It’s About You, Not Me

Damn I sure nailed the douche look.

That will be my general theme for making progress in 2021. It may sound like an accusation, but I promise you, it is not. But in order for this theme to take effect, it’s going to take some serious effort.

My current approach to social media, self promotion, and future plans have been centered around myself and my own ego. This isn’t inherently wrong, but it is inherently flawed. It is a result of following primal intellectual instincts rather than having the reservation to realize others don’t want to hear about me, they want to hear about themselves. We are all humans and at our core care about self-preservation above all else. Self preservation as it pertains to intellectual pursuits produces different responses to different stimuli.

If you ask another artist to view your work (and we are all artists of some form or another), they will compare it to their own. If you ask another artist to review your work, they will critique it. If another artist is envious of your work, they will look away. If another artist is unimpressed by your work, they will smile politely, nod, and forget they ever viewed that abysmal heap of shit.

So what is the answer? To recognize it is not about you, it is about them. Understand who you are communicating with and adjusts your message accordingly. If somebody else is producing works similar to your own they will be more receptive to viewing your work if you first take the time to view theirs (i.e., leaving a meaningful comment on another wordpress blog). If somebody else is a fan of work similar to their own, cater to their curiosity and provide a reasoning that will show them why they might enjoy your product (find a person who follows secret organizations and tell them you have made a web series about a secret organization).

In the current age of instant communication, meaningful relationships have fallen apart. Much of our days are spent staring at screen, pressing a button, and scrolling onward. Take the time to listen to what others have to say and demonstrate that their work has meaning to you. If you can spend the extra five minutes it take to do just this, you may begin creating a group that supports your work and genuinely hopes for you to succeed. If you “like” 1000 posts instead you will generate nothing more than you’ve given out – a thousand empty clicks – and nothing more.

Now for the real reason I made this post:

Marketing

After being locked away editing for months, it feels extremely satisfying to finally be able to market my work.

I have posted my work to film freeway in order to find contests to enter, and the response has been overwhelming. Around 50 different contests have offered me a %50 discount to enter, which is awesome!

Today I have the tasks of writing them all down and budgeting my contests allotment appropriately. I would like to view the work at festivals if at all possible, and will try to enter contests appropriately.

As always, hustling has been a challenge. I’ve posted my teasers here as well as reddit and am approaching other avenues as well. I’m trying my best to build up some hype for episode 4’s release. I want to reach 1000 views on it before the end of January.

One platform I desperately would like to post the video to is Amazon Prime Video Direct. If you post a video on there that begins garnering a large amount of rentals you can receive monetary compensation. The big problem with this is the music in my videos come from Epidemic Sound. There standard license does not cover amazon as a platform.

This means that in order to post my video there, I would have to replace all of the current music. I can either record music myself or pursue another artist to provide the score. Not sure what I’m going to do yet, but this is a platform I would like to submit to. Only other option would be to purchase a single track license from Epidemic, which at $99 a pop is out of the question. Stay tuned.

Running a Meetup Group – 5/29/20

meetup-logo

If you’re looking for helpful advice on how to run a meetup group, this post isn’t for you.

So this is pretty much a lazy bull shit post so I urge you not to read further, I just think I need to get in the habit of posting regularly again. For Mountain Cult I don’t really have anything to do until I secure a location for episode 4.

Ok, so here’s what I did – I realized I new very few people interested in filmmaking, and in particular acting, and also saw that my local area did not have any local groups that would serve my interest. So I launched my own – the Riverside Film Network.

Well, guess what – the corona virus has had this strange effect on people where they don’t really leave their homes or go out in public places. So the first 2 meetings I had with the group were suggestions to create a short youtube video, which one lady kindly did. Also my good friend joined the group and created one, but that was just to troll me.

Now that the covid-19 lockdown is winding down, I’m preparing to announce our first meet up. I’m pretty excited about the possibilities of the group, but also apprehensive. I don’t want to be the constant driving force behind a group if the participation is insignificant. At the same time, however, I am the one who started the group, so it’s success/failure is largely on my shoulders.

Do you have any experience with meetup? If you are a writer I highly suggest you join one. Being in a public group is a great way to motivate you to continue striving toward your goal and is the first step in networking regarding your specific interest.

Ok, that’s it. Here’s my stupid ass short film if you haven’t seen it yet. God knows I’ve posted this thing enough times already.

Going through changes – 5/28/20

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This goat has nothing to do with this post.

