DISPATCH. Patreon. A match made in some place where matches are well made.
tl;dr – I’m publishing a monthly serial called DISPATCH at patreon.com/jasonkorolenko, where you can fund the series creation by subscribing on a “name your own price” basis.
What Is DISPATCH?
DISPATCH is a project that has been marinated and simmering in my brain for many years. It is the story of an emergency dispatch agency on the brink of collapse after a series of mishandled calls, and–more importantly–it’s the story of those people on the other end of the line when you dial 9-1-1. They are human, just like us, and they are fallible, just like us. Inspired by the mockumentary format of programs such as Derek, The Office, and People Just Do Nothing, and the single-room setting of Cheers and Taxi, DISPATCH is a literary sitcom, a litcom if you will, that blurs the line of genre. It is comedy and drama, it is emotional and irreverent. It is about people and relationships. It’s about everything, yet like Seinfeld, it is also about nothing. But that’s life, isn’t it? If I do my job correctly, DISPATCH will make you laugh and cry and seethe in anger and clench your butt cheeks in frustration and hopefully just duck and run through a gauntlet of emotion in every episode.
What Is Patreon?
Patreon is similar to Kickstarter or IndieGogo in that the platform allows for artists of all creative persuasions to crowdfund their work. The difference is that Patreon projects are funded either by project or by month, which means you can support artists on a continual basis as they create. It is the perfect platform for DISPATCH, as this project will be ongoing and long-term, with new episodes posted on the first of every month. And you pay what you want. Cool, right? $1 a month, $2 a month…whatever you feel it’s worth. There’s no risk; cancel anytime you want, and you can even check out a sample “pilot” episode for free at Patreon.
So pop on over to the DISPATCH Patreon Project and take a taste. Let me know what you think.
And as always, thanks for following along.
- Published in Uncategorized
My therapist tells me to be more honest. That people respond to honesty. I’ve been debating whether or not to post this (whiny) missive for (attention) a while. The post editor here on my website says I’ve revised the draft fifty-three times (fifty-four, now) over the last couple of weeks, so I hope it has crept closer and closer to honest with each rewrite.
You may have noticed my absence on the socials. Don’t worry; it’s not you, it’s me.
Wait. No. That’s not right. It’s not you or me. It’s them.
You know who I mean. Those mouth breathers who spew lungfuls of negativity with every post, tweet, or comment. Those annoying little social seagulls that craw and shit all over everything, then fly off to circle some other unsuspecting target before diving in to pick at a fresh scalp. (True story.) It’s an epidemic. Social media is the world’s biggest playground, populated with besties as well as bullies, except the besties are often only okaysies and sometimes Idon’thaveanyideawhoyouaresies, and the bullies in real life usually leave you alone if you crack ’em once or twice with a good old Stockton slap. Real life bullies don’t like it when you fight back because they feed off of fear. Show them you’re not afraid, show them you’re willing to fight back, and all of a sudden they gotta go because their mommies are calling them home for dinner.
There is no fear on the internetz because the internetz is not real. Well, it is, but it’s a strange, distorted sort of real. A Twilight Zone where likes and hearts are priorities and pics or it didn’t happen. You fight Negative Nancies on the socials and all it does is encourage these douche spigots. (That’s right, they are like faucets full of douche. Problem is, once you turn them on, you risk drowning in gooey pools of douche because THE HANDLE IS BROKEN AND THEY NEVER TURN OFF.)
Now, I’m hardly the first person to point out that social media is infested with pinheads who talk shit because there are no repercussions. And I’ll be among the first to admit it’s kinda silly when people announce that they’re leaving Facebook or saying Bye Felicia to Twitter because of this, that, and the other thing.
I get it.
It’s just as narcissistic as posting ten selfies a day with your tongue waggling out of your face. Akin to showing up at a party that’s not so much fun, and instead of just slipping away quietly, you jump up on the coffee table and announce that you’re splitting because this party SUCKS and HARRUMPH. Or like writing a thousand-word essay about the illusion of social media, and how it’s not really social at all but just one big mess of self-importance that bleeds into itself and becomes a cesspool of nonsense, on your website that only a handful of people will read. I know. Guilty. Put the cuffs on and holster the taser. Don’t worry. I won’t try to run.
Sure, there are plenty of good, normal people out there. But it’s exhausting, don’t you think, sifting through all the garbage to find the gems? Filtering it out. Unfollowing. Blocking. Deleting the apps from your phone one day and then reinstalling them a few days later because, goddamn, Instagram tastes just like crack. Go ahead, lick an Instagram post if you don’t believe me. (And then Snapchat it ’cause EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE YOU LICKING YOUR PHONE.)
Sure. You can quit anytime you want. You just don’t want to. And so could I, but I learned it by watching you!
