Ace Tucker Space Trucker

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I Live and Die by Bob Ross

This week I released the season finale Ace Tucker Space Trucker Season One. It was a bittersweet moment when I finalized the MP3 and hit upload. I had spent roughly 500 hours of the past several months recording myself talking in silly voices, editing, scoring, more editing, etc. to create the greatest feat of audio creation I had ever done. Before that, I had spent more than a year writing a novel that would later become the scripts for season one. So, long story, short, I had devoted a huge chunk of my time and energy to make this wild show and it was now over. At least temporarily. Ace Tucker will live again in Season Two. But first I need a little break because making this stuff is @$&#^% HARD.

You might be asking, “If it’s so goddamn hard, why do it?”

Well, Chachi, I do it BECAUSE it is hard. Making cool stuff is hard (see my previous post about how I went around a giant tree for 20 years to get to where I am today). I do it because I get to use almost every color in my creative spectrum. Writing, acting, editing, audio engineering, songwriting, scoring... I smear it all on a digital palette and use it to PAINT with sound.

As made famous by Bob Ross, I live and die by the “happy little accident.” I take hundreds (some sometime thousands) of individual snippets of sound and combine them to make a logical, (hopefully) entertaining and immersive story.

When I decided to tell this story as an audio drama, complete with sound effects, music, scoring and multiple characters all performed by myself, I decided to do it 17 individual episodes. It takes me anywhere between 20 to 40 hours to create each episode of Ace Tucker Space Trucker. I might do another post or maybe *gasp* a podcast in the future where I break down my process from start to finish but for now, just know I do it little by little, layering things on top of each other one by one until it sounds “right.” It’s almost all educated guesses and happy little accidents. I have to experiment with everything at almost every point in the process. Since this project (Season One) is so massive, I have to move FAST.

You might think 20 - 40 hours per episode is far from moving fast but let me tell you, if I succumbed to my inner critic at every step of the way, I’d STILL be working on episode one! I have to get things to where I assume they make sense and sound good, then move on. End of story. There is too much to do to allow for second-guessing.

I am fortunate in that I do have a bit of a safety net if my manic decisions send me over a ledge. I make my wife listen to every episode, to make sure everything sounds right and makes sense. She has a great ear and is a casual sci-fi fan (far from the super dork I am). She’s made critical suggestions along the way to make things more understandable for listeners. She also lets me know when I have the music too damn loud. I tend to mix it way up because, ya know, I like to ROCK.

Speaking of music, here’s a little fun fact about Ace Tucker Space Trucker: both the first and the last episodes of Season One featured a cover of the classic Ramones song “Rockaway Beach” recorded by my band, Red Hot Rebellion.

Our version is a little more raw than the original, as we tried to inject our signature rawk n roar style in the song. Ivan Chimpanov, the Ramones-loving Russian cyborg chimp, would approve of our version, I think.

The track is not currently available for sale but as a THANK YOU for being awesome, I want to give it to you for free - no strings attached. CLICK HERE to download.

25 September 2017

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Episode 17: Finger Licking Good (SEASON ONE FINALE)

In the super-charged finale of season one, Ace Tucker becomes the hero he was always meant to be. The future of humanity and the galaxy itself are at risk during the final showdown between Ace and the Shiny Man. Who will win? And what does the aftermath hold for Ace and the gang? Find out now on the exciting conclusion of Ace Tucker Space Trucker Season One!

25 September 2017

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Episode 16: CTRL ALT REPEAT

After narrowly escaping the police, Ace and April dress in their stolen suits and go to convince Elvis to fake his death and leave Earth. But when they get to Graceland, they are in for the shock of their lives. The Shiny Man is a tricky bastard and his nefariousness reaches new levels of douchebaggery.

PS: The 1970's were fucking weird...

17 September 2017

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How to Win Friends and Influence People with Comic Books, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Space Truckers

Recently I was asked to speak to a local university’s comic book club about my journey through the topsy-turvy world of comic book creation and beyond. The president of the club was familiar with much of my work and specifically interested in my niche of combining music and comics in unique packages.

I agreed but prefaced the presentation by stating I would focus on some key things I was most proud of, not to toot my own horn, but to illustrate how every cool thing I’ve made was the result of a ton of effort and has lead to something even cooler down the road. In the current environment of rampant immediate satisfaction, I wanted to stress that all my meager successes were the result of tremendous amounts of research, work, trial and error. I wanted to show a clear progression from clumsy neophyte to proficient dilettante, using all of my talents and passions to create immersive multi-media stories.

The presentation went well, so I thought I would expand on it a little for you fine folks who weren’t lucky enough to be at the presentation.

Just a Lad

One of my earliest childhood memories is seeing Spider-Man and Captain America at a mall. It was some sort of promotional live-action show and it was amazing. I still have the flyer from the show. It hangs framed on a wall in my studio and reminds of where my comic mania started.

As a kid, I watched every cartoon and live-action superhero show I could get my eyeballs on and bought comics from the local Magic Mart with my meager allowance. When I was about 8-years-old an older friend took me to a truly magical place: a comic book store. I had never seen so many comics in one place at one time! I was accustomed to the skimpy offerings of the local stop-and-rob’s spinner rack. This was truly something else. Wall to wall, floor to ceiling comic books! Needless to say, I was hooked and was a total comic book crackhead until I was about 16-years-old when I started getting into girls and playing in bands — totally unrelated, by the way. But fear not, true believers. My time as a musician is directly responsible for turning me into a comic creator.

For the Benefit of Evil

My band, Red Hot Rebellion, released our debut album with a tie-in comic book telling the story of a beat down work-a-day slob who becomes a bona fide Rock ‘n’ Roll monster thanks to a handy deal with the Devil. We hit the road, playing crappy bars and listening rooms across the U.S. We were building a regional fan base, slugging it out in the seedy underbelly of the underground rock scene, sometimes playing to just 10 people (the dudes in the other bands on the bill that night). It’s a common story that you’ve heard a million times: a small band paying its dues, blah, blah, blah.

But then something magical happened. I started exhibiting at comic book conventions.

Instead of spending my nights shouting over blaring guitars at half-inebriated would-be fans, I was able to have real in-depth conversations in an environment where you can cut the excitement with bloody adamantium claws! Additionally, there’s one important thing that sets comic con attendees apart from the casual beer-swilling bar gig rocker: they are there to buy!

At my first convention, I sold at least double the amount of merchandise the band usually sells at a bar show. And I didn’t have to stay out until 4 AM to do it. What a concept! Needless to say, I was hooked.

Melt the Sky

Fast forward to a spring day where I find myself sitting at an airport bar, awaiting a flight for my day job (yes, I need to work day job – my band is not the Foo Fighters and I sure ain’t Robert Kirkman).

As I wiled away the time, slowing draining a pint of Guinness, I watched some flavor-of-the-week musical fluff on the bar TV. I began... 13 September 2017

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