Tag Archives: Partnership

November 2016 Status Update

By Chris Hutton

          The second of my monthly status updates…


THEN:

          Last month I had entered into the thick of managing my online presence.

    I had:

  • Created professional social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Created a professional channel for Arcas on Facebook
  • Established a blog to provide content to my audience (You’re reading it)
  • Joined the Scriggler writing community
  • Completed a horror short story – Seeing is Believing
  • Drafted three blogs posts on writing
    I was in the middle of:

  • Establishing my online brand with audiences of:
    • 127 Facebook followers
    • 17 Arcas Facebook followers
    • 487 Twitter followers
    • 106 Instagram followers
    • 3 Scriggler followers
  • Building my presence on the Scriggler writing community with:
    • One Scriggler story post
    • Admittance to one club
    • 505 persons having read my work on the platflorm
    • Achieving a #12 ranking on the story chart for September
  • Building my blog audience, which had:
    • Been viewed by 133 unique users
    • Had 492 pageviews
  • Working on my writing with:
    • Ten pages complete on my next comic book idea
    • Two parts of a new science fiction short story complete
    • Forward movement on my partnership contract
    • Around 35 pages of the Arcas graphic novel completed by illustrator and collaborator, JC Thomas
  • And I intended to:
    • Double my social media audiences
    • Finalize my partnership contract
    • Finish the Inflow science-fiction short story
    • Draft a new horror story
    • Begin another serialized story
    • Resume work on my iZombie Spec


NOW:

          So how’d things go? Well, let’s see where I’m at completion-wise first. Since my last update I:

          So overall, I finished the two stories that I intended to finish, expanded my toolset for social media management, wrote two new blog posts, and expanded my presence on Scriggler. However, I failed to resume work on my spec script and did not finalize my partnership contract. As for the other items on which I intended to work…


PROGRESS:

          …well let’s jump into that.

Metrics for my author’s platform:

Facebook

  • My official page held roughly steady with a gain of 3 followers for an audience of 130
  • My Arcas page also held steady with no gain for a total audience of 17 persons

Twitter

  • Gained 546 followers for a total audience of 1033 followers

Instagram

  • Gained 22 followers for an audience of 129

Scriggler Profile

  • Gained 2 followers (up to 5 now)
  • Had stories admitted to 2 more clubs, spreading my presence across 3 clubs
  • Seeing is Believing has now been viewed by 714 persons, climbing to #9 on the Story charts for September
  • Inflow has now been viewed by 485 persons, climbing to #4 on the Story charts for October
  • Last Call has now been viewed by 223 persons (place on November charts unknown)

My blog

  • Has been visited by 293 unique users
  • Has had 857 pageviews

          As far as social goes, I hit my goals with my twitter, but fell short on all other platforms. As twitter was my focus for October, I’m counting this as a win.


My Writing:

  • Finished part one in an original horror short story, In Memoriam
  • Am moving forward with my partnership contract
  • Am pushing forward with Arcas promotion, releasing samples via my blog:

          That being said, I met my goals for writing progress beginning another serialized story, and am continuing progress on my contract and my first graphic novel.


NEXT STEPS:

          So where do I go from here?

          I’m going to continue my twitter focus and aim to grow the audience of my author’s platform, while pushing out new original content for my blog, and somehow finding time to continue work on my non-blog posted writing.

          In total, I aim to:

  • Increase my twitter audience by at least 50%, but will push to double it
  • Increase my Facebook and Instagram audiences by 50% each
  • Double my Scriggler audience
  • Find ways to increase audience engagement on my blog
  • Finish writing In Memoriam
  • Draft at least one new short story from scratch
  • Begin another short story
  • Write at least 3 new blog posts on writing
  • Resume work on my iZombie Spec
  • Resume work on my next graphic novel script
  • Resume work on my first horror novel
  • Begin compiling my horror short stories into a potential collection

          Despite not meeting all of my goals last month, I’m feeling ambitious once again and have definitely increased my goals for the month ahead. This ought to be fun.


Conclusion:

          So another month done, and my list-crazed mind has pumped out one more of these insanely bulleted updates. Eek. If you’ve read this far, well I guess you’re really interested in what I’m up to with my writing. Thanks. If not, well, you’ll never see this line anyway, so let’s just stop there.


