Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Week in Writing #283 - 1000 Reviews and Powers Squared Day

Let me explain the headline. The 1000 review milestone was reached by Trophy Unlocked, which is a blog that Paul started a little over 9 years ago and to which, you know dear reader, that I contribute to. It's a really cool milestone and it works out to a little over 100 reviews each year. Quite an accomplishment and a team effort. Paul started the blog after watching Tron: Legacy at the El Capitan Theatre when the film opened. He invited Trevor and then myself to contribute reviews. My bent is more of the classic films, but I've done current films as well. It's really been a pleasure working with him and Trevor on it.

That working relationship even precedes our working together on Powers Squared. I don't know if that's normal, for a family to work together on various writing projects, but for the most part, it seems to work for us.

The 1000th review was a re-review of the first film and went up on Saturday. We're not close to being done with it either and we're already mapping out special months and weeks for 2020, so please keep reading, or start reading if you haven't yet. End of plug.

I did write another review for future use on the blog, Monty Python's Life of Brian. We watched the film this Friday following the recent news of the death of Terry Jones, the director of the film and one of the founding members of Monty Python. There is some really strong imagery in the film which is cut, for the most part, by the usual humor of the group, which goes from witty to grotesque at the drop of a hat.

Powers Squared Day was our idea to promote the release of Issue 8, Mathemagical Part 1, as well as merch that we had only previously made available during the Kickstarter. We've let ComiXology set the date and we're releasing simultaneously on two other platforms:, which has been our print-on-demand partner and a new platform, Indy Planet, which is related to Ka-Blam, which has done printing for us before. The Merch, the two collegiate t-shirts and the hardback trade will be available only through Artithmeric, which had supplied them for the Kickstarter.

On Saturday, I sent out some new press releases for Powers Squared Day. We don't have a large roster of press that we rely on, though we've occasionally gotten a nibble. We will most likely get a review for First Comic News and hopefully some press from other websites as well.

We've been doing the usual promotion work for the comic book, the podcast and the video, as well as our new weekly newsletter, The Bark. I invited you to subscribe to one or more of them, as we can really use all the following we can find. All are free and usually the videos and the audio are in the 10-minute range, so what have you got to lose?

New pages, pencils from Rachel this week so Issue #13 is starting to take shape. We're still looking for a colorist but I believe we have three good candidates, one of which most likely will be our new colorist.

I've been shy or lazy about calling the comic book store about setting up a signing. There's a lot that goes into it, including money and the calendar and I guess I get nervous they may say "no". I guess I'm a big scaredy-cat when it comes right down to it. Also, it's hard to get away from work and make a call in the alley but that's really not an excuse.

So with all of that, how am I doing on The Runaway? I will admit not as well as I would have hoped. I did do some writing on the book but nothing to brag about this week. It's sometimes hard to get the time and the energy to really dig into it. I'm hoping to do some more work tonight but no promises.

Well, that about does it for this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Week in Writing #282 - Getting Back into a Groove

The first week of the year that things seem to have gotten back to normal. That's not to say that I did everything I wanted to do, but I do feel like I got some things done.

More work on The Runaway and a new twist that seemed to grow organically from the rewrite. Honestly, I'm not sure where it will lead, but it is a path I'm going down for the moment. The rewrite becomes less like editing and more like actual writing. I worked sporadically on the book, so it's not every day, as much as I would like it to be.

I'm liking the twist but I'm not sure it will solve the larger issue I was having, which was the book was coming up short. Hopefully, the new direction will lead to more story and more pages.

Continued work on Powers Squared, though as always it seems to be more business-side than the creative-side. The big issue at present is trying to find a new colorist. If money were no object then I don't think this would be an issue but it is and is. We're hopeful that we can find a balance between talent and price.

We tried again this week to solidify a signing. We had a good meeting about it prior to New Year's but not a word since. We had emailed them but no response, so I thought I would try going to the store and see if I could talk to someone face to face. Apparently, they don't work on Saturdays so I guess I'll have to follow up during the week. Making phone calls is always problematic given the situation I'm in at work. I sit at one of those long, no real privacy tables, so I have to go outside to make or take a call. But those are the circumstances so I'll have to cope. I would really like to nail this down this week.

Trophy Unlocked is getting closed to 1000 reviews. My reviews, by design, are not part of the final countdown. I'm totally okay with that. This week, we published two reviews, Tron: Evolution - Battle Grids for the Wii and a Second Look - Tron: Evolution for the PS3.

I did write a review this week, about 1200 words about The Cat In The Hat (1971), a CBS TV Special. Normally, we don't do TV shows but in this case, I wanted to make an exception. We ended up watching this on our usual Movie night. It was a random selection and it was so bad that we decided to ditch the DVD first chance we get. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Well, that will do it for this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

A Week in Writing #281 - Rough Week

Okay, funny story (I'll let you be the judge of this) I was so prepared for this to be a rough week that for the first time since I've been doing this blog I unintentionally did not post this on a Sunday. I didn't realize my mistake until Monday morning when I checked to see if anyone had read the post. First time in five and a half years. Hopefully, I won't make that mistake again.

