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Thursday, 26 May 2005
What happened to me: The true story of the fictional weblog http://whatishappeningtome.blogspot.com
Hi everybody.

This page is not a recurring blog, and exists only as a companion to the weblog "What is Happening to Me?" a work of online, serialized, interactive fiction that began in October 2004, and ended in May 2005. It was written by me, Ritch Duncan, under the pen name "Kirk Thomson," a name chosen in part for my college advisor Gordon Thomson, a man far more intelligent than I.

If you have never read the blog, you can find it here .

For those who are not familiar with the format of blogs, they are formatted with the most recent entry first, so to read the story in order, one should scroll all the way down to the bottom, and read up. To read from the beginning, click "October" first, and scroll down for the first entry. To go directly to the first post, click here .

About me:

As I said, my name is Ritch Duncan, and I am a comedy writer and performer originally from Concord, Massachusetts. I have toured the country doing stand up comedy, and freelanced for Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live and The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. I served on the original writing staff of the Comedy Central show "Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn" and was the editor and chief and co-founder of the Brooklyn based humor Magazine "Jest" until creative differences with the publisher led to my leaving in July of 2004.

That summer, save for the part time job I had at Reel Life video on Bedford Avenue, I was unemployed, single, smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes a day and was, more often than not, drunk.

About the blog:

The blog was started, to be honest, as a joke. While I was still doing standup that summer, I was exhausted from the ordeal of leaving Jest Magazine, and found myself in that state of mind that only those who have been on unemployment really understand. While on the one hand, it was pretty great to not have to go anywhere, and sleep as late as I wanted, there was the inescapable feeling that I was sliding into a rut.

Many of my friends and colleagues in the comedy community had started blogs, and while I was somewhat resistant to the idea at first, I decided to leap in and try it. I started a blog under my own name, updated it for about two weeks, and eventually became frustrated and quit. Not only could I not conceive how ANYBODY would think that my personal, daily musings were in any way interesting, but I was also daunted by how good some of my colleagues blogs were, notably Bob Powers? Girls are Pretty , Todd Levin?s Tremble and Adam Felber?s Fanatical Apathy .

All three of those blogs looked distinctive, had a very clear vision of what there audiences were, and used the medium of the internet intelligently and well. They served to not only promote themselves, but to consistently put out hilarious, thoughtful content that served a wide audience. In comparison, I had no idea how to do HTML, and felt that if they were the standard, it was one I couldn?t even begin to compete with.

One of the main problems I had with that first blog was I was just writing half-ass standup material on the blog, and trying to force material from one medium into another, and it just didn?t fit. I felt like if I was going to use the medium of the internet, I had to write for it, and began thinking about ways that could be done.

I got the idea for the werewolf blog when I was out drinking after my weekly comedy standup show that takes place Thursday nights at the R bar in Williamsburg. I was frustrated with my own blog and how shitty it looked, and it occurred to me that it might be funny to do a blog from the perspective of a guy who had been bitten by a werewolf. I mean, if he had this problem, he wouldn?t care if his blog looked flashy, he just wanted to get his story out there, and if the character didn?t know any HTML, well, so be it.

I?d always loved horror movies, and the format of a blog, updated daily, seemed to be a natural fit for the story of a guy who was going through this, as when there really was a full moon, he would change. I thought that the "real time" aspect of blogs, along with the ability to flesh it out with actual events that were going on, from the Red Sox?s championship run, to news and current events could put a realistic spin on something totally fantastic. But honestly, when it started, it was just a gag. It seemed like a pretty fun project, I was getting no money from it, it just seemed like a funny idea, especially seeing as I really had nothing else to do during the day. After batting the idea around in the bar for a while, It was Bob Powers who came up with the name "Whatishappeningtome.blogspot.com" and I loudly and drunkenly proclaimed that I was going to do it. Still, I was fairly sure I?d wake up in the morning and think it was the stupidest idea of all time.

At the time, I had no idea that "Blog Fiction" was a burgeoning art form, and I never really thought that anybody besides my friends would read the thing. So when I started it, I sent out emails to my friends and told them to check it out, and if it ended up being funny, to throw up a link on their sites.

Many of them did, including Kyria Abrahams , Liam McEneaney , Andres DuBouchet, Dan McCoy , Susie Felber , and more, which got me enough traffic that it really gave me a great feeling, like, people were not only actually reading and enjoying it, but a number of them believed that it was true. When Adam Felber linked it, a tremendous flood of new people started checking it out, including a guy named Faisal, who linked it to memepool, causing a hectic week in which my number of hits per day leapt from somewhere around 30 to upwards of 300 per day.

From there, it was linked by all kinds of different sites, from Monkeyfilter, to Robotfilter to the Morning News, and all of a sudden, I had an audience. It was getting really, really fun, but I still hadn?t earned a dime from it.