          Happy Writing, All!


P.S. – I may be opening up a terrible can of worms here (or no can at all if this gets nothing bug crickets), but if you have any thoughts on what you would be interested in reading about for new blog posts, suggestions for methods of engagement that you would like to see integrated into the blog, thoughts on increasing my social media presence, or ideas around types of stories that you would like to see written, please leave me some comments. Thanks, again!

October 2016 Status Update

By Chris Hutton

          My blog and its subject matter is still a work in progress. It probably always will be. I have now spent nearly a month stumbling through social media, my brand, and my writing platform (this blog and other writing communities such as Scriggler). I do feel that I have come closer to an understanding of my method and of my path forward, but there is still much to be tested. So this week, rather than exploring a general writing topic, like the value of partnerships, the need of support networks, and the importance of social media in gaining an audience, I’m keeping its simple. Consider this the first in an ongoing series where I update on the state of my brand and my writing – a quick review of where I was and where I am now, what has been done and where I’m headed.


THEN:

          A month ago, I was doing my usual – working on a gazillion projects. The list is ridiculously large considering my minimal free time having both a full-time job and being a parent.

  • Finalizing a partnership contract with a writing colleague to move forward pitching some television pilot ideas as a writing team
  • Adjusting the Arcas script, for my upcoming comic, to meet certain rating criteria
  • Working on a horror novel
  • Collaborating on a science-fiction novel
  • Reviewing my latest pilot for rewrite notes
  • Watching every episode of iZombie and taking scrupulous notes, while preparing to write a spec episode for contest season
  • Doing absolutely nothing with social media, branding, or the internet in general


NOW:

          Thinking to where I am now, my first thought instinctively, and with a pessimism common to many writers that I know, travels to what I have not done. I haven’t finalized my contract, I haven’t finished my horror novel, my collaboration on the science-fiction novel has reached a necessary hiatus, my pilot rewrite has been placed on hold, and I haven’t finished rewatching and taking notes on season 2 of iZombie. It would seem at first glance, that other than my progress with Arcas, I am no further now than a month ago.

          That line of thinking is a load of bull. In the past month I have:

          This may not be where I want to be, but I tackled social media head on and began branding myself and that’s a big and necessary step. Additionally, even with all of the time that went into creating those channels and getting them up and running, I found time to complete a new short story and those three blogs. I think I’ll cut myself some slack on those things that I have not finished.


PROGRESS:

          So I’ve completed a few things over the past month, but as my audience you’re likely already aware of that. With that being the case, what’s the difference between where I’m at now and my progress? Well, basically what’s done versus how far along I am in other tasks. We’ve talked about what is done, let’s look at what is moving.

          First off, I created a brand, but where does it stand?

Facebook

  • Established an audience of 127 persons around my official page
  • Established an audience of 17 persons around my comic’s official page

Twitter

  • Gained an audience of 487 followers

Instagram

  • Built from scratch to an audience of 106 followers

Scriggler

  • 3 followers
  • Posted one story
  • The story has been admitted to one club
  • The story has been seen on this platform by 505 persons
  • The story has climbed to #12 on the Story charts for September posts

My blog

  • Has been visited by 133 unique users
  • Has had 492 pageviews

          Admittedly these numbers are low, but they did all hit my initial targets for month one, save for the Arcas official page, and I hadn’t even heard of Scriggler until near the end of September, so I’m ignoring those follower numbers for now. Additionally, my story post to that community has done well to climb up so fast, so on that front, I’m considering it a win for my branding.

          Next up, my writing. I have a few works in active progress such as:

  • Drafted the first ten pages of my next comic book idea
  • Finished two of three parts in an original science-fiction short story, Inflow
  • Am moving forward with my partnership contract
  • Have around 35 pages of the Arcas graphic novel illustrated by my collaborator and colleague, JC Thomas


NEXT STEPS:

          So what’s next?

          Over the past month I have been gaining an understanding of my social media strategy. I’ve been testing it, building on it, tweaking it, and I expect that I will continue to do so, but I have gained some understanding on a path forward for this blog. I will vary it with regular Monday and Friday posts, along with occasional Wednesday posts.

