|Well, it was okay. I paid £20 note, during a period of hyperextending my credit card, to get in, because the lady at the desk was nice enough to give me student discount, despite my no longer being such, 'cos all I wanted to see was the 'Morrison Masterclass'.|
And well, it was my favourite writer in my city. The crowd for what turned out to be essentially an hour and a half of Q&A with professional animators/animation students, and a couple of enthusiasts, myself included.
Their questions weren't very good (or what I wanted to be asked, rather,) really. A lot of stuff about writing for videogames, and peripheral questions on that topic, and writing for screenplays.
I took no pad or dictaphone, so I'll just have to give random titbits and paraphrasals as I remember them.
Grant listens to 'all sorts of music for writing', depending what he was writing about; he quoted Noel Coward as one thing, which I've mentally transposed - rightly or wrongly - to Sebastian O (there was some mention of pipe-moking and witty retorts,) and Alec Empire and 'hard/nosebleed techno' for writing New X-Men, iirc for the immediacy and thrust of the superhero book.
His favourite animation is Hayao Miyazaki, and he mentioned some late-night Channel 4 thing (and late-night Channel 4 animation in general) which involved a corridor endlessly filling up with mass. DreamWorks UK/Europe rep, who was also there (as was Frank Quitely, who I completely failed to recognise,) said this was done by some French person involved with comics, but I missed the name. Grant recognised it; maybe Moebius?
With the videogame stuff, he mentioned that he wanted companies to improve their 'narrative engines', likening it to The Invisibles 'experience', where each action has a consequence. He also said he wanted more 'otherworldly' games; though was on a couple of occasions quite enthusiastic, despite saying 'We've been to Miami in the 1980's, let's go somewhere else', about Grand Theft Auto. He said he got easily bored and stuck on computer games, and he wanted the cheats as soon as he had the game.
When questioned about the competence and state of American comics, he was quite lyrical about working in what is now a very marginalised field, noting that the work could be - even on titles traditionally percived as traditionally 'mainstream' - abstract and 'poetic', a word he returned to as a descriptor a couple of times. He did also say that there were a lot of very bad writers in comics, also as a ramification of this status, though, but mentioned Warren Ellis 'who writes the Planetary comic as an expert in pace. When asked his favourite comic writer, he reaffirmed John Broome (who apparently also had a hemp plantation that I was unaware of. Cool.) and the silly/brilliant Silver-Age Flash comics: 'Flash as a paving stone, screaming "existential angst" from the cover', and 'Green, green all around me green." which I suppose may would likely be a direct influence on Flex Mentallo and 'My Greenest Adventure'.
Said he hasn't read a fiction novel since around 1978; "Maybe it's gotten really good."
When I asked him about his plan to sentientialise(?) the DCU, with analogy to the 'interactive system' of The Invisibles, he described it as being like Emergence Theory, but with superheroes, basically. I didn't ask what DC Comics work he was doing because he wasn't really, as I say, playing to a 'home crowd'.
On writing, he said doing the DreamWorks script was a a machine-like process - that adaptations would as a matter of certainty be made to his (Sleepless Knights, I presume; he was unforthcoming with any real concrete information, due to NDAs, on both game and film work) script. Comparatively he said comics, which did declare as his favourite form, were an area in which he had vast creative control. Described his theatre writing as a 'shamanic process', a work to be performed in a confined area for a few people.
More later, as I recall it.