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I'm (hopefully) going to see Grant Morrison tomorrow. In Dundee.

The Falcon
22:20 / 20.11.03
It's to do with this Animation Festival, though the website is uninformative to say the least.

As is Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre's.

Anyway, at 11.10 am "Masterclass: Grant Morrision
Grant began his career writing for Commando Comics in Dundee, has just finished working with Universal Studios on the 'Battlestar Galactica' computer game, and is now writing a screenplay for Steven Spielberg. A strong idea and an absorbing plot are central to all Grant's work and he'll talk today about how he develops them so successfully."

Apparently. Am quite excited, and just about to phone and book my ticket.
22:52 / 20.11.03
A screenplay for Spielberg? Most probably won't ever see film, but sounds fun.

I am expecting a full report.
The Falcon
23:53 / 20.11.03
Yes, sah!

The screenplay is that 'Sleepless Knights' thingy he's been going on about for 10 years now.

And I don't know if Commando Comics is some subsidiary of D.C. Thomson, or what, because I'm pretty sure his first published work was in a mag called Starblazer.
A beautiful tunnel of ghosts
17:13 / 21.11.03
I'd phoned earlier in the week to find out details, as the website doesn't have much information, but the tickets were 20 and 30 and I couldn't justify it. I'd be interested to hear how it went.

Morrison's first work was in Starblazer, which was the science-fiction counterpart to Commando, and both of which were published by DC Thomson.
20:10 / 21.11.03
I hope he shows. I've never been to a grant morrison event where he actually bothered to get out of bed that day.
H3ct0r L1m4
20:43 / 21.11.03
Falconer, you lucky bastard. have a good time and take notes - take a recorder, whatever.

speaking of which, has anybody tested the GALLATICCA game yet? release date was November 18th:
21:16 / 21.11.03
Gridley griped and groused: I've never been to a grant morrison event where he actually bothered to get out of bed that day.

Oh, he managed to show to the Disinfo.con in 2000, though by the time he took the podium he was evidently hammered and implied he was also coming up on something.
22:24 / 21.11.03
Do us all a favor and ask the man what DCU comic he's working on.
Jack Denfeld
10:31 / 22.11.03
Tell him I love his work! Tell him that Jack Denfeld loves his work!
Our Lady of The Two Towers
17:28 / 22.11.03
Yeah, the idea of Morrison talking about comics writing as opposed to all the stuff he normally goes off on one about does sound good. Let's just hope he's not going to be using 'The Filth' or the last year or so of 'X-Men' as masterclasses here.
Tryphena Absent
18:26 / 22.11.03
He's writing a screenplay for Spielberg? Is he insane? That man turns all that he touches sour!
02:15 / 24.11.03
So Duncan...
What happened?
Mystery Gypt
05:42 / 24.11.03
by "for Spielberg" they mean "for the company Dreamworks"
The Falcon
20:51 / 24.11.03
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.
yawn - thing's buddy
23:14 / 24.11.03
nicey time dunksmon.

dca seminars ARE a fuckin ripoff though. although they do put on a lot of good stuff the cunts.
The Falcon
00:26 / 25.11.03
Yeah, I paid a tenner to see Ruins last month, which was quite steep for a gig, albeit (wooh) an experimental one.

Loadsa wanks go there, too. But nevermind.

Some other stuff: Grant would write Eastenders if offered, possibly following in Pete Milligan's Crossroads footsteps (true!,) and have Kat Slater visited by dead relatives. He mentioned her a couple times, actually. For whatever reason. On dialogue, he was critical of both soaps and Hollywood films, saying it's wholly utilised to advance plot/character arc - mentioned Tarantino as a screenwriter whose dialogue sounds naturalistic-ish, but isn't really. But then he did say that putting real speech in any form would be a rubbish read; mentioned a ride on the bus as a way of observing his, which led me to think of that first ish of The Filth.

And he discussed his experience of writing Starblazer, which seemed largely to revolve around old Dundonian editors infoming him that his five-page (or so) tale required 'More space combat!' (he did quite a good accent for this,) and that they nixed a story about a pacifist space-doctor because it lacked said requisite space combat.
H3ct0r L1m4
07:08 / 25.11.03
thanks a lot, Duncan. if anything else pops into your mind don't hold yourself.

and yeah, 'realistic' dialogue usually sounds stupid. hence the frequent go-nowhere conversations between characters in Bendis' comics [Marvel at least].
13:26 / 25.11.03
Thanks Duncan.
14:30 / 25.11.03
The dialogue in Bendis' comics (forgive weird description) only has a realistic tang and is, contrary to popular belief, used with care. Frankly I'd rather read a bit of Bendis dialogue than most of the stuff Morrison has been putting out in the last couple of years - far, far too much telling, far too little showing.

Them editors were right about space combat, though.
Regrettable Juvenilia
14:54 / 25.11.03
Can't wait for the inevitable Kat Slater analogue to show up in future Morrison work. "Uncle 'Arry... 'Ee made me feel so unclean, Clark..."
Ben Danes
15:32 / 25.11.03
Pretty cool Duncan. Sounds like it was a decent talk.

Yep, I finally got in here.
02:44 / 26.11.03
"Green, green all around me green."

Blasting in the dark here, but surely this doesn't corroborate the Morrison on GL rumors.

Sorry. It's been a long day.
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