This is the chapter where it all comes together.
This is the chapter where it all comes together.
As part of my quest to create the perfect script, I actually got some of my actor friends to do a table read of the story with me. It turned out great! I completely screwed up the recording and couldn’t use a bit of it, but trust me, what it added to the story for me was marvelous.
I went into the table read hoping that they would reveal vast swathes of the story that didn’t work, so I could yank out a hundred pages and not feel bad. I left thinking that, ya know what? This story really DOES work! It’s both funny and creepy and occasionally desperately sad, and the fighting parts are fun and the running parts are fun. It manages to be a Conan the Barbarian story, a western and a meditation on the Civil War at the same time.
Anyway, mad thanks to Beau and C. C. and Marco and Hilary for helping me bring the story into the next level of incarnation and to figure out a really, really good way to convey the nuances of funny book drawing from one mind to another.
Here is part two.
So the whole thing totals in the 200-300 page range, which is of course completely beyond my ability to produce. You gotta pay at least $100 a page to get competent work, and I can’t do it myself — I’m snowed under with projects for two or three years already.
Plus I don’t WANT to do it myself. The whole plan was to write a perfect script. I want to be involved at every step of the production, and I thoroughly intend to go through the final art for the pages and add historical trivia to the backgrounds of shots, but for once in my life I want to find somebody else to draw one of my scripts.
But that artist that I need, the one who’s crazy enough to work a year for free, they have yet to appear. At the moment, the best hope appears to be in the direction of grants and sponsorships. Gewel took an important step forward in figuring that stuff out, so I hope there’s more news soon here.
I could also do a Kickstarter, but the amount of money I’d need to pay the artist would be hard to do on crowdfunding, and since you need the art to get the funding, and there is currently no art at all, then we are way ahead of ourselves.
Here is part one of the completed, edited, fully ready-to-draw script that I wrote about John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry, the incident that (more-or-less) triggered the Civil War (in the parts of the country that were not already at war). I started this in April or May of 2013 and put the final touches on the edits this week.
One of the things that I’m trying to do with this script is to work out the technical problems of comic book scripting and arrive upon a format that actually works to convey these stories. So if you have any interesting observations about the format, please let me know.
Anyway, here’s part one. It was necessary for the story to start at a slow burn, so I tried to make it like sitting and watching a forest fire.
The American slave system was very, very bad indeed. I think the only way to convey the extent of the devastation is through fiction. It’s not as simple as people getting whipped in fields. It was an entire cursed way of life.
I’m worried about nature just declaring open war on us. After we encountered about a hundred ticks in one weekend and even dogs are getting sick from Lyme disease, I just don’t know what the fuck. I don’t know what’s going on or how to keep safe from it. Depressing shit.
We can’t kill nature, but we sure can make it mean.
On my fortieth birthday I saw a flock of turkey buzzards fly by. I think there were fifty or sixty of them. I think they were flying south.
After a while, one single one of them flew back.
If that’s an omen, I thought, that’s fine. One turkey buzzard is usually enough.
So this gig that I got, drawing the comic Monomania, that’s just one incarnation of this story. There are a lot of ways that the writers, Mike and Joey, could have gone. A comic was one of the last forms they arrived on. But good things appear when you go in the wrong direction. Creatively, that is. I wouldn’t use that tip to navigate around the city or anything.
Here, the way they appeared is that the writers got a table read for the piece. At some point they thought it was going to be an animated series (ideas go through many forms on their way to incarnation) and they got some people together and read the script out loud. Turns out that’s the best way to get a story across that I’ve ever seen. Makes sense. Story is essentially a verbal concept. Comic book scripts have never quite worked.
I can’t watch these Survivor shows without being painfully aware of the camera crew at every moment. You don’t have to worry about carnivores attacking you when you have a bunch of film students driving around your very natural experience in a giant circle.
I wonder what it’s like to be a filmmaker watching these people starve themselves to death for your amusement. I bet it’s not a lot different from working on other shows.