As a writer, I used to think it was necessary to have an active social media presence if I wanted to sell books. And publishers will often demand that writers have an active Facebook fan page (even though Zuckerberg’s Edgerank algorithm has strangled organic post reach to 3% – 6% of your fan base, forcing you to buy ads or “boost” posts (for cash money honey, of course) if you want anyone to–GOD FORBID–see them). They’ll say you have to tweet a certain number of times a day, and they even give you a formula – 80/20, meaning that only 20% of your tweets should be promotional in nature, while the other 80% should be spent “building relationships.” They tell you to adhere to the Fair Follow Policy, whereby you immediately follow every single person who follows you, therefore, you can promote your work to the same 5,000 people who are actively trying to sell you their work to you.
While some of my books may have been sold through social channels, I’m not convinced the number is substantial enough to really matter. In a recent post about this very subject, author Chuck Wendig wrote, “Social media can sell some books. Publishers, however, don’t want to sell ‘some’ books. They want to sell all the books.” While I’m certainly leagues away from Chuck’s level of notoriety, I do have five of those little word collections available in various parts of the world. And though I’ve done *some* online marketing (GAH, THAT WORD!), I’m just not sure they would have sold much better if I’d spent more of my time “building relationships” on the socials. And I’m not sure they would have sold significantly fewer copies if I hadn’t promoted them at all.
Reading this, you may be thinking I’m a hypocrite. You may be saying, “You’re responding to online negativity with a post that reeks of negativity.” And you’d be absolutely correct. Positivity is contagious, and negativity, for me anyway, is even more so. It’s difficult to remain clean when you’re bombarded with trash at every turn. And as someone who naturally tends to reach toward the half-empty glass, I find it all just making me angry and depressed.
So I think I’ll step outside for awhile.
In the meantime, I will be finishing up the second draft of a novella that is very quickly expanding to novel length, and continuing to work with my agent to see Relentless – 30 Years of Sepultura published in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. Bookmark this page and check back frequently for updates, rants, ravings, and revelations that will hopefully make my therapist proud…
…or at least stop shaking his head with disappointment.
- Published in Uncategorized
Or, How Hollywood Ruins Everything Eventually
After I graduated high school in [YEAR REDACTED], firmly convinced college was a waste of time because I was going to be a rock star goddammit, I got a job working third shift at a factory that made desks and chairs for schools. Budding rock stars, I knew, did not go to college while practicing their chops and growing their hair; they worked in construction, they worked in factories, they worked in fast food joints. Jobs that were easy to get and easy to quit.
My weekends began on Friday mornings at 7 am. I’d leave the building covered with grease and stinking of oil, skin pricked with metal splinters and raw from welding sparks. Quick shower, and then back out to spend a rather large percentage of my paycheck on guitar strings, comic books, and tacos. I’d stay awake sunset to sunset, and at 8 pm, switch off the lights and on the television. This was pre-Netflix, pre-torrent, pre-On Demand, remember. If I wanted to catch the latest episode of The X-Files, I had to watch it when it ran. The only other option was to wait until summer hiatus to catch the rerun. Which, for my whiny and impatient little 18-year-old self, wasn’t really an option at all.
I recorded every episode, bought every magazine that featured Mulder and Scully, clipped out every TV Guide article about The X-Files. Considered cutting my hair and wearing a suit and tie. Desperately wanted to get my hands on one of those slick navy blue windbreakers with FBI printed on the back in huge yellow letters.
Yeah, I have an obsessive personality. I’ll cop to that.
So when I heard David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were returning for a mini-season eight years after the last X-Files movie and nearly fifteen years since the final episode of the television series, I tried to temper my excitement with trepidation because, well, nostalgia is a drug that raises expectations to unrealistic heights. We’ve all been burned by it before. (Don’t even speak to me about KISS’s Psycho Circus album, their first after “reuniting” in the studio with original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. I will plug my ears and yell LA LA LA LA LA in your face until you stop talking or I pass out, whichever comes first.)
No spoilers here. However, if you haven’t seen the new season yet, you might want to move along because these aren’t the droids you’re looking for. I don’t want to influence your opinion one way or another until after you watch, at which point I will then completely denounce and decry your opinion if it varies even slightly from mine.
After watching the season finale, and the godawful episode that preceded it, I spent some time collecting my thoughts. Actually, I spent some time (a lot of time) spewing my verbal diarrhea on Twitter, that place where the art of verbosely shitting all over everything has been taken to a new level. Mind you, I’m not a troll (at least, I don’t think I am), and I’ve never been the type to cut down others for no reason. That is, I’ve never tweeted to a musician, writer, or artist YOUR FACE IS STUPID AND YOUR ART MAKES ME WANT TO DIE. But my disappointment with The X-Files–a show I loved so much that I’d set my first aol email password as sculder1313–was too great. I had to let it out, lest be consumed by it like a human/fluke worm hybrid creature.
While gathering my thoughts (read: barfing all over the X-Files hashtag), I came across Kaly Soto’s piece in the New York Times that read as if she had plucked the words directly from my brain computer. I also began Netflixing and chilling with the original series, starting at the pilot, to make sure my teenaged enjoyment of those old episodes wasn’t just a byproduct of extreme boredom and crippling loneliness.
