Sunday, February 26, 2012

Michael Stokes, musician dude.

The importance of music in an audio drama

Mike has been engineer for HG World since 2009.  For about a year he has composed incidental music for the show and recently decided to upload his work to soundcloud.  He offers them under the creative commons license.

My Facebook Page is LIVE!

I have a Facebook group you might like.  While I hope you'll rush out to buy "Rise of the Monkey Lord" or listen to the HG World podcast, you might want to waste a little bit more of your time over at Mark Zuckerberg's legacy.

Jay Smith: Writer You Want to Know

Of course if you want to read my books instead of my braindroppings, you may click here!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Built like a Honda or a Ford...

I don't dig word counts.  I tend to think that the quality of the words are more important than the quantity.  But now that HG World is in the middle of a new season with its second episode of "The Googies" pulling down some excellent numbers, I had to go back and add the script counts to the overall series tally.

201,192 words.

Including the promotional material and the "Heroes of the Zombie War" pilot, we're over 200K. 

And we're still driving on...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Are You A Dark Dreamer..?"

The sleepy narration and somehow campy intro distract only slightly from Stanley Wiater's intriguing interview with author Harlan Ellison.  In this first chapter, Wiater and Ellison discuss the increasing stupidity and ignorance of the general public. 

What's great about this interview is that Ellison weaves the entire human experience into that of the writer.  We are obligated to be educated, to be inquisitive and question what we're being told.   Writing is a craft, part of a discipline that allows the artist to funnel his experiences, his outrage, his passion and that sense of wonder that connects with a reader in a unique and profound way.  

It is not enough that the writer regurgitate his or her own fantasies or wants onto a page in the hope that someone will just consume it like so much fast food.  A writer MUST create something that transfers all of those ingredients to the reader and, though the crafted story, connect and change that reader in one way or another. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

From the Editor (also known as "The Prof"): You will critique, in the form of a post to the blog you created in Module Four, the Facebook page of a published writer based on the best practices covered in the lecture.

Find three published writers on Facebook. Choose one and examine his or her page. Critique the writer’s page based on the best practices covered in the lecture. Write about your findings as an entry on your blog, including a list of the three writers you found and an explanation of why you chose the one you did to critique.

I have to preface this post by confessing that most of my weekend was spent either sitting in a convention meeting room, talking with people, lobster poetry... something about about a woman in a banana costume acting out pop songs on a huge dance floor.  If my words don't make much sense at times, that's my fault. I'm still tired. 

Three Published Writers on Facebook.
I chose to look at Kevin David Anderson, Stephen King and Brian Keene.

Choose one and examine ...
Brian Keene (The Rising, City of the Dead)
I'm interested in Keene's Facebook presence because of a thread in our class discussion group.  It seems to be a common concern of writers about how much of themselves to "put out there".  Some writers are not interested in being The Brand they sell and would much rather present the work itself as a product.  A weird, but appropriate comparison an old professor of mine once made about this was "we all love McDonald's fries, but where would they be without McDonald's itself?  Would it better or worse for McDonald's to market each of its products from the shadows or establish itself as a Brand that represents a consistent standard of quality or style with every product?"

Brian Keene's Facebook is locked down compared to a lot of other writers.  It doesn't invite unsolicited conversations or posts.  Brian's photo is from his dust jacket.  His albums contain book covers and images from professional gigs and encounters with other professionals and celebrities in the horror writing/film industry.  There is a clear vibe of fun-within-work that suggests Keene is an interesting person, but there are no personal candids of friend or family, no thoughtful poses looking out to sea.  There are a few quasi-goth shots of a younger Keene lying on Poe's grave.  Keene himself does not interact beyond tagging and describing photos and it is not clear if he's doing it or if it's the work of an assistant.   Fans can interact with each other through the comment options or go to the author's web site and post on a message board.  The Facebook page is very effective in taking people to different sites.  It doesn't seem to present a lot of hosted content.

