Night Thoughts

Odd thoughts at night are inevitable, particularly when you rarely sleep well. However, the rareness was exacerbated even further the other night by a harvest prep crew working on their machines. At 3am. On the other side of the fence from our backyard. With great enthusiasm, gusto, dedication, perspicacity, however you want to describe it. Combined with a lack of focus on how much noise they might be making in close proximity to a sleeping house.

I popped outside and had a few terse words with the crew. They initially expressed confusion and doubt as to the gravity of the situation, but then began to grasp my seriousness. After a few back-and-forths, due to the language barrier, they drove the rig deeper into the ranch. As you can see from the photo, the rig was also festooned with lights, not unlike a large Christmas tree that has fallen over but still remains plugged into the wall socket.

Regaining sleep after such an event, is usually unachievable. Therefore, the odd thoughts. In no particular order: asteroid mining, devising a plot for a book (a lighthearted, comedic version of Lewis’ That Hideous Strength, with an emphasis on lighthearted), whether or not fats are as unhealthy as “they” say they are, cats vs gopher snakes as antidote to gopher infestations, the nature of time if dimensions exist beyond our four dimensions (time becomes very negotiable at that point, doesn’t it?), and whether my kids should start learning Mandarin.

I also spent some time musing over my latest music album (about to go live on all the various streamers): Love in the Time of Pandemica. I used a loop on one of the songs without realizing that certain loops have different kinds of rights associated with them: personal, performance, sales, etc. At any rate, I used the wrong kind of loop and had to pull the one song. Which means a nine song album instead of a ten song album.

I’ll post the song here when I get a chance. Can’t sell it, but I can post it for free.

The topic of intellectual property is an interesting one. I have friends on both sides of the aisle. Everything in the public domain versus rights reserved for a definite amount of time versus rights reserved indefinitely (Leonard da Vinci, contact your heirs). Automatic public domain is a bridge too far for me. After all, what’s the difference between a loaf of bread and a song or a story? Not much.

Long Time

Long time since I’ve been in these parts.

There are eleven more days until the darkest day of the year. For the northern hemisphere, that is. In many ways, though, it seems like this has been the darkest year for a long time, even with all this California sunlight.

I worked for a production company in Scotland, on and off, for several years. That was back in the late 90s. My boss remarked that one of the best ways to weave the light into narrative was to have it surrounded by the darkness. Makes sense. That way your eye is automatically drawn to the light. Stories like that can possess a great deal of power. Sometimes, though, the darkness can be overwhelming.

The last two years have been writing-dry except for two projects. I experimented with a light-hearted epic fantasy, somewhere in between the Tormay trilogy and the Fury Clock. That project is almost done. Doesn’t have a name yet, but I have one possibility lurking in the back of my mind. I’ll need to check if someone hasn’t used it already.

The other project… now that’s quite a serious project. A friend approached me two years ago and pitched an idea to me for a feature film. He was trying to get me to join forces with him (and do most of the writing). I almost turned him down because of the time commitment it meant. Also, because the story was one of the crazier things I’d heard in a long time. But then the craziness of it started to make sense and, after a while, revealed that it had a sane heart.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on that second project. Finished the feature film script. Went through more than twelve drafts on it. Had a first studio pitch for it, with an invite back. Rewrote the script into an eight season, sixty-four episode version. And now, joined by a third writer, we are rewriting the whole thing into a book series.

There’s a lot of discussion in and around the film world these days that walking in with a killer script isn’t good enough. Sure, lightning might strike, but there are countless amazing scripts walking around the (crime-ridden) streets of LA these days. You need more than that. You need to develop your intellectual property into other mediums before approaching the studio meat grinder: books, graphic novels, podcast, audible. Those mediums are all quite doable, if you have the time and focus to tackle them. The graphic novel route takes some money, but not at the same onerous level as an actual film or video series.

We figure it’ll take about five years to do the books, graphic novels and audible. Not sure if there’s any real reason to do podcast versions if we do audible.

At any rate, plenty of fodder for writing these days. Just watch the news… or not, if you want to maintain your sanity and hopeful view of humanity. Thank God there’s a God in charge of this little universe.