Sunday, March 26, 2023

A Week in Writing #449 - Report from the Front: WonderCon 2023

Hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing.

Well, it's that time of year again, the start of comic book conventions. I know that while every city or town of any size, it seems, has a convention of some sort, we tend to stick to the big two, WonderCon and Comic-Con, mostly because they're local. I wish I could attend more but there is only so much time and money to go around.

This past weekend was WonderCon 2023 in Anaheim. My sons and co-collaborators on Powers Squared attended on Saturday. The drive down took about an hour and then it took another hour to park the car. So, there was at least one panel I missed. However, I did attend one panel that I believe speaks to my situation and might speak to yours as well, should you be a part-time creator like myself.

The panel was called Balancing Your Day Job and Your Passion Project: A Survial Guide, hosted by Mallory Shoemaker and Jordon Dene Ellis. If you were really interested in Mallory and Jordon, then this was probably the panel for you. A lot of the time was spent talking about their own experiences, which while not universal ones are similar to most part-time creators. Too many ideas, too many projects and not enough time. Neither, I take, are making a living off their projects as both are happily fully employed at Adobe.

The take away from the panel were five tips:

1) Done is Better than Perfect

2) Don't monetize everything

3) Take Breaks. You need them.

4) Pick and Choose your projects

5) A Day Job Doesn't = Failure

These are all good things to keep in mind, though I wouldn't mind monetizing something I'm working on.

The fun part of cons, at least for me, is learning new things and meeting friends who are also there. We did manage to walk pretty much the entire floor and ran into several people that we've known from past cons, including Don Nguyen, Stephen Silver, Steven E. Gordon, and Patrick Ballesteros. We didn't talk to Patrick, he's always very busy, but he did, later in the day, email us and agree to be on our podcast in April, so there's something to look forward to.

Now, it's back to the real world and remembering #5 from above, not feeling like a failure.

Because of WonderCon, no new reviews from me this week. My film day is Saturday and after walking around, accumulating nearly 10 miles worth of steps, no one was in the state that could take watching a movie. We'll get them next week.

That doesn't mean Trophy Unlocked closed up shop. The Saturday Morning Review was Trevor's review of The Aristocats (1970).

I know the official name of this blog is 1000 Words a Day (Easily to complete the url), it is rare that I hit that feat. It is more of a goal. When I'm writing a review that seems to be fairly easy to hit, but with fiction it can be a bit harder. However, earlier this week, working on the oft-overlooked Skylar, I hit the mark and went a little beyond as well one night. It was a matter of having time and starting early, something that didn't happen for most of the rest of the week. I did however, tackle some of the things I've been alluding to in this blog about the story, so there is more work to do.

I started having some second thoughts about Past Present, not so much the story but some of the situations in the story that might need to be updated to keep up with technology, which has changed since I first wrote it. The same about Broken People, but for that one, I'm waiting to see if I get a bite before going ahead and making any updates. That said, or written in this case, I didn't send out a query for Past Present, though I did for Broken People. I also DNRd a couple of queries from January that would seem to have expired without feedback from an agent.

Our podcast this past week, was our March 2023 Team Meeting. Artist Julia Canon and letterer (and co-creator) Trevor Hankins joined Paul and me to discuss the state of things and where we want things to go. We're talking Kickstarter but that will be much later in the year. If you're curious about the state of the book, you can listen here or watch it on Wednesday here.

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

Sunday, March 19, 2023

A Week in Writing #448 - New Release

Hope everyone is staying safe and, of course, writing.

Okay, the big news of the week, at least for me, was the release of Issue #16 of Powers Squared; "Mocha and Raven Part 1". Not that it set the world on fire, at least not yet, but I always hope the new one will somehow get noticed.

The review that came out this week on First Comics News was positive. You can read it here. For the first time, in quite awhile, I tried running ads for the release on both Facebook and Instagram. Not sure that really made a difference. But in case you're wondering, here it is:

And, yes, even at this size the QR Code works. Go ahead, try it, you know you want to.

On the subject of querying, I had managed to send one new query on Thursday and on Sunday morning, received my first out-and-out rejection of the year; what a great way to start the day:

"Thank you for thinking to query me with your project. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like a good fit for my list at this time. Again, thank you, and best of luck finding an agent.

Best, "

I won't name the agent, since that's what this blog is about but I wouldn't really consider that more than a form letter. With this agent, I did send the first ten pages of the book but I don't know what didn't work for them (and I'm using the royal them). I will probably never know.

That said, I did not, again this week, branch out and query for Past Present. Again, my sticking point has been the paragraph or two in the query letter describing the book. I think I managed to get past that this weekend. It's probably still a little long but I think it could work for me this week. We'll see and I will report back.

We completed Steven E. Gordon week on Trophy Unlocked this weekend with our fourth review of a film he's associated with. Trevor's review of Anastasia (1997) was the Saturday Morning Review. Prior to that on Monday, we started with my review of The Lord of the Rings (1978), followed by Paul's review of The Black Cauldron on Wednesday and Paul's review of Oliver & Company on Friday. The capper of the week was our interview with Mr. Gordon on Friday night. We had actually recorded the interview in the middle of January when it was convenient for him. You can listen to it here or wait until Wednesday and watch it on YouTube here. Either way, it's about an hour long and covers his career as an animator and director.

And if that wasn't enough, today we posted a review of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which we actually saw in a theater, our second such film this year, the first being Casablanca.

