Welcome everyone to our first guest blogger. His name is Shane Gerlach, and he likes puppies, long walks on the beach and generally irritating UCW administration. This would have gone up with the last entry, but I reserve the right to keep all milestone entries to myself :p Anyway, here goes.
How Do I Know If I'm Any Good?
Shane Gerlach, Special Guest to the Blog
Good evening everyone. I’m not Tom obviously. Tom never greets us; he just gives us the news fast and hard. I’m actually Shane Gerlach, known as Irishred in A1E, MBE, EPW, UCW and TEAM. I volunteered to be a guest Blogger here on Random Ramblings of an E-Fed Lifer.
Two things to start…
In my opinion Tommy Boy Holzerman is the single most passionate person in E-Fedding. Tom gives his heart and soul to this hobby. He is responsible for surges in federations all on his own. Tom and I don’t always see eye to eye on things but for my money there isn’t anyone more important to the e-fed community.
All the opinions in this Blog are mine. Tom may or may not share my feelings on this. In know way should my thoughts and ramblings be lain at Tommy’s door.
Now on to the topic…
One of the things I do agree with Tom about is that there isn’t enough discussion and feedback in this hobby. We send out our role-plays over the internet, we pour a little piece of ourselves into each and every promo and hope for the best. Let’s be honest…while we may do this for enjoyment…we all want to win. We as a general rule think that every RP we put up is worthy of a win. Why would we write them if that wasn’t true?
Sure there’s exceptions. There are instances when a loss is booked to advance a storyline; but still those are our words out there. That is something we worked hard on and dammit we want and deserve recognition for it. Everyone wants to feel good and get that “atta boy” for the work they put into their character.
We sit in front of that blank computer screen and wait for the muse to overtake us. We wait for that moment of inspiration to guide us. What can I say that will make this be special? What can I say to make everyone take notice? How can I impress the booker or voters?
There’s the dig. This is a very arbitrary hobby. What I think is great 10 others may think is crap. What I feel is the promo of the year may be completely ignored by others. In A1E there is a voting system. This is a carry over from the old MBE system. You lay your promos out in your match thread and the rest of the community reads them and votes on whether you won or not. This is the exception to the rule in the E-Fed community. In most feds you have a fed head or committee that decides the winner based on the RP’s.
I think both have their flaws and assets. In a voting system you have the chance to get a variety of opinions. A variety of readers are looking at your work and deciding whether or not you “had” it that week. I compare it to opening a movie to a test audience. You get to “hear” the cheers and jeers so to speak. When I win the vote in A1E I know that I was on my game that week. I know that I was good enough to impress a majority of the readers.
Now there are problems. I know in the old MBE there was Bloc voting. People voted for their clique. That’s a problem that I believe that A1E has addressed. The head booker has the ability to over rule a vote if there seems to be an obvious discrepancy in the vote total. I have only seen that happen once in my time on the A1E BC.
I know that the votes that come in for A1E are by people that actually have read the threads for the most part. These are people that took the time to actually read every response in the thread and formed an opinion. I don’t always agree with the decision of the majority; but hey. I like a lot a crap that most people don’t, so I’m used to being the island in the storm.
In a “booked” fed on the other hand you only have to really impress one person. (With the occasional group of judges) You are playing to an audience of one for the most part. You are hoping to impress that head booker. You want their approval. I have been treated more then fairly in booked feds. I have vehemently disagreed with the views of bookers as well. In those cases I have not so gracefully made my opinion known to them. For the most part the Bookers have been gracious enough to explain to me why I lost.
That brings me to the point of this crap. Feedback. We all need it. We all want it. If we suck we want to be told why we suck. If we did great we want those accolades. I just don’t think that we talk to each other enough. The vast amount of knowledge out there in our e-fed vets that have had sustained success should be shared. One of the best at this is Dave Brunk. I have learned more in discussions with Dave then almost anyone else. Dave has taken the time to talk to me about the direction of my character and the moments that I hit and miss. I respect that about him. Dave’s not afraid to tell me that I stunk up the joint and why and he is equally good about giving me praise when I have done something that works.
Why can’t all of us do that? Why don’t we say to one of our E-Fed friends that they stunk? Are we afraid to be critical? Are we afraid of the backlash of their friends and the e-fed community as a whole? On the flip side of that how many of us send an email out saying to a handler “That was awesome.”?
Why don’t we make ourselves more available to each other? I long for a sounding board, but at the same time I don’t want to seem like an attention whore going to each and every board I compete on putting up feedback threads.
Let me give you a for instance. I cannot beat Andy Gilkison. It can’t be done. No matter what character he is running (Jack or Andrew) I end up losing to him. I feel like I have done some of my better RP’s against Andy; but every single time I end up on the losing end of the stick when I face him. Why? I have no freaking clue. There’s times when I finished the RP period knowing I had beat him…oh how wrong I was. What have I done wrong every single time I have faced him? Maybe Drew is just that much better then me. I don’t know and that is the point. I don’t know. The losses even bothered me for a time because it is a constant. Don’t get me wrong; Andy is a great handler. He has held titles everywhere that he has competed…I’m not saying that I deserve to beat him…I just would someday like to understand why I lose to him.
I think that all of us have that happen to us haven't we? We go into a week and bust ass on promo’s and read the results and find out we lost. I have stared at the screen absolutely dumbfounded from time to time trying to understand why I lost. I go back and re-read the Promo thread as objectively as possible and try to find where I slipped up. But honestly how unbiased are any of us when it comes to our own work? So feedback would be great.
I’m lucky in the fact that I have a core group of E-Fed friends who will be honest with me. Dan West, Josh, Dave, Tommy, James Irish, Roger, Bill, Jeff, Phil, Lindz, Mike, Shane…I count on these people to be my sounding board. I count on these people to be honest with me. I hope that I play that back. I hope that I am someone that people can come to and talk to about their character and RP’s.
Let’s face it doing this for an audience of ourselves is nothing more then literary masturbation. As with any performer we need the audience.
What do you do to help others? What do you do to encourage others? Do you take the time to talk to your fellow E-Fedders? Do you honestly even read the other threads and make yourself aware of what is happening around you? I know that has become a problem in some federations. I read each and every thread in every fed I am in.
The reason is twofold. Number one I owe it to the fed to do that. No fed is there just for one handler (No matter how many characters you run in that fed). The federations are a playground for all of us to escape our problems in real life. A place to go out and play. I try to be as active as I can. I try to reference other storylines in my RP’s. I try my best to act like I am part of a group.
Number two, if I read all the threads I am prepared when I face another wrestler. I know where they are in the storylines. I know what their RP style is. I know how they work and can counteract that and hopefully get a win.
Tommy preaches participation in this blog like Jerry Falwell begging for your money and I second that emotion.
Talk to each other. Work with each other. Help each other.
That’s all I’ve got. I’m done. I’m spent. Thank you Tommy for letting me be the first guest on your Blog. I hope I haven’t ruined your reputation.