Action Bound by the Page – August 27th, 2015

As I’m about to move from outlining a comic book short story to scripting it, I find myself stymied by limitless possibilities.

Why, you ask? Because they’re LIMITLESS!

Specifically, my story ends with an action sequence and according to popular consensus you’ll need a good number of pages for an action/fight sequence, anywhere from 2-6 pages. My challenge is to keep this comic short, around 2-6 pages.

You see my problem?

After a bit of research, I found this sweet interview with six artists talking about how they layout a page of action. The artists are…

Tradd Moore and Val Staples, All-New Ghost Rider #3, Page 18

All-New-Ghost-Rider_i03_p18

Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, Moon Knight #2, Page 16

Moon-Knight_i02_p16

Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson, Secret Avengers #3, Pages 16-17

Secret-Avengers_i03_p16-17

Notable bits of wisdom include…

-Paneling is like cinematography and editing in one.

-A strong gesture expresses speed and force (compare the three different uses of a punch).

-Action sequences have one “focus” panel per page. Everything else builds up to it, or breaks down from it.

-An action page should have tension, not just violence.

-Time moves slower in a wider shot. It can also move slower over a series of smaller shots.

-Color can influence pacing, too (the Secret Avengers use is a textbook perfect example).

Take a read, keep writing and don’t let up!

Moon-Knight_i02_p16_PunchPanel

Posted in Writing

The Plan Redux – August 20th, 2015

A few weeks ago I posted a series of ambitious writing goals in the hope that by making them public I’d stick to them.

I am failing, spectacularly so.

Why? I have two reasons / excuses (yeah, I’m gonna be hard on myself). One, we’re going through a merger at the day job and it’s incredibly stressful and all consuming. Two, it’s hot as f**k in my apartment so I can’t write at home.

Stephen King sitting at Desk with hands coming towards the camera

How do I salvage my plan? How I do I get back on track? I have to change the plan.

Let’s be honest, that was an ambitious plan in all the wrong ways. I could be “ambitious” about one thing a week, be “good” about two things a week. My week could work like this…

WritingPlan_WeeklyHours_Aug2015

Let’s break that down. A week is 168 hours. 56 hours is spent sleeping. 45 hours is spent working. That leaves 67 hours for personal time and creative work. Let’s devote 30 hours a week to personal stuff, like TV, eating, reading, drinking, long walks on the beach, internet porn, stuff like that. That leaves 37 hours for creative work. Let’s split that up into 18 hours for being “ambitious” with one project and 18 hours for being “good” across two projects; that last hour of the week I’ll pour out for my homies.

dr-evil_one-for-my-homies

Seems rigid but not out of the question, right? (I think I’m wrong but let’s go with me “being right” for now). Therefore, I can’t book more than 3 creative projects per week.

Great! Now how do I put this into practice?

bruce-writing-desk

Schedule. My. Time.

I have to book my creative time the same way I book time to meet with my boss or train an employee. So let’s say I write for 2 hours Monday through Thursday; that’s 8 hours. Friday I take off. Saturday I write for 7 hours; that’s 15 hours for the week. Sunday I write for 3 hours and I’ve fulfilled my weekly requirement.

Right now the crazy part of my mind tells me that this is doable while the panicked half tells me I’ll fail the first day. Maybe if I broke up my time? It doesn’t have to be 2 contiguous hours, right? It could be an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening.

Hey-You-Writing.jpg

Okay, let’s see if this’ll work for me. Wish me luck.

Posted in Writing

Mine That IP – August 13th, 2015

Everything old is new again, especially if it has fallen into the public domain. Apparently the hot trend in screenwriting is to find a new take on an old story, or as the kids are calling it: IP Mining.

Like Robin Hood told from the Sheriff of Nottingham’s point of view.

Or what if Snow White were the hero of her own story?

Or how about Santa Claus’ sexy early years.

Klaus_Santa_Comic-Book_Art

Actually, that image is from a different “Santa Claus: The Early Years” story. If you’re in the movie industry, you’re aware of this article / Twitter rant and how this guy got his foot in the door with Winter’s Knight.

If you want to break into the movie business — I’m talking about big movies, not indie films elbowing to get into Sundance — then you need to mine IP.

So, can I interest you in Adam & Eve, Monster Hunters?

Rachel-Weisz_Sexy-Eve_Snake

AND YES THEY HAVE TO BE NAKED THE ENTIRE TIME OR DO YOU NOT CARE ABOUT THE FOREIGN MARKETS?!

Posted in Writing

I Still Can’t Draw So I Really Need You (Illustrators) – August 6th, 2015

Over the past year I’ve been educating my ambition. Not tempering, not lowering, not “keep in check.” Educating.

