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Bill McSciFi's Blog

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Come McSee What I McSee

Newsletter Posted on Tue, May 30, 2023 07:53:32

Not that long ago and certainly not that far, far away, I promised I’d share things as they became real. Today is my first chance to keep that promise so I’m jumping on it like I’ve got extra quarters for the pony outside K-Mart.


I’d already told you Azoth Khem and I were preparing to work with Fredits, the editing and promotional company owned by – internationally acclaimed editor – Freddy Noriega. We did that and the preliminary results are in. I’ll share them in a moment, I just want you to understand what you’re about to see.

On top of his fascinating background, Freddy is a master of creating tone, or sizzle, reels. These are industry oriented shorts that use footage from other sources to create a single feel, or tone, so that investors and others will grasp what we’re trying to create. And, let’s be honest, The Brittle Riders is not easy to match with anything out there. I began to understand how hard it would be when the third company that does these things turned me down. Oh, sure, they wished me luck too, but they still turned me down.

Freddy not only accepted, he nailed it. This is a first draft, so there will be some minor changes, but I’m completely comfortable sharing what we have now.

The Brittle Riders Tone Reel

The bigger the screen, and the better the sound system, the happier you will be.

As you can tell we’re really upping our game. The idea is, over the next month or so, to have a complete package to present to possible investors or networks. We will have a complete script, pitch deck, and this reel, all focused on creating a pilot. We also have something called a “script bible.” Unlike it’s Judeo Christian namesake, it’s a simple tome. It breaks out all the episodes in the first season of The Brittle Riders should it ever get made. At this point it’s more of a “suggestion” than a “bible” since the pilot hasn’t been made. Nevertheless, I’m from Chicago so I follow the advice of the legendary Daniel Burnham; “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized. Make big plans, aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever growing insistency.”

I think that’s enough excitement for one day. Thanks for hanging in there with me and I’ll see you soon.

Bill McSciFi

Grinding and McGrinding

Newsletter Posted on Tue, May 16, 2023 08:58:06

My wife and I celebrated American Mother’s Day with her mom and step-dad. We had a lovely brunch at Scrementi’s, a popular Italian restaurant in the south suburbs, and got to spend some quality time all around. Life is short, a fact I’m reminded off more often than I’d care, so take advantage of it while you can.

In film related news, the nice people at Azoth Khem are partnering up with FREDITS, an internationally respected editing firm, to create a “Tone Reel” for The Brittle Riders. Due to the fact The Brittle Riders is such a unique universe, several companies were reluctant, I say that politely, to take this on. However, FREDITS had some solid ideas on how to bring this to life. It doesn’t have to be exact. It can’t be since no characters exist like these. But, if it can get close, and I believe it can, then investors and others will have a better idea of what they’re getting involved in.

To help that along, I have been assembling a Pitchbook as well. Think of it as a Power Point presentation, but without some rando droning on and on about annuities. In essence it’s a collection of images tied to a longer synopsis of the film. When used in conjunction with a tone reel, investors and others can have a solid grasp of what’s involved in under fifteen minutes. Given the nature of the entertainment industry in general, being able to make a complex presenttion in a a brief manner, is a blessing for all involved. Also, in the case of something this different, giving people a solid place to work from is needed.

Also, this week, we got a nice little present in the form of a professional review. Allow me to share.

The Brittle Riders Book One, by Bill McCormick, is the first book in a thrilling science fiction and fantasy trilogy. It takes readers on an intriguing journey through a unique and imaginative world. The story begins when a daring scientist, Edward Q. Rohta, created multiple species successfully to aid humans. The created species are used solely for slave labor. However, a chain of events that leads to an apocalypse begins when the created species, due to slave labor revolt, causing the death of every man, woman, and child on the planet.

The book takes us on a post-apocalyptic journey after the brutal end of humans with a new way of life entirely different from the world previously led by humans. But this new world comes with its own pain and suffering as a merciless ruler, which births the need for change.

