There’s an unsavory – but relatively accurate – phrasing going around in the world of “content creation” these days: process is product. Usually what people mean by that is that you need to sell the process of creation so that by the time your product is finished, you’ve developed enough of an audience that everyone shows up and pays good money to see what you’ve done.
We’re not really following that business model.
First of all, what we’re doing only lasts one night, and secondly there’s no charge.
Here’s the short form: there are some 25 of us or so who are going to create a mural-sized comic strip in real time. I haven’t done the measurements, but I’m guessing that it’ll run about 8′ tall and 60′ long. We’ll start a little before Gallery Night really kicks off and end whenever we finish – I’m aiming for midnight.
Here’s the long form: late morning on the 16th, three of us are getting together at Moct to get all of the pieces in place: running tarp, running the muslin, and taping off the cells that the artists will have to use. They don’t get to know any of shapes in advance, how the comic might look. (If you’re not familiar with Winsor McCay‘s Little Nemo in Slumberland, that’ll give you some good ideas of early comics.)
Around 5pm, we start with the silhouettes. Choreographer Elizabeth Johnson starts the event with a shape-driven story. She will be adjusting the bodies of several of our intrepid volunteers: Richard Newman, Liza Bielby, and Brian Moore (all of the Hinterlands), Sunset Playhouse Managing Director, blogger, and man-about-town Jonathan West, his inimitable daughter Dorothea, and one more to-be-determined brave soul. What’s brave about them is that as Elizabeth poses their bodies, they will be painted by the talents of our colorists – scenic painters Carri Dahl, Andrea Toussaint, and Nathan Stuber. Our volunteers step away from the wall, leaving white silhouettes against a multi-colored background.
By the way, they’ll be wearing Tyvek suits so’s to protect their gentle selves.
We’ve got maybe two hours to get this first bit done, and after that things start to pick up.
Our Illustrators step up to the plate: Tea Krulos, David Beyer Jr., Dan Hernandez, Michael Cothroll, Matt Chicorel, and Christopher MacDonald. They fill in the white silhouettes to create the characters in our story.
Pass three, the colorists return to give depth and color to the characters. Pass four, the illustrators give dimension and shape to the background. Pass five, everyone gets one last chance to fill in any details they just can’t live without.
In the meantime, writer Jackie Steffen has to come up with the text, reacting to the images that are up on the wall.
I’ll be working with wranglers Chris Warner, Brent Bublitz, and Kat Danielsen to push things along, facilitate what needs facilitating, and in general try desperately to keep things moving.
Photographer Michelle Sherkow will be doing ongoing still photographer of the general craziness, documenting from specific angles for a layout wall for latecomers (so that you can see what you’ve been missing, should you arrive late), as well as doing the cool work that she likes. And filmmakers Lauren Burke, Jay Bauman, and Mike Stoklasa (the latter two from the well-heeled Red Letter Media) will be following the process and checking out what everyone thinks of the growing work.
It almost sounds implausible. How can you miss this?