Mini Updates

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I purchased something online last night, right before I left work for the day. It’s something I’ve been wanting for quite some time now, and for which I had starting searching almost exactly two years ago. It needed to be perfect, and yet would never be enough. It didn’t need to be very large, yet the value of its intended content is measure. It hurt my heart to place the order, yet at the same time, made me feel like I’d accomplished something important. Finally, after everything.

I did something, and yet still feel just as unbearably sad.

Anyway.

At the beginning of the month, I received an email from Canada In A Day – an update on the video footage I’d shot. Given how disappointed I’ve been in myself for pretty much all of it, I skimmed through the usual form letter about how grateful they were for all of the amazing submissions and that there were so many, etc etc etc. I waited to get to the part where they let me down easy as they gently reject my particular submission.

I had to read it twice to understand that “provisionally accepted” meant the opposite – that there’s actually a chance something I shot might make it into the final film! What?! There were a bunch of releases to sign, and get signed by others, which had to be scanned and emailed back to them within ten business days.

I then promptly forgot – and just remembered this morning!

It’s the 8th, and we had a weekend in there, so it’s not completely down to the wire, but much closer than I’d intended. I scrambled around and scanned my heart out and signed everything I needed to (I hope), then emailed it all back to them a mere few hours ago.

So – that’s done. It’d be cool if any of my stuff could make it in. I had a full day planned – not even intentionally – and plus there’s Brody. Who wouldn’t want his cute self in any film ever, really? I don’t think anyone will know whether they made it in until the film airs next summer, so I guess it’s a good thing I was planning on watching it, anyway.

Now I’ll also just be keeping an eye out for myself!

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Fear, Alone Time and Writing

This morning was, I think, the first time I’ve ever been afraid on the subway. It was only a few moments, but I’d promised Brody I’d be home a bit early tonight, and there was a sudden brief flash of time where it occurred to me that I might not ever be home again. My train pulled into the busy Yonge and Bloor station, commuters bustled off and on, all of us settled into our morning routines. The door chimes signalled that the doors were about to close – but they didn’t. Then the floor shuddered as the engine of the train shut down. Moments later, all of the lights went out.

Everyone was looking around, as though any of us could see the cause of the shutdown from our positions inside the train, and I realized that if a bomb were to go off, most of us would be screwed. Busiest subway station during rush hour, I was near the front of the train so would likely get the brunt of the blast if it was meant to take off the head of the snake, so to speak. And not only are we all crammed into the train, but the force of any blast would carry destruction down the tunnels, as well. It’s basically a big tube into which we were all trapped.

I wondered about the things people think about when they find themselves in the midst of a random attack, if they have time to think at all.

As it turned out, there was no bomb, but rather a trespasser at track level at College station. All of the power to the line had to be shut down so that the deadly third rail would be rendered inactive until the unauthorized individual could be removed. My fear turned to anger mixed with resignation, and as I waited for my journey to continue onward toward work, I listened to the update announcements – power off at College, emergency alarm activated on at least two different trains, possibly three. Thankfully they put the air back on in my train, as it takes exactly no time for the stench of the surrounding humanity to fill the nostrils once the air has stopped circulating.

The worst thing about public transit is the public.

In other news, I had a pretty sweet evening last night. I created it by myself, for myself, and it was pretty awesome, all things considered. It was all very simple – got flowers, which made my apartment smell amazing, then made popcorn, opened a cold beer, and watched TV with Brody. Well…Brody was all about the popcorn, not so much the TV. But all three cats and the dog eventually all just curled up in their spots and we hung out together. It was really nice.

I did have to laugh at the image of me walking home with cat litter in one hand, and flowers I’d gotten for myself in the other. Crazy cat lady spinster, I totally am! Yet, also content. I’d tidied my apartment a bit over the weekend, too, so everything felt fresh and cozy; my treasures all shined up and surrounding me with little reminders of who I am. I was home for a few hours, and it felt great.