Nope. The old episodes (especially once they hit their groove in season two) worked just as well as I remembered. Which got my writer gears grinding, wondering, It worked back then; why doesn’t it work now? And my Holmesian conclusion is thus:
They’re trying too hard.
More specifically, they’re trying to mold the show (mold it, or as the English might write, mould it. So they’re moulders. Moulders. Geddit? MOULDERS?!?) so it fits in with the current style of dramatic programming–young, sexy, snarky, modern. They’re trying to fit in with the Lucifers and the Sleepy Hollows. And that’s fine, as long as it’s genuine. (Never mind that I personally can’t stand those shows, but hey, different strokes and all that). But it doesn’t feel genuine. It feels forced. The original X-Files was all that–young, sexy, slightly snarky, modern (for its time)–and naturally so because of the writing, the characterization, and that strong chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson. They didn’t have to force it.
Let’s chat a bit about Mulder’s psychotropic trip in the penultimate episode. Yeah, how can I not go there? (Please forgive me David Duchovny, if you happen to read this; I sincerely have nothing but the utmost respect for you as an actor, but…) That scene was embarrassing. In the context of, say, Californication, I might have enjoyed it thoroughly. In the context of this show? Sorry, but no. It felt like I was watching a Saturday Night Live X-Files parody sketch.
And I guess that was my main problem with the new season, in the shell of a nut. It just didn’t fit. There is talk of possibly filming another. But if the writers continue down this path, turning the show into some sleek, soulless dramedy full of quick-cuts and punchlines over paranoia, rather than keeping with creator Chris Carter’s original intent to “scare people’s pants off,” then I’m tapping out.
In other words, the truth may still be out there, but I’m not sure I want to keep looking for it.
- Published in Uncategorized
It’s times like these I’m glad I don’t make my living as a music journalist.
Because many music journalists, whose work I otherwise read and respect greatly, seem oddly silent and unopinionated in the face of a controversy that needs to be written about, discussed, debated, argued, and quite simply, talked about.
Journalists report the news, they don’t shy away from it. Still, these writers–who in the past have loudly and boldly broadcasted their sometimes scathing opinions about an artist’s work–now appear timid and reserved, unwilling to comment.
Because they are afraid to lose their meal tickets.
Allow me to set the scene…
FADE IN: A small, dank club in Hollywood, California. It is January 22, 2016, and a slew of heavy metal musicians and fans have gathered for DIMEBASH, an annual celebration honoring the life of PANTERA guitarist Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott, who was shot and killed on stage by a deranged “fan” on December 8, 2004, while performing with his band DAMAGEPLAN. Alcoholic beverages (including Dime’s trademark Black Tooth Grin, a deceptively intoxicating mix of Crown Royal with a splash of Coke) are flowing freely. The music is loud, the smiles are many. Everyone who had the pleasure of knowing–or even simply crossing paths with–Dime knew that the guitarist dealt in smiles and laughter as much as he dealt in riffs. The evening goes off like a heavy metal 21-gun salute…that is, until former PANTERA vocalist Philip Anselmo, who had been performing his band’s classic tracks with handfuls of metal dignitaries, ends the night in what appears to be fury, thrusting his right arm out in a brisk sieg heil, and then shouting from the edge of the stage:
I’ll let Machine Head’s Robb Flynn, who also performed at DIMEBASH (with Phil) and had previously shared the stage with Pantera a number of times, take over for a few minutes. Watch the whole video. It’s quite enlightening.
It begs the questions:
Why do we allow our heroes to get away with such disgusting, reprehensible behavior? Why do we ignore it or find excuses for it? Is it because, in our admiration, we’ve elevated these people to such levels where they have become untouchable?
Whatever the reasons, there is a disturbing lack of professional musicians speaking out against Phil’s behavior, as Robb Flynn mentioned. And understandably, if wrongly, so. These are working musicians. Their livelihoods could be affected if they publicly shamed such a high-profile figure as Anselmo (who has become a sort of metal Mel Gibson, at this point, though not yet as ostracized). Flynn himself acknowledged that fear.
Equally, there are a number of music “journalists” who are avoiding the topic completely.
Because they’re afraid of losing that big interview with Anselmo when his next album comes out. They’re afraid of losing the headline. They’re afraid of losing their bylines.
They’re afraid of losing their meal tickets.
Me, I’m just a writer and a lifelong heavy metal fan. I love Pantera. Their music provided the sonic background, the soundtrack, to my high school years in the early 90s. I own one of Dime’s signature guitars. He’s one of the main reasons I starting playing back then, and continue to play today. But I’m glad I’m not a writer who makes his living covering music.
Because all I want to say right now is FUCK YOU, Phil Anselmo, you ignorant cunt.
And there aren’t many working music journalists who seem to be saying that.
- Published in Uncategorized