Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's Gettin' Kinda Hectic...

I have so many irons in the fire lately that my head is swimming. I don't know where to focus my attention and that always drives me crazy because I end up shutting down and doing nothing. And that's not good.

There's my full-time job. That's a given but fortunately, I've lately only been working regular hours. (Knock on wood.) Suzanne's been working late a lot and since I'm doing the driving, that means I'm working late. But at least I can get some stuff done here while I wait.

I'm also gearing up to finish the patio project I started last fall. I've had a 9-inch deep, 15-foot wide crater in my back yard for six months and Suzanne and I are anxious to get that wrapped up.

I got the script to the second half of Christian and my PERHAPANAUTS back-up from Todd and I've been pulling together reference for that but it's high time I started drawing. (Boy, am I rusty.)

I've been getting offers for freelance work based on the cannonball I won earlier this month. I don't know how I'll fit anything in to my schedule but I'm loathe to turn down paying work.

A few months ago, I purchased the domain name for Mike's scholarship fund website and have an "under construction" page up. But there it sits and I need to get crackin'. I wanted to do a nice Flash site but my Flash skills are limited and I'm starting to think less is more. With Heroes coming up, I also need to start pulling together some fund-raising materials I have planned along with auctioning off some great stuff that some fine folks have given me in good faith. Aargh! I suck!

That brings me to my two labors of love. The things that occupy my every waking thought but I simply have no time for. First is a video project that I've been toying with for a while. I've been learning some new 3D software at work (We're slowly phasing out Lightwave and switching to Cinema 4D.) and doing some training on After Effects and Final Cut Express. This has me very excited (It's closer to what I always wanted to do.) but unfortunately, there isn't much use for these packages in my department yet and I tend to learn better by doing. So I've come up with something cool to work on with some friends that has me so excited I'm doing the "pee dance." It's fairly ambitious and may be a little expensive but I'm hoping to get some assistance from some talented and resourceful people. If I can pull it off (and I'm still in the planning/pre-pro stage), I think it will be a lot of fun and pretty cool. (Todd, Craig and Christian know what it is but they've been sworn to secrecy.) Wish me luck.

Second is the story I've been blathering on about. Mike used to joke with me because I always spent so long thinking about a project that someone else would beat me to it. And it's happened again. Not quite 2 years ago, I was working on the roof of my gazebo and I realized that I hadn't "written" anything in a long time and that most of my ideas had already shown up in other stories. So for fun, I started toying with ideas for a horror story. Within the hour, I had the skeleton of an idea for a story involving Dracula in a small town that actually had me excited. True to form, I've spent an overly long time letting the idea percolate and I finally have the makings of a complete tale. There were many reasons I chose Dracula but the most important was that, at the time, vampires were...if you'll pardon the pun...dead. People were tired of vampire stories because folks like Anne Rice had taken all the fun out of them. They'd (here I go again) lost their teeth. Then, along comes 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and suddenly everybody's doing damned vampire comics. They're de rigueur again. Damn you to hell, Steve Niles!

The first one to kick-start my panic mode was IMPALER. I saw a cover focusing on the "Order of the Dragon" medallion the real Vlad Dracula was given and which features prominently in my story. My heart sank like a stone. So I picked up the trade that just came out and I'm about halfway through it. So far so good. If the story continues the way it's going, I don't have anything to worry about. The second book coming out (HARKER) wasn't as bad a jolt but I'm noticing an annoying trend of comics featuring Stoker's most famous character. I understand the ridiculousness in being disturbed by other people's use of a character I didn't create. It's a silly problem endemic in using public domain creations for your own work and don't think I haven't had a twinge of guilt about it. But Dracula as a fictional character carries with him a load of baggage and a history that is a requirement for the story I've written to work. Not to mention that medallion. I could have created my own "King of the Vampires" and it would have worked fine but anyone reading it would have just been thinking "Why not just use Dracula?"

Fortunately, my story is nowhere near what these other fine folk are doing. I'm off in a completely different zone. My story is a coming of age tale, more focused on a group of kids dealing with their own problems when things start going crazy around them. Dracula and his medallion are just, for want of a better word, my "macguffin." And, with my history, by the time I get around to actually writing it all out, vampires will hopefully be passé again.


Anonymous said...

Hey Matt,
Looks like you've got your work cut out for you.
Hope you get it all in perspective before your head explodes.
It would be cool to see this video project when it's done.
I'm so looking forward to your vampire story since you 1st mentioned it quite some ago (wasn't it about 2 Halloween's ago?) Well, I hope you get it worked out and finished sometime soon.

Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DonsSword said...

Many may disagree with me, but I been making the interwebs for 13 years... screw Flash and build a real site in CSS/HTML, and throw some -table- tags in there too.

A lot of people will tell you how you "should" build things, but the reality of how things "should" be done, and how they are actually done do not match.

Plus, a Flash site for a non-profit does not make a lick of sense--the SEO efforts you will need to make to accommodate a closed, compiled Flash site will screw you in the end.

DonsSword said...

... I forgot to add, "so sayeth DON."

Warren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Warren said...

About the website -- I'm not much for site-building, but my son does it rather well. He does a website for at least one professional novelist, and has one of the best websites devoted to a comic book character that you'll ever see. Yeah, I'm bragging, but it's not without reason.

The point I'm making is that he focuses on two things: making the website visually appealing and making the information and links on it easy to follow. He can do Flash and all that... er... flashy stuff, but it just detracts from the purpose of a website, which is to make information available and easily shared.

I think Don's advice is great advice.

Also, tell your story. Your way. Don't worry about what other people are doing with similar subject matter. The story's the thing. Yours will be different from everyone else's.

todd said...

hey, matt~!

man, i don't know much about all that internet gobbledegook, but it sounds like a handful. sorry i can't help you out on that front, buddy. although, would it be easier to hire someone to do all that and take some of the load off you? you DO have a lot on your plates!
i did try to keep the second part of our perhapanauts story simpler, but if you'd like me to go in and edit it down some more, i can.
lemme know!

otherwise, sorry.

Matt Wieringo said...

Dude! No way! I'm glad to be drawing it! If you could take out that crowd scene Christian was bitching about, though, that would be cool.