Thursday, March 30, 2023

New Second Player Score Website

I'm happy to announce that my band Second Player Score has completed the redesign of our website!
We wanted it to better reflect our identity as not only a band, but as multimedia content producers. Big thanks to my son Torin for doing the bulk of the design work. Check it out here!

Well, that was a short post, wasn't it? To make up for that, here are some bonus cat pictures:
Next week (probably): a Volume Seven status update!

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Vancouver Arts Hub

Calling all artists, musicians, and otherwise creative types in Vancouver, Washington! The city (specifically, the Vancouver Culture, Arts and Heritage Commission) is developing an arts hub - like a community center for art and culture - and is looking for feedback from people who may be interested in this project.
The hub, which would be in the building that formerly housed the Fort Vancouver Regional Library, would be a space where artists of all types, including not only visual artists but spoken word performers, musicians, filmmakers, etc. could gather, meet, display their work, teach classes, and more. Additional information about the project can be found at this link.

Oh, and as for the aforementioned feedback, there is a short survey where you can voice your thoughts and opinions, which will help shape the end result of the hub. It's quick and easy, so if you have a minute or so and want to provide input, please go to this link to take the survey.


Thursday, March 16, 2023

Hold My Beer Status Update

Last week I introduced - or reintroduced, really - readers of this blog to a project called Hold My Beer (in case you haven't read that post, scroll down or click here.) In the coming weeks, you'll probably see more posts devoted to it as things progress. Or not! Anyway, this is one such post.
As I mentioned last week, the original script - which was about a middle-aged man who, after losing his wife and job, turns to beer-brewing as his new direction in life - has been completely rewritten. The impetus for this was an upcoming grant that we (meaning me and the guys in Second Player Score, who are serving as the executive producers of this project) are considering applying for, which requires that the recipient of the grant be a nonprofit entity. Since Second Player Score is not such an entity (even though we're currently not making any profits on anything), and creating one from scratch would be too difficult and time-consuming, we decided that it might be a good idea to apply for the grant through Autism Empowerment, the organization that I serve on the board of directors for.

Following that train of thought, I figured that if we were to go that route, it would also be a good idea for the story to be more autism-centric, since the original script only contained one character who was autistic in my mind but was not explicitly identified as such. And so, I rewrote the whole thing, changing the lead character into an autistic young adult who tries their first beer on their twenty-first birthday and subsequently makes beer and the brewing of such their special interest. At the same time, I made the overall story more inclusive, with four young adult characters (including the lead) who could be any race, gender, or sexual orientation depending on who we end up casting. I also made it easier and (probably) cheaper to film, and as a nonprofit project (original indie films like this almost never make money anyway), it could potentially make greater use of volunteer efforts along with attracting more grants and donations.

The story retains its original themes, like confidence and finding one's direction in life. It also retains its Vancouver-ness, which, as you will recall from last week's post, was a major goal of the project in the first place. Our hope at this point is that these changes will make for a stronger overall film/episode while increasing the possibility that it can actually get produced. So, that's where we're at right now. Stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Hold My Beer

With the draft manuscript of the latest Joel Suzuki novel in the capable hands of my editor for the next month or so, normally I would be using this time to start on the next installment in the series. But since there is no next installment (not yet, anyway), I will instead be turning my attention to another project: Hold My Beer.
I first introduced this project to blog readers back in October 2019 as part of a status update on the SPSU, now called the SPS-Verse. Back then, it was described as a dramedy series for which I'd written a pilot episode script, and it was about a middle-aged man who turns to beer-brewing after losing his wife and job. 

Since that time, it didn't change very much or really go anywhere, even after being part of a writer's workshop with a couple of Emmy Award-winning writers in the early days of the pandemic. Granted, I did put it away for a while after that, as I was unsure of its prospects for getting produced, especially since so many other things were on hold during those uncertain months years.

However, it started to percolate back up into my consciousness after my band Second Player Score emerged from plague-induced hibernation to perform at the Vancouver Summer BrewFest last August. It was there that I was reminded of what a great beer scene our town has, and how it really serves to bring the community together. And so, I was inspired to revisit Hold My Beer and begin exploring how we could possibly produce it (or the pilot episode, at least) independently.

We've always wanted it to be a showcase of Vancouver, Washington, highlighting the city's culture and craft beer scene while serving as a source of community pride and even possibly a boost to the local economy. The show itself is set in Vancouver, and our goal is to produce it with as much Vancouver-based talent as possible. And so, we've been reaching out to people who we thought might be interested in being involved, including cast, crew, musicians, etc. Even though we're still in the very early stages, our efforts seem to be gaining at least a little bit of traction and momentum, so that's where I'll be focusing most of my attention over the coming weeks (also, the script has been completely rewritten - more on that later).

Anyway, if you're based in Vancouver - or, okay, fine, Portland, Oregon - and want to be a part of the project somehow, let me know!

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Things I've Learned, Realized, or Remembered While Polishing the Volume Seven Manuscript

The last blog post before Volume Seven goes in for a line edit! Very exciting. Anyway, here are some things I've learned, realized, or remembered while polishing the manuscript over and over and over and over again:
- That Hawaii does not have squirrels. I know I've been living on the mainland - where squirrels are a daily occurrence - for a long time now, but I can't believe I forgot this fact. It would have been really embarrassing had I not remembered.

- For whatever reason, when coming up with names of alien worlds or the aliens themselves, I like to use double consonants a lot, as in "XandothaRR" or "HyriSS." I actually spent almost an entire read-through just checking for this and changing alien names so that they wouldn't be too similar.

- Speaking of changing things, no matter how many times I read through the manuscript, I always find something I want to revise. I'm glad I set a deadline of March 7th to turn it in to my editor, otherwise the process could go on forever.

- "Kill your darlings": usually a better idea than not.

- Even after seven books, I still get confused about the use of the word "had" and also whether or not numbers above ten should be in numerical form or spelled out with letters.

- Apparently, British people tend to use feet and inches when talking about height (as in, "I'm five feet, five inches tall") but use the metric system for everything else (if I'm wrong about this, please let me know before the book comes out this summer).

And now, here's the cat haiku I promised last week:

Cute and silly cats
Wake me up at all hours
Strangely I don't mind