Writing by the Numbers 2018

Distant Neighbors in Seoul.


It is time for the annual abstract of my writing stats. I like this time of evaluation and aim setting. It is good for a numbers geek like me, and it is vital to take a step again and take a look at the place I have been and the place I am going. And to take a deep breath.


This previous yr was fairly intense, however in the easiest way. It began with writing time on the Nationwide Winter Playwrights Retreat in Creede, Colorado, after which I flew to Charleston, SC, the place my play Chore Monkeys was premiered by the Faculty of Charleston. I began a brand new theatre firm, Performs in Place, which focuses on creating site-specific performs in partnership with museums and historic websites. Our first mission was Cato and Dolly, a 23-minute play about unheard voices from the John Hancock family, and occurred on an exhibit referred to as By means of the Keyhole on the Outdated State Home museum, that featured the unique door from the Hancock Mansion. This present ran all summer season, for 112 performances, for nearly 3,000 individuals. Whereas I used to be writing Cato and Dolly, In Good Firm re-mounted my historic play with music, None however the Finest. After which I used to be deep into writing site-specific performs for Mount Auburn Cemetery, the place I am artist-in-residence. Performs in Place will produce two collection of 5 quick performs there in 2019. I took a break from cemetery performs to fly to Seoul, South Korea, the place Theatre Troupe Cheongnyeondan produced my play, Distant Neighbors. The yr wrapped up with readings at Mount Auburn, producing a studying of Banned Collectively for the Dramatists Guild, and a visit to the Austin Movie Pageant. I did extra touring for my work than ever earlier than, principally as a result of I had funding from the Brother Thomas Fellowship that I gained final yr.

Typically I really feel like I am nonetheless attempting to catch my breath (the record above does not even embrace all the pieces), however I am extremely grateful to have been capable of work with so many gifted individuals and to get to create some actually enjoyable and difficult new work.

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Me and the forged and director of Distant Neighbors in Seoul


Listed below are my writing/life stats for 2018:  (I am publishing these just a little early, as a result of I am heading again to the Nationwide Winter Playwrights Retreat. I’ll replace these stats in mid-January, when the ultimate numbers are in and I’ve a while at my desk.)


Performances/Viewers.
Variety of Productions/Readings:  42  (38 productions, 4 readings) 
(These have been of 31 totally different performs, together with 5 full-length scripts. )

Variety of Performances:  259.  (This contains printed performs. I shattered my previous file of 227 from final yr, because of Cato and Dolly working for 112 performances.)

Estimated Viewers for 2017:  11,424 whole. (down from 13,092 final yr, however nonetheless a powerful quantity for me.)

For printed performs I estimate low–40 individuals/efficiency. I do not monitor performs utilized by college students in competitors, so the precise quantity is greater.

Books offered:  77   Most of those have been for my new novel, The Secret of Spirit Lake, simply launched in November, however Steering to Freedom additionally offered fairly a couple of copies. Although I had  a great early surge for Secret, gross sales have dropped off. I want I may get as many individuals to purchase the books as come see my performs.

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Sean McAlister and Javaron Conyers in Chore Monkeys at Faculty of Charleston



Submissions:

Complete:   180   (down from 181 final yr)
queries for performs:  18
play scripts submitted:  162   (Final yr I despatched 146)


I might hoped to ship 170 scripts out however did not fairly make it. I am all the time grateful for the Binge Listing for serving to me have a pair months the place I am tremendous targeted on submissions.  Additionally, since 2013, I have been engaged on not less than 1 commissioned piece each season, which takes up time and likewise alleviates a number of the strain to get tremendous excessive submission numbers. In 2019, I will likely be engaged on touchdown extra gigs through my new firm, Performs in Place.


Hours spent on writing :  1,905 hours   (final yr was 1,338)

  • precise writing and analysis:  546 hours (my aim was 400. I had 371 final yr. My previous file was 456 hours.)
  • studying for work (not mission analysis):  30 hours  
  • play attendance:  89 hours (this can be a new class this yr)
  • rehearsals and writing conferences:  553 hours  (contains instructing. final yr was 468)
  • advertising and marketing and admin:  373  hours  (final yr was 347)
  • New England New Play Alliance: 41 hours
  • Dramatists Guild: 110 hours    (This was my first full yr as a Regional Rep.)
  • Performs in Place164 hours (That is my new theatre firm.)

It was loopy to not monitor play attendance hours prior to now. Going to a play may be very a lot a part of my work life–it’s analysis and an vital likelihood to examine in with actors and administrators and hang around with different writers.

That is the second yr I’ve tracked the period of time I spent attending to and from conferences and rehearsals, in addition to different work stuff. Final yr I spent 175 hours in transit. This yr it was 282 hours. My Mount Auburn initiatives required lots of time on web site, and I used to be additionally in rehearsal lots this yr.

Prior to now few years, I spent many tons of of hours on residence renovations or on farming. This was the primary yr the place I spent all of my work time writing. And my youngsters are actually principally grown (I used to be a stay-at-home dad for my youngsters since they have been infants), so I’ve much more time to work. When it comes to precise hours, this was most likely the primary yr I can say that I used to be a “full-time” author.

Here is how my time was spent in previous years:

2017:  2,018 whole work hours.  1,338 writing hours (371 writing/23 studying/468 rehearsing/347 advertising and marketing/129 New Play Alliance and Dramatists Guild)+680 hours on home renovations

2016:  2,096 whole work hours. 1,223 writing hours (416 writing/28 studying/438 rehearsing/274 marketing-admin/67 New Play Alliance)+873 on home renovations.

