More FREE ebooks! Digital Book Day has been EXTENDED for another 24 hours!

DIGITAL BOOK DAY has been EXTENDED for another 24 hours!!

DBDFB

 

Apparently, this promotion is so hott and so internet-destroying that we had to extend it just so that you all had more time to get all the books you wanted!

So yeah, again, we 407 bestselling indie authors in the genres of Sci-fi & Fantasy, Thriller, Mystery, Romance, YA, General / Historical Fiction, and Non-Fiction all got together and asked:

“HM! How do we make our readers even MORE mega happy?”.

And we answered, “FREE STUFF for yet ANOTHER DAY!”

So, yes. 407 FREE books all for your summer reading pleasure, my friends. Check us out by clicking the banner above or clicking HERE, and enjoy!

Time’s limited, though, so get your free ebooks before midnight tonight (07/15)!

P.S. This promotion is so hott and getting so popular that the Digital Book Day website occasionally conks out. Please be patient and keep visiting for your free books!

Happy reading, and of course, keep it indie!
<3 Colby

Free Ebooks for TODAY ONLY!

If you missed the announcement in the side bar…

TODAY is DIGITAL BOOK DAY! CHYEAH!!

DBDFB

 

For the next 24 hours ONLY!

Basically, 407 bestselling indie authors in the genres of Sci-fi & Fantasy, Thriller, Mystery, Romance, YA, General / Historical Fiction, and Non-Fiction all got together and asked:

“HM! How do we make our readers mega happy?”.

And we answered, “FREE STUFF!”

So, yes. 407 FREE books all for your summer reading pleasure, my friends. Check us out by clicking the banner above or clicking HERE, and enjoy!

P.S. This promotion is so hott and getting so popular that the Digital Book Day website occasionally conks out. Please be patient and keep visiting for your free books!

Happy reading, and of course, keep it indie!
<3 Colby

Colby’s Creative Achievements in January 2014!

smart goal setting conceptSo, usually, I save my self-assessment for the end of the year. But this time, I decided to take a monthly inventory, not only because it makes the end of the year assessment easier to write (copy and paste, anyone?), but also because taking inventory on a short-term basis keeps me accountable. In public!

I can also check these updates against my 2014 goal list and start in on those goals I haven’t quite picked up on yet! So check out my creative achievements and steps forward I made for January and share yours too!

January 2014

january

Theme of the Month: Massive Change, Massive Launches, MASSIVE Endurance (in the face of uncertainty and chaos)

1. Moved to California! It was a really exciting, treacherous, challenging, and exhilarating two weeks, but my boyfriend and I finally made it. Originally, we planned to move to Los Angeles, but we adored Long Beach and decided on that instead! No worries, though, it’s still only 30 minutes from L.A., there’s a train that goes from Long Beach right INTO L.A., and we’re still living in L.A. County. Plus, we’re three blocks from the beach and oceanfront, so no complaints from me!

2. Released the PRINT version of Ghosts of Koa! Which was a huge challenge due to spotty internet access, being Ghosts of Koa Cover WEB-MEDIUMon a super tight budget, and being technically homeless for two weeks (was totally living at a campsite ::CRICKET::). Feel free to pick up your copy today though at Amazon! Also, it’s “matched” with the Kindle version, and you’ll get the Kindle version for FREE if you pick up the paperback!

3. Officially launched the production of the Ghosts of Koa AUDIOBOOK! With the amazing talents of Michael T Bradley on my side, we have entered into a Royalty Share agreement for this version of my novel, and he’s also looking forward to narrating the other novels as well! I sent him the manuscript at the end of January and am super excited about the forthcoming product!

4. Began to explore Los Angeles and Long Beach. There are so many resources for writers and creators here, and I unearthed quite a few! Check out my comprehensive, ever-growing list of writer and creator resources in Cali!

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KX Cotch, resident sociopath and assassin for the Alchemic Order… and he’s getting his own novella series!

5. Began working on the novella spin-off series to The Books of Ezekiel saga! So clearly, while there are many main characters in The Books of Ezekiel saga, Ezekiel is the star (hence the title). I wanted readers to spend more time with the other main characters, time that was unrelated to Zeika and her journey. And so, here it is! All of the main characters that I LOVE– Caleb, Cotch, Manja, and many others– will have their own novella series that chronicle their paths through the world of alchemy. Caleb’s and Cotch’s full seasons will be released in early 2015. Stay tuned for the others, which will be released as the main Books of Ezekiel saga progresses!

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Rebel Ragdoll’s growing one step at a time!

6. Relaunched my work on my tv and feature script portfolio and… I GOT A WRITING PARTNER! Once again, the lovely Claire Zhuang and I thought it best to combine our talents and come up with some script hotness. We’re pretty excited about what we’ve got going on, too! It’s nice to have a partner to keep you in check!