The page is mainly PUSH marketing, like most author pages, there are posts directly related to Keene's products and appearances.  There are also posts related to related authors.  Most recent posts are "Push" links to products.  Where some authors might put a little bit of themselves out there or encourage discourse with readers through funny pictures or "memes", Keene keeps this to a minimum.  At the same time, the "Brand" Keene is always present, tying together all books, reviews appearances. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Digital Mind Fields...

As a result of this course, I have a new gmail account, this new blog and probably more parallel sites to get to know me.  I am online here, but I also keep some digital real estate elsewhere!

My Company and Writing "Fan Page" (not really used recently)
The HG World fan site on Facebook
"A Billion Smithereens" audio project
My Western audio drama project - The central site for HG World, which links to the wiki, message board, podcast site, etc.

My original page -
The HG World page -

Twitter -
Me, writing as "Todd Rage" of HG World
Me, writing as "Me"

Works In Progress

So it is the beginning of February already? Sheesh.  I look down to get some work done and a whole month passes.

So here's what I'm working on!

9 months to graduation if all goes well.  This blog plays a small role in that.

HG World: The Googies
Our third season of episodes is live!  "HG World presents: The Googies" is the story of Ken Peters, a survivor who makes as living disposing of human remains and who lives a life about as free as it gets in the zombie apocalypse.  It all gets turned around when he meets a man making an offer he can't refuse and a mysterious, sexy boss who claims Ken is destined to save the world.

Last week Chapter 1 debuted to a quiet, but heavy bit of traffic.  In 24 hours it found its way to 250 subscribers (who I imagine have set their devices to auto-download new episodes on our feed) and another 150 within 48 hours.  Our live stream is pretty strong, but lighter than before.  This might be because we added "Stitcher" as a free streaming option for Android phones., one of our other hosts, is apparently "imploding" so our new episodes will not be featured there. 

HG World:  The Diary of Jill Woodbine
I just cast a wonderful actress who will narrate the diary of a young college student taking refuge inside the HG World facility.  Through her eyes we'll see into the private moments and secret lives of Jebediah, The Mayor, Ruby and Jack, Regina and others who keep the refugee camp running.  And the secrets she reveals will set the stage for the exciting final season of HG World in 2013.

The Road to Renascence
Still plotting the overall arc, this traditional western tale of exploration and self-realization is something I'm really excited about.  A western audio drama just like the "thrilling days of yesteryear" when kids heard about the wild west through their local radio stations.  Working on this for a 2014 run.

Blackjack Masterson: Space Ranger
I've offered this space western comedy to Gypsy Audio for production.  I'm just going to write this story of Aleric Beta, an orphan living at a "truck stop in space" making a living as a card shark playing drunk truckers for cash and cargo.  Aleric wins big when Quadrant Marshall bets and loses his title which forces this farm boy (by law) to rise to the challenge of being the only law in 100 parsecs.

A Billion Smithereens
Off and on, this project means a great deal to me.  More details as they come available.

The Citadel Boys
I should know better than to enjoy live theater while working on projects.  Now I'm amped up to revisit a stage play version of my online "Citadel Boys" series featuring some of the great artists of the past 100 years living and working together at the outer edge of Dante's Hell.  It's a mix of "Rent", "Hamlet" and "The Odd Couple" featuring Douglas Adams, Warren Zevon, HP Lovecraft, Eartha Kitt, Orson Welles, Edgar Allan Poe, John Gardner, Emily Dickinson, Charles Baudelaire and more!  Who knows when this will get written? 

I will NOT be attending Ravencon this year as a guest, but I may go down to see some good friends and check out the convention features.

Farpoint Convention - February 17-19th in Towson, Maryland!  Come out and see me and some of the HG World cast and crew talking about audio drama, zombies and whatever the hell else the fine folks at the convention want us to talk about. Fun con, fun hotel, nice bar! 

If you're still looking for something to do Memorial Day, how about Balticon?  ()  Mike Stokes and I will definitely be there talking up the show.

Shore Leave details are still up in the air.  Stay tunes.

I have not heard news about Philcon 2012 beyond a promise of "big news" from the convention chair.  There will be a con, but the location and dates are still unknown.     

Additional speaking engagements are coming up, but nothing firm yet.