Mondays – new stories

Wednesdays – samples from upcoming works for publication (when available)

Fridays – blogs

          The blogs themselves will vary. Once every month to two months I will draft a blog encouraging support of peers and colleagues currently working on projects / or having finished projects to which I would like to draw attention. I will also draft a status update each month, like this one, to keep my readers up-to-date on my current work. Finally, I will fill in the remaining Fridays with topical posts on writing, comics, tv, film, and other creative mediums, and with guest blogs from collaborators when appropriate.

          In regards to my social media channels, I will continue to test marketing strategies and work on growing on my audiences. I would like to double each channel’s audience by my next status update, but will be focusing primarily on twitter growth during this initial phase of brand-building.

          Additionally, I aim to post two more stories to the Scriggler community, each after they have received a minimum of one week exclusivity on my blog.

          Moving on to my writing – the whole point of all of this. I aim to:

  • Finalize my partnership contract
  • Finish the Inflow short story
  • Draft a new horror story
  • Draft two more stories or begin another serialized short story
  • Resume work on my iZombie Spec

          I don’t know why, but for some reason, I’m feeling uncharacteristically optimistic that this is all doable.


Conclusion:

          Anyway, that’s that. Where I was, where I am, my progress with my current work, and my plan for the month ahead. Maybe you find this useful. Maybe you’ll want to skip these updates in the future. Your call, but they keep me grounded. As one of my favorite television writing professors used to always say, “Onwards and Upwards!”

          Happy Writing, All!

Support Networks

Marielle Woods on set – one of the many creatives I admire and encourage you to support

          Last week I wrote about the value of partnerships in writing, from the partnership between a writer and a reader, to partnerships with editors, collaborators, and co-writers. This week I want to look at a similar topic: supporting the arts, which in itself is another type of partnership – a network of supporters partnering with a creative to help spread awareness for, and enable, their creative endeavors.

          While I address this network from the perspective of a writer I would argue that is equally applicable to any type of artist be he or she a musician, a painter, an illustrator, a writer, a director, a photographer… the list goes on. That being said, for ease I will primarily reference this type of network in so much as it supports writing since that is the perspective from which I have derived my experience with it. No offense to other creatives is intended.

          Often as a writer I find that I want to buckle down and write that next manuscript and push everything else to the periphery. That next work of fiction, that next story, dominates all else. The thought of investing my limited time to supporting others, diverting it from that primary focus of creation, can be easily cast aside as a luxury for another day. It is not that I do not want to support my peers so much as it is that I want to write and it is easy to forget all else while in that drive, especially when I also hold another full time job, am raising a young daughter, and, like everyone else, am simply juggling the typical responsibilities of everyday life.

          Currently, even with that drive to create, and multiple original stories battling for my attention, the majority of my writing time pours into blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, and other brand strategy documentation (a necessity to be discussed later). In other words, at the moment my writing is dominated by the business side of writing – building an audience, planning, proofing contracts, and prepping pitches and cover letters in attempts to be read. It is disheartening when so much valuable and often meager writing time is invested in the these necessities of what it is to be a modern writer instead of working on that latest work of fiction that is pounding at my skull demanding to burst forth and be heard. I imagine that many, if not all creatives, struggle with this balance.

          To cut to the chase (since I’ve already spent way too long in the build up), writers and other artists can easily get lost in the struggle for time and neglect supporting their peers.

          To my fellow artists and creatives, I urge you, don’t do this.

          Just as you might be struggling to get your work read, your music heard, or your film financed, so are your peers. We are all in this battle together and without our mutual support of each other the world will be robbed of many deserving voices fighting to be heard. We must support each other.

          This is easy advice to give, and likely to hear. It is much harder to live by it. Admittedly I have neglected this responsibility for many years, providing some support, but rarely with the fervor it deserves. Yet there is good reason to try to curb that tendency, to reach out, to network, and to prop each other up.

          Maybe that is simple to see, but I’ll sketch out a few of my quick, if verbose, thoughts on why we should make this effort.

1) Firstly, it comes back to last week’s discussion on the value of partnerships. As John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself.” We do not operate, nor benefit from the delusion that we operate, in isolation. We are better for the whole of our networks, our peers, our partners. These relationships challenge us, improve us, and make our work better. Our writing has little, if any, meaning, devoid of partnerships, of readers with whom we share our ideas. If we don’t support our peers, if we don’t build and encourage those connections, then we deprive ourselves of the benefit of those partnerships.

