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Course-Correction

Time for another round of adjusting dates to better fit Will’s…lack of productivity?

Kidding. I did get stuff done, just not enough as I’d hoped. Making the trailer threw me for a loop, but in the end it was actually helpful. Like a test run of how the comic would look if I tried to jump into it right then and there, with whatever I’d prepared so far. The general feeling was that I’d probably fall flat on my face. It was a good try though.

I can guess what you’re thinking. Stop making excuses and just make the comic. Yeah…nope. I’m close, but not close enough.

There are a small handful of character designs that I have to nail down. The majority of them are done, but not all of them are cleaned up, or have full turnarounds. After making the trailer I think that a thorough design cleanup might be a waste of time. What I’ll probably do is one clean drawing of each design to lock the colours and everything, then just do my best in the final pages to keep it all consistent.

For locations, there’s quite some work to be done. The backgrounds in the trailer were a first pass at them. I definitely need to spend a chunk of time nailing them all down, as well as finding a consistent style for drawing them. Drawing BGs was fun, but not something I’m very experienced at. I do look forward to getting better at them.

Launch date in 2019. I’m not gonna comment on this for fear of jinxing anything. 😉

Trailer Post-Mortem

I’m so relieved this trailer is done. I did NOT expect it to take so long to finish. Back in May I was starting to get a little fatigued from all the designing I was doing. Since most of the character designs were nailed down, I figured I’d put them to the test. What followed was me getting my butt whooped by my old nemesis, storyboards. I tried my best to crunch to the finish before my month-long vacation, but failed. When I came back and looked at the art so far, I noticed a lot of things that needed fixing. It was probably better that I didn’t rush it. There are still a few things I would’ve liked to tweak (record better sfx, redraw some stuff, touch up the edit), but I’ve got to move on.

Colouring my boards was difficult. There was a point where I was thinking to myself, would it be a cop-out if I made the comic in grayscale? I’m on the fence about it. If I do choose to colour, I really need to make a colour script before I start drawing the pages.

Making the music for this was a lot of fun. The time spent in front of the keyboard flew by really fast. Sound mixing is uncharted territory for me, so I hope the tune didn’t rip a hole in your ear or sound like a muddled mess. There were some story-related choices regarding the song, but for the sake of not spoiling anything I’ll save that chat for later. One thing I can say is that I tried to stay away from instruments that wouldn’t exist in that world, like pianos, large brass sections, violins, disco, electronica…

I watched a bunch of trailers for inspiration, but kept coming back to these ones: Kairos, The Master, Lastman.

That about sums up my thoughts for now. Here are some feelings:

Will from 2010:  THIS THING IS REAL!! IT’S COMING!!! AHHHHHHHHHHAHAAA

Present-day Will:  …I still gotta make the actual book yo

Trailer

Here it is.

Detour

So I got a little sidetracked from designs and decided to make a trailer. It’s about 80% done. I’m going on vacation soon so I’ll have to finish it when I get back. Until then…

Colour Test

Thinking about how I’m gonna colour this comic. Could be something like this.

Design Dump!

Here are a few faces that show up over the course of the story. And my main girl, whom I’ve been neglecting (sorry!! I’ll come back to you at the end).

These past few weeks have been super productive. If I can keep up my current pace, I should have most of the designs roughed out by May.

Third Step

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So, the script is done. Well, pretty much. Any changes from here on will be made during the thumbnail stage. But first I’ve got to design everything.  

I’ve got to design EVERYTHING. :’O

I did a count and there are approximately 35-50 characters to design, 49 specific locations, and 9 major props (someone kill me now). A bunch of these characters are non-speaking roles, and some of the locations are sections within a larger location, if that makes any difference to the amount of work to be done. Probably not.  

Being a storyboard artist, I’m used to having everything already designed for me. Or if something wasn’t provided, I’d just make up something quick. I don’t think that’ll fly in this case. Who knows, if things take too long I might have to resort to that for less important designs. The good thing is now I can show you all some art, at least as much as I can without spoiler-ing the story.   

Wish me luck!              

