Okay. 2012 is nine days old. What have I been up to? Well first off, for those who follow the lifestyle and arts blog that I share with the wonderful and talented Mel Hagopian will know that I am a strange being who likes to use the impossibly long (and somewhat LAME!) Christmas break to do something useful. Or something plain weird.
So… What I Got Up To Over The Christmas Break – That’s part one of what I got up to. Learning Japanese may seem a little out there in terms of things to do for Christmas, but truthfully, it is all about learning to create meaningful dialogue in a foreign language with a completely alien alphabet. I need the dialogue for The Siren’s Guide To Sushi.
The Siren’s Guide to Sushi is a romantic comedy which I have had kicking around for a while. Whilst it may not be the most innovative story I have ever thought up, it’s about two lonely people getting together, it has got a certain heart and charm, and from a script point of view it may be the simplest starting point.
And that is the plan. Learn how to write a script. Since I love that feeling of free-fall without a parachute, Script Frenzy – takes place in April, brother to Nanowrimo, is the port of call to keep me honest.
We are eleven full years into the 21st Century, and the Arts is seeing the beginning of the shake up that will eventually change the way we view entertainment. My thoughts on the subject are a little nebulous right now, for a more advanced concept read Doug Rao’s post on the subject: Storytelling on the Web. Doug is creating a new web-series with a fellow thespian, Areti Athanasopoulos.
All I really know for sure is that the book and the film and the game and the tv series as separate entities may become a thing of the past. There will probably always be a place for books, and films and games, but that the lines could be blurred to connect these things in new ways is incredibly exciting.
Transmedia. Crossing the streams.
I know a lot of the old guard (particularly those who grew up without computers in schools, basically everyone over 45) find it tough to get with the rhythm on Social Media. But Social Media may be the independent film-maker’s (or artist’s, or writer’s) greatest not so secret weapon. And the better than best bit! Most of it is free.
Quick tip: Social Media may be free, but it is not valueless. Many people use it to communicate precisely because it is free to the end user.
Twitter is too easily dismissed. I freely admit it is a challenge to be witty and constructive in 120 characters (leaving 20 characters free leaves space for Retweets). But Twitter is a place to be visible. Join a conversation (#). You don’t have to be banal, edgy and intriguing takes more ingenuity but it is worth it. I have met some incredible people as a result of Twitter.
The point is talking to people via Twitter is a gentle way to start a conversation, to reveal things about your projects to raise interest and visibility. There is an immediacy to Twitter, and it costs you nothing.
Personally, I feel as though this is the year that breakthroughs will be made. Articulating my thoughts as to where I want to end up in the end of this year is hard. I know that I really don’t want to embrace the old model, I want to find something new and exciting to put my work out there. To challenge myself; and with the best of my work, I know I don’t want to just let go. The published novel will not be the end, evolution, the next step, so everything I plan to publish this year will not sit and stagnate in one format, but evolve into wider audiences in new ways.
This may be my inner control freak talking, but I like to think that everything I am creating is capable of evolution. We have all these new ways of distribution out there now, you can communicate with your games console for heaven’s sake, how long before you can communicate with the film you are watching, or the book you are reading.
In 2010 at the London Book Fair I saw the possibility of iPad. What could be done then. But that was two years ago, as we advance who knows what breakthrough or application is just around the corner. You have to join the evolution. Innovate or perish.
I believe passionately in innovation, in finding the way forward in terms of entertainment terms, and even if I am something of a beginner in the programming department, I think there are ways to reach and entertain audiences that were not there before. The future is now, and it is exciting.
Before I break off this reverie, I just want to shout out to the people who made 2011 so exciting, and since all of them are going to make great advances in 2012, it would seem remiss and rather selfish not to credit them.
Firstly, my friend Richard. Richard Pierce, incredible author, artist, poet, and friend. His novel Dead Men is being published by Duckworth in March. He is @tettig on Twitter. Tettig is a character that he created, and it has been something of a mission of mine to see Tettig’s story published. My fingers are still crossed.
Doug, I have already mentioned, he’s an incredibly talented actor, writer, director and film-maker, residing in Los Angeles now, and I know his new web-series venture will be fresh and exciting. Doug’s writing is from the heart and his short movies are incredibly lyrical and beautiful, and cut right to the heart of the matter.
Henry Barrial, writer/director, and actor, another hugely talented guy whose film, Pig, is currently playing on the film festival circuit. Pig’s next screen is tomorrow (11th January) at Palm Springs Film Fest. Pig has scooped awards at Sci-Fi-London, Shriekfest, ShockerFest and Thriller! Chiller!, gathered a couple of nominations at the Orlando Film Fest too. Henry, being the lovely helpful sort of friend also provided the voice over for the book trailer for my business partner, Jason Horger’s book.
Jase, laughs at my comma splices, tries very hard not to flinch at my crazy plans, and sends me cracking good birthday presents (900+ piece 4D jigsaw… think CSI!!), he’s the sensible one in this partnership. We are relaunching Whom Must I Kill To Get Published. And this year will also see the launch of Requiem for Davey Post, which is undeniably Jase’s triumph.
Helping us along the path to publishing glory, Bobby Francavillo of RockRoadMedia, made the cover for Whom, and also the trailer for the book. His hard work on the visuals, Mel Hagopian’s (more of Mel in a moment) work on developing the script for the trailer (and finding the images), and Henry’s voice over have given us a trailer that does exactly what it is meant to do – promote the book to a wide audience, by capturing the essence of the story, in 33 seconds…
Mark Stolaroff, genius producer, founder of No Budget Film School and seriously the most hard working person I have ever met; not only did he produce Henry’s great film, Pig, this is the third time they have made a movie together. There is very little that Mark does not know about the art and science of making a great film for nothing, and in between working his socks off to get Pig into all these great film festivals where the film has achieved considerable success, he even teaches you how to do it. Yes, he runs weekend courses at the Raleigh Film Theatre in LA. How to make your film and not waste your money.
Finally, I have to mention Mel again. In between raising two daughters, collaborating on My Ink Project with me, and working with Bobby at RockRoad Media, she has found time to write a novel. Her first draft is now complete. I know it will be wonderful, just read some of her wonderful, charming, funny and well-written pieces in My Ink Project. Talented! And someone I am proud to call friend.
Happy 2012… It is the year of the dragon… if you follow the Chinese calendar at all, you might also know that I am a child of the dragon. I have a very good feeling about this year.