Saturday, August 06, 2005

What's up with me?

Well, considering the fact that I'm writing this blog at 11:17 PM on Saturday instead of being out doing something, you may say, 'wow, it must be slow times with Patrick, yeah?' In the short term, you'd be right, but in the long term, much is going on.

My biggest project right now is my graphic novel, Division Shadow. This is a story I started writing two years ago, it centers around a covert military organization called, as you might have guessed, Division Shadow, but it's not really about military stuff, it's really about showing the lives of a whole bunch of characters connected by the organization. There's three basic story strands. One is about a family man working in the military who's offered a promotion that would take him away from his family, then there's two people battling US military control over in Middle Eastern 'borderlands' that are controlled by the US government, and finally there's an old man who's dying and needs to get something to his son before he dies. Structurally, and even a bit in the plot, it's heavily inspired by Magnolia, but I think the different genre and settings make it a totally unique piece.

So, two years ago, I had an artist set up and we worked on the project for a while, but he always had some excuse for why he wasn't starting and eventually we drifted apart and the project lay dormant. But, one day this summer I decided, I'm bringing it back, I posted an ad looking for artists and got a ton of responses. I picked three of them, one for each chunk of the story, and now we're moving forward. I've already got two finished pages in, and the fact that we have three artists means we can finish the issues relatively quickly.

I'm hoping to finish the first issue by the end of September, and I'm going to print some minicomics up to mail to comic pros to try to get some review quotes for the first real volume, which will be 96 pages long. Then, six months down the line, the second volume will drop, containing the rest of the story. Right now, I'm planning to self publish everything, but there's the chance a publisher will pick up the book, which would be awesome. I'd love to make money off the book, instead of lose it, but either way, this is what I want to do with my life, tell stories, so if I have to spend money on something, it's going to be that.

If you want to check out the art we've got so far, you can see it here. I think it's pretty awesome, this book has really come together and has become my primary creative outlet. I've got the whole story mapped out already, but I'm always thinking about how to break down the next chunk into pages, and how to make the stuff I've already written better.

So, that's one major project. The other thing I'm doing now is running a video workshop for LMC-TV, the local public access station here in Mamaroneck. This consists of instructing about ten 12-15 year olds in the basics of filmmaking and also making a film with them. I did this last year, and the film turned out great. It's really stylish and always looks good, even though there were some complaints about the story not making sense. This year, I've been doing more actual teaching of film techniques, using clips from films I really like, Wong Kar-Wai's stuff, some Magnolia, some Once Upon a Time in the West and so on. The goal is to give them ideas they can 'homage' in the film, so we basically jumble together a whole bunch of interesting shots and hope it hangs together.

It's an odd experience being an authority and a leader. I always noticed when you're a kid, adults would tell you to stop doing stuff that might not really be dangerous, but could be potentially destructive, like tossing a ball in the air inside. And, it always bothered me. But now, I do the exact same thing, I tell the kids to stop doing this stuff, even though it probably won't cause any problems, it's just I feel like I have to. I now get that adult mindset of needing to stop kids from getting into trouble, stuff I may do on my own when no one's there, I'll stop the kids from doing. It makes me feel old, because I've become the authority when it seems like I was just the one watching people my age get called out for causing trouble.

I know I'm not old in the grand scheme of things, but there's definitely an impending feeling of adulthood coming on. Two years from now, I'll probably have a 'real job,' I won't be in school and I'll have to support myself. If I think about how quick the past two years have gone, to think I'll be finished school then, it's a bit frightening.

But, at the same time, I feel like all this school is just a prelude to the real world, and it's about time to get there. And, I want to see what sort of job I end up with and what happens when I graduate. Everything so far is basically the standard route, high school to college, but after that, who knows what'll happen?

And hopefully by the time I graduate, this graphic novel will be finished and successful. My first goal with the book is just to complete it and be able to point to my shelf and say, 'see that book, I wrote that.' Second would be to sell enough copies to support another graphic novel.

So, amidst all this, I've also started editing the film I made on break, which was also lying dormant for a long time. It's a pretty good looking film, and I'm psyched to see what I can make of the footage.

It seems like I spend all my time living in fictional worlds, writing it, filming it and watching it. I guess spending the summer making comics and movies, and even being paid for the latter, professionally speaking, it couldn't be much better.

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