As with many of my projects, this one was no exception. It started with a drunk pitch:
INT. Probably at Wide Open – Like 2am, January 2020
Shoulder to shoulder, this shitty dive bar is packed to the gills. Drunk, out of shape, and slurring his words, David pitches ‘The City’ to Dicky, who probably was also very drunk and did not fully comprehend.
But that’s all it took. The inception was complete.
Fast forward to December 2020, David drops another hint to Dicky about ‘The City’. Then in January 2021, the project finally is put into motion.
Ok, I promise to never use that ‘script’ device to do a flashback sequence ever again. But yes, this flashback sequence is in fact correct. It was in January 2021 that Dicky and I agreed to have meetings every Saturday. This soon led to me having to give myself a final deadline on the script edit which has obsessively been going on for over 12 years. Once that was settled, we moved on towards developing and building the World. Moodboards with descriptive one liners were created for the generic look and feel for the ‘The City’, then more were developed to individualize different districts within it. It was a fun period, where we discussed our favourite comic books, mangas, and films to describe the background. Akira, Dredd, and Bladerunner were constantly mentioned.
After the brief stint on working on the World, we moved on to the Characters and the Factions. We drew many different inspirations from cultures around the world: Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, NYC, LA, Chicago, New Orleans, Dakar, Egypt, Jerusalem, Morocco-literally the whole world. Our favourite characters from pop culture were being used as references and we started to add our own accents onto them. And eventually we were done. As our single issues continue to start dropping, you can make educated guesses on which pop culture reference is in what character. ;)
I feel like that was about 2-3 months. Then we started the storyboard, pencils, and ink for Chapter 1. This was also when we began preparing our Kickstarter campaign, and our team of 2 became a team of 4. During this process, our workflow became more and more efficient, as well as our communication with each other. And with a successful fundraiser, we were able to get the equipment, single issue prints, AND enter Fan Expo Toronto. Our first major milestone.
Funny thing that we later discovered was that this project was in fact a living artifact: it evolved and changed as we worked. For example, each chapter had to be reedited before storyboarding. It was pure amateur writing on my part -way too many useless descriptions, dialogues and exposition. Even after correcting the small bits, I found out the hard way that continuity was a real thing. Then, Dicky mentioned that he would like to learn more about a character’s background, which led to completely rewriting Chapter 2. It was actually a saving grace for the story as the renewed chapter brought deeper character arcs, but it also brought more continuity to future chapters. Concept design was another factor that changed with storyboarding. As we drew out scenes, we saw that there were logistical errors that we hadn’t anticipated for and had to adjust during the pencil stage. We also added new designs to certain reoccurring characters which meant coming up with a quick moodboard-on-the-fly. It’s only the first-two chapters and we know there are more unseen obstacles we need to adapt to! Dare I say that ‘The City’ is a contemporary piece of collaborative work.
One thing I know is that now with Dave joining the team as our colourist, ‘The City’ is on its way of becoming a reality from a script I wrote back when I was 20 something years old. Come January 2022, Chapter 1 will be reprinted but this time in full colour -fingers crossed. The team is also aiming to release 3 single issues (chapters 2-4) and enter 2 major conventions in 2022. Keep an eye out for us, cuz we’re gonna get busy!