It’s something I made up. Just now. Last week. With someone elses help. It’s my image, it’s my style, it’s my touchstone.
It’s my BRAND. Nichecore.
Now I know as much about branding as I do about neurosurgery… Actually I probably know a *tiny* bit more about neurosurgery. (I’ve watched every episode of ‘House’ 2.5 times while doing chores around the condo. That basically makes me a doctor, right?) but I DO know that having a recognizable, identifiable ‘brand’ is vital to creatives in the modern marketplace, or really anyone in the modern marketplace. (In the ‘less than modern’ marketplace, having food that wasn’t full of lead and products that didn’t give you tetanus was more ‘vital’ than a brand. Thank you modern marketing for moving our priorities!)
So what’s my brand then? It didn’t become clear until a few select encounters. A few months ago I was talking with my agent, pitching a few of the existing properties I have under my belt. One of which is about nerds, rollerderby and pub trivia nights. To me, this is self explanatory: select nights of the week various pubs/bars/restaurants around the city hold a ‘trivia’ night, where you form teams, argue over answers, win cheap prizes and are basically given a chance to show off how useful your wealth of useless knowledge can be. I’m willing to bet most people have BEEN to at least one night where there was trivia going on in the bar, whether you participated or not. My agent stared blankly at me, as if I was talking about next weeks secret underground mixtape swapmeet (Chides @ Vermont, #343. When you knock you have to say ‘Tippee Toe’.) He had never heard of such a thing. I needed to re-explain it to him.
Now in all fairness, I’m sure my agent spends more time in the gym than he does sleeping, and the rest of his time is probably spent stuffing other writers like me into lockers, so he may not have had the chance to drop into either Stormcrow location on a trivia night and bear witness to the nerdy madness that ensues. But this lack of connection on what seems like such a basic thing set me on this course: What OTHER things that are integral to my life are at best ‘niche’ to others.
Okay, so the ‘STAR’ empires are definitely mainstream by now (STAR TREK, STAR WARS, Starlord – so dreamy) thanks to the tireless efforts of people like me continuing to watch and buy materials long after thier ‘cool’ quotient expired. But there’s also my ‘Evangelion’ fandom (I can hear the Otaku armies parading down my hall now, here to inform that Evangelion is most certainly ‘not’ niche – if you’re a well versed fan of sci-fi japanese animation, which I am) which I recognize as most definiltey being a ‘niche’ interest. (Until Pacific Rim 2 and GITS – google it if you don’t know – break the ‘anime can be live action!’ world wide open, in which case we’ll see many more of my favourites being brought to life)
Musically my interests are very ‘niche’, unless there’s a whole society of retro-nu wave & NuDisco fans out there hiding in plain sight. Predictably, these are typically the musical stylings that I write into my screenplays. The music is new, synth heavy, inspired by everything great about 80’s electro, and still so totally danceable (it is not EDM, a term used only by the lazy to describe something they can’t be bothered to define.) Anyone out there who doesn’t know Televisor needs to stop, youtube, and listen. Same goes for Madeon (though he fits the ‘Hands Up’ category of music better – remember when music was just rock, folk, or country? Glad we moved on from that) Essentially, I want to hear the 80’s processed through a launchpad soundboard and blasted from tower speakers in some dingy warehouse.
Which brings us to another ‘niche’ interest. Ravers. Raves. Parties. Whatever the hell they get called anymore. Sure, thanks to the internet ‘niche’ has become accessible to everyone, so even Raves are ‘hip’ again, with the kids dressing up like it was the Summer of Love ’92 edition, sucking on candy, blowing whistles and wearing pants that if dropped form orbit would crush Milwaukee (No offence Milwaukee, but your giant-pants defences are in dire need of a refit.) I love the music that goes along with the scene, I love the costumes, the imagery, everything about the late nights of lasers and pounding bass. I’m even the key holder to the remains of ‘Happy Hardcore’ the most offensive, annoying, obnoxious variation on rave music there is.
So what do I do with all of this? What does it mean? If we reflect on the screenplays that keep coming out of my brain, we see a pattern, or a trend, or a 6 sigma signal, for all the nuclear physiscists out there:
- A romantic comedy about rollerderby, pub trivia and getting to be a part of the reboot of your nerdy roots.
- A superhero action flick about relationships where the protagonist is a slightly autistic lesbian and the superhero is a hedonistic club girl who doesn’t understand the word ‘ethics’.
- A revenge thriller about a research librarian who re-invents herself as a sleazy club girl to exact vengeance in a world full of corruption (seems that ‘club girls’ are part of my oeuvre.)
- A sprawling space epic with a sarcastic female lead full of anime style transforming starfighters set against a soundtrack of pounding techno music.
- A TV show about supernaturally talented people who spend their nights at dance clubs and their days ‘thieving from the greedy to give to the needy’.
And more and more. All of them hinge on a ‘niche’ interest of mine (or my prospective audience) as the backbone of the story. I just can’t find it in myself to write a story about John, who has a regualr life and job that is suddenly disrupted until he can get things back on track. Instead I write stories about some girl named ‘Stasia who curates found-artifact artwork at a back alley gallery that doubles as a portal to a dimension of sound and vice.
Took me a long time to sort out what my brand ‘meant’ or represented. Nichecore sums it up nicely. So there you have it. Welcome to my world of nichecore.