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The SFF Film Odyssey (2010) List of Reviews is available here.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

On Self-Publishing and the Hugh Howey / Data Guy January 2015 Report

(Parts of this post originally appeared on my Google+ page and in the comments on Mike Reeves-McMillan's post on the report.)

You may be aware that Author Earnings, a data analysis site run by Hugh Howey and someone called Data Guy, recently released a report on ebook sales and the market share of those sales by the various publishing methods.  There is a lot of interesting information here, so I do recommend checking it out if you have the time.

As you may expect, I have some issues with the report and with responses to the report -- and to my questions regarding the report.  I should start by saying that I haven't bothered with the self-publishing vs. traditional publishing debate in any serious sense for years because I find the entrenched positions on either side to be, in light of the current publishing climate, monstrously stupid.  There are too many pundits out there trying to prescribe the "right" path for publishing while rejecting any alternative as viable; yet, so few of them have much in the way of hard, objective data to back up their arguments.  As it stands, most of the debates about which method is better are based almost entirely on anecdotes or reports like the one I'm going to talk about here.  Unfortunately, that invariably means these arguments are fundamentally faulty.
While I don't doubt that a lot of the data here is accurate (and interesting), there are two immediate problems that come to mind:

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Conversation with Josh Vogt About the Internet and Perverted Things

(Trigger warning for anyone bother STD analogies...)

SCENE:  In the minutes before Shaun's new editing website went live, an unsuspecting Josh Vogt is gifted an exchange of adolescent absurdity on Facebook.

SHAUN:  I want to announce this thing, but I can't do it if the stupid thing doesn't propagate.  Make Internet love and spread already!

JOSH:  You make it sound like an STD.

Movie Review Rant: The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010; dir Jon Turtletaub) -- A SFF Film Odyssey Review

Though not the first live-action remake of a Disney cartoon, 2010's The Sorcerer's Apprentice is part of what might be called Disney's 1st Phase of Live Action Remakes, sitting right between the last of the Pirates of the Caribbean (At World's End; 2007) trilogy films and the much more interesting Maleficent (2014).  If this is a phase of live action remakes, then it is a loose one, with an unclear path -- a test bed, if you will, since the previous remakes have mostly taken the form of almost faithful adaptations of existing stories (101 Dalmations in 1996 and Alice in Wonderland in 2010, for example) or adaptations of existing characters or rides:  The Country Bears (2002), Pirates of the Caribbean (2003, 2006, and 2007), and The Haunted Mansion (2003).  The Sorcerer's Apprentice, along with Alice in Wonderland, appear to be "cusp" films, resting on the precipice of a second phase of live action remakes. Now, Disney has or plans to release a torrent of remakes or adaptations in what seems to be its second phase:  Maleficent (2014), Cinderella (2015), Tomorrowland (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Alice in Wonderland:  Through the Looking Glass (2016; the sequel to Burton's previous adaptation), Pete's Dragon (2016), and Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).

So how does The Sorcerer's Apprentice measure up in this new "renaissance" of live action remakes or adaptations?  Unfortunately, about as well as you'd expect:  on par with The Haunted Mansion, a less-than-stellar film which probably shouldn't have been made in the first place.  Unlike Maleficent, which was flawed but thematically compelling, The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a muddled mess of an adaptation.  Tonally inconsistent and obsessive in its need for grandiosity, this film is the mark of a studio that has yet to develop a clear path, which makes The Sorcerer's Apprentice forgettable and mediocre at best.

Let's begin, shall we?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Announcement: The Duke of Editing is Now Open for Business! Bring Your Grammars!

Some of you already knew this was coming, but you didn't know the name of my new freelance editing business or the full extent of the shenanigans to be had now that I'm trying desperately to behave like a professional.
But it has happened.  As of this moment, The Duke of Editing is open for business.  

Please spread the word!

On a related note:  I would like to say thanks to the following folks, who were kind enough to offer their opinions before the launch:

  • S.L. Huang
  • Cecily Kane
  • Josh Vogt
  • Robert MacAnthony
  • Louise Hughes
  • and Nathan from Review Barn
OK.  Time to get back to work...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

On the Hugo Awards "Best Fancast" Category: Eligibility, Vote Value, and the Unlikelihood of Change

Recently, I had a Twitter discussion* with Nerds of a Feather about the "Best Fancast" category for the Hugos.**  Briefly, Nerds' Hugo Nominations Draft Ballot contained several podcasts which I had thought weren't eligible because of their association with a pro site (Tor.com).  This discussion continued today with Justin Landon's comments about nominations, which I'll discuss farther down on the page.  First, some factual bits and pieces:

The Hugo Award categories page lists the following definition for Fancast:  "Awarded for any non-professional audio- or video-casting with at least four (4) episodes that had at least one (1) episode released in the previous calendar year."  Most podcasts would be eligible for this category if not for the word "non-professional."  According to the Hugo rules,

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Have a Patreon Page: Show Me Your Love (Or Something Less Creepy)

It happened.  I said I would do it, and so I have.

I've created a Patreon page so you'll all show me how much you really love me, but on a slightly more regular basis.

There are "goals" I'd like to achieve -- namely, being able to focus more on blogging about the things I love than spending time on things that stress me out.  Ultimately, this is about being able to do more of the things I like doing and less of the things I don't like doing, which comes down to what the folks who read this blog think about everything.

In any case, this is just part one of a two-part journey to secretly switch careers while everybody is looking!  If you like what I do on this blog, feel free to support my Patreon page.  We'll see how the year progresses :)

Blogging, Patreon, Life: Thinking About Things...Publicly!

I originally posted the following on Google+, but I decided to crosspost it here to get input from folks who are subscribed to this blog.  Anywhoodles:

So, Patreon.  In the last week or so, I've been giving serious thought to using it, partly because my look back at my blogging work in 2014 made me realize how much attention has been diverted from it and partly because I know why so much of my attention has been diverted away from it:  financially, I have to work more just to meet basic needs (which aren't looking good this year, by the way -- thanks to having a job which doesn't provide dental!).  So, last year, I taught more classes to cover expenses (and to make it so I could travel a little bit) and to get some things I really need (honestly, having a car has made a lot of things in my life a lot easier).  So the blog got shoved back a bit.  I had the podcasting thing.  The blog could hold off.  The closest thing I had to "funding" this kind of thing was my trip to London for Worldcon. 
But I actually like blogging.  I like talking about sf/f movies and books.  When I'm not worried about work or unexpected medical bills, I'm excited to talk about the things that I love.  I just wish I could do more of that and less of the stuff that stresses me out. 
As such, I've been trying to figure out how I can correct this.  To reduce my teaching load so I can spend more time doing what I find produces less stress.  And right now, I'm seriously considering Patreon.  Not just for blogging, but for podcasting, too (not The Skiffy and Fanty Show, though; different stuff).  Creating content = yes, please. 
I suppose this is a kind of weird way to probe the folks who follow me on G+ on what they think of the idea.  If using that could mean producing more content (on my blog, on my G+ -- in blog or podcast form (or both)), would you consider supporting it?  Or is this just a really bad idea?