“Conning Colin” cover, Kickstarter, Audiobook news and MORE!

Busy busy bee. Trump is coming to kill me and my pills are $40k a year without insurance, and I better make buckets of ducats if I want to live…

That’s the final cover for Conning Colin, coming June 2nd! I’m pretty happy with it; it’s a light romcom but it’s still got enough Brad Vance Mark of Quality(TM) thought to it that you won’t forget it the moment you finish it (hopefully). All the acting classes and screenplay experience I’ve had the last six months have been transferred to the characters, one’s an actor and the other a budding screenwriter – which means it’s all tax deductible now, yay!

The Kickstarter has 8 days to go, and isn’t at 50% yet. My plan now is to beat the drum on Facebook and Twitter for the last five days, and see what happens. 20/20 hindsight tells me I should have set the goal lower, even if that meant foregoing Scriptfest/Pitchfest, but too late now.

It’s interesting to see the fate of other artistic projects. I’d signed up to support a KS for a short film, but it recently failed with $500 towards a $10,000 goal. Now, since I’m taking a class in short filmmaking (and snagged the lead role in our first production, so you will see my Acting Debut on YouTube soon!), I know gosh darn well that $10k is waaay too much to ask.

There’s no reason you can’t make a “first draft” of your film on a cell phone camera with a tripod, a plugin mike, one or two at most sets of lights, and free editing software like Lightworks (more on that in a minute). Then, with that in hand, you could put up a request for $ for a sharper, more professional version.

What you really need for that is a decent camera, let’s say $1.5k. Though you can “get away” with paying less, like $500 for a starter cam. And the lights, well I just Googled this kit for $250. Maybe some music off a stock site. Free editing software (Audacity does for audio for $0 what Adobe charges IDK what $ a month for Audition now, and the Internet told me that Lightworks is a great video editing package for $0). And you’re good to go.

Honestly, I think my $2k goal is realistic and appropriate. Maybe there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell of selling ALTB to the movies, but. What I’m learning from constant immersion in Reddit’s screenwriting subreddit is that you don’t move forward in the business (surprise!) without connections. People “do for” people they know, and like, who they know are reliable and talented.

Yeah, it’s nice to win competitions, but (he discovered after entering a bunch of them) very few if any writers get industry contacts or notice based on their wins, unless you win or place high in Nicholl/AMPAS. And going to Scriptfest/Pitchfest and meeting a boatload of industry people over a three day weekend thing would be more valuable to screenwriting opportunities than most anything else I could do.

But, on the bright side, the most important thing I hear from the pros on Reddit is that your best bet is to write really great stuff. That an industry connection is awesome but, if that person passes on something to a deal maker that is just “meh,” it did you no good, and burned the other end of that connection. (This would also be true for that short film Kickstarter – a great script in hand might get the movie made; that’s why I posted mine in the KS, anyone can see if it’s good or not…)

And to write really great stuff, well, I’d thought about punching out a romcom to see if I couldn’t break in with standard fare. Then I realized, you know what, I don’t want to write this, not as a screenplay. I want to write my idea about a time traveler from a perfect utopian 2018 (and who doesn’t wish we could all move to an alternate timeline right now, where America has socialized medicine and free education and alternative energy so the Middle East is not the center of our economic universe and… you know) in which WWII never happened, and he has to follow The Bad Guy back to 1918 and make sure the War to End All Wars remains that way. I’ve developed a huge interest in that time, and I wanted to write a detective novel set during the Great Influenza and shelved that, and… well, it’s all coming together in my head now. And that, the story I want to write, has to be the next screenplay…

My acting teacher is always saying, show us what you’ve got. We don’t want the next Brad Pitt, we’ve already got one. We need something new, we need the next you, the character only you can be. ANYONE can write the next generic romcom. Anyone and everyone is, right now. I’d be a damn fool to join them.

Okay! Audiobooks! I’m still waiting for Would I Lie to You to pass its “brief” check at ACX. FUCK ME, if it’s going to take a week or more, FINE, but don’t call it a BRIEF CHECK. /rant. And, Strength in Numbers is 25% recorded in one week! (Yeah, it may be done before the other hits the shelves at this rate…)

Part of this is me being dedicated to working more for more money so I can, you know, live (see: Trumpcare). But part of it is that it’s gotten easier to narrate now that I’m on various inhalers and antihistamines and whatnot and can breathe easier. And another part of it is me not getting pathological about erasing every breath between sentences, so that editing isn’t the brutal task it was when I started. Between better narration and less obsession, the whole process is moving much faster.

If I can keep up this pace, that means Strength in Numbers done at the end of May, and then Conning Colin (my publisher has generously given me all the media rights to my books with him and the Brad/Elsa books), then maybe The Road Home if CC takes off. Then new titles as they’re written and if I end up exceeding my written output (which will happen, a book takes 3 months and an audiobook takes 1 now), hey, I may go back and turn Colin and Viggo and Sam and Derek into audiobooks as well. I’ve got to take every opportunity to remonetize every property I have! Even if Colin or Sam make a couple hundred bucks, that’s a couple hundred I wasn’t making otherwise.

So yeah. I start a new book on Monday! Ideally I’d have a lot more reset time between one book (Colin) and the next, but… the money train don’t wait for anyone…

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