Quickie update

Justin sent me this over the weekend, thought I'd show it off. Basically a rough preview for page 30. As I was uploading this I realized the book's only ["only"] 45 pages long, so we're coming into the home stretch. This actually got me back to looking at the script, and the itch to make changes hit pretty hard. But there really is a place you have to put your foot down and say "This is finished."

On Justin's end though, I'm really pleased. I love the dynamic way he sets up a page, even when people are just standing around talking [which happens a lot in my work], so now that he's getting to some of the action, I feel like he really gets to show off. It's also a lot of fun for me, getting to see Tana Cash chucking people through windows, one-handing shotguns, and doing her bad-ass, Brock Samson-style shit.

Talked to Kyle, he said he enjoyed my script [re: SMAF], but hadn't heard from any of the other people involved in the project. The whole Brainwrap crew runs things sort of committee style, and there are several new things they have
prepped and ready to go, so it might be a little bit longer before I have any news on that front.

Also finished the first draft of my big freelance project Sunday night. Just waiting to hear back from the client now about whatever changes they'll want, and until then, without a new book to review, I guess my time's my own again.

What's up with today, today?

Anyone else have work habits where they're like "You know, that has to be unhealthy."

When I'm working on a freelance project at home, I must be the most manic person I know. And I don't mean that in a way to belittle real manics, but I seriously jet from this super-casual, hey, watching Empire Records because it's the 15th Anniversary [Happy Rex Manning Day!], to tearing through papers and making mad notes in silver Sharpie, to suddenly stopping altogether and blasting my Facebook wall with music videos and quotes from the movie and hunting down John to enjoy Japanese wrestling with me for, say, 30 minutes or so. And then, boom, back to work, back to the cas, until I hit a speed bump or get an idea or break down some kind of invisible wall, and then it's back to rush again.

It feels kind of dangerous. Like gunning it at 95 down a straight stretch of highway, and just slamming on the breaks to the scare the hell out of the poor bastard you passed ten minutes back in a cloud of smoke. All of sudden he's close enough to your license plate that he'd be able to read it with the tip of his nose if you hadn't been such a cheap asshole and just bothered to plunk down the extra 15 bucks to get your numbers written in braille.

Actually, that mention of an "invisible wall" has crossed my mind a couple of times lately. To what should be no one's surprise, in my awkward years I devoured fantasy literature as if it was caffeine-soaked pornography, and while most were pretty standard and disposable, there was a book by Terry Brooks that has always stuck with me. Entitled "The Elfstones of Shannara," there was something going on with a princess, and gypsies, and lot of battle scenes, but what I remember most vividly were the titular stones, these turquoise gems that when the protagonist used let all this badass blue fire fly [that's actually not entirely true. The book also has two of the most realistically written romances I've ever read, one started between two characters who loathe each other and fall in love after having to spend day and night together with only each other for company, and another where a particularly vibrant and forward woman is a nebbish sort of character's second, albeit eventual, choice. But I digress]. For reasons I don't remember, but knowing the genre probably had something to do with the main character not being an elf, in order to use these magical gems he had push against this part of himself, bring down this invisible wall in his mind, and when he finally broke through it, the rocks would do their magical mojo thing and save the day for our heroes. But not without some cost to him -- some long term effect.

Always wondered if Brooks meant that as some veiled reference to the writing process. It certainly mirrors my own.

Anyway, that kind of insanity legitimate employment brings out in me. Welcome future clients!

I'm also growing a beard. Not properly, and not for any real reason, just because every time I reach down to pick up my electric razor I notice a look of disgust on my face, and, as with most things, I've decided these kinds of involuntary gesture are a sign. So right now, I look like this:

I'm not sure why I felt the great need to share any of this. I guess I felt I've spammed Facebook quite enough for today, and I like to let all my links to awesome stuff other people do on Twitter sit there in the sidebar for awhile before I nick them off for banalities. So...this was my decision.

Jobs are going well despite the less-than-focused way in which I work. Tomorrow should be busy, as the rest of the weekend will likely be too. Haven't heard from Kyle and crew. Will keep you updated.


Teleplays, Fortune Cookies, and Pimpin' for SMAF

Nothing serves to inspire me more than having a long list of things I should be doing instead. Looking back, I am sort of amazed I wasn't prolific in college; then again, if I had been, I probably wouldn't have graduated.

So, despite all the copy work and the new book that came in the mail, or perhaps in spite of them, I got the writer's bug to sit down and turn a long-form rant/"conversation I had with myself in the shower because that's where my bad Russian accent sounds the coolest" into a script for "Seth Martin and Friends." Kyle and Ian [Nolte, not Rogers] had offered me the opportunity to write for the show, and while I don't know if they're likely to use this first script I sent them, it was fun sitting down this weekend and hammering something like that out. I'm notoriously long-winded, so writing something that came in at five pages [and would probably film at about 8 minutes] was a cool thing for me to pull off.

Plus, I think I managed to fit in a running joke/reference more obscure than anything that has ever been on Robot Chicken.

...the jury's still out on whether that's an accomplishment or not.

