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Daedalus Howell STORY
5 minutes | 3 years ago
010: In The Waste Land Between a Day Job and Dream Job
Nine months ago, I was out of a job, fricasseed by my own wee media market, and generally peeking down the double barrel of “destiny, interrupted.” I was at the lowest point I'd ever been, which is saying something since I was a teenage telemarketer. I was lower than Dante’s Inferno, I was Dante’s Intern, I was his mid-40s intern, filing broken dreams and lost self esteem in Hell’s circular file. After one of my bipolar bottom outs, my partner and collaborator Karen Hell asked me what I really wanted to do. What did I really want to do? What did I really wanna do? And what did that really mean? I took it at face value... Well, what I really want to do is direct, I said. Read more: http://daedalushowell.com/blog/wasteland
5 minutes | 4 years ago
009: It's Never Too Late to Be What You Might Have Been
I remember when I was first on the periphery of what I guess we could call my screenwriting career and some Hollywood dickhead asked me “What’s your quote?” He meant “what’s your rate, your fee, your market value” — all of which was zero at the time. But what I thought he was after was more akin to “Play it again, Sam,” or “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a fuck” — you know, a movie quote. I mean that’s what people quote anyway — the movies. Except, I have a new quote — and it's not from the movies. In fact, I hate where I got it. It was the worst. It was a meme — you know, with an image of a sunset, the words hovering there, in all caps, over the shimmering sea as if belched directly from God, like some Wayne White word painting. It reads: “It's not too late to be what you might have been.” First off, fuck you, meme. And you too, God. And Wayne White -- okay, you get a pass, but... Fuck you to the person who didn’t credit the quote’s author, George Eliot (I looked it up). Which became its own wormhole, since everything I know about Eliot fits in two data points: He was a she. Or, rather, she used a male nom de plume because women writers weren’t taken seriously in the 19th century. She is not George Sand, who was also a 19th century writer and used her pseudonym for the same reasons. Also, names were just plain complicated for her, as she once wrote: "My name is not Marie-Aurore de Saxe, Marquise of Dudevant, as several of my biographers have asserted, but Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin.” And then she probably added, “Screw it, call me ‘George.’” So, George Eliot writes “It's not too late to be what you might have been” and a century and a half later, Rebecca Mead, in a New Yorker essay titled Middlemarch and Me tries to find the origin of the quotation, which she first read on a refrigerator magnet. Then Mead observes, “the sentence didn’t sound to me like anything George Eliot would say” and some literary sleuthing ensues. Spoiler alert — it’s made up. Probably by a refrigerator magnet scribe, who hopefully took her own advice and got out of the magnet business. Which is good advice. It's not too late to be what you might have been. What did you want to be? I wanted to be many things, too many things, surely. But the unified field theory always had art in the equation. I’m not entirely sure how that came to feel so far away until recently but I think it went like this: Art led to entertainment, which led to media, which will probably lead to memes if I’m not careful. I think I caught myself just in time, hence this public psychic striptease I’ve been conducting as I peel away a lifetime’s accumulated bullshit and become what I might have been. And if you come across a Hollywood dickhead, tell him what happened to me, then tell him that the rights are tied up in with a refrigerator magnet. Then run far, far away and hide — maybe change your name to George? — and then become what you might have been. It’s not too late. Theme: Shannon Ferguson Piano: Kevin MacLeod
5 minutes | 4 years ago
008: Keep the Aspidistra Dying: I'm an Artist, Not a Creative Entrepreneur
