Sunday, December 12, 2010

Concept vs. Execution

Peeps can be categorized in 4 ways, predictably predictable, unpredictably predictable, predictably unpredictable and unpredictably unpredictable.

My fondness increases as we progress from the formermost to the lattermost category. The vast majority of my dearly beloved friends are in the predictably unpredictable class. These peeps are usually called 'intelligent' and 'funny' and stuff like that. They speak my language. It is hard to say where I fall on the spectrum given that I find EVERYTHING I do predictable, because to me everything I do makes absolute sense and is clearcut to me.

However while having lunch with a friend yesterday I hadn't seen in a long time, I had been complaining about peeps who are 'hard to read' when I was informed I was apparantly 'hard to read' myself.

Anyway, I digress. Truly unpredictably unpredictable people are so rare I have in fact only met 4 in my lifetime. They make me laugh so much my face hurts. I feel stupid around them. Yet they are to be treasured for that fact.

The latest of the 4 I only met recently, they were perhaps the first person I have met that when I tried to remember what they had said that was so funny, I just started laughing without ever getting around to remembering what they said.

Okay so the point of all I have said thus far is to simply establish how funny this person is. I invited them to collaborate on my webcomic, and here in lies the lesson for all.

The lesson for me is a reinforcement of the learning cycle - I had become unconsciously competent in this and hadn't realised it until going through this collaboration experience.

The Concept is easy, it is fun and exciting and energising and grandiose. The execution is hard, it is gruelling, tedious, painstaking and draining. Over the past two years, I had unconsciously come to accept this fact of life.

See the thing about being hilarious is when you are standing in a bar talking or where ever, you just have to mention the concept that is funny, and your mind fills in the rest. But when you are making a comic, cartoon, screenplay and all of that, you have to fill it in yourself. All the details, not just the hilarious dildo gag, but what direction they walk up the street to the dildo store.

You can't skip it over, and well you can't put less effort into the setting...

let me put it this way, If I am good at drawing a character in the foreground, the picture will still look shit if you don't put as much (and in most cases, more) effort into the background.

Most of the time I leave backgrounds out.

It can be unsettling, for indeed unpredictably unpredictable people are fairly spontaneous, fairly non-sequiter, and being forced to second guess things that will be said with some kind of permenance is a big departure.

I don't really have any way of dealing with it, I have just adopted the motto 'good is the enemy of done'

Uniquely though this applies to comedy, comedy is impossible to judge yourself in much the same way as I can't tell if I'm predictable or not. I just completed a commission seconds ago where my patron was sure I 'would come up with something hilarious' having completed it and sent it off, I have no idea whether it is hilarious or not, nor did I even try, which sounds bad but really I just have to do what makes sense to me. I never laugh at my own hilarity with the exception of when I find something I had totally forgotten I had written.

Anyway, I think once you have 'executed' once, it gets easier from then on. It's just the grind and you know how to grind. But still this most recent collaboration has reinforced a lot of stuff, and it's been one of the most productive ever.

I shall have to devise some new vehicle that we may collaborate more.

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