Holy Cow!

December 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

Today I was thinking to myself, man, I have a lot of random thoughts in my head. I should probably blog about those thoughts.

Then I remembered, oh hey, I have a blog!

Then I looked at the last time I posted something here. And it turns out, it was almost a full year ago. Oops.

So I figured that now was a great time for a little retrospective, and a little conversation about the future. Why not? The end of 2015 is almost upon us and much has happened.

Be warned: this will probably be a really, really long entry. I’m not sure what’s worse, forgetting to update one’s blog for a full 11 months, or trying to cram those 11 months into one post, so apologies all around. I will endeavor, at least, to make this interesting.

2015 – What a Year!

In some ways, this year has really flown by, and in other ways, it seems like January was an eternity ago. Lots of stuff has happened, which probably contributes to both of those feelings.

The Release of Psionics

Probably the most important thing that happened, and the biggest contributor to my falling of the face of the planet, was the release of Psionics. It is probably the project that I’ve done so far in my life that I take the most pride in. I think it’s what took my layout to something like a pro level.

Psionics was interesting because it was the first thing we’d Kickstarted. We were able to have much better production values because of the Kickstarter success, but we also had a lot more expectation riding on the project. If we didn’t make a deadline or make the product great, we weren’t the only people we were letting down. So making it awesome was extra important.

For three months before the release, I had been working on the layout 7 days a week, from 8 AM to 3 AM. On my birthday, I even requested that I just be left alone to work. On the final week before it went to print, I stayed up for over 72 hours straight. It got to print, it got to Origins, and it looked amazing. There were some issues that had to get fixed after the initial short print run, but they did get fixed, and we got books and goodies to backers.

Now, we’re in the process of completing the final two things that we owe to backers. The Psionics comic book is in production, and the first adventure product is also being written. Both of these products have been given over to folks who are not myself or DTO, so it’s in their hands right now.

Free Releases

Very shortly after Psionics came out, I completed the herculean effort of laying out another product, the DicePunk SRD, in two weeks. I couldn’t have done it without the proofreading help of my dear friend and PR/Data Wizard, Doctor. I also put the SRD up on our website, which I refurbished. I learned during this particular experience that while I wear many hats, website designer/webmaster just ain’t one of them. So one of these days, I hope to hire someone who actually knows how to do that.

The DicePunk SRD is a free product, both in HTML and PDF formats, but it can be bought in hardcopy too for those who enjoy destroying trees for pleasure.

Almost right away after that – or at least, it felt like to me – I laid out the next free product, Epic Space Battles for the Singularity System. (Whew). We were stoked to see that DriveThruRPG had named ESB the Featured Free Product of that month!

Surprising Things

Our very first product release was a game called SPLINTERSPLINTER is showing its age a bit, since it was created when I literally (using the word correctly here) had never used InDesign before and knew nothing about the program or how to operate it. I’d never done art direction before. I’d never proofread a book. I’d never done any of that stuff. So the organization and the look are a bit… janky. But the game itself is still fantastic, and people who play it like it enough to overlook its aesthetic issues.

Those who love the game have been asking us for more supplements, and we finally Kickstarted the next two books in the series: Sometimes Little Wondrous Things and Ugly Things. It was a bit hairy there for a bit, even with the amazing support of family, friends, and fans, but once again, Doctor came to the rescue and both books were funded.

As of now, we are working with freelancers to finish both manuscripts, and for the first time ever, I’m the lead developer on a book! I feel a bit behind on the project, but progress is steady and the freelancers are amazing. But if you’re ever wondering where I am at any given moment for the next few months, it’s probably working on that.

Childhood Dreams

Once upon a time, when I was just a little Mik, there was a show that changed my life. That show was called Mystery Science Theater 3000. To say I was obsessed would be an understatement. I was obnoxious. I taped every episode I could, I quoted it constantly, I collected the collectibles. I wanted with every fiber of my being to work on that show one day.

Then it got cancelled. And not the for-fakeseys cancelled from Comedy Central. I mean for-reals cancelled, from the Sci Fi Channel, from television.

I grew up to eventually get my Bachelors of Fine Arts in Screenwriting with a focus on television/teleplays. So even though I went on to start End Transmission with DTO, I had that in my pocket, along with my childhood dream.

This year, a miracle happened. Joel Hodgson, creator of MST3K, got the rights to the show back and Kickstarted it. DTO convinced me to take my shot – so I did. I pledged at the level that will allow me to help write one episode of the show.

Worst case scenario, I get the experience of writing that one episode and fulfilling Little Mik’s hopes and dreams. Maybe, though, they will like what I can do, and want to see more. Sure, that would make things complicated as far as End Transmission goes, but as DTO said, “that would be a wonderful problem to have.”

So, What’s Next?

Coming up in 2016, I’d love to use this blog a lot more often. Obviously, my main priority is to the work itself – if it comes between getting books to Kickstarter backers and rambling on here, the former is going to take precedence. But sometimes I do have some free time (shocking) and I’d love to spend a little more of it here.

I’m going to be using this blog for more than just work stuff. I’d ideally like this to be a place where I can talk about a lot of different things. Sometimes I might post a book review (I have had one in mind for some time now). Sometimes I might talk about climbing, kickboxing, nutrition, and fitness. Sometimes I might just say something inane. You never know. But I’ll tag and categorize everything so you can skip over the stuff you don’t care about.

2016 is already looking busy, even from here. More releases, more cons, more gaming! But it’s the kind of busy I like.

Stay frosty!

-Mik

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