7. Started penning many other creative projects, including, 1. the next installation of The Books of Ezekiel Saga, “The Final Page: The Second Book of Ezekiel”, 2. the inaugural novel in my sci-fi thriller series “Ryden’s Lot”, 3. and SIX other seasonal installment novella series! All of these novellas will be turned into pilot scripts as well, so writing these series does double work for my novel-novella backlist and for my tv script portfolio. 😉

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I’d love to not only write a character like Aveline, pen an awesome story like Assassin’s Creed, but also DESIGN a game for both! Making this dream come true one step at a time!

8. Re-launched my work as a Freelance Writer and Casting Producer with Demand Media Studios. Being new to L.A., I needed a job, and then I remembered that I actually still have one, lol! Since taking up the part-time job at the Westchester wine shop, I had let the Casting Producer gig fall to the wayside, but now it’s time to write and produce full-time!

9. Began studying video game design and SFX for films and video games. Super excited. 😉 Hopefully by the end of 2014, I’ll be pretty well-versed in lots of aspects of video game design, SFX, and film post-production… we’ll see! Excited, nonetheless!

10. Stepped more firmly into my career as a creative entrepreneur! In addition to starting a ton of projects, I kept up with my blogging (as promised), am catching up with my vlog tv/movie review series again, got more involved with writing book reviews (terribly overdue, and I apologize to my reviewees!), and I actually started a monthly newsletter!

wgf11. Started volunteering for the Scriptwriter’s Network and the Writer’s Guild Foundation! Also trying to wedge my way into the Writer’s Guild of America! You gotta start somewhere, and the best way to start is by giving back. I’m really excited to get to know people at the events I’ll be volunteering at and to finally start getting to know my industry.

12. Joined some screenwriting meet-ups, and I’m intimidated as hell, lol. Community is important. Especially one that will hold your ass accountable for the pages you were supposed to turn in a week ago, lol. It’s also a little nerve-wracking meeting new folks for the first time, but I also really look forward to it. Can’t wait to join the community of folks who are trying to go the same direction I am! 🙂

baby!13. And last, but certainly not least… I found out I was PREGNANT! Holy. Cow. Five weeks and I didn’t have a clue. Talk about a creative achievement, lol! There really is nothing like *literally* CREATING a life inside of you, and I’m thrilled to be having a babe on the way!

And for those of you who are wondering, YES, you CAN have a career in Hollywood as both a mother and a writer-screenwriter-producer or what have you, and I mean to show you how. Men do it all the time, so why can’t we? 😉 So please stay tuned for another month of moving forward, life lessons, and creative ass-kicking, and I hope to hear some of your stories too!

So what are your personal and/or creative accomplishments for January? Are you making progress towards your ultimate goals? Share them below! 

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

Achieve Your 2014 Goals! Action Plans and Systems for Type-A Creatives

action planI hope you’ve partied it up for the New Year and have ended your glorious celebrations with a laundry list of things you want to do for 2014! Goal lists?! Bring them on! And yet for us Type-A folks, having a goal list is exciting but isn’t quite enough to keep us motivated. We need a way to achieve our goals as well, or as James Clear says, we need a system, a step-by-step daily habit that will allow us to look up in the end and say, “Oh snap! Guess what? I actually achieved my goal!”

In addition to daily regimens and systems, however, we also need action plans. How will we achieve our massive goals, exactly? What are the smaller steps to doing so? For example, writing and publishing a novel isn’t just about developing a daily writing habit and system. There are different stages: writing, editing, finding reviewers, product positioning, distribution, marketing, and more! For me, I need an action plan to get all of this done, and you may want one too! I have a couple of ideas that I list out below, and I’d love to hear your thoughts!

How to Create an Action Plan to Achieve Your Goals

1. Create your goal list

goal3We need to know what we’re aiming for first and foremost, so get your goal list ready! Here’s a sample list of my goals, with a full list here:

  • Write, polish, and publish the 160,000-word second book of my dystopian-urban fantasy series, “The Books of Ezekiel”
  • Write two feature film screenplays (110 pages each)
  • Write four teleplays (tv scripts) (65 pages each)
  • Write, polish, and publish the first book of my sci-fi / fantasy middle grade detective series, “P.I. Sleuths”
  • Get more experience as a Line Producer, Unit Production Manager, or Assistant Director

2. Rank-order your goals and then set deadlines for each one

prioritizeOkay, based on the goals you just listed, we need to define some sort of order of priority! The three main questions you should ask yourself are: 1. Which goal is the most important to me vs the least, 2. Which goal is the most time consuming, and 3. Which goals have enforced deadlines attached to them?

For example, if you want to write a screenplay and also enter it into a contest this April, the contest deadline will influence you immensely in how you rank the screenplay on your priority list. The contest would rank pretty high, as an April deadline is early in the year, quickly approaching, and you must get out a polished screenplay before then (which is a challenge in itself).

