Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This is not how you want to find your friend’s name in Twitter’s Trending Topics.

This is not how you want to find your friend’s name in Twitter’s Trending Topics.

At noon today I took my lunch break and ran up the block for a hamburger. While waiting for my order, I checked the latest messages running through Twitter. My heart sunk at the news I read, and all the messages that follow.

It is now eight hours later and the name DWAYNE MCDUFFIE is still trending, not only here, but in New York and the whole United States Trending Topics.

If that doesn’t tell you about how much of an impact Dwayne made upon comics, animation, and yes, the world, then I don’t know what could.

Even for a writer, putting words together for something like this is hard, so please forgive me if none of it makes any sense.

I’ve known Dwayne for several years; mostly through the WGA’s Animation Writers Caucus and the monthly Schmooze dinner we would all have.

Through that I got to meet many of the writers of animation I greatly respect. Getting up the courage to talk to them one on one however has always been a problem to me, especially when it came to asking for work.

At that point in time I had decided to write e-mails to several people in the industry to ask if I could at least have “informational interviews” with them to talk about their jobs and the studios they work for. These little meetings were not meant to get me hired, just to learn and get them to know me.

One such “informational interview” was with Dwayne McDuffie when he was working at the Warner Bros. Animation while it was still in Sherman Oaks.

He gave me over an hour of his important time, to answer my questions and listen to me ramble about my own work and what I hoped to do. In the middle of all that we got to talk about JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, the series he was working on at the time and which his name would be forever linked.

Along with saying how much I enjoyed the series, I mentioned that I had a couple of ideas for episodes of the series myself. He then said words that stunned me; ‘let’s hear one.’

I was shocked. As mentioned, I came just to chat with him; I wasn’t expecting anything more and certainly hadn’t prepared to pitch a story. Yet, there was Dwayne willing to listen to my ideas.

So in a nervous torrent of speech I told him the story would be about the Martian Manhunter and that there was still one more ‘White Martian’ left on Earth. I told him about a man who was trying to forget his past, and about the family that love him unconditionally. I told him about what happens when the truth is discovered, and whether or not J’onn J’onzz was capable of forgiveness.

Dwayne quietly listened to me; not interrupting when I had a bit of continuity wrong, he just listened.

When I was finished, Dwayne told me that it was an interesting idea that showed promise and that he liked it. He then told me to write up a proper synopsis of the story and send it back to him for consideration for the next season of the series.

Once home I wrote the story up, had it proofed, and e-mailed it back to him.

The self-analyzing critic in me screams that what was written up wasn’t anywhere near as good as what I pitched him, but that’s not important.

He thanks me for doing so, and we chatted several more times about it. As these things go, they didn’t buy my story, but I was still blessed by a great experience.

A great experience that only Dwayne McDuffie was able to give to me.

Thank you Dwayne, God Bless.

It’s taken me over an hour to write this. It is now past 9:30pm and across the United States of America a Topic is still Trending: Dwayne McDuffie.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

School Daze

I began this blog while sitting in the bright sun in the open quad of the community college where I’m currently working, during my lunch break.

Sitting here I think about how much has change. You see, this is the same college I attended oh so many years ago (don’t go there, you can figure it out.)

Since I was there several building have been torn down and new ones were built in their places. I spent many long days in the library. Wish I had this new library back then. The buildings they replaced didn’t fit with the original pre World War II architecture, but they tried very hard with these new buildings to make it match. Most of it looks like it belongs here now.

The new cafeteria and student center is fantastic as well. Imagine dinning hall from Harry Potter, but with out the floating candles.

What I was also seeing across the campus were all the students. College students are college students no matter what year they are from, but I kinda wish I had attended school this year and not when I did.

There are more geeks and nerds on campus and I would have fit in so much more.

Back then I would have been laughed at for having a SUPEMAN t-shirt. Now it's a norm along with others. Standing in line for lunch the other day I over heard a girl talking about her character in WORLD OF WARCRAFT. A couple of very muscular, could be football players, guys were playing a game of MAGIC THE GATHERING in the middle of the cafeteria.

Some girls, and some guys, go about with hair brightly colored that they look like they stepped right out of a Japanese anime.

Another girl went past me on her skateboard dressed in Steampunk gear.

I want to go to this school and not the boring one I went to.

Okay, I’m being silly, but I really haven enjoyed being back on campus for the last few months working on the school’s alumni newsletter. Maybe I’m being sentimental, but this job ends next Monday.

Looks like might be continuing part of the assignment, but not on campus. Not around all the cool kids.

Can I go back to school?

No. I don’t want to go back to school. I want to work. I want to work at a television studio.