Switchin’ It Up

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Hey everyone, Flobo here!

If you’ve been following my blog (almost three years here at WordPress, 12 years if you count my now defunct LiveJournal) you’d know that I’m a writer. Am I famous? No. Do I have legions of fans? I’m not sure, but if I do I haven’t been made aware of them. Although, that would be a cool conceit to a short story: Writer thinking no one is reading his stuff but has a massive fan club unbeknownst to him.

Anyway, today I want to talk about Switchin’ It Up (aka the title of today’s blog)

When I was an avid fan of the competition show “American Idol,” I would watch week to week as singing hopefuls would try their chance at stardom. Randy Jackson, one of the judges at the time, said something that really sticks with me: “If you’re a great singer, you can sing (dramatic pause) anything.” It was so simple, but it’s a phrase I took to heart.

Being able to write anything is a something that I strive to do. Now obviously, there is going to be varying degrees of success. Me writing a romance novel would seem as out of place as Garth Brooks covering N.W.A., but the idea of doing something so far out of your comfort zone shouldn’t be automatically intimidating.

Sure my ever-gestating novel is still in the works, but on the side I’m realizing my dream of writing a comic book (an adaptation of the short story, “The Indelible Silverstreek“). I say it’s a dream because I realized I wrote it on not one, but two of my “Bucket Lists.” Comics are a different medium altogether from prose (obviously) and it brings some quirks that I’m tackling head on. In fact, it has a lot more in common with screenwriting. There is an emphasis on “showing” rather than “telling” and there’s even less room for dialog to be stilted. Why do you ask? Well my theory is, seeing a real person on the page (or screen) automatically puts our brain on high alert for dialog that doesn’t “ring true.” For example, I’ve read lines of dialog in novels that explicitly says how a character is feeling:

“Johnny, I’m scared. Don’t go.”

But if a line like that is uttered on screen or seen on a visual page, I find myself going:

“Who the hell talks like that?”

It’s a quirk. Also, as our former disparate forms of entertainment begin to converge, it’s a quirk I see less and less often these days. When I was a kid, they called it being a part of the “MTV Generation.” Now, I guess Google is to blame.

In any event, I urge all of you who create to try something else. Tackle another genre if you tend to only write in a few. If you only write radio plays, take a stab a poetry. If you’re a poet, why not try your hand at non-fiction? Learning about the mechanics of each genre or medium can only strengthen your skills and sharpen your instincts. Give it a whirl.

As for me, I’m so excited that I’m potentially able to cross something off of my list!

 

–F

Halloween Short Story 2014! #amwriting

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Hey everyone!

It’s that time of the year! Halloween! You know, the best candy…the best costumes…the best sales the day after! I mean, how could you NOT like it? Of course, if trick or treats aren’t your thing, you can have pumpkin everything. But what’s All Hallow’s Eve without a little bit of fun? Check out a little flash fiction/short story bit I did to celebrate the holiday for 2014.

Hate Potion Number Nine

 

“I don’t think you heard me,” Marci said as she slammed her fist on the oak counter. “Do what you can to make it happen.”

Marci had taken her lunch break to head downtown on a mission. Entering a small, hole-in-the-wall watch repair shop, she sprinted towards the main counter. On the other side stood a graying, spry man in his fifties wearing a blue baseball cap with yellow stars on it. On the counter between them sat a wooden nameplate that read “Hon. Harvey Tratch, Wizard.”

“I don’t think you understand the kind of establishment I run,” Harvey said, fiddling with his cap. “I specialize in home remedies. Everything else you’ve heard is just that. Hearsay.”

“Don’t waste my time,” Marci said. “I know what goes on in here and before you ask, no I am not a cop. I need one of your potions to get me out of a jam. Am I understanding what you do, now?”

Harvey sighed. There was no used to fighting the bespectacled woman in front of him. He surmised by her dress that she worked in a conservative business field. He determined her forward nature was a product of her personality, mixed with a foolhardy adherence to regimented daily schedule. In short, time was money and he was wasting hers.

“Okay,” Harvey relented. “What do you want?”

“My assistant and I had a…well, you know,” she said. “I need to break it off with him, but he’s completely attached. If I break his heart, he’s one water-cooler conversation away from ousting me at my job. If I play along, someone will find out and I’ll still be in trouble. I need something to erase his memory.”

Harvey shook his head. “Oh, I’m sorry I can’t do that. Memories are something you just cannot alter. Anyone who says that is absolutely lying to you.”

