Hockey, Love, & Guts
So this is a story that I’ve been working on since the latter days of pre-production as a storyboard artist on “9.” It started as they usually start, a sketch, a character, a feeling, which then develops into a character’s life, the other character’s in that character’s life, a story, a purpose, and so on. I’ve been very hesitant to just let the ideas out like this, but alas it seems that I have to let them go a little bit to be able to share them and hence develop them further. For now I’ll say that girls field hockey isn’t what I even expected to be interested in, but as I learned from a film professor dear to me: “write what you know? NO!” What he was saying was that the mantra of “write what you know” is far too limiting, and that rather we should be thinking about writing what we feel.
“Hockey, Love, & Guts” is first and foremost a story of friendship between two high school girls, Pearl and Mercedes, who have a special kind of friendship, a special kind of love: hockey love. Now now, I know this may be taken out of context very easily, but that is exactly my point of contention; I find love stories to be too easy to describe. I mean, do we really need any more romantic comedies or love dramas? What I want to explore is a love which I find more ambiguous than that, the love of friendship. I think there is a certain mystery about female friendships and the interest in the sport came in hand-in-hand with that mystery in the last couple of years. While working on my last film which featured a female lead, I explored a lot of nuances in animation at what makes a character male or female, beyond just the stereotypes that dominate the medium. Also, there so much feminist history tied to field hockey that I couldn’t ignore, and hence, not knowing much about it, I set out to create a sports drama.
The question of choice of medium still permeates in my head, but I found that after having done two animated short films (and loving every minute of it,) I felt that the steps of the process that I enjoyed the most were story, animation, and visual development. As my ideas were getting bigger and bigger, I knew I couldn’t make a full animated feature or series on my own, and the idea of making a comic felt like the perfect medium to bring all these things together in a way that I could actually accomplish something. Of course, I’ve never done a comic myself, but I sure as hell read a lot of them. In other words, “Hockey, Love, & Guts” is the project I am writing to see if I can really tell a story with purpose and drama that involves themes that I want to see brought to sequential art more often.
As I’m writing the script and developing how the final look of the pages will be, I’m also just learning how to do page layout and think in terms of space, rather than time, which is what I’m more used to. My experience in storyboarding helps in just getting the ideas out there, even though it feels like a safety crutch when approaching a comic project. I don’t really consider myself a clean up artist, and I tend to enjoy things that look rough much more, so defining that sensibility is also another great difficulty. But, at least I know I want to keep things in black & white, with the occasional grayscale / ink wash pages.
Either way, it’s something that I need to get out there as I’ve stated before, so expect more sketches like this on a more usual basis. Any help is of course appreciated, especially when it comes to the actual sport. On that note, I better get back to reading more Scott McCloud…
PS: up next, other ideas in visual development, in color!