On the other hand, your list might be rank-ordered with regard to how important or time consuming your goal is. For me, deadlinegetting the second novel in the Books of Ezekiel series is THE number one priority, one because it’s super important to me and my career and secondly, because it takes the most time. The novel is followed by the teleplays because they have March, April, and May deadlines attached to them. So this is what my task list now looks like, WITH deadlines attached:

  • Write, polish, and publish the 160,000 word second book of my dystopian-urban fantasy series, “The Books of Ezekiel” (December 15th, 2014)
  • Write four teleplays (tv scripts), 65 pages each (Rough drafts deadline: March 15th; Final version: April 15th)
  • Write, polish, and publish the first book of my sci-fi / fantasy middle grade detective series, “P.I. Sleuths” (December 1st, 2014)
  • Get more experience as a Producer, Line Producer, Unit Production Manager, or Assistant Director (Flexible, work on at least three projects this year)
  • Write two rough draft feature film screenplays, 110 pages each (December 31st, 2014)

3. For each goal, create a sub-task list with sub-deadlines!

tasklistFor some of us, it’s not enough to have a prioritized list with deadlines. For some of us, it’s helpful to have a sub-list of things we need to do for each goal, supplies we need to have, or a schedule we need to keep.

These mini-milestones help us to gauge where we are in achieving our ultimate goals, and help to keep us on schedule. Take my first priority, for example, “writing the next book in the Books of Ezekiel series”, and check out how I’ve created a task list for it.

GOAL #1: Write, polish, and publish The Final Page, The Second Book of Ezekiel. 160,000 words, four volumes. DEADLINE: December 15th, 2013

  • Research, worldbuild, plot story, and develop character arc and POV. DUE: February 15th, 2014 

    tasklist2

    task list… in FRENCH!

  • Finish plot beat sheets for each volume, and character beat sheets for each volume. DUE: March 15th, 2014
  • Finish first draft of volume I. DUE: March 31st, 2014, 40,000 words (2,500 words per day)
  • Finish first draft of volume II. DUE: April 15th, 2014, 40,000 words (2,500 words per day)
  • Finish first draft of volume III. DUE: April 30th, 2014, 40,000 words (2,500 words per day)
  • Finish first draft of volume IV. DUE: May 15th, 2014, 40,000 words (2,500 words per day)
  • Let draft sit on shelf for two months. DUE: July 15th, 2014
  • Re-work into a second draft, getting it to the best place possible. DUE: August 15th, 2014
  • Send to my developmental editor. DUE: September 15, 2014
  • Get it back from my editor. DUE: October 15, 2014
  • Make significant changes according to his feedback. DUE: November 15, 2014
  • tasklist3Do a final line edit of the novel, two chapters a day. DUE: November 30th, 2014
  • RELEASE NOVEL, DO PRE-SALES, and BREATHE, lol! DUE: December 15th, 2014

So yeah, it’s a lot. I made this plan with the hope that my two months of beat sheet making and plot work will make my writing go a LOT faster than before. I know myself and my process now, so I need to repeat it with greater efficiency. Who knows if I’ll be able to bang out my deadlines, but I have a plan that I’m willing to follow and execute!

If you choose, you can do this for each of your major goals and break your task list down as far as you want. Don’t spend too much time on this, though. If you become obsessed with planning what you need to do, you might neglect actually doing what you need to do! This leads me into my next point, which is to…

4. Actually DO what you set out to do.

justdoitIf you’re super type-A like me, you probably love task lists. I practically had to keep myself from making a task list about the task list. But at some point, we need to stop making lists, stop trying to anticipate every minute of every day, stop trying to itemize our task lists to the letter, and actually apply ourselves to our tasks. An action plan isn’t an action plan without actual action! So take action today!

You’ll never finish that novel or script by making endless lists about what you have to do to finish it. (That’s called procrastination, by the way.) You’ve gotta dive in and actually write the darn thing, tackle that creative task, make mistakes, re-prioritize, meet blockades, and strategize around them, which leads me to my last step in creating a system…

5. Be flexible and relax!

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reward your hard work!

Life happens. As much as we as creatives and artists sometimes love to shut out the larger world for the sake of finishing or perfecting our art, if you are anything other than a zombie, you have a larger world to contend with. You’ve got family, or a lover, or a wedding, or networking events, or a job, or bills, or all of the above and more.

Working out the details of these tasks and “life stuff” can be time-consuming, but necessary, and you can’t be continually frustrated that your perfect bubble of quiet time has been disrupted for the umpteenth time. Be flexible. Realize that there are goals you may have to change, delay, or expand. Understand that there may be unforeseen obstacles, tragedies, changes, or successes that might lead you in other directions.

Stop and smell your success!

Stop and smell your success!

