Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
First, let me say that Profit and Loss would be a righteous name for a super hero duo. A sort of corporate-themed vigilante team. "We're here to help investors and creditors determine the past performance of their enterprise, predict future performance, assess the capability of generating future cash flows, and clean up the streets!" It would have sort of a Watchmen/Dark Knight feel to it.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I remember watching Over the Edge when I was a kid. Maybe ten or so. There are a handful of movies I saw around that time that I feel, and felt at the time, were transformative. That altered me. The Exorcist, Tommy, Altered States, The Godfather, and, of course, Over the Edge. I was too young to be watching any of these people, truth be told, and there's no way I'll let Oscar watch them when he's that age, but discipline was lax at the Gallardo household, I guess.
I've been absent from this blog due to family business. Lot's of time in my wife's old hometown where the air is clear and Internet access is a distant rumor. It's sort of nice to be unconnected for large swaths of time. It reminds me that I can have thoughts that don't need to be posted to facebook right this second! Though I did use my phone did to send some photos and such. I couldn't go cold turkey, apparently.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I feel like I don't have much to say lately. A lot of things in process. At stages that aren't that exciting to talk about (because I know that my readers have come to expect pure excitement from this blog).
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I spent the last few days in La Grande, Oregon, which is my wife's hometown and probably the loveliest bit of Earth I've ever laid eyes on. I offer the photograph at right as evidence of it's aesthetic attributes. The only thing about being there is that neither Melissa's mom nor dad has wifi, which leaves me completely cut off from my beloved internets. In small doses, this is a good thing.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Dalton, the eight-page short story written by yours truly, drawn by Todd Demong and colored by Marta Ziemnicka, went live on the Myspace/Dark Horse Presents site today. I would encourage you all to go there and to read the story.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Scott is the editor of Hellboy and Buffy and other very successful comics and he knows of what he speaks. He has a lot to teach folks who''l take the time to listen. As my former boss, he taught me that comics will break your heart, but that one should only cry if one won't be seen by anyone else.
Monday, August 10, 2009
However! I just finished writing an eight-page script for an unspecified project and I sent it of to Todd Demong. When he's done drawing it we are going to see about entering it into an on-line comics competition. This is something that Todd and I have talked about doing together for going on five ears now. It's nice to finally start writing it; to start seeing it come alive. If this project moves forward from this point, I will definitely write about it in more detail in this space.
I should mention that collectors of the original 100 Girls comics series may find a clue to what project I'm talking about in the letters columns contained therein. There.
Item 2: I can become obsessive about things. Those who know e well may not be surprised by this. Authors and film makers, books, movies, television shows. I can watch certain films again and again. I can listen to certain songs endlessly on repeat. A couple of years ago, I found some videos by the band Ok Go and, for a few months, I had to watch those videos at least once every day.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Have you heard of the facebook.com? All of the kids think it's pretty great. I hear them all the time talking about the great stuff you can find on there. Well, I've decided to make myself one of those things. I've created a group for my comics writing there, so if you have an account, you should definitely become a member of my group. Simply follow this link to join in on all the fun!*
*No fun is actually guaranteed.
The image at Left is from my notebook. The Sacred Moleskine, as Jim Woodring calls his. Though mine is not nearly as sacred as Mr Woodring's.
I have the artistic ability of a woodland creature -- most likely some sort of rodent; a squirrel, perhaps -- but for the last couple of years I've found it a great help to sketch out pages after they've been plotted but before I script them. I find and fix a lot of problems that way. For instance, as in the example shown, there is way too much dialog. There is always too much dialog in my initial outlines and scripts. My characters cannot shut up and I find I must cut their speeches with a ruthlessness that would make Gordon Lish proud.
Also, even at the size I draw them, I can figure out when I'm asking for something that is impossible to draw. This often means that something I want to be one panel needs to become two. And I get a good sense of the rhythm of a page with these thumbnails.
All in all, I think that scripts have become easier to write, and the scripts themselves are better, since I've started sketching. And some day, when I'm a big star, those sketches are gonna be worth something! Right?
