Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Creative Update: February 2014

The last few months have been busy at best and I've accomplished much. While I have a few Video Game reviews I could post this week, with the start of the new year a quasi self-reflective post on things I'm working on seems healthy.

Photo by Tiffany Mueller
Random Encounter has evolved so much in the last two months that it's barely recognizable to me as being the same individuals or even an offshoot of the band I started so many years ago. I'm extremely proud of my bandmates as Rook has taken to professional bass lessons (far surpassing any skill I once may have had on the instrument), Kit got a huge promotion at work (I'm really proud of him) and has significantly increased in his recording abilities, Konami has really picked up a lot of the "band leadership/motivator" role & writes/arranges with me, and Moose is rapidly improving as a drummer, far surpassing the physical limitations of what he once thought was possible. We've become extremely organized... for us... We have some extreme goals for 2014 we intend to accomplish which I can't really share for awhile but we have some really exciting upcoming shows across the state, and at the shows we've played so far we've been very in-sync with one another to the point where I feel extremely comfortable in our performances... Something I never feel as a solo performer, and don't feel performing with other musicians. Sure everyone in the band (but me) is catching a variation of the MAG-flu, but all in all this will be a great year for Random Encounter, though I don't expect we'll have anything to show the public for our efforts for quite some time beyond live shows.

Careless Juja is also chugging along nicely. We're well into production of the Layton album and while many would find 4 hour recording sessions stressful, I really enjoy them in this creative outlet. Where Random Encounter is something that HAS to sound professional, I am not under the same self-imposed stress with CJ and can experiment as much or as little as I want to. To explain, I'm not particularly concerned if I don't become popular here so the only person I have to really please is myself (and Juja). My goal with CJ is to record music I want to hear, the way I want to hear it and I get that other people might not be interested, which allows me to try new things which I ultimately allow me to really grow as a recording musician. Most of the tricks I used for LMTYAS were things I discovered on accident while recording stuff for CJ. As CJ, when it stops being fun I stop recording, and when I run out of ideas I do something else. Juja's much the same way, we like the same things for the most part, and though we have a specific goal in mind that would seem taxing, recording what's left of 34 tracks in three weeks, I'm glad that we'll soon have a quality product of our musical friendship that we can share with the world.

Early Character Concept
The Liberty comic book series has seen its greatest developmental growth over the last two months than it's seen in the six months prior. There have been a lot of changes, so I'll start from the beginning... The comic book story takes place hundreds of years after the planet "Atrius" was colonized. Adam (the co-creator) and I sort of set an arbitrary marker for the "present" as being "roughly 600 or 800 years", what we thought was enough time passing to justify the social changes that would be required to make our story believable, but we didn't really have any idea or framework for the events that took place between the "present" (year 713) and the initial colonization of the planet. To fix this, and also to clearly compile a list of all government organizations that would be required to make the totalitarian Inner City function (with their respective job functions, key personnel, and jurisdictions) I put together a book called A Citizen's Guide to Atrius. The intent of the book was to paint an outline to the city's events and a (now very colorful) history over the course of 50 pages while giving bios for key figured, places of interest and the like, without giving so much detail as to make writing future books or comics about those events seem excessive. It's sort of like how I read the Wikipedia entry for the Crucible and was still captivated when watching it performed at a local theater, being genuinely surprised with the outcome of the trial despite knowing how it was supposed to end. The Citizen's Guide is effectively written (taking up most of my December), being edited by someone with a working knowledge of the Chicago NB format. The illustrations for the book should be done sometime in March and if there's enough interest we might do a limited self-publishing run, but I'm skeptical anyone will want a background book to a story that hasn't been published.

Recent Character Concept by Adam
With the sudden existence of a detailed history we had a make a large number of revisions to the comic book script to ensure that continuity existed between the history book and the script itself. As we've not published anything we're thankfully free to make revisions unlike authors like Tolkien (who i'm told desperately wanted to go back and rewrite the Hobbit), or Lucas (who everyone was angry at for revising the cannon of the expanded universe) which took the bulk of my January to accomplish. While I was working on this Adam developed a line of "standard issue" firearms for the Inner City, departmental color schemes, and a general color scheme for the comic, settling on an uncommon color scheme we think will be most visible on a comic book store shelf. We also added a dedicated cover artist for the entire series to our creative team, which we're really happy about. In the short-term we are also working with concept artists to create a unique sense of fashion in the world, a designer to create logos for each governmental division/department, and an archaeological illustrator (my girlfriend) to create a legit archaeological illustration of one of the city's key buildings, as well as an awesome 3d rendering. We're also working with someone who designs advertisements and logos as their full-time job to create a title for the series. I'm finding each of these individual processes to be fascinating, and working with professionals in each of their respective fields has been quite an experience. I hope to share some aspects of the creative process in the coming months but for now it's a bit too early to really get into.

On a final comical note, we had a rough revelation last week whereby we concluded that the amazing back-story we'd written for one of the main characters (which is periodically referenced throughout the script) could have never taken place within the confines of our world's history. Instead of rewriting what he have, we sadly concluded that it's all true... in that character's head and that s/he's simply delusional.

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