Wednesday Thoughts

Before I woke up this morning, I was dreaming something mundane – I think I was just getting ready to go to work, actually. I’d found a new pair of jeans, which I’d forgotten I even owned (because in real life I actually don’t). They still had those plastic sizing strips on them, but an abundance of them, which I had to peel off first, because it’s just embarrassing to find out you’ve been walking around with tags and the like still on your clothes.

Whoa – I just typed “clothes” as “close” and had to correct it. Sleepy much?

Anyway, it was taking me longer and longer to get ready to leave, and I kept checking the time and getting more and more stressed about how late it was getting. I was excited to wear my new surprise jeans, though. They were still going to be a bit big, but better than most, and not full of holes like my real jeans are. I remember trying to decide which belt I should wear, too. As in, which one is falling apart the least. It’s a real-life dilemma found in even the barest wisp of a dream.

Anyway, the thing is, when I actually woke up, I remained confused about what I had to do with my day in real waking life. That sense of disorientation continued on far too long for my liking. It was actually a struggle to remain focused on getting ready for work without thinking about the new pair of jeans I didn’t really have, if that makes sense. My brain kept going back to the dream life and I’d have to consciously force it back to real life. Weird.

In other news, there was an impromptu puppy party on my street last night! Brody and I were out after work, as usual, and it was not only a nice evening, but also the time of day pretty much everyone is out with their dogs. We ran into one of his treats ladies, and she was already talking to another lady with her dog, and then more people and dogs just kept coming by to join in! We had a good 6 or 7 dogs on the go at one point, all greeting each other and each other’s people and Brody could often be found in the middle, gazing longingly at the treats lady in case more treats came his way! He’s taken to pre-sitting in anticipation of possibly getting a treat now, instead of waiting to be asked to sit for one. Silly puppy. Silly clever puppy. ❤

Tonight is The Mind Reels’ almost-all-girl rendition of a Flash Gordon episode from 1935! And the Reelie award winners announcement! So excited! One girl had to back out, unfortunately, but since it’s because she booked a gig on a new show, it’s not really that unfortunate! We’ll just have to get her back when she’s able! There are still three lovely ladies joining us, however, and I think it’s still going to be pretty epic. Or hilarious. Or both. I’m really looking forward to it!

I’ve been thinking about something Gord said during the Hip concert on Saturday night; about how we’ve been trained our whole lives to ignore Canada’s northern Aboriginal people, and how we’ve learned not to listen to anything that’s happening up there. He said he thinks it’s maybe even worse now than it’s ever been. I got this idea suddenly to maybe do something with The Mind Reels blog page about it, specifically with high school kids, perhaps. It’s a vague notion, and I don’t know if it would really work or be beneficial to anyone in any way, but there’s a seed of a thought I want to talk to Tim about. If it doesn’t work out with Mind Reels, then maybe I could still reach out and make something happen with this blog, or set up something else entirely. I was reminded of a simple exercise I’d done in teacher’s college with the kids in the Grade 7-8 classes I was teaching during my practicum. I hadn’t really expected it to go as well as it did. Not that I thought it would go badly. I just hadn’t anticipated how willingly some of the kids would open up about themselves and their home lives once they knew someone was listening. Not even that, really – I think it’s more that someone asked them. I’m learning that we all generally do like to talk about ourselves and things we are passionate about and the dreams we have for ourselves. Not in an ego way, but rather in a someone-is-interested way. Even the quietest kid in our Grade 8 homeroom – the kid who opted out of pretty much every assignment because he wasn’t feeling the participation vibe ever. That kid filled out a sheet of questions about himself…told a whole story about something that happened when he was living on a reservation up north before coming to the city. Then he actually spoke at length about some of it – out loud – with the whole class listening. We had to listen hard because he was speaking so quietly from his desk at the back of the room, but still. He was talking, and we all were listening. It was probably the only time all year that you could hear a pin drop in that room, because every kid in there knew what a rare occasion it was, and for once no one felt the need to spoil it.

So we’ll see. Maybe there’s a way I can help give kids an outlet; a space in which to discover and share their own voices.

I’ll just, you know, add it to my To Do list.

Just Keep Swimming

Sorry guys, my so-well-planned-out weekend completely got away from me, and I never managed to get back on course. Now it’s Monday. Ah well.

Today isn’t really going very well…I’m pretty much a mess. Like, not in a horrible way, but I am more tired and run-down than usual, and that’s led to me being clumsy and making mistakes and having trouble focusing on anything for long. I just generally am not feeling great.

However – I did purchase my ticket for the Mark Hamill Q&A at Fan Expo, and confirmed that my Press Pass for that day, in conjunction with that extra ticket, will suffice as admission to the special event. Tomorrow photo ops go on sale, so I’m hoping to snag one of those to split with my awesome nephew, too. My brain can’t quite believe it yet, but it’s possible that this is really happening!

As well, I think we might be recording our next radio play tomorrow evening! I have one guy who can ONLY make it tomorrow, so I’ve been trying to find a few more guests who can also make it that day, and while it’s not as many as I’d hoped, it’s possible that we now have a enough to move forward with booking it. I’m hoping to do a second radio play episode in a couple of weeks, too, once more people are available.

Now if I could just get them posted up on the Smithee.TV site. It’s killing me that all of this content for our show is sitting in the can for so long. Hoping to take control over some of it myself, at least to some degree. Just…maybe not in time for tomorrow. But soon, definitely. ‘Cause this is ridiculous.

At last count, there was one video file still to go up, and a whopping 10 which haven’t been posted yet! 10! What the actual hell?

Okay, now I’m not sure if we can make it happen for tomorrow. Might have to postpone to later in the week when there’s a better chance more people will be available. So stressful! Haha

But not really. I just love doing it, and am excited whenever I can bring people together and have a whack of laughs. We’ll see how things play out, I guess.

