Friday, 27 January 2012

So what about a film script?

Back from Fox Studios Sydney

Hi Folks

Wow, what a week it's been. It's a long story but to cut to the chase, I've been to Sydney and ended up at Fox Studios watching some post-production on an up and coming Australian film. I can't really talk about the film or how I got the invite but I can say that I am inspired to write and keep writing having seen the end product of what is, after all, the dream of most writers –– to see your work in film with famous actors cast as the characters that came from your imagination. 

Don't jump to conclusions here as I haven't been offered any lucrative deals for any of my work but yes, I do know someone. I saw some of the editing and watched the sound being put together on some very impressive equipment operated and creatively overseen by some amazing people. I was able to draw parallels between the creative decisions made with regards to image and sound and the creative process in writing where you have to use the fixed codes and conventions of the language to convey the emotions and the meaning that go beyond the technicalities of the medium. 

It was great to see the director making the same sorts of decisions I make when I write. Again, don't get me wrong, the guy I was talking to writes and directs and has professional notoriety, respect and has made a shed load of cash doing it. Me... well it was great to get a bit of advice. Nevertheless, I have come out of the experience inspired and am thinking of taking a different approach and putting my next project together as a script. I  have heard that this can sometimes suit work that isn't quite suited to the novel format. Maybe I am just dreaming here but that is what this blog and my project are all about. If I do this I will still make sure that I can load it up as a novel on smashwords so look out for the yet-to-be-named book about a band. 

Speaking of this, I haven't been doing a lot of work lately as I have been galavanting all over Australia and trying to get some study in at the same time. I have just finished learning what I need to know about alternative dispute resolution and tried to get some reading done on the flight home. My return flight from Sydney had been cancelled the day before and I had been put up in a hotel but just missed out on an upgrade to business. This was all good until while the passengers were boarding, a guy sat next to me and started reading. I had already settled my elbows into the comfortable economy seat reading position when he made a grumbling sound and physically pushed my elbow off the armrest and asked me if it was going to be like this during the flight. Well... for all my study in conflict resolution, rather than separate the person from the problem, look to the interests and try and expand the pie with mutual and neutral options, I just told him to &^%$#@# off loudly and aggressively. It worked like magic, not another word or a move back to the armrest. 

Not sure what the moral of the story is here but I think it has something to do with needing to take a position sometimes and playing hard.

Anyway, the novellas are doing well with uploads for 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' doubling over the last couple of months. This has resulted in a few more sales for 'Kujira'. I did one last edit of 'Memoirs' and re-organised the various chapters with some new titles and just a little re-writing. I am now satisfied that 'Memoirs' is all done and I can move on.  

I haven't yet done my guest blog and will post that when it is done.

Anyway, that's all for now so... ogenki de ne.


Monday, 16 January 2012

Guest blogger Adam on the creative process

 Beerubaraoyaji takes a break

Hi Folks

Sorry I've been absent for a little while. I promised a guest blogger––someone involved in the creative process and here it is. I have been in touch with a few people who have been following my blog and reading my ebooks and have discovered that they too have a creative soul and an interesting story to tell. I provided a link to Andy, a game designer who has read all my ebooks. After a series of exchanges relating to some download issues with one of the ebooks it became obvious that Andy had his own interesting story. He has been most encouraging so I provided a link to his free download as a way of reciprocating his creative commentary. In the same way, Adam has helped me with some great feedback on both Memoirs of a Vending Machine and Kujira. It turns out that Adam also has an interesting story to tell about the creative process. Although he writes regularly for a column in his local newspaper, he does not at this stage aspire to becoming an author and offers his advice on the basis of a range of experiences related mainly to music/video. I found that his advice applies equally as well to the budding musician/artist as it does to the budding novelist or game designer. Adam has provided a link to his web page where you can find out more about him and the music that he plays. I am particularly fond of the works he has recorded on harp and find his quirky videos entertaining.

Guest blogger Adam B Harris

Guest blogger Adam B Harris is a multi-instrumentalist composer who runs a recording studio located in Goomalling in the wheatbelt of Western Australia.  When not being a studio guy Adam has a growing involvement in filmmaking and is currently working on several projects in this area.  Adam takes some time out here to talk about his ideas of what it is to be an artist and the creative cycle.

Greetings all. I was complimenting James (Beerubaraoyaji) the other day on his great series of eBooks when he told me about his blog and suggested that I do a guest spot. I'm not really a writer but I've worked over the years with a number of art forms and multimedia which should qualify me to make some informed observations at any rate. I am an artist and in saying that I mean that it is “artist” that I write down in the occupation spot on my income tax return. Its taken me a number of years to get there and I'm still coming to terms with what that means.

From birth Hollywood feeds us many myths about what an artist is, what an artist does and how they live. In reality, a professional artist follows a cyclic product development process of planning, production and promotion. If a person engaged in artistic endeavour is not doing this, then it is likely that they are not a professional artist. They are probably a professional something else that is doing a little art related activity on the side.

The Planning Cycle :-
First comes the idea or artistic vision. Three things here:
1.    The artist needs to come up with the idea of presenting something people can relate to. If nobody can relate to the concepts presented, then the production cycles will be short lived (even if propped up by angels) and the artist will fail.
2.    The idea also needs to be to some extent congruent with the artist's experience and knowledge otherwise it isn't going to fly in the real world.
3.    The artist needs to imbue the idea with their original slant, otherwise its not really art, its just a copy, or something worse.

