Sunday, September 17, 2006

How to turn comic book writing into a Big Time Hollywood Career in three easy steps!

An email from a reader asked me to explain how I made the transition from comic book writer to television writer.

(For those of you unaware of my earlier career, I wrote comics for many many years, for both Marvel and DC. Among the characters I wrote were Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Thor, Superman, Batman, the Justice League, and many others. I also created a few super-heroes who are still popular today, including The Punisher, Firestorm, and Power Girl. But all of that, to coin a phrase, was long ago and far away.)

I wish I had an easy answer to explain how I "did" it, but I don't. The truth is, things just happened. I'd like to believe talent and a gift for a certain kind of storytelling had a lot to do with it, and I'm sure it did, but there's also an element of right-place-at-the-right-time. I will say this: I always knew that my ultimate goal as a writer was to work in film or television, and every decision I made as a writer (and as a man) was influenced to some degree by that desire. So my arrival at this particular point in my life, writing and producing television shows, is probably a combination of talent, luck, and hundreds of thousands of nano-decisions that guided me over of the years.

But for the purposes of giving advice, that's all pretty facile. The aspiring comic writer would-be film writer might want something a little more concrete to guide him or her. So here's one small offering...

Write what you enjoy, and write as much of it as you can, and always have a long term goal somewhere in the back of your mind. Develop skills. Find something you're good at and make it your specialty. And always be ready to ask for help. Don't be shy, but don't be overbearing either.

I know it isn't exactly Polonius' exhortation to Ophelia, but it couldn't hurt.

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