Category: kickstarter

James Franco on Writing; Pussy Hoax; Kickstarter Helps EastSiders: Crowdfunding Is A Word

James Franco On Writing

After I read and reviewed James Franco’s novel, Actors Anonymous, I have to admit that I didn’t get all the criticism because most of the critics seemed to be judging Franco as an actor, a person of privilege, and a celebrity. They should have been critiquing the book and the content of the book; nothing else. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it works and anyone who has ever written a book knows this all too well. But this article I recently found about Franco and his thoughts on MFA programs and writing really doesn’t make much sense to me either. Actually, it’s a little brutal, but without the presentation of a solid argument.

First, the author of the piece, Aleksander Chan, goes head first into a litany of insults that are just as weak as the argument he’s trying to present. (If you’re going to slam someone, at least do it with some style and have some fun.) But more important, should we take advice from Franco who is a proven success in several fields, or listen to opinions from Chan who no one’s ever heard of? I might not like Donald Trump’s politics (or his hair), but I would take financial advice from him faster than I’d take it from a nun who took a vow of poverty. You get where I’m going with this.

Chan said this:

Franco, who has attended a litany of MFA programs (including Columbia’s, from which he graduated in 2010), apparently did not learn in his years of study how to convey any insight he might have gleaned. Though the “mature” actor is quite adept at blathering on in vague, stupid generalities about grad school:

This is what Franco said:

With regard to fiction programs, the first thing to consider is that most of the students (if not on scholarship) are paying anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 a year to learn a profession that isn’t going to pay off soon, even if they do get a book deal right after school. The second thing to consider is that writing is a solitary activity, so you shouldn’t expect much collaboration with your peers. After classes, students go home and write stories so they can bring them to class to be workshopped. While workshops get criticized a lot, they do allow one’s writing to be read critically and talked about. Even if the feedback is worthless, a writer’s work changes if the writer knows that it is going to be read.

Okay. So what’s wrong with that statement from Franco? Chan seems to think it’s too mundane and he seems to want something more from Franco…you know, because Chan is from the world of entitlement and everyone owes him more.

But that’s not the way any higher educational experience works. And what Franco said is a good overall description of what you can expect. You also have to take into consideration that not everyone goes to grad school for the same reason, not everyone’s circumstance is the same, and the way in which we communicate and interpret grad school in a general sense is probably going to be unique. MFA grad programs are not like programs in the health industry where you are taught something specific. An MFA in creative writing is more of a learning experience in a general sense and it’s more about what you do with it than what you can expect it to do for you.

Actually, I think that because the nature of any MFA program is so broad as a learning experience there’s no one way to hand out useful advice that could apply to everyone. I learned that basic interpretation my freshman year in college during an orientation lecture from the president of the university.

You can read more here. As I said, it’s weak piece at best and you have to wonder how some people get paid to have a voice…assuming Chan does get paid to write and he’s not working for free like those writers at Huff Po who can’t wait to help Arianna Huffington make another million.

As always, the comment thread is amusing, especially the douchecanoe guy.

Pussy Hoax

Speaking of douchecanoes, this next link is both funny and scary at the same time. Evidently, someone decided it would be fun to make it look as if he’d high jacked a news report by breaking into a story with the comment, “Fuck her right in the pussy.” It all looks real at a glance, but it’s a huge hoax that’s trying to make us all look like fools.

A Cincinnati man, his face disguised by beard, sunglasses, and hoodie, has now wandered into at least two different local newscasts, grabbing the mic and screaming “fuck her right in the pussy.”
Except that he hasn’t. These videos are terrible “viral” hoaxes, and you should ignore them until they go away.
Mediaite spotted a slew of inconsistencies in the videos—the filming locations aren’t in Cincinnati, the reporters don’t work for the stations pictured, and one of the voiceovers is actually Megyn Kelly—and traced the videos to a guy named John Cain.
You can read more and see three videos here. I’m not sure it’s the worst Internet hoax that’s ever happened, but it’s right up there with death hoaxes and those political things we know never to trust anymore.

Kickstarter Helps EastSiders

EastSiders is a successful web series with a gay theme. I find anything like this interesting…web series, webisodes, etc…because I like to add elements of these things into my gay themed novels. In fact, I’m releasing one very soon in the Chase series where a farcical crime revolves around a webisode where a character went missing. It’s the dumbest crime in history. And the fact that Kickstarter just helped a real life gay themed web series go into a second season tells me I’m doing at least one thing right in my books.

Pledges received on the show’s Kickstarter page still were below the minimum of $125,000 needed in order to receive a single cent of the money.

But by the deadline early Monday (19 May), pledges had reached $153,169.

 ‘Thanks to you amazing people we are 100% funded and will definitely be making season 2!’ read a statement posted on the page. ‘We are so grateful to all of you for this opportunity and we are incredibly excited to keep making this show for you!’

You can read more here. I’m not familiar with EastSiders, but I’m going to make a point to watch now.

