My Plans for 2014

Is it too late for a New Year post?

More than a week later, it still sort of feels like January 2. I haven’t grown tired of the goals I made this year. I’m exercising every day, eating better and, most importantly, getting the necessary work done to reach my goals for 2014.

I made goals because I was tired of reading about how lousy our economic climate is. Pay rates are bad, that is, if you have a job. And then there are those stupid student loans. The system is a mess, but I don’t have much hope that someone will actually fix it. So, I have to do what I can to try and fix my own mess myself.
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When You Want to Quit, But You Know You Can’t

There are a lot of days when I question what I’m doing with my career. Take Monday, for example, when I found out that my car didn’t just need three new tires. It needed new brakes too. I wanted to cry, but, somehow, resisted that urge. Sunday is another example. It was my birthday. Overall, it was an awesome day, but all the while, I couldn’t help but think that I’m too old now to be doing this, that maybe I should accept failure and move on to something more stable.

I’ve done a lot of stupid and difficult things in my life. Trying to write for a living is, by far, the most stupid and difficult of the lot. In the past few weeks, the urge to quit has been stronger than ever. But, I’ve quit things before and know from that experience that regret is more painful than frustration. Regret is paralyzing. You can’t do anything to fix the mess you made. Frustration hurts, but you can play through it like a jock. There’s always still hope that, in the end, you’ll have a championship ring heading your way.
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Why I Can’t Afford to Write Without Payment

We talk about this a lot. Why is it so acceptable to ask people to work for free? It’s the subject that’s at the heart of a lot of Facebook rants and Twitter storms and, more recently, the New York Times opinion page. You’ve probably read “Slaves of the Internet, Unite!” by now. It’s made a lot of rounds. Tim Kreider’s arguments and advice are sound. The fill-in-the-blank response at the bottom of the piece is useful and explains why you can’t afford to forego pay.  It’s also similar to the replies I’ve sent plenty of people in recent memory.  Mine are typically “Sorry, I can’t afford to work without pay” or “Sorry, I can’t afford to do the job for that amount.”

It’s a simple, and sort of obvious, response to people who give us line after line about how they can’t afford to pay us or can’t afford to pay a remotely reasonable amount for the work. And, for a lot of us, it’s the truth.
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What I Learned from Passing Out Club Flyers

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I didn’t go inside Underground until the party was over last night. I wasn’t DJing, so I powered through three interview transcriptions and showed up shortly after 1 a.m. I stood outside, stack of flyers in my hand and waited for people to leave.

“Come back tomorrow night,” I would say while handing them a piece of paper marked with the details for Shadowplay. That’s our party that’s happening tonight.

Flyering at Underground isn’t a big deal. It’s the same promotion and DJ team, and some of the same crowd, so people are receptive to promos. That doesn’t mean they’ll show up tonight. It just means that they didn’t shoot me a glare and throw the flyers on the ground.

We still print up and pass out paper flyers. That sounds quaint, but it helps. Most of the people who take the flyer will never stop by the party, but you can say the same thing about Facebook invites. The benefit of IRL promotion is that you can actually gauge a reaction better than you can with a like on a status update. Anecdotally, I can tell you that when someone takes the flyer and expresses interest in the event, there’s a good chance you’ll see the person at the party.
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Weekly Recap: One Big, Huge Blur

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I’d tell you what happened this week, but to be honest, it’s a blur. I know I turned in a lot of stuff. I know I talked to people about turning in more stuff. This is one of the good weeks. I wish they were all like this.

The one big bit of news is that we’re having a party. The official Los Animales release party was announced yesterday. We’re going to do this thing at Underground on March 8. I’ll be on the decks along with Larry G. and Diana M. We’ll have some cool Los Animales surprises in store for that night. If you’re on Facebook, go ahead and RSVP on the event page for free/discounted entry. (Also, I’m DJing at Underground tonight. RSVP if you want to go.)

Los Animales is going pretty well. We’re seeing a steady increase in traffic, more than I expected for one week into the run. Earlier this week, we got a link from MTV Geek. We’re just starting to get interview requests, which is super cool. We’re also trying to work out more promotional events and such. If you need anyone for convention panels and such, feel free to contact Jeaux and I at animalsoundsrecords@gmail.com .

 

 

Weekly Recap: When Twitter Rants Land in Print

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Remember that poseur-to-music geek outburst I had on Twitter that turned into an L.A. Weekly blog post? The story landed in this week’s print edition of the paper. Go pick up a copy if you’re in L.A. Also, L.A. Weekly‘s sister paper, O.C. Weekly ran it on their music blog this morning.

Work is picking up in ways I didn’t imagine. I landed six new assignments this week. That was a happy surprise. Of course, this all happened the week we launched Los Animales, so things have been a little hectic. Fortunately (and I’m saying this mostly for the benefit of an editors who may stumble across this post), my time management skills are amazing.

