Recently, we undertook the first steps to picking the next projects that CPT will work on. It’s an ongoing process, and I think the best part of it has been that every ensemble member went into it with a strong commitment to honing their skills as collaborators and providing constructive feedback.
For me personally though, the best part about this proposal process was that it gave me a reason to go back to something I used to love doing: drawing comics.
For my project, I proposed a short film, which I decided to describe using a storyboard instead of a written plot summary. It was just a whim, but I got SO into it. I pulled out all my old drawing supplies – all those fancy #6B charcoal pencils and weird wax pens – and went to work. I sketched on the subway going to work, at work in my little tech booth, and sitting in bed.
In this process, I realized that I had forgotten that I love drawing comics. In high school, I drew constantly. Friends having boy problems? They get a comic. Gym teacher being an ass? He gets satirized. I had a running series of comics about my high school drama teacher called, “Phyllis!” The running joke was that she secretly transformed into a raccoon at night and lived in the school vending machines.
When I graduated, I took the “Phyllis” comics, which were almost a full book in length, and hid them in on old lighting board manual in the school tech booth (So, anyone from Langley High reading this – crack open the ETC Express binder for a surprise!) I still don’t think they’ve ever been seen by more than one other person.
I left my comics there and went on with my life, and to college. When I drew, it was for classes like dlab and costumes rendering. It didn’t seem so important to keep up the childish habit of drawing the people around me.
Going back to it for the storyboard of my proposal was like running into an old friend. At first, it felt a bit awkward, but then it was natural. I honestly didn’t like most of the finished product, I thought it was pretty slapdash, since I did it all over the course of a few days. However, the response was amazing. I had so many ensemble members reach out just to say they liked the storyboard, and to ask questions about it and me drawing. To everyone who spoke to me about it – Thank you. You made me smile and feel supported.
I don’t think my original project fits the parameters of the CPT mission anymore, and I have absolutely no problem with that. I had so much fun creating the proposal that I feel like I already accomplished something. I know that whatever projects we create, I could put those drawing skills to good use by story boarding the script, or doing a series of drawings to go along with a podcast, or maybe making a comic about our rehearsal process. That’s what CPT is all about – using our skills as artists, collaborators, and thinkers to further our mission and help something we all believe in become a reality, and having a great time in the process.