Wes, where have you been? I was worried!
That’s very kind of you to worry, but I’m fine.
Are you sure? Do you need anything? Blink twice if you want me to call the police.
I swear, I’m okay.
Oh. Okay. It’s just that… you were on a pretty good schedule with this newsletter and then you—
Yeah, I get it.
You got off schedule.
Yeah, thanks. But on the bright side… I’m back, baby!
IN THIS ISSUE:
- The Writer’s Path
- Project Makeover’s Fabulous Crossover
- Unit 44 #5 goes InDemand
- The Oral History Of…
- For Your Reading Pleasure
WHAT HAPPENED LAST ISSUE?
In issue 5, I discussed how I’ve been working as a professional (paid) writer for a decade and it made me feel… really old. If you missed it, check it at the link below.
HOW DO I GET THERE FROM HERE?
I won’t lie… things have been busy busy since my last newsletter. I had a birthday, there was Easter, and there was tax season. Man, when it rains Easter eggs and 1099s, it pours. However, amidst all that craziness, I managed to put out something that I’d been working on for a while.
As you may (or may not) know… I’m a graduate of the entertainment media college Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, where I received my Bachelor’s degree in creative writing back in 2014. I’m proud to be an alumnus. It’s an amazing school full of amazing educators who absolutely rock at what they do.
While Full Sail trains students in degrees ranging from computer animation and film, to graphic design and music recording and production, to video game design and entertainment business, its writing programs are some of its “dark horse” degrees. The school is quick to tout those graduates who have worked on Marvel Studios films, HBO TV series (looking at you, Game of Thrones), recorded music for Taylor Swift, or spent years programming the latest Assassin’s Creed installment, but the writing programs are only a decade old, and many of those graduates haven’t yet added blockbusters to their resumes. Instead, they have me.
I regularly return to the school to talk about being a professional writer, to inspire future graduates, or to give workshops and answer questions about writing as a profession. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve done more virtual seminars than I can count. I also serve as a member of the Program Advisory Committee for the writing programs, where myself and other working professionals review the degree programs twice a year to suggest changes, answer questions, and alert educators to industry trends they should be prepared to tackle in the classroom. It’s all a lot of work, but giving back to the next generation of writers is wonderful. The inspiration works both ways.
All of that background info brings us to The Writer’s Path. Through the school and classes and programs, I know a lot of writers (some of them are even subscribers to this newsletter. Hi!) and I hear and read about the cool things they’re doing across myriad industries—novels, copywriting, screenwriting, editing, or having their toes in various freelancing waters. More importantly, I want to share those cool things with others.
So, I reached out to nine of my fellow alumni and said, “Hey, do you mind writing an essay about your path to success?” They obliged me, and I collected the essays into a 70-page eBook that will (hopefully) serve as the inaugural installment in an annual series called The Writer’s Path.
In the 2022 edition of The Writer's Path, 10 alumni of Full Sail University share their paths from graduation to success in their own words, without skipping over the adversity that stood in the way of their goals. Full of inspiration and motivation, The Writer's Path proves that everyone's journey to success is different... and seldom easy.
The eBook is currently available for FREE download via Smashwords in PDF, Kindle, and Apple iBooks formats.
While these stories are all connected to graduates of Full Sail University’s writing programs, their advice to writers is universal. Each writer shares a different path to success, overcame different hurdles along the way, and provides insight, information, motivation, and inspiration. If you’re a burgeoning writer, I highly recommend giving it a read. It’s free, remember. I—and the other writers—gain nothing from you using the wisdom in these essays to potentially reach your dreams.
Here’s a quick overview of the writers you’ll meet inside pages of The Writer’s Path:
A.E. Williams - Editor (whose clients include Simon and Schuster authors, among others)
Wes Locher - Total idiot
Meg Prevost - Content writer and copywriter
Garin Turner - Game writer, screenwriter, man about town
Charles M. Kline - Screenwriter, filmmaker, and animator
Kristen Fulco-Schmutz - News editor
Josh Huffine - Screenwriter, author, raconteur
Logan Nye - Editor for The Patriot Magazine
Christopher Ramsey - One of Full Sail University’s beloved course directors—and a talented writer and filmmaker in his own right—who provided a wonderful introduction for the book
Check it out. Make some new friends.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.
As if that didn’t make for a busy enough week, we at Magic Tavern (the video game studio I work with) launched our first big IP crossover inside our hit mobile game, Project Makeover, as we brought the Fab 5 from Netflix’s Queer Eye into our zany world.
PocketGamer.biz broke the news this week, and we even got a nice quote from Scout Productions CEO and Queer Eye creator David Colins:
"We’re thrilled about this partnership with Magic Tavern and can’t wait to see what fans come up with alongside Bobby, Tan, Karamo, Jonathan, and Antoni."
So what the heck did I contribute to this crossover for the ages? I wrote it!
