I spend a lot of time working, and since I primarily work from home it's difficult to just sort of "ignore" the things I need to be doing. But because of the holiday, I was able to take a couple of days off and only feel marginally guilty about it. Wednesday, of course, I had the funeral to go to, and I when I got home I limited myself to a scant 2 hours of work (I was reviewing a proposal that I'm going to have to re-write on Monday). Thursday, T-Day, I spent the day with family and managed to NOT WORK AT ALL... I can hardly believe it. But it's true, I spent the largest chunk of the day watching DVD's and fighting off the effects of tryptophan.

And I had every intention of doing the same thing on Friday. Good Friday. The busiest shopping day of the year, and one really good excuse for not working. I didn't think I was being unreasonable when I told Todd I was going to spend it with family and friends and just BE OFF for the day. It's a holiday, after all. Millions of Americans were way ahead of me on taking it off.

But when the smell of coffee percolating woke me from a deep and restful slumber, it suddenly hit me that I was bored.

I'm not exactly a physically active guy. I should be, but I tend to lead a sedimentary life style. When your job is to sit in front of a keyboard and clack out the words that will be in someone's mouth or convince someone to give you money or maybe become a nationwide bestseller (fingers are still crossed!), you tend to sit in one spot for a very long time. Every day. And so, when I woke up feeling pretty good about myself and about my day off I decided to do something physical. I went to Wal-mart, braved the throngs of shoppers and bought an 8-foot ladder so I could climb onto my roof. The objective: remove limbs and pine needles. It was a worth pursuit, and I was rising to the challenge (literally. I was on a ladder, you know?).

But I hadn't even managed to get the ladder paid for and out to my car before my cel phone rang. I went through the mental routine of whether I should even look at the caller ID. This was a holiday, after all! Shouldn't I ignore all phone calls? Shouldn't I concentrate on doing things that are fun and relaxing? Well, that would nix the ladder idea. So, in for a penny in for a pound, as they say.

The caller ID said "Vic."

Vic Mignogna is famous. Not in a Tom Cruise or Bruce Willis kind of way. Not even in a Ray Ramano kind of way. Vic is a voice actor (among about a million other things -- he's like me in that he can't do just ONE thing). If you're an anime or video game fan, you might have heard some of his stuff. At the moment, he is the voice of "Edward Elric" in Full Metal Alchemist. You can watch it every Saturday night on the Cartoon Network's [adult swim] block. I'm not the worlds biggest anime fan, despite voicing characters for a bunch of anime parody dubs, but I've been watching this show in support of my friend and I have to say that I've really come to appreciate it.

That's one claim to fame for Vic. He has others, of course. He's done more music for radio and promotional spots than I can even count. He's just a very talented man, and a good friend of mine.

So, I answer. Turns out there's some minor glitch with his web site (I built his site at www.vicsworld.net) and he wanted me to look at it. Oh, and by the way, am I busy? He's got a business proposition for me.

Turns out he has a new client -- a company called PreCash. They are putting together a kiosk video to show at a convention or seminar or something and he wanted to know if I would write the script.

"Sure," I say. I'm always up for a paid gig. And since this video was going to be 3-minutes, I figured I'd have time even with the big family day I was having on Saturday at my brother's place, the last of the flea market scourings of the year with Bobby Beaver on Sunday, the proposal rewrite with Todd on Monday and the upcoming three-day trip to DC for the documentary on Tuesday. I figured I could work it in on Thursday or so. Maybe even work on it during the flight.

"How much would you charge for this?" Vic asked. He had already given me the project's budget and I quickly ran some numbers in my head to see if I could justify sucking up all of it... (not really, I was actually just trying to figure out if I could charge my usual rate without alarming anyone). I quoted him a price. And he doubled it.

Wow, I thought. But when I spoke, I said, "Wow."

But here's the catch... the turnaround was Monday. I was driving an hour and a half to sit with Vic and talk about the project on Friday afternoon and it had to be finished by Monday morning. Now, I'm a miracle worker, true enough, but I had a LOT going on this weekend. Friday had turned out to be busier than I had planned (what with the limbs and ladders and pine needles, and now all the driving and project discussing). I could work on it Friday evening, possibly, but most of Saturday would be OUT, and Sunday was OUT, and what did that leave?

But I calmed myself. Double my fee tends to have a calming, solidifying effect on me. I got the info, agreed to do the project and drove home from Vic's feeling much better about working on my weekend off.

I spent all day yesterday (Saturday) at my brother's place. We weren't all able to come together on Thanksgiving, so we were throwing a sort of impromptu ad hoc Thanksgiving feast a day or two later. I played with my niece and nephew and we all watched DVD's and told stories and jumped on trampolines and ate, and ate, and ate. And the whole time, I was thinking about the project and how much work it might mean this evening.

By the time we left and I got back to my home office, I was more than ready to get started on this thing. I made myself take my time. I had some hot tea and took a little walk, calmed myself a little (I was anxious to get this thing going and over with -- Did I mention it was a very busy weekend?). And around 6pm I sat down and started combing through the source materials.

The original concept was for me to take the existing brochure and convert it to a script. Easy enough, I know, except I know from experience that you'll NEVER be able to get a brochure of four or five pages down to a three to five minute video script. In a brochure, you get to do things like use paragraphs and shout out boxes. These things contain valuable information. They're wordy. They take time to read out loud. And after typing up the brochure basically word for word it became very clear that I would have to re-write it all. That's fine... earn that doubled fee, baby!

So, for the next couple of hours I re-worded, whittled, deleted and created new lines of dialogue for the narrator to read. I would read the whole thing to a stop watch (an online stopwatch, actually. go to http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/activities/stopwatch/) and it kept coming up at WELL over 5 minutes. It took forever to get it down to 4:21:60 at a moderate read. Still a little long, to my way of thinking. When Vic asked for a 3 to 5 minute video script, I got the impression he mostly wanted 3 minutes. Not impossible to do, but tough if you want to convey all of the available information in a way that's interesting and pleasing.

But I managed it. I did it. I sent the result to Vic last night around 9pm and he replied around mid-night that he'd look it over and get back to me. So now the wait is on. Later today I'm hoping to get a cel phone call or e-mail giving me the thumbs up. I have to admit, I'm a little nervous that it won't be exactly what he's looking for. But I'm always nervous when it comes to things like this. Give me an essay to write, an article, a column etc. If it's 100% under my control, I have no problem. I can write PAGES of text without blinking an eye. Proposals are no big deal. I can write a proposal that would sell bikini briefs to the Amish. But if I have to turn over what I've written for some sort of approval, I start to get a little nervous.

So wish me luck!

I have to say, writing is one of the many talents God has given me that I feel I can do better than most anyone else. It's nothing I've really "studied" per se. I've always had this ability. It's been a blessing my whole life. And the other things I do, God has really given me talents and skills that can only be described as amazing. I really appreciate that. I'm probably not vocal enough about how much I appreciate it, really. So, "Thanks God."

He's a swell omnipotent being.



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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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