So the brilliant Penny-Arcade guys have struck again, with Strip Search: a wildly engrossing reality tv show about web cartoonists. Every few episodes they force two artists into a thunderdome throw down, and only one can return to the house. (I find it incredibly heart breaking to see the loser’s artwork destroyed right in front of them. …good lord. … SO DELICIOUS!)
Anywho. the first couple elimination episodes inspired me to write up at least 5 scrips that I would try to use. And just recently they announced that tons of people have actually been taking the challenge themselves. As soon as the two “broken dream theme” words are revealed, you’re supposed to pause the show and give yourself exactly 90 minutes to see what you would deliver.
Spoilers (stop reading if you want to take this challenge yourself):
So this episode’s two theme words were “mermaids” and “ukelele”
I spent 25 minutes just writing. I’m not under the same kind of pressure as these fine folks, but as soon as I started the timer on my iPhone, i couldn’t remember what jokes are, or how to tell them. So I started freewriting. Some ideas about a dream where merebitches played ukeleles at my funeral morphed into Trent Reznor being shipwrecked on a hawaiian hell island, and forced to compose his next album with a uke, which morphed into thoughts of mocking The Descendents movie. Brief note of Eddie Vedder doing standup comedy with his ukelele, since he’s the only person I’ve ever seen play one. Which led to thoughts of a ukelele that no longer worked. This finally led to the thought that it’d be best to just tackle the disney mermaid movie, and focus on the real world fun-fact that an artist snuck a dick onto the cover and posters. I wrote the script pretty much as it appears, but with a ton of variations on the wording in the final panel. Decided to start drawing.
I figured I’d basically make a new Vitreous Humor comic, but actually draw Viddy and Seedy out as cartoony people this time, instead of the old abstract VHS tape and CD vector shapes (an idea I’ve had for a while now. but never tried). Figured I’d just try to use square shapes for Viddy, and circular shapes for Seedy. Sure. I’ve been drawing some children’s book art for a friend, using an old disney animator how-to book as reference – so I thought I was ready.
But hell no. I was not ready.
At 45 minutes, I had roughed out the art (having flipped the camera on the first panel to be looking over their shoulders. Dumping the idea that Seedy would be dramatically up lit in the second panel, holding up his rage claw. And not getting as far out as i’d planned on the final panel). I spent wayyyyy too much time on the text & word balloon formatting. and placement. Forgot to draw the cover of the VHS tape they’re looking at until about 2 minutes remained. Utterly failed to finish the final panel. Forgot to go back and fix Viddy’s hand in the second panel. woof.
There was also a second line in the final panel, where Viddy shouts back “How long have you been collecting small cocks!”. As if they were shouting over each other. THe moment the time was up, and i shouted out “DONE!” my wife walked by and read it. She noted that this final line didn’t make sense, and it could just be dropped. SHE SO THE WISE. but there was no time to redraw Viddy to be appropriately creepy and staring-y. I just hid that layer. Minor cheating I guess. but. Clearly I was runover by the whole process. And this sample will live on forever. Perhaps read by 2 or 3 people. So why not lie to them? (frown. You see, I am being honest in the end. Because I cannot stomach lying).
anywho. … what else… I remember checking to see if I had time for some color, and seeing I had only 20 seconds. YIKES! AAHHHH!!!
Ultimately, It was wayyyyy harder than i thought, but thoroughly exhilarating!
I look forward to doing this again!