Sunday, May 24, 2015

Year Five - You Can't Kill Words

Thought Balloons is 5 years old.

You know this, seeing as we just went through an entire week celebrating the fact, but it is an accomplishment that is worth emphasizing.  That said, just like in writing, there's no time for resting on laurels.  You have to keep pushing forward, and we will.  Which is why, as has been alluded, there are some changes coming Thought Balloons' way this year.

The first notable change has to do with our weekly picks.  For five years the main restriction for our picks was that it had to be a character who has appeared in a comic at some point in time.  As limitations go, it's pretty broad, and lord knows we've stretched it here and there, but we've stuck to it.  And in that time, we've gotten pretty darn good at playing in other people's sandboxes.

Obviously, next logical step is to blow up the system completely.  Okay, maybe that isn't necessarily the logical next step, but it never hurts to shake things up.  Think of them less as picks and more as Inspirations.  The Inspiration for the week could be as specific as a particular line of dialogue or as general as an entire comic book run.  More than that, it doesn't have to be limited to comics.  The Inspiration could be a movie, a song, an album, a work of art, an idiom, or anything and everything in between.  Interpretations of this will understandably differ, but as long as it Inspires interesting scripts, it's fair game.

That being said, we aren't completely turning our back on the past.  Comic book characters will still be fair game for the weekly Inspiration and we'll still take time for things like movie-tie in weeks, but there will be more options for us to work from.  Think of it as enlarging our toolbox and not going out to get a new one.

Speaking of the past, another proud tradition we have at Thought Balloons is encouraging people to play-at-home and throw up their own scripts in each week's Why? post - heck, it's how most our members got their start here in the first place.  That policy is obviously sticking around, but going forward we're hoping to bolster it with a more proactive approach.

Which brings us to our second major change for the year.  We're reaching out to others to come and write with us for short stints as guest members.  A sort of Writer-in-Residence to our tenured membership, if you will.  They'll come in to write with us, making posts and picking Inspirations along with the rest of the team.  We're on the lookout for all types, including those who have been in the game for a while, folk who may just be starting up the grind, and even people who aren't in it - yet.  We have a blast working on these scripts week in and week out and are super excited to share that with as many and as diverse a group as we can.

I'm happy to report that we've already locked in an ace writer for our first week of the new initiative.  You may have heard of him before.  He's charming, clever, and has one of the strongest hustle games you'll ever see (not to mention beards).  He's got his fingers in all kinds of comics book pies, including a mini from Dark Horse starting this summer, a now complete MonkeyBrain digital comic that has been released in physical form by IDW, and likely plenty more that he's yet unable to share with us.  Among his many other accomplishments is founding Thought Balloons, a site that you may have heard of.  That's right, our very own Ryan K. Lindsay is back for another kick at the can for this week only!  And what will he be picking?  Well, that would be telling...

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If you want to play along at home, feel free to put your scripts under the Why? post for the week.