Saturday, June 20, 2009

Some Random Things

Reading right now:
  • 20th Century Boys, by Naoki Urasawa
  • Real, by Takehiko Inoue
After spending the last month watching the entire run of Battlestar Galactica, I have only one thing to say: all the radness that was the show? You erased it with that finale.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Guess It Was a Good Day

Just so folk(s?) don't get the impression that I'm in some sort of suicidal confidence-spiral, let it be known that I had a pretty good day today. And the goodness of it was accentuated by the badness of yesterday.

Alas, after three weeks of typing away on my new script, I showed it to Jiyoung yesterday. This is a woman who has learned to be very, very tactful in her critiques of my projects. The verdict? Well, she had something good to say about two of twenty pages. I went to sleep embarrassed, hopeless, feeling like I should throw in the towel.

And then today, I charged back up the hillside and rewrote the entire thing. And though it's rough and first-drafty, it's not bad. So not bad that I feel comfortable starting concepts for characters. Tomorrow I'll do a polish pass. If that goes well, I've got enough script for the first issue of the comic.

I originally intended to write the entire script from beginning to end before touching the stylus, but now I wonder if that might be needlessly masochistic. After all, once things start taking physical shape, new story avenues might suggest themselves. I've still got the step outline, so the major events shouldn't change. And if they do, that's okay too.

So I think I'll just get to drawing next week. Man, it feels good to say that. I sure will enjoy having something other than promises to show for the five months I've been away.

In other news, I'm reading lots of manga. The stuff I'm reading right now:
  • Slam Dunk, by Takehiko Inoue
  • Dragon Head, by Minetaro Mochizuki
  • Gantz, by Hiroya Oku
  • Rurouni Kenshin, by Nobuhiro Watsuki
  • Mushishi, by Yuki Urushibara
  • A Drifting Life, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
That last one has really stuck to my ribs. It's rad that the Seattle Public Library has manga.

I'm sure I'll have useful thoughts about the medium at some point, but right now I'm just sort of bathing in it. There's a lot to learn here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Where Exactly Is Waldo?

Some advice for aspiring screenwriters: if you find that your scripts are needlessly expository or just plain slow, try imagining that you're writing for a self-illustrated comic.

Ain't nothing gets you to the point faster than imagining that you'll have to draw the same two talking heads sixteen times.

The other thing: pace yourself. Creating something elaborate is a little bit like gardening. Just get out there and water every day. And when stuff starts growing, just go with it. Pull weeds (or don't, if they're pretty). There'll be fruit and flowers eventually. But not if you stop watering.

I'm so terrified these days. Terrified that I'll suck. Terrified that I'm wasting my time. Terrified that my depths will be plumbed, and they won't be all that depthy. Terrified that this is the weightless moment at the top of my life's rollercoaster. Terrified that everybody else won and I lost. Terrified that my money is disappearing. Terrified that if I have to go back to making games, I won't remember how. Terrified that I'm becoming a horrible bore to my wife. Terrified that I lack the empathy to write varied, lifelike characters. Terrified that I'm just a lazy ass.

Isn't this just like an old person, to be terrified of a fun thing you're learning? I don't remember ever being terrified of drawing -- but that was because while I was learning, I had no idea I was cultivating a marketable skill.

Get out there and water every day.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pre-Mortem

As I write the script for Project Waldo (that's the provisional title for the graphic novel), I'm doing my best to keep things loose. If one thing made Stareater hard, it was that I had to break through ten years of ossified preconceptions about the story.

Project Waldo is exactly a month and a half old. Some of its ideas grew from what I saw as conflicts between the world of Gordon and the Stareater (which took place in the future) and the way our real future seems to be shaping up. GatS had no robots, no AIs (well, okay, one really huge AI), no biotechnology, no real connection to our experience at all. There are lots of exciting concepts that I just couldn't touch with that story. So Project Waldo gives me a chance to do some near-future dabbling.

Here's the basic idea: (Redacted due to spoilers)

This lets me play with two parallel worlds -- one is a dystopian technoscape, the other a baroque fantasy realm. I get to do swords and magical creatures, but I also get to do robots, car chases, and explosions. I see this as win, win, win, win, win, and win.

So here we go again! Thanks for not giving up on me. I won't let you down!