I also just received word that the library’s Writer in Residence will indeed meet with me to chat about the opening excerpt of Carving The Light (my first novel), so I sent in my preferred time slots (leaving Saturday mornings and early afternoons open for the inevitable zoo visits I’ll be taking often very soon now that my bear is back in town), and will see which one ends up being mine. I want to refresh my memory going in this time, and maybe even have a clearer idea of what I want to do with the story, so that I get as much as I can out of this discussion. Things like this always get me excited about writing. Just talking about it ignites my passion for it. It’ll be interesting to see how things feel once I’ve spent some time speaking with another author about it all again!

Mind Reels Updates

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Okay guys, there’s probably other stuff I should talk about, but I just can’t seem to focus on much else today, so I’ll babble a bit about what’s on my mind. Vaguely, anyway.

Tim and I had a sort of “production meeting” last night with our producer/man behind Smithee.TV, Ryan. The conversation was long overdue, and since I know how easy it is for us to get off track, I spent some time in advance making notes about some of the points we needed to hit, both in that and in future conversations.

Including the fact that there will need to be future conversations, if we want to stop this whole stagnating thing that we’ve been doing this year.

We actually managed to hit most of the really important points I’d wanted to get to last night, which is a very good thing, and I think everyone left the meeting feeling pretty confident in our abilities to start getting back on our feet as early as next week.

We came up with an initial list of potential guests to reach out to (some that were already on my budding list, and some new ones, as well), and made a basic plan of attack as far as how we intend to shoot episodes from now on. The format will change, at least as far as video is concerned, but we will shoot the whole thing live, and the full long version will still be posted on iTunes. We’re working on ways to get both video and audio content posted much faster, as well as a general posting schedule we’re hoping to follow. Naturally, the actual shoot times and dates will have to be formed around guest availability, but with any luck, new content will be posted regularly, and a few times a week, which would be amazing.

Promoting content, and the show, and the channel will hopefully get better and more regular/frequent, as well. I wish I had more time in the day to market things and pursue things but if I can manage to upgrade my home tech soon, too, then I’ll be able to do a lot more from there, which would be a huge help. I’m still working on getting the rest of the Guinness clips up, for Pete’s sake!

There are technical things we need to learn to do for ourselves – setting up the Livestream link and promoting it ahead of time for each episode, getting the segments cut properly and adding credits, getting both video and audio cuts ready to upload to the channel’s YouTube and iTunes accounts. Stuff that will go much faster when it doesn’t all rest on the shoulders of one person to do it all, especially when they’re doing every other show on the channel, as well.

We also had some initial conversations about different kinds of content that Tim and I want to add to our show, instead of just doing interviews. We love doing interviews, and are hoping to get back to doing one a week, if possible, but we’ve been thinking of adding in even more fun things on top of our usual fare! Ryan liked all three ideas that we pitched to him last night, and I’ve talked to Tim briefly this morning (because I couldn’t stop thinking about when I got home, so naturally I did a little digging around online and managed to find a few things to get us started), so now we’re both excited about the possibility of getting at least two of those things started as early as next week, too!

There’s also the upcoming Reelie Awards show that we’ll need to start prepping for in a few weeks, once all the rounds of voting are over. It won’t be enormous, by any stretch, as it’s our first awards show, but it should be fun, and with any luck, we’ll have a few familiar faces helping us announce the winners in each category! It’s definitely cool to see fans and nominees get involved in the voting process, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out for this first awards show episode.

I wonder if Tim will wear a tie. Or if I will. We should probably dress up for the occasion, right?

I think I’m definitely forgetting something, but I want to be careful not to say too much yet until closer to the time of reveal, and am already distracted by some of the details.

OH! I’ve also started sending out my own guest interview requests again. I was doing it all the time before, but lately haven’t felt confident in our ability to really devote time to building up the Mind Reels’ audience again, so I’ve just been leaving it alone so far this year, for the most part. However, I re-worked our pitch letter a bit over the past week, and made a list of people I wanted to approach sooner rather than later, so with the exception of the people we discussed contacting during our meeting last night, I started sending out requests for a few today on my own.

