Door always open.
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2003-06-07 12:58 PM
I never meant to have a crime fiction career, but now that I have one going, I'm nervous letting its momentum lapse. In the year and a half since my last book came out, some of my friends not only have new books out, but they have contracts for the next ones. Two are making the nervewracking step from "mystery writer" to "maybe next big thing." This is something that happens when a publisher decides it's time, a decision that usually only comes at one of two stages in a writer's career. One stage is the first book. Most of us don't win that lottery. The other is when you've got enough of a track record that it just seems like time, and your next book seems like the right one to break out with.
I'm envious. I want to be the next big thing too, but I stopped writing books a year and a half ago, which makes it hard for a publisher to decide to break me out. Partly, this was because I've always done whatever I've most felt like, and the thing I felt like doing after THE NIGHT MEN was a musical screenplay. That got finished and registered with the WGA this week, and now the next thing I want to do is make the movie.
In fact, I'd rather be starting on my next book *and* making the movie, but with a day job, there aren't enough hours in a day. Even without the day job, it would be tightish. So for now, it's just the movie. The screenplay went off yesterday to a producer I met on a set in Las Vegas (she was acting as unit production manager) for a ballpark breakdown and budget. After that, I'll know exactly how much money I still don't know how to get.
I've got a TV pilot to score over the next few weeks, the thing that shot in Vegas. I was looking forward to using this project as the impetus to finish switching my music setup to a new "entirely contained on a laptop" setup, and then working on the score at coffeehouses. However, the new Apple laptops run OS-X only, and VST software such as Virtual Guitarist (it shows up on time, isn't stoned, stays in tune, and doesn't sleep with your girlfriend) will only work with MotU's Digital Performer if you have VST Wrapper, which runs on every Mac operating system *except* OS-X. I'm making do with a baling-wire-and-chewing-gum, just-keep-it-running-until-MotU-catches-up version of my old rig.
The customer service at MotU is excellent. This week, they sent me a CD they didn't have to send, and they didn't charge me for it. And I understand that there are limited resources that, in this trying economic climate, etc. So when I call them "dicks" in the next paragraph, it has to do with the attitude behind formats they choose to support, not with anyone who does actual work there. Kyle and Magic Dave in customer service have never been anything but helpful. My beef is with the genius behind their heel-dragging implementation policies.
In that regard, life with MotU has always been frustrating. VST is not a new format, and it's the format that all the coolest new software synths are released in, but Digital Performer still doesn't support it. I'd buy management's official line (that by the time VST became an open format, they'd already made their strategic partnerships with MAS developers) if I didn't remember what dicks they've always been about supporting anything they didn't invent. This is the same company that, for years, insisted that 29.97fps non-drop and 30fps drop-frame were the same thing, long after every other sequencer manufacturer had listened to audio and video people screaming and implemented it correctly. The same company that refused to integrate OMS because they'd invented their own version, FreeMIDI. They're like the Quark of the music industry: Whatever it was you wanted, you'll eat creamed peas and like it.
In a year, this will all have shaken out because VSTWrapper will have been updated, and Digital Performer will support AudioUnits, so I can use FXPansion to convert my VST plugins to AudioUnit plugins.
But as of June, 2003, despite hype for the last year, I can't have my zowie new laptop-with-everything. So clearly, there is no motivation for me to pick all the clothes up off the floor in my studio.
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