Within the last month or so, I’ve been hit with a bit of the blues . You know, just the down-in-the-dumpies surrounding just about everything I normally set my mind to. As a result, the podcast and my writing here has been less frequent. I haven’t been creating as much lately and that’s been bumming me out, pulling me deeper into this nasty rut. While stewing in my discontent, it came to mind that 2016 has been, without question, the fastest year of my adult life—full of accomplishments and experiments alike. To break the cycle, I’m listing those out.
Live Away From Home w/ Mae for 1 Year
In October of 2015, I moved out of my Dad’s house and into an apartment with my girlfriend and dog. That was a big move for a lot of reasons and the experience has been interesting and trying at times, but mostly it’s been a lot of fun. I think having our own space has really helped us grow as partners. I know it certainly has for me individually. While I’m still not hip to the clean sink every night sort of routine adulthood, having an office of my own that’s separate from my bedroom and removed from where I relax has allowed me to create things like never before. It’s also allowed me to collect an embarrassing amount of Star Wars-related merchandise.
Be In Two Weddings
On another personal note, I was asked to be a groomsman in two of my dearest friend’s weddings. So here’s to them. Thank you, James and Lisa Shotwell for giving Mae and I an excuse to revisit the Western shores of the mitten and join your family (and many of our UTG brethren) in such a beautiful day. Thank you Tyler and Tara Regan for introducing Mae and I to each other in the first place and asking us both to be a part of your special day. Hauling an actual TARDIS to your wedding is high on my list of coolest things I’ve accomplished this year.
Kill A Blog
2016 marked the end of the start. My humble beginnings in entertainment criticism and web administration began at Under The Gun Review. The site died with little fanfare back in June, but will remain online due to the savvy and generosity of my good friend Terin Stock. It’s still weird to know that UTG will no longer update. I have a lot of great memories tied up in that blog. I met a lot of amazing people and was afforded incredible opportunities as a result of it as well. Still, at least we shut it down knowing we got the damn thing back from SPIN.
Make Your App Store Debut
In collaboration with artist Chris Fafalios (of Punchline ), I published a sticker pack application for iOS that is available on the App Store. I’m no app developer by any means, but making this happen required some learning and patience. In the end, I’m thrilled that Celebrity Friends exists.
Last year I was asked to speak on two panels at SXSW Music in Austin, Texas. Not only were our panels actually picked, but they both went really well! I had a blast meeting friends for the first time, exploring the city, take my first Uber, and watching some of my favorite artists perform multiple times. The experience was unreal.
Knowing how to securely share your new and unreleased music with industry professionals and journalists alike is one of the most important things you need to know. This panel investigated the best methods for promotional distribution today, and highlighted those that best allow for customization of presentation, as well as digital security (watermarking, takedowns, etc.).
Speakers: James Shotwell - Haulix Jacob Tender - Alternative Press Magazine Jen Appel - Catalyst Publicity Group Joshua Hammond - Another Reybee Production
When it comes to the proper pitch, it’s important to remember the audience you are trying to reach out to: PEOPLE. Most successful publicists start off as journalists, and those who don’t can sometimes lack the perspective necessary to provide a successful pitch to a potential writer.
Speakers: Maria Gironas - Substream Magazine Josh Hammond - Another Reybee Production Angela Mastrogiacomo - Muddy Paw PR Jacob Tender - Bottle Cap
Download audio from this session here.
Break Into The Rap Game
With my “partner in rhyme” and Bantha Fodder Co-Host Mike Comite, I busted out some dope verses as the lovechild of Childish Gambino and Donald Glover’s soon-to-be Star Wars credit, Lando Calrissian. “Rebellious Landino” uses the beat from “Freaks and Geeks” and is the most under-appreciated thing I’ve done all year.
Podcast Like Crazy
I’ve appeared on various podcasts through the past several years, but this is the year I began podcasting on my own. In 2016 I published three shows and appeared on many others.
Here’s a final tally:
Variable Bitrate: 23 Episodes
Bantha Fodder: 16 Episodes
Stranger Things Things: 2 Episodes 
As Guest / Co-host: 6 Episodes
That leaves a grand total of 47 podcasts in 52 weeks. Not too shabby. Now, if I learned anything about podcasting this year it’s this:
First, the gear does matter (to me). You can podcast for free with your cell phone if you wanted to, but to make something that sounds right you need the right equipment. I upped my audio production game with a new microphone, interface, and plenty of accessories to record some audio I’m truly proud of.
Second, You have to work very hard to upload consistently. I did the weekly thing for 21 consecutive weeks. I do wish I would have kept it going at that pace, but scheduling gets tough and I couldn’t keep up.
Some stats on upload frequency and episode length:
Bantha Fodder: 1 Episode every 23.64 days with an average length of 1:02:01
Variable Bitrate: 1 Episode every 8.82 days with an average length of 01:25:30
Third, never be afraid to try something new . VBR started out rigid, following a strict formula every time. Loosening that up made the entire process from prep to publish so much easier. Conversations flowed better, more interesting topics sprung out of nowhere, and edits became a lot less tedious. With Bantha Fodder, we played with the format and production of the show constantly and the show as become more goofy and fun than any Star Wars show I’ve ever heard. From this we got our first single and a Christmas special.
Fourth, It’s always easier to be on someone else’s show. Always. I provide part of a conversation and an export of my local audio and the rest happens elsewhere. No mess. I love it and I’m happy to fill in or appear on anyone’s show at any time.
Lastly, always have whiskey handy to lube the conversation.
It’s been a good year. As bummed as I’ve been lately, I’m trying to remember that. My work-life has been stressful, which impacts my personal life on more levels than I’m comfortable with, but I’ve got a lot going on the side that makes me happy and proud. I have no idea what I’ll be making in 2017, but I’m eager to find out.
- My Favorite Things 2016: Music
- My Favorite Things 2016: Movies
- My Favorite Things 2016: Television
- My Favorite Things 2016: Games
In fact, do something new often. ↩