Projects

My New Year’s Resolution for 2009 was to “complete 12 projects”. In making the vow, I left “project” largely undefined–pretty much anything that I wanted to do and that would take a fair amount of effort qualified, as far as I was concerned. I chose twelve thinking that each would take me a few weeks, and I could therefore knock out one a month over the course of the year.

Since work on these projects is largely response for my defective yeti hiatus, I thought I owed y’all an update on their progress. Here they are in chronological order:

Project 1 (January) “Day Trader”: A two-player card game I designed. I have been shopping it around to a few game companies but, as the typical response rate is 2-3 months, have only had it rejected twice so far. Hopefully things will pick up in the latter half of the year and I will have it rejected three to four more times. Status: Complete (my mental definition of this project was “design the game”, with no thought toward what would happen to it afterward).

Project 2 (February) “Janus”: A short story I wrote and hope to soon publish on the web in a fairly unusual format. Status: Halfway done, but I won’t consider it complete until I actually publish. Will do so by year’s end to ensure I get “credit” for it.

Project 3 (March) “The Office – Personas”: The screenplay for The Office I wrote. I submitted it to the Austin Film Festival screenwriting competition, where it was one of only 40 scripts that advanced to the second round. It didn’t make it any farther, alas, but the second round was the best I could have hoped for what is essentially a “stunt script” (as they say in the business). Yay me. Status: Completed. And a big shout-out to Ryan who suggested I send the script to the Austin Film Festival.

Project 4 (April) [redacted]: A dumb, one-joke website I made anonymously, and that I am not publicizing here. But I had to teach myself some programming and css stuff to build it, so it was worth the effort. Status: Completed.

Projects 5-7 (May-September) “Infinite Summer”: A moderately clever idea that kind of turned into a big deal. Here’s me getting interviewed by the LA Times, and here we are getting namechecked by TIME Magazine, etc. The event is a crapload of fun and Infinite Jest is as amazing as rumored, but man-oh-mighty did this wind up being more work than I envisioned. I decided to retroactively award myself three projects worth of credit for this one, as it has consumed an entire season of my free time. If you haven’t been following along, please note that we are right now trying to decide the future of the project, and I would love for more dy readers to get involved (especially those who waded through Catch-22 and Lolita with me in years past). Don’t tell, but I’m 80% sure we will be reading Dracula in October. Status: Reading of Infinite Jest ends in three weeks, so completion seems certain barring a spectacular failure of some sort.

Project 8 (now): I’d be a damned fool to launch a new project with I.S. still in full swing, but I may do so all the same. For this one I am seeking lists–you know, like those that appear on McSweeney. If you’ve been carrying one around in your head and would like to help out, drop me a line.

Other items on my todo list (i.e., writings that I have yet to complete, but that fall short of full “project” designation): a humor piece for Let’s Panic (that dingo ad on the front page is mine, by the way), another print-and-play game review for Jay is Games (previously I did Zombie in My Pocket, something to The Morning News, and a week’s worth of posts here regarding the various television shows I have been devouring on DVDs. Hell, maybe I’ll do that this week. Stranger things have happened.

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19 comments.

  1. Can’t wait for your piece on JIG! \o/

    P.S.: Good to know you’re still out there.

  2. The dingo ad has always been my favorite.

  3. Great update. Dracula’s a fabulous read, I look forward to the daily (weekly?) summary posts!

  4. Could you talk a little more about the game submission process? Who you contacted, what the “submission package” looks like, what your expected likelihood of success was?

  5. Re: Project 3: Loved it. So dead-on, that I actually have it filed mentally with the regular episodes. I almost referred to it the other day in a conversation and then recalled that the anecdote I was going to reference was not actually a filmed episode.

    I wanna see the dumb, one-joke web site. Why all the sudden you don’t want to look dumb? Seems like you are closing the door after the horses are out of the barn on that one.

  6. I have a couple of lists I’ve been meaning to compile but probably never will. If you did I’d be grateful.

    1. Songs with associated dances (any era or genre). The Loco-Motion. The Electric Slide. The Stanky Leg. The Monster Mash. Preferably with YouTube clips.

    2. Songs that reference other songs (“metasongs”). Example: Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” which borrows the framework of the song it references. Could be expanded to include songs about singing songs (Chasing that Neon Rainbow, Turn the Page, Killing Me Softly) or writing songs to make a very large list indeed.

  7. I’ve been reading the Infinite Summer site without reading the book so I’m posting this comment here regarding its future. I like the postmodern novels idea, but the list you linked to is, in my opinion, slightly defective. First, the most post-modern of DeLillo’s novels and the one no one should miss is Underworld. Second, I don’t see how any list of post-modern novels can leave off the two “pre-modern” books that invented the whole concept: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Lawrence Sterne, and a book mentioned in a different category that I think of as the first post-modern novel, Ulysses by James Joyce. In fact, I would consider reading those two to be the essential starting point for understanding the whole concept.

  8. Man, it’s been so long since we’ve heard from you, I forgot you’re a game guy.

    Need any (more) playtesters for Day Trader?

  9. your infinite summer project got me interested enough to acquire and start reading the book, but I’ve always been a couple weeks behind everyone else, and have subsequently avoided the website in fear of spoilers – looking forward to catching up on all the dialog after I’m done!! (can’t give a page number as I’m on the Kindle, but it says I’m at the 50% page mark (which is probably more than half way, given that 20% or so seems to be the references))

  10. Great idea making a resolution to do a project per month. Brillaint!

  11. glad you’re back, Matt!

    well, I started my own company-ish this summer, and I am slammed with work.

    I have a laundry list of those types of projects too – getting back to my blog more than once a month is on it as well…

    OG

  12. Dracula would be a great read (done it twice). It is one of the perfect exemples of Victorian prose, after all.

  13. James McNeil (point 2): I read a blog post recently about songs that reference other songs. Lots of people made suggestions in the comments:
    http://pastaqueen.com/halfofme/archives/2009/04/lyrical_response.html#comments

  14. Thanks for the update! I’m glad you’re back. That’s a great resolution, and kudos for having accomplished so much!

  15. seems you’ve had a busy summer. wish I had as much initiative as you seem to be able to muster up. good luck on the rest of your projects.

  16. I got about 200 pages into Infinite Jest before I realized I was never going to stop hating it.

    Dracula, on the other hand, is one of the creepiest and scariest books I have ever read. Outstanding!

  17. As an ex-journo in Western Australia at the time that dingo ate Lindy Chamberlain’s baby…that ad just fractured me.
    PS…what’s golden brown and goes around in circles….a dingo doing a lap of honour. Cheers mate. You made my day.

  18. Matthew, I never stop being amazed at the good ideas you have, and then that you follow through with them. I would never have dreamed of starting Infinite Jest if thousands of people hadn’t inadvertently shamed me into doing it, and it’s all because of you. And me, of course, but mostly you. Have I said thanks enough? Here, I’ll say it again: thanks.

  19. [...] On New Year’s day of 2009 I opted to skip the resolutions and instead simply vow to do a dozen “projects” over the coming twelve months. That decision, and some of the projects that resulted from it, are documented here. [...]

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