When I first dreamed up the idea behind GeekingOutAbout.com, I was determined that one of the key things we would always do is to not only highlight what’s neat and geeky out there in the world but also to highlight those other creative people who are choosing to get up off of their butts and make their dreams a reality. That’s why I was extremely excited when a fanfic author named Jennifer Matarese whose work I’ve followed for years finally self-published her first original fiction novel to the Kindle, with other eBook formats to come.
Even though I’m not specifically a Star Wars fan, I do know what it’s like to be bullied or teased for looking and sounding or just being different from the other kids I grew up with. When I was younger, I lived in a pretty suburban area in Orange County, California. From when I was in kindergarten to when I was in the sixth grade, I had quite a few strikes against me: a) I’m Asian, b) I was smart, and c) I had (and still do have) a bit of a speech impediment.
Even now, as a grown woman working in a somewhat posh office in downtown Manhattan, I often feel awkward because I don’t dress like the other women who work in the office, and almost all of my geeky pop culture references go completely over the heads of the other people I work with. To throw in some more pop culture references, in an office full of Joan Holloways, I am a Peggy Olsen.
As a liberal-minded geek, I try and donate to charity whenever I can because I believe that helping other people and being altruistic is a pretty cool thing. Also as a kid, I spent almost an entire week strapped to a bed at the Childrens Hospital of Orange County in California after a kidney surgery.
As a result, every year since Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik from Penny Arcade started their annual toy drive called Child’s Play, I’ve tried to buy a toy from the list that I know will be used to help a kid just like the one I was. Whole groups of people have created satellite organizations to help raise more money for the charity, and my favorite out of all of them is Desert Bus.
No matter what kind of geek you are, there’s something that all of us share in common which makes us different from aficionados, hobbyists, and dabblers.
When we were younger, we got teased and bullied. A lot.
In his book The Happiest Days of Our Lives, writer/actor Wil Wheaton wrote extensively of how being a little smarter and a little more shy than other kids in his elementary school classes lead to his taking one in the face during an “innocent” game of dodgeball. The fact that Wheaton went on to star as an actor in such geek-centric TV series like “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Eureka” doesn’t completely obscure the fact that he still feels and remembers that pain from over 25 years ago.
When it comes to being a writer or actor, we currently live in interesting times—and by “interesting” I’m using the “Chinese curse” definition of the word.
Computers and the Internet have not only opened up a new distribution method for people to see their work and give them money for it, but also a way for people to view their work and keep from giving them money for it. The main point of contention during the Writers Guild Strike of 2007-2008 and the threatened Screen Actors Guild Strike of 2008 was over residuals from “new media,” and how much a production studio would pay them for re-broadcasts of the material over time beyond its initial broadcast.
To briefly summarize, rather than use the old mathematical formula created in the 1980s when home video became a concern or wait a few years to see exactly how profitable distribution on “new media” is and create a new formula, the WGA wanted the producers’ guild (the AMPTP) to create a new formula right now which would potentially address any and all concerns about how writers would get paid for work that has the potential to be seen and consumed in innumerable ways that aren’t easily tabulated thanks to things like click rates and online piracy.
Because that formula hasn’t been perfected yet and online piracy is still a problem, anyone who wants to start releasing their content on the ‘net is trying to figure out who their loyal paying audience (aka their True Fans) is and how to best get a hold of that person’s entertainment dollar.
About a month ago, Indie Wire.com blogger Cameron Carlson went to the “Producing Web Entertainment” seminar at the American Cinematheque in California, and came away with eight things he learned about how to best reach an Internet-based audience. However, the people on that panel and the series they were talking about were people I’d never heard of personally, which made me wonder: Exactly who are these guys and why would I want to believe their words on this topic?
Once again, Google informed me that the latest and final part of the Black Star Warrior documentary is online, and this one has an appeal for help at the end:
As the YouTube comments have so far stated, this is really tripping my “This is fake” buttons, but I also agree that it’s so well-done that I don’t care. The glimpses at the end of the documentary of what looks like “actual” footage is pretty interesting, and if indeed they will be releasing a trailer to go along with this, you know I’ll be all over it. Also, isn’t Comic Con coming up soon?