An Interview with Randy Chertkow
What book, movie, TV show, or album has changed your life, and how?
Getting Things Done by David Allen had a very powerful effect on my life. I highly recommend it for almost anyone. It allowed me to be more productive and focused about what I did with my time. Most importantly, I love his concept of projects, which require you to visualize the very next physical task to move something forward. It made reaching a goal something that can be broken into steps filled with concrete actions that you can come up with on the fly. I also got a lot out of Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath and Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini.
What was the worst job you’ve ever had?
House painter. I was the worst house painter you could imagine. Imagine closing one of those short ladders after painting a door jamb, and forgetting that there's an entire open can of white paint on that little platform on top, spilling the paint all over the front steps and lawn. That was me.
Who is or was your favorite pet? What made him/her so great?
Growing up, my family has always had Scottish Deerhounds (deerhound.org). They are wonderful, graceful creatures that, in spite of their large size, are some of the most placid and dedicated companions you can have. I loved each of the ones that I grew up with: Stardust, Regal, and Sterling.
What do you enjoy doing the most with your free time?
Music—especially playing live, songwriting, and recording—tops my list of things that I enjoy doing. But otherwise, I am a complete geek, and love most everything in fandom. That is to say: Sci-Fi and Fantasy books and movies, roleplaying games, boardgames, comic books, and the like.
The other passion I have is building the website for the book, at indiebandsurvivalguide.com. It's the free resource for musicians that I always wanted to have. The website has every U.S. radio station out there, all of the music blogs we could find that review music, every newswire we could find to put your press releases out, every festival we could find, a list of over 45,000 music venues, a list of CD Manufacturers—in all, nearly 50 categories of resources to help musicians find exactly what they need. But the best part is that it's Web 2.0, free, and anyone can add resources, rate them, or comment on them, just like Amazon. It's a living, breathing site. This has been a huge development and design effort, but worth it. I add new features and links to it almost every single day. It's a constantly evolving project.
Besides writing, what other forms of art and creativity do you indulge in?
Being a musician is incredibly important to who I am. I started as a kid, when I was 10 years old, playing the saxophone. And I went on to learn the other reeds that most sax players learn: clarinet and flute. I’ve learned even more instruments since. Our band, Beatnik Turtle has released 18 albums, and over 450 songs, and I've enjoyed almost every part of making music: playing live, writing songs, recording, licensing our music, promoting our music, and every other aspect of trying to succeed on our own. Possibly the most fun we had was in 2007, when we released one song for every day of the year at thesongoftheday.com.
Even though I wrote a non-fiction book, I also like writing speculative fiction at dreamofanotherworld.com.