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Growing up on the farm, television was always a means to connect with the outside world. We lived more than twenty miles out of town and the nearest neighbor was a couple miles away, so it also served as a social outlet.
The fact that we only had three channels for the first several years of my life meant we watched whatever was on at the time and we liked it. Especially if the weather was bad and one or two of those channels were unwatchable.
Still, there were several shows that I never missed: The A-Team, the original Battlestar Galactica, “V”, Charlies’ Angels. They showed me worlds that I never dreamed I could be a part of. Whether it was outer space or some foreign country, I was able to put aside my rather mundane life and experience something totally different.
I think it was the fantasy and spectacle of those shows that really made me gravitate towards Science Fiction and Fantasy writing. Through that fiction I was able to go wherever and whenever I wanted. It also had the additional benefit of being portable so I could go to those worlds anywhere I was. That was probably the real beginning of my love affair with books. I read all the time.
I don’t think I really realized what effect some of the shows had on me. Some were obvious, like Dark Shadows (reruns – I’m not THAT old). I never quite looked at the dark the same way. Every time I had to cross a dark yard I would wonder if something was out there watching me.
Other shows impacted me in ways that weren’t quite so obvious. The one show that I now recognize as an important one to me is a little known show called Cliffhangers.
Cliffhangers was one of those television shows that was totally different. Instead of one story, it had three. Instead of one genre, it had several and the music the show used in each of the three stories? Well, let me say, I really grew to love the moodiness of “Moonlight Sonata”.
The show made me see things in a different way. My favorite of the three sub-shows was Dracula. I wasn’t a big fan of horror then, but the writers made Dracula into something different. Instead of a simple predator, he had feelings. He had depth.
It wasn’t until last Fall that I even remembered the show. That memory was sparked by two of my online friends, Scott Roche and JR Murdock. They were talking about their writing plans for 2012 and I thought, “Gee, wouldn’t it be cool if we did something together?”
Then the show, Cliffhangers, came to mind (and I didn’t actually recall the title until another online friend reminded me). That’s where the idea of the Action Pack
Podcast came to life. Perhaps the three of us could share a common goal of writing an episode of our own story each month and podcast it together?
We met, talked about the idea and you will now see (in multiple eBook formats) and hear the Action Pack Podcast beginning February. I’m thrilled because it is allowing me to write a story partially inspired by some of the more recent television shows and movies about zombies. My story is Boy Scouts of the Apocalypse and I’ve wanted to write it for more than two years now.
So television has been good to me. It provided me with an escape and window to the world when I was young. It made my imagination soar so I had to fuel it with reading and now, it is giving me ideas for more books to write and podcasts to produce.
Is there nothing television can’t do? ;)
Michell Plested is a writer and podcaster living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I came to know him through his excellent writing podcast called Get Published. I have learned a lot about writing and the writing business from listening to his show, and on top of that he has great interviews with authors and people in the biz. If you haven’t checked it out you need to, Michell is a great interviewer. His other podcast of note is a novel that had me laughing out loud each and every episode. Galaxy Billies is the story of five humans from the Appalachian Mountains who are abducted by a semi-sentient starship named Grokmar who he needs an intelligent crew in order to function properly. Hilarity and all sorts of adventures ensue. Go have a listen for free Michell’s website or at Podiobooks. Also, this year Michell has a young adult super hero novel coming out through Five Rivers Publishing called Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero. I can’t wait to have that one on my shelf. Also this year from Michell look for the Action Pack Podcast over at http://www.actionpackpodcast.com/. I’m really excited about this and did a lot of the artwork for them. Go subscribe and get your helping of sci-fi, western steampunk, and young adult zombie survival action. With all his writing projects, full time job, family, and scout trips with his son, let’s just say that Michell is a busy guy. You can follow him on twitter, and many other social media sites. Find out more at http://www.michellplested.com/.