So much to do. From little things like picking up more chicken necks for Brody and sewing up a hole in a pocket of one of my pairs of jeans, to larger things like getting more Guinness clips cut and posted, casting a radio play, requesting interviews for the show, getting a Patreon page in order so I can launch it in the near future. And continual things like checking my budget situation or doing small chores around the apartment.

Days like today, I just don’t trust my mind to keep on top of things.

I can’t even remember if there was anything specific I wanted to write about here today.

One thing, though, is that I am trying to stay on top of my frustration with certain other people and push through all that crap to get what I want in the end. I still have moments where I just want to walk away and put my energy into other things, but for now, I am instead trying to remember why I wanted to do it in the first place. For now, I’m trying to believe that the part I play in all this struggle is not for naught; that even when none of it goes as planned, there’s still a chance that I myself can make some personal progress.

And for now, that’s enough to keep me going.

Time To Run

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Tonight, Tim and I welcome back the subject of our very first real interview, director/writer Jeremy Lalonde! Our friendship with this incredibly talented and funny guy began after we caught the opening night screening of his first feature film, The Untitled Work Of Paul Sheppard. We’d originally gone as a show of support for a couple of the cast members, but by the time we left, we were both quite in love with the film itself. Tim wrote a glowing review, then contacted the director to see if he would be interested in speaking with us for our podcast. It felt like a Hail Mary at the time, but Jeremy responded with an enthusiastic yes, and before we knew it, we were sitting down with him in a pub and sharing laughs over a couple of pints. I’d say the rest is history, but in fact I think we’re all still writing our histories as we go, so I am super excited to embark on this next chapter with Jer, and see what all he’s got on his plate now!

This episode will mark our second time in the studio this week, as well as our second time in the studio this year. Which is…kind of sad, really. We have periods of frustration every once in awhile, and this is one of those times. We recorded our final episode of 2015 back in December, and it’s still not posted yet – and it’s awesome, so I really hope you guys get to see it! The Mind Reels welcomes Robin Dunne, whom we’d met in the home stretch of our Guinness World Record attempt! It was even more amazing to have him in the studio once we were more awake!

And there are guests we hope to have coming up very soon, but I’m finding it difficult to invite anyone to come in when I have no idea how long it will be before their episode goes up. It’s like we keep taking a step forward – and then a couple back. We just can’t seem to really get going. My level of frustration merely increases with the addition of several ideas that I want to implement, but when we can’t even seem to get a basic foundation going, it’s hard to see any way to build on that.

I feel much the same way about really all of the projects – and ideas for projects – that I have on the go these days. I can’t get anything flowing, it seems. In fact, there are so many now that I can’t even get started, let alone flowing along, that it’s actually kind of depressing sometimes! It’s still really exciting, though, so for the most part, it’s just the frustration that gets to me. I want to run, yet we can barely walk.

The other thing, too, of course, is that it’s all really more than enough for a full time job, if it’s done properly. Merely lining up guests and shooting episodes is just the basics. A lot of work has to go into marketing, and researching and pounding the pavement to keep growing the show and the entire Smithee.TV channel. We have the basics – a social media presence on several platforms, a physical studio to work out of, we even have our own app – but we lack consistency. In programming, in advertising, in finding sponsors, and in remaining a presence online. We need to do all the legwork, and do it all the time. So far it’s all been sporadic at best.

We need to really get known with conventions in the area so that we either have a booth where we can conduct live interviews with the guests on site, and/or get in there moderating celebrity panels more often. We need regular sponsors looking to advertise on the channel. We need the equipment to work properly, and we need to post content on a regular, at least once a day, basis. We also need to promote that content over the course of each day, more than once, so that it turns up in people’s feeds on a regular and consistent basis. We need to be more mobile and have the ability to conduct interviews and shoot episodes on-the-go. We need more new content, and different types of content, to build on top of what we already have on the go.

We need to really pull together and get this team off the ground. Right now we’re just bouncing around a bit, like a balloon that’s losing its helium.

We also need more volunteers to do the off-camera work – switching camera angles and monitoring the sound quality while a show is filming, getting the episodes ready to post, and uploading them to YouTube and iTunes, including proper tags and the like. We need people – everyone, really – promoting the shows online via Twitter, Facebook, etc, all the time, and tagging everything so it turns up in search engines. We need to get people talking, watching, and listening, and then keep them tuning in as we grow. We need to build a real audience, then maintain it, and grow it from there.

All of these things take time, and since we all have full time jobs keeping us busy as it is, it’s pretty much impossible to devote the kind of time required to do all of these things properly.

But I believe it can be done.

Maybe we just need some kind of schedule, wherein everyone gets a bit of the task list to do on certain days and/or times. If we get a few more volunteers to help with some of it, and maybe write up a couple of templates to make some of the written tasks faster and easier (Tim and I have a basic pitch letter that we send to agents and the like when we’re looking into getting new guests – it’s pretty much copy/paste and fill in the blanks), then most of those things would be a 5-10 minute time commitment, instead of longer. They could happen much more regularly, too, which would help boost our presence.

So many quick little things can make all the difference, but we really need to hammer out a basic foundation for the show and the channel first and foremost. Until we can say with at least some certainty that an episode will be up within a specified timeframe, complete with credits, tags and any other pertinent information required by the guest, we’re kind of just treading water. We need to know when we can go live consistently, too, and promote the crap outta that before even beginning to shoot the episode.

We need a plan. We need to be consistent with its implementation. And then we need to market and promote and shout it from the rooftops. Every day. More than once.

I believe it can be done. I believe we can rise up and be amazing.

I believe it’s time to take the first step – and then keep stepping.

I believe – with a little more work on everyone’s part – it can soon be time to run.