Production Cycle :-
The artist marshals what resources they have at their disposal in the way of land, labour, capital, enterprise and experience to build their product. Project management skills are important here and is likely that the products will improve over cycles as experience in this area is gained even if the original idea or artistic vision is weak. It is important to maintain flexibility during the production phase as the outcomes here may not precisely match the original artistic vision. Limitations are considered, serendipity and compromises are acted upon to produce the best possible outcome for that particular point in time.

Promotion Cycle :-
Art is definitely a case where “if you build it, they will come” doesn't apply. The successful artist is responsible for identifying the “type of person or group” (art client) that can relate best to the product and working out the most appropriate methods of reaching those art clients.

If we are talking about getting people to part with money here, which is quite often the case, most are looking for excuses not to buy rather than the other way around, so these barriers need to be considered and addressed. The product needs to be irresistible to the art client in that its satisfies a specific (or perceived) need. This factor is crucial and should influence the decision making process in all three cycles.

This is the simple view. In the real world, the professional artist will be running several cycles at a time and likely running them over a number of diverse areas in order to protect income. Costing, market research and evaluation processes should be built into each cycle to allow the professional to set priorities.

The career path of a true artist is an ongoing process. While the myth of the “one hit wonder” is an attractive one, it cannot sustain a career in itself nor generate sufficient income to satisfy the artist's needs permanently. The truth is that an artistic career is a marathon rather than a sprint.

Until next time
Chin Chin

If you would like to know more about Adam or sample some of his work, you can check him out at

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Novella about a band coming soon.

Hi Folks

Happy new year and all that. It's good to be back and I'm looking forward to a productive 2012.

Over the break I had some good sales of Kujira. Memoirs of a Vending Machine went berserk and Bug had some good promotional downloads on Kindle. I've been  in and out of various category rankings and am satisfied with the turnover –– although more sales for a price would have been a nice surprise. How to Solve a Rubix Cube is popular although a formatting problem has stopped it from being shipped off to Apple, Kobo and Barnes and Noble etc. I'll fix this soon but it doesn't affect the ability to download it from Smashwords and it is FREE.

So... In the mean-time, I've been working on my next novella about a band. It is actually a re-write of something done some time ago. I am working page by page, adding dialogue where there wasn't any and adding to the narration as a more interesting way to tell the story comes to mind. I have decided to keep you all informed of its progress and to post little snippets from time to time. If you have anything to say or to add as I do, then I may be able to incorporate it into the story so that when it is finished it is definitely something that you would like to read. Of course, if you contribute, you get it for free.

I got this idea from a UK site where authors pitch at readers with an outline of the story that they want to write. Readers elect to follow authors based on this and when the numbers reach critical mass, the author begins to write for the readers who have pledged to read.  For anyone interested, the site is called Unbound Books and I attach a link for you.

Any way, following is my first excerpt from the yet to be officially named novella about the band. It's set in the 80s. This is from the first chapter. Please forgive the formatting as it gets messed up when I post to the blog. It won't actually be like this when I publish.

The Gig 

The band had been given the gig on the strength of a C.D released the month before. It was a collection of soul and funk covers they had been playing at gigs for the last couple of years as well as three of their best originals.
 By eight in the evening, Jack was well and truly fucked as he had been at the gig since four, setting up the stage and taking Brett through the set list. Didn’t matter though as he was on a mission to become disgustingly wealthy and was able to summon energy from nowhere when it was needed. 
The rest of the band had arrived by now and were together in a small, flimsy, makeshift back-room constructed from excess backdrop curtain and gaffer tape. Sat on various cases and plastic chairs, the chatter bordered on hostile as they feigned confidence to hide their true feelings of nervous inadequacy due to the size of the crowd and nature of the support gig.“She’s a blast from the past alright,“ began Dave. “Yeah, ‘Devil Gate Drive’, ‘Can the Can’ or ‘48 Crash’. Suzie Quatro is a legend  man.” "Yeah Ken, but the crowd are here to see and hear her and not us. Who booked this one anyway, was it Fezz at the Exchange?” “No, Jim it was me who convinced Fezz to try us out so let’s keep this civil. Fezz doesn’t book us yet.” “Don’t give me that shit Jack. How is it that we have to support Suzie Quatro? We’re a fucking soul-funk cover band with three originals, the crowd are gunna think we’re shit.” “So what? It's a chance to showcase our originals”. “Yeah, man. We’ve got three pumping originals,“ said Ken. “So ease up man.” “Where did you put the originals Jack?” “What do you mean Jim? The order of the song list?” “Yeah. Where the fuck did you put mine?” “Mine,” yelled Adam. “What the hell did you do Jim?” “Mine,” chimed in Ken. “Guys, guys, guys,” yelled Jack. “Chill. Just  leave it. The originals are great. There’s no recording, no publication, no nothing––just us playing our music. Leave this shit out of it. If Brett Wallace doesn’t like the originals, it won’t matter anyway ‘cause there won’t be any deal––nothing. So just leave it.”
Any comments, leave them with my publisher––me.

Next post I have organised a guest blogger to tell you about his creative endeavours and comment on one of my ebooks he has read. I too will be a guest blogger soon on another blog and will be commenting on the self publishing journey so far. I'll be advising on the pitfalls for newbies.

Anyway, that's all for now.

See you next post.