Been back on “the grind”, as they like to say, promoting my latest youtube video and liking and subscribing like a mad lad. I’ve been using discord for the first time in my life, which I predict will become the next social media giant because it is an awesome, and largely unknown, platform for social media promotion.

I’ve surpassed 200 views and am rapidly approaching 250. That is no small achievement for me, laughable as it may be, for I had to work 3 times harder to get 100 views on earlier videos. I’m proud to say I feel that it has been easier to promote due to being a better quality video than the previous.

After a week of stepping away from the series in aspects of production, I’m ready to begin preparing for episode 4. I have 5 actors who are willing to perform a role in the upcoming episode, which is awesome because I’ve previously had a very difficult time convincing friends their involvement will not result in shaming their family and hiding their faces in public.

I’ve purchased lighting equipment and 2 realistic looking bb guns. I’d like to order more guns, but amazon refuses to ship bb guns in california due to new legislation banning the kind I am looking for (I’m not a big gun rights activist but I think this is stupid as shit). For now that’s a minor problem, but the real issue is –

Location. I want a headquarters to call home for the cult members. Me and my girlfriend just happen to be searching for a new apartment to rent. She doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to be making my decision based on which will be the best for me to film in HAHAHA (if you’re reading this I love you and I’m sorry).

So that brings me to the “going through changes” thing. I can’t really focus on developing the next episode until I have my locations squared away. I already have a vision for the basic plot of episode 4, but being an ultra low budget production I have to utilize my resources first. I’ll save the airplane crash until episode seven thousand.

As a side note, I have been doing some thinking about how I can challenge my main character and make his plight more interesting. He is a man struggling with sanity in a quest to find his missing wife. His core belief appears to be that trusting anybody is a mistake. I need to introduce a new character who will challenge that core belief, and I need to produce some changes in him to create more depth. I also want to introduce the idea of fun into the story, because I believe that’s why we enjoy stories – we want to feel a sense of joy. We turn to thrillers because we want to sense fear and suspense, sure – but we also want simulate the experience of hanging out with a friend. That’s why we turn to stories when we’re down.

Anyways, just thought I’d throw an update out there mixed with some ramblings. I hope you’re having a great week. If you haven’t checked out the show yet, feel free to watch episode 3 below.

Sunset – Part 3

sunset 5

If you missed Part 1, click here.

If you missed Part 2, click here.

D’angelo shook his head, took two quick steps, then checked over his shoulder – John hadn’t moved. D’angelo broke into a sprint away.

He charged two blocks, stopped for no one, then rushed up the stoop and into his apartment. D’angelo leaned back against his front door to smack it shut, then sucked in oxygen as fast as possible. Humidity was bad in California – enough to leave him drenched in sweat from the hasty dash.

D’angelo stared at the cheap wood flooring in his studio apartment for a while. He rubbed his bald head, then rocked it back and gazed up at his ceiling fan.

“God-damn!” he said to himself, then laughed.

A casual Tuesday at the bar had turned into a nightmare – first the vixen who’d taken his digits and booked it, then the nutcase who could’ve found patterns in pigeons.

D’angelo strolled over to his home computer. The next five minutes he spent listening to it hum as it booted up. Once he had it up and running, D’angelo went to work – time to find out who this Sunset chick was.

Couldn’t be that hard, a name like that is one in a million – a rare type that no man forgets. D’angelo browsed facebook, instagram, twitter – nothing.

D’angelo scoffed.

“Where you at, girl.”

He tried ‘Sun Set’. Still Nothing.

D’angelo went to the fridge, popped open a Michelob Ultra, then returned to his seat. Rolled up the blinds, raised the window, and kicked his feet up. D’angelo watched the orange sun finish disappearing behind the city skyline. He let out a sigh, drained half his beer with a few gulps, then burped.

“We both know you ain’t in livin’ in no damn cave…”

He shut his eyes and took another sip. He froze in position, shot his eyelids apart, then pounced over to his keyboard.

Sunset Coors Light

He entered the terms into the search engine, then scrolled down like mad to see if he could find anything. The first couple pages were no help, but the third included a link to an article – and a picture of her beside it.

“Damnnn!” said D’angelo.

Sunset was a Coors Light girl – meaning she went to popular sports venues wearing a skimpy two-piece outfit and cheered behind her Coors Light booth. The girl got paid to show up and look good.

