GRAYHAVEN COMICS APPRENTICE- 2nd Challenge- The Boardroom

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RAY- Okay, Courtland, Ryan, Giulie. The judges will have some questions. I’ll go first. Giulie, what ideas are you most proud of contributing to the challenge this week?

GIULIE- I had brought up the idea of Lucia being picked on by bullies, which went along with the theme of courage.

RAY– You spent a lot of time this week working on a trailer that didn’t make it in to the final pitch. Do you feel it took away from working on the main pitch?

GIULIE– Well, yes it did. But at one point when we were throwing ideas around (a lot of back and forth) I could already tell that there were too many cooks in the kitchen. I wanted to work on this and I had time to do so–no one else was opposed to me focusing on the presentation. For posting purposes, here’s the link:http://vimeo.com/71557303

I was talking to the guys over Google chat earlier in the week. By Thursday I thought we had lock down on the main points but come Friday there were changes again. That meant some of my contributions were left on the cutting room floor (mainly Goblin King). When I jumped into the outline, I saw that all our bases were covered. It was in the final stage of tweaking details here and finessing there–adding anything else would’ve been overkill.

RAY-   What would you say Courtland’s strongest points as PM were?

GIULIE– Courtland was organized, made sure everyone was involved and remained diplomatic throughout. However maybe (and he mentioned this too) that diplomacy should’ve switched to a more decisive attitude much earlier in the week. Ideas were still being thrown around until the very end, we were clamoring on top of each other and I think that’s what cost us.

RYAN– Courtland was an excellent PM. Despite having numerous other familial and occupational responsibilities, he stepped up to plate and replied to every email, participated in every comment thread, and addressed every concern. As to what I would do differently, well, the main issue that I had with Team Hive Mind (and I believe Giulie may have suffered similarly) was that everyone else was on East Coast Time. This meant that Courtland and the others had 3 hours ahead of us, so a good deal of alterations were stamped and approved before I’d even had the chance to see the script. For example, the removal of Jareth as the antagonist pulling the strings behind Lucia (which made it so we couldn’t use Giulie’s trailer), and the decision to use the 11th Doctor instead of the 10th – these are things I was opposed to, but decisions were made while I was asleep. Of course, that’s not really Courtland’s fault – juggling multiple timezones is nigh impossible, and we probably didn’t have time to really utilize some sort of democratic voting system.

RAY– And what would you have done differently?

GIULIE– If I was PM? I would’ve ask everyone to list their favorite franchises (let’s say their top 3), everyone votes on them and then make an executive decision from there. But I wouldn’t take that job. I’m not an editor, I’m not confidant to say what stays and what goes. That’s why I didn’t delete anything from that massive outline.

RAY– Ryan what contribution were you most proud of?

RYAN- A lot of the ideas I had were about Jareth’s involvement, so, again (I supposed I’m too fixated on this) – but I’m really proud of a lot of the dialogue bits I had. I think Jared and I did a really good job of cleaning up the script, and I very happy with the bits in the last two paragraphs. But personally, I’m most proud of the editing I did on the last night – I caught a huge error involving Qui-Gon Jin (who isn’t in the script) and I made sure we added Yoda to the list of characters.

I wish there’d been a better way to resolve the time-zone difference – if I make it out of the boardroom this time, I plan on exploring options beyond just trying to get up early, in order to contribute maximum discussion.

RAY– Courtland, whose decision was it to make Lucia the main focus of the story, and mainly tell the story through her eyes?

COURTLAND– Mostly mine, although I don’t think the story was being told through her eyes as there were scenes in which she wasn’t present.  I felt that we needed someone to change or grow by the end of the story.   That’s difficult to do with established properties who need to return to their respective universes largely unchanged.  Lucia was meant to be more of a way of bringing the characters together in a way that made sense to their respective universes and give them a goal to work towards by the end of the story.  We definitely didn’t intend to use her, or see her in any way, as a Mary Sue but I can see how she might be interpreted as a McGuffin.  The character existed in early versions of the story when we were bringing in The Neverending Story but it was my insistence that she be the character who changes and who was responsible both for bringing the universes together and putting them back in their place.

RAY– Why did you pick Ryan and Giulie as your two picks? Also, what were their best contributions to this week’s task?

