My topic today is not about that, but more what has brought me here. I've been looking back, wondering why this didn't happen sooner. Why did it take so long for me to get here? I had the story. I had the talent. What was I missing back then?
As I look back, I realize, quite a bit.
Just in the last four years alone I've matured and grown into someone more ready to handle all that I'm going through. Not just the rigors of self-publishing, but everything I'm doing at the moment. And that leads me down a road that, if you'll forgive some back and forth, I can trace a great many paths to.
Did you know you could turn Photoshop CS animation into video? I didn't for sure, until I went on Google looking to see how I could. Rewind to high-school, and I needed a certain type of class. I don't remember what the requirement was, though I think it had something to do with fine arts. Whatever it was, I decided to go for ROP Digital Image and Design to meet it. In other words, Photoshop CS training. I learned quite a bit, and discovered a strong interest in the field. My teacher said I had a talent, but the drive never quite developed beyond a passing idea here and there, most of it for some game I was playing.
But a number of times, I used my skills to make good things. Via this occasional practice, my skills improved. Enough that I not only made my own cover and bookmarks, but was able to turn Photoshop animation into a pretty darn good video for the Kickstarter.
Ah but visuals aren't enough. I need good music and other sound bites beyond just me talking. Enter the 2009 football season.
We couldn't afford to go to all the games that year, and mom was missing it pretty bad. So I decided I'd put together a special day for one home game that I would call "The best seats not at the Q". (Q is short for Qualcom Stadium, home of the Chargers.) My biggest regret is I didn't record a video as if it were a special prize won at the stadium.
Anyway, I went so far as to set up lights around the TV screen (when the Chargers score, lights blink around the jumbo-tron). With my Photoshop skills, I made tickets that looked like the real ones, but each seat number and location was where we usually sat at home (love seat, middle couch, ect.). But I needed one more element. Sound bites. I had everything: Intro music, kickoff music, scores, bad calls, couple of random songs, even the cannon! (They shoot a revolution era type cannon for every score.) That took sound editing, which I had no training for. Didn't matter. It all sounded awesome, and mom was enormously touched.
Fast forward to three years ago, and while playing Perfect World International (an online MMO), I decided I'd have enough of the terrible music for Territory. It was most definitely NOT battle music. So I went looking, found a tune I liked, did a little editing so it could loop without sounding just as bad, and BAM, I have my battle music.
These skills have been used to edit music and sounds for the Kickstarter video.
Still, if I'm going to be successful, I need the book to be the best it can be. (I'll skip the Army jokes.) If I'm going to self-publish, I'll need a content editor I can trust and work with. Back we go to 2004, when I begin a by-mail writing course through the Long Ridge Writer's Group.
It's just what it sounds like. It taught me a number of things about the craft, but it also lead to me meeting Mary Rosenblum, my instructor. It was clear early on that I could work with her, though I wasn't thinking about that at the time. After completing the course, I stayed in contact via online forums where writers of various skill levels gather.
When I decided to go self-publishing, I knew I wanted a good content editor to help me. I soon learned Mary provides those services, and for less than the norm! She's now going to be my content editor.
I could go on, but I think that's enough. The point is, I didn't sit around and do nothing. As I look back, I see where I went out, tried things, made an effort. As my life is (hopefully) about to take a major turn, I see the fruits of all those labors. Photoshop, audio editing, content editor, writing training, I needed it all. Now I'm ready to use it!
Being a Christian, I like to think God guided me to these decisions, and the many parts that have prepared me for this time. However, I try to keep religion to a minimum here out of respect for any who don't share my beliefs. I'm a writer, not a preacher.
I can't help remembering that quote from "Cowboys of Moo Mesa". I mentioned it once before, but here's a reminder.
"Even if you're not on the right track, if you just sit there, yer gonna get run over."
Believe me. I've had some wrong tracks in my life too.
Carpentry? Didn't loose any fingers. Stand-up comic? Not my brightest moment. Acting? I MIGHT make extra. Ceramics? Let's not go there.
Just to name a few.
But I kept trying, exploring, testing. Parts that seemed insignificant are starting to bloom. Who knew my little dabble into audio editing would allow me to do so well with something as important as my Kickstarter video? Even the acting, as bad as it was, might have prepared me for talking in front of a camera.
I guess my point is to not treat life lightly. As I always say, take life by the horns, and make it work for you. I did, and I'm on the verge of breaking into a realm that both scares and excites me. I'm well on my way to self-publishing "Luna, the Lone Wolf".
"But the Kickstarter may fail. Then what?"
I'll find another way. I have plenty to work with even if it does. Might take longer, but it'll happen.
And who knows. Perhaps it failing is something that will be important in a few years. You're right. There's a respectable chance it won't succeed. Is that a reason to not try? Nope. Just a reason to try my best to help it not fail. The rest is yet to be determined.
Life is a long journey. I don't know where it's going. Yet as I look back, and see the trail as it weaves and catches up with me, I know this; Everything I've done has lead to this. Am I done with "Luna"? Probably not.
That's what makes life worth living.