If they decide to go forward with my script, you can be sure I'll report back here. And as I said, it was kind of neat to do something so short, concise, purely funny-oriented, and I'm going to try and do a few more.

Between being sick and busy, I actually haven't gotten to show off some of the stuff the Brainwrap crew have been doing, and I always feel like it's a shame if I don't get to spread the word to my [very moderate] readership.

So, first up is the new "Seth Martin and Friends" that went live today, "A Bird Catches the Bug." It is, to my knowledge, the first appearance of Arthur, and he's joined by Norman from "Gone Campin'," who naturally finds this whole business just dreadful.

When you're done with that, I suggest checking out "Duet" and "C'est La Vie," two shorts that debuted while I was otherwise occupied. The latter is especially interesting to all two of you who have been reading for awhile, as it stars my Trendsetter collaborator Kyle Christian Quinn. Always good to put a face to a name. I don't have the writing credits or anything else handy for these, so I'm just going to direct you to my previous posts for the usual suspects. And don't forget to subscribe to the official SMAF YouTube channel if you haven't yet.

Straight Talk about Calamity Cash

I've been meaning to link this post by Justin for a couple days, probably longer [lost some time while I sick], and show off this new sketch.

"Calamity Cash and the Town with No Name" has certainly become a much longer term project than expected, and as Justin is quick to point out, it's definitely been a learning process for both of us. To give you some idea how long the two of us have been working on this, my first post on the blog contains the tags "Calamity Cash" and "Town with No Name," and at least a small way, once I went public with the Mojo Wire it was to better triangulate between myself, Justin, and our main characters' creator, Laura Phalen. If I feel bad at all that it's taken 2+ years [and that's considering the four or five months it took me to put together the 48 page script, not to mention the extra month I took to rewrite the latter half of it], it's that Laura likely wonders if she'll ever see our shared brainchild come to life like she originally wanted.

But worry not, Laura. You will.

Otherwise, it takes as long as it takes. And even though Justin is mostly looking at this as a practice run, a way to perfect his craft, I still plan on at least getting a handful of print copies for my portfolio and anyone who's interested, or maybe figuring out some other way to distribute it. Naturally there are some monetary concerns there, but I'm not too worried about it yet.

Plus, I actually have some other Calamity Cash stories I'd like to tell. I've just sort of put a moratorium on talking about them/working too seriously on them, until after I find out how my collaborators feel about this project.

Anyway, Justin's post puts a good perspective on a lot of things that can... not wrong, but get in the way while working on comics, and anyone curious about the process should go check it out. It's great stuff, and it's just the sort of thing I asked him to do along the way.

In other news, I got the copy job I was talking about earlier. Next week I'm probably going to be pretty focused on that, so if you don't hear anything from me, or something nonsensical pops up here on the blog... well, just blame it on real work.

Postcard from Burning Man

I got this postcard in the mail yesterday from my friend Hannah.

Set on a background with the disturbing [but no less cool] mantra of "Burn, burn, burn, burn, burn, burn, burn..." Hannah writes:

Well, well, well Nichols, we meet again. Except not. Because this is a post card and not actually me. I'm afraid I haven't any amazing/hilarious stories to share. Mostly I've been creepin' about and hanging around. [Note from management: Pen color changes here] Literally, at the moment, I'm in the dome netting, 20+ above the ground. [Heart] H.

This actually requires some clarification, as the last time Hannah sent me a note from any sort of festival, it was to tell me she was using a flamethrower topless. Suffice to say, one can see why she wouldn't feel like hanging 20 feet in the air, Spider-Man style, would impress me. It does though, because one, it's awesome, and two, I'm not quite the perpetually unimpressed prick I appear to be.

Here's picture of Hannah [left] at Burning Man, with her friend Melinda [who I don't know, but anyone wearing goggles is A-OK with me], and by the Facebook description, a homemade dildo. Hannah saying she doesn't have any amazing/hilarious stories reminds me a little bit of the Grant Morrison JLA run, where not long after Superman says he "can't live up to his own myth" he moves the goddamn moon.

I absolutely love my friends.

Speaking of which, oft-gushed over [huh... that sounds dirtier than I meant it] super-famous TV show writer Savannah Dooley was recently interviewed by Jezebel. It's a great interview, one of the best Dooley's given so far, and that's really saying something if you ask me. I'm so proud of her I could burst.

And my Modern Mythology super-buddies, fellow scribe Eric M. Esquivel and fellow unfuckable Dave Baker, recently had some of their work show up on cult-hit blog/tumblr "Hot Nerds Reading Comics." Boy, wouldn't it be hotness to work with one of those guys...

Had a short exchange with Kyle today about Trendsetter, something small about casting. Starting to think maybe I should kick it in gear and try and finish that thing. Still missing that one big lynchpin moment in Act 3 though...

Got a new freelance job coming down the pipe this Thursday working with Terry again on another website. And I've been kicking around a really weird comic idea... which I'll probably talk about more, later.


Randall Nichols: Killer Fan [I was interviewed!]

