My super panel of graphic novelists.
Ever since I made the decision to leave the security of a paid day job to be a full-time graphic novelist, my goal has been this: to pursue what I love.
When Jordan Peimer, Vice President and Director of Programs at the Skirball Cultural Center, asked me to work on moderating a panel about graphic novels—a subject that aligns perfectly with the current exhibition Gary Baseman: The Door Is Always Open—my first thought was, “Cool, I’m completely not cut out for this.” But after some deliberation, and considering the heavy-handed Who’s the Lars von Trier of Comics approach, I concluded I’d do what I have done my whole career: follow my heart. This has always led me down the path of success, and undoubtedly would not fail me now.
There is a Los Angeles pride in me that has always considered the Skirball to be a hallmark of L.A. arts and culture for the past decade. I knew each member of this panel had to be an Angeleno. Continue reading
I took this photo of our graphic designer, Simon Ford, as he jotted notes in front of the Rainbow Arbor, where a “Red Sea” scene will be.
Following up on my last SkirBlog post, I wanted to share more about the design of Exodus Steps, but time, time, time! We’ve been working away at it late, late, late. The story’s so big, and the Skirball campus is so full of possibilities, we’ve gotten carried away with ourselves. This is going to have to be fast.
Since agreeing with the Skirball we were going to make Exodus Steps, we have (cutting out all the tedious administrative/visa waiver stuff that no one wants to hear about, least of all me):
- Re-read the book and identified all the must-have, could-have, and don’t-need scenes.
- Written a draft script.
- Decided who needs to say how little to make the story function and have some degree of character/humanity. (Remember, we’re cutting all the text into vinyl speech bubbles, so no one is allowed to soliloquise.)
- Thought about what objects the audience needs to see/interact with to tell the story and make the thing look attractive. (As in most movies, we’d like the story to be told by sight and action rather than words.)
Footsteps in the courtyard, ready to be followed.
- Designed most of the props, including feet. As this is the eighteenth edition of the Steps Series we have a fairly extensive archive of designs from previous shows so cow, sheep, dog, and horse footprints don’t need designing. Simon Ford, our graphic designer, has created a new line of footwear for Exodus Steps as we aspire to show gradations of social class/wealth in ancient Egypt through the footprints—which admittedly is a little ambitious (the Sherlock Holmes stories were amongst our inspirations for the series). Continue reading
Years ago I was thinking about “teach-yourself-to-dance” floor mats and how it was unfair that dance had these but theatre didn’t. I imagined that with some ingenuity we could right this wrong. All we needed was an organization to allow us to plaster their building with adhesive vinyl.
In 2008 mac birmingham, our local arts centre, was looking to commission a piece to mark its closure for rebuilding. We pitched the vinyl idea to them, and given that much of the building was due to be demolished anyway, they figured we couldn’t do too much harm.
Stan’s Cafe Dance Steps. Photo by Ed Dimsdale.
Making Dance Steps was tricky, as we didn’t know how “teach-yourself-theatre installations” worked. We’d never met one before. We had to make up the rules ourselves. We had to learn the art of applying vinyl stickers, which in some cases is more complicated than it sounds (though in other cases my three-year-old daughter was happy to help and couldn’t believe sticking stickers was my JOB!). Continue reading
Click here to sign up and join me for the hands-on writing workshop Let’s Get Personal: The Art of Letter Writing—Saturday, October 27. Don’t forget your address book!
This blog post was written by Nancy Caldwell, the instructor for the class “Let’s Get Personal: The Art of Letter Writing.”