With luck, you’ll be seeing us back in the studio on a regular basis very soon!

Stay tuned!!!

Stagnating

Hot Docs (Toronto’s amazing documentary film festival) is getting underway tonight, and yesterday evening, Tim and I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing some of the ladies responsible for the opening night film, The League of Exotique Dancers – director Rama Rau, and Legends of Burlesque Camille 2000 and Judith Stein.

Now, let’s face it, as soon as we heard we’d gotten this interview, Tim and I both knew it would be a lot of fun. What we couldn’t have predicted was exactly how amazing it would be! You can see our ridiculous chat with those wonderful women here.

Our second interview of the evening was also fun and amazing, but in a different way. The thing is, though, it made both of us want more. We left the hotel last night on an absolute high, having just spent an hour or so doing something we both love, and meeting some incredible individuals in the meantime. You just can’t beat that – the energy, the laughter, the moments of connection, conversation and shared experiences.

The handshakes that turn to hugs.

I think I can say that, for both of us, the evening strengthened our resolve to get things moving forward with the Mind Reels again. Or even get them moving at all, at this point, as we’ve been pretty stagnant for much of 2016 so far. I mean, we’ve been doing things. Tim’s posting on the blog every day at least once, and we’ve done some on-location interviews, like the ones last night, but they are always for events – like Comicon, the CSA’s and now Hot Docs. We haven’t gotten back to doing regular studio interviews or anything like that for a long time, and we have yet to really strategize some of the other features we are hoping to add to our brand, let alone implement them.

In other words, every time I think it might be time to get off the pot, I realize that I still want to shit.

So, operating under the hope that this feeling of resolve lasts past, like, today, here are some of the things we have in the revised playbook:

  • regular weekly video content – at least once a week, and while not always interviews per se, the hope is to have as many guests as possible, and some different fun things rotated in once a month or so. The main goal, though, is to establish some sort of routine wherein we are posting video content at least once a week. We need to get that going and stabilize it a bit so that we can branch out more in the direction we want to go
  • build our reach and fanbase – we want to get our stuff out there more, and try to break out of our circle of friends to grab attention from strangers around the world. This all started in part because no one was really covering the things we liked in the way we would have liked, so we started doing it ourselves. For sure there are others out there who just don’t know about us yet, but who would appreciate some of the things we’re doing, and thee ways in which we are doing them
  • having gotten our feet wet moderating some celebrity panels at Hamilton Comic Con last year, we’re hoping to do the same this year, as well as branch out to other conventions in the area. The more we do it, the better we get at it, and having the addition of a live audience to interact with only heightens the fun, really! It definitely changes the dynamic each time, and that’s a challenge I want to keep taking on, for however long they let me!
  • If we can get some sort of regular show format going, and build our reach more, then the eventual goal is to launch a Patreon page and try to start bringing in a bit of cash each month, even if it’s just enough to cover some of our brand-related expenses which are currently all out-of-pocket. I mean, I’m not foolish enough to hope that we could be like the two teenaged boys on there who pull in over $10k per month by making silly YouTube videos of them eating various foods and rating them on a scale of sour-ness, for example. But at the same time, why couldn’t we create content that people want to see enough to throw $5 a month our way, in return for said content and some pretty excellent rewards? That being said, though, while it’d be wonderful to make a living wage doing something we enjoy (see my previous post about adulting), I certainly don’t expect to. But I would love to have a little help paying for some of the things we use regularly as it is, and upgrade some other things to make our passion project even better than it already is.

So we’ll see how things go. Once Hot Docs is over, I have a list of first steps to take, and we’re hoping to set up a meeting with our producer soon to go over a few ideas, as well. Once the flush of excitement from this week and next wears off, we might go back to stagnating again, I know.

But, then again, we might not.