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Some personal news…

Finally deleted Facebook. This is just to let you know that if you see anyone on Facebook posting from this point on claiming to be me, it ain’t.

For the latest and greatest of what I’m up to, please sign up for my email newsletter!

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Thank you so much for the interest and support, as always!

Sending out another Greg Pak Newsletter today with fun bonuses – subscribe now to get in on it!

MECH CADET YU art from Takeshi Miyazawa and Triona Farrell.

My revamped email newsletter has been a blast so far — I’ve sent out three newsletters over the past few weeks with a few free comics and lots of news.

Today I’m sending out another edition with a nice discount coupon for the Greg Pak Shop and some exclusive sneak images that haven’t been shown anywhere else from an upcoming comic book!

Subscribe today and don’t miss out!

#AsAmCreatorRollCall

So a little over 24 hours ago, I posted this on the Twitter machine:

Since then, the tweet’s been viewed over 115,000 times and dozens if not hundreds of Asian American creators have used the #AsAmCreatorRollCall hashtag to tout their work. And hundreds more people have retweeted those tweets.

And my heart’s grown three sizes.

Fifteen years ago, when my producers and I were taking our Asian American sci fi feature film Robot Stories to film festivals, I remember a distributor telling us to our faces that it seemed weird to him that the film had all these Asian people speaking English without accents. I think we just stared at him in astonishment. He didn’t say it in a rude manner; he wasn’t trying to be offensive. He just totally didn’t get it. He didn’t get the film, and he didn’t get us. Even though he literally talking to real live Asian Americans, he didn’t seem to understand that Asian Americans exist or could tell stories that other people could relate to.

In the end, Robot Stories played in over 75 film festivals and won dozens of awards. We self distributed the film theatrically, and with the help of a bunch of incredible grassroots Asian American film festivals, Asian American cultural groups, sci fi fan clubs, college organizations, and indie film fests, we played across the country and ended up getting picked up by Kino for a DVD release.

A lot has changed in fifteen years. But Asian American creators can still face tremendous difficulties getting stories about Asian American characters out into the world. But as I learned with Robot Stories and a bunch of other contemporary Asian American films like The Debut and Better Luck Tomorrow, when folks come together, we can make amazing things happen for each other.

So last night I saw the great Daniel Dae Kim retweet the great Justin Chon on Twitter:

And shortly thereafter, I saw Reappropriate say some smart things about a recent list of 100 influential Asian Americans:

And I found myself thinking about how each of us is more powerful than we realize — particularly when we work together. And that one of the easiest things in the world to do is talk up the things we love so others can find out about them.

So big, big love to everyone who’s shared something using the #AsAmCreatorRollCall tag, and big, big love to everyone who’s retweeted anything someone’s posted using that hashtag. Folks are out there doing absolutely incredible work every day. Let’s all continue sharing in 2018, building that beautiful audience for everyone, and making the world we want to live in.

Please do check out the glorious projects and creators on display at #AsAmCreatorRollCall, and feel free to check out this very nice write up from Splinter News.

ComicsBeat on email newsletters with quotes from me & Warren Ellis

A few days ago, I wrote about the precarious state of social media and internet services and how creatives and freelancers might consider revamping their email newsletters in order to maintain contact with readers and fans. That same day, Warren Ellis sent out some similar thoughts in his own email newsletter. And now Heidi MacDonald at ComicsBeat has written about both of those pieces!

Check it out — lots of great food for thought!

And please do sign up for my newsletter, natch!

And you can sign up for Warren Ellis’s legendary newsletter right here.

Rethinking social media, the internet, and email newsletters for creators in 2018

I’m just old enough that email newsletters made my career possible. And I’m starting to think that they’re going to save us indie creators and freelancers all over again in the coming years.

Back in 2002, when I was taking my feature film Robot Stories around to film festivals, I’d pass around a notebook and collect email addresses from every audience I spoke to. By the end of our festival run, we had no real budget for publicity for our theatrical run, but we had a few thousand email addresses. And that was better than gold. I sent out email newsletters every week, asking our amazing supporters to get their friends in whatever city we were visiting next to come see, come see! And they did!

As the years passed, I sent out fewer and fewer newsletters and spent more and more time on social media. Social media was easier, and let’s be honest — it was more fun. At first it seemed like we were all just goofing around on Twitter, telling ourselves it was good publicity but mostly just cracking jokes. But Twitter proved its enormous value when I started doing Kickstarters. Without Twitter, we’d have been hard pressed to drum up the kind of support we did for Code Monkey Save World, The Princess Who Saved Herself, ABC Disgusting, and Kickstarter Secrets.

But with each passing day, the culture and administration of Twitter seems to get more overwhelmed with negativity and harassment. Something’s going to break. And when it does, where does that leave all of the creatives and freelancers who have put so much of their outreach efforts into the site?
read more »

I’m upgrading my email newsletter! Sign up today!

 

Art by the great Marie Severin

Hey, fun news! I’m upgrading/relaunching my email newsletter and now’s the perfect time to sign up!

The newsletter goes out around one to four times a month and it’s the best place to get the very latest news about my comics, films, and other projects.

Just enter your email in the form below, and then please be sure to check your email and click the confirmation link in the note we’ll send you. Please check your spam folder if you don’t see the email right away — it might have gotten redirected!