The Option:

Right around the time it hit on memepool, I was in Los Angeles, where I was directing Rob Paravonian?s one person show at the Comedy Central Workspace. In order to justify why the werewolf had gone to Los Angeles, I flattered myself by saying that someone had read the blog, enjoyed it, and wanted to make a movie out of it. As I had appeared in the independent film "First Time Caller" the previous year, and was close with both the producer, Ted Sullivan, and the director, Paul Sullivan, I claimed that it was their production company "Boy in the Drain Productions" who was interested in the blog. I promptly wrote a post about how clueless they were, making a whole lot of jokes about how Hollywood ruins stories and changes them all around, named Ted as the guy I met with, and put in a link to Boy in the Drain. You can read that post here .

While I was out in Los Angeles, I met up with Ted, told him that I busted his balls on my blog, and that he should check it out. I did not do this because I ever thought in a million years that this really could be a movie, I was just poking a little fun at him, and thought he?d get a kick out it. As it turns out, he did get a kick out of it, enough so that he actually optioned the blog for a nice little chunk of change, and hired me to write a screenplay based on the story.

So, since then- my primary job, (along with the video store and the occasional stand up road gig) has been writing a screenplay based on the adventures of Kirk Thomson. As of today, it is currently going through a second draft. If everything goes as planned, we should be in pre-production by the end of 2005 and releasing the movie in 2006.

Which is pretty fucking cool.

The fans:

One thing I would like to say about this experiment, which has proved to be very lucrative for me, both financially and creatively, is that the fans and commentors, both good and bad, have been a crucial part of this project. I always left the comments section open, many times using suggestions that readers put out there, and correcting factual slips and breaks in the storyline that they were all to eager to point out. I would like to say that it has been asserted that the comments were faked, or placed there by me, and I would like to say that this has never been the case. There were plenty of comments on the site that talked about how much I sucked, how crappy a writer I was, and I never censored or removed a single comment. While I did respond to comments sometimes, my comments were always written as "Kirk" and I never once placed an "Anonymous" comment. If a comment ended up becoming part of the storyline, it?s because I thought it was a good idea, and incorporated it.

Bottom line, as I went through this process, which lasted 8 months of my life, I was consistently impressed that what had started as a silly gag, with no hope of financial reward, became a fascinating foray into a style of literature that was very, very new. Since then, I have explored some other blog fiction, notably the dauntingly excellent She?s a Flight Risk, and am honored to have been a part of it, even in such a small way.

I ended the blog because I felt like I had told the story, and there really wasn?t a lot more I could do with it to keep it interesting, vibrant, and fun for not only me, but for the readers. It has been a tremendous amount of fun, and I truly thank everyone who read it, enjoyed it, and commented on it. It really kept me going.

If any of you would like to ask me any questions, or would like to be kept up to date on the progress of the screenplay, the movie, or any of my future projects, I encourage you to send me an email at my hotmail account: whatishappeningtome@hotmail.com.

In terms of the blog, it will remain up for anyone who wants to read it, but I will be closing the comments section in June, so that all of the original comments can stand as part of the document, in the time when they were written. If you want to leave a comment on the site, I suggest you do it soon, or you can feel free to leave a comment here.

Thank all of you very much-

Sincerely,

Ritch Duncan
5/26/05






Posted by ritchieduncan at 3:56 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2005 8:34 PM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink

Friday, 27 May 2005 - 8:30 AM EDT

Name: Faustus

You have mail (at the old blog addy).

Friday, 27 May 2005 - 11:02 PM EDT

Name: Anonymous Coward

Cool. It was a good read. I posted on quite a few, because a) Red Sox/Patriots! Woooo! and b) werewolves are pretty neat. Sorry ya had to get all exposed to furs/weres and "zooskool," but the internet's a weird place, eh? ;) Good luck getting a movie made out of it. Especially if you plan on keeping the part where Kirk humps dogs in some dude's basement. Though, if you actually do get Katie Holmes cast, that would be pretty fucking sweet.

Saturday, 28 May 2005 - 1:41 AM EDT

Name: Chip Unicorn
Home Page: http://chipuni.livejournal.com

Ritch --

Thank you for having written such a great story. You brought me in, you created an interesting character, and you set up a good world.

The offer for the steak dinner is still good, if you're ever in the Bay Area!

-- Chip

Wednesday, 17 August 2005 - 9:31 AM EDT

Name: andrew
Home Page: http://sumafoods.blogspot.com/

that was double brilliant, and weirdly i'm going to miss kirk,even if he was a dog shagging, bus full of people killing, cow owning werewolf, i wonder how he'll get on with his new girly and what about when she, inevitably, leaves him and he starts listening to The Smiths and Leonard Cohen and goes on a JD bender, does the latent werewolf gene suddenly go fuck wild again?

Werewolf lovers should also check out the bray road beast on weird wisconsin website (google bray road)especially the security guard who hears a werewolf speaking bit, thats my favourite

anyway bye kirk,

good luck ritch don't make it a sucky film or i'm gonna go theiranthrope on your arse and turn into a fucking werepolarbear and that is one white furred motherfucking nightmare right there! (a bit of advice if Uwe Boll offers to direct, bite his shit-directing throat out, werewolf or not, although on the plus side chances are he would get tara reid to be one of the dog you fuck)

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