Friday, April 25, 2014

Simplifying

In an effort to simplify my life, I'm consolidating some of my blogs. This blog now includes all the posts from my blog, An Old Filmmaker. Probably, when I'm done with this challenge, this blog will be renamed to serve some other purpose.

I hope none of this is confusing, but it will save me some time and a few brain cells.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guardian Has Been Published

My second short work for the Challenge, Guardian Of the Cave, is now available to purchase in print on for Kindle. I highly recommend the Kindle version, which will start at only a buck (but probably go up to $1.50 next month, with perhaps a couple of days between when it will be free). Although there are good reasons to buy a print book, these very short ones are relatively expensive. If I were you, I'd hold out for the anthology.

Here is the link:



I will probably move on to my first non-fiction short before I write another story, because I want to make sure it's ready for a course I'm giving on formatting for self-publishers in the Fall, and I don't want to put it off any longer.

I'm teaching a stop-motion class at one of the local private schools next month, and the preparations for that will be the perfect opportunity to do some video, which I've been neglecting. I've already shot a fun little test with a picture frame and my iPhone, which will become my next video for the Challenge as well as a sample for the class.

And I am in the process of recording Perfect Little Robot; I may have that done before next Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New Story, With a New Title

The Cave Dwellers has become Guardian Of the Cave, and it's in the process of being published as I write this. The files have been submitted to CreateSpace, and once I have proofed them (and probably resubmitted them with corrections, at least twice), then I will send the HTML version to Kindle for electronic publication.

I again decided to offer a print edition, despite the fact that the story barely makes enough pages for a paperback. But when I've gathered enough short stories together, I will probably withdraw the original books and create an anthology.

I changed the title because the story is really about this one character far more than it is about the world he lives in, and I might someday explore that world for other stories.

Now that I've submitted my files, it is tempting to keep checking my email to see if they're done. But the process can take up to a day, and I have other projects that need my attention, not only Challenge projects, but family business projects.

And so I will do my best to ignore that fact that I have a new book in process and get some other things done.

But it won't be easy.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Another Article

Even as I'm getting close to finishing The Cave Dwellers, and getting ready to resume work on my Kindle article about formatting for self-publishers, I think that one of my video ideas is going to become a Kindle article as well.

The video, which I shot footage for today, was inspired, if you can call it that, by an ad in Popular Science. It's for some kind of equipment that purports to produce some kind of miracle water. The ad claims that the water we're all drinking is not the water we should be drinking. Going to the Web site listed in the ad takes you to a solid block of almost indecipherable text claiming that the water can cure cancer, and even purify other water.

And the more I looked into the claims, the more I found other pseudoscientific claims about water and about certain kinds of water, all of which, to my utter lack of surprise, require you to either buy the water or buy some very expensive equipment to produce the water.

And it's all getting so interesting—and infuriating—that I think I won't have much trouble producing at least 5,000 or so useful words of warning about water-based health claims. Doing a public service and a service to my Challenge at the same time.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Progress Report

No new material to show off yet, but I'm getting close. The lyrics to Perfect Little Robot are done, and now it's time to turn to the music. I have a pretty good handle on the tune, but I have to get the backing tracks laid; it's not the kind of song that works with just guitar and voice.

I'm getting very close to the finish line on the short story The Cave Dwellers, and I expect to have that one up on Kindle, and maybe in print, by sometime next week.

And I have a couple of ideas for video that I can do quickly. One was inspired by an ad in Popular Science, and the other is just about something I do nearly every day, but that I think is interesting enough to do a video about. That's coming soon.

So some momentum, finally.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Status

Well, here I am, starting the second half of the year, with 181 days to go until the end of the Challenge. And how am I doing?

Lousy, if you just look at the numbers. With only seven videos (why am I having so much trouble making videos?) and eight songs and one short story, I'm really far behind my goals.

But, on the other hand, I've written some really terrific songs, and eight songs is more than I'd written in the previous decade or more. And I've published a short story and gotten a good review. I have one story that's more than half complete, and three or four songs that are getting close. I've made good progress on the first book, I have an outline for another book that wasn't even originally part of the Challenge, and a third book has a copious collection of notes. I've even managed to get a handle on my screenplay.

Still struggling with the damn videos, though. Maybe I should start playing Minecraft.

But the point is that, even if the numbers remain terrible, the Challenge has done its job. I've produced more creative work and started forming habits that will allow me to continue doing so far beyond September 30th.

And I haven't given up on the numbers, either. I've been keeping track, and although it looks daunting at first glance, it's still within the realm of possibility. I'll share the numbers with you:

From today, I'd have to do a video every four days (easier than a daily show, right?); a song every ten days, which is tight but possible; a short story or article every 16 days, not a big deal now that I've got some routines going; a book every 45 days, which scares the hell out of me, but I'm quite capable of being scared into action; and a screenplay in 26 weeks. I have a book about writing a screenplay in nine weeks, so I should be able to do one in nearly three times that much.

I feel as though I'm part of a reality TV show, where things keep going wrong and the stakes get higher and higher until it looks like the contestants can't possibly make it through, and then they do.

But I don't have a producer making all that happen. It's just me, and the outcome is by no means assured. But that doesn't mean I won't keep trying.