About a year ago I wanted to independently publish a full comic book series. I was envisioning a healthy run of 20, 60, 100+ issues. Once I put down the crack pipe and started listening to those that have actually made comics, I realized that my eyes were bigger than my stomach, creatively speaking. I needed to start small.

katamari_comic

Therefore, as I’ve educated my ambition, I’ve gone from pitching a full comic book series to a mini series to a web comic strip to finally to a short comic book.

Timecowboy_TeenDog_Jacket

…actually, a handful of short comics…

"Bias" by Jeff Jones (1972)

“Bias” by Jeff Jones (1972)

…because they’ll be part of an anthology…

CoolBear_BMO

…hey, you still gotta dream big.

I’ve started writing the scripts — why I picked the hardest one first, I don’t know — but I still need to meet illustrators. I met a handful at the most recent San Diego Comic-Con and I really clicked with a few of them. Still, I’m looking at making 5-6 shorts and I’d like to have different illustrators for each.

Personally, I love meeting potential collaborators in person. Is there an efficient way to meet comic book illustrators outside of cons? Is DeviantArt the best web portal to discover pencilers, inkers, colorists and letterers?

BTW, I freaking love all of the above comic shorts. I aspire to create comics equally as awesome.

Posted in Writing

Consumed July 2015 – July 31st, 2015

July was a swirling blur of Comic-Con, getting a nerd cold and preparing for a merger at the day job (ugh). That said, I did feel like I finally had a moment to take a deep breath and actually enjoy what I consumed (and I actually liked a lot of it).

Mikey-Likes-It

Television
House of Cards – This was the season of Claire. All hail Claire.

claire-underwood-blood

Orphan Black – I found this to be an unspectacular season, as I find most third seasons to be. It’s a theory I’m working on. More in another post.

HELENA_Bloody

Hannibal – The first half of this season (another show in its third season) could have been summed up in a slow-motion drop of blood set to a distorted ambient soundtrack. Honestly, next to zero story happened but the best is yet to come, right?

Red-Dragon

Daredevil – This is a good show. Maybe next season it will be great.

Daredevil_Costume

Turn – I kinda love this show.

Turn_AMC_Cast

Movie
Spy – Good, not great, but I better understand why everyone loves Melissa
(I want to pitch that show… wait, I think I just did).

Spy_Scooter

Music
Beat The Champ by The Mountain Goats – An alt-folk album about professional wrestling? Yes, please. I guarantee that this is the sweetest song about professional wrestling you can listen to right now.

Books
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera – I read so much into this because I wasn’t getting much from it (hey, ya can’t love everything).

Signs-Preceding-the-End-of-the-World

My Education by Susan Choi – I’m actually half-way through. I’ll finish it soon!

Comics
Batman: Arkham Knight
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman
Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Four
Meteor Men
Secret AvengersWarren Ellis writes a hell of an action sequence.

Secret-Avengers_18_p2

Doc Unknown
Fighting Stranger
Flash Gordon – Had I known this series would be this much fun, I would have started it earlier. BTW, Jordie Bellaire rocks the coloring.

Flash-Gordon_i01_p2

High Crimes – The end of a good series (one I wish I had come up with).

HighCrimes_i01_p02

Kinski
Suicide Risk
Batman: The Black Mirror – One of Snyder’s earlier works. Pretty great.

Black-Mirror_i03_p01
A-Force

Games
Borderlands 2 – This game is my soulmate. I cannot stop playing. It’s my favorite game.

And so concludes a very muggy July in Los Angeles. On to the hell-hound that is August!

Posted in General

Targeting Austin 2015 – July 30th, 2015

You know how life can get you down, then it tries to kick your teeth in? That’s what I’m experiencing. How am I coping? This is me right now.

Joker-Burn

But let’s not fully give in to the urge to watch everything burn. I still have to concentrate on writing. Therefore, I’ve concocted a writing plan. One that should get me to the Austin Film Festival with something to show for myself besides a 100% completion of Borderlands 2 with all six characters.

BL2_All-Characters

Over the next 13 weeks I need to make significant progress 1) rewriting my pilot, 2) starting my feature, 3) scripting some comic book shorts, 4) plotting a new spec and 5) starting a new pilot. Here’s that plan.

Week One (July 27 – August 2)

New Pilot: Brainstorm Concepts – Although I still haven’t finished my previous pilot, it’s time to start thinking about a new pilot. As per my M.O., I’ll come up with three ideas and test them on friends.