Rough week going back to work after two weeks off. Wasn't really as bad as I had feared. It helped that everyone was pretty much feeling the same way. But it was tough getting up before the sun again. At the same time, it was good to get back to a routine of some kind. Not only had I not been exercising as much as I should during the break. I'm not sure I did more writing either.

This week it was back to everything. I did some writing on The Runaway. I had been and still am rewriting based on a change I had made in the rewrite if that makes sense. I'm trying to work on it every chance I get. I even did some work on the book this morning.

Work, as always, continues on Powers Squared. New penciled pages from our artist, the continuing search for a new colorist and the launch of a new email. We had been doing a weekly newsletter, The Hound Dogs' Howl, the name of the college newspaper in the comic book. While the act of putting one together wasn't arduous it is time-consuming. We decided with the start of the new year to make that a monthly email. However, things happen every week and we wanted a way of communicating weekly.

We bounced around a few names but settled on Paul's suggestion, The Bark, which fits in well with The Howl. It's a much shorter email to put together and with the exception of the URL for our weekly video, it is more just a matter of writing a few lines of text. Fun and informative. You can subscribe to the newsletters, and everything else Powers Squared here.

Paul and I continued our assault on all media this week, with a Podcast on Friday, On The Air With Powers Squared and our weekly video A Week in Powers Squared. In the podcast, we discussed what worked and didn't work for us during our recent Kickstarter. It was one of our longer podcasts, running for about 28 minutes. Usually, we do five to ten minutes. Hopefully, it will help someone, if they listen.

Our AWPS video was more casual, as we introduced The Bark, talked about the work this week and put in a plea for Australian Fire Relief.

As far as reviews go, wrote one for 1917 after watching it on Saturday morning. We're trying to space out our reviews and hit 1000 by the end of the month, so I think it will be coming out later this week. In the meantime, the Saturday Morning Review was Trevor's review of Treasure Planet, a Disney animated remake.

Well, that's it for this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Monday, January 6, 2020

A Week in Writing #280 - Pretty Much Taking the Week Off

The holidays and writing aren't always complimentary. While I did do some writing, I didn't do as much as I thought I would have. Maybe not the best way to start the New Year but what are you going to do.

Let's start with what I did do. I did some rewrites on The Runaway but didn't really do anything on it after Monday. I believe I've gotten through all the changes I needed to make so far in the story. Making a change in a story is like throwing a rock in the water, it starts a ripple effect and there might be changes still to come as I continue the rewrite process.

On Saturday, a review I wrote last year about Treasure Island (1950) was published as Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review. Next week, we'll be featuring a review of a remake of sorts, Treasure Planet, which Trevor wrote as a companion piece. The blog is counting down to its 1000th review. Mine makes 995 so we're getting close. 

Before the year ended, all three of the writers on Trophy Unlocked published our highlight/lowlight lists for 2019. Mine is more film-centric than Paul's or Trevor's.

I also wrote a new one for Charlie Chaplin's The Circus, a film we watched as part of our annual post-Christmas movie day. We have more than one copy of the film in our library. The version we watched as a Criterion Blu-Ray of the 1969 re-release. The review ended up being about 2500 words. 

Work on Powers Squared continued. The comic book seems to be the one thing that we never take a break from, at least not a long break. Paul and I spent part of a day doing some business work, checking to see if we need any new copyrights, not yet; uploading a digital copy of Issue #8 onto the Comixology website and reviewing some candidates for the coloring opening we have.

During the past week, we also made our first attempt to line up a signing at a comic book store. I will admit I was a little surprised at the positive response to our overture but there is still more to do before I mention the who involved but it is one of our goals for the new year and I was happy  we at least got a start on it.

Later that day, I uploaded issues we have on Ka-Blam to their IndyPlanet website. IndyPlanet provides both digital and printed versions, so we're hoping that it will increase our readership and coffers.

I also paid for all the Kickstarter Rewards with our physical providers and updated the Kickstarter page with information from one of them. 

Paul and I continued to do our weekly On The Air with Powers Squared podcast and A Week in Powers Squared YouTube video. We are changing the newsletter from weekly to monthly. It's a real grind to do a full-blown weekly newsletter. We're still going to email our list throughout the month but make them more targeted. In fact, I imagine we'll be sending out more emails than before.

Seems like a busy week, though I always feel like there is more I could have done. But holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Next week, reality comes back with a vengeance. It will be back to a routine and I'm hoping there will be more time to write as a result.

In the meantime, keep writing and I'll see you next week.