Month: October 2013

50,000 words in 30 days

Cheap mock-up of book cover*

Starting in less than 2 hours National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) begins. And I’m participating. Which means I’m attempting to write 50,000 words in 30 days.


I decided to do this a day or two ago. I have no outline. I have a very busy month ahead writing for Robot 6 (check out my latest column about the newest Facebook craze, Bitstrips), bringing The Corey Blake Experience back to Neon Venus (it’s your second chance to catch me performing with both of my current improv groups – don’t miss it or it could be your last chance), performing at The Improv Space (every Thursday night at 8 PM!), working at my new job, and whatever else I do (I can’t even keep it straight). This could very well be a complete and utter disaster. Needless to say, I’m not really expecting to hit the 50K goal. I keep telling myself that whatever I write is more than what I had before. Even if it’s all garbage, at least I got things moving and tried a new way to create.

My book was an idea I’ve had burbling around in my head for years, maybe a decade or more. At various times, I’ve considered it a web series, a comic book, a web-comic, and a graphic novel. Technically writing a script is considered breaking the loose rules of NaNoWriMo, but they don’t really hold anyone to it. You’re categorized a “rebel” and you can pretty much do what you want with the month. But a 50,000-word graphic novel is massive. So maybe I’ll start it as a straight prose book. Maybe I’ll borrow from cartoonist Terry Moore and mix comics and prose. The whole thing is an experiment for me, so I’ll borrow from my weekly improvisation shows and just see where it takes me. NaNoWriMo released a pep talk from James Patterson today and he briefly referenced Art Spiegelman, the guy who created the Pulitzer-winning graphic novel Maus. That made me feel good about not backing down from doing it as a comic. It’s the language and format that I’ve spent more time consuming and studying. So we’ll see.

The story itself. I wrestled with which idea to pursue but I knew pretty quickly it would be this one. I have a comedy web-comic that I’ve been writing, and I definitely want to look into writing more comedy again. But this is not a comedy. As I’ve conceived it, it’ll probably be kind of depressing actually. Again, we’ll see where it takes me. I’m sure there will be moments of levity, but it’s meant to address through metaphor a lot of my feelings and emotional responses to Nahleen’s diagnoses first with multiple sclerosis and then with lupus. It may very well end up being a very clumsy and sophomoric expression, but I think I’m long overdue to finally write this.

Some will start writing at midnight. I’m about to head to bed for work tomorrow. And then tomorrow night, I’m going to dive in. Please have patience with me as I may be more tired than normal over the next 30 days. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this month, be one of my writing buddies! Or just wish me luck! I’ll probably need it.

*Credit Where Credit Is Due Department: The temporary cover above is cropped from this free wallpaper image.

Introducing… The Corey Blake Experience!

The Corey Blake ExperienceLook at that thing! It’s just ridiculous but somehow it’s really going to exist. Starting October 12 and every second Saturday night until we’re kicked out, I’m going to be doing a late night live comedy show at Neon Venus! And yes, the title really is The Corey Blake Experience! That awesome flyer was made by Jim Maloy. I cracked up the instant I saw it.

While this may sound like a very self-indulgent one-man show, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is me bringing together the two improv teams that currently tolerate my presence and another group I’m friends with for some shenanigans and tom-foolery. Who knows, maybe we’ll throw in some other surprises too!

I’m really happy with these two groups I’m in so it’s a thrill for me to get the chance to show them off to you. Opening the show will be The You Convention, one of the home teams of The Improv Space in Westwood. We perform there every Thursday night in the 8:00 hour for only $5. I really enjoy this team. About half of our original line-up has changed and I think we’ve really found the right dynamic. We all clicked pretty quickly and have found a great chemistry. We usually start each show off with what is called scene painting, where we create the room we’ll be existing in based on your suggestion. I’ve never done anything like it and it really creates a grounded show with a lot of fun discovery. For everyone who can’t make it out Thursday nights or get to the west side, here’s your chance to finally catch us. It’s not a school night and it’s more centrally located. No excuses!

Next up for The Corey Blake Experience will be O.N. Improv, the Antelope Valley’s only improv team. Needless to say I’m not in this group because I don’t live in the Antelope Valley. Where is the Antelope Valley, anyway? I have no idea either but it’s supposed to be really far away and for some reason they think it’s a great idea to drive for miles to do a show with us once a month. We’re thrilled to have them! They bring a lot of energy, enthusiasm and silliness. And I love the idea of growing the improv community by bringing people from outside the LA area in so we can all learn and be influenced by each other. I’m hoping they’ll invite some of us out for a show in their faraway land so we can return the favor.

Closing out the night will be T.M.A. (The Meaningless Acronyms). This team is so new, we don’t have a Facebook page yet. But we do have this cobbled together page on (that’s a neat platform for improv groups, by the way; still rough around the edges but a lot of potential). I was invited to join this team and we’ve been getting our feet wet with monthly shows in Hermosa Beach opening for Jump Start about once a month. We’ll appear there as long as they’ll have us but we thought it was time to get more stage time because we’re desperate stage whores. T.M.A. has really clicked into place very quickly, with a style that embraces absurd characters and situations. It’s fast-paced, loose and playful. We’re still experimenting with our format but we’re primarily long form after a game to kick things off. We’ve gotten fantastic responses from the Hermosa Beach audiences so now it’s time to invade Hollywood.

If you’ve never seen me perform, or haven’t in a long time, this is the perfect opportunity. A late night party in happenin’ Hollywood. It’s not on a school night and it’s only $5 for a metric ton of comedy. Also, if you don’t show up, they’ll kick us out and I’ll cry alone and dejected. So there’s all kinds of incentives!

Here are the details:

When? Saturday, October 12, 2013
No but when? 10:15-11:30 PM
Where? Neon Venus
No but where? 7023 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, CA 90038
How much? $5
Facebook invite? Facebook!

Bonus fun fact: In case you are a philistine, the flyer is based off the album cover by Karl Ferris used for The Jimi Hendrix Experience album Are You Experienced?.