Week 8: Parties and wraps

Monday was our Shift Run Stop 50th episode party. I wrote about it over there, but all you need to know is it was terrific and we are very happy about everything. Much of the rest of the week has been recovering in various ways, but there were some work-related things worth recounting.

  • I hit my own deadline for the newspaper like a brick wall on Monday. But it’s all in now. It’s particularly difficult as I keep thinking of more ideas, as do some of the contributors. Honestly though – we must stop and let the designer get on with it now.
  • Tidied up the Hackers! website and put some stuff on it.
  • Got paid for something. Tax returns and milky bars, here we come.
  • I’m still commissioning stuff, you know, just in case. It’ll probably be for issue two now.
  • Final Bullet logo will coming be soon.

Self improvements and philosophy overleaf:

1. You only get one go. This isn’t to say, “never try anything” – just that you shouldn’t underestimate the first impression. If you’re having a bad day and you approach someone about something in a half-arsed or rubbish way, don’t expect them to give you a better listen next time. Assume you’re getting filed under “time waster”. Make every approach worthwhile, don’t imagine on any level that you’re going to be able to go back there.

2. The space around things matter. The padding. The dressing. The frills. I’m quite no-frills in many ways, but if you’re making entertainment, whatever you’re making has to be supremely palatable, because people need to feel comfortable – like they don’t have to concentrate too much. Or if they are concentrating, they need to feel like they want to, rather than have to. White space and margins are very very important indeed, metaphorically and literally. You need to give people their space. Give them room to move around the space and your project and their HEAD.

3. Making things fast means not caring. I mean this in a very good way. Doing things fast doesn’t give you time to change your mind, hone and perfect. Investing things with weighty significance slows it down. People get caught up in books they’ve written, programs they’ve made, and their past becomes a heavy and meaningful part of them. Speed is light. Obviously there are trade-offs, but I find it useful to remember that what I make is different to who I am. Someone asked me if I was going to be signing books at the Shift Run Stop party on Monday. The idea appalled me for many reasons, but mainly because that book is firmly in the past – it only took me a couple of months (people are particularly bad for thinking having a book published means anything). Now that’s just “something I did last year”. I try not to let any project, past or future, get too important.

4. Still thinking about animals a lot and human evolution. On the show last week Roo and I were talking about time travel – where and when would you go to, if you had time machine? I thought probably the future, so long as it was an improvement on the present. But afterwards I realised the real answer is prehistoric times. The time when humanity was young and people were communicating, living quite happily, for thousands and thousands of years. A lot of stuff about humans would suddenly make sense, and I imagine the planet looked pretty beautiful back then, too.

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