I was interviewed recently at Horror.About.com thanks to/sort of by my friend Audrey, who some of you may remember as one of my guest blogger earlier this year, during my "Top Horror Films of the Decade" kick. Partly because of those lists [and if you're coming here from my interview, then let me point you towards said lists here], and yes, partly because I volunteered, I was profiled as a "Killer Fan," and answered 13 questions about my love for scary movies.

Check out my interview here.

Cool, huh?

Now while I'm certainly not the most hardcore horror aficionado I know, with several of my friends, like Adam and Ally, putting me to shame when it comes to conventions, collections, and trivia, I think I did a pretty okay job talking about this thing I kind of... sort of... really, really like. So... enjoy. Or at the very least have a nice laugh at me making a bit of a pretentious art school/ex-film-student/probably-always-going-to-be-a-film-student ass out of myself. And a huge thank you to Audrey, for the exposure and the opportunity, as half of the stuff I mentioned, [like TNT's MonsterVision] were things I hadn't thought of in ages, and it was really fun sitting down and going through all that again.

Lot of fun, and a neat little thing to have out there.

Bags of mice.

Been sick. Finally crashed from all the not sleeping, woke up with a wicked sinus infection. Look back to last year, year before, not that uncommon for me. Thought I was feeling better yesterday, then slept most of evening. Just dozed right off while listening to June's "I Am Beautiful" album. Woke up at one last night, already on the last tracks of Metric on the old iPod [it's longer from "J" to "M" on my current play list than usual], opted to use the fresh feelings to get some work done. Knocked out my next review[was really surprised by the most recent book], did some notes on Trendsetter of all things, wrote about a 1,000 words just to see if I could. The past few hours have been surprisingly productive.

Sarah sent me a really nice gift yesterday, a poetry book by Nick Flynn. Don't know Flynn's work, like it so far though, and it was nice to get a gift when I wasn't feeling great. Sort of giving it the credit for my recovery today, all told. She's the author of all those Lemondrop articles I'm always linking, and she also does mad work for Pop Eater too.

Have to return some calls today, make some inquiries about that one project I can't really talk about yet. Been putting it off because I've felt like garbage. Probably get that done today.

On the comic front, Justin is posting in his blog again, with a little news on Calamity Cash progress, along with what he's been up to lately.

It's cooler now when I go to get the newspaper in the morning. Fall's coming. Good for me. Head's starting to feel clearer. Hoping this clear head and want to write will find some inspiration soon -- it was good that I could work last night, but what I did wasn't good enough. I just want that one story again. That urge. Something screaming at me, "Tell this tale!" Never could force it. Producing just to produce is fine, but it's not in my nature.


If You've Got the Money, Honey...

I've been having trouble with time.

Happens fleetingly. I'll be sitting in the arm chair, TV on, tapping away at the laptop, and I'll be back at my parent's house, on the old Toshiba, watching episodes of "House"[the ones that still used that weird sun filter glare] which weren't new, but were new to me, and wondering if Mom would need to go to the hospital before the night was over, to check on my Grandma Cottle.

Of course, Phyllis died five years ago. Give or take. I remain shit with dates, and find myself coming back here whenever I need a reference for something in the past two years. But it would have to be five, because I was still at Bennington, still had a roommate, and... I feel vaguely sure that was Ian.

Maybe it was Sam. We didn't get along the best as roomies, but I was also never good enough to him. Plus he had to put up with my digital alarm clock which sounded like church bells in mono when it went off every morning.

All of this sudden reminiscing is not without purpose. Lately I've felt a little like I've been drifting in the deep end of the pool, that sort of lazy treading that catches up to you, exhausts you suddenly, makes you realize you're a little to tired and it's a little too deep. So you kind of try and find that place, where you can feel concrete scrape the skin on your big toe, stretching yourself out to the point of strain, water splashing just over your chin, just below your ears.

You know, you don't need to stand on the bottom. Just want to know it's there.

Semi-pitched something to a friend recently. If it goes off as planned it could be quite a good sized project, with a lot of really talented people involved. Don't want to say much more, because its too early. It's almost all among friends, but I've still been flexing some networking muscles I didn't even know I had.

New book arrived yesterday, so that needs done. Lot of different people have asked me for critique -- it's not pay work, but it's a lot more enjoyable, and it is helping friends. Still working on Dad's probate which -- yes, yes -- should be done. There are many ways to paint the situation as either definitively my fault, or definitively not. My upbringing has assured that anytime where both are possible, the former is always the case.

Still sleeping funny. Worse, I guess. Pulling all-nighters, not seeing the sun because I'm out cold all the next day. Staying up for two or three days at a time, not taking advantage of the extra time, walking around in the haze, dozing off or blacking out for a few hours at a time, pushing myself way beyond the point of being any real use. Taking care of my day to day stuff, but only just. Stuff I've been tooling with has been kind of uninspired, which has been disappointing, because I feel like I'm on the edge of something. Like that big spark is right around the corner.

No huge Labor Day Weekend plans. Not my style, though I might see Justin. Every thing's up in the air.

P.S. Appreciate everyone who has checked Ian's stuff, the Brainwrap/"Seth Martin and Friends" stuff, and anyone who tuned into Savannah's show, "Huge." Really, anything of my friends' I've linked at all. Means a lot to me.