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Thursday, 23 August 2018

And we are on Patreon - SeanGeek

So why did we do it?

As a youngling, I plied my art, certain I would be doing this as a career. I was writing and drawing my own original comic books and man I was good at it.

As all artists do at some point, I started to question my abilities, and the drive required to make it. I was living in a small town, on Canada's East Coast. The logistics of getting to New York from there, getting my work in front of the right set of eyes, of scrounging by until that could happen--- If I got my work in front of the right eyes, was my work good enough?

As I watched my own father struggle to feed his family, I started to wonder if I could make it, hit the big time and work for Marvel or DC. Practicality set in. I really got hung up. In the "regular" world, any one can get a job and if you worked reasonably hard you could get work. I wouldn't get rich but at least I could make some money.

University came around. The drive to create was ever-present. But I took practical courses, going for a practical degree, in the hopes of getting a practical job. I wouldn't be an artist.

I wouldn't be an artist.

Despite everything I had done up to that point --- the hours and hours of creating, writing, drawing --- the research into the stories, studying --- all of this was irrelevant when I decided I wouldn't be seeking a career in art. I was a business major. I was not an artist.

Even though I easily spent less time in school then I had put into my art, the pursuit of the degree immediately ended any thought I would be a true artist.

As I developed a career in Logistics and became pretty darn good at it, I kept up with my art, expanding my knowledge with classes, stretching what I knew and learning more.

As I got some work published, I had the inkling that I maybe I was an artist. That self-doubt crept in: am I good enough for someone to pay for what I love to do?

Now, with some decent podcast numbers, releasing an album with the band Dome, 3 years of the Symka published online, damn it, I am ready. In fact, I am overdo. My art and what I do is good. Some people out there like what I do. I like what I do.

So yes, it is time for Patreon. In fact, it is long overdo. With my brothers-in-arms with me, the Meet The Geeks comic and the Podcast, this is just the next phase folks. There is lots more to come with all this. Come join us for the ride.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

I gots to play with Todd again

In 1978, I heard Kiss Alive II. I was nothing but a babe at the time, but the sonic bombast of the album forever changed my life.
In 1982-1983, Todd was playing guitar, and blew my mind. From that point on I vowed to share a stage with him.

While I was waiting for that dream to happen, I had hooked with Dan Saltel in a band we would call Salty Bear. It was this garage-y thing that I was quite proud of. But it was nothing quite approaching the technical ability of what Todd was doing with his band MiToMa. I mean, hell, they were playing Rush and Van Halen. Dan and I were getting better as musicians with a lot of hard work, but Todd was Todd.

Todd was shredding. I was writing.

Salty Bear was pure songwriting. What we were missing in musical ability we made up with in sheer integrity and experimentation. We might not have had the chops to play along with these technical bands, but we were crafting some different rock and roll. I will be honest, I don't think I will ever be able to write anything like that again. It was different and freeing and cool. As a team, Dan let me try anything I took a fancy for. In turn he came up with some really crazy ideas, weird chord progressions and timings. I don't think the Salty Bear sound will ever be replicated.

Because Dan and I gave each other the ultimate freedom in writing, I progressed unhindered as a songwriter. Instead of getting stuck writing songs in the same format, I was able to adapt to different types of music. This also pushed my drumming in different directions as I worked in funk, reggae, hard rock, bluegrass and others styles into our rock songs.

So Todd became a guitar god and I really learned how to write songs. In a way, it was a great thing we didn't play together. We each developed into the players we would become. Todd sat in on 3 or 4 jams with Salty Bear, and Todd and I had 2 to 3 songwriting sessions together. But really, the McGinity brothers had not become a thing yet.

Finally, it was dad that brought us together. Dad had recruited Todd into this band he had started with Bayne Robertson. Now, it was pretty common knowledge in the family of Todd's prowess on the guitar. He had played live a number of times for all to see. I was an unknown, with Salty Bear never getting past playing out of the basement. Of course, dad knew I played drums. He had bought me my first kit after all. My in with Dad's band was that their drummer spent a fair amount of time in the theatre and was not always available. I was brought in to play drums. Somehow that ended up not being permanent as Richard Brasher was in the wings, so I may have only sat in for a session or two. The band needed a singer. So I became the singer instead.

