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Back in Town

So it’s the tail end of an incredible week in Mammoth Lakes with the family, after a drought of a full family vacation for nearly 10 years.  But now we’re back home and everyone’s moving back to their respective homes and lives.  Anyway, I was not able to get to my planned postings before heading out for the week so I’ve been pretty much a non-entity in that regard, which I plan to change.

Keep on eye on my other blog for a piece bearing my thoughts on a certain infamous film I may or may not have caught a viewing of up at the Minaret Cinemas.

Couple of Things

So I’ve gotten my new entertainment blog up and running and I think the new direction has really helped me focus with my writing seeing as how I’ve actually written multiple pieces somewhat regularly, so huzzah.  But good news: I have a new job!  I got a position at a website creation company right in town where I’m working as the new content writer and project coordinator.  It’s a small office, the people are great, and best of all I finally have a job that’s tangentially connected to my career path.

The best part is that even though it’s full time, the short commute gives me time outside to focus on my creative work.  It’s not my dream but it’s what I need right now.

Next week I’ll be going up to Mammoth on vacation for the first time in maybe a decade.  In the meantime I’m planning to schedule a few blog pieces on a couple comic runs done by Geoff Johns, who got promoted to President at DC Comics this week.


New Entertainment Blog!

So I decided to create a new blog to use for all my entertainment-related examinations that should help to give me more focus in creating writing content.  Check it out over at Naughty Looks!

I’ll still be using this blog piece for more general thoughts and life-related stuff, but I’ll be sticking to a much more strict posting schedule over at the new site.  See you there!

In Memoriam: Darwyn Cooke

So I’ve been letting this blog get away from me again but after hearing about Darwyn Cooke’s passing in the last 24 hours, I knew I had to write something about the man who created one of my favorite graphic works.

Back in 2011, when I was just getting into comics and trades, I attended the San Diego Comic-Con for two days after greatly enjoying a day at the event the previous year.  DC’s New 52 project was just getting started and many writers were going to be present at the days I was attending.  I had bought and read both volumes of  DC: The New Frontier and was excited to meet Darwyn Cooke, who created the series as both the writer and the artist.  While most western comics are done as a collaboration between a writer and artist dedicated in their respective fields, Cooke excelled at both and crafted a story that serves as a tribute to DC’s comic lineage.  Cooke was a very gracious person when I met him (anyone willing to put up with me is by default) and I got to speak with him very briefly about the merits of a story like The New Frontier making it easy for a comics-illiterate like me at the time to get into these characters without 60-70 years of history or baggage (I’m a massive casual, so sue me).  He signed both volumes, which I have on my bookshelf behind me as I’m writing this, and I went on about my day.

I’d have never considered that less than five years later, I’d be writing about him in the past tense.

After news broke out that Cooke was going to be starting palliative care for cancer, he passed away overnight less than a day later at the age of 53.  As someone whose family comes with a history and genetic predisposition to cancer, my heart goes out to his family and loved ones in this trying time.

Still Ticking!

I’ve been inactive on this blog as all hell lately, but I haven’t been just sitting at home counting the days!  My writing partner and comrade-in-arms Alex Willging and I have submitted a pilot concept to a writing fellowship and have our fingers crossed for good news come April.  In addition, the actual draft has been written and we’re in the rewriting stage while we’re working on our own other creative pursuits.

You can check out Alex’s blog over at Rhapsodist Reviews.

As of this blog, I’ve got a big entry that I should be posting sometime this weekend dealing with an upcoming DC Animated flick.  Stay tuned!

Oh yes, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  Drink responsibly (or don’t, see if I care)!

Story Expo 2015

Well, it’s been quite some time since I’ve tried blogging, so quick recap of the last couple years.  Since my last post, I have-

  • Left my position at Saddleback
  • Took up a position at Chapman
  • Left Chapman (and the company I worked for) entirely
  • Started working freelance
  • Started doing content work for web group
  • Web group overseas work has dried up
  • Looking for freelance work elsewhere
  • Applied for career jobs
  • Have had applications ignored
  • Applied to fellowships
  • Have not been accepted into fellowships

Have things gone as I would have hoped?  Not ideally, but life’s a journey and I play the long game.

A month ago, a collaborator of mine from my content writing position told me about Story Expo, an annual event I had not heard of but immediately became interested in.  This same collaborate recommended a screenwriting seminar I enjoyed immensely, so I decided to check it out.

Attending the event with my partner-in-crime Alex Willging, the weekend did much to revitalize my writing drive and focus, which has been suffering as of late from a series of discouragements, both career-related and otherwise.  While many of the available panels were very informative, including a character study session from CSU Northridge professor Eric Edson and a segment on writing dramatic TV with award-winning television writer Pam Douglas, it was a pair of two-panel sessions that really got my creative mind racing.