Script…Locked!

Second Step

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Yesh! The second draft is done.  

About 5-6 months behind schedule. *gulp* I think I grossly underestimated how long things would take. This new schedule should be a bit more accurate. Three years sounds about right, right? I’m just gonna focus on the next step and fill in the dates as I go…for now.

So why did the 2nd draft take so long? Besides the amount of revisions, I hit a couple roadblocks that killed the momentum I was building.  One was around June when work got intense for a month or so.  Then in August I had a week off and was making good progress— until I hit this one scene. It needed to be completely re-imagined and my revision notes for it were pretty much “this needs to be fixed, here’s a bunch of possibilities, so fix it”. Also, the outcome would affect the scenes that followed, so I couldn’t skip past it. After running away scared and banging my head against the wall, I made it through and finished off the rest this past week.          

Coming in at 99 pages, I’m feeling pretty confident with it. Compared to the 1st draft, which was 86 pages, this one is more fleshed out, flows better, and is much clearer. Here’s what’s next: 

The third draft. This will be more of a polish than a complete re-write*, so it shouldn’t take as long (I hope). I’ve marked a bunch of scenes that need a little more tweaking, and there are few new revisions that came up that still need to be addressed. After that, I’ll do a dialogue pass to make sure everything sounds okay. Then I’ll put it away for a bit and re-read later to assess the whole. THEN it should be ready for thumbnails, which I’m sure will bring out any remaining dialogue and story issues.

Alright, let’s go!  


*this advice worked wonders, but probably isn’t necessary for my 3rd draft

One & Half Step

Quick update since I’m past the first due date.  Currently 77% done the first re-write.  Aiming to finish by the end of month.  Gotta push it!  

Talk more soon-ish. 

First Step

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Made a super simplified production schedule to keep a track of my overall progress.  I’m not sure how much time each stage will actually take me to finish so the dates are estimates.  My day job as a storyboard artist is the main obstacle right now.  It’s great, but it drains a lot of my creative energy.  I’m working on a solution to that (more on this later).  

So what’s next? Well, I went and re-read the script again.  This time with my revision hat on, and…well…I kind of ripped it to shreds. :}  There are a lot more revs than I had realized.  But it’s fine.  I’ve made a huge list of all the areas that need fixing, so now it’s time to jump into the re-write.  

I’ve also started the character design process.  I spent a few evenings compiling all the random sketches I had laying around the computer and house.  Now that it’s all organized, I can start chipping away at designs while I re-write.    

Poster

Here’s a poster I made to keep me motivated.  I still haven’t finalized her design yet but the title is settled on.  In fact, I’m opening up a little contest just for kicks.  The first person to guess the exact title will receive a quick sketch from me for being a smart cookie.  Shoot me an email or private message if you figure it out!  You have until the comic officially launches or when the title is released, which probably won’t be for a while.

EDIT (10.9.2017): Contest closed.

Important Things

Q: The most important thing when attempting a project of large scale is ________.
a) having a story worth telling 
b) having a story that works
c) having a good story  
d) having a good story that works and that one feels from their gut is worth telling

Let’s hope the answer is D.  If I don’t make it to the end of this project then I guess I didn’t have much to begin with at all.  

On Your Mark

This whole thing started when I finished the first draft of a story back in 2012.  I pulled out the script a few months ago on a whim.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be.  There were definitely some parts that needed fixing, but overall it seemed to be working.  There was one problem though.  I wrote it imagining a live-action film.  Unfortunately, there’s no way it could be made without heavy CGI and visual effects.  I doubt anyone would be interested in putting up the budget for it either.  What’s funny is that when I first came up with the idea I pictured it as a comic or a book.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that a comic might be the best way to go.  I’ve been wanting to make one for a long while and now I have the excuse to do it.  So!  Here I am, documenting my progress (or failure) online.  It’s going to be a tonne of work, but I’m up for the challenge.  

If you make people laugh or cry about little black marks on sheets of white paper, what is that but a practical joke?  All the great story lines are great practical jokes that people fall for over and over again.

Kurt Vonnegut