I’ve been working on Walküre in one form or another for about 3 years. For most of that time its been a Novel, a collection of letters and journal entries written from the perspective of 5 characters. The Novel itself is only at 25k words, and barely a quarter done, so I decided to play a little bit with the medium that I wrote it in.
My initial goal was to turn it into a Pilot. Historical Fiction with a bit of American Gods thrown in. I wanted to put together a live-action TV-hour. The problem is that I got to 30 pages and it was already done. In the middle of trying to figure out how to put more meat into it, I figured out that if I shifted a few things around it would be a pretty good Pilot to a Serial Animated series.
The problem is, there is no way I could ever sell an Adult American Anime about the early 1900s. So I’m going to post the pilot here and ask for any feedback you may have to give. Does it work? Doesn’t it? Why and why not?
I’ve struggled with this.
I have Stories I want to tell, Stories I am able to tell, and Stories I want to tell, but can’t. This one falls into the third category.
But to set the stage, you need to watch this…
Legend has it that John Wayne himself had to be physically restrained from dragging her off the stage
In 1973, at the 45th Academy Awards, Marlon Brando won best performance. Instead of accepting the award, he sent up Sacheen Littlefeather to deny his Oscar. This was far from the beginning, and far from the end. But if I am going to start in the middle, it might as well be from here.
I have never found a more perfect example of how misplaced direction and intent can ruin a show.
For those who don’t follow Network Television, Red Band Society premiered this fall with a promising pilot that centered around the inhabitants of a children’s hospital.
I find a small amount of Irony in the fact that these kids with Cancer, Anorexia, Congenital Heart Defects, and Cystic Fibrosis will have a happier ending than their show will. But don’t get me wrong, I’d be very happy with a happy ending. But when you place characters in a position of adversity, especially one as adverse as being a mostly parentless dual-citizen minor without health insurance, then you expect them to be dealing with something more serious than the Love Triangle they found themselves in.
This was the root of the problem. Out of all of the stories that could be told about the state of medicine in the US, or dealing with your own mortality before society legally considers you an adult, they instead chose to have the cheerleader fall for the tooth-pick chewing bad-boy.
It was as if the reality of their situation was superseded by what someone thought kids would find important. You could have taken these same exact plots and moved them to any other location and all you would have had to change “Cancer” to “I didn’t get the iPhone I wanted for christmas”.
But this is a common theme in most of these “Youth Dramedy” shows, isn’t it? The inability to let children have Adult problems? And when they do, A La ‘Secret Life of the American Teenager’, there is the assumption that someone who is 16 (Who can be tried as an adult in most states), can’t face their own problems.
What is absolutely (and very hyperbolically) killing me about “Red Band Society”, is that every single production element is spot on. The show looks gorgeous, every single one of the actors is great, and the writing, when it is allowed to be, is fun and inventive. This show failed on only one front: It didn’t challenge anyone.
These are children who are fighting for their lives in a healthcare system that is likely bankrupting their parents. An Underweight young woman who is fighting her own Mental Illness surrounded by people fighting very physical illnesses; A Cheerleader with a cocaine addiction; a young man whose cancer has been neglected in favor of folk medicine. You can’t tell me that the show they wrote was the only one they could have written.
We deserve better.
I was going to do this whole formal mission statement detailing what I wanted to do with the next year of my life.
And to tell the truth, I got bored.
So I am going to write a bit about the projects I’ve been posting, make a few empty promises, and possibly conclude with a limerick.
The first project has a special place in my heart.
I started writing “What God” in my junior year of high school. Its my testament to the fact that if you keep trying to write an idea, sooner or later it will work. Its been through 6 different iterations, From Novel to Novel to TV to Movie back to TV then to This. And I am kind of in love with “This”.
But because I’ve spent so long working on this I know Michael’s whole story. I know what he did in college, how he became a PI, and I know what breaks him. But for some odd reason I started his story near the end. Its currently 15k words, all of which will be available in ebook format when I finish posting them here.
The other two projects were spawned from the same idea. A good friend of mine once had an idea: If there was steampunk, where everything was powered by a fantastical Victorian vision of the future, why shouldn’t there be Hexpunk- a world powered by Edwardian superstition. An industry of love potions lighted by will-o-the-wisps.
Both were written around the same time- and are a great example of how one idea can create many different stories. “Devil’s House” is my bedtime story. Its too long to be a short story and too short to be novella. Its in between worlds- much like its own subject matter. In this I wanted to write something where the language was its own impetus for movement, where the words carried the story and not the other way around. I am hoping to one day develop this into an animated short- but in the meantime I’m having a hell of a time writing it.
Last is the Beast.
In my sophomore year of College I finally came to terms with the possibility of pursuing writing (Which I had been doing since 4th grade), as a career. Not one for taking future employment lightly, I decided that I was going to write every single day from then on out. This was the first project I started. For its breadth- it could very well be the last one I ever finish, when I’m 92 and blind.
One of the first things I wrote on this project was the last entry. I know where it ends, and I know where the four soldiers go. All thats left is what will probably be at least 120k words in between. While I look forward to finishing it, I know it will a decade before I do.