COURTLAND– A couple other members of the team requested to come with me but I made the decision based solely on who I felt did the most work on the project.  Ryan and Giulie didn’t put in nearly as much writing time as the rest of us.  The contributions they made were great but I felt like Steve, Jared and particularly Ron and I did the bulk of the heavy lifting on this one.  Ryan came through at the end and helped out quite a bit with the editing.  Giulie’s trailer was a great addition but fell outside the requirements of the project. I felt her time would have been better spent working on the outline and commenting on ideas.

RAY- If you get the chance to PM again in the future, what do you think you’ll change up?

COURTLAND– I would definitely assert myself more earlier in the process.  I tried to be diplomatic at first but as the week went on, we were discussing minor points to death when we should have been writing.  It took a day or two of insisting that people stop commenting and start adding to the outline before it happened.  The time zone differences were difficult but people were not taking the initiative they needed to. I also let people toy with favorite characters/franchises a little too long who weren’t a good fit.  It’s tough to have to be the one to tell someone they’re idea isn’t a good fit but I think we wasted too much time trying to make some of those ideas work when I should have just said no from the beginning.

GLENN– Courtland, what made you take on the Project Manager gig this week?

COURTLAND– Mostly time.  I’m a teacher and I’m on summer vacation right now so I’ve probably got a lot more free time than the rest of the team.  Though it’s been a busy week for my family at home, I had a lot of time during the day to put into the project.

GLENN– Is there anything you would have changed if you were doing it on your own?

COURTLAND– I’m happy with the final product and a lot of what’s there is a reflection of my sensibilities and the result of changes I made to the characters or story.  That said, I think a big stumbling block for us was the direction in which we started working. I wanted to put the team together first and then come up with a problem for them to solve. The rest of the group wanted the opposite.  I’m not a big fan of crossovers in general but the ones that work for me always feature characters who either make sense or work well together.  I think we struggled quite a bit coming up with properties that would serve the story we came up with.  I also probably wouldn’t have used Star Wars as a franchise. As a property, it’s been very closed off from crossovers and it didn’t feel like a great fit. I think we made it work as best as we could and I like some of the face offs and iconic images we were able to spin with Obi Wan but The Emperor was a tough villain to write and felt out of place to me.  I also wanted Dr. Who to play a more prominent role since we were dealing with time travel and multiple universes. The problem with that is that I don’t watch Dr. Who or know that much about him so I had to leave it up to other members of the team to take on those parts of the outline.

Within the story, there were quite a few changes that I made.  I had a pretty heavy hand nixing some things I felt weren’t working or fixing characters who I felt were acting out of character.  Some of that resulted in what landed us here but others will go largely unnoticed.  Earlier drafts of the outline had Ripley being distrustful of Lucia because she had superpowers and wasn’t human but I felt Ripley’s maternal instinct would kick in the same way it did with Newt.  In other scenes The Emperor was too violent and physical, especially towards Lucia, and I wanted him portrayed as more of a manipulator.  So while there are some things I would have changed, this was a collaboration and I had to work with my peers. Anything that I felt strongly about, I made sure was changed which I think is only fair since I was guaranteed to be sitting here if we were sent to the boardroom.

If I had been working by myself, this probably would have been a street level crossover and less of a space epic.  Those kinds of crossovers have always worked better in my imagination because you can picture those characters already sharing a world and don’t need to explain why they’re together in the first place.

GLENN- How are you finding the game overall?

COURTLAND- Loving it.  No matter how far I get, I’m going to come out a stronger writer and creator. Writing is something I’ve become more serious about in the last couple of years and Grayhaven has been a huge part of that.  I don’t have a lot of friends who write and those who do, don’t write comics so it’s been great getting to break down stories and compare ideas with other aspiring writers in this and hopefully future challenges.

GLENN– Who should be fired?

COURTLAND– We were really hoping no one would ask this question.  We were also really hoping that we’d all get a pass when William and Mary dropped out.  Of course we were also hoping to avoid the boardroom entirely but here we are.  Oh well.

Giulie should be fired.  She was largely absent from the creative process and what she did contribute fell outside the requirements of the challenge.  The trailer was really cool but was something we should have worked on after all our requirements were met and we were editing this thing right up until Saturday morning.

GLENN- Giulie, it seems that apart from an exceptional video close to the end your contribution to the task was relatively light, any particular reason?

GIULIE– I mentioned this above. There were conversations held in google chat, so we can work from real time answers. I did comment on the google doc (some of them were questions) making sure I was on the same page…but again sensibilities and time zones were a conflict.

GLENN– Is there anything about the pitch you would change had you done it on your own?

