In One Word. #motivation #amwriting #meme #create

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Art by Francesco Francavilla. Click to buy the print.

Art by Francesco Francavilla. Click to buy the print.

Sometimes you need a “certain” kind of encouragement.

New SoCal Comedy Dates!

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Hey everyone!

The stand up comedy train keeps rolling as two more shows have been added in the month of February. If you live in Southern California, come on out!

On February 21st, I’ll be in North Hollywood performing at The Rusty Pitchfork Comedy Jam 2! I was an invitee to the first one and it was a great time. These “garage shows” are what comedy used to be back in the day. The details:

5492 Cahuenga Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Feb 21st, @ 7:00PM
$5

Then, on the 28th I take my show on “the road” as I travel down to Orange County. The Nest Comedy Community is having a show in sunny Costa Mesa, CA. Check out this swanky flier:

Luckily, it isn't  "Bring Your Own Microphone"

Luckily, it isn’t “Bring Your Own Microphone”

If you’re in town, make sure to stop by! Tell them that ruggedly handsome Flobito guy sent you.

Cheers!

Silverstreek Returns!

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Hello everyone!

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably heard about the trials and tribulations surrounding my original character, Silverstreek. If not, the long and short of it is this:

I wanted to create a ‘fun’ superhero comic book as a response to the needlessly ‘dark,’ conflicted heroes of the modern age. When I was unable to secure an artist, the comic became a novel. When I was unhappy with the first draft of the manuscript, the novel became a short story (Which is available for purchase)

Seee?

Seee? Art by Ciel Nior Studio.

It was fine for the time but it eventually wasn’t enough. After bootstrapping the funds to hire an artist, I actually got the chance to create a Silverstreek actual (one shot) comic book. By the time you read this, it will be available as an electronic download and as a limited edition print issue:

Still smooth sailing

Still smooth sailing. Art by Joe DeSantos.

The saying “nothing is ever finished but rather abandoned” is more true than ever in this case. I felt as if the character of Silverstreek needed his story to be told, though I’m sure it would have stayed in my imagination if I had waited for the “perfect situation” to do so. (Not to mention the odd looks I got when someone of my age is so adamant of making a hero book)

When the first print run arrived on my doorstep, it was surreal to see my imagination actually appearing in physical form. While the mind’s eye fantasizes of some major comic publisher incorporating my character into their superhero canon, I would be just as happy if a handful of people picked up an issue at the local comic book store.

The one thing I learned from all of this is that pays to TAKE ACTION. The world is full of people who have ideas in their heads. Do yourself the favor and make your idea tangible.

As for me, I know I won’t see Silverstreek teaming up with Superman anytime soon (though it would be cool). For now, I take solace in the fact that I’ve given back to a medium that has given me so much in terms of entertainment and inspiration.

 

Interested in obtaining a digital copy? Click the button below.

The Phrase That (Doesn’t) Pay

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Hey guys! Flobo here. Question, do you know what a “groaner” is?

As a part time stand up comedian, I come across these all the time. They are jokes that fall just short of being funny. The reason could be faulty delivery, expectations of the audience, or the joke itself having extra cheese, but for whatever reason instead of laughs there’s a collective groan followed by things like.

“Oh, I get it.”

“I see what you did there.”

You get it.

As a writer, I think there’s times when we come across something similar. Not necessarily “bad jokes” per se, but rather patches of prose and dialog that makes the audience roll their eyes. The result isn’t so much a “groan” but the audiences says something like:

“Wow, that wasn’t smooth at all.” Or my personal favorite:

Jeez, what else is on TV? This show is terrible

Jeez, what else is on TV? This show is terrible

Like a groaner joke, different audiences have different expectations. For example, a couple of weeks ago my lady and I were watching a (recently canceled, thank goodness) television show on one of those streaming sites. Besides having a plot that was overly complicated, there were rough spots in the dialog that increasingly became annoying over time. (Perhaps our media binging culture is to blame for that one). Things like:

One character learns something bad has happened to them. Another character looks on and says, “Don’t worry, we’ll get through this.”

Ugh. Sounds like placeholder dialog to me.

When two characters are talking about something already discussed in a previous scene, one character turns to the other and says. “Like I said before…”

Then why say it again?

A character who is obviously angry tells another character. “I am just so angry…”

SERIOUSLY?

Armchair-quarterback-showrunner-with-no-network-or-cable-television-writing-experience me says, “Oh come on! I can do better than that!”

I turned to air my grievances to my partner and her eyes are glued to the screen, enthralled. The same show was on the screen and it offered two different experiences.

