Here’s a comic book that my buddy and brilliant artist Keith Hewett and I wrote in high school during Anatomy class (circa 1993). I later made xerox copies of it in my church’s office to distribute and sell for Keith’s cigarette money (did I get anything out of it??).
The conceit in creating a comic book this way was that we both would start out drawing on separate pages without discussion or planning, and then trade with one another after a panel or two drawn. We started on page one and page seven, separately, and over time had to weave everything together into some kind of pre-Nolan coherence.
Here ya go.
Mr. Shuffles (PDF download)
As an undergraduate art major, I used to enjoy writing collaboratively on addventure. It was an early site for authoring hypertext (click-through) fiction where users could add to a story from the character decisions that were left open at the end of a paragraph/chapter. Pretty much like writing a Choose Your Own Adventure book collaboratively.
A few years ago, an online acquaintance of mine named Joakim Johansson started a website called Story Wars. In SW, users are able to author the first chapter of a story which then is open for drafts on the next chapter. Anyone can submit a draft for the next chapter. Once at least two new drafts have been submitted, they are revealed anonymously for the community to vote on. The chapter with the most votes wins and goes on to be the fixed next chapter of the story. And so on.
I also recently found Storium. Storium blends elements of collaborative writing with tabletop roleplaying games, using a card system to develop characters and narrative. Pretty fun stuff.
I was for some time the top writer (in terms of points) on SW, though I’ve dropped off in my presence on the site these days, and I’m beginning to build up some content on Storium.
In 2008, I managed a black-box theatre and rehearsal space just off of Times Square. A bit more on that can be found in an earlier post.
One of the things I just failed to launch was one evening a week where our resident ensemble performed an hour of original short plays and vignettes. “Slice of life in NYC” sort of thing. Short, punchy, experimental stuff. I had written a number of short pieces to try out in the first evening, and would have been joined by some other writer friends of mine in time had it been successful. I wanted to call it Express Stops.
A few years back, I was working on a project with Three Post and my buddy Carlos, now with Greater Than, for Lenovo. Lenovo was just about to acquire IBM’s low-end server business, and we were working on some advertising content for the transition.
In the end, Lenovo didn’t go through with it for some reasons other than our work, but I had alot of design sketches done, and Carlos had converted the finished drawings into flash animation.
The idea behind the series is that there’s this character named Walt (who seems to be channelling a bit of Milton from Office Space) who does everything in an old-school manner. He lives in a “world without servers”. We were toying with the idea of what things might be like without servers… which kind of means everything collapses.
I don’t think we’d gotten the series to the point of elegance yet, but I like some of the ideas that were emerging.
Below are links to some of the initial sketches I did. I’ll see if I can find some of the more developed ideas as well.
Hard Drive Crash
A summer back in the good old US of A after my first year living in China… finding my trusty old Sharpie and some paper in the old barn/studio at my parents’ home, I got to work on some new additions to the old series.
Old Redd is back to being a dog and there are some new sections, not-so-surprisingly: “Adventures of Living in Asia” and “Adventures of Middle-Aged Single Guy”.
I’m hoping one of the four readers of my blog with have a guffaw.
This past Easter, a buddy of mine from college sent me a pic of him wearing the t-shirt from our intramural soccer team “back in the day”. I had designed the crest for it.
Newly inspired, I decided to redesign the crest for kicks and send out to our team.
Referring to a important events in our collegiate life, the soccer ball and frisbee represented our intramural teams, the hexagon behind the frisbee referred to a large hexagonal piece of furniture* we had alleypicked and filled with ice and drinks for a party… it resided thereafter in the basement of our townhouse and was referred to as “the hex”. The grey alien was a nod to our love of the X-Files, and the bomb was what we were going to drop on our opponents. Bollards had been recently installed around campus (and had been stolen as pranks on various occasions and relocated around the school), and were chosen as our team name. Our motto was “$150 Fine For Passing A Bollard”.
* We were never really sure what the thing was. It had no top surface, but rather a deep inset halfway down with a hexagonal mirror for a surface at that point. The inset allowed us to fill the thing like a container with ice and drinks. It was probably some strange department store furnishing.
Geoff’s Home Screw Tightening Services: An advertisement in a series I wrote based on the Jim’s Group I would see all the time around Sydney. My voice is in there, too.
An interview with the inventor of a homemade rival to the Google Glass.
Gary Gaffney always covers sports. I do all the voices of the athletes in this update.
Back in high school, a friend and I collaborated on a comic book in Anatomy class instead of listening to the lectures. We didn’t know what the comic book would be about, but simply worked on different pages, drawing a few boxes at a time, then trading off with one another to continue what the other had started. In time we somehow developed characters and brought all the events together in a [somewhat] coherent narrative. And Mr. Shuffles was born. If I remember correctly, Keith traded copies to a local c-store for cigarettes, and the c-store somehow sold them. We sold a few copies around the school, too. Off to different things after high school, we began a sequel, corresponding by mail. That sequel is still twenty years in the making.
I’m headed to Guangzhou, China in about two weeks having signed a two-year contract developing the Drama program at a new international school there. Teaching affords the great opportunity of a stable job plus (in the right cases) time to continue working on side projects, as well as travel during breaks. I’ve been a professional teacher for five years now, and the structure works well for my current goals.
I left my position as Head Teacher of Creative Arts in Sydney last December, mountain biked around SE Asia and traveled to India for three months, then spent just under six months here in North Carolina, brushing up on my design and illustration skills, studying game design and developing a text adventure, playing soccer and watching the World Cup, and getting in dragon boating.
During this past half-year, I’ve been freelancing on Teachers Pay Teachers and People Per Hour as well as with Three Post in Raleigh. In these final weeks, I’ve been burning the midnight oil working on two projects with them: one for the Raleigh Convention Center and the other for Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s low-end server unit.
Final products to be seen within the month of August!