I love how the author vividly describes the new world with attention to detail, weaving a thrilling tale infused with bits of dry humor. I thoroughly enjoyed how learning about the characters; from Geldish, a mysterious creature with great power who assembles the most unlikely yet dedicated group; Sland, N’leah, R’yune, and BraarB, all fringe dwellers who are quite used to living a life with no purpose beyond food, shelter, and clothing answered a call to embark on a journey along with Geldish to end the reign of a tyrant ruler, Xhaknar. This group of five embarks on a journey that tests them individually and as a group tyrant and learns to trust one another on a mission where one wrong step has catastrophic consequences. McCormick offers a refreshing and engaging reading experience for fans of the genre, weaving the tale in a way the readers can connect to the characters and the world they are in, while including using humor; the book explains serious events.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 rating. It is quite descriptive and well-explained, with bits of dry humor that help us understand our heroes better. The author, McCormick, skillfully develops their personalities, motivations, and backstories, allowing readers to understand the characters. I also admired how he ensured that the terms created for the book were well understood.

This book is recommended to fantasy and science fiction lovers as the author’s expertly an organized and detailed world. It’ll also make a fantastic read for lovers of thrillers and adventure.

Anthionette Ejimofor
Publishers Weekly

In related news, the entire Brittle Riders series has now been re-released as second editions. The companion series, Goptri of the Mists, has its first book out, the second nearly finished with editing, and the third is on my computer begging for its sweet release.

As things become more real I will continue sharing links and information on who we’re working with.

Until next time, stay safe and sane.

Oh yeah, and thanks for your support.

Bill McSciFi

McMovieing on Up

Newsletter Posted on Tue, May 02, 2023 09:04:49

Thanks to those who reached out to Kim and I during our fun run with COVID. In case you’re thinking of giving COVID a shot, I’d strongly advise you try something else. Maybe having an appendectomy performed by a meth addict. Something safe and sanitary like that would be far better than COVID. Even vaxxed to the max I barely avoided being hospitalized. And my wife, who was eligible for Paxlovid, was able to avoid the worst symptoms and still cursed the dawns. So, yeah, if anyone offers you free COVID, just say no.

Nevertheless, I managed to be productive during the down time. After a few meetings it has been decided I should write the script for The Brittle Riders. Once done it will be presented to a professional screenwriter for finishing but, as things stand, it’s a saner idea to have me do it and ensure all the little parts get saved.

Above and beyond the script, Azoth Khem has commissioned a sizzle reel. Since sizzle reels created to impress possible financiers use existing footage, and there is nothing like The Brittle Riders in the known cinematic universe, we had to get creative. To that end we spoke with several companies that do this type of work and one was able to come back with a viable way to make it work. So, that’s the one we’re working with. Once it’s done I’ll share. But there’s a ton of work needed before then. Nancy, owner of Azoth Khem, and I have spent a week creating a script for the reel. Essentially, we have to be able to sum up an entirely unique universe in under two minutes. While not as painful as COVID, it’s still not fun.

Additionally, we are creating a pitch deck. This is a selection of images and text designed to give possible investors and production companies a solid idea of what to expect. Since this universe is unique, we have commissioned an artist to create the characters and used AI to bring some of the locations to life. The combination isn’t going to be perfect. But, added to the script and the reel, it will give us a pretty impressive package.

That’s what she says!

Anyway, we have a solid crew working with us now and they seem to think this can get made. Yes, they expect to make money if it does, and I’m fine with that. Right now we own one hundred percent of nothing. Owning eighty percent of something that makes everybody financially stable seems like a good idea to me.

Until next time, stay safe, sane, and try not to catch a nasty disease.

Bill McSciFi

Taking a McCovid Break

Newsletter Posted on Tue, April 18, 2023 07:38:10

Kim and I were diagnosed with COVID-19 last week. While there are not variant specific tests it seems we caught the flavor of the month, Arcturus. We’re both double vaxxed and are healthier than we deserve, so I’m guessing we’ll be fine. But, “fine” is relative term. I felt like someone was pouring lava down my throat while stuffing jagged bowling balls deep in my lungs.

Which is not any definition of “fine” that I’m aware of.

I was able to attend a couple remote meetings, but the results are still a few days out.

So, I’m going back to bed. Hopefully I’ll have fun stuff to share next week.

Until then, stay safe and sane. Oh, yeah, wear the fucking masks whenever you can.

