Sunday, August 30, 2009

Photo parade

It has apparently been nearly two months since I last posted photos. This has now been remedied. More than 100 photos have been uploaded to our flickr page. No titles, descriptions or tags. The thought of doing that for more than 100 photos made me feel like weeping.

Sorry.

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).

One thing I should mention is that I got a part-time job. I'm now working as a projectionist at Salem Cinema, Salem's only independent theater. It specializes in indy and art-house movies. So far, except for the time it takes me away from Melissa and Oscar, it's a lot of fun. But it's helping to make ends meet, so it's hard to complain.

I've never worked a projector before, so it's been interesting learning the skill. I like machinery and the chance to get my hands inside of the projectors is great. And I think I take more satisfaction in having threaded the film properly than I likely should. Learning a new skill makes my head feel clear, which is nice. It's been a while since I learned anything new.

On the writing front, like I said, things are in process. Dalton is being considered for publication, which always turns into a hurry-up-and-wait situation (and I'm reminded that I need to write an email to the editor looking at it with my and Todd's ideas about publication--an email that will likely kill any chances the project has of moving forward). Todd is drawing an eight-page short story, but, because he has a day job, it's going to be a while before that's done. I need to start designing an actual web site for my self, but I am lazy and will probably put that off until... who knows when. I sent a query letter off last week to a literary agent, but that's another situation where I just have to wait for a response. Finally, I should be looking for artists for a couple of new projects, but with so many things up in the air, I'm reluctant to start anything new.

Maybe I'll just sit back and try and finish a book. Something I haven't been able to do in more than a week.

Stay tuned for more thrilling posts once things develop.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Walkabout

Three weeks ago tomorrow, on August 6, Oscar took his first steps. Just two or three tentative steps between Melissa and me. He did it again the next morning. And then nothing for three weeks.

Until last night. Standing in a church parking lot talking with some friends, I decided to set him down and see what he'd do, and he tore off. I fear there is now no stopping him. Earlier today he was able to get up from a seated position on the floor and stand and then take off. Both Melissa and I feel like our lives are all changed in some fundamental way. It's both scary and exciting.

But here's a very short video of the little man in action. Enjoy!


video

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jenny Owen Youngs

File this under "What does Adam listen to while writing?".

I believe I discovered Miss Youngs by following one of those "If you like X artist, then you'll like Y artist" recommendations on emusic.com. And they were right! Really, I'm a sucker for this kind of thing. Waifish singer/songwriters. Though Youngs has a bit more grit than is usual for that genre. She has two albums out, Batten the Hatches and Transmitter Failure. I recommend them both.

I'm posting a video here, "Clean Break" off her newest album. There are more videos on the youtube, or at her site, jennyowenyoungs.com.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brief bits of business

Oh, bullet points, how I've missed you!

• A reminder that the eight-page Dalton short story by Todd Demong and myself is still up at Myspace/DHP. If you haven't already, please read it and let me know what you think of it. Thanks.

• NĂºria, my partner in crime on Gear School has posted some new photos over on the blog dedicated to that book. And let me say once again that Spain is overflowing with beautiful people.

• This seems like a good time to remind folks that I am accessible in other places on the Internet. I can be found on myspace, though I am never on there anymore; facebook (where, besides a personal profile, I also have a group page and a page devoted to this blog); twitter; flickr; and photos I take with my phone can be seen on twitpic. So many ways to enjoy the spectacle that is me.

And after that bit of egotism, I must go shower.

Back in the real world


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.

The nice thing about this trip's enforced Internet abstinence was that when I returned to check my email, there was a slew of good news and interesting bits. Two stand-outs are that Todd sent me thumbnails for our new eight-page story. Is it shameful for an author to laugh out loud at something they've written. Is it egotistical? Because, really, I thought it was hilarious. The second thing was an invitation from one of my favorite people to participate in a project they're putting together. This knocked me out. And, of course, I can't talk about it in any more detail until it becomes a bit more real. Just know that if this all works out, I am going to be freaking out. For reals.

All of this goodness has left me inspired and productive and, dare I say it, optimistic. Please keep it coming, Universe, I can use all the goodness you've got to offer.

Don't worry; I'm sure that in future posts I shall return to me normal, morose self.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dalton at DHP


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.

If you like it, please leave a comment. If you don't, please keep it to yourself. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The awful truth

I suspect that if you read this blog, you are either a close personal friend of mine, or you are interested in comics and, perhaps, would even like to make comics some day. If you are in the latter category, I have some advice for you: get on twitter. Then, start following the plethora of comics professionals who post there. Mixed in with the usual banal offerings -- i.e., what folks had for lunch, their opinions about the latest bit of pop culture phenomenon, etc. -- these folks will often dispense pearls of wisdom related to the business and art of comics.

To whit: Dark Horse Comics editor, and my former boss, Scott Allie, replied to someone asking how a writer can break into the comics business. I liked the advice so much, I decided to steal it.

Here's what Scott has to say on the subject:


Start with the small press or online. Comics writers can't know how to write comics until ...

... they've seen their stuff drawn, even if only badly. I wanna see your stuff drawn, and know you've seen it drawn ...

...before I take your pitches seriously. So get some comics done, learn it that way, and then you'll be ready. Then ...

...show me or Marvel or DC the best of that, and even if the art's weak, we can assess your skills. If it's great ...

...it can find an audience through the web or the small press, and put you in demand even before you're pitching to me.

Or start a hugely successful rock band.


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.

Good times.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Things I'm thinking about that are most likely unrelated to one another.

Item 1: I have what I suspect is an annoying habit. Well, more than one certainly but just one that relevant to the discussion here. I don't like to talk about projects in any detail until they have actually come to fruition. On the other hand, I like to mention when I have finished my end of a project. This coyness on my part may very well be infuriating for the reader. For that I apologize.

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.

And now these. A pair of videos by the band The Decemberists. A band I've paid very little attention to before now. I even have one of their albums, but it never grabbed my attention. But a week or so ago, I was on youtube and stumbled across the video for "O Valencia", and quickly followed it up with the video for "Sixteen Military Wives". And I've been watching them compulsively ever since. I don't even feel the need to watch any other of The Decemberists videos. I just need to watch these two over and over again. Soon the spell will be broken and I'll leave them behind and move on to some new obsession. And I won't even remember what it was that appealed to me so strongly about these little gems. But for now, here they are. Let's watch together, shall we?





And a bit of useless trivia. In the video for "Sixteen Military Wives", Ezra Holbrook, songwriter and lead singer of one of my favorite local bands, Dr. Theopolis, shows up at the 4:10 mark. He's sitting behind the drum and wearing a light blue sweater vest. Perhaps that fact will enhance your enjoyment of this video as it did mine.

EDIT: It was pointed out to me by two faithful readers that the video of "O Valencia" I chose wouldn't play. That has now been fixed.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Me, and my writing, on facebook


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 not-so-Sacred Moleskine


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

Videos

Apparently I have abdicated the chronicling of our son's young life to my wife. Over at her blog, post post partum, Melissa posted several recent videos of the Sprout. Go and watch, and be prepared for cuteness overload.

In which a terrible discovery is made!

I was so impressed with myself today. And then, not.

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...