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.
Posted by Matt Wieringo at 3:54 PM