Month: September 2010

Banned Book Week

It’s Thursday already, and though its time to write this blog again, I can’t believe that this week has nearly slipped by and only now did I realize that it was BANNED BOOK WEEK.

This week unfortunately slips under the radar most years. It hardly gets any mention on the news programs, unless they need filler for the last minute of the program and there’s no cat stuck up a tree.

Back when I was in college (all those years ago), the campus library had a window display each year to show the books that some people didn’t want them to have available to the students. I was pleased to see the Library was supporting the week.

Check out the American Library Association’s website for lists of books that have been banned this year.

One year, when BBW came around and working on the college newspaper, I got the opportunity to write an Opinion piece for the Op-Ed page. I wrote it about Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and did an illustration to go with it.

Am certain I don’t need to remind any of you the story is about a not so distant future where a Fireman’s job is to burn, to burn books, to burn thought. Anything that might offend or up set someone, not just the state, or someone’s religion, or race, or corporate employer. Why have something that could cause conflict between two people. Get rid of it all, burn it.

Sounds frighteningly familiar to something that nearly happened recently, doesn’t it?

As a Christian I am horrified that anyone would think of doing such a thing was the Will of God, or want to do it for any other reason.

No need to run that in to a rant, everyone has his or her own opinion, just don’t let it be forgotten.

Here are a few books that are on this year’s list that one or more people found offensive:

Anne Frank, the Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
The Cartoons That Shook the World by Jytte Klausen
ttyl by Lauren Myracle
Twilight by Stephenie H. Meyer
Dragon Ball: The Monkey King by Akira Toriyama

The rest of the list can be found at the link above. It is, unfortunately, much longer than this.

Here’s another list to check out: Because my first creative passion is comic books, check out this link on Huffington Post of the Top Ten Graphic Novels that have ended up on the Banned Book list.

There are a lot of books I don’t like, a lot of TV shows, a lot of Movies. Some I’ve seen and read, others I have chosen not to. I may not like them, but the writer deserves to have his creation exist and to be read. Heck, he deserves to have it liked or disliked, because that’s what makes it alive. People reading it, and discussing it.

Oh, and to my brother and sister fundamentalist Christians; the book that we believe to be the greatest book in the world… The Holy Bible. It ends up the BANNED BOOK list each year as well.

I don’t intent to make this blog political, and I don’t think censorship is political. It simply prevents us to speak, to write, to read, to learn.

If you’ve found my blog, you’re probably a writer, artist, or someone in related entertainment industry, or plan to be. We all don’t want our work blocked, but even if people don’t like it I remind you to make it the best art and story you can make.

Thank you for reading.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

DEADLINES – “I’m going to make this one.”

Maybe this week I’ll actually meet my deadline and post this blog on a Thursday like I promised myself.

But worried I’m going to miss the deadline for finishing the artwork of my web comic.

Which got me to thinking about deadlines.

Since I’m “between” assignments right now, I have had to created self-imposed deadlines on myself or I wouldn’t get anything done.

Here are the deadlines I have set for myself right now:

Sunday – The latest page of FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY has been penciled, inked and approved and I post it to the web site.

Tuesday – The next chapter of “Revenge of the Masked Ghost” is posted to my note page on facebook (Which maybe moving to its own site soon.)

Thursday – I post my “Four Names of Professional Creativity” blog (hopefully this got posted on a Thursday).

Saturday – Study and Prep for the Sunday School/Bible Study I lead Sunday mornings.

You can find most of the links for these over there on the right, and if you’re reading this you’ve found it already and don’t need the link.

As I’m writing this I am also penciling more of the comic, and working on a novel. One thing I am good at is multitasking, but it doesn’t always help.

I need to have these deadlines, not only does it force me to get the work done it also keeps me thinking in the same mind set as I would when employed to do the work under even tighter deadlines.

If not for these deadlines I’d constantly be finding reasons not to do the work. It’s so easy to get distracted as is (thank you Twitter).

One of the hardest things for me to do is something I really need to do more of. That’s to write spec scripts (samples of my writing, either a movie, a television show, animation, or a comic book). If I know someone is interested in my work and wants to see a sample, or is willing to let me pitch for their project, I can write up a good sample in a short time. However, if I don’t have a goal like that it becomes hard to build up the energy to write. So I need to force a deadline and goal on myself to get it done.

It’s coming on a year now since I decided to participate in NANOWRIMO, National Novel Writing Month (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) I had a vague idea for a science fiction novel and so signed up for it. In Nano the writer has thirty days to write 50,000 words of a novel. You don’t have to complete the story, but the goal is to reach that number.

Surprisingly I reached 50,000 with a couple of days to spare, and actually finish the entire first draft.

The problem I did have with the story was that though I knew where it should end up, it was all over the place with far more characters then planned taking different paths to reach that end. Every so often I go back and take a look at it, there’s still something there but I have to rip it apart and workout a detailed outline to put all the parts back together again.