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I got away for a little writing time this afternoon/evening and I had one goal: to write a first draft outline for a short story that Todd and I want to do together. Normally if I have one goal I work on everything else under the sun (including the all-important task of checking facebook and twitter every five damned seconds to make sure they haven't updated). But today I remained focused and got the work done. After a few false starts.
I was starting from scratch. This is a brand new set of characters and a new story. I wrote a draft of something for these characters months ago, but when I showed Todd he didn't like it and thought it should go in a new direction. I didn't know how to do that so I set it aside for a bit. I've been feeling for the last few days that it was time to bring it out and work on it again. My brain had done one of those things where it was apparently thinking about the story without seeming to and I had some new ideas.
But being altogether new, it took a few attempts to get comfortable with the characters and the situation. And the tone. The tone is mostly what Todd was concerned with, so I concentrated on that. After a while, however, the words started coming pretty easily and then it stopped feeling like work and just felt fun. Always a good sign. And I did it. An outline with a beginning middle and end, something that would be easy to turn into a script should Todd say he liked. Yea, me.
Except. Later as I thought about, it started to dawn on me that I hadn't really written chapter one of something; I had written chapter negative one. The chapter that happens right before the action should start; lots of exposition and characterization and talking, talking, talking. My characters love the sounds of their own voices. Which is totally different than me, by the way.
Anyway, now I have to scrap what I wrote today, or at least set it aside and use it later down the line. Now I have to write an entirely new first chapter. Or, I suppose, I could lower my standards. I could do that, right?
No? Okay, I'll be over here bitterly writing a new piece...
Friday, July 31, 2009
Something that always helps is to talk to other comics folks. Last weekend I visited with Greg Means at the Portland Zine Symposium. Greg edits the excellent comics anthology, Papercutter. If you have not read it, you must. Last year's Best of Comics anthololgy included two stories originally published in Papercutter. Greg and I commiserated about the comics biz and he is always interested in what I'm working on, which helps a lot. Hello, Greg.
Earlier this week, maybe Wednesday, I had a phone conversation with Todd Demong. I had many suggestions and questions for Todd and I received a satisfactory response or answer to every one. Hearing exactly what I want also makes life easier. We have now set a few things in motion that, should they come to fruition, will be very exciting. For now they must remain vaguely annoying because I don't like to talk about things in any detail until they are real. So there.
I haste to add here that a Dalton short story by Todd and I should be up next week at either darkhorse.com or myspace.com/darkhorsepresents. I will, of course, alert the faithful once it is live.
Finally, this evening, I had a great phone conversation with comics writer Dwight MacPherson. I've never met or spoken with Dwight before but we have, for maybe the last year or so, been communication via twitter. Re-reading that last sentence makes me shale my head. Anyway, Dwight is the writer of too many things to mention, and a super nice guy, and very easy to talk to despite having almost diametrically opposing political views from myself. I think it's because Dwight is one of those rare humans who actually speaks his mind and hopes that everyone else will, too. It's refreshing. Dwight was giving me advice about one of the aforementioned plots I am hatching with Todd. Talking with Dwight gives me hope we can be successful.
So, yeah, for the moment the pendulum feels like it's on an upswing. I hope it last a while. At least long enough to finish half the things I've started.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Over on her awesome blog, Karen Healey is giving away a copy of 100 Girls. Go here:
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I just stumbled upon a review of 100 Girls written by an individual who, I can only guess, is a Buddhist. They look at the book in the context of Buddhism, and the concept of Dharma specifically. I've re-read the review several times and I can't tell whether or not they liked the book.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
To which I would just like to add: Amen, sir.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
“We have to change the negative things into positive. In today’s Japanese film industry we always say we don’t have enough budget, that people don’t go to see the films. But we can think of it in a positive way, meaning that if audiences don’t go to the cinema we can make any movie we want. After all, no matter what kind of movie you make it’s never a hit, so we can make a really bold, daring movie. There are many talented actors and crew, but many Japanese movies aren’t interesting. Many films are made with the image of what a Japanese film should be like. Some films venture outside those expectations a little bit, but I feel we should break them.”
