RatRonin commentary on completing ECBACC.
RatRonin commentary on completing ECBACC.
Big things happening.
Rummaging through some files I found a quick short I wrote a year ago for a filmmaker/producer. It was supposed to be part of a mix tape series. Not sure what ever became of the project but decided to share.
Here with a little inspiration from Sonic Youth is “Au Milieu.”
INT. TRAIN CAR - DAY
Train is relatively crowded, but not congested.
We focus on the center of the car.
New York City proper is represented: passionately dispassionate people sit and stand. They make a point of minding their own business.
Nestled between a BUSINESSMAN and a STUDENT sits and a young Man, African-American, early 20’s. His slim fit jeans, converse, retro-graphic t-shirt bordered with his slim fitted cardigan screams selectively stylish.
At present, he’s buried in an oversized moleskin notebook with a wired trail of cords rising to headphones too big for his head. He’s engaged in his book writing. Every so often he looks up absently to muffle a lyric, a phrase, a melody. Every time he raises his head he needs to readjust his too plain to be stylish glasses. Let’s call him “MC.”
In the distant left, by subway door, a group of GIRLS notice him. He’s cute in a distracted kind of way.
MC is oblivious.
Directly across from him sits a young WOMAN. She is the girl next door, Tom Petty’s American girl: cowboy boots, thin jeans covers by a flimsy flower print shirt that hangs almost like a low cut summer dress. She has a delicate strength about her and she seems to be interested in our MC. Lets call her COWGIRL.
Cowgirl seems fixated on MC. She’s into him.
The train rocks.
MC looks up, notices Cowgirl.
She smiles at him.
He flashes her a guarded smile.
“Time to take a ride, time to take a midnight eye…”
A contemplative beat.
“Satan got her tongue… now it’s undone.”
You like Sonic Youth.
There was a time…
He looks at her. A weak hopeful smile.
But you know how it is… some albums you grow out of… but later you remember them fondly.
Cowgirl looks away.
MC scribbles some notes in book.
OFF SHOT, The GIRLS giggle.
Cowgirl is momentarily distracted.
While she looks away, MC surveys Cowgirl surreptitiously.
She looks back to him.
MC meets her gaze.
Her hair falls into the side of her face. She gently clears the strands aside. She is vulnerable.
Can you talk…?
MC looks her, trying to decide.
The STUDENT standing beside him gives him an encouraging look: “Yo! Talk to her, man.”
MC flashes the guarded smile.
How are you…?
Been better—- one of those days, ya’know? You?
The BUSINESS MAN’s interest is piqued. His attention switches from Cowgirl to MC. He wears a perplexed expression.
MC looks at her, is going to say something… thinks better of it and goes back to his notebook.
Cowgirl is getting visibly upset but trying to keep it together.
The GIRLS notice this and stop giggling.
You’re not going to talk to me?
One of the GIRLS leans into her FRIEND,
Cowgirl ignores them.
She edges forward her seat to clear distance and gain space.
MC does not pay attention.
I’m right here.
He doesn’t look up.
I see you.
You’re fine. Everything’s good.
He looks up at her a little.
Our—- a stop is coming soon… you wanna…?
The GIRLS giggle.
The STUDENT smiles.
The older BUSINESSMAN is contemplating something.
MC makes a point of not answering.
Cowgirl stares at him.
She says nothing but the train feels her anger as her gaze slowly turns from MC.
The car gets cold.
The girls stop laughing.
MC places his headphones back on.
We hear the trace of hiphop.
Cowgirl absently plays with hair, lost in angered thoughts.
Train platform whirls by.
MC makes notes in his book. Finishing up a thought.
He’s coming to a conclusion.
Cowgirl can sense it.
She sits up.
She preps herself, fixing her clothes, fingering her hair.
I like… I think…
MC puts his gear into his bag.
The train begins to come to a stop.
BUSINESSMAN gentle moves to the side.
The look he gives MC, he’s figured something out.
MC gets up.
Cowgirl begins to get up as well.
MC signals for her to sit.
It was a nice ride but this is where I get off.
The train stops.
He puts on his headphones.
STUDENT shakes his head.
The doors open.
He makes to walk out.
He looks at her softly.
Sorry, there just “ain’t enough love in the world to fill my cup.”
He gets off the train.
Never looking back he walks away.
The doors close.
The train pulls off.
It’s no secret, comics are a very pasteurized place. African-American writers are barely seen. African-American creators are unrecognized. This is the same with every other ethnic minority. Women are grossly underrepresented and over [or rather under exposed] on the pages. What can you do to change that?
If Hannibal Tabu is correct, there has only been twenty black comic book writers in the industry.
Brandon Easton summed up the situation rather nicely applying a sociological approach.