What made it even more frustrating was that about a week into Nano I had an idea for a completely different novel, which would have worked out a whole lot better if I had begun with it. But I had committed myself to the first story and was going to see it through. I paused long enough to write down about a page worth of notes on the new story and then got back to Nano.

Once I completed the Nano novel and feeling victorious I gave myself a few days off and then turned to the second story. And I surprised myself by having the first draft of it done by the end of December.

With Nano I was proved to myself that I could complete a major assignment under a deadline, and the second novel proved that it just wasn’t a onetime event. Though I didn’t have someone else counting down the days I pushed to get it finished before the end of the year, and I succeeded.

Lastly, as I approach the deadline for this blog I want to mention that a Deadline can also be considered a Finish Line of a race. Whether you’ve been given an assignment, or working on a personal project you run for that line. When you cross the finish line or beat that that deadline, if you’ve worked your hardest and done your best work, you’re already victorious. The acclaim, the fortune, the fame, that’ll come later.

And with that little gem I’m just going to make this deadline with about an hour to spare.

Oh, one more thing. I just finished the pencils on the comic page, so I will be able to meet the deadline for FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY as well.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

My Job Search is Jinxed

Okay now you guys are forcing me to actually write something for this week’s blog. In the last hour the site has received 14 visitors, 27 in the last day. That’s more than I’ve had at once since I began this blog.

Do I really have anything to say that’s worth reading? I’m humbled.

Now, where was I?

I did promise you something about how my job search is going, so I should keep my promise.

Even mentioned in one tweet that I thought my search was jinxed. Don’t really in that. But sometimes it sure can feel that way.

Here are a few examples:

Once I “unofficially interned” with a producer at a 3D computer animation house. I helped him with a few scenes of the show he was on while he helped me assemble a good portfolio of work to submit. I modeled props like guitars, trashcans, and buildings, and even lunar traveling tanks. I also did composite work that had a space ship fly along a street not too far from my house. I then submitted the work to the company he works at. A few weeks later I got my tape back and a letter saying I wasn’t ready. Disappointed, true, but the bad part was that very same day while I was there everyone else received their pink slips and the company shut down.

It’s not my fault, I swear.

Another time while working through a temp agency, I got to work for several weeks in the consumer produces division of one of the major studios. After which I received a glowing letter of recommendation from the studio’s rep of the temp agency, they looked forward to working with me again. Not long after that the representative left the agency and I never got another job from the studio or any other company.

What did I do?

A third example was when I had a job interview at another one of the studios. It was to be in a department that handled advertising for the television network and its Internet presence. I met with two executives. The interview went really well, and everything looked like it was going to happen. They really liked me. Then a week later a hiring freeze came down on the entire company. Not only did I not get the job, they didn’t hire fill a position they desperately needed to.

Yes, I know everyone is suffering in this economy and there are a lot of people out of work. I have no right to complain, because I have a family who can take care of me. But the truth is, I’ve been struggling on this job search a lot longer then this ‘downturn’ has been happening. I’ve been searching for a job for a whole lot longer.

I knew the freelancer’s life was going to be hard. I wasn’t fooling myself. If I’m going to be a writer and artist there are going to be times when there isn’t work. So I’ve been looking for a “day job” which I can do when not drawing or writing. I’d prefer to find one of these jobs in the entertainment industry someplace, but I’ve been looking elsewhere too.

Guess what… it’s just as hard as finding that writing assignment.

They say it’s “who you know” that will get you a job. Well, I know quite a few people at several studios, production houses, and comic book companies. But that hasn’t made it any easier. Plus the fact everyone you talk to wants you to apply online makes it hard to be personal and sociable while trying to convince them to hire you.

So whether it’s jinxed or there just aren’t any jobs out there, it’s real frustrating to feel like I’m so close but the doors just won’t open.

Yet, I don’t give, and I can’t really complain because I know there are others who are in far worse shape than I. Did you know that 1 in 7 American’s are in poverty.

My mother is on the board of FULLERTON INTERFAITH EMERGENCY SERVICE that helps family in the North Orange County area. Watching these family line up for two bags of groceries reminds me that I’ve had things pretty good, and I’m quite blessed.
(I’ll go into FIES in more detail another time.)

So I keep moving on. Maybe the “day job” I’m suppose to have isn’t anywhere near the entertainment industry, but I’m not giving up.

No matter what keep going, keep doing. Even where we are at now, we’re all successful, and no jinx is going to stop us from succeeding.

Okay. Done. A day late, but done.
Thanks everyone for reading. I’d like to know your thoughts.

Best,
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Creative Professionalism

Secret Origin of the Masked Ghost

Secret Origins – Original vs Unique Characters

You didn’t really expect me to tell you the hero’s origin here did you? You’ll just have to keep reaching the chapters of “Revenge of the Masked Ghost” as I post them each week.

For those of you who aren’t following me on Twitter (@Kevinpsb00) or Facebook, I have begun writing a serialized novel which I am posting on my Facebook account entitled “Revenge of The Masked Ghost” You can find a link to it on the right side of this blog, as well as links to other important things in my online life. Check them all out.- – – > > >

‘Masked Ghost’, Ya, I know it’s not the most exciting name, but it says what it needs to. Like writer Mark Waid has admitted, I have a terrible time coming up with character names. Civilian names are actually easier to come up with than costumed nom de plumes. You try to come up with a really interesting name for a guy in a mask and tights that hasn’t been used a dozen times. At least this isn’t the 90’s when all I would have to do is find a way to use the words ‘Death’ or ‘Blood’. Only slightly a joke there.

I’m still proud of FLYING GLORY and her grandma I now call OL’GLORY.

Now on to the origin. Every kernel of a story idea isn’t always original. Especially if you want to tell a tale about mystery men and super heroes. Man puts on mask and fights crime, or avenges the murder of family members; whether he has super powers or just uses his fists, that’s basically it.

That character, his mask, tights, and cape, can be so much more than that depending on what the writer, and the artist, who brings him to life. What makes Peter Parker a great character? Is it his powers, or the death of his Uncle Ben teaching him to take responsibilities for his actions? The Fantastic Four are great team because they’re a family.

I could go on.

Each writer takes a shot at

Now I’m frightening myself, because there’s no way I can compare myself to the greatest writers of the last 75 years of super heroes. I wouldn’t dream of even trying.

The reason why I mention all is that I know at first glance the “Masked Ghost” will appear very familiar. I’ll admit that I really enjoy the original costumed mystery men like the Crimson Avenger, the Green Hornet, and the original Sandman. And my hero has the same type of business suit and fedora. Though he doesn’t have a stereotypical Asian sidekick like to of those did.

(Unimportant aside: The word ‘sidekick’ is in Word’s spell check. Did that word exist before the creation of masked heroes?)

I’ve wanted to write about one of these old style mysterious vigilante’s (realize that the term super hero wouldn’t come into existence for several years,) but didn’t want to do just any story. It had to have something unique about it.

Then about three weeks ago I had a thought; not about the hero himself but what would the family be like if they suddenly discovered he was a masked vigilante. That’s all I’ll tell you about that idea, except to say that from a single thought grew a whole concept. I first brain stormed for about a page, and then for three more pages I began to work out what the first story would be about. A day later I had worked out the beats for a 25 chapter long story.It grew quickly from there.

I don’t know everything about what’s going to happen to our hero and his family, and I know absolutely nothing about criminal he’s hunting. But it’s all coming together, and you will be discovering all his secrets as I do

So why this blog, besides promoting “Revenge of the Masked Ghost?” I want to tell all the new writers out there who want to get into comics and super heroes not to worry if your ideas aren’t a hundred percent original. Whether you get a chance to write for an existing mystery man (or woman) or create one of your own, make the story write come from your heart. That way your story will be unique and special. Make what’s been around for years new and make it your own. I’ve done that with Flying Glory, and hope I’m doing it with “The Masked Ghost.”

On a side note a ghost out of my own past showed up to haunt me last night…

Jordan Jennings (@JordanCJennings on Twitter) of CBO Productions did a review of the first issue of Image Comics SUPREME as part of his Field Guide To the Comic Book Bargain Bin series. He gives a very interesting look back at this character created by Rob Liefeld. What makes this a haunting to me is that comic was my very first professional job in the industry. I drew background and did color comps on several pages. I continued to work with Brian Murray on the next several issues of the series, and also did colors for other books as well. Thank you Jordan for reminding me of the great experiences I had.

Talk to you all next week.

KPSB

The Headache that Ended the World

This blog should have been posted early this afternoon, and it’s almost 9pm and I’m just now writing it.
I have been working on other things today; penciling the latest page of FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY (www.flying-glory.com), as well as writing more of my novel and starting a new story I’m hoping to post online soon.
But all of that got side tracked by a headache that hit me this morning and hasn’t really gone away tonight.
I threatened on Twitter to write about my headache if I couldn’t think of anything else…

I got that close to writing about how I have suffered with it for years, but I won’t go into that.

What I will do is go back to what I’ve been talking about the last few weeks. Taking things that life hands you and turning them into stories. The headache is one major example of this.
I’m really into time travel stories (a major Doctor Who fan, in all his incarnations), so I built this who epic story based around time travel. In this story my main character had to travel back a few days, during which he already existed. What would be the repercussions of such an event.
The easy out was that the time traveler could not be seen by his previous self, but he also had memories of an extremely bad headache a few days earlier and now discovered he had that because he was very close to himself.
So I always imagined that the reason I suffer such terrible headache is that sometime in the future I’m going to have my own time machine and come back and try to visit myself.

Okay, that was really silly and probably a waist of your time, would you like to have a time machine and go back and prevent me from writing this? Maybe you already did and that’s why I have this blasted headache. Thanks a whole lot.

Hey, at least I’m keeping my promise to myself and writing a blog every week. Doesn’t have to be good, does it? Going to go rest this head now.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
“Four Names You Need To Remember”

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