes you? No big deal. Unless you’re under contract, no one can force you to keep anything you write. That, my friends, is up to you. You’re 100% in control. Key thing is, though, being willing to lose control again and again and again at the keyboard to keep pushing forward. We all do this. I don’t know a single writer who doesn’t hit the skids once in a while. Pros get back at it right away, though. They know better than to let one day turn into three, then a week, and so on. If you haven’t been published, and keep letting things like uncertainty over where your story is going keep bogging you down? You’ll never be a pro. In fact, you’ll probably never be published. So, here’s advice from someone who isn’t King or Barker or J.K. Rowling, just a guy who’s been getting paid for the better part of 30 years, so I have some insight. Just clear the decks. No TV, no internet, no distractions. Just you and the keyboard and the expectation that you’re going to get somewhere. That tonight, your idea is going to wake up and come looking for you again, and you’ll be there to answer the door. Just believe that something is going to come of the session, good, bad or indifferent. That’s the only way to get to the end, folks, and reaching the end is the only way you’re going to know if you struck gold, or if you need to get back into the mines.

Put your helmet on, and make sure the batteries are fully charged. Happy writing.
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Currently listening to: “True Faith” by New Order

Dotted Line

Basic illo of mock contractThat’s where I signed all right, just last week. For the past couple of months, I’ve been working with a guy out in California on his new venture, an entertainment website I heard about online. He was looking for editorial help, so I sent my resume. The next day, he called me, we talked about me coming on board, and so started my tenure with the publication. While I’m not at liberty to reveal much at present, interviews we’ve conducted have been done with folks like Robert Trujillo and Blues Traveler, and we’ve got several more scheduled. We’ve also been putting together a killer “Hot List”of artists (not just musicians) you should be paying attention to, or at least know about.

So, I trusted this guy enough to put in some serious hours without anything in writing. He’d promised me a contract when we started having phone meetings, but I hadn’t gotten it yet. Then again, I like the project and hadn’t pressed him about it, either.

Well, this past week in my INBOX, there it was. Full up legal paperwork ready to print & sign. And so, while I’m still pitching screenplays and writing new stories and scripts, I’ve got a non-freelance payin’ gig for the first time since losing my eyesight. Not sure when we’ll be launching officially, but right now? It’s fun just being along for the ride. This is tough ground to carve out a niche in, but this guy is a lot like me. He believes in it, so he’s put the dough aside to make it happen. His attitude alone convinced me to take the gig, and I’m having a blast with the work. Plus – never hurts to add to your resume. As soon as we’re ready to go, I’ll be beating the drum about it, no worries there. And no, while some who know about the gig have asked, it will not prevent me from pumping out new stuff. Just like freelance assignments, it may slow me up now and then, but the projects I’m currently tied to and stories I’ve mentioned? They’ll all be coming out when they’re ready, same as before. Hope you’ll wanna check out the site when it’s up & running, we’ve had a good time putting it together content-wise, that’s for damn sure.
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Currently listening to “Damaged” by Assemblage 23

4:12 to Completion

I usually don’t post snippets of WIP (work-in-progress). For one thing, it’s usually too early to ask someone to weigh in on it. WIP can be nearly-completed stuff, but for me? It’s usually either larval stage or too-close-to-done to be throwing up a chunk or two and expecting productive feedback.

Which brings me to yesterday, during an extended period on the treadmill (thanks to a run of tracks that included a remix of Bauhaus’ Bela Lugosi’s “Dead”, DM’s “World In My Eyes”, and Wolfsheim’s “Touch” – which I’ll get to in a minute.

Okay, so picture this. I’m in the garage, in which the temperature is hovering somewhere between Dante’s 5th and 7th circle of Hell. The hurricane fan, which I have set up on a shelf directly in front of the treadmill, is on MAX. I have my phone docked on the audio player, the volume somewhere around 7 to overcome the fan and noise of the treadmill, which squeals worse than Ned Beatty in Deliverance. That should set the scene for you.

I’m walking, and thinking, as I often do, about my current WIP. It’s a short story, maybe short enough to fit into my upcoming flash fiction collection, and it consists of this:

The smell was burned flesh. He recognized it immediately.

