Thursday, June 7, 2012

The true story

For the last couple of weeks I've been doing a lot of pacing over Les Voyages Fantastique.
When I first conceived the notion, I really had just the germ of an idea - a story, told in the style of Baron Munchausen, built from the bones of several other stories, strung together into a single 40-minute tale. But, except for a drawing of a flying ship, I really didn't have much when I set out to sell it to the libraries. I knew I would have a great show in the end, but it's difficult to explain an idea when you really don't know what it is yourself: "I don't know what it will be, other than good - trust me."
I knew the kind of thing I wanted to do, and I started throwing ideas onto my board. When I went into the studio to start writing I looked at my mood board and pulled stories from it one at a time and just started telling them to the couch. This one fit good here, that one fits good there. At that point I had a story about an anonymous European commander who rides a cannon ball, pilots a flying ship, commands an extraordinary crew, is swallowed by a whale and takes on an entire army of sword-wielding Turks. That's good, that's fun, but that's not really what the story is about.

"When I was a boy I dreamt of a life filled with adventure."

The story is not about Baron Munchausen, Commander McBragg, or whoever, and their amazing adventures, the story is about a little boy - me - who stays up late each night reading adventures by flash light, and dreaming those adventures, placing himself in the role of the hero - it's a true story.

It's the very reason I love my work so much, it's my "why" for being a storyteller. I tell stories because they make me feel the way I felt when I was a boy, dreaming of a life filled with adventure.

Writing Methodology

I've been working quite a bit on Les Voayages Fantastique lately. I noticed with this project that my writing methodology has changed quite a bit. Just a few years ago I would sit at the computer and write a draft of a story, or re-write an existing tale in my own words and then tweaking, re-writing and refining for hours. More recently, particularly with this project, I go into my studio with a hand-held recorder and a stop watch and I do all my "writing" while pacing. I find that the end result is less perfect but far more entertaining and is never the same twice.