2015: 1,596 whole work hours.  1,035 writing hours (262 writing/52 studying/295 rehearsing/303 marketing-admin/123 New Play Alliance) + 561 on transferring and home renovations

2014:  1,556 whole work hours. 1,426 writing hours (452 writing/109 studying/342 rehearsing/396 advertising and marketing/127 New Play Alliance) + 130 hours farming.

 2013:  1,898 whole work hours.  996 writing hours (394 writing/308 rehearsing/294 advertising and marketing)  + 902 hours farming

2012:  1,630 whole work hours.  896 writing hours.  (386 writing/278 rehearsing and assembly/231 advertising and marketing)   + 734 hours farming

2011: 818 writing hours.  (I did not get away rehearsals from desk writing time in 2011). My youngsters have been lots youthful again then.

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Matt Ryan and the sphinx at Mount Auburn Cemetery at a studying of Man of Imaginative and prescient


Writing output:
Cato and Dolly: one-act play for the Outdated State Home (Performs in Place’s first mission)
8 one-act performs for my Mount Auburn residency (3 extra to come back this yr). 
Revisions on my novel, The Secret of Spirit Lake, earlier than publishing it.
Rewrites of a bunch of performs.

My performs this yr have been all research-intensive. And despite the fact that they have been principally one-acts, researching a 20-minute historic play takes about the identical period of time because the analysis for a full-length play.

Inputs:
Performs watched:  54   (noticed 59 in 2017)
Motion pictures/TV collection watched:  57   (45 in 2017)
Performs learn: 17   (29 in 2017)
Books learn:  18 (15 in 2017)

I bought to see lots of performs this yr, regardless of touring lots and being in rehearsal lots. I wish to learn much more performs in 2019. I might like to learn 1/week, however I’ve by no means come near that aim. Most of my studying time was spent on analysis for performs that I used to be writing.

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Stephen Sampson and Marge Dunn in Cato & Dolly on the Outdated State Home



Gross Earnings:  $23,192    
printed performs:  $550
play manufacturing royalties:  $4,329   (for unpublished work)
movie initiatives:  $0  
play commissions:  $15,500   (Cato & Dolly, plus Mount Auburn)
instructing/teaching: $2,615   (I did some consulting/teaching.)
my novels:  $143
Prizes/fellowships: $0     
misc. (essays, panels, modifying, different): $55

Bills:  about $14,227  
My bills have been tremendous excessive this yr, as a result of I acquired a $15,000 Brother Thomas Fellowship on the finish of 2017. I have been spending that friendship cash on journey to my reveals, and likewise to start out Performs in Place.

Web Earnings:  $8,965   


My internet earnings is lots decrease, however once more that is as a result of my bills are a lot greater. Subsequent yr, my bills will have to be decrease. That is the third yr in a row the place my earnings has topped $20K, which nonetheless feels wonderful to me

previous years:
2017:  Gross Earnings: $31,343   Bills:  $9,715  internet:  $21,628
2016:  Gross Earnings:  $25,857  Bills: $11,472  internet:  $14,385
2015:  Gross earnings: $8,662  Bills: $4,979  internet:  $3,682
2014:  Gross earnings:  $7,974  Bills $5,580  internet:  $2,494
2013:  Gross earnings:   $7,767  Bills:  5,758  internet:  $2,029
2012:  Gross Earnings:  $3,844  Bills:  $2,808  internet:  $1,063
2011:  Gross Earnings:   $2,638   Bills:  $4,665  internet:  $-2,027


There are many methods to take a look at the funds. I’ve undoubtedly bumped my earnings up in the previous few years, which feels good. With just a little luck, I’ve bought a shot at hitting $20K in gross earnings in 2019. In a method, maybe these numbers may very well be encouraging to different playwrights–I am not well-known and my work is not getting produced by the biggest theatres, however I’ve nonetheless discovered a option to make just a little cash.

Alternatively, to the surface world (one may say–the rational world), that is nonetheless minuscule, and my internet earnings ends in an hourly wage of $4.74/hr. The one motive I will throw myself so laborious into this work for therefore little cash is that my spouse has a full time job that pays a LOT extra and comes with well being and different advantages.

Beginning Performs in Place has been a giant journey (that is the third theatre firm I’ve began over time). That is the primary time I’ve needed to take care of Fairness, and that is sophisticated however not unattainable. In our first yr, our funds was round $40,000, and subsequent yr I anticipate we’ll hit $100,000. Although it is not likely producing cash for me proper now, it does allow me to make actually cool initiatives occur and makes it lots simpler for museums and historic websites to fee me to jot down work (which does get me paid). And it is work that I like to create. 

These are my writing numbers. I anticipate 2019 to have many fewer performances and fewer viewers, although that relies on whether or not Cato and Dolly returns for one more summer season. The Mount Auburn productions will likely be superior, however they’re fairly intimate performances for pretty quick runs–so excessive affect, however low numbers. I’ve already bought half a dozen quick play productions lined up for early 2019, however I want a pair different good-sized gigs to herald extra viewers and earnings. (The schedule for 2020 already seems intense, if all the pieces falls into place.)


I hope you discover this submit useful. Writers are typically very secretive about their funds and different numbers, which I perceive. We do not wish to brag, or we do not wish to seem like we’re large failures. And we do not even have a good suggestion of how other people are doing, so we do not even know whether or not our personal numbers are comparatively constructive or unfavourable. This submit presents the numbers of 1 playwright (who additionally writes novels and screenplays), and as you possibly can see, I’ve had gradual years and good years. I believe it is vital to maintain sharing, so we are able to function from an knowledgeable place to set sensible objectives and negotiate stronger offers for our work.

Please let me know if you happen to hold monitor of numbers like this.  In case you submit about it anyplace, let me know, and I am going to submit a hyperlink beneath.

These are some mates who’ve summed up their years:

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.

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