Well that was real mature...

Well that was real mature...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

RobCon IV: The Voyage Home

I am going to be at RobCon this year. I'll confess.  Initially, I was going to pass. Having done three tours promoting the website I used to write for, I really didn't feel I had much to offer this year. I was busy but didn't have anything tangable to bring to the table. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. 

Let's rewind.

About a year ago, I was approached by a production company who was interested in my writing and Adventures in Pulp was coming to an end so I spent most of the last half of last year focusing on screen writing rather than comics. 

Then things got weird. 

I was invited to appear on the We Talk Comics and talk about my writing on Adventures in Pulp. The experience spurred me on to continue with Adventures in Pulp (against my better judgement) when the artist asked to continue a story we had started together. My lawyer recommended saying no to the deal the production company offered but the idea had set in and I went about shopping my screenplays around. Around the first of the year, Adventures in Pulp won Digital Comic of the Year 2015. I was trying to get contracts done to do some comics with some artists (one being Ivan Castillo of Conquest Art Design) and entered some contests (Darby Pop's Women of Darby Pop and Top Cow's Annual Talent Hunt). There was a lot of business and creating but nothing I could put on a table to promote.  To add insult to injury, the artist/owner of the Adventures in Pulp site decided to pack it in and the story there was unfinished. It was, to be blunt, a shit storm of bad luck, good luck and new opportunities. I felt pulled in multiple directions while running in place. It was an odd feeling and RobCon was around the corner.
"You are coming this year, right?" Robert Pilk (the Rob in RobCon) asked casually one day.
"I don't have anything new.  It would seem kind of sad," I said, trying to hide behind a comic rack.
"You can promote your Digital Comic of the Year award."
"But Adventures in dead, the second series is unfinished. I've got nothing."
"Eh, something will come up."

I wiffled. I waffled. Xander was playing summer ball. That could be an excuse. Except The USSSA AA World Series had wrapped two weeks before the con. I hemmed. I hawed.

Then some news broke. 

Several things at once. First, as described in yesterday's blog, GloverzoneDL Pictures picked up my pilots for production. Contracts have not been signed yet, but they have listed the pilots listed on their website, so what the heck, right? I was contacted about a story I wrote getting published in September. I still can't talk about it on social media since it has not been officially announced but I did get permission to discuss it at the convention. Contracts I had been waiting on for over six months were completed. It even appeared the long discussed Outer Worlds comic book mini-series with Ivan would finally get moving. While I didn't have any new books to sell (I will have the award winners), I did have stuff to discuss.

I broke down and decided to attend the convention. At this point I have to give a big thanks to Diana Simpson (Rob's right hand woman), who got me on the docket in the eleventh hour. Diana is fantastic and is busting her butt to help Rob make ROBCON the biggest and best yet. If you see her, please make sure to tell her what a great job they have done. She deserved the props.

I'll be on the writers panel from 11-12 Saturday and I'll be joining Matt Shafer of the Mountain Empire Superhero Film Club to discuss upcoming comic book films for the film panel from 1-2.

Rob was right. Something did come up. But don't tell him I said so. He'll be insufferable for at least a week. Perhaps even two.

UPDATE: Since Darby Pop has mentioned it on Facebook and twitter, I can confirm I am one of the writers who will be published in the "The Women of Darby Pop" anthology. My story is called, "Looking for Redemption with Blind Eyes." The double sized issue will be available for purchase nationwide on September 28 for only $3.99. This Previews World "certified cool" oneshot is likely to fly off shelves so to ensure you get a copy, preorder copies at your local comic shops with item code JUL161751. I will be writing a blog about the wonderful experience working on the story once the official announcement has been made.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pilot Playhouse (With a Little Help from My Friends)

I don't like to discuss stuff until contracts are signed since, lets face it, in the entertainment industry anything can can happen. Projects fall through all the time even after pages have been inked with one's John Hancock. However, I am making an exception. My three television pilots Jigsaw World, Exodus 7 and Atlantis Rising appear to have found a home at GloverzoneDL Pictures. Normally I would keep mum, but since they are sure enough to post them as in development on their website (see the bottom of their list here: http://gloverzonedlpictures.com/t-v-projects/) I figured, what the hell? Worst case scenario, it falls through and I go back to shopping them around. 

Exodus 7 is a pilot/series proposal I wrote several years ago when the digital comic I was writing was stalled so the artist could do a pitch for a publisher. I had ants in my pants to do something different in the down time and so I started bouncing ideas off my dear and old friend Bud Shinall who partnered with me in this endeavor. Over the years the two of us would hit the local bar and grills and talk about the scifi shows of the time over potato skins and blooming onions. We really believed we could carve out a space sci-fi concept that would be budget conscious and dramatic. Not only was Bud the best man at my wedding, he is my best sounding board. If I come up with an idea, he improves on it. If he comes up with an idea, I can add texture and depth to it. We laugh, we create, and we make what we want to see as fans. So, together, we fleshed out the plot and first season arc, developed the characters and finally I scripted our plot. The show focuses on the Exodus missions to colonize far off worlds. The crew wakes to find their ship off course and damaged and hilarity ensues. 

Atlantis Rising dates all the way back to a comic book script I wrote back in 2007. It revolves around the U.S. reverse engineering the alien technology with an eye toward taking over the world but, Atlantis rises from the ocean introducing magic to the world at large creating a cold war between the two nations. I always believed in the story and thought it would make a great television series.

Jigsaw World is another comic book concept from back in 2007.  It the two (of four) issues sat idle for years until an artist agreed to work with me on a pitch. We shopped the first issue along with the second issue script and outline around to no avail.  Later the artist asked me to write his webcomic and, again, during idle time when he was not producing, we put up the first issue on the website. We parted ways so I adapted the first two comic scripts and rest of the outline to a pilot script. After getting some press from our other digital comic work, we decided to resume working on it with the intention of self publishing via Comixology Submit and I adapted the pilot script back into issues three and four of comic book, but the collaboration was short lived and the comic was never finished or published. Again, I always believed in it and thought it would make exciting tv (or comic). (UPDATE: Some one pointed out I didn't mention what this series would be about. The idea is kind of Flash Gordon meets Sliders. On a version of Earth from a parallel universe, scientists try to save their doomed world by pulling pieces of Earths from alternate realities to create a new patchwork planet. Our hero is on of of those pieces and gets to explore his new world in search of technology that will stop an alien infestation that was on one of the pieces and is now infecting the whole new world.)

I hope everything works out and one day you can see these stories on television. 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention fellow writer Tommy Bryant. Tommy has been a big cheerleader and help in my transition from comics to television. Once, I worked with an artist who refused to give me the name of an editor he worked with when I wanted to send out some inquiry letters (to be honest he actually claimed he could not remember, which was not true, who forgets the name of their first editor). It wasn't like we would be competing for the same jobs, so it was kind of strange. Conversely, anytime Tommy comes across a production company he forwards them on to me. Sure he COULD think "if they like his stuff they may pass on mine." But he doesn't play that game. He realizes that there are a million reasons why a project may get selected and a million why they may not and that his success is in no way related to mine (and vise versa). He loves the job. No, strike that, he loves the CALLING of being a story teller and not only needs to feed it within himself, but in the others around him. That kind of love of the craft is hard to find in the struggling circles. We would be a better community if more thought like him. I know if my shows go to series, one of the first calls I'm going to make will be to Tommy. Writing a season of television is a lot of work. I know I'll need a solid stable of storytellers to get the job done.