GIULIE– If this was my own thing I would’ve changed everything. I’m a big fan of 80s films (animation, horror, adventure) and would’ve focused on those. But I did like the theme.

GLENN– Did it annoy you that when the pitch changed your video had to be removed after the work you’d done on it?

GIULIE– Frustrated is a better word. And being on the west coast, yes I was the last to know.

GLENN- Who should be fired?

GIULIE– I have someone in mind but I’ll be diplomatic and not state it here.

GLENN- Thanks, Giulie. Ryan, you’ve been in the bottom 3 two weeks in a row. Is this deterring you?

RYAN- I gotta be honest – bottom 2 twice in a row is undeniably brutal, but “deterred” isn’t the right word. I put a lot of work into this round, and felt very strongly about our choices and how we handled the challenge. I admit that I need to find new ways of working around the time difference, but I feel that I contributed a fair amount.

GLENN- Is there anything you would have changed if you’d done it on your own?

RYAN- As to what I would change if the pitch was mine? I would have kept Jareth (from Labyrinth) in the story. Labyrinth not only represented a fifth franchise, but Jareth was this really interesting malevolent trickster villain – he manipulated Lucia’s desires and fears against her, and used her to trap the heroes and villains outside of their own universes. I liked how it worked with the theme of Lucia in this conflict between black-and-whites and gray areas. There was this chaotic evil to idea that I loved. Furthermore, I wanted to do a lot more with the setting. I originally pictured all of the events of the story taking place in this elaborate, nightmarish, twisted version of the hospital where Lucia was being treated, and nowhere else. I had this image of a Xenomorph in a nurse’s outfit that was comically horrifying that I really wanted to see in there – one of those “great small character moments” you talked about in our critique.  And obviously now, after reading all of your critiques, we needed to focus a lot more on structure and less on elaborate detail. Sometimes, less is more.

GLENN– Who should be fired?

RYAN- There’s not unbiased way to answer that. Clearly, I was really hindered by the time difference, but that was my responsibility to overcome. Maybe my inefficiency in that regard merits me being fired. I believe we all contributed our hearts out, equally; Giulie and I were less active in actual discussion, but she worked her butt off on that trailer, and I was constantly revising little errors and alterations in the script.

A SHORT TIME LATER The judges conferred and debated the merits of each contestant. Did Courtland bring the right two people with him into the Boardroom? The judges were split on that. Was there a lack of leadership on Courtland’s part to delegate and oversee the project or did Ryan and Giulie just not make the best decisions with their time? The biggest decision was whether anyone should get fired this week given that two people had to leave for person reasons in the middle of the contest.

AND NOW back to the Boardroom.

RAY– Okay, the judges have conferred after hearing all your answers. This was tricky, because this is the first real firing of the game. Shane resigned and six others had to leave the game. But we need to get down to one, so it needs to be done. We appreciate the in-depth answers for the most part, and you all seemed to want to fight to stay in this game.

Courtland, you put a ton of work into this challenge and put together an impressive pitch. We all felt that the team felt a bit disorganized at times, and it showed in some parts. But we also appreciate ambition, and it takes confidence to step up as team leader for the first team challenge. We feel you showed a lot of potential this week, and for that reason, we want to see you continue in this game. You will not be fired.

So that leaves us with Ryan and Giulie. Both of you have had a rough two weeks. Ryan, you were bottom three in the first challenge, while Giulie, you barely avoided it. And this week, you were both troubled by time zones, which limited your participation. Ryan, you put in an effort, but the difference showed compared to the other contestants. Giulie, you spent most of your time this week working on an admittedly impressive trailer, but it wasn’t necessary to the project and didn’t make the final cut.

We had to look at the two weeks overall, and decide which of you seemed to be showing more growth from week to week, and who we wanted to see more from next week.

Ryan, that’s you. Which means, unfortunately, Giulie, you’re fired.

That’s all for this week’s boardroom. The next team challenge will be posted tomorrow.

2 Responses to GRAYHAVEN COMICS APPRENTICE- 2nd Challenge- The Boardroom

  1. Mary August 5, 2013 at 12:51 am #

    I would like to wish Giulie the very best of luck. This was a tough competition this week with many challenges. Everyone should be proud of their achievements.

    And just to clarify, I did not leave the competition. It was William and Forrest who had to withdraw.

    There’s still one woman seated in the Boardroom, Fanboys!

    • Courtland August 5, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

      Sorry about that Mary. Don’t know why I thought it was you who left.

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