The Classic Embers classic lineup was born. The name was derived on the initials M - B - R (for McGinitys, Bayne, and Richard) as in MBR, or Ember. I felt like I was barely in the band and would last until they learned that I was not really a singer. I was playing with THE Todd McGinity, after all. My vocals were not going to cut it. I had spent all of my time working on getting my drum chops up. Singing was an afterthought.

I had remembered that Todd really progressed as a guitar player because he put in the time. He would play from the moment he came home from school with little breaks for supper and homework until he went to bed. I think he may have fallen asleep with the guitar even a number of times. If I was to keep up I would do the same.

Not willing to waste the opportunity to play with my brother,I had to be good enough to play with Todd. I took singing lessons, and began practicing at every opportunity. I put in 15-20 hours a week.
Finally, we booked our first real gig. The Classic Embers played a sold out show. The audience was amazing. Everything about the show was out of a dream. It was surreal. And to my left stood Todd. I kept wanting to face that side of the stage, just to watch him play. I was able to reign it in enough, thankfully.

I had achieved my dream. I had played with the mighty FastFretFingers.

The coolest thing? Doing it many more times over 5 years. And then we did it again in Dome.
Last weekend we did again. This time it was for a surprise birthday party we had planned for him. I had his gear lined and ready for him so he could plug and play. The chemistry was still there. I can't wait to do this again. And again. And again.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Sandra Stewart

Many of you have heard the story of how the Geeks got together, but there is a huge part of that backstory that needs to be told.

Everything that became Meet The Geeks, the SeanGeek podcast, Star Wars The Evil Within --- all of that had it's start with Sandra Stewart.

I met Sandra sometime after I auditioned for Clay's Star Wars The Evil Within film. I had likely gotten in by the skin of my teeth on the audition. And now here I was at a reading surrounded by these professional actors, writers, and Star Wars enthusiasts. I was nervous, out of place, and overwhelmed by what I was getting into.

At some point, I was to meet Clay at his home. And there was Sandra. We spoke as I waited for Clay. In minutes she made me feel at home. She was able to break through the layers of fear and anxiety I had and make me feel worthwhile. I deserved to be on this film.

As the filming schedule was in full effect I visited many more times and really got to know Sandra a lot better. I learned very quickly the following: She had a level of respect and belief for Clay that most mothers could only dream of. She was a force of nature in her support.

She also incredibly generous and kind. To the cast and crew, Sandra looked after us in any way she could.

I don't know if it was just her way, but I felt like Sandra believed in me, too. She was quick to give a hug and offer her support of me. There was nothing preposterous or off-limits. If you needed to talk about anything she was quick to offer her ear. She was there, front and center as I was going through the worst time of my life, and there when I was able to turn it all around. I could see that gleam in her eye when I got through the eye of the hurricane when she said, "You deserve to be happy". She had a knowing smile on her face when I told her I was going to have a baby with Silvy. I felt like she was so proud of me. Like she always knew I could do it.

I was lucky to be able to hear her stories and adventures. She lived an amazing life we all could only dream of. She had done anything and everything she wanted, with no fear. It was that quality I admired the most: Fearlessness.

I can't quite remember when, but at some point it seemed redundant to call her Sandra, or Miz Stewart. I called her mom. It was appropriate. For her belief in me, for her faith in me, for her pride in me, I could call her no less.

I miss you, mom. You were one of a kind.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Back in the Saddle now with Video!

On Friday, July 27th, 2018, I filmed my second (third?) live feed via the Meet the Geeks Facebook page while I was working on a comic.

The comic is a re-do of one that had been previously published back in 2007. I was originally going to re-scan and re-colour the original one but since I was already working on new strips I figured I would draw it again in the updated style.

Re-drawing the comic also gave me a chance to address some continuity errors regarding the clothing that the characters were wearing and keeping everything in line.