Don’t fight it, flow it.

Embrace life, and most importantly, stop to smell the roses occasionally. We Type-As constantly sow the seeds and toil the land, but rarely stop to see our work blossom. Breathe. Love. Create. Be. And at the end of 2014, not only will you have achieved wondrous things, but you would have made the time to enjoy those wonders as well!

That’s all I got for you, but I hope you find the talk of systems and action plans helpful! I’d love to hear the systems you plan to use to achieve your goals for 2014! Godspeed, and in the meantime…

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

Colby’s Creative Achievements of 2013!

2013WOW. So it’s been such an eventful year, and I’m actually pretty surprised that it went so quickly! I’m about to celebrate the 3-year anniversary of Rebel Ragdoll (omg!), have just released my first novel, “Ghosts of Koa”, banged out some horrible rough drafts of scripts (lol), am about to move to Los Angeles, and I’ve even started a Rebel Ragdoll fashion line! CRAZY, right?

As usual, though, it’s time to take stock of what I accomplished and what I missed the mark on in 2013. I look back and can barely believe all the wonderful experiences and blessings that have come my way! Feeling extremely grateful. Here’s what went down in 2013:

January 2013

january1. Set a release date for “Ghosts of Koa”. May 2013! (Which I missed by a long-shot by the way!)
2. Started the final round of editing for Ghosts of Koa.
3. Started learning French again, and it’s a challenge!
4. Joined the TV Writer Pilot Writing Program at TV Writer Chat!
5. Celebrated the TWO-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of Rebel Ragdoll!
6. Tried out S-Factor pole fitness and self-love and got addicted! Can’t afford a full-time class, but I’m working on it!
7. Took an AWESOME trip to L.A. where I was able to meet over 15 different executives who gave some fantastic perspective on the entertainment industry and what they do.
8. Submitted to a few bunch of contests and fellowships… and later got rejected by all of them, lol! You live and you learn!

February 2013

february1. Trained with another creative writing mentor. Learned how to use the indirect third person and emotion more impactfully in my fiction!
2. Launched the TV Writer’s Workshop, a 14-week t.v. writing and professionalization seminar for aspiring television writers
3. Launched the Executive Producers’ Series, a 12-week seminar designed to teach aspiring producers how to produce cinema from script to finished film

March 2013

march1. Booked my trip to Eastern Europe! First stop, Lisbon Portugal!
2. Finished the beat sheet for my pilot script, “Ezekiel” and am ready to write it out!
3. Finished the beat sheet for my Scandal spec script, “Prometheus”, and am ready to write it out!
4. Produced and opened the Marcia Légère Play Festival! And it was a smash success! 😉
5. Lightning Source approved Ghosts of Koa for hardcover production and distribution!

April 2013

1. OFFICIALLY DEFENDED for my Masters of Science in Sociology and PASSED! Go M.S., go M.S.!
april2. Received a PHENOMENAL cover design from JD Smith at JD Smith Design for Ghosts of Koa and The Final Page, the first two books in my novel series
3. Went into a writer and rester’s coma… listen, I needed a rest, lol! Ok, sike. I went into a coma, but also…
4. I actually took Stephanie Palmer’s Pitching Essentials Course and was blown away. Highly recommended!

May 2013

may1. Finished my last semester as a Lecturer at UW Madison, which was sad and yet freeing and thrilling all at the same time!
2. Started as a PA at Owen Road Productions on this cool web series “The Ethical Slut”. (Teehee!)
3. Left for my backpacking trip to Eastern and Western Europe! (Which rocked, by the by.)

June 2013

june1. Traveled the world this month and wrote, wrote, wrote!! I hit Portugal, Southern Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, and Rome. Saw some alchemical labs, and it was great!
2. Laid the outline down for the remainder of Ghosts of Koa and a few scripts I’ve been working on.
3. Realized that traveling is a writer’s VERY BEST FRIEND, as it truly disconnects you from your circle and allows you to write, lol.
4. Became a script analyst for Eclectic Pictures. Read a crap load of scripts… a CRAP LOAD. And learned a ton!
5. Took my first trip to a gun range (in Budapest) and shot over 22 guns, including a Dragunov SVD, the James Bond gun, and a .44 Magnum. Talk about a research expedition! Now I feel as though I can definitely write on gun use and anatomy way more intelligently. For those of you wanting a real fantastic excursion in Budapest, Hungary, check out Celeritas Shooting Club!

July 2013

july1. Expanded Rebel Ragdoll Press’ name to “Rebel Ragdoll”, to include the multitude of intellectual properties and merchandise that will be sold under the company label.
2. GOT PROMOTED TO LINE PRODUCER at Owen Roads Productions. Took on the identity of the Line Producer / UPM more fully.

