When Steven, Erika and I discovered we had enough money from our Patreon supporters to head over to the UK, one of the first things on our agenda was to film a video to tie into the opening of our (then) upcoming live show at Gallifrey One. Steven spent a productive day at work cooking up the story, the inestimable Simon Harries volunteered to shoot and direct, and I steeled myself for some serious editing time once I’d returned to Canada. But first, the shooting!
What have I been up to for the past few months? Quite a bit, actually. In November I went to the UK for the first time, which has been a lifelong ambition. I’ve always wanted to visit New York, Tokyo and London…and now all three can be checked off the list. In fact, I managed to pack New York into my UK trip on the way back…but more of that later.
Star Trek is sick, and the cure for what ails it isn’t another bombastic brofest.
Allow me to explain. Though I’m best known as a Doctor Who nerd, my first introduction to science fiction in a visual medium was Star Trek. As a six-year old in the mid-70s I was intrigued by the colorful costumes and derring-do of the original series, and I never really lost that interest until the series started hitting the dirt around the mid-point of Voyager.
Recently I’ve posted about getting out of making videos and moving more towards writing. Since then I’ve been doing a bunch of writing (you may have seen a couple of whimsical fanfics) but in the warm-up to the Radio Free Skaro live show at Gallifrey One, I put together this little number:
It got such a good response, with people cheering and laughing in the audience and Doctor Who fans saying such nice things about it online, that it’s encouraged me to rethink my previous trepidation towards filmmaking.
But it’s important to note that filmmaking will not be the dominant thing I do. I think the best approach is to tackle creative work in as many mediums as possible; comics, prose, film and audio. Not only will I learn more but it’ll expose my work, for better or for worse, to a wider array of people.
I would like to thank everyone who emailed or commented on how much they liked the video. It really means a lot.
P.S. I can’t take all the credit. The opening “Thames” ident was the work of Mel Siermaczeski.
Thanks to encouragement and support from both fellow fans and other writerly types such as J.M. Frey and Deb Stanish, I’ve kept at it with the fan fiction scribblin’. My newest is Head Cases – Episode 1, a bit of cranial nonsense involving Handles, Davros, the brain of Morbius and a few surprises.
I’m also working on a couple of short screenplays and an original horror-themed short story…and a comic book script and some other ephemera. In other words, I’m keeping busy.
Since I have a day job and occasionally freelance video work on my plate, I have to carve out time for writing, as every writer does. My routine for the foreseeable future is heading home from work, hitting the gym in my building and writing for an hour or two before bed. Glamorous? No. But it does mean I’ll be Getting Things Done.
And speaking of getting things done, in a few days I’ll be heading off to Hawaii for a week to cover a conference for work. I’ll likely be way too tired after a day of blogging, tweeting and shooting video to get any writing done…which is why I intend to spend most of the flight to Maui glued to my new Macbook Air.
After Hawaii, I’m heading to Gallifrey One, the biggest and best Doctor Who convention in North America. I’ll (despite a chronic lack of sleep thanks to a red-eye flight) be one of the three hosts, along withe the mighty Steven Schapansky and Chris Burgess opening the convention with the Radio Free Skaro: Gallifrey Stands live show (technical direction by Chip, the Two Minute Time Lord), followed by a weekend of friends, nerdery and probably a little booze. Then it’s back home to Vancouver and another marathon session of coverage for a big conference in town.
Phew! February is going to be mighty busy. Wish me luck.
In an attempt to keep being creative, I’ve been looking into making comic books. However, my drawing skills are (at this point) minimal at best so I’ve started putting together photo comics using objects I have at hand. Unsurprisingly, that means Doctor Who action figures are being drafted to comedic effect, as seen below:
Here’s the final episode of Video Free Skaro for your enjoyment. It’s much longer than the usual episodes and it’s chock-a-block full of interviews, action figure shenanigans and other goodness!
And if you’d like a breakdown of how and why we made it and why we’re finishing up with it, read on.
That fine piece of work above is Gallifrey Academy, my latest short Doctor Who film. Every year I try to make a short film in advance of Gallifrey One, the biggest Doctor Who convention in North America (more on that later.) This year I was lucky enough to run it ahead of our Radio Free Skaro live show in front of a big crowd, and it got a pretty decent reception. Kyle Anderson, a friend and writer for The Nerdist, also featured the short in his Gallifrey One wrap up.
The film featured the talents of Eric Fell, Joanna Gaskell and Shaun Stewart in front of the camera, as well as a certain Time Lord whose identity I’m not at liberty to disclose. All those named can be seen here in Vancouver at the Critical Hit Show, a hilarious live Dungeons and Dragons improv that happens every month at the Rio Theatre. Laurel Brown, Vanessa Driveness (who also played an apathetic Shobogan) and Mel Siermaczeski also helped out behind the scenes.
And how was Gallifrey One (or Gally, as its know to its many fans)? Simply amazing. I’ve been for five years running now, and the sheer amount of Whocentric content never ceases to amaze me. Shaun Lyon and the other hard-working people who have been putting on the convention for a quarter-century(!) pour their heart and souls into this yearly event, and it shows. Now matter what you’re into in the Whoniverse, there’s someone else at the convention who digs what you dig.
What’s next? Well, it’s a guarantee I’ll be at Gallifrey One next year, and I’ve got a few ideas for the next short film. I try to be more ambitious with each film, so next year, expect ILM quality visuals and a 6 hour running time. No pressure.
A very special guest host takes the reigns on this week’s Video Free Skaro, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy his sardonic take on all things Whovian. But the main event is the Critical Hit show, a blending of improv and Dungeons and Dragons hosted by the inestimable Eric Fell, star of Blue Meanie and Skaromantic Comedy. Join Eric as he and his merry band of comedians vanquish monsters and concoct shenanigans under the lights of the Rio Theatre in Vancouver!