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi

Howdy McHi

Newsletter Posted on Tue, April 11, 2023 07:59:29

The lovely Mrs. McCormick and I took some time off to dog sit for some friends who needed an emergency Hawaiian vacation. These things happen. Still and all, we had a good time. We both love animals, even if our current lease prevents us from owning any, so the chance to play with doggies was not to be dismissed.

Also, the down time gave me a chance to get some real work done, juggle multiple meetings, and assemble materials for presentations. While no one has pulled the trigger on turning any of my writings into cinematic masterpieces, no one has asked me to stop harassing the receptionist either. And, to be clear, I have more meetings scheduled for next week. Some with people who have circled back.

All in all, I can’t complain.

Now, sticking to this theme, I have to thank the wonderful humans who gender identify as female for sending me topless pics. This is a new development that seems to coincide with my newsletters about shopping my works to film production companies. For those who haven’t read The Brittle Riders, there are two species, Succubi and Llamia, who have limited resources and don’t waste them on unnecessary clothing. So, they go topless when weather permits.

As much as I love looking at naked boobies, and I truly do, I have to admit something. There is not a universe, now known or hereafter developed, where I would be involved in casting.

In other words, feel free to send me all the salacious pics you want, just know I am in no position to further your career.

Lastly, I’d like to remind you that I have multiple promo videos you are welcome to share. All you need to do is CLICK HERE to enjoy them all.

Until next time, stay safe and sane and keep those Polaroids popping.

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi

New McFun and New McFans

Newsletter Posted on Tue, March 21, 2023 08:52:35

There’s an old Yiddish saying, “If you want to hear God laugh, make a plan.” Last week, God was lying on the floor clutching their ribs.

Okay, Update-O-Rama; Wednesday’s meeting was a fascinating disaster. Nine people were supposed to attend, only two had been notified. I told my wife it was “death by a thousand emails.” I was looped into some stunningly blunt chats. But, end of day, six of them had requested materials for The Brittle Riders and they all agreed to meet with me once they’d read them.

Thursday’s meeting got rescheduled until tomorrow and now that meeting is being rescheduled again. The producer’s father isn’t well. So prayers to him and his family and we’ll get to it when we can.

Friday’s meeting got me added to an AI (Artificial Intelligence) assisted writers group and I am being introduced to a video game company that is currently searching for new IP. This meeting also delved into some opportunities I wasn’t really pursuing. Mostly because I thought The Brittle Riders would be a bad fit. They disagreed. If nothing else, it adds new possible paths to success.

Speaking of the AI assisted writers group, if you’d like to join, just hit me up and I’ll get you a link. It’s all in beta right now so it’s free to the bold among you.

In other fun news, one company I spoke with used AI to get a grip on who is actually reading McSciFi. The numbers skewed younger than any of us expected, mid-Twenties on average but starting at fifteen on up, and far more diverse racially than a sixty-one year old white man could hope for. All in all they were pleased, calling it a “solid foundation.” As we stumble forward into the year and begin larger advertising campaigns, it’s good to know we won’t be alone.

Lastly, in comic book news, Legends Parallel’s fourth issue is nearing completion and will be out in April. The critically acclaimed, rated “M” for “Mature,” title looks poised to break out of its cult favorite status onto a larger stage. Also, this spring, Alokia the Kaiju Hunter and Bob: Sins of the Son will be debuting on the convention circuit. Both titles are aimed directly at young adults. Finally, the second issue of Marcie’s Marvels is coming out. You can click that link to read issue number one for free.

Until next week, stay safe and sane.

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi

Wish Me McLuck

Newsletter Posted on Tue, March 14, 2023 08:50:34

Some of you have been asking questions about my quest to snare a film deal for one of my projects. Mostly, the questions run along the lines of “Why the *%^&# is this taking so long?” The easy answer is I ain’t the only game in town. Black Adam took ten years to get made. Carnival Row took fifteen. The longer answer is, I’m not really ready to do a full presentation. Much of what I’m doing involves upping my game, working with patient professionals who are guiding me, and so on. And it isn’t always a linear path. For example, there is a tradition in Hollywood of creating ‘sizzle reels’ out of existing footage. The concept gives investors an idea of what your film will look like.