When you’re a broke-ass-art-person, there’s about million podcasts and blogs and online courses encouraging you to create podcasts and blogs and online courses to help monetize your creative process by sharing it with other artists who, in turn, will create more podcasts and blogs and online courses. For me, this puts the “meta” in “metastasis” as this sort of thinking has been like a tumor in my creative career. So, Ima gonna take this here buck knife, put back that bottle of what-the-fuck-else-I’m-gonna-do, and cut the goddamn thing outta me. As a career-long writer, I've been down this diverting wormhole more than a few times. Every time my industry was “disrupted” or I self-disrupted, I would start selling tours of the rag and bone shop of my expertise. I wrote ebooks, made podcasts, consulted. It worked, until it didn’t, and I’ve come to the personal conclusion that this kind of shit has derailed more than a few of us art peoploids. Remember when we produced writing and art of substance instead of content? That's what I'm talking about I arrived at this crossroads last week after two incidents: First, I received eight emails from an artist hawking an online “creative entrepreneur” marketing class. After the second email — in an hour — I concluded that the spammer in question was a shitty a marketer and artist. The second incident was of my own making: I pitched a couple of night classes to the local adult school because I figured I’d burnish my pseudo-professorial pose with some actual teaching. I focused on material that aligned with my own interests — something about Art House cinema, weird media, and then I threw in a ringer, the comparatively banal Podcasting for Non-Techies, a podcast class I’d taught before — a fine how-to that fits in a lunch hour but not a problem the Internet hasn’t already solved for you with thousands of different, cheaper tutorials. Guess which one the adult school booked? Listen, I’m happy to help, but if everyone wants to do what me and apparently everyone else is also doing, I better double down on the art to remain competitive, let alone sane. I know this isn’t a popular opinion but if I was seeking popularity I’d be more famous by now and not ranting into the void of the Internet. But seeing as you’re here, and I’m here, I’ll presume we're part of the same band of outsiders. We’re a Bande à part like the Godard film, or Tarantino's production company, which spelled it A-P-A-R-T because, you know, the 90s. But what about the skill set we've developed? The bullshit corporate skills acquired in newsrooms and boardrooms (and probably men’s rooms)? What of these skills that weaponized my nascent talent until I became an overqualified but underwhelmed part of the very systems I once sought to destroy or at least avoid? Like any Frankenstein monster, I suppose I’ll turn on my creators and destroy the systems that created me. I’ll be the art-guy equivalent of Liam Neeson: “I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a fucking nightmare for people like you…” Of course, this a difficult position to monetize, to invoke the parlance. But I'm gonna strike that jargon from my vocabulary — so what if it’s the secret password to a meal ticket. Maybe I’ll just lose some goddamn weight. And most that, my friends, we’ll probably just be baggage — full of mixed metaphors... Read the rest at http://daedalushowell.com/blog/aspidistra Music: Theme by Shannon Ferguson (fergusound.com. "Improbable" byKevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
6 minutes | 4 years ago
007: Transmedia, Worldbuilding and Weird German Words
This edition of Daedalus Howell’s Night School of the Mind, is brought to you by Quantum Deadline, "...a noirish, sci-fi-lite detective story with a heap of self-parody that's by turns poignant, witty and comic..." says the North Bay Bohemian. And I agree because I wrote it and you can get it on Amazon right now in ebook and paperback. Remember when the entertainment industry was pushing the term “transmedia?” Yeah, neither do I but I do know what it means, because all I really need to know I learned on Wikipedia. Transmedia storytelling “is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies.” The entry was first created in 2015, back before the prefix “trans” took on the cultural heft of gender issues and the term “media” became a rapidly deflating political football. Plus, “transmedia” always sounded like one of those meaningless corporate constructions like “multichannel” or “accountability.” So, how do we refer to the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms? Richard Wagner used the term Gesamtkunstwerk but the scope of media at the time didn’t reach beyond 15 hours of the Ring Cycle. Besides, gesamtkunstwerk sounds like something to say after a sneeze. I bring this up because I've been creating an immersive transmedia experience within a self-consistent fictional universe. Think Tolkien's Middle Earth or that galaxy far, far away. Or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or