NEWS!!  -- (11/17/2008) Tony Millionaire's Drinky Crow animated series premieres on Cartoon Network, to run for a full first season.

NEWS!!  -- (10/10/2008) DC's new Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade series, written by Landry Walker and drawn by Eric Jones, will be on store shelves in December '08.

NEWS!!  -- (07/09/2008) Wendy and Richard Pini announce Elfquest film deal with Warner Bros., to be directed by Rawson Thurber ( Dodgeball ).

NEWS!!  -- (05/01/2008) Keith Knight's daily strip The Knight Life begins in newspapers, nationwide! His weekly K Chronicles is being collected into a huge volume, and published by Dark Horse!

"Suckering Yourself Into It"
I never wanted to be a documentary filmmaker. I've always preferred fiction. However, I made the mistake, one day, of wondering "if I were to make a documentary, how would I go about it?" The topic of comic books was the obvious first choice, because although I know almost nothing about anything, if there was any subject I did have any strong predominance of knowledge about, it was comics (or so I thought). Plus, having written and drawn my own comics for many years, and been involved in the community, I had several friends who would be obvious candidates for subjects. Note it took less time for me to put these first few pieces of the puzzle together than it takes to read the sentences describing the process. I came up with the title and cover design very quickly, as well, images flashing across my brain pan, as if by delivery from above rather than my own conjuration. The list of questions I would eventually ask of everyone also proceeded in rapid succession; one line of inquiry leading to the next. I didn't have any of my own answers to these questions: What is an "independent" comic? Why do we feel the need to create? More than a dozen questions followed, until I came to what seemed to me to be the ultimate question: Where do ideas come from? I knew it was the most dreaded question that artists of all media get, but it was where my questions naturally lead, like water running to the ocean. I knew, then, that I could make a multi-layered documentary that was not just about comic books, but also about being an artist, and about the creative process, in general; the challenge was too enticing, and the images in my head demanded to be made real. With my contacts I could knock it out in three or four months, and get back to making up my own stories afterwards. Fiction would have to wait...after all, it would only take me a few months.

"Making It Up As We Go..."
My original intention to focus on my friends fell apart pretty quickly, as several of them turned me down, outright. I shifted, then, to focus more on the connection between comics and film. To this end, I attempted to set up interviews with several film and television directors who had some connection to comics (and, ideally, independent film). The only person who accepted my invitation, though, was Chris Gore. Everyone else was too busy or disinterested (I won't list names; you can probably come up with three yourself, and be correct). Shift, again. Although the "who" kept changing, I found that it mattered little in pursuing the basic questions. In fact, the more limited my options became, the more I was forced to narrow my sights, and the easier it became to find the thread that would bind the three main themes into a single whole. I discovered that with each interview, at least one new insight would be revealed, which in turn would lead to a new avenue of questions.

"The Narrator Cometh"
James Kaufman is a real cognitive psychologist with a Ph.D. from Yale. I'd originally planned, if I couldn't get Kevin Smith to do it, to be the narrator myself. But in the process of gathering information for the video, I was lucky enough to find Dr. Kaufman. The study of creativity is a small field, so not only was I lucky in that one of the predominant researchers was located in Southern California, but he was also interested in comic books, and had acting experience. None of his speeches are scripted; I would just ask him to talk about a certain subject area, and he would hold forth until I interrupted, or (more typically) he'd pause then say "that's all I've got".

Copyright 2007 © Chris Brandt - All Rights Reserved.