Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Friday, December 31, 2010

Wrapping It Up

There's very little use in making lists this year -- a whole lot of good and bad happened and to try and fit any of it into a list... it just doesn't make sense.

Tho, if there's anything to be said about it all, looking back on it, it really is all about balance.

For every Jonah Hex there you have an Inception.

For every Shit My Dad Says you have a Walking Dead.

For every BP oil disaster you have a...

Okay, no, that one really doesn't have a positive counter-point.

Um.

Right. Let's scratch the comparison thing and eschew the big picture for a bit -- 'cause frankly, that's starting to look rather dark and grim, what with all that talk of the looming Canadian Mortgage Bubble and all (get out of debt while you can folks...).

On a more personal level, I managed to get a book written and out into the world... and people actually seem to like it. Hopefully I'll have a print version ready soon and maybe even a few reviews...? Fingers crossed there.

Looking forward, to the new year, in mid-February (yes, only 6 weeks away now) we'll be welcoming little Aaron Laraby to the world... and then immediately setting upon his Jedi training.

Also, I've been working on a webseries with some friends. With a bit of luck, that'll be finished and see the light of day in the coming year ahead.

Other than that, whatever time that's left (which may not be much) will be going back into TV and scripts, getting myself reacquainted with that world and seeing what I've missed in the last while. (A brief peek at a Google search says 'a lot).

On a final note, something positive for those of you who are of the 'writer' type and are looking to fall in with some good people, check out Ink Canada. Karen Walton is looking for a few good people for their 2011 'Inkterns'. Read up more about it and find out more about the site here. Good Luck!

Happy New Year, all! See you on the flipside!

Cheers,
Brandon

Thursday, December 23, 2010

And We Are A Go!

Okay, so apparently I had some problems with my formatting. Some seemingly innocuous issues that snowballed into making the launch of my book one heck of a headache.

On the bright side, that all appears to be over and done with now after many, many nights of messing with formatting and other such things. 404 -- in eBook format, at least -- is live and ready to roll!

It's at once both an exhilarating and a terrifying time for me, having never actually completed a novel before, let alone release it to the public and ask people to pay money for it. To consider it 'entertainment'.

Oh, I've tried writing novels before, back before I ever dreamed about writing for Television. Back before I learned how to write a script, how to think in images. It's been an exciting run for me these last few months, especially when I realize just how much I've learned in such a short period of time. Feeling the rush of a constant deadline, pushing myself to always be thinking of the next new idea... and if it doesn't work, to toss it and move on and find another.

Anyways, after a ton of work -- writing and re-writing, pulling my hair out trying to make sure ever single puzzle piece was polished... it's done. Well, as done as it can be. I can always pick and niggle over the little bits and I know if I let myself think about it, if I let myself continue to tinker with it, it'll never see the light of day. I'll never be 'happy' there will always be some little part that I'll look back on and want to spruce up or say better. But I've been cleaning now almost every day for the last couple months... and I've come to the conclusion that, for now, for my first novel, this is a good start.

Time to think about new things.

I've got a new spec pilot for a TV show that I'm putting together, a new spec script that I'll be tackling in the new year and, yes, a new idea for a novel.

Until then, please enjoy '404'.

And to those of you who've encouraged me and supported me from the very beginning, I want to thank you so very much. I couldn't have done it without you.

Cheers!
Brandon

P.S: The other formats - .Mobi (for Kindle) and .epub (for most other readers) will be coming soon. The print version will be up in January!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Almost There...

Looks like today's not a good day to launch a book. *sigh*

Let's try this again on Monday.

In the meantime -- and still inspired by Mr. McGrath's great posting here about increasing your story literacy -- here's an interesting interview with Paddy Chayefsky, talking about a little film he wrote called 'Network'.

Now, if you haven't seen it, you really owe it to yourself to check this movie out... 'cause even though it's over three decades old, it blows me away at just how relevant it is in this day and age.

Truly the hallmark of a great film. Or any work of Art, really.




Just so you know... that interview happened back in about 1976. I'd say he was pretty far ahead of the curve there... on a whole host of points.

And, of course, I'd be remiss if I put a post up about Mr. Chayefsky and 'Network' without sharing the most famous scene of the movie. Again, if you haven't yet seen the film, rent it. Find it on Netflix or whatever and give it a watch.


Cheers,
Brandon

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WikiRebels: How Non-Americans View WikiLeaks

A fascinating Documentary, take an hour or so to watch this.


Cheers!
Brandon

This Made My Day

I'm an old-school gamer. What can I say? Some of my best childhood memories involve storming the castle with Mario and bouncing Bower's reptilian ass into a pit of fire.

Newer games have come and gone, and I've loved a great deal of them, but Mario's always held a special place in my Gamer heart.

Apparently that sentiment is also shared by the guys who made this:


So good.

Cheers,
Brandon

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yay! Good Stuff!

So, I've been working away like a crazy person trying to make sure that my novel is finito and ready for the world. It looks like, should everything pan out okay with the timing, it'll be going live this Friday!

Consider my fingers to be firmly crossed.

The downside is that due to the Christmas rush and shipping during the holidays being what it is, the actual 'physical' version of my book won't go on sale until early January.

However, the electronic version will be up and available in several different formats, so hopefully you'll be able to find a version that works on your favourite ebook reader.

All that said and done, I'm incredibly nervous and excited to share this with you -- the very thought that I might try to write a novel was hard enough, but after seeing this:



Yeah, it gave me some pause. It's all in good fun, to be sure, but God help me if I ever sound like that guy. (Oh, I hope I don't :P)

Anyways, yes, I've been running on 5 hours or so worth of sleep, getting up at 6am, writing for as long as I can for quite a while now... trying to make sure this thing is as good as I can make it.

Guess we shall soon see if all this work has paid off!

Cheers,
Brandon

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Oooh! So Close...


So, you may or may not have heard that a mother-to-be recently turned to Facebook to name her child for her. It's true and, oddly enough, I ended up being pretty active in the contest, submitting the name 'Aria'... and almost winning the whole thing.

Now you may balk at the idea, but it actually turned into a bit of a world-wide phenomenon with the story being picked up by news outlets and blogs all around the world. Heck, someone even wrote a song about it.


That said, you also may have heard some people lose their collective minds and say 'why the hell would anyone DO that?'

Well, for her troubles, the mother's walking away with approximately $40,000 worth of swag from the site -- not exactly a small thing when you're a new, first-time parent.

If you were paying attention, you might've also noticed that for a good run there, the name I submitted was in the lead. Sometimes by a lot.

Alas, it was not to last. Try as we might to fight them off, last night the winning name 'Melania' was chosen over my entry by 9 votes. (Yeah, I know, talk about close!).

The final total?

Melania 2860
Aria 2851

The winner of the contest ended up with the equivalent of about $650 or so in site credit, to be used in their daily deals, gift cards and such.

As a runner up, normally, I wouldn't get much, if anything. However, I've received an email from the CEO of FabFind (the company running the contest) telling me that since the contest was so close, they've decided to award me the same prize.

Needless to say, since we're due mid-February, we're quite happy with this lil' development (I'm sure my wife will get a nice bit of pampering out of it).

It's definitely a nice little pre-Christmas development, if I do say so myself.

Incidentally, I came up with the name 'Aria' because that's the name we would have liked if we were having a girl... however, since we're not, we figured we'd submit it and see how it did. I guess, all-in-all, it worked out pretty well.

Congratulations to little Melania and the Alpinelli family, welcome to the world, kiddo!

Cheers!
Brandon

Monday, December 06, 2010

RIP Mark Dailey

I'm nowhere near qualified enough to give anything close to a eulogy for such an amazingly cool man...

But you, sir, were 'The Voice' of my city... and in my heart, you always will be.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Dailey.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Looking For Story Ideas?

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction... or just plain cooler.

Here's some cool Science/Tech headlines that popped up on the wire today, maybe they'll bump you into creating the 'Next Big Thing':

Spray on Stem Cells helps burn victims

Videogames Are Good For You, Especially At Work, Study Says

Pheromones A Myth In Mammals

With Space Shuttle Trips Ending, What Do We Do With The Astronauts?

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take one of these ideas and write -- only for yourself, and for your own personal enrichment -- a minimum of a 5 page story.

You never know, you might just hit upon something that really speaks to you.

If not, nothing lost, think of it as an imagination/writing exercise.

Either way, cool stuff!

Cheers!
Brandon

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Ruby Skye PI: The Final Chapter goes LIVE today!


If you haven't had a chance to sit down and get caught up for today's ├╝ber-cool finale, I'm going to help make it real easy for you:


Go here and watch! Episode 12 is going live at Noon, so get caught up while you can!

Cheers,
Brandon

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

History Time

So I'm feeling a bit inspired today.

I'd popped over to Denis McGrath's blog recently and happened upon a fantastic trove of links to writing advice that he'd created over the years.

One link especially caught my attention, a great link about Story Literacy, and how we newer writers really don't have much of it. As he posits, our cultural memory is shrinking.

As I read through the post, I realized that I was actually just as guilty here -- there were numerous writers and actors that I'd simply never heard of.

So I'm taking it upon myself to do a touch of self-educating - acquaint myself with a bit of history, if you will.

Since I can count the number of radio plays I've listened to on one hand (and the entirety of my knowledge of Orson Welles was limited to 'Rosebud' and 'War of the Worlds') I decided to start with some of the old 'The Shadow' radio plays from the 30's.

I've been listening to them all morning and I have to say, it's quite an interesting experience, if you've never listened to them, I highly recommend it.

I'm posting one of my favourites (so far) here, close your eyes and take a listen. You'll notice a few interesting tropes here in this story, one of the most notable being the classic 'typewriter with the raised letter'. I'm not sure where exactly this trope first popped up, but it's certainly the earliest (time-wise) story I've seen it pop up in.

Anyone know who used it first or where it originated?








Do you have any favourite episodes? What are some other great radio plays to check out?

Also: Here's the original broadcast of H.G. Wells' "War Of The Worlds" as read by Orson Wells.

Enjoy!



Cheers!
Brandon

P.S: thanks to those who emailed me about yesterday's post. Your positive thoughts and goodwill is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

So, to be honest, my life's become the epitome of an 'innie' these days.

Where I used to spend time watching (and reading, and researching and railing against) the Canadian system, where I used to spend hours or days crafting a post to share with you... well, lets just say that I've been finding it harder and harder to focus much on anything outside of my direct sphere of influence.

Which, incidentally, means I have less and less to talk about that means anything, let alone insights to glean and share -- I mean, believe me, I can talk about my various neuroses about becoming a father for days on end but other that that, I've turned into a bit of a one-trick pony as of late.

In fact, my ongoing fears of impeding fatherhood are pretty much the only thing that I can expound on right now.

(HINT: If that's not really your cup of tea today, you might want to come back tomorrow).

See, the thing is that, for a while now, I've felt a tangle of emotions about the whole thing. I mean, yes, absolutely, if you asked me about it, I told you I was happy. And I am. But it never seemed to encompass everything. There was this whole other set of feelings that I couldn't articulate.

It's like, I could see the moving parts -- the pulsing, writhing mass -- but ask me what it was and I couldn't tell you.

But now I can.

Over the last little while, after some friendly conversations and a bit of personal insight, I've come to realize that it's been a churning froth of Ambition and Angst -- mixed with loving spoonfuls of both Awe and Apathy -- that have worked to make me feel like quite a mess lately.

I've been trying to accomplish as much as I can before my life takes a sudden turn towards the 'not-able-to-do-anything' and it's made me acutely aware of time flying away in a very real (and, at times, terrifying) fashion.

It's quite an interesting sensation, to say the least -- I mean, to understand that all the pressure residing inside me is that which I've placed in there myself...

Yeah, it's made for quite a minefield of mindfucks.

The intelligent part of me (which, incidentally, tends to be the one whispering amongst the yellers these days) knows the easy answer, knows that I can only do what I can do and shouldn't push myself; that I'm being insane to push myself as much as I have been. I know this. I know -- am utterly aware -- that there is no way to sate any of the facets.

And yet they hunger, each pulling me in a different direction -- the siren call of Apathy, begging me to just 'not give a shit about anything' underlying all of it. That it's the easiest choice of them all makes it the sweetest song by far... but I know I'd never let myself live it down.

I think the hardest realization of the last few months has been that of my absolute need to make something, anything lasting -- now, while I can -- so that should I, somehow, never manage to write again or fulfill my dream of 'making it'... that I might have something to show for all of this, all my years of hard work and dedication.

It's been an entirely maddening feeling: fearing something that hasn't yet come to pass so absolutely... and yet, as each day ends, there are times where it's hard not to succumb to it.

Worse yet, to find myself feeling such selfish anxiety about something that is undoubtedly a positive and beautiful thing only seems to magnify these emotions (while adding a heaping helping of guilt into the mix).

Damn, I've just realized how much it sucks to try and pick apart my emotions in a calm and rational matter.

On the bright side, sorting them out is keeping me on an even keel, so that's a bonus.

I can (and do) tell myself each and every day that this is not the end, that I've got nothing to fear -- that, like that moment when I finished the final draft of my first script and felt that cold grip of 'what next'? -- there is more to come.

But my God if it doesn't fall on deaf ears some days.

It's been a rough few months, not really understanding what's been going on inside me, feeling compressed and stretched at the same time, wishing for -- more than anything else -- more time.

Honestly, even with all I've learned about myself as of late, even with my newfound ability to look at it objectively, I still feel like I'm only just starting to 'get it'.

The funny thing is that I always thought I was cool with the whole 'going to be a father' thing. But it's amazing what sneaks in through the cracks when you're not looking. When you let your guard down.

For now, I comfort myself in that old adage 'this too shall pass' -- knowing that life will go on and I will adapt; that my dreams will live on for as long as I choose to nurture them. There are good things coming. Different things, but good.

And, yes, there is peace in that.

As the sages say, "Change is Hard."

And as my father says, "You're never ready."

Who am I to argue?

Cheers,
Brandon

Friday, November 26, 2010

Band Practice

If you just happen to be in Toronto tonight and also happen to be a TV and/or Film writer looking to meet/hang out with other writers, then this is a good place to be.

Pop on by and say 'hi'!

All the info's available here and it looks like it'll be a good turnout. Things usually don't start hopping until 10pm, so don't worry if you think you might find yourself coming late.

So brave the cold, come on out and meet some fellow writer-ly types. It's always a good time!

See you there,

Cheers!
Brandon

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ruby Skye Episode 9 is Live!

Check it out folks, all the way over here!

Don't dawdle, go, check it out. There is goodness.

In other news, today is a slow day -- been trying to work on the novel, get it ready but life and time are two things that seem to be in intense competition these days. Fingers crossed that I can get it all done and looking good by mid-December. :S

Also: To those who've enjoyed my rundown of the CFC's recent TEST PATTERN interview with Hart Hanson, I put it to you: Who would you like to hear from next? Any nagging questions you need answered? I make no promises (and no, I'm not affiliated with the CFC) but if I know, I can keep my ear to the ground for opportunities. Sometimes people show up unexpectedly.

You know, at things like Band Practice.

PROTIP: If you're a newbie writer, this is a good place to meet other writers. Just show up, be chill and, most importantly: don't be creepy. I know that sounds weird, but yeah... historically we've had a few people who didn't read that particular part of the memo. (HINT: If you're actually worried that you'll show up and 'be creepy', chances are that you aren't/won't be... and yes, I say this as a former worrier myself).

That said, it's all about building the community and if you're starting out, this is a great chance to get out there and meet other writer-ly types and their (producer/director/actor/editor/crew) friends in a relaxed and sociable setting. If you don't know anyone, introduce yourself to the first person you see and say some variation of "Hi, I'm < >, this is my first time at Band Practice." and/or "Are you a writer?" Usually those are pretty good ice breaker -- after that though, you're on your own ;)

Cheers (and see you there)!
Brandon

Thursday, November 18, 2010

One Last Bit with Mr. Hanson

This'll be one that my fellow TV writers will probably enjoy as he answers some cool questions about what he looks for in a writer that he'd like to hire and some other cool tidbits.

Read on!
_______________________

As the laughter subsided the interviewer asked a question that brought a hush over the room.

He turned to Mr. Hanson and asked him how a writer gets hired on a show like BONES.

Mr. Hanson smiled and explained that, at least for him, he likes to see a piece of original work, to show what the writer can do on their own -- but then, and just as important, he needs to see a spec script or a broadcast script to show that you know how to write in someone else's voice. This is incredibly important on a Network show.

He said that really he's looking for two things: 1) that they can write really well in their own voice but also, 2) that they can speak in another's voice as well.

When asked how many spec scripts he gets per year he laughed and shook his head saying that there were 'hundreds' -- and that he doesn't read them all. In fact, often his assistant will read them and then point him to the ones that he should check out.

Good News: Mr. Hanson said that he tries to bring on one new 'baby writer' per season!

When asked if the writing room for BONES was like some other writing rooms (like HOUSE) that used projection screens or computer screens to share information, he laughed and said that they still use lots and lots of white boards. He knows that some rooms even use iPads with special apps on them to share information -- so that everyone has their own version -- but they're old school and just have lots and lots of white boards.

Once the floor was opened up to questions, one of the audience members asked Mr. Hanson about an earlier statement he'd made, specifically, how they actually go about making the show look $800,000 to $1 Million dollars more than it is. He responded by saying that they absolutely have to make sure that they have a shooting script ready for the Director on day one. That way everyone on the team -- from the Director to the Prop department -- has as much time as possible to do the very best job that they can. He said he knew that it sounded like an odd thing, that 'doesn't everyone do that?' but no, apparently not everyone does that.

They also try to make sure they don't change the script too much as they're going along. He said he likes to think that his team are 'very efficient shooters' in that they're always looking for ways to cut down on costs -- exactly how many people NEED to be in this shot? etc. Finally, he also doled out a massive amount of credit to both of his 1st Assistant Directors, who he thought were absolutely amazing.

The last question of the night was actually quite good. A member of the audience had asked 'what makes a valuable writer to you?' -- specifying that you can be a brilliant writer but not necessarily 'useful for him or his team'. Mr. Hanson closed by saying that the mix of people in a writer's room is really quite interesting (for a Sociologist). There are some writers who aren't great 'theme' writers but have fabulous ideas or come up with fantastic clues. While others are very good at structure but not so good at writing scenes... or vice versa. There are some who can write amazing scenes but without a solid structure to follow (an outline), they're lost.

It's about having the right mix of all these types of people there on the team -- they don't expect everyone, especially when you're in the lower levels, to be an accomplished scene writer AND an accomplished story writer.

And, well, that's all she wrote for the interview. Thank you so much for following along, and a big, fantastic thanks to the CFC's TEST PATTERN series -- and Mr. Hanson -- for setting up this brilliant session for us to take part in and learn from. I truly hope that if you're in the Toronto area that you can make it out to the next one because they really are worth your time.

Cheers!
Brandon

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More Hart Hanson At The Varsity

Hey all!

Here's some more impressions from the interview!

Enjoy!
______________

Mr. Hanson said that there's no formula for the show itself -- that they try to mix the shows up as much as they can, sometimes they'll have more case, sometimes more personal stuff... sometimes a lot more personal stuff.

He mentioned that back in the second season an exec told him that there's nothing at all wrong with having a formula, that they'd end up having more viewers if the show had a recognizable formula -- to which he shook his head and laughed in his chair as he joked that he should've gone formulaic.

The interviewer nodded, saying that the strength of a show like LAW & ORDER, where you know that by 23 minutes into the hour the case will be solved and they'll be off to trial, is that it's sort of like meatloaf. Comfort food. And Mr. Hanson agreed, saying that his show's version of 'comfort food' was that you'll have a laugh, throw up a bit and, in the end, they'll catch the bad guy.

But he also added that one of the things that people really seem to like about the show is that the case isn't the main aspect of the show; intimating that it's ultimately the strong character moments -- like Dr. Brennan throwing down 'the Crab' move in this particular episode ("The Maggots In The Meathead") -- that really make the show sing.

Of the 'techniques' and fancy machines used in the show? He mentions that while they often 'cheat' like crazy -- getting DNA results back in 5 minutes, for example -- they have not lied or made up anything in the show, all of it exists in the real world. It may not work as fast but it all exists.

He says that they're not the kind of show that's going to 'spring' anyone on you -- by the time you get to the end of the episode, you'll have met the murderer in some fashion.

Side Note: One person apparently wrote to him and told him that her husband had figured out that 'it's always the 3rd person they meet on the show' -- which sent them all scrambling to figure out if that was true because they always want to keep people guessing.

In the writing room, the beginning of the next season always begins at the end of the last season when they start to talk 'arenas' for new episodes. Once they have about six or eight good arenas set up then they'll start to begin the process of actually breaking some of the stories -- Mr. Hanson himself talked about how he'd often leave the main story-breaking efforts to his Co-Executive Producers while he'd come up with the B stories (the personal stories) that would come up during the episodes. As a team the room would break the 'Crime' story and then pitch it to Mr. Hanson who would tell them what he feels works or doesn't work (often where the Act ends are).

Great Idea for Writers: Over time he's discovered that the best way to pitch a story is to have them tell him the story from the Murderer's point of view. This helps make sure the murder and motives make sense. He used the example of 'well why's there a body in the basement?' and the response was something like 'because it'd be a great Act out' -- but that doesn't cut it. First and foremost: The murder has to make sense.

Fast show fact: The explanation at the end of the show, where they reveal how the murder happened, is called 'the download'.

Now that they've done 108 murders (at the time of the talk) he admits that it's getting harder to not repeat themselves, getting to the point now where the actual process of finding stories they can use is almost a full day longer than it used to be.

Alright folks, that's all for today. More tomorrow ;)

Cheers!
Brandon

Monday, November 15, 2010

Well Hello There!

Okay, so my write-up isn't quite done yet -- I'd been pushing to get the writeup done and up today from Mr. Hart Hanson's recent visit but it's taken me a bit longer than expected to go through the notes and get it into sharing form (trying to keep it interesting).

On the bright side, things are going alright on the writing angle -- I'll be in the writing room tomorrow night with my good buddy Peter and some friends to begin breaking down our web series. Some crazy stuff coming down the pipe, hopefully I'll be able to spill more about it soon!

Until then, hopefully you've been keeping up with your Ruby Skye! Episode 7: Stalled was just recently released and things are starting to get pretty hairy for our heroine.

Check it out (or get caught up) here.

Cheers!
Brandon

My Impressions of Hart Hanson at The Varsity

Hey all!

Sorry this took longer than expected to process -- the interview had a ton of little nuggets of goodness in it but that's how it goes sometimes. I'm finally all done but I figured I'd spread it out over the next day or so 'cause, really, I've got nothing exciting going on right now.

So, without further ado, here we go:

Sitting up in the front row, like the little keener that I am, I watched as Hart Hanson -- of BONES fame -- made his way to the stage and sat across from interviewer Richard Crouse. We'd just finished watching 'The Maggots In The Meathead' -- a Jersey-shore-ish episode -- and our applause was still in full swing but he wasted little time in turning it toward the director -- who was actually there in the audience -- Tim Southam, calling him 'a nice Canadian boy' who had gone down to work in LA.

And with that they set off into the interview proper, the first topic: Does he enjoy seeing his work up there on the big screen? Mr. Hanson discussed how it was hard for him to watch it because he was able to point out every single flaw -- that said, it was nice to watch the show with an audience. He sees the show as a 'Crimedy' and felt it was nice to see the audience laughing in all the right places.

Also: Apparently BONES does fantastic with the female demographic... and teenage boys. He said he's not exactly sure why women flock to the show, but then conceded that having David Boreanaz take off his shirt from time to time probably didn't hurt.

Mr. Hanson credits the 'high-budget' look of his show -- saying it looks $800,000 to $1 million more than it actually is -- to his brilliant (and stable) crew, some of which have worked with him since his days on JUDGING AMY.

Interesting side note: When Mr. Hanson first hired Emily Deschanel for the titular role of Dr. Brennan, she made him promise that Booth would only 'save her' a few times, at most. He joked that even in the few times that Booth has had to save Dr. Brennan, she usually ends up saving him right back.

In regards to, what some might call, 'disturbing' levels of gore he actually credited former FOX executive Craig Erwich with presenting the idea to have a 'signature' horrible or baffling moment off the top. Something to elicit a sense of 'How the hell did this happen?' that would draw the viewer in. Mr. Hanson said that he especially liked the idea because it meant that he could allow Ms. Deschanel some time off from in front of the camera (as she'd been in almost every scene in earlier episodes).

Show-wise, in regards to keeping the show fresh for six years, he said that it helps to have a lot of fingers in the pot. Apparently they have eight writers and are quite active in the Writer's room.

Specifically, in regards to "The Maggots In The Meathead", Dean Lopata -- the credited writer -- had approached him early on saying that he'd wanted to do a 'Jersey Shore' themed episode. Though Mr. Hanson had originally said no to the idea, the writer went back to the room and persuaded the C0-Executive Producers that it would be a great episode. By the time the story was re-pitched to him, he found himself quite impressed and gave it the go ahead.

Mr. Hanson said his major contribution to the episode was that he pushed Dr. Brennan's anthropological take on it -- that she thought 'Jersey Shore' really was actually a documentary.

The conversation hit a tangent then, following the 'keeping it fresh' topic, they broached the subject of Season 3's cannibalistic serial killer Howard Epps. Apparently it was a very popular storyline, which was tough for Mr. Hanson as he personally doesn't like serial killers.

This pushed them into the topic of Zack -- originally intended to be a victim of the serial killer known as Gormagon -- the Writer's strike came up and ended up shortening their season substantially. He believes that there's no such thing as excuses in television but the shorter season made it impossible to do the story properly as it had been intended. In the end he felt bad for the actor (who's character was going to be killed) and instead decided to make him an accomplice that way at least there would be an opportunity to bring him back from time to time.

Numbers-wise, the show tends to pull in an average of about 10 million viewers a week, which is fantastic for our current television climate -- Mr. Hanson noted that in the past, on his first show CUPID (with Jeremy Piven), it was canceled because it wasn't performing well and it had 14 million viewers at the time. By the time he left JUDGING AMY (at the 100th episode) it was doing 18 million viewers and it was considered a big hit.

Interesting fact: Apparently studies have shown that if they can get you to watch three episodes of BONES then they've got you hooked. He's not sure why that is (but I'm sure he's not complaining).

More to come tomorrow! Stay tuned ;)

Cheers,
Brandon

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hart Hanson At The Varsity

Hey all,

So I went to see Hart Hanson (Creator of the TV series 'Bones') last night at the Varsity theater -- a new event in re-emergence of the CFC's TEST PATTERN series -- and I have to say that I thought it was an absolutely brilliant time.

Mr. Hanson doesn't seem to be one to pull many punches when he talks about the creation and running of his show -- especially in regards to the politics of running said show -- and I sat there riveted to my seat, just trying to soak it all in.

I really want to thank the CFC (also Global and Fox) for putting this thing together as it was definitely worth the time and I can't wait to check out the next one.

Keep an eye out as I'll have a thorough write up about my impressions of the event soon.

Cheers!
Brandon

Monday, November 08, 2010

Hart Hanson Tonight!

So tonight at 6:30pm at the Varsity Theatre, I'm going to be checking out 'An Evening with Hart Hanson, creator of Bones', one of a series of ongoing shindigs in the CFC's TEST PATTERN series.

Side Note: 'Creator Of Bones' is the coolest Barbarian name ever

Side Side Note: ^ My new character's name when Diablo 3 comes out.

Right. Moving on.

If you're going out there tonight, might be useful to take a look at the Transcript from an earlier (February) appearance at the "Future Of Story" conference in Edmonton.

There's some brilliant stuff in there and I'm re-reading it now to make sure I don't ask any silly questions -- or better yet, make sure I ask some good ones.

More to come tomorrow!

Cheers,
Brandon

Friday, November 05, 2010

Surprise!

Well folks, this has been probably the hardest secret I've ever had to keep in my life.

The moment I found out we were going to have a baby... well, yeah, my wife practically had to hold me down. I wanted to shout it to the world.

But she -- being, truly, the better half -- made a lot of sense. There were tests and doctor's visits and all sorts of things that needed to be figured out first. So, until everything was ship-shape she asked me to keep it on the downlow. Needless to say, I think I've got a permanent set of grooves bitten into my tongue.

On the bright side, now that we're officially in our 3rd trimester, I've been given the green light to yell from the mountain tops. Okay, well, my blog. And so here I go ;)

I'm gonna be a dad!! :D

How cool is that??

Cheers!
Brandon

Thursday, November 04, 2010

More Ruby Skye for you!

Hey all, today's the release of Episode 4 for Ruby Skye P.I. a great new webseries from the likes of Jill Golick, Kerry Young and Karen Walton.

Check out Episode 4 here:

Chapter 4: A Real Green Dress from Story2.OH on Vimeo.

Or better yet, go to their website and check out all the awesome-sauce they've got in store for you there. http://www.rubyskyepi.com/episodes/

In other news, I'm hard at work re-writing 404, trying to get this thing hammered out for mid-November. *fingers crossed*

So yes, I'm a bit distracted.

But, on the bright side, I've been given the go ahead to share some special news with you all... so yes, come back tomorrow for something pretty cool!

Cheers!
Brandon

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Really, George... Really?!





George Bush claims that the lowest point in his Presidency was when Kanye West called him out on live TV and said that 'George Bush doesn't care about black people'.

http://www.movieline.com/2010/11/kanye-west-insult-worst-moment-of-george-w-bush-presidency-says-george-w-bush.php

That's your lowest point? Really?

Ugh. I need a drink.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Taking Stock

Are you trying to break in as a Film/TV writer?

How many hours a day do you pour into your scripts versus pouring into your networking versus balancing a day job?

Which is more important to you? Why?

When do you sleep? How do you sleep?

Do you wake up early and pound the pavement, set up meetings, call your agent -- look for an agent?


Do you work a 9 to 5 and call it a day?

Do you write on your lunch break? Do you talk aloud to the air on your way home?

Do you have a set time to write? Or do you write in the moment? Do you create inspiration or wait for it to arrive?

Do you write a script or an outline? A scene or an exchange?

How do you start? Where do you draw the line? When do you throw up your hands and say 'okay, okay, that's enough for now'?

When is your script done?

And when it is, do you put it out there? Do you seek criticism?

Do you take negative criticism well?

Do you hold a stiff upper lip? Or clench your fists or sneer or snicker? Do you work to make it better or shrug off the obvious lunatic?

Do you roll your eyes and sigh?

Are you a wide-eyed newbie? A calm realist? A sadistic overlord? A jaded mensch?

Can you imagine it? What your goal looks like?

What's your end-game?

How do you plan to get there?

Do you work to lift up those around you? To make a team of friends? Or do you go it alone? Make a name for yourself?

Who do you appreciate? Who do you miss?

Who eggs you onward or lifts you up or reminds you why you're on the right path?

What's your sacrifice? Are you willing to make it?

Will you see the opportunity? Know the right time to strike? Will you snatch it when appears? From the hands of another, if need be?

Are you ready for it if it comes?

Cheers,
Brandon

Monday, November 01, 2010

Back In The Barrel

So, what can I say... last week was not a blog-writing week.

Okay, the last week and a half.

Oddly enough, it's not because I had nothing to say... but more that I just couldn't put it out in any way, shape or form that I could live with.

On the bright side: The Walking Dead premiere -- a show based off a comic that I'm a HUGE fan of -- did gangbusters. 5.3 million people for AMC. It was a brilliant start and I hope it just gets better. If you're currently up to snuff in the comics then you know that Mr. Kirkman has left lots of fertile ground for the series to tread. Fingers crossed that they'll keep a lot of it in. There's some truly, truly disturbing stuff in these books... and very little of it has anything to do with Zombies.

In other news, Toronto has a new Mayor.

Also: Democratic voters still do not have the option to check 'None of the above' and have it actually mean something.

Writing-wise, my 'fixes' of 404 have turned into a full-blown 2nd draft. I realize that there's more that I'd like to add to it and so I've been plugging away at it, trying to make it better. It's a fast-paced story, to be sure, but at some points I realized that it needs a bit more room to breathe, things that I blew right past that deserve to be explored more.

So I've been doing that, selectively easing on the brakes in a few places so we can take in the scenery a tad.

I'm also starting to put together a web series with some friends. Hopefully we can put a writing room together for mid November and have some good stuff hashed out.

Those two things are going to eat up a bunch of my time -- as well as another major event that I can't talk about until mid-February -- but with any luck I'll be able to start on a new spec pilot as well. I've got some great stuff for a starting point... we'll see if it sings or not.

Did anyone else just realize that it's freaking November?!

Geez.

Anyways, more to come -- tomorrow.

Cheers,
Brandon

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ruby Skye Is LIVE!

For those of you who've been intrigued by the trailers and videos and blog posts about tween web series Ruby Skye P.I. -- your wait is officially over.

You can check out the video on Vimeo.

Or, I've embedded it here for your viewing pleasure.

When you're done, make sure to pop by their channel and show them some love!


Chapter 1: Animal Farm from Story2.OH on Vimeo

Very cool!

Cheers,
Brandon

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

404: The New Cover Arises


It's been a long, long road but the final steps of my novel are starting to come together.

A big chunk of that process has been trying to come up with a cover that would be suitable for the final ebook and print versions -- something that would grab a potential readers attention and, hopefully, inspire them to pick it up (or, better: buy it!).

To help with this process, I put together a little contest; something to try and get others to come to the forefront and create that cover for me.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bit of a flop. Though I received quite a few "Yeah! Totally!"s from those I talked to, ultimately it didn't pan out.

And so I decided to go it alone.

What you see up at the top of the page there is the 'winning' -- and, potentially, final -- cover (out of 3 variants) designed by yours truly.

I want to thank my readers and my friends behind the scenes who offered their thoughts and insights on which version I should use.

Yet there is still one last hurdle to, well, hurdle: The critique of the masses.

So, I put this to out to you, my fellow blog readers and literary mavens: what do you think of this design for an Action/Thriller story? Would this cover grab your attention in a book store? Maybe make you want to pick it up and read it?

What do you like/not like about it?

Just for those who may not remember, here was my original cover (yes, it's come a long way!).

Cheers,
Brandon

Monday, October 18, 2010

What I've Learned


So, now that the novel's done, I've had a few people ask me what I've learned from my little experiment -- what I'd do differently, what I'd improve upon for next time.

And, while there have been a lot of great ideas to come out of this thing, I've definitely realized that there are some bugs in the system.

I think one of the first real complaints I got as the first few weeks rolled on was the frustration about having to buy each individual 'episode'. Not a lot of people enjoyed that, or having to come back every week and/or make a bunch of 99 cent purchases in order to catch up.

My original reasoning behind that approach was that I wanted to give people the freedom to purchase a chapter and then, if they didn't like it, they'd only spent 99 cents and it wouldn't seem like that large of an investment.

However, in retrospect, I think that was the wrong approach to take. You see, selling the first episode made sense because it was a way to get people on board without them spending too much. But as the weeks rolled on, it became a hassle.

And, truth be told, I never sold more individual episodes than in those first two weeks.

What really saved my bacon in the end was an option that I brought about in Week #2 after my friend (and fellow Inkie) Stephanie Law suggested that I create some sort of 'subscription' model; something that would allow people to pre-purchase the whole story upfront.

And so that's what I did. I created a subscription service where for $6.99 you would receive a new 'episode' of five chapters delivered directly to your inbox every Sunday night.

That's where things really took off.

Once people made that singular purchase and didn't have to think about coming back to the site or anything like that, things went swimmingly. My sales soared. Now, to be fair, I'm certainly no millionaire after this little jaunt, but... well, I did okay on that end.

I think the one thing that surprised me the most about the whole experiment was that 'interactivity' was the absolute last thing that my readers wanted.

You see, I'd come into this with an entirely Open Door policy. The whole story was written with the intention that my readers could take part and help to guide the characters and events as I wrote it. I made sure to let it be known that every idea would be considered and I even allowed for several different avenues to reach me... but, that never happened.

I did, however, get lots of feedback about how 'cool' the option was (that I would let people into my story like that) but no one actually took me up on it.

In the end, while people told me they loved the story and even a few thought it'd make a great movie, nobody -- even when prodded -- actually felt comfortable in 'changing my vision'.

Huh.

So, how would I do this differently in the future?

Well, I think for my next book I'll be moving to a subscription-only service. Something that makes it easy-as-pie for people to join in and just relax and let the episodes roll to them.

I think the idea of treating it like a weekly episode of a TV show worked rather well and it's something I can see myself getting into as I go forward. Though, to be fair, I think one of the things that really helped me was the nature of the story itself.

Because 404 was an Action/Thriller -- something that really lent itself well to the weekly TV concept -- I think that really helped me keep readers hooked and interested. Would it work as well in another format or genre? I'm not sure. My next concept is Action/Horror... so we'll see how that one goes.

I also quite enjoyed writing each chapter on the fly, I felt that it held a number of great advantages for me. Especially when it comes to the 'get something done' department. I've got dozens of half-finished projects over here, all in a myriad of different states, so knowing that I had to finish one chapter every day... yeah, that was fantastic motivation.

That said, I might give myself a bit more of a head start next time, make sure I'm a couple weeks ahead in the writing before I start releasing things. One of the bad things about constantly being under the gun -- as I discovered about mid-way through the story -- is that when you hit upon something that you really like and would love to expand upon, it's incredibly hard to do when the clock is ticking and the delivery deadline looms.

All-in-all I'd like to think that my first experiment was rather successful. I don't think I'm going to jump into another novel this year -- I've got a web series next on the docket, followed by a new Spec Pilot for a TV series, but hopefully 404 will do well over the next little while and by the time the new year rolls around, I can take another swing at it.

Anyways, there'll be more 404-stuff coming up soon with the final launch of the printed book but by all means, if you have any questions about the process or the finished work, ask away.

Cheers!
Brandon

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Meet Ruby Skye

My good friends Jill Golick, Kerry Young and Karen Walton are not ones to rest on their laurels -- in fact, they've been busy making a hot new web series over the last few months and it looks like it's finally ready to put the rubber to the road.

I've been told that October 25th is the big release day... but until then, check out this neato trailer they've put together to introduce you to their main characters!

Also, check out their website here!

Meet Ruby Skye from Story2.OH on Vimeo.



Cheers,
Brandon

Monday, October 11, 2010

And There We Are

The last sentence was written at 8:06pm last night.

After a long and exciting adventure -- both in and outside of the story -- 404 is finally complete. It's done and man, it was hard to see it go.

As I made it around that final bend, as I saw the ending finally in sight... yeah, things got a bit emotional. To think that I managed to write a novel in two months -- and that I'm actually quite proud of the result. If you'd asked me to do this at the beginning of the year, hell, I don't know if I ever could have dreamed of pulling it off.

And yet, here we are.

Of course the first person I have to thank is my incredible editor, Cameron Dixon. He's an amazing writer and an even better friend -- his insights not only revealed to me just how bad my grammar had become (sorry about that!) but also showed me the best ways to bring out exactly what I was trying to say in that jumble of words of mine. He's a tough cookie, and he'll kick your ass if you disrespect the language... but my writing is undoubtedly better because of said ass-kickings.

I also want to thank all the subscribers who joined by giving back to them in a meaningful way. Over the next few weeks, I'll be going back over the text and expanding on a few things that I wish I had been able to expand on but couldn't (due to time constraints), I'll also be adding some cool little features that I've concocted for those that really enjoyed the story.

All of this will go into a 'final edition' that I can hopefully send to print by the beginning of November.

Each and every one of my subscribers will receive a copy of the final, printed book for free.

Just a way for me to say 'Thank You' for all of your support.

For those of you who received the finale in your inbox last night, please, feel free to let me know what you think!

Cheers!
Brandon

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Knee-Deep in the Finale

Man, it's been a tough week trying to make sure I wrap all this up properly, trying to make it worthy of the time you've invested.

If there's one true thing that's ever been spoken about writing -- or life, in general -- it's that "Endings are hard."

And damn, is that ever true.

Mostly, for me, it's the process of letting go. Of writing these last chapters and scenes, trying to make sure it all adds up to something.


Hopefully something worth your time.

The finale goes live Sunday night, October 10th, marking the end of this wonderful and informative experiment of mine. I've learned a ton -- about myself, about my writing... and, more importantly, that people ARE willing to pay lil' ol' me for my writing (which, frankly, is pretty damn cool).

I want to thank all of you who've subscribed -- from those at the beginning all the way to those who've just joined up over the last couple of days, I really appreciate the support!

Hopefully you've enjoyed this process as much as I have.

Just as a bit of a note: the subscription link will be coming down on Friday, to be replaced with a final 'Buy Now' button that will sell the finished book (which should be going live at the end of October) for $9.99 CAD -- so those last few of you who've been holding out (and you know who you are) can feel free to subscribe and save yourselves a few bucks before the finale comes out.

Other than that, I'm back to writing, trying to make sure this thing sings before swan-song time rolls around.

And, for the couple that've asked in passing, no I'm not giving up on TV. I'll be going back to it soon enough -- in fact, I should be working to break a new spec pilot by Thanksgiving Day (if I don't crash from turkey-overload).

Cheers!
Brandon

Monday, October 04, 2010

Episode #7 is LIVE!

That's right folks! After a week full of battling illness and computer issues, the penultimate episode of 404 is ready for download!

Next week: The Finale!

Until then, I want to see more of them covers coming in. I know a few of you are hard at work already, but there's always room for more!

Not sure what I'm talking about? Why don't you take a look here and here... and maybe win yourself $150.

Cheers!
Brandon

Friday, October 01, 2010

404 Cover Contest Update!

Hey all!

So, after doing some fancy math-related things with my calculator and digging around in my couch a bit, I've decided that the winner of my 404 cover contest will recieve:

$150 CAD in a gift card of your choice (hopefully something I can set up online for you)

AND

A promotional link for your website or portfolio included in the final version of both the eNovel and Print versions of the book.

Sound good? Catch up on the rules and such here and get to it! Contest closes at the end of the month!

In other contest-related news, it looks like I've got a great question here from Rich Baldwin:

"For the print version, do you want a front and back cover with a spine? If so, do you know how large the spine is likely to be? From your measurements you could be going for a trade paperback or a hardcover book--will you have a hardcover version? Because hardcover versions need to be slightly larger than the book block to accommodate the hard cover stock, and also need an extra couple of inches for the tongues of the slipcover."

Hey Rich, thanks for writing in with your question!

Primarily I'm looking for an eye-catching front cover only -- that said, if you want to make a back cover and spine, by all means, I won't stop you. But the front cover is the main thing that will be judged.

For the print version, it'll be in a trade paperback format, so please keep that in mind when creating the artwork -- that said, the winning cover art will also be used in the promotions material for the book, so please make it high resolution as well so that I can use it for posters, etc. should I need to.

Cheers all!

And good luck!
Brandon

Thursday, September 30, 2010

404, Daily: Chapter Thirty-Four

Hello folks!

Well, we're nearing the final chapter and things are looking dire indeed for Marco and Jess. They've come a long way, survived so much... but what happens next will shake them to their very core. The end is coming to meet them head on, their enemy soon to be revealed in full.

There's only 6 chapters left and time is running out.

Which leads me to a bit of sad news:

Unfortunately, due to the fact that chapter 35 contains some massive reveals, and the final episode is going to be one long, huge spoiler, it looks like we've come to the end of the Dailies for my novel '404'.

I want to thank everyone who's taken time out of their day, popped on by my blog during their lunch break or after work; stopped me at get-togethers or sent me emails to congratulate me on this little endeavour of mine.

Moreso, to think that so many of you would throw your support behind me -- that you would pay out your own hard-earned money in these trying times to support an unknown writer in his work... well, I'm truly humbled. Your feedback and your encouragement, from week to week, episode to episode, has been an amazing and profound experience.

To all of you, I truly hope that you've enjoyed sharing in this experience with me. I know it's not exactly an idea most writers would get behind -- showing their 1st draft work (let alone online) -- but I like to think that by sharing my process with you that, maybe, just maybe, it's made it a bit more of an engaging and intimate experience.

Yes, as you may have realized, my grammar isn't always up to snuff and I certainly have a few 'fall back' words when my mind is seized up in the mud... but at the same time I think it's granted me a certain sort of freedom as well. Freedom from myself.

Freedom from that nagging little perfectionist in my head that would normally never let the light peek in.

Posting a new Daily, every day -- while not always easy -- has been something that I've looked forward to because instead of sitting there, pondering every word, rewriting each and every sentence a thousand times... it's forced me to move on; made sure that, no matter what, I'm moving forward from day one.

And now, here we are... almost done. The Finale looms.

And while the easy route would be to simply say 'Thank you for your support' and leave it at that, I want to do an extra something special to reward you for your faith in me.

Those of you who've subscribed to my novel, please keep an eye on your inboxes when the final episode of '404' rolls in next week.

Hopefully you'll like it.

For the rest, thank you once again for following along with me over the last couple of months -- and if you're interested in seeing how it all ends you can still subscribe up top in the corner there. Otherwise, the final version of the novel will be released at the end of October for $9.99 CAD.

Anyways, without further ado, here's the Daily for Chapter 34:

Cheers,
Brandon
________________

*Please Note: What follows below is only the FIRST page of Chapter 34 and is considered to be 'Raw Footage' -- unedited, first-draft material that may be subject to change (even in its entirety). This is designed to keep you in the loop with my story as well as, hopefully, intrigue you enough to want to buy the full, finished episode at the end of the week.

Warning: there will be SPOILERS and coarse language as well, so please keep that in mind before you read on.

Episode #7 (which collects the finished and polished versions of chapters 31-35) will be available on Sunday, October 3rd for 99 cents CAD.

You are encouraged to offer feedback and/or interact with me as this process unfolds. I'd love to hear what you like, what you don't like and what you'd love to see more of.
________________

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

The stench of ash and death wafts through the air as Marco and Jess watch in silent horror at what lies before them. From their perch on the deck they watch as the carrier trundles past a massive flaming pit in the earth; as men in heavy gas masks and Hazmat suits shovel the still-decomposing bodies of men, women and children inside.

The carrier picks up speed as it crosses the bridge and Jess slaps her hand to her mouth, fighting back a sudden need to vomit: as far back as they can see, off into the horizon, are more flaming pits, each tended to by its own Hazmat-suited crew. Bodies are piled high beside each of them as massive dump trucks back up and deliver more.

“What is this?! What the fuck have you done?!” Marco calls out to the Commander, his fists clenched, ignoring the guns digging into his back.

“What is done is done, Mr. Temura. No use crying over spilt milk,” the Commander says, his gaze fixed on the road as the carrier rolls past.

“Spilt milk?! How fucking dare you?! How dare you wear that uniform and say that??” Marco yells, anger washing over him as Jess puts a hand on his shoulders.

“Marco, don’t,” She whispers. “They’re just looking for an excuse to kill us…”

He stops, anger muted for the moment, his hands shaking as he tries to contain his rage. “Look at them, Commander! Look at what you and your people’ve done!” Marco’s eyes burn with hatred, spittle forming on his lips as he lunges toward the Commander, receiving a solid boot to the gut for his efforts. He collapses to the ground, coughing as he fights to get back to his knees, still reaching toward the gray-haired man.

The Commander turns and looks down at him with contempt, as if recognizing a gnat, before nodding to a soldier. Marco receives a gun-butt to the head, a swift blow that lays him out and rings in his ears.

Jess puts her arm around him, trying her best to comfort him as the machine speeds down the hill, toward a wide, squat building: The Pentagon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

404, Daily: Chapter Thirty-Three

Hey all!

Not much to say today... though apparently the sex trade is legal now in Ontario? Wow, how the heck did that happen?

Let us pause to get a reaction from the Conservative Party of Canada:


Right. Those who're still amongst the living, please take a moment and check out the Daily for Chapter 33!

Cheers,
Brandon
________________

*Please Note: What follows below is only the FIRST page of Chapter 33 and is considered to be 'Raw Footage' -- unedited, first-draft material that may be subject to change (even in its entirety). This is designed to keep you in the loop with my story as well as, hopefully, intrigue you enough to want to buy the full, finished episode at the end of the week.

Warning: there will be SPOILERS and coarse language as well, so please keep that in mind before you read on.

Episode #7 (which collects the finished and polished versions of chapters 31-35) will be available on Sunday, October 3rd for 99 cents CAD.

You are encouraged to offer feedback and/or interact with me as this process unfolds. I'd love to hear what you like, what you don't like and what you'd love to see more of.
________________

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

Marco looks to the rooftops above him, to the figures in military camo staring down at him. Through their gas masks they watch Marco and Jess, silent and unmoving; sub-machine guns leveled. Alex laughs, a high-pitched jackal's whine followed by a loud yawn, his eyes drooping from the blood loss. "I got you… I got you…"

Behind them several more men in military garb enter the alleyway, parting to make way for a well-built, gray-haired white man. He comes to a stop a few feet from Marco, his chiseled face letting loose a blip of concern as his gaze falls on Alex. He looks to Marco and then to Jess, contempt forming behind his eyes.

Jess scowls as she looks the man up and down. "Are you the CO? What the hell's going on here? Where is everyone??" She stalks toward him and he backhands her in a single, smooth motion, sending her spinning into Marco.

"What the fuck!?" She nurses her cheek as several more guns draw down on her. She puts her hands up, shaking with anger.

The Commander walks past them, shaking his head at the wounded man and the blood pooled around him. He stops, moved by the sight before him. After a long moment he speaks, his voice filled with reverence. "Mr. Wong. I'm afraid you don't have much time. Even if we were able to airlift you out of here… I'm sorry, you're not going to make it."

Alex nods as if underwater, his face pale, eyelids half-closed. "I… know…"

"Help this man to his feet!" The Commander barks and several soldiers rush into the alley, lifting and supporting Alex. "Forgive me, sir, all I can offer you is a Hero's death. But I promise you this: you will be remembered. Children will speak your name with reverence."

He draws his gun, cocking it and stepping back. "Deshi 'Alex' Wong, thank you for your --"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

404, Daily: Chapter Thirty-Two

Ugh. Rain.

Looks like we're going to have rain all week too.

Not that I can really complain -- certainly not when you look at some of the flooding and such going on around the world (Red Cross: Donate for Pakistan relief) and our streets could definitely use a good washing... yet I always find my focus fading on rainy days. As if my attention span begins and ends with each and every tiny rain drop.

Luckily, today's been an exception to the rule. I'm not exactly sure why; maybe it's something as simple as me having a daily goal, making sure I'm getting my chapter done no matter what. I dunno. But today I've been a focused like a laser beam.

And I think this chapter turned out pretty darn good in the end.

Anyways, here's the Daily for Chapter 32, hope you enjoy.

Cheers!
Brandon
________________

*Please Note: What follows below is only the FIRST page of Chapter 32 and is considered to be 'Raw Footage' -- unedited, first-draft material that may be subject to change (even in its entirety). This is designed to keep you in the loop with my story as well as, hopefully, intrigue you enough to want to buy the full, finished episode at the end of the week.

Warning: there will be SPOILERS and coarse language as well, so please keep that in mind before you read on.

Episode #7 (which collects the finished and polished versions of chapters 31-35) will be available on Sunday, October 3rd for 99 cents CAD.

You are encouraged to offer feedback and/or interact with me as this process unfolds. I'd love to hear what you like, what you don't like and what you'd love to see more of.
________________

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

"So. You made it," Alex grimaces, looking up at them through dull eyes, his body slumped against the wall of the alleyway. "Heh, for a while there I thought I was the only one." His leg is drenched in a thick coat of blood as it drips down from the ragged mess of his right arm. He shifts and groans, the makeshift sling unable to contain the entirety of his twisted, jagged limb.

"That looks pretty bad," Marco says with a sincerity that causes Alex to laugh then wince.

"Yes, I've gone and done it now." Alex's voice trembles as he looks down at the fleshy remnants of his knuckles.

Marco looks to Jess, she meets his gaze and nods -- an unspoken message passed between them. He hands her the gun and steps forward. "Alex, you're going into shock. You've got a compound fracture there and severe blood loss -- we need to get you to a hospit--"

"Can't. Doesn't matter." Alex slurs, his head shaking from side to side. "No one left. We took care of that. One of the first things."

"What do you mean?" Jess asks, her voice strained but calm. She tenses, hand clenched around the grip, resisting the urge to use force.

Alex looks up at her, his glazed eyes clearing. He regards them for a moment before taking stock of his surroundings. "Where am I?"

"Washington. There was a crash. You're not doing so well," Marco says, kneeling beside Alex's arm. "We need to get you out of here. Can you stand?"

Alex shakes his head. "I remember the wing exploding. Something crashed into me." He looks down at his destroyed arm as if seeing a stranger. "I put my arm up to stop it…"

"Alex, what happened here? Where did everyone go?" Marco asks, unsure that he wants to hear the answer.

"Relocated," Alex says, his voice distant, head starting to dip.

Monday, September 27, 2010

404, Daily: Chapter Thirty-One

Well, it was a nice week off -- with the exception of one event that truly pissed me off. This last weekend I went out to do some grocery shopping with my wife and, somehow, I managed to lose the USB key I always carry around with me.

It's not much, just a little one-gig thing but its contents are quite precious: it's got all of my writing for the last 4 years on it.

Now, it's not as bad as it could've been, I learned long ago to back up anything I don't want lost forever... but still I can't help but feel bothered by the fact that years of my work is just floating out there in the wind like that.

That said, I used a little techie-trick involving creating an autorun.inf file so that should anyone plug it into their computer they'll see a little message from yours truly. Something like 'If found please call' and then my cell #.

It's a useful little trick, so, for those of you who would hate to have this happen to you, here's how to do it (this works on PC, not sure about MAC):

Right-click and create a new text document. Rename it to 'autorun.inf' and put it in the root of your flashdrive.

Edit the text file and put in the following:
icon = .\
label=Return For Reward! (xxx-xxx-xxxx)

The 'icon' bit is whatever .ico file you want represent your drive when it's loaded. Put the file into the root of your drive.

The label can be pretty much anything, but it'll cut you off after about 30-ish characters.

Hope that helps (and may you never lose your flash drive!).

Oh, and here's the Daily for Chapter 31!

Cheers,
Brandon
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*Please Note: What follows below is only the FIRST page of Chapter 31 and is considered to be 'Raw Footage' -- unedited, first-draft material that may be subject to change (even in its entirety). This is designed to keep you in the loop with my story as well as, hopefully, intrigue you enough to want to buy the full, finished episode at the end of the week.

Warning: there will be SPOILERS and coarse language as well, so please keep that in mind before you read on.

Episode #7 (which collects the finished and polished versions of chapters 31-35) will be available on Sunday, October 3rd for 99 cents CAD.

You are encouraged to offer feedback and/or interact with me as this process unfolds. I'd love to hear what you like, what you don't like and what you'd love to see more of.
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CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

"Hello?" Marco calls out, feeling a cold wind blow through him as he gazes across the road, to a large, faded sign: Constitution Ave.