even the the Dublin of James Joyce's Ulysses, or the intertextuality of Kurt Vonnegut’s Midwest and you get the idea. In my case, the scope is narrowed to my own particular take on Petaluma, CA, where I grew up and, 20 years later, repatriated. I realize that sounds like the premise of a terrible TV show wherein the protagonist lives in the big city, gets knocked on his ass, and returns to small-town Americana and reconnects with old friends, lost loves, and forgotten dreams — and maybe even himself. That’s not my story. The fictional Lumaville is a sort of psychic space laid over the topography of the places that have long haunted me. It operates as a kind of imagined parallel universe inhabited by a protagonist who is, likewise, a parallel version of its author. But with a far darker world view. I like to put it like this: “I create autobiographical fictions that draw on my experiences as a small town reporter – but with more drinking, danger and death. They’re semantically-engineered to make you feel better than I do. And, let me tell you, I feel just fucking great.” Conceptually, I consider the endeavor literary performance art and I'll swear up and down that it's a true story if asked. Because, depending on your brand of quantum physics, it is – somewhere. In a way, creating this fictional, alternate universe isn't an act of fiction so much as reporting the history of another reality – one that I call the Lumaverse. This is the context in which I wrote my genre novel experiment Quantum Deadline as well as the screenplay for Pill Head, our upcoming feature film in which a pill-addicted young woman undergoes an experimental sleep treatment and awakes wayyy later to find she's on the verge of a psychic breakthrough ...or psychotic breakdown. “But, Mr. Howell,” you ask, “Besides your obsession with prescription drugs and inability mature beyond the environs of your youth, why do this all this work in different media? Is it just massive ADD?” Good question. This is how I got started... Read the rest at DaedalusHowell.com.
6 minutes | 4 years ago
006: That Time My Fear of Artistic Inauthenticity Met The Fear Doctor
Before I walked the plank into indie authorship, I did time as a small town newspaperman. As my affiliations grew, so did the amount of press releases I received in my inbox. I still receive them, and one arrived today that served as an ironic reminder of an issue I’ve been facing — a pervading feeling of inauthenticity. Maybe it’s a Gen X thing, or an artist thing, or a byproduct from all the Fake News we read. Maybe it was because Nirvana's bassist played a Guild B30E Semi-Acoustic Bass for the Unplugged album, which technically is not totally unplugged. So, imagine the deep soulful sigh I released when some flack from West LA beamed me a release for a premium, naturally-alkaline, spring water from some nordic country that hopes to inspire individuals to find their own “pure authenticity,” you know, by drinking imported water. Side note: When I lived in L.A., I visited the FAQs on the municipal water company’s website. The answer to the question “Is my water safe to drink?” was a shruggy “Probably.” Fortunately, I was fortified against the pitch thanks to art. Not in the hippy-dippy “art will save your soul” kind of way but rather through an art installation at the stARTup Art Fair in San Francisco last Friday. The fair took over the entire Hotel Del Sol and each guest room was converted by an artist into their own exhibit space. Situated in the courtyard by the pool was an artist named Hunter Franks, who was in a booth described the event’s organizers as a space to open up to a stranger and share a fear to receive a custom, typewritten philosophical prescription from a certified Fear Doctor. So, I sat down and told the Fear Doctor about my fear of inauthenticity. Listen to the podcast for the prescription... Instead of washing up writing press releases for water or drowning in printer’s ink, I’m gonna dog-paddle in those two tablespoons of “faith in the process” until I’m safely ashore. Meet me there? About Hunter Franks, per his website: “creates art that intervenes in the social and physical landscape of our urban environments. His participatory installations in public space break down barriers and help us reimagine our relationships with each other, our neighborhoods, and our cities.” I heartily encourage a visit. — DH The podcast theme is by Shannon Ferguson. Additional music by Kevin MacLeod. Visit DHowell.com to subscribe and more!
4 minutes | 4 years ago
005: Did Shakespeare Smoke Pot?