“Well,” Marci said, tapping her heels impatiently. “What can you do for me?”

Harvey stepped away from the counter and opened a cabinet that was on the far side of the shop. The walls were littered with antiques, and he used this to pass off his business as a watch repair shop, but today he once again was dealing in the dark arts. He knew better than to still toil about in his side job, but passion always finds a way of pulling you back in to what you love. He took out a small jar about the size of a saltshaker filled with a blue liquid and returned to the counter.

“This is the best I can do,” he said. “It’s a split up spell. For it to work you have to splash it on both you and your target. I got you the blue one because the split will be amicable. The red one makes the other person hate you.”

“Great,” Marci said. “How much?”

“I’ll give it to you for free if you forget where you got it from,” Harvey said. “I’m not in that business anymore.”

 

Marci drove as fast as she could back to her office. She had about ten minutes to spare until her lunch break was over. She had to act fast. Looking out into the area populated by cubicles, she waved her assistant over. Soon her forbidden lover, tall, lanky, and sporting a gap tooth smile walked through the door.

“I need help with something,” Marci said. “Can you come over here?”

He obliged. When he got close, Marci sprinkled half of the blue potion on his shirt. She then just as quickly doused herself with the rest of the bottle. Marci instantly felt warm, as both she and he fell to their knees, quivering.

Pools of blood instantly formed around them, as patches of their skin, burst open. Their clothes were instantly soaked through, unable to dam the constant blood flow. Marci eyed the dozens of gashes all over her body, each of them getting larger by the second. As her assistant yelled for help, she tried dialing the police from the smart phone that was in her pocket. The screen, now drenched with the deep vermillion of her essence, did not recognize her touch.

“Split up spell,” Marci said, before blacking out.

 

Boooooooooooo! *takes off bed sheet* Happy Halloween everyone!

#Book5 Draft 3 Complete

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of finishing the second draft of my book. Why was it a pleasure? Because I realized that I have been toiling away at this volume for about a year. Wow, I’m not sure if I’m a major procrastinator or time really does travel that fast.

It’s funny, because I know that I’m close to making #Book5 available for purchase, but I do know there is a huge mountain ahead of me. Proofreading and rewriting (the mountains in question) are all part of the process sure, but it is stillsomething that I dread. Not because I feel as if my work is perfect, but rather you have to battle both being proud of your work and ashamed of it. Somebody out there please tell me that I’m not alone on this.

Courtesy Aces Weekly on Facebook

Courtesy Aces Weekly on Facebook

 

There’s that thing where you hate what you write, then you love what you write. People would ask to read “advance copies” but you’re so cynical you think that they want to read your novel for free. Or that they are so eager to rip your work apart, you don’t want to pass the manuscript over in the first place.

Being a creator is a scary thing. But you have to press on. Or at least, that’s what I keep telling  myself.

 

Either way, it’s back to the lab. I have deadlines to conquer!

Fall Comedy Tour Rolls On

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With a couple of shows under my belt, I’ve been seeing where the microphone takes me.

falltour4

 

I just had a show a couple of days ago in Burbank as part of the Rusty Pitchfork Comedy Jam. It was an experience to say the least. I’m still not sure if I should make comedy a full time pursuit. Not because I don’t felt as if I’m committed, but rather the adrenaline rush in being on stage can be incredibly addictive. Either way, we’ll know soon enough.

 

A Couple Of Shots Off The Top

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Hello everyone! I’ve got some burning questions:

 

When was the last time you tried unplugging from the Internet and technology? Did you last longer than a weekend?

Why is there a Golf Channel but no paint drying network?

Is it just me or does it seem like everyone has a reality show these days? What’s worse, it seems all these shows have rabid followings!

I don’t do role playing games and fantasy football. Aren’t they same thing? Should I turn in my nerd card?

Why is it when somebody sneezes around me, I automatically think they are patient zero for an incurable disease?

I’m so glad that Captain Marvel/Shazam! is finally getting his due. But what about Mr. Terrific, Static Shock, Etrigan, and a John Stewart Green Lantern flick?

I’ve been so afraid of rejection that it hinders my writing. But when I actually get rejected I couldn’t care less. Why is that?

I sold my Xbox the other day and now I have the urge to play it for the first time in months. That’s just my luck.

I hate running. I only do it because I love eating more. Why can’t the human body run on no-cal food indefinitely?

I’m in love with money, but she’s seeing someone else.

 

Until next time

RetroPost: Summer’s Over!