2) Secondly, pure and simple, we all need support and need to provide that support. Partnerships improve our work and that network brings in the value of being part of a larger whole, but even aside from being a part of that network, we can’t just act parasitically upon that relationship. For one, that type of behavior will be quickly noticed and the network will fall apart, but two, if we want our own creative work to reach an audience, we need to support the work of our peers, become a part of the larger network, and in so doing not only will we help our peers, but we open ourselves up to them, encouraging that support back. We become a part of the larger, we expand our audience, our reach, and we strengthen our relationships. With that strength support will come.

3) Again, along the lines of avoiding using your network parasitically, supporting that network also must come from a place beyond our own desire to feed off of it and benefit from it. I live by the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I don’t come to this from a religious place, it just is the heart of how I believe people and society should act. It is a moral commitment. If you appreciate the support of others to your own work, if you desire that support, how can you ask for it, or even deserve it, if you’re not being that positive change in the world and providing that support yourself without the expectation of it in return. Find people whose work you value and support it just as you would wish others would do for you.

4) My personal odd morality aside, it just feels good to help. Sometimes we can forget that. Perhaps you get bogged down in your work, you isolate yourself, and you forget to help your fellow creatives. It happens to all of us, but even just sharing a friend’s work, buying something they’ve written, or supporting their crowd-funding campaign, at least for me, invariably brings about a good feeling, a joy in the knowledge that you tried to help in whatever small way that you can.

5) As an added bonus, as you help more, as you give more without expecting, ironically enough you might just find yourself building future collaborations. That is the byproduct of a strong network, and those collaborations can lead to many exciting journeys. But if you don’t try, if you don’t immerse yourself amongst your peers, if you try to hide in your writer’s cave, you’ll miss out on all of those opportunities.

          So, anyway, hopefully I’ve made some sense amidst this rambling. Now get out there and support your peers. Maybe some karmic return will come your way, maybe it won’t, but at least you can feel good for trying.

          And on that note, it would be silly to discuss support networks without offering out some support of my own. So, here are some of my friends and colleagues whose work I admire greatly, that I encourage you to check out (legally (no torrents) – a matter that deserves its own blog at a later date), and hope that you enjoy.

Let’s go show some support for others trying to bring the world quality entertainment.

Collin Kelly:
          An amazing writer whom I had the pleasure of meeting many years ago in college, Collin Kelly writes with Jackson Lanzing, and together they created and contributed to numerous quality comic properties over the past few years. Please check out their work including:

Hactivist Vol. 1 & Vol 2.
Joyride
And work on various DC properties including Batman & Robin Eternal and Grayson.

          Like their work? Please follow Collin, Jackson, and their frequent collaborator, the excellent artist, Marcus To on Twitter: @cpkelly, @jacksonlanzing, @marcusto

JC Thomas
          JC is a comic artist with whom I have the pleasure of collaborating. I am ecstatic to have his support as an artist, and am constantly thrilled with his work.

Ninja Mouse
The Gates of Dawn
Twitter

Kiran Deol:
          Writer, Actress, Comedian, Documentarian, she is powerhouse talent, whose sharp wit and candor is always appreciated. If you can catch her stand-up, please do. Otherwise, follow her at the links below.

Twitter
Facebook

Marielle Woods
          Marielle is a talented producer and director, with whom I worked many jobs ago back in my reality television days. She is currently working on fund-raising for a short film, Do No Harm, examining the dilemmas of a combat medic attempting to hold onto his humanity while facing the dilemmas of war.

Indiegogo campaign
Vimeo channel
Twitter

Michael Shaw Fisher
          Michael Shaw Fisher and I attended the same writing program at USC, sharing many classes together. His writing has always proven to be brilliant, and he has since gone on to prove himself an amazing playwright and actor, whose productions have won awards year after year in the Hollywood Fringe Festival. If you ever have the chance to witness his work on stage, take it! His current production is SKULLDUGGERY: The Musical Prequel to Hamlet, which will run in Los Angeles September 30 – November 5, with previews September 23rd and 24th.

