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.


Arneal AKA Sparky said...

I'm guessing your friend passed away. I'm very sorry for your loss. He sounds like a great man.

Arneal AKA Sparky said...
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