I also think it’s interesting to note, speaking of Kickstarter, that the word “crowdfunding” was recently added to the Merrium-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, along with Hashtag, Selfie, and Tweep. (Tweep is a person who uses Twitter.)

Joining the elite crowd of terms like “Hashtag”, “Selfie” and “Tweep” – the term “crowdfunding” has finally found the recognition it deserves in the august  publication known as the Merriam Webster’s Dictionary.  Hopefully this is final acceptance that crowdfunding no longer is two words or demands a hyphen.

More here about that. I just wish someone would tell google blogger that crowdfunding is one real word now, not two.

Pornhub Survey; Gay Eating Disorders; Steve Grand Kickstarter Giant

Pornhub Survey

I know how much some people hate porn. God do I know. I’ve had “certain” book reviewers slam me for too many realistic sex scenes for as long as I can remember. I understand this and I don’t have any issues at all with it. I do respect their opinions. The problem with porn, though, is that no one’s been able to come up with a clear cut definition so far, and what’s considered erotic romance to some is porn to others. Sarah Palin thought the very tame nude photos Levi Johnston did for Playgirl were porn. And he only showed his butt, with no full frontal. She has a right to an opinion just like everyone else. And just like me. I thought that Palin’s last speech was political porn. I think the comments Palin’s daughter makes about gay marriage are social porn. So we all agree to disagree…on porn.

But this article I’m linking to now is interesting because it’s information taken from the data base of Pornhub.

We pulled terms and traffic to gay searches. We couldn’t break down “lesbian” because we don’t track our users on a micro-granular level (i.e., gender, sexual orientation, etc.). So for example, lesbian searches can account for, like, 40% of a city’s searches, but 80% of those searchers may likely be men.

If I told you what the majority of searches for my web site are you would smile. Let’s just say they aren’t searches for true, tender love and romance. And I don’t have a problem with that either. As I said above, I respect everyone’s right to an opinion and to privacy.

However, the one thing I find most interesting about this article I’m linking to is that it mentions porn in relation to states where gay marriage is legal as opposed to states where it’s illegal.

Pornhub discovered that every single state in the South watches porn at a higher percentage than the average of states where gay marriage is legal.

I don’t question the data. I believe that’s true. But I do question the reasoning. I don’t think gay marriage has anything to do with this. I think it’s about being more isolated and not being able to socialize with gay people openly. And, even more important, states like New York where gay marriage is legal rank over 5%, about even with states like Mississippi where gay marriage is illegal.

The important thing to note is that the numbers for almost every state aren’t that far apart, which means there are just as many interested in gay porn in the south as there are in the north, west, and east. And that alone makes a strong statement.

You can read more here.

Gay Eating Disorders

I don’t find this article surprising at all. Although I’ve never had an eating disorder I’ve always been fanatical about what I eat and how much I eat and I think a lot of that has to do with body image and the body images we’re taught to believe we should have if we’re gay. The old sitcom, Will and Grace, handled this well back in the nineties. No matter how thin Will was he thought he was fat.

“The struggle started when I was 19, but I think a lot of the body image issues, the struggle with my sexuality [and] the intersection of faith really started long before that,” Troy Roness, who has battled anorexia, said. “But I think the transition to college and a lot of different emotional and environmental factors really kinda came together and really set my eating disorder in motion.”

You can read more here.

Steve Grand Kickstarter Giant

After I posted about gay eating disorders above I couldn’t help but wonder if Steve Grand would have made as much money with his kickstarter campaign if he’d been thirty pounds overweight and not as young and attractive. If you look closely at the photo of him in the article I’m linking to below, it looks as if he hasn’t eaten a full meal in a few weeks. But that’s not the point of this post. Evidently, Grand’s kickstarter campaign is in the top ten most funded. He hoped to raise $81,000 and wound up with $183, 500 as of the time this article was published.

‘Blown away,’ Grand wrote to fans on a Facebook post. ‘This is no longer just an album. YOU have made it a movement.’ He added: ‘YOU weren’t satisfied with giving just enough to get this record produced.

YOU seem determined to put this album on the same playing field as artists backed by major labels who usually dominate the airwaves. Every dollar now means we can market and promote this album to an even wider audience.’

If you don’t know what kickstarter is, you can read more here. If you don’t know who Steve Grand is, here’s what I posted previously.

I think kickstarter can be a wonderful thing in many cases. I think all fundraisers (indiegogo) can serve positive purposes. It’s giving artists a chance to go indie in all venues of the arts. However, I think that if someone is asking for money from strangers for an artistic project or anything business related they should be held accountable by posting how the money was spent, in public, so those who donated know where their hard-earned money went. I wish I could be more trusting. But I like to keep it real and I think everyone should be held accountable. I’ve been in business all my life and I’ve managed to record everything and keep excellent books. And I never took a dime from anyone unless I earned it, and I know where all my money went. (A good deal went on books and chocolate.)

You can read more here.