I have to be completely honest with you. I came here to write a blog absolutely burying this show. However while typing it out, I realize that isn’t what I learned from it at all. There’s no show out there that’s perfect, and (despite advertising and salaries) television can be critiqued as art. As creators we never know what’s going to “knock ‘em dead” and what’s going to be a “groaner” until you put it out there. As for me, I was glad the show was canceled. There was too many things wrong at the script stage to get me to care about what was happening on screen.

At the very least, there was at least one fan in the room. A fan that ‘makes me feel pensive.’ ;-)

-F

Come Look For Me on Wattpad!

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Heyhey!

Did you know I’m also over on Wattpad? No?! Oh I see how it is. Well, check it out anyway. I drop in from time to time and may release an exclusive story or two.

Oh, I get it! It looks like a row of books...duh!

Oh, I get it! It looks like a row of books…duh!

Click the Dub to hang with yours truly.

Ten Things I Learned About Releasing “Pay The Vig”

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Coming to your favorite eBookstore.

Availabe at your favorite eBookstore.

So “buy” now, my latest novel (or novella) “Pay The Vig” has been available at Amazon for a couple of weeks. It was a crazy experience, as the story was about 13 months in the making. It’s true, writing is as easy as stepping up to the keyboard and bleeding (thanks Hemmingway), but here’s ten things I learn about writing and releasing “Pay The Vig.”

1. Every day felt like I was behind on homework.

It’s true. When hanging out with friends, I was constantly telling myself “I have writing to do.”  After a while, I would tell my friends that I was working on yet another book. Haha, big mistake.

2. Making deadlines helped.

Hire yourself. Or at least, don’t let your projects fade away into that “someday” territory. Get in control, wrangle those words, and inch towards the goal if you have to.

3. There’s satisfaction in being done.

It’s there. It’s for all the world to see. Give yourself points for being brave.

4. Having an editor is a good idea.

I’ve edited for myself before to disastrous results. As indie writers, we want to save that money and cut that corner. Don’t! It’s not worth it. Trust me.

5. You’re proud and embarrassed at the same time. This is okay.

Hey, nothing is perfect. When creating art, we (the artists) have to be open to criticism. Sometimes it’s valid and sometimes it’s not, but it’s okay either way. When I read some of my old stuff I cringe, but that just tells me how much I’ve grown as a writer.

6. You’re already looking at your next project.

My mind comes up with the best ideas when I’m working on another project. That’s why I can understand so many authors having multiple projects going on at once. When I was finishing up “Pay The Vig,” I had a screenplay idea rattling in my brain.

7. E-publishing is easy but E-publishing is hard.

A way to instant upload your stories and have them for sale? Easy-breezy. Uploading your story to one digital site (among dozens) and asking your fans to navigate to a link to spend some of their hard earned disposable income on your project? Not so breezy.

8. By book five, I have modest expectations.

When I wrote my first book, I had stars in my eyes. “I wrote a  book! Now, prepare for the accolades!” Yeah, that didn’t happen. I actually had to learn writing for the craft of storytelling at point. Which while good for the long run, was really sobering when I realized initial sales were so sluggish.

9. You’re only as good as your last book.

In 2012, I got froggy and released two books in a year. I was riding high. After deciding to take a break in 2013, I wanted to have “Pay The Vig” done before 2014’s end. Well, in that time I realized that the fans I built up in 2012 had moved on elsewhere. Truly, that was no fault but my own. I decided to really put an effort into updating my blog as consistently as I could in order to engage with others. But really, I’m taking this as a “reboot” of sorts. Just like that third Riddick movie.

10. Realize you’ve “done” what countless others only dreamed of doing.

Because you’re amazing!

-F

Stop Being A Crybaby: Make Resolutions!

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Full Disclosure: New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday.

 

Why? Because time is objective. There’s no expectations for the holiday (you can make it as big as a party or as small as a silent prayer), most local television stations run marathons of classic shows, and it is a genuine chance to start anew. Heck, it’s even the start of a new fiscal year in the United States. What’s not to love?

Plenty, according to some.

There is really one everlasting tradition that surrounds New Years (two, if you count singing “Auld Lang Syne”): Resolutions. Ah yes, that thing we tell our friends and family that we plan to do to better ourselves. Seems easy enough, right? And while I understand you can make resolutions at any time, there is something noble about attempting to do so at the start of the year.

Cue the backlash.

Not sure if it’s a generational thing or just a matter of taste, but I feel folks absolutely abhor resolutions these days. What’s the use they say? Why even try? This ARTICLE really gave me pause.

Don't break the chain!

Don’t break the chain!

To that I say, stop being a wuss.

