is two guys collaborating to write on writing and collaboration.

Fastball! for June 2009

Jun 08, 2009

David Mitchell: 'I should probably be thinking seriously now about not living in a grotty flat on my own' — Martin Ball

David Mitchell interviewed by Decca Aitkenhead in the Guardian. When asked about moving to the U.S., he explained why British humor is funnier to him than American humor:

“I’ve been to LA and it’s horrible. I don’t want to live there. I think, fundamentally, the people I want to make laugh are British. I can’t ever imagine living abroad. I love all elements of how British society lends itself to comedy — you know, it’s own sort of pompousness and self-loathing and class system and cynicism and irony: all these sorts of things are strongest here. Something like Curb Your Enthusiasm, great though it is, it’s like their first faltering steps into that world of self-loathing that we, as a post-imperial power, have been in for the best part of a century. I think the Americans will be doing some amazing comedy in 60 to 70 years’ time. But for the moment I’d say we’re in the right part of the curve of the decline of our civilisation in order to be funniest.”

Jun 01, 2009

A week of the Variant — Martin Ball


We’ve been following John August’s experiments with self-publishing his story The Variant with great interest.

The story — well worth the piddly $1 he charges — reinforces the tale that reading one of his screenplays tell: the man is a damn fine writer.

More than that, as he’s demonstrated with years of effort and question-answering on his blog, he’s open with information. This post lays out just how many sales he’s had through each channel (Kindle and PDF), and how much he made from those sales.

At this point, I don’t have any big sense of What It All Means.

It’s a fine number of sales for a short story that would have likely been buried in some specialty magazine. But I’m not sure I can offer any meaningful analysis of the publishing model, partly because I started with a higher profile than many fiction writers might.

Could an established novelist duplicate (or exceed) these results? Probably. Could a talented but unknown upstart? Not as likely.

A few days ago he released a spreadsheet with data from people who bought the PDF so that numbers nerds could start making stats from the numbers (check the comments, some did).

And, of course, some other smaller publications have been watching the case as well.

Fastball! Archives

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What is Spitball!?

Spitball! is two guys collaborating to write about writing and collaboration. We're writing partners who have worked together since 2000, and placed in the top 100 in the last Project Greenlight for our script YELLOW.

Currently, we are both working on multiple screenplay, short story, and novel ideas independently and together, and collaborate on this blog.

What Spitball! used to be

Spitball! started as an attempt to collaborate on a screenplay online in real time. From January 2006 to July 2007 we worked on an interactive process to decide the story we were going to make. A full postmortem is coming, but you can find the find all the posts by looking in the category Original Version.

During this period, we affected the personalities of two of the most famous spitball pitchers from the early 20th Century. Look at our brief bios for more info about this, and so as not to be confused as to who is talking when.

We rebooted the franchise in early 2009 in its current form.

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Our Twitter account, where we note when longer articles are posted. While we're at it, here's Kent and Martin's Twitter accounts.

Kent M. Beeson

Urban Shockah pic

Kent M. Beeson (aka Urban Shockah) is a stay-at-home dad and stay-at-home writer, living in Seattle, WA with his wife, 2 year old daughter and an insane cat. In 2007, he was a contributor to the film blog ScreenGrab, where he presciently suggested Jackie Earle Haley to play Rorschach in the Watchmen movie, and in 2008, he wrote a film column for the comic-book site ComiXology called The Watchman. (He's a big fan of the book, if you couldn't tell.) In 2009, he gave up the thrill of freelance writing to focus on screenplays and novels, although he sometimes posts to his blog This Can't End Well, which a continuation of his first blog, he loved him some movies. He's a Pisces, and his favorite movie of all time is Jaws. Coincidence? I think not.

Martin McClellan

Burleigh Grimes pic

Martin (aka Burley Grymz) is a designer and writer. He occasionally blogs at his beloved Hellbox, and keeps a longer ostensibly more interesting bio over here at his eponymous website. You can also find him on Twitter.