Hatching the Brain Eggs

Hi there. It’s Jack.

Thanks so much for stopping by, checking out the blog or liking the Facebook page. We appreciate it a lot. The following is a little update as to how we came up with our idea and how we’re turning it into something tangible.

I remember quite clearly how Mat and I devised Alien in the Outfield. Well, fairly clearly. We’d had a couple of beers. It was October 2012 and we were eating in an American-style diner on the Brighton seafront the night before we began running a week-long residential project. After a strange and revelatory conversation about the film Mask (I had no idea the film existed, or indeed, possibly could), we somehow began talking about eighties films that weren’t real.

We hit upon the concept of AITO and were amazed that a film of this story didn’t exist (please don’t write in to tell us it does. That wouldn’t be helpful). We spent much of the rest of the evening – and indeed the residential – giving voice to the grumpy, endearing alien character we’d created and resolved to work on a script when we got home with a view to somehow making a movie happen.

About three months after that (and I’m embarrassed to admit it took us this long to work this out), we suddenly realised that as Mat was an artist and I was a writer, it would make infinitely more sense to tell our story via the medium of comics. This format had the advantages of a) being relatively cheap b) not reliant on the support of a great many other people and c) something we had even the vaguest notion of how we might actually go about doing.

So how do we make the ideas in our brains turn into things we can hold in our hands, look at with our eyes and use as cheap gifts for friends and family for years to come? As you might have gathered, we’re feeling this process out for ourselves and working things out as we go, but here’s what we’ve been doing so far.

1. We had the basic idea of the story agreed pretty shortly after we conjured up the title, which I’m pretty sure came first. Based on that, I wrote out a 900 word treatment that outlined the story in some detail, what would happen in each of our four issues (we thought four was about right) and introduced the main characters.

2. Once Mat and I had tweaked the treatment, I bought an A5 sketch book and started sketching out how things would look on the page, playing with panels and working out how the pace of each chapter would fit across 25(ish) pages.

My rough sketches for issue #1, page 7
My rough sketches for issue #1, page 7

3. Once an issue was sketched out, I started writing a script, much like a screenplay, but with a lot of extra stage direction to give Mat an idea of what to draw and what would be in each panel described. 

This is what a Word document looks like.
This is what a Word document looks like.

4. Mat then takes the sketches and the script and brings some really lovely order to the chaos…

Ooh, pretty.
Ooh, pretty.

As you can see, the images and arrangement have evolved somewhat from my crude sketches to Mat’s rather more elegant pencils. Working out how to make a coherent narrative as well as a visually interesting sequence is an interesting challenge and I’m enjoying seeing how our story changes as it gets more ‘real’. Obviously we’ve still got inking and lettering to go (we’re going black and white… for now) so expect updates as to how that goes in the not too distant future!


2 thoughts on “Hatching the Brain Eggs

  1. Looking forward to seeing what your collective great minds can produce. Not had the pleasure of meeting you Jack but if Mat B thinks you’ve got talent then I’m sure your project will be a sure-fire hit. I’ll be picking up a few copies to take over to our local Hong Kong Comic book store to see if they’ll bite!
    Best of luck with the launch kids!

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