It was a wonderful (and occasionally harrowing) experience to submit dialogue written for the Fab 5 to… y’know… the Fab 5 (and their people). I’m proud of all the designers and artists at Magic Tavern who worked so hard (in secret) on this big event for the past several months. Also, shout out to Justin, my coworker/partner in words, who supported this event into the 11th hour.
If you’re already a Project Makeover addict, the event is live (with more awesome content coming throughout the next couple weeks) inside the app. If you’re a fan of the Fab 5… consider joining the party!
DON’T YOU WRITE COMICS, OR SOMETHING?
Hey, you’re right!
Alterna Comics shattered its goals on its Spring Preorder Campaign, raising more than $13,000 to print its spring titles—among them, Unit 44 #5 and the Unit 44 volume 1 Giant (collecting issues #1-4!). If you missed out on preordering the comic, the campaign has gone InDemand, meaning you can order Unit 44 (or any of the other great titles) with full confidence that they will ship to your door no later than June.
Through Alterna’s spring campaign, Unit 44 #5 has also pre-sold nearly 300 copies. High fives all around! I hope one of those 300 units will be shipping to your door soon enough. If you haven’t secured your copy (for $2) then maybe you’d like to…
THE ORAL HISTORY OF…
Last time I left you with the Oral History of The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, and I hope you enjoyed it immensely.
This round I want to encourage you to check out Molly Langmuir’s “How Blue Man Blew Up The wild success of a show starring strange bald men painted in Yves Klein blue” for Vulture:
You may be familiar with the Blue Man Group, but did you know the group dates back to the ‘80s? It’s a fascinating read and highly recommended. Someday you’ll be able to use this useless information to impress someone at a fancy dinner. You’ll thank me.
On May 21, 1988, eight people carried a coffin into Central Park to conduct a “funeral for the ’80s.” Inside it were items meant to represent the culture of the decade: a Rambo doll, tiny figures wearing suits (yuppies), bags of a white substance resembling crack. The participants, most of whom had painted their skin blue, piled the objects into a metal drum along with some flash paper, which they lit on fire. They called themselves the Blue Man Group.
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
I came across all kinds of awesome longform reads over the past few weeks. Here’s a few of my favorites, in case the topics tickle your fancy:
First up, if you fall into my age bracket, then there’s a good chance that the rock band Nirvana had some sort of impact on your world. The below article is from 2021, but proves just as wonderful and haunting now.
My Time with Kurt Cobain: Befriending a rock star isn’t necessarily as cool as you’d think—particularly when tragedy happens
By Michael Azerrad for the New Yorker:
In early 1992, when I first met Kurt Cobain, he and Courtney Love were living in a little apartment in a two-up-two-down building on an ordinary street in the Fairfax section of Los Angeles. I had flown there from New York to interview him for a Rolling Stone cover story, the one with a famous photograph of him wearing a homemade T-shirt that said “Corporate Magazines Still Suck.” I was nervous.
• • •
Do you appreciate the work of actor Nic Cage? I sure do. To this day if I see Face/Off or The Rock playing on a hotel television I will cancel my plans to spend the day watching them.
Nicolas Cage Can Explain It All
By Gabriella Paiella for GQ
Fifteen minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, into a tranquil gated community, up a red-brick driveway, past the palm trees that touch the Mojave Desert sky, through the veil that separates the astral plane, and here he is: the man they say gained and lost a $150 million fortune; who owned castles in Europe and the most haunted house in America and the Shah of Iran's Lamborghini and two albino king cobras and a rare two-headed snake; who had to return his prized dinosaur skull upon learning it was stolen from Mongolia; who went on an epic quest for the actual Holy Grail; and who—when his singular, fantastical life eventually comes to an end—will be laid to eternal rest in a colossal white pyramid tomb in New Orleans.
Nicolas Cage greets me at his door, wearing a kung fu suit.
• • •
Lastly, an article that hits close to home for me on two levels… more and more of the video games you’re playing are written by comic book writers. It turns out that the game industry offers better hours, better pay, better benefits, and less burnout than the comic book industry.
Why creators leave comics for video games (and what brings them back)
By Matt O’Keefe for ComicsBeat
Sean McKeever had long been interested in writing video games, especially intrigued by the branching narratives of role-playing games like Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect. He applied for a job at BioWare Austin, and after an intense interview process moved across the country to accept a full-time position writing for the MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic. McKeever’s position at Bioware allowed him to continue telling stories for a living after the comic book industry left him behind, and he’s had a successful career as a video game writer ever since.
Read anything cool that I should check out? Drop me a link in the comments!
I GUESS I’LL BE HITTING THE OL’ DUSTY TRAIL, THEN…
I’m Wes Locher. I’ve been writing professionally for a decade. I write comic books, video games, fiction, and nonfiction. I write whatever seems fun, cool, and inspiring. I also love helping other writers to demystify the process of making a living through words. This is my newsletter.