August 2013

1. Moved back to New York on $300, which was hell in a cradle. Not. Fun. At. All. But I made it! 😉
2. Went on the most intense of job hunts, applying to over 100 jobs and opportunities.
3. Started attending some great networking events, which taught me tons about the entertainment industry and augustallowed me to create this podcast series. I also made a contact here which helped to launch the project I’m producing called “The Life, The Grind, and The Music”.
4. Moved more firmly into the idea of producing films and tv as well as writing them. So I decided to evolve into a writer-producer!
5. Started querying literary agents (for books). Got many rejections, some no responses, and some still pending. BUT on the bright side, I actually GOT an agent at a TOP AGENCY to read my manuscript! Now comes the wait, and I should be getting some response back as of January 2014. Wish me luck!

September 2013

september1. Held six entertainment freelance jobs and internships simultaneously… LOL. Yeesh! My jobs: Casting Producer at Demand Media Studios, Freelance Writer & Contributor to eHow.com, Script Analyst at Eclectic Pictures, Temp at Supporting Cast, Line Producer at Owen Road Productions, and Co-Executive Producer and Line Producer at Living MuZic.
2. Started writing two new screenplay concepts in the genres of drama and sci-fi thriller
3. Created the Rebel Ragdoll Development Slate! This has all the creative projects that Rebel Ragdoll is undertaking (and will hold all the future ones as well).
4. Started preparing to produce Rebel Ragdoll’s first film project in 2014. We’ll see how far this goes!
5. Started penning yet another screenplay concept in the survival horror genre

October 2013

1. Recruited the COO for Rebel Ragdoll, Claire Zhuang! Super amped to take Rebel Ragdoll to the next level in 2014!
2. Started planning the Rebel Ragdoll Fashion and Natural Skin Care Line!! (Was NOT expecting that, by the way, lol!) Dolls are setting the trend and looking hot while doing it!! You can check out our progress at the Rebel Ragdoll website when it’s octoberback online.
3. Produced an eHow web series, “Family Travel Tips”, with many more to come!
4. Rebooted Rebel Ragdoll Radio! And it’s hotter than ever!
5. Rebooted Rebel Ragdoll Reel and started vlog video review series on sci-fi, fantasy, and thriller series!
5. Attended New York Comic Con and had a BLAST! Made some great connections as well, and saw some great friends!
6. Got hired part-time at a wine shop to fill in my quickly thinning wallet (yes, this was job seven). Then I decided to wrap some projects up for good. I finished up my time at a couple of creative freelance jobs, freeing up my schedule.

November 2013

november1. Commissioned the paperback version of Ghosts of Koa, The First Book of Ezekiel.
2. Created an official personal and Rebel Ragdoll task list for this year and the next year, which includes financial endeavors and creative endeavors.
3. Began development on “Ground Zero”, a sci-fi horror thriller that will become Rebel Ragdoll’s FIRST film production!
4. Recruited a standing Film Director for Rebel Ragdoll’s “Ground Zero”. Thanks for becoming a part of our brand, Lex Curtis! 😉 Let’s make awesome stuff!
5. Released the eHow series I produced “Travel Gear”, which was formerly titled, “Family Travel Tips”!!
6. GOT MY FIRST IMDB CREDIT for the web comedy I produced! Check it out here: Colby’s IMDB page.
7. Began the production process for the “Gourmet Diva Delights” eHow series, and I also began production on another eHow foodie series!
8. Applied to several producer programs, assistant director programs, and other fellowships (wish me luck!). I should be getting feedback by mid to late spring!
9. Attended the Urban Action Showcase workshops, and they were awesome!

December 2013

1. Released Ghosts of Koa, The First Book of Ezekiel in ebook format!!
2. Began the production of the PAPERBACK version of Ghosts of Koa!! Oooh, It should be out before the end decemberof January 2014!
3. In fact, I decided to re-package my entire novel series in an interesting way. My first novel was a WHOPPING 600 or so pages, so I divided it into two separate volumes: Volume I and Volume II. This turned out to be a grand idea, as it now allows me to create multiple products from one property! I’ll be following this model for the rest of the series too. Exciting!
4. Began some SERIOUS rights exploitation of my intellectual property. For one, I’m getting Ghosts of Koa, The First Book of Ezekiel, transformed into an audiobook!! A few actors have expressed some serious interest in the series, so I hope that I’ll get the project kicked off in January of 2014.
5. Began rebooting The Books of Ezekiel website. I think you all will love the changes!
december2
6. Got three more IMDB credits for my media production work, and I added four more too! Hopefully, all the changes will appear on my IMDB account before the new year rolls in! 😉
7. I began the revamp of the Rebel Ragdoll website, with a planned relaunch in January 2014.
8. Got some amazing feedback from a program that I applied to: I just moved into the SECOND ROUND OF FOUR in the DGA Assistant Director Trainee program!! I’m so surprised and amped and also humbled by the fact that my application even had a snowball’s chance. Next is the testing phase, then the interview with a consulting company. Finally, there is a one-on-one interview with the trustees of the program, and from there, if I’ve made it that far, I’ll be a trainee with the DGA… which is super exciting. Wish me luck!
9. Started planning my move to Los Angeles! New sights, new sounds, new places, new opportunities! It feels good we’ll see what 2014 holds.