"Hello!?" Jess yells in the other direction, shaking her head at the silence. "This is nuts…"

"Yeah, tell me about it." Marco walks past her, around the side of the wreckage.

"Where're you going?" she asks, falling in step behind him.

He passes the overturned cockpit, running his fingers along the scratched and torn metal, feeling the thick crevices and long patches of seared white paint as he makes his way toward the passenger's entrance. "There's one person who'd know what's going on and if he's still alive, I'm going to find --"

Marco stops as the tail-section of the plane stretches out before him, bent at a firm ninety-degree angle like a 'V' -- the entire rear end crumpled and twisted, laying in a bed of shattered glass. From where they stand, he can see that many seats have been dislodged from the floor, now resting -- or embedded -- in the roof and walls.

"I don't seem him," Marco says, dropping to his knees, peering through the shattered windows. "No blood, no nothing…"

"Over there!" Jess points to the remnants of the emergency exit. She runs toward it, pulling a strip of fabric from the door.

Marco approaches, keeping a look out, watching for any movement. "You think he blew out the back during the crash?" He takes the fabric in hand and realizes it's soaked in blood.

"Maybe," She says, getting close to the ground. "On second thought, check this out." She swipes a finger along the pavement, holding up a bloody finger. "Faint, but it's there."

"So… He survived the crash, bandaged himself up… and took off?" Marco walks over to the tiny blood trail, squinting, trying to see where it leads. "Yeah, look at that." He points ahead, to small dark splatters as they lead away from the wreckage.

"Jeezus, he's on the move!"

Friday, September 17, 2010

404 eNovel Cover Contest

Starting today -- and running until the launch of my finished eNovel in October -- I'll be holding a contest for all you hardcore artistic-types out there.

What I'm looking for is this:

I want to get a professional-looking, eye-catching cover that I can use for the final digital and print versions of my novel.

Off to the side there, that's the cover I have right now.

Think you can do better? I bet you can!

The prize, which I'm still figuring out in its entirety, will include:

Full credit for your work and a link to your portfolio/website in the finished novel and, most likely, a cash prize.

I'm not all that rich right now, so I'll have to figure out exactly how much that will be, but I'll try and find some other cool things to gift you with as well.

Image-wise, I will need to hold the rights to the artwork for purposes of promotional use and for the covers of the Electronic and Print versions. Outside of that, all things are negotiable.

If you're interested, or know someone who might be interested, please feel free to share and participate. It costs nothing to enter and the final, winning cover will be chosen by popular vote and myself. (So tell your friends to vote in the comments section).

Rules:

- Your cover must be in standard novel size (about 8 1/2 inches tall by 5 1/2 inches wide)
- Your cover must have a high resolution version available (300 ppi or higher).
- Your cover must be visually striking. Design the kind of cover that would make you stop in your tracks, whether it's if you're scrolling through a digital catalog or walking past it in an airport.
- Your cover must be ENTIRELY your own work. No part of the cover may be made from digital pictures that you do not own the rights to. If you do so, and are caught, you will be immediately disqualified. When in doubt, ask then look around -- or use TinEye (reverse image search).

More rules to come as they need to be laid out.

Send your entries to my email address (located on the right-side panel).

In order to help you with your designs, here are some facts about my story and my world.

Also, you can read the first 5 chapters here.

The Setting of the story: 404 is set in a post-apocalyptic landscape brought on by the total economic collapse of the USA. On Christmas Eve 2011, the USA suffered a massive cyberattack that wiped out Wall Street and attacked the country's nuclear reactors (amongst other things). In an effort to save their nation, the US government threw 'The Switch' and disconnected the country nation from the Internet. While this 'saved' their union in the short term, it pushed the country over the edge and into economic ruin as many American companies -- their funds and, in some cases, their livelihoods lost in the aether -- were forced to shut down.

The story begins in San Francisco, California - a place decimated by riots, where a great deal of the infrastructure has been utterly destroyed. Even things like cellphones don't work properly due to constant network congestion. Life is hard and gangs run rampant. Those who have jobs work for little more than safe shelter and food in their stomachs.

My tale follows Marco Temura, a young TV journalist working for the newly-minted MSFoxNET news team, as he's drawn into a world of fear and corruption; as he peels back the layers to discover the horrible truth behind the Switch, the perpetrators of the attack and the fate of the country.

Any questions? Feel free to ask away in the comments!

Cheers!
Brandon

404, Daily: Chapter Thirty

Hey all!

Chapter 30 is complete and that means only 2 episodes left until we reach the end. Pretty darn snazzy!

That said, unfortunately, can't post a Daily for chapter 30 because, well, it's about as spoiler-riffic as they come. Pretty much the whole thing is full of reveals and such.

So, well, it looks like you'll be getting a few more deleted or alternate scenes today -- that is until you pick up Episode #6 this Sunday night.

Again, next week we'll be on hiatus so there won't be anything 404-related going on -- story-wise, at least.

Keep an eye out for a cool contest that I'll be running all next week.

Cheers!
Brandon

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*Please Note: What follows below are ALTERNATE SCENES and are not a part of the story proper.

Also: Episode #6 (which collects the finished and polished versions of chapters 26-30) will be available on Sunday, September 19th for 99 cents CAD.

You are encouraged to offer feedback and/or interact with me as this process unfolds. I'd love to hear what you like, what you don't like and what you'd love to see more of.
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This deleted scene is from chapter 15 – I was originally going to add Freya to the group as a friendly character early on in the story but then I realized that adding a SysOp to the party would be something far too powerful for the group as a whole (let alone how easily it could derail my story).

I did spend a good amount of time figuring out a backstory for her but in the end, I had to cut this part of the story out.

* * *

Jess slams the car door shut and locks it as a door behind her opens -- the young woman, Freya, jumps into the plush back seat "Give me back my 'book!"

She dives for the thin, black netbook sitting beside Jess but Jess turns and puts a gun in Freya's face. "In or out, make up your mind. If it's 'in' then shut the fuck up."

Freya throws herself backward into the plush leather seats, crossing her arms, her eyes narrowed in anger. "Fine."

Jess slams the gas pedal into the floor, wheeling the car around, spitting up gravel as they peel away. The body guards give chase, continuing to unload round into the car as it speeds down the cracked and bumpy road.

---

--- SPOILER ---

This scene is also from chapter 15. Originally, I was going to kill off Aang because, at the time, I liked the idea of him being killed by his own men. However, after reading it over in context, I came to realize that I was ripping off my characters in not allowing them to have a real interaction with the man. And so Aang lived… at least for that moment.

Also, as a story note, I'd forgotten that Jess had left her cellphone back in the fort -- so, yeah, that didn't work for another reason.

* * *

Marco holds the netbook close as he steps out, rounding his way to the back of the car to see dozens of bullet holes in the rear-end. Jess holds the trunk open and he looks inside to see that Aang is quite dead.

“That’s a few more bullet holes than what I put in him.” Jess shakes her head. “What the hell’re we going to do now? That bitch ain’t gonna ta-- what’re you doing?”

“I have not come all this way, been put through all this shit just to be stopped by a corpse. Aang knew Alex Wong, which means he’s got to have some sort of contact information with him. Probably on his phone.” Marco, with slow, determined, careful movements, pushes his hands onto Aang’s body, trying to avoid the bloody bits but not succeeding.

He stops, looks at the blood on his hands, gags then continues the pat-down. Reaching into one pocket, he pulls out a wallet. Reaching into a holster, he pulls out a gun. At the bottom of Aang’s waist, just below a gaping gunshot wound, Marco slides his hand into the pocket, feeling the soft caress of ragged meat on his wrist -- and his stomach lurch -- as he fishes around inside.

After a long moment he pulls out a blood-soaked cell phone.

“Jeezus!” Jess watches as the red fluid drips from the end of the phone. “That’s never going to work, and even if it does, I’m not using it.”

“That’s okay,” Marco smiles, sliding the back off of the phone, fishing out the battery as he slides his finger along the backside, pulling out a small white card. “We’ve got his SIM card. Here, put this in your phone.”

He hands her the card and looks for a place to wipe his hands.