Yep, that was it. The whole of my current WIP. True, I had an idea where I wanted to go with it, but so far, two sentences was as far as I’d managed to get.

Enter Wolfsheim. I’m walking, I’m sweating, I’m thinking, and somewhere, my brain is registering the music playing as the backdrop to my frustration. And then.then I hear something – or rather, mis-hear something – and Boom! Everything comes together. The whole short story materializes in a rush. Dialogue, characters, locations.everything. It’s just there. Not written, of course, that’ll have to wait until I finish up my workout and ooze my way into the shower, but I know I’ve got it.

So, I wash up, toss my workout clothes into the hamper, (which shrieks in dismay), and look up the lyrics to “Touch.” And, of course, find out that I didn’t quite have it right while on the treadmill. I thought I heard: “You’ll know it for sure”. Which was the flashpoint for me. That line triggered the avalanche of story that had rumbled down the creative mountain and plowed me under. In reality, though, that was just my overworked brain, combining the actual lyrics, which are:

You know that you’ll love it
You’ll need it for sure

Oh well, what can you do? I’m sure Peter Heppner and Markus Reinhardt aren’t going to complain about that slight mix-up.

At least, hope not. I plan on sending ’em a copy once the book’s put together and the story in question’s polished up. A thank you  is in order, I believe, even if there was some lyrical dyslexia involved on my part.

 

Currently listening to: A Forest by The Cure

Stuck In the 99%

Had a discussion online with somebody who couldn’t understand why I’m not more up in arms over the whole wealth-distribution gap.

“You know,” he said, as if this was some sort of challenge. “You’re a ninety-nine percenter, too!”

To which I replied, “Yeah, I am. But I don’t see why I should be pissed off at everyone who makes enough to be in that top-earning 1%.”

And this, I think, is why, as somebody who falls quite squarely into the 99%, it feels kinda lonely being one of the few who don’t hold it against the megarich for being wealthy.

First, it isn’t even the megarich when it comes to this whole income inequality BS. Remember, that figure that draws the line between the 1% and the rest of us? Is only around $345,000. And yeah, $345K is a pretty good income. But I don’t see any reason to bitch about it. Do I feel bad about not being upwards of that 99% line? No. Sure, I’d love to hit it big with a book or movie and pull in six or seven figures a year, but I’m not standing in solidarity with any college kid who wants to tell me that we somehow deserve more just because some have done very, very well. Personally, I don’t find anything unfair about some people having a ton of dough, and most people not having gold bricks in their safety deposit boxes. So long as you earned it? Good for you.

Listen, if you’re toiling at a dead end job and you’re angry about no chance for advancement and you’re bitter about where you are in life, go change it. Don’t tell me you can’t or it’s impossible or that just because APPLE has a zillion dollars and you don’t that somehow that translates into the rich holding you back/holding you down.

You know what I do? I make money out of nothing. No joke. I literally take zilch and turn it into money. Great money? On occasion. Right now? Definitely 99%er money. But I do it, using my imagination and skills I honed that cost me absolutely nothing. Writing fiction is like spinning straw into gold, but without any start-up straw and no wheel. I worked from a very early age learning what I could about writing because it was what I loved and I wanted to do it as a professional. I read books I took out of the library. I listened to authors on TV. I paid attention in English classes in high school and college. And, I wrote. I probably killed a thousand trees growing up writing and writing and writing my horror stories, typing them up on an old Smith Corona and piling up reams of paper. I got good enough to get a good job. I got good enough that people contacted me to write for them. I went blind, and still, people contact me to write for them.

No one really pays writers terribly well. I knew that all the way back in tenth grade. Some guys get famous, make a ton of dough doing the very same thing I do. And, I’m not jealous. I say, “Good for them.” I don’t look at the Stephen Kings of the world or the J. K. Rowlings and stand out on the street in an Occupy,  protest and bitch and moan about why they have millions and I’m not getting a big enough piece of the pie. That’s one of the reasons I don’t pay much attention to Occupy, even though I’m in the same boat. I don’t have a helluva lot of opportunities because of the way the cards were dealt. And still, I say, “So?”