So what are your personal and/or creative accomplishments for 2013? Anything cooking for the next year? 😉 Share your thoughts below! And of course, in the meantime…

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

Merging the Writer-Producer (and so it begins!)

merge signSo, we’ve talked about being a writer and being a producer, and yep… now we’re smashing them together like PB & J, yo! No, but seriously, what are the benefits of writing films and producing them? Why not just be one or the other? For me personally, it’s about a few things:

* Expanding, exercising, and honing my skills holistically. I LOVE learning new things, LOVE IT. And from my experience (limited as it is), writing and producing are generally two separate skill sets. For the most part, writing is creative while producing is pretty analytical (and social). Toggling between skill sets keeps me on my toes and keeps me excited about a project. (It can be argued though that using analysis in writing and creativity in producing is often necessary in the most McGuyver of ways!)

* Being a writer-producer (or a writer-anything) just opens more doors. In both the indie and commercial entertainment worlds, having dual skill sets provides opportunities for you in terms of more work, contacts, and experience. You’d not only havedoor the skills to conceptualize an awesome story and write it, but you’d also know how to actually fund, develop, and get that script onto the screen. Or, imagine that you are a writer and also line producer, producer, or even an awesome assistant director. In between tearing your hair out about dialogue or shopping your scripts around town, you have a marketable skill set that will get you on films, paid, and credited. There’s no losing here, in my opinion.

* You have a hand in supply (writing) and demand (producing). Bottom line: writers are the lifeblood of the entertainment industry. They are the dream makers and world builders. They give actors characters to act, carpenters sets to build, and filmmakers stories to produce. Writers fashion the supply for the entertainment market, and fresh writing voices will ALWAYS be in demand. On that note, if writers comprise the lifeblood of Hollywood, then producers are most certainly the hearts that pump it. Films and tv series don’t make themselves, you know. There needs to be a dedicated and passionate producer (or many producers) shepherding a script through the dark labyrinth of supplydemanddevelopment hell so that it makes the journey from the page to the screen. Money needs to be raised, ideas need to be developed and honed, and casts and directors need to be attached. Producers do all of this to get films and tv made. The most successful producers do this over and over with critical acclaim and a loyal audience. They fill the demands of the market. As a writer-producer, you essentially are involved in the film production process literally from the very beginning to the very end.

And finally, what is the BEST benefit of being both a writer and a producer?

* YOU DON’T NEED ANYONE’S PERMISSION TO BE CREATIVE. So you wrote a script or a tv pilot. It kicked ass, and you aren’t the only one who thinks so. Someone might have even paid you money to rent it from you because they believed in it so much. But then, Hollywood happens. Development hell happens. A studio going under happens. Suddenly,

you got the greenlight, baby!

you got the greenlight, baby!

you and your script-baby are thrust back out into the cold with a “sorry, we’re closed” sign hung on the door of every studio you turn to.

So. What? You’re just going to let your dream die? Or are you going to transform from writer to writer-producer to see your dream realized? If you are content with the well-known Hollywood game of winning few and losing many (and I’m certainly not faulting you if you are), then sure, let the script go and move on to the next project. But for those of us who are filmmakers and want to literally make film, we no longer need permission from a big studio or network to do so. If I really loved my project and just couldn’t let it go, I’d produce it myself. As both a writer and producer, you give yourself the freedom to create. You don’t need permission from anyone. 😉

And this is how I’m rolling. As many of you know, I have my foot in the indie world and am gunning for a spot in the commercial world as well. Commercially, I’m looking to be a tv drama writer, feature film writer, and eventually, an Executive Producer of a cable or network television drama series. My foci are sci-fi and fantasy, horror, true crime, and political drama. On the side, I also work as a freelance Line Producer and Unit Production Manager, and this is a role I’ll continue to take on for both indie and commercial projects.

RebelRagdollD04bR01bP02ZL-Jefferson1bAt the same time, though, I have also established Rebel Ragdoll, an independent female-identified media production house. Currently Rebel Ragdoll has over thirty creative projects on its ever-growing development slate, and I’m amped about every single one of them. I’ll be even more excited though when I’m finally able to acquire other female writers’ properties and produce them with all female crews.