Substitute the term "Japanese film" with "American independant comics" and you'll get where I'm coming from.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I'm sitting in a darkened hotel room right now. Melissa is off somewhere having dinner with some of her family. Oscar is asleep just a few paces from me and I have nothing but time on my hands. These are the moments I find to write in now. It's not a bad life.
Last Thursday, the 18th of June, I spoke as part of Salem's first ever Ignite event. Twelve speakers, each with five minutes to declaim on any topic of their choosing. Each also had to have a 20-slide Power Point presentation to play behind them. It was a fun and interesting night. The topics were varied and some down right intrigued me, but the best part of the night was meeting some of the other presenters.
This being the first such event in town, there were some technical glitches. I think only about half of my slides played behind me, but it was still worthwhile. I spoke about a subject I've been thinking about a lot lately, using the Internet as a content delivery system. I've written about this topic on this blog on more than one occasion. Basically, I'm trying to talk myself into it and using this public forum to state my intention is one way to do that.
I thought that my talk might be of interest to someone out there, so here it is. (And please note that I am not subjecting you to my PP slides, but I will sometimes break from the main body of the text and tell you some of the information that was on them.)
My attitudes about New versus Old Media can be summed up with this analogy:
Old Media are the Roman Empire. New Media are the Visigoths.
Which basically means that while Old Media isn’t dying, its power is waning and becoming decentralized. It also means that New Media isn’t necessarily the thing that will replace it, but it is making everything messy and interesting.
What this means ultimately is that things are in disarray and that individuals who want to create something and get it in front of an audience can use this to their advantage.
Provided they have something to say. I chose to characterize that something to say as an obsession in the title of my talk for a reason. It’s not enough to just want to make something, and it’s certainly not enough to want to make the same old things that have been under construction for the last 50 to 100 years. You have to want to make something new and personal.
Creating art of any kind may be fun, but it’s also a slog. And it can often feel like a curse, because it is something you feel compelled to do no matter what.
"All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
So, let’s say you are so compelled. You’re creating art, you’d like to have it seen by an audience. For various reason (such as how hard it is to break into established media, having to give up editorial control over your work, sometimes having to give up ownership), you decide that Old Media is not the avenue you want to pursue to get it seen. Maybe you want to give this Internet thing a try?
There are a lot of folks out there already using the Internet to broadcast their stories. But there are even more people out there who are waiting for new content. A recent study by the Harvard Business Review looked at the microblogging site, Twitter.com, and found that 90% of it’s content was generated by just 10% of its users. And it’s probably a similar story with the rest of the Internet.
There are an estimated 251 million households with Internet access in America. Using the 90/10 formula (which I realize is a gross over-generalization, but I’m going to do it anyway), that means that 2.5 million households are generating most of the content on the web and more than 240 million are consuming it. This is an amazingly large potential audience.
Of course, no one is going to attract the attention of all of those users. The most successful will only be seen by a small percentage of them, and how will they attract and keep those folks’ attention? By, again having something to say, by having an obsession.
Those entities that are already on the web attracting an audience are doing so because they have a clear, strong theme running through their work. Some examples of this are on the slides behind me.
But if these folks, or you for that matter, hope to make any money out of these endeavors, just putting your stuff up on the Internet isn’t enough. One of the advantages of Old Media is they have all these people and department in place to take your work and design, print, market and sell it. In the New Media, you get to do all of that. Seriously, keep your day job for a while.
On the screen behind me, six examples of web sites I feel succeed in the New Media model of content delivery flashed by. Those sites were:
All of the examples flashing behind me have found ways to monetize their work. They print or otherwise collect them and sell them, yes, but they also create merchandise, some of them are absolute monsters when it comes to publicity. They maintain presences outside of their own web sites. It sounds an awful lot like work.