Spec: Watch Turn Season 1 – And despite any results for my script of The 100, I have to start thinking about a new show to spec. That’s why I’ll watch at least 3 episodes of a show each week this summer. This week I’ll check out AMC’s show about revolutionary war spies.

Week Two (August 3-9)

Feature: Revisit Premise – I took a UCLA feature writing class last quarter and wrote a 3-page outline and scripted the first act. I’ll revisit my idea. Why go so far back? It’s missing a fresh component. I don’t love it and this is too much work to produce something I don’t love.

Short Comic: Script Issue #1 – I have to finish a short script for a 4-8 page comic. And I need to contact that illustrator I met at San Diego Comic-Con.

Spec: Watch Halt & Catch Fire Season 1- I know next to nothing about this show (which is very exciting).

Week Three (August 10-16)

Pilot: Story/Structure Pass – At the start of the year I wrote a pilot in a UCLA Extension class. I loved the class (and I adore my classmates) but my pilot was very rough. I need to go back and methodically rebuild and reinforce the script. This week I concentrate on the story/structure. Without a sound structure I cannot build a masterpiece.

New Pilot: Characters – Who are my principal players?

Spec: Watch Jane The Virgin Season 1 – This might be my “out of left field” spec idea.

Week Four (August 17-23)

Feature: Act One Outline – If the beginning isn’t rock solid it’s all a waste of time.

Short Comic: Script Issue #2 – I hope to send off my second script to that second illustrator I met at SDCC.

Spec: Watch Banshee Season 1 – I know nothing about this show… except that they just cancelled it. I should pick a different show for this week.

Week Five (August 24-30)

Pilot: Activity Pass – No idea what Pilar is referring to here but maybe it’s to remove “sit n’ talk” scenes.

New Pilot: Conflicts – Time to pit everyone against each other.

Spec: Watch iZombie Season 1 – Feeling confident I’ll spec this. It just checks off so many of the right boxes.

Week Six (August 31-September 6)

Feature: Act Two-A Outline – Gotta keep digging holes for my protagonist, put them up a tree, throw stones and all that.

Short Comic: Script Issue #3 – Wrap up my third story (and find more illustrators).

Spec: Watch Agent Carter Season 1 – An odds on favorite to spec after last week’s pick.

Week Seven (September 7-13)

Pilot: Character Pass – Every character has to stand out or get out.

New Pilot: Break Stories – Time to brainstorm potential plots.

Spec: Watch Gotham Season 1 – Can I find a story I’d like to tell before throwing in a new baddie? Maybe I can do something about baby Bane.

Week Eight (September 14-20)

Feature: Act Two-B Outline – If “all hope is lost” then this outline will be cooking!

Short Comic: Script Issue #4 – Put that fourth script to bed.

Spec: Watch The Flash Season 1 – I am VERY confident WB will have this on their approved spec list next year.

Week Nine (September 21-27)

Pilot:  Tone/Format Pass – Consistency is the word of the week.

New Pilot: A-B-C Storylines – Before I can weave the stories I need to select the proper threads.

Spec: Watch Orphan Black Season 3 – Was it as bad as I remember?

Week Ten (September 28-October 4)

Feature: Act Three Outline – With this newly completed outline I should be ready to jump back into scripting this beast.

Short Comic: Script Issue #5 – Rockin’ n’ rollin’ on my fifth script.

Spec: Wildcard – A last chance to consider any shows for a future spec.

Week Eleven (October 5-11)

Pilot: Dialog Pass – Freshen up the patter.

New Pilot: Note Cards – Scenes and sequences on notes cards, note cards on the wall.

Spec: Sift Through Ideas – Ruminate on my next spec. Will review note cards with episode ideas.

Week Twelve (October 12-18)

Short Comic: Script Issue #6 – My sixth script done! Would also love, love, LOVE to have at least one of these posted online by this week.

Spec: Narrow Down Possibilities – No more than three potentials by this week.

Week Thirteen (October 19-25)

Pilot: Clean Up Script – When I’m at Austin and someone asks, “hey, can I read your pilot?” I want to whip out my phone and reply, “what email should I send it to?” F**k yeah!

New Pilot: Elevator Pitch – I need one sentence that gets them hooked.

Week Fourteen (October 26-November 1)

Austin – I should be ready. I better be ready. Am I ready?

SpongeBob_ImReady

And that’s my plan. Fool proof? No. Overly ambitious? Yes. Now all I gotta do is…

Lady_Deathline_Write_Low_Francavilla

Posted in Writing

Con Virgin No More – July 23rd, 2015

As San Diego Comic-Con fades from memory (along with this damn nerd cold), I contemplate the year of cons that was. See, a little over eighteen months ago I decided to become a comics creator. One of my first orders of business was to immerse myself in the world and that meant going to cons.