If you don’t want to work at McDonald’s, and you believe that for some reason, big corporations should all pay you better? That sounds like whining to me. Sounds like jealousy. If you want to be well paid, then develop a skill that people want to pay for, or do something outside the box that can make you better money. If my next door neighbor starts up a software company out of his garage, or comes up with the next Facebook, or puts together some buddies and they become the next U2? Good. I’ll give him the thumbs up for making it big. I’m certainly not going to bitch and moan if I get offered a job to work for his company at minimum wage, just because he became a gajillionaire. He did, I didn’t. He wants to pay his employees a low wage? Fine by me. As far as I’m concerned, he can pay his employees whatever he wants. He made it to where he got, it’s up to him how he either keeps what he’s got, grows what he’s got, or loses what he’s got. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t want to hear any complaints about income inequality when it comes to that guy, to the folks behind MicroSoft, the folks behind McDonald’s, movie stars, musicians, etc. If you don’t want to work at a job where you feel the pay is unfair? Cool. Apply elsewhere. Apply everywhere you can, where  your skills may be better appreciated. But if you don’t find work that pays what you want or think you deserve? Well, I’m not with you when you take to the streets and whine about the rich getting richer and there being a bigger gap between the 99% and the 1%.

I don’t believe people with money owe you, or me, or the average job applicant a damned thing. They have jobs they need filled, and they have the money to pay. If you need one of those jobs and think because the company does great you should start out making better money? Take a hike. Go build your own business, and pay everybody what you think is fair, and see  how far you get. If you succeed? I’ll give you a thumbs up, too. If you become a 1%er? Awesome. Maybe your business model will catch on, and all the Occupy kids’ll come to you for
high-paying entry-level jobs and you can take ’em all in. Don’t think I won’t be rooting for you. I will. But just keep me posted on how that works out.

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Currently listening to: Some huge megaband who I don’t hold it against them for being in the 1%.

Free—and Without Requiring Piracy!

The year may be winding down, but the workload sure isn’t easing up any. Got a new Kindle project we’re launching on October 25th that’ll take us through New Year’s; we’ll be teasing my new horror anthology (due out next Spring); we’re wrapping up our foreign distribution deal for The Bunker; we just released two commercials, and right now, we’re preparing The Bunker and the Making of… documentary, for IPTV.

My e-mail is thus filled with all sorts of technical mumbo jumbo. Codec specs. Audio encoder information. Video encoder information. Pixel aspect ratio data. Multi-pass. I could go on, because all this gobbledygook makes my head spin, but you get the idea. We’re going down another uncharted road, but at least this time I’ve got directions and plenty of folks who do this for a living willing to help out.

This has been a pretty good year payoffwise on the creative front. Back in 2011, my U.S. distributor and I signed a foreign distribution deal, and we feel we got great terms. A big part of that was not having to tie up the film for 7 years, and not having to practically give it away in certain territories where they’d want unlimited extensions on a basic deal for very little royalties. Now, with the film out in several major markets, including Europe and Asia, we’re ready to make the movie available for free via IPTV. This is going to allow people to watch the flick for nothing, either on their computer or via hook-ups from their streaming devices to their TVs or home theatre systems. The format is still profitable, although I won’t bore you with the details of how all that works. But if you haven’t gotten a copy of The Bunker DVD, and you’re not interested in the limited edition comic that comes only with that package, well, here’s your chance to see both the movie and documentary without having to go to a torrent site or otherwise utilizing video pirates, the types of lowlifes bimbos like Michelle McKee support. Want to see my movie for free? Want to support the people who made the film instead of ripping them all off? Want to help keep distributors like Commodity Films in the business of making and distributing cool indie flicks without having to reach into your wallet? This is how you can accomplish all that. We make a couple cents a viewing, our distribution partners and IPTV partners make a few cents, everyone’s happy.

I’ll be posting more about the launch of the stream the closer it gets, but wanted to let you in on the good news. If you’re an indie fan, I hope you’ll put in the effort required to see the film: a click of the mouse button. That’s not askin’ for too much, is it?

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Currently listening to: “Other Side” by Red Hot Chili Peppers