Progress and Pontification

I’ve made significant progress this week and have settled on a 23 minute run time for episode 1. I have 20+ minutes fully animated and am now working on the climax.

It’s time for me to get more serious about the marketing and building a sense of anticipation for episode 1. I have been releasing weekly web comics that are generally scrolled over but have nonetheless received 1-7 likes on social media, which in some circles is called “going viral.”

I am convinced youtube algorithm can be successfully maneuvered through purposeful planning. Releasing videos in batches, posting Youtube shorts, and live videos are known methods to attract viewers to your channel. Finding your way into the “suggested” pile is a surefire way to get a long form video viewed.

Starting this week, I plan to begin releasing short 1 minute scenes of Paramedic Robot that have nothing to do with the episode I’m currently working on. They will likely feature 1 perspective, a basic background, and sketch so funny viewers will have no choice but to keep scrolling and forget it ever existed. The key here will be the amount of time required to complete the scene and the amount of viewership this can gain.

I would like to employ the use of a stopwatch during editing at some point in time. I find I can be relatively quick when it comes to backgrounds and the physical actions of animated characters. When it comes to designing watches or more minute (My-nute?) details of a character I am prone to wasting large sums of time until it looks just right. After this first episode debuts, I must make a set of ground rules for myself in order to keep production efficient. Have you ever seen those videos about Middle Eastern bakeries? The workers never stop! They move like clockwork until they are soaked in sweat. That is what it takes to turn a profit in the private sector, and creating a successful film production company should be no different.

*Below is an internal discussion I’ve been having with myself regarding the audio mix. It doesn’t really belong here but I already wrote so I see no sense in deleting it now. Hope you have a wonderful day.

I ordered some new gear recently – a 2 terabyte nvme card, 64 gb of ram, and my first set of studio monitors and a subwoofer. The first two items were necessary so that I could edit on my desktop computer. Since the completion of the last episode of Mountain Cult, I have not had enough room on my C drive to operate any programs. I literally had to juggle programs like After Effects, Adobe Audition, and Ableton Live in order to work with files on a separate drive.

I am determined to complete my set of speakers so that I can edit in surround sound. Unfortunately, that will also require me to order more cables, 2 standing monitor stands, another desktop stand, and a TV stand. It’s not cheap and I do not have enough room for all that equipment. I am willing to work extra shifts for the gear, in fact last week I worked a 36 hour shift to pay for the aforementioned items.

Surround sound – multiple independent streams of audio coming from various speakers. This provides a more immersive environment that allows the listener to hear background noises independent from the dialogue coming through the center front speaker.

Stereo – Sounds are limited to 2 speakers (left and right). A subwoofer may be included to promote frequencies generally at or below 80 hz.

One simple solution that I have all but decided on is to improve my abilities at stereo mixing before ordering the additional speakers. Paramedic Robot will debut on Youtube – which does not support surround sound anyway. Many modern day streaming services do, however, and that is why I’ve been wrestling with doing it in surround (it’s easier to downmix from surround to stereo than vice versa).

Another advantage of working in stereo is that the music we listen to comes from stereo files. This means any songs I create in Ableton may be uploaded as downloadable tracks on a site such as spotify. If I decide to mix the film in surround, I will have to export what is known as “stems” so that I can send different instruments/tracks to the Left Side and Right Side speakers than the Left Front and Right Front.

Ultimately at this point in the game I feel I would be much wiser to mix in stereo. Episode 1 of Paramedic Robot will be lucky to break 1000 views on Youtube. Preparing for the future is generally a smart decision, but in this case I feel the effort will not be worth the reward. One additional component of my consideration is that mixing in surround now will help me mix with more efficiency in the future. I may even able to find work in sound design for a legitimate film with that experience.

First 5 steps to book marketing & MASTER Update – 9/9

indiana jones

Contrary to amateur belief, it’s most beneficial for an author to market their work before it is published. This way, potential readers will have something to look forward to, much like the opening weekend of a new blockbuster movie. That’s why we see trailers for movies that aren’t going to appear in theaters until much later; to generate some hype and anticipation.

If you’re like me, promoting your work is alien to your nature and feels like an insult to art (I am trapped by this deep-seeded ideal that beauty should be recognized the moment it is seen, and is apparent enough in itself that it should never have to be pointed out to anyone. Then I remind myself that Van Gogh never sold a painting).

Fortunately, the world wide web holds an endless bounty of information, and enough google searches will get you off the sidewalk and onto the main road. I owe a lot to Benjamin Myatt, author of the High Moon Rising series for pointing me in the right direction. His books have been downloaded several hundred times over. He recommended I check out this link, which led me to a free, downloadable PDF file that includes a checklist of the most effective ways to promote my book.

Now that I have a plan for marketing Master, I feel much better about my future as an independent author. It’s hard for any artist to accept, but nobody is going to buzz your doorbell to ask if you’re the next big thing. You’ve got to bang knuckles door-to-door and say, “Here I am.”

Below is my list of things to do today in order to get the ball rolling in the marketing department. Follow along if you’re in the beginning stages of promoting your work.

1.) Contact three potential cover artists (whose portfolios include covers for psychological thrillers)

2.) Create a list of keywords that describe ‘Master’, seek out blogs that express interest in those keywords

3.) Involve myself in an online forum without being called an idiot, getting booted, or giving out my address to someone who wants to help me receive an assault and battery charge.

4.) Figure out how Goodreads works (What’s this place for? Am I supposed to log-in when I read a book, then log-out when I’m done?)

5.) Figure out how to get more twitter followers.

* One final note, tomorrow (9/10/15) there is a #pitmad event on twitter that allows you to pitch your story to tons of literary agents. (write your logline in 140 characters or less and use the hashtag #pitmad). I plan on entering Master, and suggest you enter whatever story you’re currently working on.

  • Thomas M. Watt