I’ve been thinking about ‘what’s next’ when it comes to my project of releasing one piece of audio a week in 2015. I’ve had some feedback that people like the essays I’ve been releasing via audio and also publishing here so I could continue that.
I am also toying with the idea of recording audio of and publishing on here one of the various novels/novellas I’ve written (or am currently writing). I have a few, Time Skippers, The Cauldron of Hate and the one I’m currently writing which is, as of now, tentatively titled: Agents of The Vault.
It’s the one I’m working on now that most excites me. It is a Western, with a twist, and I’m just finishing it up and I think it’s a really good candidate to release in a weekly/serial fashion. A chapter or two a week until the whole story is ‘out there.’ I’d also record and release the audio each week for those who’d rather listen than read. I could also release it as a PDF/eBook file as well.
The western adventure aspect of the story reminds me of a Dime Novel. Or the way that Stephen King originally released The Green Mile (man, I loved that). Anyway, this got me thinking about how I could do the same with this story. Sending, to those that want it, printed copies of each chapter through the mail. I think that would be a lot of fun and, as long as it was only a handful of people, I would do it at my own expense.
Each week, you’d receive an printed copy of that week’s released chapter(s). I’m thinking they’d be printed in a mini book, a book made out of 8 1/2″ x 11″ pieces of paper folded in half. Maybe they’d have some simple piece of artwork on the front, though maybe not because I’d rather ‘get them out there’ than wait for art to be done. Anyway, this is an idea I’m toying around with.
I’d love to know what you think. Would you want a printed chapter mailed to you each week? Or is this just an idea that I like and nobody else would?
As a kid I loved getting unique things in the mail and, as an adult, I still do. I also completely understand that no one needs more crap around their house and my western adventure novel certainly could be considered crap. But, it 5 to 10 people think it’d be fun, I’d explore figuring out how to do it. If it was a hit, it could continue, The Saturday Morning Media Book Club!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
After finishing up the Jim Henson Biography, I kind of made a promise to myself that I’ll read more. I have way too many books stacked up on my nightstand, so I’ve really been setting aside time each day to read.
As I read, I like to write down quotes that jump out at me from the book and I figured I’d start posting my thoughts on the books and those quotes, here. Perhaps you’ll find interest in something I’ve read and want to read it yourself. Perhaps not. At any rate, that’s what I’m doing.
I’ll provide Amazon links to the books (they will be affiliate links) if you’d like to check it out for yourself. Anyway, let’s get going with the book I just finished.
The Moose That Roared by Keith Scott
Buy On Amazon (Affiliate Link)
100 Word Review – This is a thorough, dense book that is filled with microscopic detail about the shows that came out of Ward Productions. Unlike the Jim Henson Biography, I think this would be a daunting book for casual Bullwinkle fans. For example, the whole back section of the book is basically a reference book that breaks down each individual cartoon episode and who did what voices of each character in it. It is for those who want all the information. That said, Jay Ward is an idol, so I loved this book, even if it did take some time to get through.
“The real trouble with TV is that everyone is trying to please someone else. We stopped going to the networks. They’re friendly and nice, but we never get an affirmative answer. I really can’t blame the network man. I go into see them with some far out thing and they have so many nice, slick shows from universal or MGM. They go the safe route. Any ideas you take to a network has to go through 15 guys. 14 of them may like it, but it’s the 15th says no, they all want to hedge and take a second look. If it’s something wild, they back off.” – Jay Ward
“I think maybe kids are the most intelligent audience for TV anyhow. We go our happy way with our cartoons. But we are undaunted. My true Dudley do rights, we keep trying, ignoring the obvious.” – Jay Ward
“We try to do as many funny things as we could think of that would amuse ourselves. We felt the animation action would entertain children and we could do our own satire and humor based on our own adult feelings. Our main interest was funny humor.” – Jay Ward
“Much of J Ward’s behavior reflected to dominate features in his make up: fiercely independent desire for quality, and a lifelong pursuit of fun.” – Keith Scott
“Jay felt that dirty language betrayed a lack of intelligence. If someone came on his crude, it wasn’t that Jay would dislike that person; but he thought crudity itself was just a waste of time.” – Skip Craig
“We aim at neither adults not children. Our goal is to achieve the ultimate on comedy, including subtleties which escape the youngsters, but which evoke response from adults.” – Jay Ward
“If you turned off the sound and watched one of our shows, the appeal would be mostly for children. With the vision off and just the sound on, the appeal would be for adults. The whole show appeals to everyone. And if you listen, we say things that are might sharp.” -Jay Ward
“Even though animated shows have a large audience of kids, you have to remember it’s the same kids who watch The Untouchables, Twilight Zone and Bob Hope. Kids today are exposed to an adult world and they’re sharp. Our stuff is sharper and more sophisticated than many of the dramatic shows. Everything we do is satire and whimsy-that makes the fun. ” – Jay Ward
“When we write stories, we obtain the barest of thread of a plot and then write as we go.” The request for script outlines was never heard again but Ward didn’t let it rest there, adding, “We have always tried to write as funny as we know how.” He considered Johnson’s theory – that the show was “geared for children who don’t understand this type of humor” – to be “hogwash.” – From The Moose That Roared.
