It seems like everyone in Hollywood is against me and trying to keep me out. How do I get past all the industry “gatekeepers”?

Wiley C., Tuscon, AZ

Dear Wiley,

You really wanna get past the people keeping you from who you need to know? Get yourself a copy of the secret catalogue of industry insiders… Gate Gear. Here’s an excerpt of career-changing listings available from Gate Gear:
… Read the rest of this Creative Adviser article here.

Been catching up on my spec sale logline reading (so we’re not as timely with this as The Beat) and noticed an interesting announcement a few days ago:

The Shadow
A crime-fighter skulks in the shadows wearing a hat and cape, and has the power to cloud men’s minds. Produced by Buckaroo Entertainment and Comic Book Movies.

Let’s see… took ’em 12 years to consider taking another shot at bringing this character to the big screen (maybe this one will have less Baldwin in it).  But that’s not really what I want to discuss.  I want to discuss this production company, “Comic Book Movies”.  Why?  Because of the name, of course.  With all these companies and people out there trying to get those fancy (often times crazy) names to establish something cool, hip, trendy, different, and odd enough to push through a trademark without hitting one held by someone else, it’s nice to see a simple name that says what it does right there in the title (we’ll just overlook the fact that they’re producing a film about a comic book based on a radio show and popular pulp magazine series).

From what I can tell, the production company was established by Michael Uslan.  Uslan’s listed as a producer on such comic-to-film epics as Swamp Thing (and The Return of Swamp Thing), Batman (pretty much all of them since the late 80s… live action and animated; good and bad), Catwoman, and Constantine.  He also shows up as a producer for the movies (in varying stages of development/pre-production) The Dark Knight, The Spirit, and one I’ve mentioned in this blog before… Shazam!  At the very least, he does have some comic-2-film street cred (yeah, I know… there are some not-so-great movies in that bunch, but on the streets, a rap sheet still gives you some rep), and the Comic Book Movies production company does have a strategic partnership with LucasFilm’s Skywalker Sound.

And besides all those comic book films, I did find another tidbit on Uslan that earned a little respect from me (within the realm of comic books)… looks like he once donated 30,000 comic books from his private collection to the Lilly Library (Indiana University).  I know I have a lot of comic books myself (longboxes stacked practically to the ceiling), but I don’t think I have even half that many comics… and if these were donated out of his private collection, that probably means he has a lot more stashed away somwhere.
Okay, enough rambling from me for now.

… well-rested. ^_^

Oddly enough, not being able to sleep at night used to be normal for me. For over a decade, I had sleep apnea, and since I wasn’t really getting much benefit from sleeping, I’d stay up working until the wee hours of the morning working on stuff (for a long stretch of that time period I was actually up late doing work work). Before that, I had an extremely hyper metabolism. Yep, I used to be one of those people hated because of the ability to eat two or three double bacon cheeseburgers, chili cheese tater tots, and a couple milkshakes for lunch without gaining a pound (“used to be” because I blew out my knee and had to cut back on my running, so all that eating finally caught up with me). There was the other side of being hyper… having so much energy, you have trouble getting to sleep at night, and I dealt with that for many, many years before the sleep apnea kicked in.
So, why am I having trouble sleeping tonight (and for the past few nights as well)?

kari_jak_attack_1.jpgWell, the sleep apnea was fixed via surgery (and allergy immunotherapy), but it looks like my metabolism is making a comeback. I’ve been getting back to regular workouts, eating a little better, and drinking my fair share of green tea (along with a ton of water). Part of my reverse resolution (resolution made in November to be completed by January 1st… give it a more immediate deadline rather than giving it a year and allowing procrastination to sink in) was to get my workouts started again and hit a specific weight goal by January first. Well, i’m one-third of the way to my weight goal, and it’s getting later and later at night until I get tired enough to fall asleep. I’ve been working on different things each night to kill the time until the drowsiness kicks in… tonight I decided to blog.

Mind you, I don’t have work in the morning, so that’s a good thing (and I’m hoping to have this under control before I start back at work again). And the time has been productive. Been tinkering with my websites (in case you didn’t notice the new digs here), getting ahead on Brat-halla (so Seth and Anthony can relax a bit over the holidays), fleshing out plots and story ideas for the new webcomic Seth and I will be launching early next year, and I’ve managed to get 12 pages into my next screenplay (I’m shooting for sending it out as a Nicholl entry in early January). I’ve also been catching up on a lot of movie watching (and analyzing) I’ve missed out on (I love movies, and I went through a serious dry spell for a while as I hopped from critical project to critical project at work).

The bad thing is… a lot of that productive work has been at the cost of other projects. I’ll start working on an article or pitch that I need to get done, and when I hit a snag, I’ll go work on something else for a little while to let the thoughts percolate. And a little while quickly becomes a few hours (or in one case, half a day). Sure, I can say, “Well, you’re getting stuff done. And it’s stuff that you’ve been meaning to do for a while.”, but it still feels like procrastination in disguise.
And that’s why I’m writing this. It’s a reminder to me that next time, I need to just power through those pieces I’ve been jumping away from to work on other things.

Of course, by taking the time to write this, I’ve jumped away from those other projects I should be powering through right now. I should get back to those.

The malfunction of some modern conveniences can lead to some interesting inconveniences every now-and-then…

• Typing up a 650 word email… on your cell phone (plus this blog post).
• Having to access the internet from your phone in the first place when you’re staying at a hotel with free Internet access.
• Said hotel is also in Denver with a non-functioning heater.
• Gloves don’t work very well with a cell phone thumbboard.
• Freezing fingers don’t work very well with a cell phone thumbboard either.