Rebel Ragdoll is on a very specific mission: to increase the presence of female creators in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, true crime & noir, thriller, action, and adventure. We’ll not only produce novels, manga, comics, and graphic novels, but also film, original tv series, web series, and eventually, video games. I truly can’t wait to crew up with my dolls of distinction and get this mission off of the ground in 2014. Because, yeah, dolls set the trend. As writers, producers, directors, and more, we set the trend. And we do it with or without your permission. 😉

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

Breaking In: Colby’s Journey to Hollywood (Awesome Book List Included!)

university imageMany of you might be wondering if it’s absolutely necessary to join an MFA program in Screenwriting in order to break into film or television. More of you (myself included), may want to go to a screenwriting program, but simply can’t afford the $100,000 price tag. Does this mean that you’re doomed? Absolutely not! As someone who believes very strongly in the art of the hustle and in trying one’s best to make his own way, I sought after some sound advice. I asked folks who have been in my position re: trying to break into Hollywood, walking the hot-coaled road, and finally succeeding. Writers from shows like Leverage on TNT, movies for TV on Syfy, Thundercats, and former TV Writer Fellowships participants all chimed in with their wonderful pieces of advice. The one overriding message I got was:

You do not have to go to an MFA program just to break into Hollywood!

In fact, many folks in the biz won’t care at all that you have a screenwriting degree. They care more about your skills and talent as a writer, the relationships you’ve fostered with people, and your work ethic and passion!

As I take the plunge and focus on all three of these areas (honing my craft, fostering relationships, and displaying work ethic and passion), feel free to join me on my journey. We can learn from my mistakes and my successes together! In the meantime, check out this killer book list that you can invest in (below) that will help you to start honing your writing and professional skills as you make your way towards writing for the big and small screens. Get a head start on your reading because we’re about to throw on the travel packs and head to the City of Angels!

Books on Television Writing (General)

Small Screen. Big Picture: A Writer’s Guide to the TV Business by Chad Gervich

Byte Sized Television: Create Your Own TV Series for the Internet by Ross Brown  tv writer workbook

Beyond Screenwriting: Insider Tips and Career Advice from a Successful TV and Film Writer by Sterling Anderson

Writing the Pilot by William Rabkin

The TV Writer’s Workbook by Ellen Sandler

Breakfast with Sharks by Michael Lent (for films, but get it anyway)

Books on Writing for TV Drama

Writing the TV Drama Series by Pamela Douglas

writingthetvdramaseriesTV Writing Toolkit by Jen Grisanti

Writing for Emotional Impact by Karl Iglesias

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide by Angela Ackerman

Books on Writing for TV Sitcoms (Comedy)

The Comedy Bible: From Stand Up to Sitcom by Judy Carter

What Are You Laughing At?: A Comprehensive Guide to the Comedic Event by Dan O’Shannon

The Little Book of Sitcom by John Vorhaus elephantbucks

Elephant Bucks by Sheldon Bull

Writing Television Sitcoms by Evan S. Smith (recommended for everyone)

The Comic Toolbox by John Vorhaus (an oldie but goldie, let’s petition Vorhaus to write a new edition!)

Books on Screenplay Structure and Formatting

The Hollywood Standard: The Complete & Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style

Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script

Books on Breaking In, Pitching, Selling, and Assisting

Hollywood Game Plan by Carole Kirschner hollywood game plan

Good in a Room: How to Sell Yourself and Your Ideas by Stephanie Palmer

The Hollywood Assistant’s Handbook: 86 Rules for Aspiring Power Players by Hillary Stamm and Peter Nowalk


Write on, rock on,
<3 Colby

Colby’s Back on the Blog!

Phew! Okay, creative inventory! I haven’t been around my blog in about a month, and I’m super sorry about that, dear readers. I’ve been crazy busy since mid-January with a whole host of things, including:

* An awesome trip to Los Angeles to meet some great contacts in the entertainment industry

busy-bodies-need-massage* Founding, directing, and teaching the UW Madison TV Writer’s Workshop on my campus, a 14-week tv writing and professionalization seminar for aspiring tv writers

* Founding, directing, and teaching the Exec Producers’ Series, a 12-week seminar designed to teach aspiring producers how to produce cinema from script to finished film

* Co-producing the Marcia Légère Student Play Festival, a series of seven 10-minute plays here at UW Madison that are written, directed, and performed by students! (Check us out:  https://www.facebook.com/events/615617115121573/)

* Teaching Sociological Methods 357 and doing grad-level coursework (this is my last semester as a grad student), and of course,

Marcia Legere Student Play Festival

Click to find out more! Marcia Legere Student Play Festival!

* WRITING, WRITING, WRITING! Both for my novel and my tv scripts! My novel is scheduled for release in mid-May 2013, and my scripts have a strict deadline on them of April 15th, 2013. So yes, A LOT going on.

