Sunday, May 22, 2011

One Year Later…

We have all been thoughtballooning for a whole year now. It’s pretty cool to write those words down.

I cannot believe it has been a year. I don’t know if I foresaw this upon starting it or not but I doubt I was thinking this far ahead. I was writing plenty back then and constantly wanting to write more. Comic Twart was going well and I was bitter because I cannot draw. There’s plenty of great artist group blogs out there, I still check Eclectic Micks, Periscope Studios, and Skottie/Scott. Drawing an image and throwing it up is easy – well, the drawing part might not always be but the getting it online thing is. People love art blogs because they’re easy. They’re quick and they’re fun.

But, as I said, I cannot draw. It’s embarrassing how much I can’t draw. But I can write (notice I don’t say I can write well…that’s a call I won’t make just yet, ha). I’ve got plenty of writing on my computer and much of it no one will see. Comic scripting is just too much fun to stay away from. There’s an Atlantean opus I’ve scripted a dozen issues of and planned a few score. There’s my MAX HYDRA! title that was a blast to write. There’s the space opera where I melded all sorts of alien biology and politics into a hyperdriven action romance. I really enjoyed mapping out and scripting the last ever Daredevil tale that sees him come out of the super retirement village to figure out why someone was putting hits on old heroes – it’s more serious than it sounds. Like Harry Brown for Daredevil.

None of this stuff is particularly spectacular, and it will nearly all never be seen again by anyone else, but I am a writer and so I wrote. I don’t mind that some of it is probably terrible. I subscribe to Brian K Vaughan’s theory that you have 10,000 pages of garbage in you. It’s up to you to get through them and then find the good stuff buried beneath. I’ve worked through those pages and within all the failure and navel gazing I know I was constantly practising character and tone and page layout. I got a little better over time and I hold no reservations about that time spent alone at my computer.

I’m sure I could have continued on indefinitely. I pitched a few things, made some good connections, but sometimes I just want to write for the fun of it. And I find I write so much better with a deadline or purpose hanging over me. It’s too easy to goof off on Twitter otherwise. I needed the pendulum swinging over me and this site provided that exact scenario.

Know me long enough and you’ll know I complain about being a writer because it’s the invisible art. There are reality game shows on just about everything from singing and dancing to renovating and being a stunt person. There was even a show to be a superhero, but there will be no show to write them. Now, I don’t think reality television is the only way to gain a foot hold on success in this day and age but it is indicative of what gets noticed. I loved CBR doing the Comic Book Idol competitions. Artists competed against each other with challenges and the pages were amazing to look at. That sort of thing is never going to happen for writers because reading through slabs of script pages isn’t what people want to do. They want the art, they want the simplicity to devour.

But, as a young buck named William Zane said in a little indie outing called Titanic, a real man makes his own luck. I wasn’t going to wait for my opportunity so I went ahead and made it. I want to write, that’s the bottom line. I would have kick started this site even if I was on my own. Luckily, I’m not alone. I managed to assemble a war chest of awesome writer’s around me who were committed to bringing the thunder each and every week and they certainly have.

Over the past year, I’ve written 52 script pages on a variety of characters. I’m quietly proud of that fact. Some pages are garbage, some are not quite so smelly. But they are all there and through these pages I’ve had the opportunity to put my authorial voice over men, women, aliens, groups, and even a town. I’ve written dialogue, action, splashes, ads, and loads and loads of captions. I’ve worked out what I’m good at and what I’m not. I’ve received feedback which has been one of the best things about this site. But most of all, I’ve had fun. Writing these pages is always a blast, waiting for that inspiration to strike, capitalising on my thoughts and notes invariably dashed into my iPhone’s Notes. I like writing the first draft, letting it sit, and then trying to improve upon it. I like writing and I hope that shows through this site.

Reading the scripts of the other lads is inspiring and daunting at the same time. These guys are good and every single one of them has had a opportunity to produce what I feel is the script of the week. I’m almost annoyed at how many times I haven’t given that internal nod to myself but I’m just happy to have these guys all trust me enough to join this site, and stick with it.

The last thing I’ll mention is the sense of community that is so present here. I’ve gotten to know the Tenures so well over the past year both through their scripts and many emails we shoot behind the scenes. I enjoy working with these boys and I respect what they do and how they do it. The comments they leave, the links they ReTweet, and the support they provide is something I have benefitted greatly from this year.

There’s also a wider community on the site, the Play At Home scripters. They turn up each month, with a fraction of the prep time we have, and they churn out scripts in the comments on the Why…? posts. They do some amazing work and they’ve really become a fixture on the site. It is nice to see a bunch of writers who have found a home to have some fun which is what this site was intended as 12 months ago. Danial was once one of them and then got the call up and I see plenty of potential and talent in those regulars each and every week. I thank them for turning up every week because it shows me this place is doing some good out there.

I guess I should sum up by looking to the future. I went into this with no plan other than to write and that’s my main focus going forward. I’ve got some excellent character choices to come and I’m excited to see what I’ll be able to do. I would love to see some more PAHs join the crew and have our community grow even larger. Who knows, in the far future this could expand into a site where roaming threads of scripts gather critique and people have fun.

Maybe we’ll even get some more art on these scripts. That could be cool.

Until then, bugger it, let’s enjoy the raw words. If the aim is 10,000 pages then I’m 52 further on that goal.

RKL – May 2011


  1. Yay, Thoughtballoons! Here's to another year! :-D

  2. Here's to many more years - until one of us sells out. I'm looking at you, Lindsay :P.


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