SKULLDUGGERY
Orgasmico Theatre Company

Michael Meinhart
          Michael and I became nemeses, and close friends, working on numerous marketing projects together between 2010 and 2013. He has a passion for his music and visual art that cannot be rivaled, and is the lead singer, songwriter, and frontman for Socionic. They are currenty finishing their Orenda Rises tour and will be playing again in Los Angeles at The Whiskey A Go Go on Saturday, October 15th.

http://socionicband.com
Facebook
Twitter
Youtube
Instagram
http://socionic.bandcamp.com

Nadjib Assani
          Nadjib and I attended the same undergraduate program at North Carolina State University where I was lucky enough to witness some of his early work on his passion project, Legends of Onile. Working in both comics and sculpture he is crafting a beautiful tale worth your support.

Legends of Onile

Nate Ruegger
          Nate and I attended college together at the University of Southern California. He is a talented writer and director and I am always thankful to have him as a reader. He is currently in pre-production to direct a short horror film, Trust Me: A Witness Account of the Goatman. Learn more at:

https://nateruegger.com
Trust Me: A Witness Account of the Goatman
Twitter

Happy Writing, All!

Why Go It Alone?

          For about six years I strove to make it as a writer virtually on my own. One could make an argument that it was a much longer stint than that if you count my college years (which is a different discussion entirely), but then one would be a real ass. Plenty of people spend nearly a decade in college and aren’t doctors. Seriously let’s not pick at this one.

          The point is I spent the majority of the past decade writing and sending my work out into the ether with no real luck, and that is if I found an avenue down which I could submit my writing at all. The hardest part of writing for me is, and likely always will be, getting my writing into someone else’s hands.

          You see that is the real crux of it. Many writers like myself like to believe that writing is a solitary thing, some dark art conjured forth in our hermit caves where the light of day is never seen, and the outside world plays no role. Unfortunately (or otherwise… I’m still debating on this one), writing is far less solitary than one might want to believe. At the very least one core partnership must exist: the writer and the reader.

          At the start that reader is likely a close friend, a significant other, colleagues in a writer’s group, or some combination thereof. But beyond the reader, a good editor is a critical partner for any writer – a partnership we often overlook to our own detriment. Add in the numerous partnerships necessary to realize one’s writing as a comic, a film, or television series, and the truth is that very few of us write completely alone even if much of the core work is done in isolation.

          With that being the case, why is it so many writers resist partnerships? I wish I had an answer. Maybe if I did I would have realized the value in partnerships a long time ago.

          Suffice to say, after years of working on solo projects, a few years back I finally opened up to the idea of partnerships. My colleague and friend, Marielle Woods, came to me with an idea for a near-future, science-fiction short. The amazing director that she is I knew that working together we could create something wonderful.

          I worked on outlines and drafts, collaborating with Marielle until we had a polished script ready for the festival circuit. We entered the script in a small sample of competitions for testing and while the script did not advance to finals it did catch the interest of a reader who later approached me regarding adapting the script into a graphic novel. Now, our script, Arcas, is being illustrated and published by the talented JC Thomas. This is not only a fortuitous outcome in that it helps us realize our story and distribute it to an audience, but also in that it is the start of another great partnership, one in which plans for subsequent adaptations are already being discussed.

          Flashing back to just a month after Marielle and I began working together, I started a direct writing partnership with my friend Jonathan Fischer, working on a separate science-fiction piece. We built a massive world full of beautifully rich characters and alternate histories, and he, with a talent for networking that has ever eluded me, began pitching the idea.

          And we were shot down.

          But, that pitch peaked interest and led us to developing five separate one-hour drama pitches, formalizing a legal writing partnership, and has paved the way towards pitching our multiple series’ ideas. Where it goes from there I cannot yet say, but I look forward to finding the answer.

          None of this is to say, ‘Look at me, and look at what I’m doing – isn’t it amazing?’ – at least not on a conscious level. The goal of this rant is simply this: years of going it alone may have honed my writing some, but it did little to progress my career. No one is a master of all trades. In particular, I am a shambles when it comes to networking and getting read. But partnerships, good partnerships, compensate for your weaknesses with the strengths of your partner and create a force greater than the sum of its parts.

          So if you’ve been trying to go it alone for a little too long, maybe it’s time you look to your friends and your colleagues and see if there just might be a future collaboration in the making. So far, I have no regrets.

          Happy writing!