“This is fun work…actually, I’d be doing it if I didn’t make a darned cent.” – Jay Ward
Today I want to talk about a creative thought that hits close to home. Having too many projects going at once. This is something I have a particularly rough time with. I usually have way too many creative projects going at one. At any given time I have ideas for audio podcast scripts, video podcast scripts, Throwing Toasters songs, completely new show ideas I want to develop and more.
I got the book Jim Henson’s Doodle Dreams and was looking through it and came across this quote by Jim Henson:
“Try to keep enough balls in the air so that when some fall to the ground, you’ve got others up there.”
I immediately loved that quote because I felt it really capsulated my feelings about how I work on creative projects. I read that as:
Be working on a bunch of projects so that if some of them don’t work out, you’ll still have others to work on.
The inherent danger in this, though, is that you have so many creative projects you are working on that none of them get done. This is certainly something I run into, however I like to think I prioritize creative projects pretty well. I will focus on one particular project and work on that one for awhile, but in the meantime I’ll be making small amounts of progress on other ideas. I find that working on multiple projects also keeps me from suffering burnout working too much on one project. Moving from project to project keeps the creativity flowing in my mind. Of course any creative project that someone is paying me to create takes precedence over personal ones that do not pay because, you know, money.
When working on multiple projects, also be careful about ‘bleed through’ unless it is intended. Bleed through is when elements from one project creep into another. I find this is more of an issue for me when I’m writing. I’ll look back through the stuff I’ve written and see that I’ve used the same names or same strings of dialogue. This is fine if I was writing multiple stories involving the same characters but often I am not. Bleed through won’t kill a project, it’s just something to keep an eye out for. In my case, I don’t want people saying, “He’s just writing the same story over and over again.” (As a side note to this, I do often write the same of similar jokes across multiple projects if they fit. I figure if one property hasn’t ‘made it’ and there’s a really good joke in it, there’s no reason not to use to make another property even better. That’s not bleed through as I’m doing it on purpose.)
When working on my own creative projects I often wear many hats: writer, producer, performer, editor, publisher. I can do all those jobs and often do. Though I’m not a rabid fan of Seth McFarlane, I do admire his work etheric on Family Guy. He created the show, writes it, performed in it and more. Back when there was a possibility of a Dr. Floyd television show, I was eager to do all those things should the show go forward. In my own projects now, I’m excited to do all those things.
Sometimes, I find, we MUST be all those things in our own creative work. At least until we are as famous as Seth McFarlane and we can have other people cover some of other aspect.
Are you an artist handling multiple creative projects at once? If so, how do you keep them all straight and get them all done? Let us know in the comments below. Have a great week!
Here is the third installment of creative ideas I took away from seeing Joel Hodgson’s talk “Riffing Myself” in Northern California recently. I highly recommend going to see this show, even if you aren’t a fan of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. It’s a great show for anyone who is creative and, to me, gives great insight on how things, great things like Mystery Science Theatre 3000, are created. You can read the previous two blogs here: Don’t do what you don’t want to do & Nothing ever comes out done.
This final topic is actually a topic that I already have written on and was scheduled to come up soon here on the blog. I may touch upon it again in upcoming weeks, but I really waned to use Joel’s talk as a springboard to write on this idea. The idea of a creative idea book.
Joel told the story of taking a sculpture class in college where the instructor made all the students buy a big, black, hardbound sketch journal to use in the class. Joel thought the idea was a bit pretentious in that he felt he didn’t have any ideas worth putting into a hardbound journal, but it was a requirement so he picked one up. In his talk, Joel actually shows scans of the first two pages of the journal they are filled with ideas for different sculptures. Then he shows a scan of the third page where there are sculpture ideas on the top of the page and below is an, almost comical, mock up of a trick Joel wanted to create for his magic act. He then goes on to show other pages and, never again, were any of the pages adorned with sculpture ideas. From that page on it was ideas for things Joel wanted to create.
Joel calls this his Catalog of Ideas. He likens it to the old magician’s catalog he loved thumbing through as a kid. Full of wondrous things. Possibilities. Things that may happen of may not. His Catalog of Ideas was a storehouse of thoughts on things to create. Some he acted on immediately. Others lay dormant on the page, perhaps to be acted on in the future. He also spoke how, a lot of times, several different ideas in the Catalog would be combined together to create something completely different from anything else. He wrapped this part of the speech up by showing a picture of a closet, I’m assuming, in his office that is now full of large, black, hardbound sketch journals. His catalog of ideas. (Side Note: If you’re as big a fan of Joel’s as I am, wouldn’t you just love to thumb through those?)
So, a Catalog of Ideas. I have to admit, I don’t really keep one like the one Joel mentions in his talk. I think Joel is a lot more visual than I am where I prefer to write things out. Most times if I have an idea I will type it into the notes on my phone. Or I’ll just let it rattle around in my head until it’s so big I just have to act on it. I have recently been keeping a sort of idea journal. It has some ideas but it also has notes from meetings and classes, so it’s not strictly an idea journal. But you know what? I’m going to take it as a challenge to start a Catalog of Ideas of my own. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Again, I will plug Joel’s show. Go see it. For info visit his website here – www.JoelHodgson.com
Do you keep your own Catalog of Ideas? If so, how long have you done it? Tell us about it in the comments below. If you don’t keep one, how do you store all your creative ideas? Again, let me know below.