Aaron Walker Sr.: Setting Creative Priorities

The Making of a SciFy Franchise #19
by Aaron Walker Sr.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Story So Far starts HERE)

Daymond recently talked about priorities in his series on juggling life and passion. So I wanted to chime in on that as well. Like Daymond and my brother, I too am a man of faith. First off let me say: there would be no Cargo 3120 if it had not been for God and his grace in my life. This is simply my reality.  So for me the priorities were: God, family, health, Work and passion. I rank passion last because for me, if the other areas are lacking, I will never succeed in my passion, which is to tell the story of Cargo 3120. The key is balance… But balance is also the problem, because it can, at times, be so hard to achieve.

The last few weeks have been “very emotional” for me. My daughter finally achieved her goal of enlisting in the United States Army and is currently in her first week of basic training. I couldn’t be more proud of her. It’s hard to let go as you watch your children make that transition to adulthood, so her leaving was both joyous and tough for me. I also have two sons at home, both in high school. I am very proud of the young men into which they are growing. But anyone who has ever raised teenagers in this day and age will agree, it is very challenging. And in a blended family such as ours, there is at times drama (inside and outside of the home) that adds to these challenges.

In my opinion, passion is good, but you cannot pursue these things at the expense of the other areas of life that truly matter.  The key is knowing when to shift focus, and equally important, when to shift that focus back. And believe me, I had to do a lot of shifting recently.

It’s not easy, but such is life. I’ve often heard stories of people who enjoyed great success in their passions, but did it at the expense of things that they later felt should have been priorities in their lives (such as family), and they looked back with regret. I decided early on that I didn’t want to be that guy. So my daily prayer is that God help me to continue to find that balance.  And speaking of balance, time to get to work on that new content for the website!

Next up: Our Latest Update

Crowdfunding: Toejam and Earl are BACK IN THE GROOVE

Toejam and Earl on tvwriter.net

Holy Shitoli, girls and boys! TVWriter™’s absolute all-time favorite video game, circa the knock-knock-knocking Nineties is back and Kickstarter’s got it!

And when we say it’s TVWriter™’s fave we mean it. LB and munchman first bonded while playing the original version of the game at LB’s house back when they both lived in sunny L.A., LB right on the border between Malibu and Westlake Village and munchman in homey Thousand Oaks. They’ve both moved about a zillion times since then, but wherever they’ve gone, they’ve brought their old Sega game machines and the carts that mean more to them than any other: TOEJAM & EARL and its sequel.

Now Greg Johnson, one of the two original creators – and still one of the owners of the property – is looking for interweb backers to help him bring the concept back to life…entirely new and different and, simultaneously, exactly the way it was before. According to Greg, TOEJAM & EARL: BACK IN THE GROOVE will be the “ultimate…sequel that the fans have been asking for all these years.”

To be a bit more specific:

Will it be like game one or game two, you ask?  Well… (holding breath)… mainly like game one.  We plan to go old school with this one. Fixed isometric camera, 2D sprites, simple controls, and an emphasis on coop play. It will also pull in some of the more beloved elements from game two, AND we have a list of exciting new gameplay elements planned as well.

The new elements include each player’s ability to make her or his character say whatever each wants to the other player on the screen, split screen view, stacked, randomly generated levels, new (as well as old) Earthlings and presents, a ’90s underground comics look to the art, which also will feature state of the art 3D graphics.

There’s a lot more to say about this, and Greg says it on the TOEJAM & EARL: BACK IN THE GROOVE Kickstarter page. So hie thyselves over that way, gang, and be prepared to pull the PayPal or credit card trigger. We’re recommending this one to the max!

The Most Useful YouTube Resources for New Video Producers

More production companies than ever are perusing online videos for new talent, gang. Taking advantage of this situation could be one of the most important steps you make into your future:


by Eric Ravenscraft

You don’t need a huge production budget to make YouTube videos. As the site’s grown in popularity, though, you’re much more likely to get noticed with better quality. Fortunately, YouTube itself has plenty of tools to help stand out and make videos worth watching.

Learn YouTube Best Practices with Creator Academy

Ever since YouTube came on the scene, many people assumed that all they have to do is do something funny on camera, upload, and then become an internet star. While this can occasionally happen through dumb luck, most producers have to work hard behind the scenes to make it happen. YouTube’s Creator Academy has a wealth of guides that teach you about all the nuts and bolts your favorite YouTuber doesn’t mention.

This is actually putting the cart before the horse a bit, since we haven’t even gotten to making videos. However, it’s worth mentioning first because it gives a good overview of what all a successful YouTube channel entails. Here are just a few of the lessons:

  • The art of getting viewers: These lessons explain how (and why) to upload branding images to your channel page, custom thumbnails for videos, channel trailers, and more.
  • Grow your audience: This collection deals with how videos will be distributed to your subscribers, how to cross link with annotations, and how to organize your videos with playlists and sections.
  • Earn money: Advertising brings its own mess of complications. Throwing a video on YouTube and randomly sticking ads isn’t as easy as it sounds. These lessons will help explain how YouTube’s ad tools work and how to make the best use of them.

