Sleep is the problem. When isn't it? I've been staying up all night, running errands during the day, and sleeping just enough in the evening to stay up all night again. Sometimes it butchers my productivity, other times I hardly even notice a difference. Five to nine instead of nine to five. The short five to nine though. I should probably fix this, try to adjust to something more sensible. It's hard, because I do feel really comfortable on this schedule, even though it's not very sensible. Everything can get done on this schedule. Even if I do feel unpleasant for most of the day because of it.
Big project right now is preparing copy for my cousin Travis Cole's website - or TCustomz as it's called [that's the business, website, and artist's moniker]. I've mentioned before, but Travis is a music producer; he samples and creates beats, puts together hip hop instrumentals, and makes drum kits, and has it all online and up for sale. Along with being extremely talented at it, Travis is also a much smarter artist than I am, as he's been plying his craft as a producer on the side while keeping lucrative, steady employment, and along the way he's really found some success with his beats and feels, rightfully so, like he's ready to take his business to the next level.
As anyone who has a website-based business knows, it's all about search terms, getting those important words and all that self-promoting content onto the site proper so you pop high on Google when searched for. Accessibility and visibility translate into big business, and Travis has hired me to put together the copy which is going to facilitate that. We've had a slew of emails passed back and forth between us over the past month or so, and two good Skype conferences about what it is he wants, and now I'm just in that busy place where I'm looking over notes and trying to get a rough draft going for him.
Current deadline is loose [upside to working with someone not in a hurry, and who wants the best work possible], but I'm trying to get first copy to him by the 16th-17th. That's the tentative date. We've talked about several things we can do with this, both now, and down the line, and I may also interview Travis and post it up here after this project is done, just to get him so press to link to, as a placeholder for when all his rather spectacular work starts to get a lot of real press. Which I'm sure it will.
Check out just what Travis does on his website here : http://tcustomz.com/.
But that's getting a little ahead of myself. Right now I'm not looking much farther ahead than next week. I just polished off a book review, and I'm hoping another book won't come until I have a lot of this stuff worked out. Splitting my time has never been my strong suit.
And yet, I do it a lot. I've decided mostly what my plan is with "Walks with Angels" - I'm going to do two versions, one as the short screenplay I've written it as, and a second as a comic. It'll be a good study in the differences of the style, while still giving me something else I can send out to festivals and contests. I think though the thrust of the story will still be the same in both versions, I think the end product will be different enough so as not to be a problem. We'll see. It occurs to me that as often as I talk about trying to figure out the best mediums for telling certain stories, I've never really tried to take one story and tell it both ways before.
It feels a little like blasphemy. Self-hating blasphemy. But I'll run with it.
The comic version of "Walks with Angels" is going to feature a character from "VHS Generation." Idea came about when Ander and I were talking about how one of the characters was probably something of a hustler... it fits, really well, actually, and it also plays to the 90s aesthetic. Most of the new dialogue is already written. It's just all in the moleskin right now.
Another comic, I only recently got outlined. Sort of a... tribute, I think, to my friends here, a group of people I haven't seen a lot lately, but I wanted to write something about. In kind of a... circuitous way. Plus, there's a little spirit of The Housemartins in it, a band another friend of mine, Caitlin, turned me onto. They're not my style at all, but their message is really what's kept me listening, and given me a lot of inspiration for this too. I'm calling it "Cherry Stone" for right now. My hope is it'll only be about 18 pages long, but the outline is almost half of that which means it'll probably be over. Maybe I'll be able to make cuts. There's also a lot of really cool stuff in it to draw, which means there might be some hope of getting an artist interested in working on it once the script is finished.
I haven't gotten any more feedback for "The Tagalong." I'm holding out hope that a couple of people will still get back to me about it. But I told folks not to hurry, and they're not. I can totally dig that. I'm getting to that place where I'm busy enough with other things that I'd like to put it to bed soon.
All three of those projects are at bat after I finish the copy for Travis's website, or at least get enough of it done that I can, in good conscience, work on other things.
I know it doesn't look like it, but I'm really trying to get more pragmatic about my stuff these days. If I'm honest with myself, I don't think I have the hustle to do traditional freelance work, chasing down paychecks and elbowing other people out for gigs. I don't want it bad enough to trample on other talented people, and that's... you know, that's a problem. That's going to impede me. In the past week I've been called a "nice guy" on numerous occasions, said in a way which is both a compliment but also like the person saying it was trying to get something sour out of their mouth.
I don't know what I'm going to do about that right now. I've been lucky enough to have friends, or people familiar with what I do to offer me work. I don't expect that to last. On the bright side of things, there have been enough of that kind of thing that I would actually have a pretty robust portfolio if I bothered to put it together, and that's a good thing [probably will put one together after I get this website done for Travis - it would be the nice little crown jewel of work]. But I'm not a journalist. I'm really not. I just like to write. I like to tell stories. And I can do prose, but I really don't know if I do enough prose to ever be able to submit work, and make money that way. And it's not even medium that I like to work in.The mediums I like to work in involve connections, and funding. And the former is a lot easier to get if you have the latter too, which... well, I don't.
It's hard not to get discouraged. There is this very real part of me that thinks... if I actually had something, if there was something worthwhile about me, it would have been noticed by now. The lack of any sort of recognition brings a lot of problems, the lack recognition itself only being a small part of that. There's very little feedback. No clue as to what I'm doing wrong. No pat on the back when I do something right. There's no one here to help sharpen dull ideas into concrete plans. These things, in and of themselves, are important. But to be worth these things, that's important too. Not catching anyone's attention enough to have that... it works on you.
So ultimately, I'm left with stuff like this, Gail Simone's "Brutal Tips On Breaking Into Comics" a really great article that only partly applies to me, and to my goals. Most articles, many books I read are like that - things about writing novels, movies, comics, that are encouraging but not helpful enough, not for my particular set of circumstances, and there are never any articles about adapting these useful hints to help yourself specifically. You're left to try and mince it out on your own. In my quest to become as unique as possible, I have inadvertently stumbled on a set of circumstances that there's no guide for overcoming.
Hopefully not because no ever has.
It's a really good argument to go back to school. To hope I'll be able to, when that's actually an option again. To hope that will actually be an option again. And if not that, there will be some people, somewhere, willing to accept me, and engage me in some satisfying way. Hopes.
I do at least have the blessing of some support and time, which does allow me to consider these things on my own, even though, for as smart as I claim to be, answers don't come quickly. It is also reassuring to know that, while I might not be doing the right thing by myself, I am at least doing what I believe is right for others. It's not as "pat-yourself-on-the-back" awesome as it sounds, but it makes certain things easier. And easier does not always equal wrong.
And there's work. Work still comes in, though I am constantly worried more people are doing more than I am, both because it means they're doing better, and also because it means that there's something very deficient in me for only being able to handle this much at a time. And there are the stories I think of, that I want to tell. Not having a set idea how I'm going to turn that into a living, or what I could do instead so that I could keep telling those... that's a hard hurdle to overcome, but it doesn't take away from when I'm actually elbows deep into a script.
There's not much time to worry about it all with copy still to do.
None of that probably makes much sense. But if you read it, you deserve an explanation. It's all why I've only been writing here sporadically.