Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Couple of New Media Expo Thoughts

For the second year in a row, I got to spend the weekend at the New Media Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, side by side with Big Anklevich, attending panels and recording sessions of my own work and others'.  It was a wholly positive experience, and the people we hung around with were so awesome, it made me want to change my whole life, working harder and perfecting my craft so as to be worthy of both their company and their adulation.

The weather was pretty good, and it got to sixty degrees one of the days.  We did some walking around the Strip, and spent time with our fellow podcasters, most of whom we'd only ever met once before, yet felt like old friends.  We watched the music-choreographed fountains outside the Bellagio, rode the roller coaster at the New York, New York, and had our second-annual karaoke night at the Ellis Island casino (which my jacket still smells like).
I could actually do a whole blog post about the latter, as I was somewhat hesitant to go this year, having felt the locale and DJ inferior last year, but I'm sure glad I went this year.  We spent about ninety minutes longer there this year, got to sing a bit more, and supported everybody that went up and performed.  My voice did go out on me halfway through a song, but I was convinced to get up and do a song as Fake Sean Connery.  That was fun.

We also did some readings of stories, a couple of which I had written, and people were surprisingly enthusiastic about that too.  I honestly figured it would be Big and me who got something out of our recording sessions, but the others gave the impression that they were enjoying the experience, even though they were probably nice enough not to let on if that wasn't the case.

Like last year, the New Media Expo was held in the Rio Hotel and Convention Center, and it was a great place to develop new marketing arenas for your company or small business.  We were too busy to go to a lot of panels, so I didn't hear the word "monetizing" nearly as much as last year.  It turned out that, instead of the single panel Big and I were on last year, we were on five this year (technically, I wasn't a part of the first panel, but I got to introduce it, so I'm counting it).

On our first day, we met a charismatic bald guy named Marshal Sylver, who it turns out is a motivational speaker and hypnotist, but it disturbed me to find him sitting upon an honest-to-Odin throne in the main hall, surrounded by acolytes.  And the throne may or may not have been built out of baby skulls, I didn't dare check.

At one of the booths, there were these Eastern European women who would ask passersby if they were feeling stressed, and then attach electrodes to their bodies, jolting them with varying levels of electricity using a device that looked exactly like an mp3 player.  Big is always exercising and knocking up his wives, so of course he volunteered to try out the massagers.  Unable to say no to a Russian accent, I also got the electrodes attached to me, though unlike Big, I wasn't asked to take my shirt off for the procedure.

What followed was something out of a hazing ritual on Fraternity Row rather than something you would pay a Swedish or Asian sweatshop refugee to administer.  Buzzing reminiscent of licking a 9 volt battery entered my body on my neck and shoulder, and when I turned down the intensity of the vibration, the woman said, "No, you are turning up level like turning up volume; like this," and actually made it worse.

I told her where our secret base was located, as well as the names and aliases of everyone in my organization.*  I cannot imagine anyone enjoying the feeling of french-kissing a light socket, but to each their own; my friend Jeff does not like spaghetti.

A few minutes later, another Russian-sounding woman handed me a solar cellphone charger which seemed like a wonderful gift, until she told me she wanted two hundred dollars for it.  It really was a remarkable device, and I've no doubt that every new cellphone sold in 2022 will include one for free.  A much smaller version, that is.

Not far away was a booth where they had a caricature artist who would do a cartoony version of you using his iPad, and then print it out for you to keep.  I asked him several questions about his craft, and despite his reluctance to give me a good answer, he thanked me for the insightful questions when we were done.  He worked fast and well, despite my caricature looking like the survivor of a nuclear holocaust, and despite him refusing to do one for Abbie Hilton.  Big and I figured we'd stick them on our website, though we may never actually get around to it.

This year, Renee Chambliss was the one who organized all our panels and readings, and though she did it tirelessly, I think she ended up pretty tired in the end.  When we met up with Renee the night before the convention, we were shown a room (Miranda 7, which will probably end up in a story of mine someday, maybe as the name of a starship) and told that it would be ours for the entirety of the conference, with all our panels and presentations done there.

Also, there was free water for speakers, our own personal security guard (a small foreign woman of about seventy), and a ton of free ballpoint pens.  I told Big that it was my plan to "steal" a hundred of the pens, but I only managed to snag the following:
But it's a start.

One thing I didn't appreciate was when someone would ask a panelist a question, and they wouldn't answer it, but instead would refer them to a class they teach or a book they sell.  It may be the correct way to do things, financially, but it got on my fugging nerves.

I ran into an audiobook narrator later and asked him a question, one on one, thinking I would get a genuine answer.  Instead, I got, "I deal with that extensively in my course.  Would you like to sign up?"  Compare that to Bryan Lincoln, who opened up his laptop to demonstrate the answer when someone asked him a question about an audio effect.

But that's really the difference between the things we were talking about and the rest of the conference.  Big entertained me one night by reading the names of the panels that were running at the same time as ours.  My favorite was one that went something like "Taking Over The World Using Only Your Pinterest Page."

I mock, but I realize that I could use a bit more capitalism, a bit more ambition, a bit more drive to take advantage of the brave new world that is podcasting and internet publication.  Best-selling author (and podcasting royalty) Scott Sigler gave a panel where he talked about three things he did to get where he is today, and three things he wishes he had never done.  It was slick, and slightly-corporate, and felt like he'd given the presentation a bunch of times, but he had some good stuff in there, stuff I really ought to incorporate.

We also got to do a live reading of a wonderful story Sigler had written called "Chuckles Mulroney, Attorney for the Damned."  Nobody came to the panel for some reason (it was toward the end of the last day, which might have had something to do with it, but the room really should have been full, especially since the panel that preceded it was).  Big voiced the titular character, the author himself voiced a literary agent, and I got to perform the character of Satan.  I wasn't paid to do the recording, but I surely would've done it for free.

Upon coming home from the New Media Expo, I discovered (to my horror) that some bills I had dismissed as imaginary have come due.  The bottom line is so great as to be something out of an Adam Sandler movie, forcing him into the local Backgammon tournament despite the fact that seeing red and black discs drives him into a murderous rage.  To put it another way, if I signed over fifty percent of every paycheck, I would have my debt paid off two or three years after I pass away.

So, I really, really need to buckle down and try to make some money, either with my audio work or my podcast.

I keep imagining that one day I'll wake up, and somebody will have paid me to write a screenplay (that actually gets made, that is), and my life will change, and suddenly, I'll be a successful writer.  Or that somebody somewhere will hear my crappy little recordings of audiobooks and say, "Wow, I want to fly that guy to the big city and pay him an ungodly amount to do his thing in a studio!"  But the truth is, I could publish more, podcast more, and record more audiobooks, and actually make money doing it, maybe not big city money, but enough that it pays to wash my sheets and disgusting socks.

Hell, I discovered that people other than me really like to hear Fake Sean Connery sing.  I could have an entire YouTube page with Fake Sir Sean doing touching and/or inappropriate Pop songs, and total strangers might appreciate it.

So, I need to try harder, and I need to draw attention to things when I'm done.

I've got a resolution.   Or two, I suppose.

Rish Outfield, Poor Podcaster

*As a result, Announcer Man was tortured to death over a three day period.  Sad.

1 comment:

Seraph said...

Sounds like it was pretty awesome. Wish I could have been there you see you guys, but being half a world away is a bit of a limiting factor !