The article included a caption with her name at the bottom –

Sunsett Martinez

D’angelo scratched his bald head, wondering if the poor girl had any idea her name was spelled wrong.

He stuck ‘Sunsett’ into his web browser, and an extensive list of profiles lit up his screen. He clicked on her facebook, then bobbed his head back and covered his mouth.

“What the fu…” He muttered.

Tons of half-nude picks – bra and panties, bikinis, and short purple dresses. D’angelo couldn’t look away – but her body had nothing to do with it.

Every shot showed her with a different weapon – steak knife, butcher knife, swiss knife – the girl loved blades.

“I don’t fuck wichu,” D’angelo whispered.

He noticed one of his facebook friends, someone he didn’t know in real life, named Aaron, had posted up and down on her wall. Dude was obsessed – he’d commented and liked every single thing she’d slapped up there. Girl could’ve dressed a corpse like Hitler and he would clicked ‘like’.

D’angelo twisted his lips, then hovered his fingers over the keyboard. He grabbed the mouse instead and clicked on Aaron’s profile.

Pictures of him out drinking with the guys.

“Okay,” said D’angelo. “Okay.”

He fired a direct message off to Aaron.

“You know Sunset?”

Aaron responded before he could blink.

“Yea, of course!”

“She cool?” wrote D’angelo.

“Huh?”

“Don’t know how to say this bro… but is she C-R-A-Z-Y???”

D’angelo tapped his fingers on the desk. He groaned, stood up, grabbed another beer, then sat back down. Aaron still hadn’t responded. D’angelo cracked open his beer and inhaled a fresh sip. Still no response. D’angelo waited. And waited. And waited…

Tired of staring at the screen, he propped his feet up on the windowsill and coddled his beer.  He watched the cars pass by without much interest, until a purple civic caught his attention. Nothing super bizarre – it just kept driving past his apartment one direction, then return going the other direction every ten minutes or so. He told himself it was nothing – John from the loony bin was in his head. Dude claimed cars drove in patterns, after all.

The half-empty Michelob Ultra slipped from D’angelo’s grip and dinged against his wood-paneled floor as he dozed off. He remained out cold, until the repetitive and loud beep from his phone finally woke him up.

D’angelo rubbed his eyes open, gave his cheek a little slap, then made his way over to the fridge. He tugged the door open when his phone beeped again. D’angelo slid it out from his pocket – text from an unknown number. D’angelo opened it.

Coming to kill you.

To be continued…

  • Thomas M. Watt

CLICK HERE FOR PART 4!

MASTER Update – 9/17 – Ellie Augsburger

rainy car crash

Ellie Augsburger, award winning cover artist, has agreed to design my cover for Master. I’m pumped! She is responsible for the following masterpieces:

augsburger cover augsburger 2 augsburger 3

We have agreed to give the cover a Gillian Flynn inspired tone – dark background, police sirens, ominous symbols and a strong, powerful title font. It’d be pretty sweet if it comes out looking anything like this:

gone girl 2

However, I’m sure anything Ellie does will be an improvement from my original cover for A New Kingdom:

dear... god

Anyway, recently I posted about how determined I was to establish a greater social media presence. I’m happy to say I’ve stuck with that goal, and am beginning to reap baby benefits. For one thing, my various websites are all the top five links provided when you enter my name in a google search engine (along with a scathing review of A New Kingdom – a sci-fi novel I wrote 6 years ago. Relax, I’m better now).

I knew an app developer, and I remember he advised me that the more webpages you have linking to one particular site, the more traffic will flood to that one site. I truly believe that now – I’ve witnessed it firsthand.

Twitter, btw, is awesome – it gives you the chance to connect with other authors, agents, and publishers. Snag an agent or two, you might just be able to establish one of those mythical social-media-networking things people tell tall-tales about. Another advantage, you can hook up your twitter account with your wordpress blog, that way anything you post on here will automatically have a link provided to your twitter followers. For real though – tweet central is worth checking out.

Goodreads though? That’s another story (pardon the pun). I’ve linked my goodreads blog with my wordpress blog, but every post on there comes out looking like shit. I’m having trouble making friends, because I don’t read half as much fiction as I write. And God knows for every one person who likes to read, there’s four-or-five maniacal writers already fighting to shove their books down his/her throat.

Other than that, I’m happy to know a few people are actually reading my short stories. I’m pleased with the first 3 parts to ‘Donald and Thurma’, but the fourth I had to write twice, and even the second try could use some improvement. The first attempt no longer exists (it will hereby be known as FAIL, and I would burn it in an instant if that didn’t mean torching my laptop).