Well, I’ve been trying to catch up on some coding at various websites, and I’ve hit that stage where all the code is starting to blur together. But I’m making progress… here’s what you have to look forward to:

• A new Scryptic Studios website. I’ve rebuilt it from scratch to fix a bunch of stuff and make it easier to navigate and maintain. It took me a little longer to work all my customizations back into the site after I had to upgrade the software (to deal with security issues), but I should be ready to launch the new version of Scryptic by month’s end (just need to finish testing my migration code to get the articles and resource database links into the new site).
• A new blog site for me. I’m gonna be switching over from Blogger to WordPress. Once the new blogging software (and my custom code) is in place and working well, it’ll be much easier for me to get updates out here.
• Comic Book Headlines will be breaking off onto its own site (with its own spiffy domain name… feel free to guess what it is). I’m working on a few extras for that as well when I move it over.
• Many of you already know about the Brat-halla move over to Graphic Smash. With the move, I’m also reworking the main Brat-halla site (also looking at migrating it to WordPress for the blog, redoing some of the character pages and adding some extras in).
• For those that were reading along with the Random Encounters storyline… well, there will be more. I have something in the works that people might enjoy, but I have to finish prepping and getting it rolling. As soon as that project gets underway, I’ll be ready to start throwing more of the short prose chapters out there.

And for some additional quick updates:

NaNoWriMo kicks off in under a week. I’m giving it a shot this year… and I plan on having lots of fun with it. I’ll keep everyone updated as I go.
• Got word on a few interesting sites out there for writers while I was chatting with people at the Austin Film Festival this year. A couple are already active and the other is getting ready to launch soon… I’m looking over the sites, so if they look helpful, I’ll post about them here and at Scryptic.

… began this week, and that’s where I’ll be today and tomorrow. Oddly enough, it’s my first two-day weekend in the past six weeks, and although the writing life can be considered work, this aspect of it is fun for me. If you’re a writer or filmmaker in the Austin area and haven’t been to the Austin Film Festival, I highly recommend it. It’s like a little bit of Hollywood in Austin (but without most of the stress… unless you’re competing in the Pitch competition).

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… hops onto the shelves today. This issue concludes the story arc, so if you’ve been holding out in order to read the entire storyline, now’s your chance. If you haven’t heard of Task Force 1 before, it’s a military science fiction book created by Image founder Jim Valentino (and written by me) that takes place a generation after 9/11 where elite military soldiers get wired up with advanced tech to become living weapons with one mission… bring terror to the terrorists. You can check out previews, a trailer, and links to interviews here.

It’s available at good comic retail shops near you. Not sure where that is? Check out the Comic Shop Locator Service (or just call 1-888-COMIC-BOOK).

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Been buried with projects lately–a high profile project at the day job, working on recoding a few websites (including this one… look for a new site here by the end of the year or earlier depending on my schedule and with that, lots of content will get updated and be easier for me to update overall), and well, read below.

Brat-halla is moving over to Graphic Smash this week. We’ll still post over at Quick Stop Entertainment for the next few weeks to allow people to transition over, but after that, we’ll be primarily posting over at Graphic Smash. The move is mostly for the convenience of the readers… a bit easier to navigate the archives (and one less click to get to the larger, easier to read version of the comic). You can still follow the Brat-halla blog to keep track of updates to the comic. This week also marks our 150th episode of the comic… that’s 150 straight weeks without missing an update. I’m still wrapping up some of the aesthetics of the Brat-halla comic section over at Graphic Smash, but it’s all functional (with all 149 of the previous episodes already loaded into their archives).

You can check out the new site here.

• NaNoWriMo! What’s that? It’s the National Novel Writing Month, which kicks off November 1st. Why am I mentioning it? Because I’ve decided to take one of these hundreds of plots sitting in my “thought bucket” and turn it into a novel next month. And I’m challenging any writers out there that have been sitting on some good ideas to jump in and join the fun. Even if you’re nervous about it, check out the NaNoWriMo website… you’ll see you’re not alone (and that helps a lot). So, next week’s motto… “Get it done.”

• My day job requires a lot of travel (about 75-100%), so I tend to be away from home (and often in a new city) every week. Well, thanks to Dethroner (via Lifehacker), one aspect of travel just got a lot easier. This should help with my upcoming trip to New Jersey (and maybe Phoenix after that).

• Castlevania animated film? Having played the game a lot when I was younger, that definitely sounds like it has potential. Written by Warren Ellis? It definitely goes on my “keep an eye out for” list.

• Jim Valentino’s Task Force 1 #4 hits shelves tomorrow (if the shipping list is correct). This issue wraps up the first story arc.

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Dragon’s Lair is having its 20th Anniversary bash this weekend and celebrating with some creator signings at all three of its stores. If anyone’s in the Austin or San Antonio area, pop on by one of the Dragon’s Lair stores and say, “Hi!”

Here’s the signing schedule:

10-12 Josh Howard/Kristian/Terry Moore/Matt Sturges
1-3 Gail Simone/Scott Kurtz/Jeffery Stevenson
5-7 Cameron Stewart/Chip Zdarsky

10-12 Cameron Stewart/Chip Zdarsky
2-4 Josh Howard/Kristian/Matt Sturges
5-7 Gail Simone/Scott Kurtz/Jeffery Stevenson

10-12 Gail Simone/Scott Kurtz/Jeffery Stevenson
2-4 Cameron Stewart/Chip Zdarsky
6-8 Josh Howard/Kristian/Matt Sturges

It should be a lot of fun (especially with putting that much comedy and sarcastic wit in one room), so don’t miss out.

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A question about… well, I’m not quite sure…

Okay, so let me give you a little back story on this situation to lead into my question, so you’ll have all the information available. I went to this conference last year in October, I think. No, it was definitely October because I remember talking with someone at the bar at the conference about shopping for a costume the week before I went because I was going to a friend’s party where the theme was “Classic Fashion Disasters.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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