Just a quick note to let friends & subscribers know that I am finally bringing Another LA Cartoon back from hiatus. Finally figured out a way to make & manipulate the images without the help of PhotoShop. So, with any luck, ALAC will be posting a new cartoon every Thursday morning for the foreseeable future. Thank you for your interest, and your patience. Click the link above or the cartoon in the sidebar –>
I received the yearly email from the good people at WordPress containing my “year in blogging” review and the numbers weren’t good. I don’t mean the “traffic” or the clicks or the incoming comments. I mean my own performance. I only put up two new posts in 2014. Two. It was that kind of year.
While I did do a lot of things and accomplished some important personal/creative goals, it was still a bit of a down year. I’ve described it to friends as a feeling of “being on hold” for reasons I still can’t quite put my finger on.
I wrote less this year – in terms of completed projects and in terms of pure, raw word count – than I have in any of the past 15 years… and yes, I do track these things with an almost OCD-like compulsion. I won’t cop out and blame “writer’s block” or anything like that, because I have never really believed such a thing exists. Maybe I was suffering from some burn-out, sure, and was just a little tired in an existential sort of way.
But even through the writing was lacking this year, I did much more than the usual amount of performing. I climbed up on every stage that would have me and did many “spoken word” “storytelling” and “essay” shows, some as a returning guest and some as a newcomer. I also acted (if I dare to call it that) in three comedy shorts that will surely find their way online whenever they finally make it out of post-production. All the performance work was fun and exciting. It also helped fill some of the void I have felt since my improv theater/home of 13+ years closed down (going on 2 years ago.) It is a loss I am still coping with.. with varying degrees of success.
I also helped a lot of friends with a lot of their own projects. I formatted and did the artwork for a friend’s ebook novel. I must have read & given notes etc for at least two dozen friends’ scripts. I helped with some post-production editing, I even taught a little guitar. So, even though my word and page counts were hovering near-zero, I wasn’t completely shut down creatively.
Now I have to look ahead to the new year and figure out what I’m going to differently, what I’m going to do better and what I’m going to do more of.
I’m not sure I want to revisit old ground – like my Ask A Punk blog which, although I loved it dearly, I still feel like I was answering the same questions over and over again. I do hope to re-launch the Another LA Cartoon photo-blog soon, but there are still some technical difficulties that I haven’t figured out how to handle yet.
I will get back to my straight-up screenwriting. I have two comedy features that I set aside in 2014… not because I didn’t think they were good ideas, but because I just couldn’t commit to the writing itself (as I said, this was a new, and difficult sensation to sort out.) I am also planning on launching a podcast later this year, which I know is a pretty ambitious and time-consuming undertaking, but I think I’ve come up with an idea small enough to be do-able, and big enough to be interesting to me, and (hopefully) other people.
…and of course, I plan on being more dedicated to the Planet OConnor blog.
It is a new year people. I know some folks say the whole “New Year, Fresh Start” mentality is dumb because our calendar is really just an arbitrary thing (on a cosmic scale.) But I say ANYthing that helps us consciously note the passage of time and the incredible opportunities that still remain to move forward, grow and improve ourselves, to look outward and create, and help… well, that has to be a good thing.
Stay Strong !
Things are getting busy after a low-key Summer. Unfortunately, won’t be attending the Austin Film Festival & Writer’s Conference in October this year, for the first time in what? three years I think… but the good news is – I’m busy partially because of the AFF.
“OGRE STONE” one of my “spec sitcom pilot” scripts that did well at AFF last year has now been picked up by a small animation company for development into a possible animated series. We are now busy creating presentation and pitch materials as I also start outlining the multi-episode story arc(s) for a possible series. It is all very much “early stages” but it is exciting.
In other news, I have shows booked in October and November but I still haven’t found a smooth, and visually appealing, way to post “upcoming shows” …so I’m still working on that. Meanwhile of course, I am still meeting my weekly deadlines for Ask A Punk and Another LA Cartoon. I hope you check them out.
Stay Strong everyone !
I ended my previous post by saying that I sensed some positive changes were on the way. Turns out I was right. I don’t want to turn this post into a brag or, worse yet – a “humble brag” but I think it is good to mention it when things start going well/better – if nothing else, it is a form of gratitude.
I’m in the final back & forth edits for a short piece that should be appearing soon in the Los Angeles Times – assuming it and I survive the editing process. Sure, it’ll be in the “online edition” for all the world to see – and which I plan to shamelessly self-promote, but it will also be in the print edition. I don’t care how old or young you are, there IS something special about walking to the end of your driveway, picking up a major metropolitan newspaper, opening it and seeing your name in a “by line.” …and of course, on the slim chance that it doesn’t get published, I can always come back and edit this paragraph out.