After a Friday class with veteran script consultant Linda Seger, I attended a set of classes taught by script analyst (and author of The Coffee Break Screenwriter) Pilar Alessandra.  I had attended a pilot-writing seminar taught by Pilar back in the spring, and if you live in the Los Angeles area (Studio City in particular) then I highly recommended looking up her classes.  Both classes covered not only beneficial ways of writing a pilot or feature, but how to tidy up a dull-looking script, something that many “mechanical” screenplays could hugely benefit from.

The next day, I attended two panels taught by long-time script guru Jen Grisanti, both of which addressed the topic of constructing a television pilot as well as pitching it.  Given that my writing focus is currently attempting to break into the TV industry, both these classes were a necessity for me, and I was so impressed with the first class that I ended up changing plans to come back for the second.

The event itself boasted a very diverse range of talent in attendance, with writers of all different ages, races, genders, and nationalities in attendance (one panel had about 60% of attendees hailing from outside the US), all bonded together by a common desire for storytelling.  Given the supposed reclusive nature of many writers (myself in particular), I was very pleased to see that everyone at the event was so open to each other, happy to share their thoughts, projects and ideas.  It makes for a very positive experience to offset the oftentimes discouraging path of the career-hopeful writer.

Story Expo made for an excellent weekend and I’m already looking forward to the next one.  I hope to see you there in 2016!

WonderCon 2013

A little over a year ago I attended the Anaheim WonderCon for the first time, which is generally hosted in San Francisco, and had an excellent time.  After a hectic few days attending the San Diego Comic-Con last summer and being unable (as of yet) to get tickets for this coming summer, I was considering for a while to attend WonderCon again when it rolled around, despite it likely being moved up to San Francisco again.  As it turns out, the normal venue was unavailable and the event would once again be held at the Anaheim Convention Center.  Their loss, my gain.  While I covered each day individually last year, I spent more time hovering and will avoid getting too in-depth on the panels I did attend this year, so I’ll be doing a more brief overview of the event this time.  That said, let’s get started.

Although Friday was mostly uneventful (I didn’t attend any panels and spent most of the day in the exhibit hall), I did attend the one event that I was looking forward to more than anything else.  Last year, one of the panels I attended that I really enjoyed was the DC Nation panel, which covered the various DC Nation shorts, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and Young Justice.  The last two shows, despite their excellent quality and their respective fanbases, both recently finished their seasons without renewal.  But despite it’s ending, Young Justice co-creator Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, Spectacular Spider-Man) met with a small group of fans (I numbered just under twenty) in the lobby outside the exhibit hall, and spent about an hour-and-a-half interacting with fans and answering questions about the various shows he’s worked on.  I did not ask any questions myself, but I enjoyed listening about the odds and ends of making the series and the many decisions that were made up to the second season finale.  It was a very fun experience being able to interact with one of my favorite writers in such an informal setting.

I returned to the center on Saturday, this time attending more panels, including one on Falling Skies featuring the cast and showrunner Remi Aubuchon, and a very interesting panel featuring the showrunners of multiple hit shows including Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead, and the aforementioned Falling Skies.  The highlight of the night for me, though, was “The Writer’s Journey: Breaking into Comics and Hollywood Scriptwriting.”  I attended the same panel at last year’s WonderCon, and featured Thundercats writer Brandon Easton running the panel.  He returned this year to the panel, which also included writers Geoff Thorne (Ben Ten, Leverage), Johnathan Callan (Generator Rex, Ben Ten), and actor/writer Anthony Montgomery (Star Trek: Enterprise), who I should mention is currently working with Brandon Easton on his new comic, Miles Away.  Much like the previous year, the panel was a lively and entertaining hour, but also a very direct, no-BS discussion on the difficulties and the processes of attempting to break into the writing world.  While some might find that tone discouraging, I find these panels to be very reinvigorating when it comes to pushing me back into writing, and it’s far better to be truthful on the hardships of the writer’s world than to present a lighter, but false, view that can set aspiring writers for a fall.  The panelists discussed personal experiences and some very practical advice for writers, and the panel closed with a presentation for Lion Forge Comics, which I will be sure to keep an eye on for the future.

As for Sunday, I only attended the panel for the CW show Arrow, which I have been following since the pilot episode last fall.  The panel featured much of the principal cast, as well as executive producer Marc Guggenheim.  The whole panel proved to be quite a treat with some fun surprises (I had no idea Paul Blackthorne was British) and I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out.  Outside of that, I spent the rest of the event outside of panels browsing the floor, checking out the various shops and guests and seeing what books or trades I could grab on the cheap.  The massive Zelda fan in me also found it very difficult to avoid purchasing a copy of Hyrule Historia at the Dark Horse Comics booth but I can’t really afford to be too thrifty with spending at this time.  Well, after paying for tickets and parking in the first place, anyway.  Regardless, it would take hours to describe the entirety of my experience on the floor, which I just don’t have the patience or desire to do.

I’ll close with a plug for my good pal Alex Willging who traveled all the way from Simi Valley to hang with me at my home in San Juan Capistrano and attend the first to days of the event with me.  He was kind enough to plug my blog in his own far superior WonderCon wrap-up, so go check out his own blog to see it.  It’s got pictures, too!