And that’s a bit of a problem for The Brittle Riders. While I use some common tropes, there is still nothing in this universe or the next that looks like it. That means I have to create a pitch book, think of it as a picture book that shows everything a sizzle reel would but on paper. To do that I have commissioned an artist to create multiple views of the characters. While not cool VFX, it seems to be working. I figure I will need about two more weeks to get it where I want it.

All of that brings us to this point. I have one company that has taken me under their wing and is acting as my defacto agent. I have found a producer who doesn’t do sci-fi, but knows how to package a film for financing, working with me every step of the way to make sure I don’t make a fool of myself or sink the project. And all that help will come in handy this week.

On Wednesday I’m meeting with a company that specializes in streaming series. I’ve been stalking them for a while but was still surprised when they agreed to meet. In this case the parameters of the meeting were laid out in advance. One of the partners already likes The Brittle Riders so this will be a meeting to discuss feasibility. And to convince the other partners that the partner who likes it isn’t insane.

On Thursday I’m meeting with a film producer who has gone from reading a one sheet, to reviewing a synopsis, to plowing through a fifty-eight page treatment for a pilot. He’s interested, obviously, but we all live in the real world. He also has shown interest in SPLICE: HIT BIT TECHNOLOGY. To that end he is now in possession of the script and has all my review notes. I’ll find out what’s on his mind when we speak.

On Friday I’m meeting with a television producer to discuss many things. He has reviewed the treatment and sent notes on how to make it better. I know, in advance, he would be looking to partner with another production company if this can be made. On Friday we’re going to run stuff up a few flagpoles and see who salutes.

As you can see, things are picking up. Where that leads is anybody’s guess. However, I will admit that I’m having fun despite all the stress.

So, until next time, wish me luck and stay safe and sane.

Bill McSciFi
Bill McSciFi

Creating a New McNarrative

Newsletter Posted on Tue, February 28, 2023 07:00:00

At the end of 2022, Azoth Khem released The Brittle Riders: Book One (Second Edition). Not only was it voted the Best Science Fiction Novel of 2022 by the Critters Readers Poll, it also ranked in the top ten paperback sales for science fiction/dystopian books on Ingram Spark. We use them because they can, and do, sell to stores and libraries. Also, right now, Azoth Khem isn’t large enough to run its own warehouse.

Yesterday, February 27, 2023, they released The Brittle Riders: Book Two (Second Edition) on Amazon Kindle, where it immediately began getting downloaded and there are pre-orders for the paperback which will be following shortly.

This is much better than when I began this journey in 2016. Then, I had just met the woman who would become my wife and we would take a case of books to events and try to sell them one at a time to anyone who got too near. I use the word “events” to make it sound somewhat normal. What I mean is I hustled in bars, pawn shops, restaurants, computer repair shops, libraries, coffee shops, you name it. If I could get in without having the cops called on me, I did it.

I may have been annoying, but I was also effective. I perfected my elevator pitch, learned how to handle rejection (you get a lot of it when you do what I did), and slowly began developing a fan base.

Enough of one to earn my way into regional cons, build my display from a tablecloth and a homemade sign to a professional presentation with book racks and printed banners. In fact, the woman who would become my wife ended up traveling with me so we could keep traffic moving.

Then the pandemic hit. I’m not going to whine about it. It hit everyone. I lost good friends to it. I went to memorials for people whom I’d spoken with a week or two before. The world locked down and suddenly I needed a new source of income and a new way to market myself. In other words, this old dog needed some new tricks.

By taking advantage of digital conventions I was able to build a mailing list, this one, of thousands of subscribers. I started making short promo videos and distributing them however I could. If I could get a legitimate interview I would show up at an envelope opening. Well, I would show up digitally, I’m not insane.

All of that led to me undertaking the journey to meet film producers and so on, and that has been more productive than I might have thought or hoped.

I have no idea where this all will end up. I won’t even hazard a guess at this point. There are too many flaming bowling balls swirling in non-euclidean patterns to even try.

But I do know this, where I am now is preferable to where I was back in the good old days. All things considered, that’s not a bad place to start the next leg of this adventure.

Until next week, stay safe and sane.

Bill McSciFi

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