This has been an incredibly exciting process for me, as my life has transitioned from part-time creative to full-time creative. I am still in transition, but what this means is that many of my endeavors have allowed me to produce downloadable workshops for you all that will be ready for upload for FREE and RIGHT HERE at my blog! The workshops will be for TV Writing (for Spec Scripts and for Pilots), and also for Producing Your Own Web Series (adapted from the Exec Producers Series).

I’ll set up the pages as soon as I can. Gotta a lot of balls in the air at the moment (and YES, we will continue with the Travel-Writer series, so no worries!). Either way I AM BACK on the blog and will be posting regularly, so please bear with me friends, fam, and wonderful readers! Much love, and hopefully I’ll have more good news to share in the coming weeks! ♥

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

Mini Courses and Helpful Hints: Blog Expansion!

Blogging live at 4:55 AM from Madison, Wisconsin! So, I’m currently compiling all of the knowledge I’ve gained over the past semester (and will gain) in T.V. Writing, Screenwriting, and Filmmaking into a series of free introductory mini-courses. It’ll give you a pretty thorough overview of how certain facets of the craft work, all from a newbie’s perspective. This blog is definitely a “catch-as-catch-can” sort of thing, where as I learn more, I’ll make more “mini courses”. They are totally free, and all you have to do is look out for the Rebel Ragdoll logo (as my company will be sponsoring them)! The courses will focus on one specific aspect of the craft or the industry and will come with a series of activities to help you master that skill. The first up and coming mini courses will be looking at television structure for DRAMA (I’m not that great with comedy) but will expand from there, so stay tuned!

And as always, keep it indie! 😉

<3 Colby

DETOUR: Colby’s Career Change into Full-time Writer!! BIG CHANGES AHEAD!

Hi all!

I have made quite a few changes in both my career and in my orientation to the business of fiction, and thus, this website has just gotten a serious re-boot! The structure will be the same, but my focus will be a bit more widespread.

Until about a month ago, my blog focused on adventures in indie publishing. Now, however, I will be focusing not only on that, but also on my forays into screenwriting, television writing, and novel writing. There will also be a little bit of film making here and there too!

What, you may ask, caused this sudden change in direction?

WELL! I decided to finally throw myself head first into my dream of being a fiction writer. The first step here is to leave my PhD program with my Masters. YES, I said it. I need to be 100% focused on my career in fiction writing in order to make it work. There are no backup plans here. Just do or die. I think it’s about time I (and many other people) bite the bullet and stop trying to be anything else but what we are inside: WRITERS AND CREATORS. I will post later on transitioning out of a “stable” career into a relatively unstable one, but that is for a later date! 🙂 You guys will get to enjoy the journey with me, if you so choose!

Getting back to the point, novels aren’t the only medium through which you can express your creativity! I realized that at core, I am a writer and creator, and for me this means that I can create worlds, characters, drama through any medium I want, whether it’s on the silver screen, in the pages of a novel, or on television. Therefore, I’ve decided to begin walking the road towards a career in writing for television. I am super excited, and I am also super scared! But it will definitely be a challenge I am looking forward to for sure!

The best part about this is that my television career (YES, I am already affirming that this will happen for me) does not have to impact my other writing endeavors. I have already hired an editor for my debut novel “Ghosts of Koa”, and the entire series will STILL be written and published under my indie publishing house, Rebel Ragdoll Press. My new directions have not impacted my novel writing or other creative ambitions in the least. In fact, they’ve made them better and stronger. While I still haven’t budged on selling my novel to a larger press, I have decided to go “mainstream” with my other creative ideas, mainly for television and screenwriting. And my world perspective has shifted dramatically!

I found that opening up my media options has actually helped me to generate MANY other fiction ideas for feature films, for television, AND for my own mini web series, which I am developing even now! I feel like I’ve finally hit a bottomless well of ideas and creativity, and embracing these new media and this new direction has already (and will continue to) open a bunch of new doors to me! And the greatest thing about television writing is that, much like indie publishing, YOU as the writer have the power! (More on this in future posts). Can’t think of anything better. 🙂

Having said that, these are the changes that you can expect on the blog:

  • I will be posting all sorts of news, updates, journal entries, insider’s tips and info, and radio casting that include novel writing but also include these other creative areas;
  • The Rebel Ragdoll Review will obviously be expanding into television series in addition to my current foci,
  • This will become a blog for creative indies from all different kinds of media AND for those who will need to navigate the murky waters of working for someone else (as television and film writers must often do). In sort, I will shift my focus from just entrepreneurship to both entre– AND intrapreneurship!
  • This blog will discuss sci-fi and fantasy, but I will also be talking about horror, drama, and crime, which are areas that I want to specialize in as a television writer
  • The radio podcast will be getting a new intro soon, and will also cover a whole bunch of topics within and without novel writing, publishing, and marketing!

I hope that you will enjoy this journey as much as I will, and that anything I post on this blog reboot will help you on your own creative path! 🙂

Keep it indie (or both),
<3 Colby