I put aside some essays I’ve been writing for self-publication. Those will be coming out, it’s just that I have to prioritize right now and focus on the paid gigs.  I have to limit my time on Facebook and Twitter, even though that means my Klout score is dropping. That’s alright. I have work and it’s getting done.

Check out my published work from this week:

“Jon Glaser Prepares for Series Finale of Adult Swim’s Delocated With Live Event at Largo” (Cult Stars, L.A. Weekly)

Los Animales

 

This afternoon, I’ll be at Gallifrey One. If you’re there, say hi. If not, no worries. This will likely be the only day I go to Gallifrey One, as I have three assignments due on Monday.

Los Animales: The Countdown Continues

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Meet the latest in a long line of hip rockers named Ian. Jeaux and I have been playing with this character for years now, an earlier incarnation of him appeared in a few of the original Animal Sounds comic strips. Now, he’s part of the Los Animales crew, a frontman who makes frienemies wherever he goes.

We’re only a few days away from the launch of Los Animales and my heart is pounding faster with every word I type. Maybe it’s because I’m listening to “Nerves,” an aptly titled Bauhaus song, as I try to spruce up the Twitter page before handing it over to Manda and Pedro (you caught a glimpse of them here last week).

Jeaux and I spent all day Saturday working on color and lettering. Mostly, he was working on it and I was staring over his shoulder saying, “Yeah, that works.” I’m still rewriting Chapter 2, which you probably won’t see until April. I think.  Technically, I’m still rewriting Chapter 1 too, but I think that needs to end soon. Very soon.

 

Los Animales Debuts on Valentine’s Day

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We’re only a week away from the launch date of Los Animales and there’s still a lot of work to be done in order to get this thing online. Fortunately, we have a good group of friends who are helping us with some of the last minute stuff.

I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say that I’m nervous. Sometimes, I don’t want people to think I’m fishing for attention. I’m not. It’s just an honest– hopefully, normal– reaction. This whole comic thing is a brand new world for me.

The above images are Facebook-sized banners that Jeaux made for us. You’re more than welcome to share these images on your blog or social media site. If you do that, though, please send us the link at animalsoundsrecords@gmail.com

We have had a few questions from people that we want to address. A number of you have asked if we’re having a launch party. The answer is yes. We haven’t locked in the date yet, but as soon that’s sorted, we’ll share the info everywhere we can.

One of our Twitter pals asked if we’re planning a Kickstarter. At this time, the answer is no. Since we’re starting out as a webcomic, we’re able to keep the overhead pretty low. We do have multi-media plans for the future, but we’ll figure out how to attack those hurdles when we get to them. Right now, we’re just trying to get the site up and see if people will actually read this thing.

Thanks to all of our friends who have been really supportive of the Los Animales effort so far. We really appreciate it.

When People Actually Read Your Tweets

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I’m never sure if people read my tweets or not. Apparently, some do. On the day that the Coachella line-up was released and the whole “Who Are the Stone Roses?” thing happened, I went on a rant. That’s the rant in the above screen capture. Some people dug it. One of those people was the music editor at L.A. Weekly, who contacted me really quickly to commission me to write a blog post expanding on said rant.  You can read that now.

“How to Become a Music Geek in Four Easy Steps”

Sometimes your totally opinionated, maybe slightly bizarre, Twitter updates can get you work.

Weekly Recap: Star Wars, Game Boy and The Cure

I Know by Jake Prendez

I Know by Jake Prendez

This week, I had three stories due. Only one has been published so far. That’s for my L.A. Weekly column, Cult Stars.

If you haven’t read it yet, check out “How a Star Wars Art Show Came to Be.”

Thank you to everyone who helped share the story on Facebook, Twitter, et. al.

The other news from this week is that Ultranim Boy, a zine filled with music, art and words inspired by the mighty Game Boy, is available for pre-order.  I have a story in here, so make sure you pick up a copy.

When I wasn’t working on assignments this week, I was trying to get some new work. Pitched three stories this week. Two were accepted, so you’ll be reading those in the coming months. Other than that, I helped out Jeaux on the color front this past week as we try to get Los Animales ready for public consumption.

This week, I got really into listening to disappointing albums from bands I love. It started out with Siouxsie and the Banshees’ album, Superstition. In a roundabout way, that lead to Wish by The Cure. A few friends of mine were adamant that Wish isn’t that bad and that I should give it another shot. I did and now I’m writing about it. You’ll be reading the story sometime next week on my music-centric blog Beatique.

Which reminds me…I’ve been neglecting Beatique kind of because I haven’t been able to figure out what I can do with it to make it different from a run-of-the-mill music blog. I think I stumbled upon something that was kind of already there but not fully realized. That said, you’ll be seeing more work on that site in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

In convention-related news, it looks like I’ll be going to Gallifrey One and WonderCon in the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to maybe running into a few of you there.

And, here comes this week’s social media plug. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Flickr.