I have finished the redesign of the Ask A Punk website. It isn’t a major overhaul and there haven’t been a ton of bells/whistles added but, since I do it all myself, it is still a bit of an accomplishment. I have delayed putting up the new posts and gearing up the necessary self-promoting etc. because I will also be putting out my first “eBook.” at the same time. I have turned the 1st year of Ask A Punk posts into an ebook that I’ll be giving away for free (at first) on every reading device known to man… and since I am doing that all by myself too, there has been a bit of a learning curve and several technical hurdles to overcome, but it all seems to be coming together now.
My weekly “LA Cartoon” is slowly starting to get some notice too.
Work. Paying work that involves a lot of thinking and the typing of funny things also appears to be in my near future again. and I should be teaching a new improv class soon. …and both of those things always makes me feel better.
…now if the Red Sox could only start winning.
Greetings. In an effort to (for once) not bury the lead, I’ll let everyone know that the big news is this: One of my scripts has “advanced” through the competition in the Austin Film Festival’s top-notch screenwriting contest. My submission in the “Original Sitcom Pilot” category made it into the top 10% of entries (out of nearly 6000) which is, apparently, a big enough deal to land me an invitation to the festival along with some “special access.” Who can say no to special access? …so I’m now mapping out a late-October trip to Texas, my first-ever visit to the Lone Star State. And since I’m being a bit self-aggrandizing with all this, I’ll mention just one more thing: The script that did so well in this contest is a different “sitcom pilot” than the one that was a ‘finalist’ in the LA Comedy Shorts screenwriting competition last Spring… so that’s two respectable showings for two separate scripts in just a few months. Not bad, and I’ll take it… sooner or later, people are going to notice these sorts of things.
More than telling the world or blowing my own horn, the preceding paragraph was mostly written for my own benefit – I sometimes need to remind myself that I do know what I’m doing when I sit down at the keyboard. Lately I’ve been wrestling with a 3rd draft of a script that just isn’t working… and it seems that the universe itself is telling me that this particular idea/script just isn’t going to come together in a satisfactory way. These things happen of course, but they can really take the wind out of a guy’s sails… but we keep typing/rowing until the wind finally picks up again to launch us in new directions.
And finally: Check out the calendar of upcoming shows (to the right –>)
I’ve got another reading/essay show coming up on Friday 9/30 and I’m very psyched for it. Come on by if you’re in LA (but call ahead, this show sells out every time.)
Yesterday, for the first time in over three and a half years, I did not put up a new weekly post on my ASK A PUNK advice blog. I have put the blog on what I’m calling ‘active hiatus’ for a while. The reasons for this decision are fully explained in last week’s post… the final one for now. Meanwhile my Another LA Cartoon blog will continue with weekly posts every Thursday morning, and the occasional bonus post every once in a while.
In other news, a quick look at my calendar of upcoming shows (over there in the right-hand column) will tell you that I have several reading/essay shows coming up in the next few weeks. I’m always thrilled to get the chance to tell some of my stories on both new and familiar stages. The more I rework these stories, the better idea I get of how they all fit together (or don’t.) I’m starting to look at ways to put all the stories together into one long form piece, even longer than the original ‘A Punk’s Tale’ one-man show. We’ll see what I come up with. I’ll add the project to the list. ha. While it is always good to have more ideas than time to execute them, it can be frustrating too.
…and speaking of shows, I recently posted a video clip from my latest performance at “Sit n’ Spin” on the Comedy Central Stage at the Hudson (LA) on my page over at Funny or Die. If you have a few minutes click the picture below and go check it out… and vote: “Funny.” Thanks.
As predicted in my last post, 2011 has already proven to be a very different kind of year. I’m not alone in thinking that things have turned a corner (in a good way) both personally and professionally. So far in 2011 I have moved across town to a new, and infinitely better location, I have had more meetings than I had in all of 2010 and I’m basically feeling good and I’m eager to see what comes next.
I have also finally gotten invited back to do the Sit-n-Spin show at the Comedy Central Stage. Since they book months in advance, I don’t have an exact show date yet, but the new producers contacted me and approved one of my submissions. I am thrilled. It is a great show, run by great people, in a great theater. I know it might sound a bit ‘Hollywood-y’ to say that sort of stuff, but in this case it happens to be true.
In other news: I forgot to mention that Ask A Punk turned three years old back in January, a milestone for any blog. Ask A Punk and my LA Cartoon blogs are now both ‘top hits’ in google searches too. Is that really a big deal? I honestly don’t know, but I think it is pretty cool.
Onward people! Strange times call for action!