Either way the evidence bares out…
Those numbers suck. We have to change them.
How you ask?
Nothing trumps creation.
A preview to indie comic label RatRonin Studios’ new comic series “Insensitives”. Written by the extraordinarily brilliant Keith Miller. Art by Denver “Sketch!Bravo” Thompson (That’s me. :P) Be on the lookout for this sometime next year….possibly earlier, who knows?
Thanks in advance.
I think denver said it all!
Must. Stop. Retumblring Matt Fraction.
So you’ve got a great story idea.
Here it is your novel idea: a group of gnomes must break into a casino and steal a jewel encrusted dwarf heart, which is the symbol of their disparate nation, in order to inspire their people to overthrow the dark lord, Bigote who has oppress Gnomedom for the last two centuries.
Okay, not the greatest logline, nor the most original concept. If you look at most of the stories we read, you’ll notice that the themes are pretty much repetitive of other works. Nothing new under the sun and all of that. Some argue that there are only seven types of stories [a post for a later date]; some say there are thirty-six plot lines; I say that no matter your plot line, however derivative, the one thing that will always stand out, will always make a difference is how you express your story. How you manage to emerge your audience in your story.
And the big question boys and girls? How do you make that happen?
Well glad you asked.
A key is research.
A key, not THE key, because stories are so much more. Research helps to give your world credibility.
You’re telling a spy story: i won’t sell unless you can accurately give us a glimpse of the spy world. What’s the difference between HUMINT and SIGNINT? You should know it’intelligence community for the past decade and half.
You’re telling a legal drama: what’s res ipsa loquitur? How does mens rea and actus reas interact with one another? Important stuff if your drama involves a crime.
Fantasy story involving fairies, vampires and werewolves? Hmm… the fae, Lilith’s descendants and the loup garou. Not so sure about these foreign sounding people, ask Alan Ball, he knows. Or perhaps Charlaine Harris.
In all three examples, it’s the research that makes the difference. It adds background to your stories, breadth to your characters and legitimacy to your endeavors. Your favorite comic story… researched. Favorite film, researched.
The key is to look at your story… in this case, Gnomes, and think about what you may already know to help you with creating the world for your story. Let’s assume of the sake of illustration that you know nothing about the world and you’re just starting from your logline premise:
A group of gnomes must break into a casino and steal a jewel encrusted dwarf heart, which is the symbol of their disparate nation, in order to inspire their people to overthrow the dark lord, Bigote who has oppress Gnomedom for the last two centuries.
There is a lot of work to be done, a lot of information to learn. Do you know how a Casino works? How they safeguard precious metals and money? What would a Gnome nation look like? For that matter, what is a gnome? Is it naturally possible to live two hundred years? If not, how would one go about becoming immortal, what would you have to do to maintain your immortality?
That’s a lot of shit to learn and suddenly get right…, right!?!
Fear not. We’ll get there.
Now of the sake of simplifying things let’s break things down:
Subject Research cues
Casinos How are casinos run?
Where do they keep their stash?
What’s a good casino to model my casino from?
Have there been any great casino heists?
Jewel encrusted heart What’s the world’s largest jewel?
Any natural gems or minerals that may be
shaped like hearts?
Immortality Is immortality real?
How does one become immortal?
If humans could live forever what would they
need to do to maintain themselves?
Gnomes What is a gnome?
What does a gnome look like?
If gnomes had their own government
what would it look like?
What would be the nature of a nation of gnomes?
Now that we’ve broken our log line down into manageable research action plan, you can begin your research. The easiest place to begin is google and wikidpedia.
Always verify your research. Feel free to play with what you’ve found.
You’re now on your way to helping to craft an awesome story.
Epic happenings this weekend for the folks at RatRonin Studios.
The Schomburg Center for Black Research hosted a Black Comic book day this past Saturday, January 12, 2013. It was well attended by a lot of professional commercial and independent comic creators. Some of the folks in the house: Jewels Smith, Jennifer Crute, Jerry Craft, Alex Simmons, Lance Tooks, Titus Thomas Ribert Garrett, N. Steven Harris, Turtel Onli, Trevor Von Eden, Ray Felix, and Jacen Wise to name a few. And of course, Chuck, Rich, Denver and I.
We received coverage in the New York Daily News.
We had a simple set-up for the day and expected to be chill.
By day’s end we sold out every single copy of the trade. We made a ton of new friends and totally geeked out!
Yeah…, that’s me and T’Challa.
You should go to Al Cayne’s CAC-TV to check out the awesome and at some point our interview with him. We bored the brother to bits with our idle palaver.
Now I should probably get back to writing.
In the spirit of this weekend I leave you with this: