Jesse Lawson

Software engineering, artificial intelligence, writing, and open-source tools

Apr 10, 2018 - Blog

Podcasting, the Austin Film Festival, and Patreon Rewards

A while ago I was talking on Twitter about starting up a podcast for creators about the psychology of needing to create–and how to cope with all the things that come with being a creator, like self-doubt, motivation, actually succeeding, and everything between. That podcast is called Coping with Creativity, and it has gone live with two episodes as of right now.

As I work through the kinks of getting the EQ settings perfect for my weird voice (which I think I’ve done in Episode 2; it’s much easier to listen to), I have been extending collaboration opportunities to people for conversation-format episodes about topics that I think could benefit from having more than one voice in the room. In an upcoming episode about criticism, I’ve teamed up with an old colleague who is now a DSW candidate in southern California. I’m not sure if this is going to be a common occurrence; we’ll have to see how it goes. As of now, we’re pretty excited to see how it all unfolds.

As for my own creations, I have put a lid on the comedy pilot that I was writing with my wife until it has some time to simmer in the thinking pot. I was originally going to make the rounds this screenwriting competition season with just the first episode, but after careful consideration, I believe the pilot would be stronger if it was a two-part pilot. Of course, as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that some of the competitions are strictly asking for 30 pages or less… So maybe I will end up submitting it somewhere this season… Hmm…

The real submission I am excited about is the Audio Drama category at the Austin Film Festival. They’re looking for three episodes and a three page season synopsis of an un-produced audio drama. That is perfect for me, since Blank Page will be finished by the submission date (April 20th) and I wasn’t going to start casting until this summer anyway. I’ll have to see if I want to sit on the production for a while and work on something else; will I lose my qualification if I start to produce it after submission? Probably, but I can worry about that later.

I have this grandiose plan of writing and directing the production of Blank Page, but if I can be honest for a second, that is going to be an awful lot of work. I suppose I could always use that as a way to convince myself that I should just quit while I’m ahead–or I could listen to the advice I give others and persevere. Thankfully I am approaching each phase of the show in little bit-sized chunks, and who knows: if the AFF thing pans out, maybe I wont have to do it after all. However, like all art, it will need to be produced–and I will do it myself if that’s what it takes.

I think that’s enough of an update on my current situation for now. Before I go I’d like to talk about some things that I have on my plate for sometime this fall:

Waystation Echo. The PC game I was working on, Waystation Echo, is being repurposed as an audio drama. I don’t want to do a video game; the whole thing has always been about the narrative, and in this format, I can really flesh out the world and the story–and, as an added bonus, since so much of the talking and storyline comes from messages and transmissions, this is a project that I could cast talent remotely for (something I cannot do for Blank Page). I’ll be working on this once I have pushed Blank Page past development.

Evolved. I wrote what you might call a techno-thriller about an underwater research facility trying to use octopus skin to create a new type of camouflage–and in the process, discovering an ancient sea monster that can rapidly regenerate. Scientists trying to extract the regeneration DNA and using it to grow octopus skin? Sign me up! (I should really stay away from comedy, I know…) Well, as with most things I write, it’s been sitting in a drawer collecting dust until I can tackle it for a third rewrite. This time, however, I had the idea of releasing it both as a book and as an audio drama. It’s very ambitious, and I’ll have to see how I am feeling about Waystation Echo and Blank Page before I commit to a third production, but I think it could work. (Persistence is key, Jesse. Listen to yourself.)

The last thing I want to talk about is my Patreon page. I have one, there are no patrons (sad, I know), and I have no idea what to do in terms of rewards. I set it up for monthly contributions geared toward supporting the Coping with Creativity podcast, but the truth is, anyone offering patronage will be supporting CWC and all the other things I am working on. Hopefully it pans out as a viable source of income to help produce higher-quality episodes and other productions.

That’s all for now. Have a good one!