Kickstarter Cookbook; Address and Writing Success

Kisckstarter Cookbook

This is an interesting project that’s now looking for funding through Kickstarter. An author named Tara Alan is trying to reach an $11,500 goal in order to produce a cookbook she’s been working on where she’s travels Europe, called Bike, Camp, Cook. I bike, but don’t cook much. Camp to me is a drag show with Miss Richfield at the Crown and Anchor in P’town. But I supposed there are others would be interested in something like this, and Kickstarter is now funding projects like this that trad publishers would never have touched in the past.

If you’re not a wizard in the kitchen, don’t worry—I’ve poured loads of cooking know-how into these pages. After years as a head chef for a two-person cycling team, I’ve made a lot of mistakes you can learn from! The first half of the book is filled with everything you’ll need to know to start making delicious meals on a one burner stove.

For me the key word here is one-burner stove. Not going to happen any time soon. But even though this isn’t for me, I actually do think there’s a market for it, and that there will be a bigger market in the future. I recently read about these mini condos popping up in cities all over the US where people are scaling back to a room that’s only a few hundred square feet.

You can read more here, where there’s even a video about the project.

Address and Writing Success

When it comes to a physical address I have always believed in the old saying, location, location, location when it comes to real estate values and for business reasons. However, this next piece by Lev Raphael has left me wondering why anyone would give him a column anywhere. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt that way about Raphael’s columns, and I’m certain it won’t be the last, but in the article he makes a broad assumption that’s not based on any viable facts, and he draws no conclusion whatsoever…other than the suggestion that writers are more successful if they live in places like NY.

And if you’re in a media nexus like New York, you’re more able to make face-to-face connections with other writers, with reviewers, with editors and agents at parties, book signings and readings. These are precious contacts that writers living in East Podunk just can’t make happen for themselves. Random contacts at summer writing workshops and yearly conferences aren’t the same thing.

Words like “media nexus” don’t impress me, not even if you’re driving a Lexus. I actually do agree this address deal used to be true up until a few years ago. I also think that where you go to college makes a huge difference, too, with regard to the kinds of lifelong contacts you’ll make. But right now I know as many struggling writers living in New York as I do in East Podunk. In fact, there’s never been a more wonderful time in the history of publishing for writers because this old rule that we all need to live in places like New York is getting weaker and weaker. And writers from places like this East Podunk aren’t facing the address challenge as much as they did in the past. Now the best address for most writers is their web address.

You can read more here if you are so inclined to read pieces that are mainly written to do nothing more than fill a page with words.

I don’t review books often, but I do review bloggers and when I see bad advice like this that might discourage the next great author from East Podunk I’m not afraid to offer my own opinion.


Zach Braff Raises 2 Million on Kickstarter; Josh Radnor’s Nude Photos

When I read this article about Zach Braff raising 2 million dollars on kickstarter I thought about a few of the previous posts I’ve written on kickstarter and the projects associated with them. Up until now, I didn’t even know anyone with the kind of presence Zach Braff has was doing kickstarter. This link will lead you to three posts I wrote in case you’re not familiar with kickstarter. I honestly don’t know how these previous projects worked out, or if the people did raise the money they needed, and I haven’t seen any follow up info to go along with them.

It didn’t catch fire quite as fast as the Veronica Mars movie, but Zach Braff‘s Kickstarter to create a follow-up to Garden State reached its $2 million goal in short order.

On Saturday, the Scrubs star’s project, titled Wish I Was Here, hit $2 million in funding thanks to over 28,000 backers listed on the crowdfunding website.

He’s also doing some interesting things for those who did contribute, which you can read more about here.

Although there are some things about kickstarter that make me wonder, for the most part I think it’s an interesting way to fund an artistic venture. It reminds me of the old, old days when wealthy dowagers would become patrons of the arts. Only this time, with the influence of the Internet and such high exposure, everyone can be a patron of the arts now. I would imagine the secret is to get the word out there if you don’t have the kind of presence Zach Braff has.

Josh Radnor’s Nude Photos

It seems as if Josh Radnor has jumped onto the proverbial bang wagon and now he’s the subject of a nude photo issue. When I saw this earlier today, I have to admit I was a little stunned because I just saw his latest film, “Liberal Arts,” last night (I loved it) and he played such an upstanding respectable part. He looked great in the film, too, with his scruffy beard, and it’s hard to believe he’s 38 years old. He really doesn’t look a day older than thirty…if that.

Celebrities and nude photo scandals seem to go hand-in-hand. The 38-year-old actor’s nude photos were leaked online through hacked phone on Friday (April 26, 2013) and spread across the internet like wildfire. “The FBI is aware of the alleged hacking incident and is looking into it,” an FBI official told the press.

The phone hacking part freaked me out a little. Like they can’t leave the poor guy alone for a minute. What is interesting…and I highly suggest you check out the link…is that Josh’s nude photos aren’t like any other nude celeb photos you’ve seen before. I found them tasteful and elegant. And I wouldn’t have a problem hanging one in my own living room.

Josh Radnor photo attribution, here.