So here you can see a scan of the original comic. The comic also features what will be the first of a look between Corey and Clayton that will mean that trouble lies ahead.

The Script

Panel 1

Corey: Hey Clay! Check it out! We have a flagpole!

Clayton: Huh! Too bad we don't have anything to hoist up it.

Panel 2

No Dialogue

Panel 3

Matt:(off panel) What? Hey! Wait! What are you... AHHHHHHHHHHH!


Panel 4 

SFX: Creak Creak Creak

And below you can see the updated one. The layout of the panels is almost the same. However I've updated Corey's look and have him wearing the black leather jacket that I wear most often now as opposed to the brown leather one that he was wearing in the original strip. Not that you can tell that in black and white. 

Clay's outfit pretty much stayed the same. 

The last two panels are almost identical to the original except that I left room for the dialogue at the top. 

Overall it's still pretty much the same strip. Same dialogue. Same gag. I just updated the artwork somewhat.

I hope that you enjoyed this little sneak peek. Stay tuned and I'll probable share more of the behind-the-scenes goings on in future videos and blog posts. 

And, as always, feel free to let me know what you think!.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Importance of Being Ernie (or why Bert is so important) - By SeanGeek

Bert and Ernie are probably the greatest comedy team in history. Their lasting legacy built on their puppeteers  Jim Henson and Frank Oz was pure genius. But what made this duo so special and why is their legacy so enduring?

Ernie was the troublemaker, the instigator, the chance-taker, the silly one, the crazy one, the one swirling in chaos and a lack of rules. Bert was all about rules, routine, safety, taking care of things and being reliable. The were the perfect foils for one another, the ying to the yang, the order to the chaos. They each brought out the best of each other. Ernie taught Bert to be adventurous, to take chances, to laugh out loud, the skip the chores from time to time, to break routine. Bert grounded Ernie, teaching him to be reliable, to take the time to look after things, to be responsible. They were polar opposites but it was that middle ground that made each of them better, and provided the true comedy of their pairing.

They weren't the first pairing to have this dynamic, but the execution on the writing and performance from these two is what made them who they are: the kings of comedy.

But when people speak about the pair, Ernie tends to get the accolades. It's his crazy and erratic behavior that gets the laughs. He is more fun. Things happen because of him. Each crazy scenario is instigated by Ernie. But at the root of it all, Ernie is nothing without Bert. Without Bet at his side, Ernie is just a raving lunatic. He isn't funny, he's destructive. He's a menace, really. It's that play off of Bert where the true comedy lies. Without each other, the comedy falls flat. One is annoying and the other is boring.

In Meet The Geeks, my character if often played as a Bert character. And you know what? I am okay with that. Without me, the chaos that ensues with Clay and Corey have less relevance. They are just two troublemakers. And without them Sean is just the nerd.

Recently, a favorite podcast of mine lost one of their hosts. The originator of the show departed for various reasons (but left on good terms). The originator provided the play by play for the show, plotting the episodes, creating the format and executing on all of the technical sides of the show. The co-host provided the color for the show, disagreeing with the host, taking shots at him, and finding issues with everything they spoke about. He created heat on the show much to all of our entertainment. They worked well off each other, and had the Bert and Ernie dynamic.

The dynamic worked so well that the podcast became a huge hit. I subscribed to the show, never missing an episode. The topic of each show was irrelevant. Their banter back and forth was really the best part of the show. The topic just gave the two a way to perform their shtick.

With the host's departure, the foil was left behind to run the show. Another co-host was brought in fill in the gap. The dynamic completely changed. The foil of the show had no one to really play off of. Like Ernie without Bert, he became annoying. His persona on the show became trite and boring. Passing no blame on the new co-host, even though the two are friends, their online camaraderie just was not as entertaining. I have tried to give the new show a chance, not willing to let myself fall into the current troll-like Star Wars fans who are attacking everyone on Twitter these days.

So maybe I just need to breathe, accept that the show has changed, enjoy the old episodes as they were, and try to find the joy in the new version of the show. It is hard being a fan.