Meet the Band

Hi friends! It’s been a while—two weeks—since my last update. Let’s talk about deadlines.

This situation played out dozens of times when I was kid: I’d put off some school project with a far-away due date, because there was still plenty of time to start. Suddenly, that time is gone, and I have to do a whole lot very quickly. I do some mental math, realize that the vague idea I had at the beginning was never going to fit in to the time that’s left, and panic. Just panic and keep putting off starting the thing. I end up squeaking something out instead of sleeping, and I’m not proud of it, but I pretend it’s just as good as it would have been if I’d started earlier.

This situation played out dozens of times when I was freelancing: I’d put off some milestone with a not-too-soon due date, because there was still plenty of time to start. Suddenly, that time is gone, and I have to do a whole lot very quickly. I do some mental math, realize that the vague idea I had at the beginning was never going to fit in to the time that’s left, and panic. Just panic and keep putting off starting the thing. Then I find a solution: I’ll put the deadline a little—just a little—and use that extra time to not only finish the work, but do even more, to prove that actually I was always ahead of schedule. Then I repeat this whole process with a shorter time span and the same amount of work. Sometimes this leads to losing a gig. Sometimes I get incredibly lucky and it all just works out. (Ask me about the time I didn’t get evicted in 2010.)

You see where I’m going with this. Let’s stop it right now. I’m a week behind schedule on Graveyard Swing. Here’s what I’ve got: these are the ghosts, which, you’ll recall, make up all the props required for scene 3 (of three):

The band, as they exist today

The sax ghost is standing and relatively stable. The trumpet ghost is standing and stabler still. Both still need some sanding, priming, and painting; both need permanent mounts and some hooks for cables to get some jiggle in those jelly beans. The drummer (on the floor to the right) has some volume in most of its body parts but still needs a surface and a stand. The bassist is all cut out but needs to get to where the drummer is, and beyond.

So I’m doing okay, but I’m a week behind. I’m also committing to weekly updates from now through Halloween, no matter what, even if my update is “I did nothing this week.” This should be easy, because I can’t afford another week where I don’t do anything. I have to pick it up in a real way.

Here’s another update: I quit my job. I’m starting a new job right after Labor Day, and I think that will be great for my mental wellness, which should help me be more productive on nights and weekends. I also have all next week to dedicate to the show. I’ll be sharing updates with you every day, Monday through Friday, of next week. Get ready for Spooky Week!

The plan for Spooky Week is to switch gears, a bit. I’m leaving the ghosts as they are and getting to work on the skeletons. I’d like to finish the juggling skull scene by next Friday, because that’s when tickets go on sale, and it would be great to offer a photo (or a video?) of a full gag so people know what they’re getting in to. I expect that what I’ve learned in building the ghosts so far will help me to get through the skeletons rather simply. We’ll see how that actually goes, during Spooky Week.

Since the last update I also had some more outside help. Zander is still working on the backdrops and Erin is working on a logo, but Joe came over to my apartment and helped out on the ghosts! He is responsible for carrying the trumpet ghost and the drummer’s bass drum to the 95 yard line, and it was a great experience. Now that I’ve landed on a repeatable process, I’m looking forward to bringing more people in to help. (If you’re in the city and would like to contribute, let me know!)

That’s all for now. Please forgive me for the long delay and trust that I didn’t forget about you. See you on Monday for the start of Spooky Week!