Your email will be used only to send you the Greg Pak Newsletter and you can unsubscribe at any time by selecting “unsubscribe” at the bottom of any newsletter you receive.

Thanks so much!

My D&D character Blackheart

The other night, I saw artist friends Wendy Xu and Trungles posting sketches of their Dungeons and Dragons characters on Mastodon, and I couldn’t help wanting to play along. D&D was a huge part of my middle school years. I spent hundreds of hours working on characters, drawing maps, designing castles and ships and coats of arms, and even writing constitutions for my fictional worlds. All of that play and work absolutely helped prepare me for what I do every day as an adult writer.

So I crashed Wendy’s and Trungles’ party and drew my own, new D&D character. Meet Blackheart, a halfling berserker who needs a hug.

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New webhost – testing, testing!

Just switched webhosts for GregPak.com and now I’m testing things out. Everybody seeing this?

All my Apple software problems

Glenn Fleishman recently posted a list of software problems he’s been encountering in his Macs. The post resonated with me — for about two or three years now, I’ve had the sense that problems with my Apple computers are constantly increasing. I’m not about to switch — I’ve been using Macs since 1985 and have gotten myself pretty locked into the ecosystem. I also essentially owe much of my career to Macs — the advent of cheap digital video editing with Final Cut Pro made it possible for me to make the majority of my shorts and my feature film “Robot Stories.” And the introduction of the iPad has enabled digital comic distribution to develop as an actual business that helps pay my rent. So yes, I’m grateful to and very appreciative of Apple products and generally very comfortable using them.

But that doesn’t mean everything shouldn’t work better. The company’s made a lot of hay over the idea that “It just works.” But increasingly, it doesn’t. So here’s my list of problems, and here’s to hoping the company’s paying attention and working on improvements.

  • The whole file system of iOS seems overly complicated. I understand the system isn’t built for my specific needs. But I want to be able to plug an iPad into a computer and see a hard drive pop up on the desktop that I can move files to and from. And I want to be able to access those files with any app that can read them on my iPad. Instead, I have to figure out how each separate app uploads files — and I have to upload the same file separately to different apps if I want to view it in different apps. This seems wasteful of both user time and space on the device.
  • The rollout of Final Cut Pro X and the lack of support for FCP 7 makes no sense to me as a pro user. I’ve stuck with FCP 7, like every other filmmaker I know because FCP 7 has all the features I need and because I have fifteen years of edited films that I CANNOT OPEN with FCP X. But I know eventually Apple will release an OS that I have to upgrade to in order to do my other work that isn’t compatible with FCP 7. And that’s going to be a terrible day. The writing is already on the wall — since upgrading to Yosemite, I can’t export from FCP 7 to QuickTime. I have to export via Compressor — which works, so at least there’s a workaround. But it’s a sign of things to come, and I don’t like it.
  • Apple hardware has become increasingly difficult to fix/upgrade at home. I was pretty easily able to upgrade many parts of my old Pismo or even my black Macbook back in the day. Much more difficult to do anything with any current hardware.
  • Searching in the Apple Mail program is a disaster. I admit — I have a HUGE number of emails in my program. But doesn’t everyone? For about a year now, using the search function to find anything in Mail frequently takes up to a minute. Since upgrading to Yosemite, it’s improved for me a bit. But it still can take many long seconds to complete a search. And sometimes it doesn’t complete the search ever — I have to clear out the search terms and try again to get a response.
  • I’ve had similar problems just using the Finder to search my computer. Searches used to be instantaneous. Now they can take a few seconds or what feels like a full minute.
  • Image Capture fails if I’ve kept it open and done other things between sets of scans. Upon returning to do a second set of scans, it typically loses its connection to the scanner and sometimes the entire computer has to be restarted for it to recognize it again.
  • For the first time ever, Preview started giving me trouble, taking forever to open and scroll through a document that was only 25 mb in size. This happened after I upgraded to Yosemite and after I’d been working with a pdf with fields you could fill in. I’ve finished what I needed to do with that document and haven’t had trouble again.
  • Every time I start up my computer, I get a message saying Text Expander wants to open up System Preferences so I can give it permission to work on my computer. I have already given Text Expander permission. But this dialogue box comes up anyway.
  • Mac Pro frequently doesn’t recognize USB drives it recognized moments before. The drive in question is a Lexar USB 3.0 drive.

I’ll update this post as I discover/remember additional problems.

 

If your desktop Mac’s internet connection is super slow for no reason…

… it might be because your iPhone is plugged in and “Personal Hotspot” is enabled.

I’ve been struggling with this one for a few days now — I have great broadband connection in my office but the internet on my desktop computer was super slow. Then I realized it was only happening when my iPhone was plugged in for charging. Most obviously, any site using Youtube wouldn’t fully load. Youtube itself wouldn’t load.

And then I realized I had “Personal Hotspot” activated on my iPhone. (I use the Personal Hotspot setting when out of the office to get an internet connection into my laptop — and sometimes forget to turn it off.)

I deactivated “Personal Hotspot” and internet speed on the desktop returned to normal.

Either the computer got confused with multiple choices for internet access and just bogged down. Or, stupidly, the computer was using the iPhone connection via USB rather than the much better office broadband connection.

Just sharing on the off chance it help someone else!

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