“I think the growth of the business has been directly geared to my ability to take the whole endeavor more and more seriously. In other words, approaching the work like a professional has made it into a profession -- the attitude always comes first.”
creator of Wondermark.com
But the advantage of this method would be total ownership of what you create and total creative control(two things that are hard to come by in the world of traditional comics publishing at least). But with total control comes total responsibility.
I’m bringing this all up because I think it’s part of the obsession , too. You have something you want to say, and you want to say it so badly you’re willing to take on all of this enormous load of work to get it out there and make sure people see it. But if you can do all of this, an audience will find you. Then it’s up to your talent to keep those folks interested.
My area of interest is comics and I’ve focused most of my talk on that, but what I’m talking about can be applied to number of disciplines. There are any number of free blogging sites out there, each of which is better at certain things. You could publish fiction, poetry, memoirs, photo galleries. You can make videos and post them to youtube or vimeo. Record songs and throw put them up for everyone to see. The potential of the Internet as a means to get your work seen reminds me of ‘zine culture times about a million.
And there’s one more thing I feel compelled to mention. I decided to make this the topic on which I’d talk mostly because I’ve been thinking about taking the plunge into the world of New Media myself. Despite some success in the world of traditional comics publishing, I’ve been feeling a certain disappointment with many of the processes involved in it. I’m thinking about putting my money where my mouth is and joining the ranks of entrepreneurs on the web. All I need is to convince some artists that they need to come along with me.
All I need is to find some folks with a similar obsession.
Friday, June 12, 2009
This is just to say that Todd Demong, my collaborator on 100 Girls (do I have to say that every time I mention his name?) and I have sold a short story to an unwitting publisher!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Have you heard of these Ignite events? For the last couple of months the term has been cropping up and sticking in my consciousness. This means, more than likely, that it's been cropping up a lot longer than that and I'm just now finally becoming aware of it. I have been intrigued by the mentions, but I didn't really know what it was all about. Well, lifted wholesale from the Ignite web site, here's their explanation of what they are:
If you had five minutes on stage what would you say? What if you only got 20 slides and they rotated automatically after 15 seconds? Around the world geeks have been putting together Ignite nights to show their answers.
Ignite was started in Seattle in 2006 by Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis. Since then 100s of 5 minute talks have been given across the world. There are thriving Ignite communities in Seattle, Portland, Paris, and NYC.
Seems straight forward enough, huh?
June 18, 2009
3893 Commercial St.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Nuria has once again updated the Gear School blog with some hints and lots of photos. Everything looks super cool. I suggest you go and check it out. And thank Nuria for actually making regular contributions over there. One of these days I'll do the same. I promise.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
After an absence of many months, I finally make with the posting over at the Gear School blog. A book review of sorts of Peter Watts's excellent Blindsight that quickly goes off the rails.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Or, actually, they may have given the game away.
Nuria has written another post over on our shared Gear School blog hinting at what Studio Fenix and Bamf Studio (wasn't BAMF the sound effect Nightcrawler made when he teleported?) are up to. You should go and see if you can deduce what's happening.
I will be neither confirming nor denying guesses.
You know, I need to figure out what I'm going to do over there. Old pitch material? Short short stories set in the GS universe? Videos of me doing dramatic readings from the book? The possibilities really are endless...
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I have hinted a few times about our (our being Todd, our publisher, our managers, and me) involvement with Hollywood. I have never more than hinted because if these things are up in the air there's a number of reasons not to talk about them. Some of those reason are legal. So I thought it was interesting to stumble across a brief article on Hollywood North Report dot com mentioning 100 Girls having been optioned by Sci Fi. This is interesting to me for a couple of reasons. 1) I never knew that any information about this deal leaked into the wild and 2) because the article is dated December 2008 and the Sci Fi's option on the book had lapsed by that time. Had been lapsed for several months if memory serves.
It makes me wonder why this site would report on a deal that was already history at the time of reporting. Hollywood North Report claims it got the original story from another site. This other site doesn't have any kind of search function, so I can't tell what exactly they reported. This little episode may remain a mystery, I guess.