Terminator_Exo

Rose City Comic Con was the perfect first con. It was friendly, easily navigated and the mecca of comics. Seriously, I got to meet Brian Michael Bendis, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Matt Fraction, Skottie Young, Jim Zub, G. Willow Wilson, Greg Rucka… that’s a murder’s row of comic creators.

Long Beach Comic Con is my local(ish) con and meeting Babs Tarr was the best. I was so smitten that I bought this print from her.

StreetFighter_ChunLi_BabsTarr

Also, LBCC might be the best place for me to meet potential artists, or at least meeting artists local to me.

Long Beach Comic Expo is LBCC’s baby brother, except that this year they moved it to a larger space so it’s more like LBCC’s twin. Not really sure why we have both but I’m not complaining. It just gives me another excuse to get some great grub from Beechwood Brewing BBQ.

Emerald City Comicon was huge and friendly and I lost my mind hunting exclusives but I got every comic I targeted including this much sought after Lady Killer comic.

ECCC15_Descender_Lady-Killer

And the Artist Alley was HUGE! If you were gonna skip SDCC but still wanted a robust con experience, head to Seattle young (wo)man.

WonderCon is another local(ish) con with AMAZING television panels. Seriously, if you want to get into TV you need to attend WonderCon. One thing: next year this convention is moving from Anahiem to Downtown Los Angeles. Already I’ve heard A LOT of grumbling from folk on the con circuit. “I hate Downtown LA,” “it won’t be as special,” and “I REALLY hate Downtown LA.” Let me be your ambassador. I will help you find a cool bar, a great spot to eat, someplace to buy your crack (that’s a joke… but it’s really easy to buy crack in Downtown LA). I just want you to have an open mind and be ready to discover what’s awesome about LA.

Phoenix Comicon was a total crap shoot. Holy, it’s a pretty great con. It is definitely more for locals but it’s also an omnidirectional nerd explosion. I mean, they had a whole wing of the convention center devoted to horror, including a haunted house. Also, thanks to a truly awesome girl I met there, I discovered tons of cool places to eat, drink, and beat the heat. Would I go back? Maybe not next year but when I have something worth tabling, yeah, you bet.

San Diego Comic-Con was a beast. Honestly, it’s all a blur. I didn’t get into Hall H, I barely picked up any exclusives, I’m not sure what I did there other than attend some panels and network a ton. The best thing I did was the Creator Connection. Here’s hoping some of those meeting bear comic fruit.

Phew.

So what about next season? I’ll be at Long Beach Comic Con for at least a day. I’m already locked in for Rose City, where my ex-roomie will be tabling solo for the first time. I will also hit Long Beach Comic Expo for a day. I will absolutely be at WonderCon. Emerald City is a strong maybe. Will I got to Phoenix? Maybe not (I’ll get into that in a minute). And then there is SDCC. Do I go again?

The-Virgin-Spring_Max-Von-Sydow

So what will be different for 2016? I want to hit up a Canadian con. Crazy, right, but I’m going to do it. The only real questions is which Canadian con should I hit up? Toronto Comic Arts Festival? Calgary Expo? Montreal Comiccon? You tell me… BY VOTING!

Which Canadian comic book convention should I attend in 2016?

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Also, let me apologize for that blog post title. I couldn’t resist. I’m feeling particularly juvenile this week and it’s not just because I’m playing tons of Borderlands 2 on my PS4… or maybe it is.

Posted in Industry

SDCC 2015 Best Cosplay – July 16th, 2015

Hands down the best cosplay of San Diego Comic-Com 2015.

Ripley_Aliens_Cosplay_SDCC_01

Yeah, I know, you were expecting a longer post but 1) I’m sick and 2) the day job is about to start sucking extra hard so the next month or two of posts will be very succinct. Hey, go out and enjoy the summer.

Posted in Off-Topic

SDCC 2015 T-Minus 1 – July 8th, 2015

Took the train (relaxing). Got to the hotel (far from downtown but nice). Set up the feeding station.

TigerMilk-Hotel_01

Don’t have Preview Night ticket, so we might hit up Bali Hai.

Tomorrow, I’m unstoppable.

TigerMilk-Hotel_02

Posted in Industry

SDCC 2015 T-Minus 2 – July 7th, 2015

I just figured out my SDCC meal plan.

TigerMilkBars

Tony + Tiger’s Milk = The Unstoppable Tony

tony_tiger_ripped

Look out San Diego, I’m coming for ya!

Tiger Out of Cage

Posted in Industry