WonderCon 2011: the first day.

In search of information about how to publish a graphic novel,  today I went to the first day of WonderCon 2011 in San Francisco.

I went to a seminar, a panel on graphic novels, and had a few conversations with people, trying to get some hints of where to get information.  I’ve also scoped the situation and decided on some strategies and goals for tomorrow.  I hear there will be four times as many people tomorrow, so it may be more of a challenge.

I went to an excellent seminar on setting and achieving creative goals by Douglas Neff.  His company is Toucan Learning Systems.  Right now I’m looking over the hand-out from his class, and there’s a quote I love: “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.” — Leonard Bernstein.  Well, that describes my situation. From things I heard around the edges today, getting a graphic novel published in under a year is ridiculously fast.  But that’s what I want to do, to impress an agent to take me on, so I can get the chance at a TV or screenwriting job by next year.

Anyway.  Douglas’s seminar was great.  Of course it was sculpted with his audience in mind.  He used examples and illustrations suited to this crowd:  a Tolkien map of Middle Earth, several comic-book heroes, and a clip from Star Trek III, the Search for Spock.  He used one of my favorite parts, where Kirk asks somebody high up in the Federation for a ship to help save Spock.   The Federation guy says no, so Kirk decides he is therefore going anyway.  This sort of thinking has been a part of my makeup all along.  I’m going to do what I’m going to do, and I’m not going to let things stop me.

From the description, I actually thought Douglas’s presentation would be more about the process of getting published, but I was really happy with what he did, and I found it very useful.

I also attended a panel on the graphic novel.   There were 5 graphic novel author/illustrators there: Seth, Andy Ristaino, Miriam Libicki, Eric Shanower, and Hope Larson.   I learned some of what I want to know around the edges of their talk.  Typically for them, a graphic novel takes 2-5 years to produce.  One of their least favorite things is when someone approaches them who is a writer, and “just needs someone to draw out their story for them.”  I imagine this is the same irritation I feel, when someone discovers I’m a screenwriter, and they tell me, “I have a great idea for a film, all I need is someone to write it out for me.”  As if the writing were nothing and the idea everything, as if I don’t already have several stories of my own to tell, and not enough time to write them in.

Tomorrow,  I want to approach some graphic novelists, and with the greatest humility, acknowledge that I don’t know anything about their art form, share my need to get a graphic novel published to get into screenwriting, and ask their advice on how best and most swiftly to educate myself, and how to get the story out there.

I am extremely lucky in that I have a very close friend who’s an artist, and who is thrilled to do this project with me.  (I asked her about it tonight.)  I have heard around the edges today that that is how it’s done.  I didn’t know if publishers had stables of artists they like to work with, and I would need to go with one of them.  What I heard today is that writer and artist usually team up to present a finished product for potential publication (or self-publication – and I’ve heard a little about that today, too).

I found a couple of guys who are publishing their own novels and are now looking for artists to translate them into graphic novels.  we were talking, and I pitched my story to them. One of them loved it, and he wants to keep in touch.  It’s so great, and so gratifying to get that sort of response.

I’m not a big convention fan-girl.  I went to a Star Trek convention once when I was a teenager.  I’ve been to a few Screenwriting Expos in L.A., and I went to Costume Con, when it was nearby here, in San Jose.  I loved Costume Con.  It was my first full-blown convention experience, where I stayed in the hotel (and determined never to leave my room without a costume on).  All the classes were great, along with meeting other costumers, and the sort of slumber-party vibe of the whole thing.  One thing I loved about WonderCon was the buzz of excitement in the air, and all the costumes.  It’s so great to see people wearing their fantasies, bringing to life favorite characters, or their own creative visions.  I only wished that I knew more of the comic world, so that I could recognize the different characters.  Plus, it’s fun to rub shoulders with Storm Troopers or Boba Fett.  Which reminds me of various Star Trek characters that have showed up at Ren Faires, but that is a story for a different day.

Oh, and there’s going to be an Elf Quest movie, and Warner Brothers is doing it, and they said we could help by tweeting and blogging about it, so here’s my blog bit for the upcoming film: it sounds awesome.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Terza
    Apr 04, 2011 @ 10:26:39

    It was great to run into you yesterday and hear about all the exciting projects you’ve got going on. I look forward to hearing more about it on the blog.


  2. Trackback: Progress Report 1: Progress on the Project so far… « graphicnoveladventure

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