I have always thought that I'd like to write a detailed history of 100 Girls in Hollywood, but only after the matter of its involement there is settled. And by "settled" I mean either 1) Someone actually purchases the writes to the book or 2) Todd and I throw up our hands and decide to give up on the process entirely.
I have no illusions about which of those eventual outcomes will come to fruition.
But for now, marvel at what could have been...
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Raise your hand, who remembers that I used to post over on a blog for my book, Gear School? Anyone? Anyone? That's what I thought.
Well, after months of inactivity, Nuria,my better half on that book, has started posting material there. Only it's not quite about the book. I am not currently at liberty to say what this is all about, but I do know what it is and it's pretty cool. I will tease just a bit more and say I can't wait for the announcement. You really should start paying attention to what's going on over there, I think.
So, Nuria is posting there again, how about me? Yes, I do plan on maintaining a presence there again, unless something gets in my way. What that might be, I'm not sure, but I'm sure life can think of a few things.
Wish me luck.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Today is Oscar's first birthday. We took him to a local bookstore, then spent some time at A. C. Gilbert's Discovery Village. A nice, relaxing birthday.
Many new photos, including lots from today, are up at our flickr page.
Happy birthday, mister, I love you like crazy.
Friday, April 24, 2009
I was tooling around on the book tracking/social networking site Good Reads (of which I am a member) tonight and, because I'm a glutton for punishment, I was reading the reviews of my little book, 100 Girls. Many of the reviews point out the fact that for a book aimed at young adults, it's amazingly violent.
This is interesting to me. My immediate response is, "it's not meant for young adults!" or, at least, it's not aimed at them specifically. Also, a lot of folks seemed to imply that the art's being so violent is somehow Todd's fault. Poor Todd Demong! I have to take the blame here and point out that Todd didn't draw anything that I didn't ask him to draw. Todd is actually a very nice man who, as far as I know, has few violent tendencies. He's Canadian!
When I sat down to write the book, I had no specific audience in mind. I was writing it for myself. So, in that case, I guess one could say I was writing it for slightly depressed thirty-something men who'd recently been laid off, but that's kind of a niche market. I took the story exactly where it wanted to go without worrying about who might be reading it in the future. I figured that if people didn't like it, for whatever reason, then they simply wouldn't read it. A not unreasonable assumption.
I remember the first time I had a little mental "uh-oh" about the book's content. I found out that some friends with an eight-year old girl were giving it to their daughter to read because it was comics, which the girl liked, and it featured a strong female protagonist. All good enough, but while she sat there reading the comic, all I could think of was Sylvia's tearing the arm off a wolf creature. And her implied killing of a man. And so on.
When the book was originally published by Arcana, it was released sans any kind of rating or age recommendation. It was only when the book was picked up by Simon and Schuster that that publisher placed it at its young adult imprint, Simon Pulse. When I learned what their target market was for the book, I gritted my teeth and wondered what they'd say about the violence.
And (I hope I'm not telling tales out of school here) they never mentioned the violence. The one thing they asked if we'd mind removing was a bit of (in my mind, very coy) sexiness between the adult characters Tabitha and Chase. This actually left Todd and I a bit flummoxed. Sylvia does many terrible things in the course of the book, both on-screen and off, and a shot of Tabitha in her underwear and Chase's bare chest is what they didn't like. Todd and I had our agent tell Simon and Schuster we'd rather not alter or drop the offending scene and nothing more was ever said about it.
Back to the violence.
I always assumed that if people questioned the violence, that they would assume I had an overall plan, or goal, in using it. And I do. I totally do! It's important in the story. Really. Of course, I'm not going to tell you what the purpose of the violence is right now, but rest assured it's not merely gratuitous. I say "not merely" because I am aware that it may very well be gratuitous. I'll expand on that purpose someday when either Todd and I finish the story we've set out to tell or when it becomes apparent that we'll never be able to finish it. For now I hope raders will trust me.
One last thing: the title of this post come from a review from a comics web site wherein the reviewer called me to task for the brutality in the book. We later had a one-on-one conversation where I believe I assuaged his concerns. Would that I could do that with everyone who is put off by poor Sylvia's behavior.