It’s hard to describe what this past year has meant to me. If 2017 is the year of building The Crew, 2016 was the year its foundation was laid. Unemployed, depressed, and directionless, I was looking for anything to occupy myself with. Working on my personal art projects felt tedious, as the work was beautiful but not fun. I wanted something different than I'd ever done before, something light and carefree to take my mind off my circumstances.
If memory serves, I had called my sister Catalina into my room and showed her this image. I remember saying something like “I have this idea about a group of scumbag heroes! What do you think?”
She told me then what she would continue to tell me throughout the year - “There’s something there, but it’s not there yet.”
Don’t get me wrong – I can clearly see this is just a rough concept, but she was pointing to something deeper. I never really considered that this would be the beginning of our working relationship, let alone that she had just stated the mantra that we would continue to use when we would hit a brick wall. At the time I wanted The Crew to be a web comic I could quickly publish while I worked on more “serious” projects. Regardless of how I saw the project, I took her feedback, made some alterations, and about a month or so later I returned with an updated line up and new backstories for each character.
Again, it ended with a “There’s something there, but it’s not there yet.” And so it continued...
Days, or sometimes weeks, would pass before bringing the project up again. With every revision, the project and The Crew would come into clearer focus. While initially The Crew was just something we would joke about, it quickly became apparent that there was something of substance here. Every joke led to a scenario, and every scenario to a scene, until one day the world just came alive. By this point, it was obvious to me that the comic format of storytelling fell short of what our story demanded; to properly translate the idea of the The Crew it would need to be an animated show. This was only confirmed the day Catalina explained that this would be a show that she wanted to watch, and as the old adage goes, make something you'd want to see. We said farewell to the comic format and never looked back.
I enjoyed brainstorming with Catalina so much that I asked her to officially help me write on the project. While my strengths lie in story structure and visual arts, Catalina has a natural intuition about comedy and personality dynamics. Sometimes we may just be watching a commercial, but she is always keen to pull inspiration out of the most mundane, though characteristically human moments. Over the first three quarters of the 2016, we chipped away at this mountain of ideas until we’d eventually taken the project as far as it could go. We had written quite a bit, but really the work had been done establishing the world of The Crew. We had always worked with the idea that once we knew our characters inside and out, we'd be able to place them in any scenario and have them write themselves. While we could have moved into production at that point, the words we repeated so often now caused me to look for the flaws I didn't know the project had. "There's something there, but it's not there yet." I had began to listen to my intuition and my intuition was pointing me in one direction...
That's it for this week folks! I hope you enjoyed my first blog post, as we'll continue our behind the scenes look at the The Crew! If you haven't seen it yet, we hosted a live Concept Art session last night on Periscope and we'll continue holding them every Thursday at 7:30pm CST.