If all of that sounds a little too much like a second job: good. YouTube is an amazing platform for sharing videos with friends, family, or building a massive worldwide audience alike. However, it can be a very involved process if you really want to make a job of it. And chances are someone out there is going to do the same thing you want to do who is willing to go through all this work. So before you get started, decide what type of YouTube producer you want to be. That will help inform which tools you need and how many of these lessons you can skip.

Make Basic Edits with the YouTube Video Editor

Unless you’re uploading raw footage from your cell phone, you’ll need some kind of video editor to turn those shots into a proper video. While there are more powerful video editors out there, YouTube’s built in editor offers the basics without downloading any extra software. You don’t even need to manage your video library. Simply upload your videos as private and you can start cutting them together

Read it all

How to be a Filmmaker

composition & character in 1 great shot

composition & character in 1 great shot

The most helpful guide to becoming a filmmaker we’ve seen in a long time.

And it’s only 6 and a half minutes long – proving that somebody really knows their stuff.

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Leesa Dean: How NOT to do Social Media

Adventures of a Web Series Newbie Chapter 95
by Leesa Dean

dontsI have a friend who has a fair amount of Facebook friends (about 800) and hardly any twitter following (about 50 followers).  He’s launching a creative project online and we had a long conversation about promotion last month. Since I’m prepping for my new series and am ultra-focused on promo, am just curious about what other people are doing. But we spent most of the convo with him just telling me all about his project. I figured he wanted to keep his promo plans under wrap.  I was wrong.

I was actually shocked to hear from him this week via text. Turns out he just launched his project and the way he’s promoting it is totally old school. And by old school, I mean, kinda like the way I launched Chilltown billions of years (ok a couple of years ago). Without any real social media strategy to speak of.

I thought I’d put together a few things NOT to do when you’re launching an online project.  These are kind of no-brainer tips but it’s shocking how many people (my friend included) don’t pay attention to them.  And believe me, I learned these the hard way:

1) Don’t send text messages to friends telling them about your project and asking them to like, comment, share.  Nobody’s gonna do it. Especially not group texts, which I, btw, instantly delete cause I consider them either spam sent by the clueless or someone who’s tragically trapped in the aughts. The most effective way to get people to spread the word is through twitter, instagram, Facebook and, increasingly, snapshot.  But you can’t just beg people to RT or share there. Again, nobody’s gonna do that.  Think of interesting ways to engage people you already have an online relationship with.

2) Don’t send anything that you want shared on social media without a link.    This is a big DUH but you’d be surprised how many people actually do this.  Don’t make people work to help you.

3) Don’t expect a few “tastemaker” friends to help you get the word out.  That concept went out about 10 years ago. This is the reinvention of era of “me” and it’s all about finding your voice on social media and getting people genuinely interested in what you have to say.  As soul-crunching and stroke-inducing as this seems, there really is no easy way around this.  You have to build a fan base brick by brick. It doesn’t happen overnight.  You might need a lot of alcohol (just speaking from personal experience). But it will happen. Ultimately.  The most successful people I know who’ve done this have been at it a VERY long time and, pretty much, live online.

4) Don’t fail to truly engage with followers on social media. And by “engage” I don’t mean asking people lame questions every day (asking people what their favorite condiment is is not how to build followers).  It’s boring.  Most people I follow simply have something interesting to say.  Either that or they’re funny.  And, as tough as it is, if someone comments to you on twitter, IG or FB, comment back.  Always. It’s really only acceptable NOT to when you have tons and tons of followers and everybody realizes it’s simply physically impossible to keep up with it all.

Yes, my friend made most of these mistakes. But, as I said, so have a lot of other people. I will send him this list and hope it helps him.  But, not in a text. Either way, I’m curious to see how his project turns out.

Are Films & TV Just Another Form of Mind Control?

You bet they are. Along with books, magazines, paintings, art, conversation – every type of human interaction you can think of. (Yes – yikes! – even the web.)

Because we’re all about presenting our personal narratives one way or another, aren’t we? And hope that others will board our bus?

Or, to put it a slightly narrower way that’s more in keeping with the article below: It’s incumbent upon every artist to work as hard as she or he can to create an emotional impact in the reader or viewer or listener, whatever. Because that emotional reaction is the real truth underlying all art.

That said:


This is How Films Control Your Mind
by V Renee

Master Mind-Controller Alfred Hitchcock was right. Movies really can control our brains!

The director once said regarding his film Psycho:

I don’t care about the subject matter; I don’t care about the acting; but I do care about the pieces of film and the photography and the soundtrack and all of the technical ingredients that made the audience scream.

Whenever we talk about film and its potential to manipulate audiences to experience certain emotional responses, Hitchcock is the first name that usually pops into people’s heads, but it goes much further and deeper than the ol’ Master of Suspense. Vanessa Hill, writer and host of PBS’ BrainCraft, has posted a video that may make every cinephile a paranoid mess. It covers a relatively new area of study called “neurocinema”, the study of how different filmmaking styles affect an audience’s brain. Check it out below:

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