The first panel I was one centered around writing for comics and for the first bit I realized that all the other guys on the panel had a lot more experience at it than I did, but after a little bit I realized that I did indeed have more than 2 cents to contribute and started to step it up. Yes, it's hard to "break into the biz," but most people already know that. I brought up that I did comics because I HAD to...I couldn't imagine NOT doing them. I also talked about confidence in your work. Know where you need to improve but also have pride and confidence in it. I brought up going into Sunstone and pitching The Flock.
"I went into them and said, `I have a brilliant idea and you are going to want it...and if you don't then you are morons and someone else will snap it up.'" Everybody laughed, as I would have as well, but that is nearly verbatum what I said in my pitch...and they bought it...and they love it.
Everything about the art world is hard, learning about it, studying it, breaking into it, staying it, staying fulfilled in it...but people need to hear things other than how tough it is.
I also mentioned how for me a critical thing in writing for comics is knowing the characters so well that I just draw what they tell me. I mentioned my latest project how I went into it without a really tied down script and I wasn't really sure what was going to happen from page to page but I knew the characters so well that writing them was a breeze and they often made me laugh out loud as I was working on it. ("You'll have to get the door since I can't move my arms.")
I wrote it for a very specific audience and since I knew them and I knew the characters and I knew it was making ME laugh then I was fairly certain for it's intended audience, it would be a hit.
One of the guys on the panel wrote for the (now cancelled) Smallville comic as well as being a creative consultant for the TV show. He got the gig because he was an incredible Superman nut. I thought *I* was bad but man, this guy knew all the words to the songs of "Superman: The Musical." Me, I was proud of myself for knowing ONE song. (You've Got Possibilities.) He and I had a good chat after. (Lana Lang rant. Wheeee!)
He had just had a comic come out that parodied Smallville and was selling them. I looked at it and asked him if he knew the artist who drew it. He did not. I asked how he felt about the art. He was disappointed. (He should have been, it was AWFUL.) I gave him my card and told him I would be in touch. Who knows what will happen, but man oh man, I can sure do better than the guy who drew that particular comic.
I went and listened to several other panels, one of which was comics vs manga which, frankly, I find a little unnecessary. They both tell stories with sequential art and near as I can tell, one is heavily dependent on STYLE. Yes, there are various genres with each genre but the pitting against seems somewhat silly especially since the lines are getting more and more blurry. As an audience member I did have to throw in some commentary, especially when the elitist fanboys made the typical disparaging remarks about western comics.
I reminded people of US comic history, how in the 50s "Seduction of the Innocent, " (I believe is the name of the book,) completely terrified people about how comics were being used to subvert their children etc ... and there were massive comic book burnings all across the US. "Action Comics #1" isn't just rare because it's OLD. I pointed out how a very tight comics code got slapped onto US comics and for the next 30 years held somewhat of a stranglehold on comic development.
The Japanese never had to deal with that so of course it's going to evolve differently.
Someone on the panel mentioned a friend of theirs who was massively talented at drawing but everytime she tried to get in to draw for some comic company she was rejected because her art was too anime. They said she was now trying to break into some...manga comic thingie. I murmured to the people around me if she was really THAT good of an artist she should have also been able to draw in a more western style so she could get a JOB. There was some OOOOO ing around me enough that the panel asked me what I had said.
Forgive my snobbiness though but man, you threw "personal style" out the window at Sheridan. You had to learn to draw characters so they were on model. You had to learn how to imitate styles of different characters and different shows. Yes, you have a personal "style," but it comes from LEARNING HOW TO DRAW. Personal style follows. If someone gets so caught up in "style" that they CAN'T draw anything else, they are massively shooting themselves in the foot.
It was an interesting panel though.
I went to another one which was supposed to be the introduction to anime and it was the worst, most poorly organized lecture/panel I've ever seen. It seemed that all of the girls on the panel (no guys on this one,) kept trying to Alpha Geek the other ones and just rambled on and on, dropping different series that they'd read, different shows that they'd seen. If they were trying to introduce people to it, they failed miserably. I was greatly amused by the whole thing though because once I started watching the panel realizing what was going on (the one upmanship) it was highly fascinating to watch. I did call purplerebecca over at one point though (since she was the poor girl trying to moderate this mess,) and asked somewhat pointedly, "Isn't this an INTRODUCTION to anime?"
I was somewhat candid with her after about what I thought about the panel and maybe I shouldn't have been. I think the 4 girls didn't really go into the panel with a clear purpose of what they wanted to get across to the audience. I think they just wanted everyone to be impressed with how much they knew about manga and anime. Job done.
I had a great time with the web comics forum though. There were a LOT of people on this one...but it went rather well. If anything I really wish we could have had more time. Things I wanted to get across: Meet your deadlines. If you are going to do it, be prepared to sacrifice your TIME because it takes it. Write what you know. What what YOU would like to read.
We also talked about the differences between newspaper comics vs web comics and the advantages and disadvantages of either. With a web comic, you don't have editors breathing down your next, you have permission to break out of the panel, panel, panel, GAG format of newspapers and you are also able to spend more time really telling your story because there are ARCHIVES for people to go back and read.
The disadvantages are...you're probably doing your webcomic for free. You DON'T have an editor (and sometimes they can really sharpen you up,) and it's really up to YOU to advertise your work and get it out there.
As I said in the previous panel, I do it because I love it. I talked a bit about doing Battle On! and how long I waited for my next Big Great Idea. I talked about how there was an over 3 year incubation period between the two and how Red Sparrow splattered out of my brain in about 15 seconds. THREE YEARS and 15 seconds. One has to look for ideas everywhere and be open to many possibilities.
I am looking forward to tomorrow. I'm on a panel about sequential art and storytelling, another one about `making it' in the art world and the last one, which I guess I'm going to be doing by myself is the future of animation. I'm hoping for a good sized crowd with a lot of questions for that last one. I'm fairly certain I can talk about animation and where I think it is going based on what I know about animation history, animation production and movie distribution but I'd prefer fielding questions since that way the audience will get what they want. I plan on beginning and ending the panel with the huge caveat that everything I have said is strictly my OPINON on where I think things are going. Should be interesting though!
In other news, I am grateful my sister is letting me crash at her house tonight since she lives much closer to BYU than I do. Thanks Sooze!