April 23rd marks William Shakespeare’s 423rd bday. For the sake of this chat, however, let’s just say it’s his 4-20th birthday. Because the question of the day is “Did Shakespeare smoke weed?” Doobie, or not doobie? That is the question – the one that circulated the Internet a couple years ago when anthropologist Francis Thackeray, suggested that William Shakespeare might have sought creative inspiration by smoking pot. Thackeray is the Director of the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and in 2001 he conducted a study that found marijuana residue in pipe fragments unearthed in Shakespeare’s garden. Though cannabis was cultivated in England during Shakespeare’s day for rope-making and other textiles, it’s unclear if it was used recreationally. It was references in Shakespeare’s work itself, that encouraged Thackeray’s line of inquiry. “Some Shakespearean allusions, including a mention of a ‘noted weed’ in Sonnet 76, spurred Thackeray's inquiry into whether Shakespeare may have used the mind-altering drug for inspiration,” wrote Life Science journal contributor Stephanie Pappas. About five years ago, Thackeray contemplated petitioning the Church of England to open the Bard’s grave and to undertake a chemical analysis of his hair and nails in search of traces of marijuana. There has been little mention of the project since. Because, I surmise, Thackeray is no longer high. Here’s the sonnet: Why is my verse so barren of new pride, So far from variation or quick change? Why with the time do I not glance aside To new-found methods and to compounds strange? Why write I still all one, ever the same, And keep invention in a noted weed, That every word doth almost tell my name, Showing their birth and where they did proceed? O, know, sweet love, I always write of you, And you and love are still my argument; So all my best is dressing old words new, Spending again what is already spent: For as the sun is daily new and old, So is my love still telling what is told So, I could see how, in certain states of mind, a phrase like “compounds strange” could be a pot allusion, next to the aforecited “noted weed.” Especially after a bong hit. Two questions come to mind, however – Why are some always eager to pin the inspirations of creative types on dope? And secondly, who cares? W.H. Auden took benzedrine in the morning and seconal at night but few mention it in the same breath as his poetry. And strung out as he was, even Auden addresses hazards of reading between the lines of Shakespeare’s poetry. This is from an introduction he once wrote to the Bard’s works: “Probably, more nonsense has been talked and written, more intellectual and emotional energy expended in vain, on the sonnets of Shakespeare than on any other literary work in the world.” But did Shakespeare smoke pot? Does it matter? Meh. Sure, my own writing is better when I’m high, but I only think that when I’m high. For the record, I wasn’t high when I wrote this – maybe I should’ve been. Or maybe should be. Anyway, Happy Birthday, Shakespeare. Get it? Shake...speare. Okay, I’ll stop. Visit http://daedalushowell.com and sign up to receive these blogs and pods in your inbox.
7 minutes | 4 years ago
004: Quicksand. Don't Make it Weird.
Long left behind in B-Movies, quicksand is making something of a cultural comeback. But maybe not in the way one might expect. From fetish films to a David Bowie word salad, your host Daedalus Howell plays through the sandtrap and finds old video games, snakes, and Nazis along the way. Links to everything discussed at http://daedalushowell.com/blog/quicksand.
5 minutes | 4 years ago
003: Burning Down the Art House, Part Three: Nostalgia, the Good Disease
The third and final installment of the mini-series "Burning Down the Art House" focuses on Tom Schiller’s hat tip to Fellini, "La Dolce Gilda," starring Gilda Radner and evoking a nostalgia trip for your host, Daedalus Howell. Links to the videos and more at http://daedalushowell.com/blog/part-three-art-films. Sign up for your free Screenwriting Structure ebook! http://eepurl.com/lVAWH
5 minutes | 4 years ago
002: Burning Down the Art House, Part Two: Death Becomes Him
Still in pursuit of the elusive art film, I find my way to Bergman through the portal of parody and pubescent thanatos. Behold, De Düva... Watch the films mentioned here: http://daedalushowell.com/blog/part-two-art-films. Theme music by Shannon Ferguson, additional music by Kevin MacLeod.
8 minutes | 4 years ago
001: Burning Down the Art House, Part One: Poseurs, Parodists and Pill Head, an Art Film
Whilst developing my feature-length art film, Pill Head, I ask why I'm drawn to the genre and whether it's really a genre at all. Also, I connect the dots between Monty Python and Jean-Luc Godard...
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