I also wrote a review this week for Talk About a Stranger (1952), a rather short film that I recorded several years ago, I believe the last time it was on TCM's Summer of Darkness. As always, a review for the future.

I'm still getting used to Daylight Savings Time, so the output this week on Skylar was maybe less than I would have desired. Still working through it though.

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

Sunday, March 12, 2023

A Week in Writing #447 - Here We Go Again!

Hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing.

This week starts with Daylight's Savings Time. I'm not going to make a political statement here about the practice only that I accept it but know that it will probably affect me for a week or so; it does every time they monkey with the time. I'm not sure yet how it will affect me this week but, as always, you're forewarned.

The big news for me and the creative team behind Powers Squared, is that we're releasing our next issue this coming week. "Mocha and Raven, Part 1" was originally written in 2014. I honestly don't remember that but it does show that ideas can take years to come to fruition. I do know that it was in the plans from the beginning to bring Billy O'Shea, who gets a brief mention in Issue #1, back at some point.

There were several rewrites of the script from that time, sixteen in total and the actual production began in July 2021 and there were some updates right up to this year before we filed for the copyright. So eight and a half years later, we're finally getting the story out. As always, I hope that you'll take a look at when it drops on Wednesday. It will be available in both print and digital with links at I hope you'll check it out.

I did work more this week on Skylar, which is something I haven't been able to say every week. I've had some thoughts that I'm getting to that will change the story when I get to them, and I think, make it a better story. I won't give an amount this week because it really doesn't matter more than actually working on the story.

I also sent a new quert for Broken People but I didn't make it with Past Present. I wasn't happy with the query letter. Hard to come up with a paragraph to explain the plot but I'm working on it.

No review this week, but I've begun a new one but just barely, She Done Him Wrong. We managed to squeeze the film in last night but I was in no shape to get past downloading some images and looking it up online. The actual writing will have to wait until this week.

That doesn't mean that there were no reviews on Trophy Unlocked. My review of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was our Saturday Morning Review, and our last pre-Oscar one. All-in-all, we reviewed 11 films that were nominated. I'm updating them during the awards for our Academy Awards review hub.

Speaking of Trophy Unlocked, next week, we're featuring films that animator Steven E. Gordon worked on during his career, including The Lord of the RingsThe Black Cauldron, Oliver and Company, and Anastasia. Steven will be our guest on our podcast On the Air with Powers Squared on Friday. Tune in at 6 pm at to watch.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see back here next week.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

A Week in Writing #446 - Internet Ads and QR Codes

Hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing.

I don't know about you but there is a lot of non-writing that goes into writing, at least for me. (And, I'm not counting this blog.)

Everyday this week, I've posted on Twitter, anniversary dates for reviews on Trophy UnlockedI do this every morning between getting home from my morning walk and getting ready for the day. I've tried to shortcut this process by keeping track of the ones I've done in the past, so for the most part it's a case of copy paste and find the image to go with it. I do try to occassionally update the hashtags and stuff but for the most part things don't change too much. My hope is that it drives eyes to the blog, which I think it does. I also post on Facebook and Twitter when there are new posts on the blog, which is at least once a week, sometimes, like this week, twice, but we'll get to that later.

I also post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram three times a week for Powers Squared. Every Sunday, I post a new peek-of-the-week. On Tuesdays, the posts go up. I set these posts on Sundays through GoDaddy. [Note: For whatever reason, the connection to Facebook had stopped working, please see previous posts where I called this out. I had tried everything I could think to do, including contacting GoDaddy but nothing had worked. GoDaddy wasn't much help. They pointed me to Facebook, which I contacted but never heard back. I had pretty much given up on it but this morning, wonder of wonders, the connection was there.] Once it posts on Facebook, I think share to varrious groups. I'll also post this to our LinkedIn page and any other social media we're on.

Every Sunday morning, I also upload the video from our Friday podcast On the Air with Powers Squared to our YouTube channel. These are scheduled for Wednesdays at 2:30pm to premiere. We've been told this is a good time to post new videos. I want social media posts to go along with it, so I post something on Sundays that will go out at the same time as the video premieres. Paul and I also shoot a short video on Fridays that I put up on Instagram later on Wednesday, again, pointing them to the video on our YouTube Channel. The same process once it appears on Facebook and other social media, including LinkedIn.

Every Friday, I try to post about our upcoming podcast that night. Once the podcast is done, I update LinkedIn making sure that our Powers Squared page gets updated. This past week, Paul and I discussed the topic of "Separating the Art from the Artist", something to check out on Wednesday, or you can listen to it now.

All this leads me back to the headline. With an upcoming release, Issue 16, "Mocha and Raven, Part 1", drops on March 15. I got the bright idea that maybe we should do an ad on all these social media  sites. So I put something together and got feedback from the other creatives involved with the issue.  Today, I got the bright idea to add a QR Code to the ad. This I found not that hard to do. So, as a preview, here's the QR to the Campus Store on our website:

Let me know if it works for you.

That all said, let's talk about what this blog is supposed to be about, which is my writing.

Well, no new review this week. Saturday night turned into a family event, out of town relatives, an acapella performance at UCLA and vegan dinner, you know not the usual but good fun. So no movie, no review. That said, I did have the Saturday Morning review, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. This week, we had a Game Day review, Trevor's for God of War: Ragnarök.

One new query for Broken People. I'm still, for some reason, holding back on Past, Present, but I will do one this coming week.

I did work several times this week on Skylar. I'm still in clean up mode, but I am taking advantage of any moment I can to work on it, it's just the word count probably doesn't reflect it, yet.

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