I’m determined to deliver content that is entertaining through these short stories. I want to be the best writer I can be, so the more honest feedback you can give me in the comment section, the better. This means when you finish a story and are left with a feeling of ‘what the?’, I would be honored to have you write exactly that in the comment box, and for as many times as it takes for me to figure it out.

Keep keepin’ it real homies.

  • Thomas M. Watt

Social Media and #Pitmad Update

man lost

Let me start out by saying I’m grateful to be here.

No, seriously. I’ve spent the last few hours fumbling my way through twitter, goodreads, and a few cover design pages. My last post outlined five goals for promoting my book. I’m happy to say I can check off all of them.

The big #pitmad event was today. Much thanks to Zara Kramer with Pandamoon Publishing for favoriting my pitch for Master, I look forward to querying you shortly.

Anyway, contacting potential cover artists was a piece of cake. I’m not too particular – if the portfolio looks professional, I’m in.

After that I logged some hours on goodreads. God I’m lost there. I posted in three different discussion threads, then updated my page with a worthless post. If you like laughing at clueless people, scroll down and read the comment that begins with “waddup goodreaders.” I don’t even know how to link directly to the post, but here’s one for my profile page. I’m sure all 1 of my goodreads friends can’t wait to check it out.

One of the big highlights of my day was having a few of my tweets retweeted. By some mega-twitter accounts and highly established authors, mind you – Carole Gill, J. H. Moncrief, and Charity Parkerson. Apparently they liked what I had to say. Or maybe they just thought my hopeless twitter account would give their hordes of followers a good chuckle. I really want to thank them properly, but I’m not yet educated about twitter etiquette. Do I say: Thanks for retweeting! @twitternamehere(?)

Please answer if you know how to solve this dilemma. I signed up to follow these word-weaving powerhouses, but feel obliged to properly express my gratitude.

Happy #pitmad day everyone.

  • Thomas M. Watt

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

“Master” and Social Media – 9/6

PART_1441565706467_20150816_135846

Waddup, waddup.

I’ve been busy the last few days setting up a twitter and goodreads account. Well, not really. Setting up the accounts were easy – it’s figuring out what I’m supposed to do with them that has been giving me trouble.

My introduction to social media was myspace, but that was all about adding friends. I don’t even have a personal facebook account, and until two weeks ago ‘flippy’ was the only phone I felt comfortable using.

flip phone

  • That’s flippy.

Anyway, I’m in the midst of a social media push, tweeting like a madman about meaningful things… When you use a hashtag, are you supposed to press the pound sign (#), or is there a special hashtag button I’m unaware of?

Goodreads is another story. It looks like I can host a blog there, similar to wordpress. I tried taking one of their quizzes, thinking it would help me find friends or gain followers. Three hours into it, I noticed the quiz was titled “Never Ending Quiz.” I stopped taking it right then and there. I didn’t even get a good enough score for book worms to let me into their prestigious reading clubs.

I’ve got five beta readers working on ‘Master’ right now, and they’ve been overwhelmingly positive and excited about the material in their responses. That’s huge for me, because for the first time in my life I can honestly say I have a product that’s entertaining, thought-provoking, and ‘hard to put down’. It may not sound like much, but until you’ve put your own work under the spotlight, you have no idea how difficult writing entertaining fiction can be. #wordpressed

  • Thomas M. Watt

The Crowds

Image

Weary achy tired mood.

Lips of others sound no good.

All this speaking of bull-shit, too much saying your thoughts I quit.

What ever happened to that one kid who said what he said and did what he did?

Where are the people who used to laugh loud because something was funny and they just messed around.

What’s wrong McWatty? Why don’t you laugh? Don’t you know cheese goes to mightiest rats?

I’ll tell you right now because I don’t jive with that. I care little for respecting big bears with big hats. I care nothing for circles who speak this and that. I like to talk about real thoughts and speak. I like to listen and help fill some needs. I like to build to grow and to share. For some tearing down I do not ever dare. 

Hello big crowd I see you’re all laughing. Sorry to say I find mighty rats nasty. As far as the bear with big hats and the claws, as far as the way social groups talk – Not down with it. Not up with it either. I’ve been on the bottom and I’ve met something deeper. You know who He is so I don’t have to say it, but one more last thing I save my laugh for later.  

– Thomas M. Watt