The pervading sentiment this week alters between "I have to just muscle through this" and "I'd rather go to the dentist than do my homework." Not so great. I'm in the throes of the latter today, and it's not boding well. T-minus 18 hours til the talent scout comes, and since I've been focusing on trying to catch up on class work, I'm resigned to the fact that I won't have anything new to show him.
There are up-sides, though.. One teacher assured me that last term's work would be just fine, as different people can comment on the same things very differently; i.e. it will still be valuable to see what this weekend's guests think of work that I've had teachers' and other guest artists' thoughts on. A classmate also offered assurances that editors like to see growth: if the same people come next year, and remember me, it's important to them to see how much my work has grown. I didn't expect that anyone would remember me, but who knows? My classmates seem to think highly of my work (even the really good artists).
Something else interesting was a discussion we had in class (instigated by me and perpetuated by everyone else) about conventions. Convention season is starting, and I've been feeling the excitement as people talk about their preparations. Me, I'm not prepared to do any at this point. I need work to show, foremost, and to get my web presence updated/solidified, and I need to learn about the cons around here and then sign up for them in time (i.e. secure table space in the comics/artist alley). My teacher said that he usually ends up alternating a hard year at cons (seven this year, he said, and they were mostly big ones) followed by a soft one--the result of this being more cons = more visibility/awareness + less work done VS fewer cons = less visibility + more work done. Hence the trade-off. If you've got a big event coming up (i.e. marketing your new- or soon-to-be release), you'll want to hit the cons hard and get the word out. This is because, according to my teacher, the purpose of attending cons is NOT to sell things! The purpose is to NETWORK!! Market yourself and your work! Sign stuff and talk to the fans! Meet other creators and businesspeople in your field! Half the point of attending a convention is hanging out with your colleagues after-hours (generally at bars/restaurants) and building those relationships; the comics scene is a tight-knit, hugely social one. And when you're just starting out, go to as many conventions as you can, to get that visibility/networking jump-started. Next term I'm taking a class on self-promotion, which will help me get some of this stuff figured out, and I hope to attend a bunch of local/southeastern cons this season, because I'll need to start exhibiting next year. X3 Hopefully once I'm out of school, I can start doing both east and west coast, cuz I'm not going to turn my back on my peeps. Maybe I'll alternate east/west years or something.
Word count this week brings me to 5,311. I overhauled the story I'm doing for my narrative class, but I still haven't quite wrapped my head around it yet. What we're doing in class involves visualizing your story via The Board: get a bulletin board (or other BB-like surface) and use tape to divide it into four horizontal sections. Label the first row "Act One," the middle two rows "Act Two," and the bottom row "Act Three." Then at the end of your rows, put "Break into Two," "Midpoint," and "Break into Three" (respectively); these are your Major Turns and should be solidified first. Write your beats (from your Beat Sheet) on index cards, one per scene/event, and put them on the board where they go, according to the timing on the Beat Sheet (feel free to label the beats on the tape). Then fill in the blank spots with cards of other scenes you want to put in, and alter, delete, rearrange, etc., until it feels right. (According to Save the Cat, for a 120-minute movie, you should have only nine to ten cards on each line.) Also, in order to give your outline forward momentum, you'll want make sure each scene contains a change in emotion (label the bottom of the card with +- or -+ and explain the change) AND a clear conflict (label with >< and the agenda of each person in the scene: keep it primal (i.e. universal) for best results). It will be helpful to use different color pens according to character arc, threads of theme or repeating imagery, C-plot/D-plot/E-plot, etc. to further visualize.
Once your Board is figured out, you're ready to use it as a jumping off point to actually start writing. And again, since I didn't explain what each beat is supposed to contain, I exhort you to read the book! It's not long and it's highly informative.
And now it's time for me to pull my hair out again while I try to do homework.