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My my, what a difference five years makes. This post was originally written in September 2009 when I had my blog-corner of the web over at Livejournal. Tried keeping both blogs active for a while before I moved everything over here. Without further ado.

 

Originally posted September 22, 2009

 

Happy Equinox, peoples!

Yes, September 22, 2009 marks the first day of fall, and frankly it’s time to switch gears. That is not to say I didn’t like the summer (actually quite the opposite), but it kind of ran its course. You know what I mean.

This summer was crazy. I got my butt in the director’s chair and made “No Pressure” a film that is frankly a labor of love. I think I caught the directing bug, I’m not so sure I’ll get the chance to do it again. I went home for a couple of weeks, and cared for little rats when my roommate was on his vacation. I got some some vacation time for myself in Las Vegas and I got to writing on my second volume of works.

Productive I guess.

Fall is where we get back to work in the whole film school thing. Which is good, because even though I’m all about lounging about and working on side projects, I was growing a bit of cabin fever with an itch to get back into the game a bit. At least do something for my Youtube page, as its been collecting dust over the past couple of months. Part of the reason is that I sold my camera to finance my short film, but I’ve been also trying to develop new ideas that would blow Flobo Chat out of the water.

Yeah I know, I know. That’s impossible to pull off. I’m sure.

I think I’m recharged and here’s hoping the battery can run all the way to Christmas. If not, I may have to head home to surprise the family for Thanksgiving. I don’t think I’ve ever done that since going abroad to school so it would be cool if I did. Then again, that’s when airline companies jack the rates to take advantage of out innate nature to be with our own.

Side rant over. Once again, Happy Equinox!

–Flobo of Hollywood

I can’t believe I actually called the blog, “Flobo of Hollywood.” What was I thinking?

By the way, this was the final product of No Pressure:

 

 

 

All The World’s A Stage

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What’s going on, everyone!

 

By the time you’re reading this, I would have been about a week removed from my west coast debut stand up comedy appearance at the World Famous Comedy Store! It was a crazy road to get there, that’s for sure.

 

I was part of a showcase called “Whores On Sunday.” That alone would probably get your attention, right? It was the “final” of a comedy course I had been taking over the summer. Though I had microphone experience, I had to relearn not being afraid of it when performing all over again. The six Wednesdays of prep for the show was intense. I tried to bring new material into class every week in order to “feel it out” or to see how I would like sharing it with others. Students in my class was supportive, and I rarely felt “silly” for throwing up a joke that didn’t work.

 

Writing jokes is a lot like writing material for the page. It’s essentially storytelling: There has to be a beginning, middle and end. When you think you have it down pat, one read through makes you realize you were way off. However, if you are firing on all cylinders, you feel it. And feel it I did.

Though the stage area was cool, the holding area for the talent was hovering over 90 degrees. Between being nervous of forgetting my material on stage, the heat, and not wanting to sweat through my dress shirt, I was a bit of a wreck. I paced back and forth, reciting my material. I purposefully had about seven minutes of stuff prepared for my three minute showcase (just in case I forgot something.) There were about sixteen (!) of my friends in the audience, and I didn’t want to disappoint.

I watched some of my classmates from the backstage area. Though I was listening, my mind was still on making sure I didn’t bomb my first time out. But something happened. When they called my name, I shot out of the backstage area like a bullet. My mind thought of that scene in “Man On Fire” when Denzel Washington’s character is training Dakota Fanning’s character how to be a better swimmer.

Set me free! Also loves how Denzel says “Trained or Untrained?” Haha, classic!

So anyway, I powerwalk from the backstage area and through a small aisle of table and chairs, a canyon of comedy. I walked on the stage’s red carpet, shook the hand of my comedy instructor and emcee for the night, and grabbed the mic. The spotlights were on me, which made seeing the audience pretty difficult. So I let it rip into the darkness in front of me.

Man, What. A. Rush.

Courtesy: Michael Hsueh

Courtesy: Michael Hsueh

The response was overwhelmingly positive, and I don’t think it was because so many of my friends were in attendance. Something clicked, and that fantasy of being that legendary comic doing a sold out show in the garden seemed that much closer to grasp. I’m trying to tell myself it was “just one show,” it was “beginner’s luck,” and “everyone eventually bombs” but it’s hard not to be proud of myself.

As a writer, they say the best work is the one that’s performed. Today, I had the chance to do. No editors, no thinking by committee, just little ‘ol me and that’s beautiful…

 

Not sure where I go from here, but I was on a high for days.

 

 

–Flobo

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