There’s nothing wrong with holding yourself accountable. When you make a resolution, you are putting yourself on the hook to deliver (or at least try to deliver). To say something like, “Well they never work out so why keep them?” is hilarious. You gave yourself a goal and missed that goal, so having goals are now stupid.

Trust me, I’ve failed at resolutions all the time. I’ve told myself that I was going to “lose weight” for almost a decade before hitting the gym. The result? I ended up actually gaining more weight than losing it, but that didn’t stop me. The problem I (and others) had was that my resolutions were too “big” or “vague.”

Lose weight? Well, how much? Over how much time? Are you going to give it up if you “slip” and eat a whole pizza?

Stop smoking? That implies doing so cold turkey. It can be done, but has a high failure rate.

Be financially stable? That goal is nearly impossible to achieve in a single year.

On December 31st, 2010 I tore off a sheet of a legal pad and got to writing. I started the concept of the “Yearly Bucket List,” or things I wanted to do before the next year kicked the bucket. Though they weren’t written as resolutions, the effect was the same: I was holding myself accountable. I’ve done Yearly Bucket Lists ever year since. I think I cleared a list only once, but the set up allows me to take action. Or at least, take more action than I would have otherwise.

In fact, the idea is so effective I tell everyone about the method. This usually leads to blank stares and those ironic thumbs up that says “Good for you, dude,” but I’m fine with it. Those lists have led to my taking up comedy, releasing books, writing screenplays, and finally visiting those cities I promised myself I would check out.

So make those resolutions. There’s still time.

-F

Are You In Love With Comedy, Or Are You Just Dating?

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Hey y’all, Flobo here!

Courtesy, Levi's Production House

Courtesy, Levi’s Production House

For those of you in the know, I’ve been trying my hand with comedy of the stand up variety (imagine me saying that sentence with a pithy British accent while wearing a top hat)

You see, comedy is hard! I’m not the first to say it and I’m sure I won’t be the last. Last summer, I was bouncing from day gig to day gig trying to make ends meet. In a way to keep morale high, I took an introductory comedy class for the life experience. It was a life-changer and before long I was doing my first couple of shows.

Things were going well. Even the shows where I “bombed”, I had so much fun. The reason being, comedy is really the last pure symbols of free speech. It’s just you, a microphone and your outlook on life. It’s the biggest rush and I understood when professional wrestlers and theater actors (lo mismo?) would say that it’s addicting. The good nights were great, the great nights were legendary, and the bad nights were still a learning experience.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have done that environmental joke at that comedy show in the park.”

But as the summer rolled into the fall, things began to pick up on the “real side” of my life. I worked hard to make my latest novel available for the holiday season, I landed a new full time position that makes considerable use of the analytical side of my brain, and some of my writings have appeared in other corners of the web.

Needless to say, comedy (while still in the forefront of my mind) has been seeing less of an investment of my time. It was a lot easier to go to two open mics and three shows a week when I didn’t have a job.  When I started doing stand up, I would come across dozens who would say, “Yeah, I did this for a while. Then I stopped. Now I’m trying to get back.” Well, I knew nothing about this craft, but I knew the key to excelling at anything is momentum.

Four months after crossing the stage for the first time, I was at a crossroads. Was  I “in love” with comedy? That is, was I willing to commit to something in good times or bad. Or was I “dating” comedy? You know, just leading her on before I go back to my 9-5 job.

Come on babe, don't look at me like that.

Come on babe, don’t look at me like that.

There really is no “right” answer. I think I’m in love with comedy and so I’ll stick with it, but it’s not an easy decision. No matter what your creative endeavor is, I feel that we all hit that same crossroads. Authors, artists, heck even schoolteachers could relate. The only advice I can offer is this:

Besides your specific job (and its location) could you live without your craft?

For example: Imagine  you’re a welder and that you can’t stand welding because of a tough or arduous project. If you decide to never weld again, would that make you happy? If the answer is “no”, then congrats!

I think you’re in love.

-F

Holiday Short Story 2014

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It’s that time of year! Where I give a story in time for the holiday season. Check out past editions:

2011

2012

2013

This year, I’d like to try poetry. It’s still be a yuletide tale, matey… #ChristmasPirate

A Special Gift

Through the canyon

The canyon of people

Clusters of families

All around the promenade

Sits the jolly man himself

King of the North pole

He’s the one

The one that rules with a candied fist

Red and green lives with

Blue and White

Black and Green

Black and Green can come too

For the man with the beard

He sits between

Flanked by menorah and kinara

Alone on the throne.

For the masses believe

Believe in something else

Their eyes are locked

Locked into rectangle screens

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