Looking for Graphic Novelist

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Are you a cartoonist? An aspiring graphic novelist? Are you familiar with Jeff Smith’s BONE? What about The Walking Dead graphic novels? Do you think you have their talent?

Graphic novels seem to be the way of the future and the direction printed stories are heading. Not that they’ll ever replace the good old fashioned book, but the industry has made ample room for graphic novelizations.

That said, I’ve been working on revising my first book The Man in the Box, the story about a family man who becomes increasingly addicted to revisiting his imaginary childhood world by means of a box to the detriment of his wife and kids.

The story features dark underwater scenes, dinosaurs, half-dead people, a cowboy and his horse, and many other fantastical elements. If you feel you can live up to the likes of Jeff Smith and Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, and even Walt Kelly, feel free to submit some sample pictures of your work. Send them to Author.andrewtoy@gmail.com. Hopefully we’ll be in touch soon!

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How to Merge Creativity in a Professional Environment

People often ask me what one book I’ve read the most. Here’s my answer. It’s not a work of fiction.
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Creativity, Inc. is a book for businesspeople, managers, supervisors, artists, writers, and creative-types of every kind.

It is written by Ed Catmull, the president and cofounder of one of the most fastest-growing and successful companies on the planet.

If I were to start picking out highlights from this book to share with you, I might as well just copy the whole thing word for word in this post, and I don’t think WordPress would give me that much space to write.

As you journey through this insightful book, you’ll come to realize Catmull has reimagined the way business is run.

This isn’t our grandfather’s suit-and-tie world anymore. This is a world where leaders and organizers need to be open to good ideas coming from anywhere.

If you’re more of the creative persuasion, whether you write or draw or sing and dance, this book is equally for you as well. You will be inspired by the grueling and relentless process of storytelling and how to persevere and hone your craft. If you draw, you’ll learn new ways to gain inspiration and even look at the world a little differently.

And if you’re just a Pixar buff, you’ll find loads and loads of fun facts and information about Pixar you can’t find anywhere else.

Don’t think about it. Just get this book. I honestly don’t care who you are or what you do, it will most definitely pertain to you in some way or another.

Cover Design Artists, Apply Here!

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Endever Publishing Studios, LLC is making tremendous headway toward our first book releases. First off, I cannot thank all of you enough who submitted your manuscripts and/or book ideas. I’m amazed at how many awesome ideas there are out there! And feel free to keep ’em coming.

My company has some wonderful news I’ll be sharing in the near future, but before that, I want to open up the floor to artists this time.

As a new and unconventional publishing company, we are mulling over a few different ideas to proceed with our book covers. I’m particularly excited about a few of them, but I’ll refrain from sharing them just yet.

Now, though, I would like to invite anyone and everyone who considers themselves an artist to submit samples of your work and your style to Endever. Here’s how to go about it:

Send up to four pieces of artwork you’ve created that depicts your differing styles. This can include watercolor, Photoshop, photography, CGI, realistic, cartoony, whatever your style(s) is. Show us what you’ve got. Send them as attachments to Endeverpublishing at gmail dot com.  

In the body of your email please include your name, residence, website/blog, and any other pertinent information condensed into a paragraph or shorter. If we are interested in what you show us, I’ll ask for more samples.

By the way, here’s Endever’s blog so you can snoop around and see what we’re about in case you’re still unfamiliar with us: Endeverblog.wordpress.com.

So get submitting and we look forward to seeing what you’ve got!

Pixar Movies: Toy Story

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As you know, I’m really really looking forward to Pixar’s newest movie Inside Out which comes out in one month. MV5BOTgxMDQwMDk0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjU5OTg2NDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Sadly though, this will be my first Pixar movie since A Bug’s Life that I will not be able to see in theaters. Our daughter’s not old enough and I’m not going without my wife and trying to convince my work buddies to go see an animated movie with me would be kinda awkward (at least there’s Jurassic World which we plan on seeing).

So I’m gonna have to wait until it comes on DVD sometime in November.

It’ll be a hard wait, but I’ve got a little countdown going on: I get to watch two Pixar movies a month. By the time I reach the last one, I’ll finally get to watch Inside Out.

So I watched Toy Story last night. What made the movie so popular? What’s the genius behind it? What’s the allure that still holds up today, twenty years later? To be blunt, what makes it so flawless?

Uncle Walt’s nephew, Roy Disney said that every single frame in the movie pushes the story forward.

And I think that’s it. Not a single frame is wasted. The movie makers really did a magnificent job of getting inside a toy’s psych: What makes a toy happy? (To have his purpose fulfilled and be played with.) What is his greatest fear? (To be replaced or lost.) And the movie answers those questions, and not only that, every single person on the planet can relate with these characters.

And the movie broke three rules in the animation genre at the time (I’m shameless enough to admit that I pointed them out when I saw it in the theaters at twelve years old):

screenshot-med-011) It was the first animated movie that was also a buddy movie, where the protagonists had to overcome their stubborn differences to meet a common goal. (Disney was against this, not wanting to break the rule, but the Pixar guys held firm.)

2) The songs were voiced over, not sung by the characters. (The Rescuers did this, too, but not to enhance the story.)

3) It’s the first time the opening credits appeared on screen after the start of the movie, which gave it (and still gives it) a more mature feel, like, this movie isn’t just for kids.

Toy Stoy is one of my desert island movies for sure. I can watch it over and over and not get bored with it, always finding something new (I can’t wait till my kids can start watching it!). And indeed, when I write, I go to movies like Toy Story, and I ask myself continually, What did these guys do so right? 

They told a clear story without wasting time and they dared to break the rules.

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My Top 10 Movies: No. 1

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If you exclude any Disney or Pixar movie, there’s one that, to me, stands head and shoulders above the rest. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I enjoy the simpler films. To me, a story isn’t great based off of what’s told, but rather how it’s told.

Think back to 127 HoursA story about a guy who gets his hand stuck in a cave. But the brilliance is in the telling. Every moment intense and pouring with creativity.

Frost/Nixon covers the story of 20 hour-long interviews with the former president of the United States. Again, a sharp-as-nails film, highly engaging and equally as gripping. But still, so simple.

The King’s Speech is nearly overwhelming because of the historical ramifications that stems from this true story. Just before Hitler reunites Germany against the world, a man who dreams only of a quiet life is forced to take England’s throne after his self-indulgent older brother abdicates the responsibility. Not only must he conquer his fear of power and failure, but he must learn to speak.

Literally.

Having been born into a life of politics and plagued with a speech impediment since he was a boy, the Duke of York is forced to see a speech specialist to help him overcome his stuttering.

It’s a place where we have all found ourselves. We’re born into, or placed into circumstances that we did not orchestrate, and we have been gifted with talents and abilities that, if carried out to fruition, could better our surroundings and the people near us. But our greatest strengths often go hand-in-hand with our greatest weaknesses. Anyone can relate to Bertie’s despair in believing that his deficiency is hopeless. And we can all appreciate his pride and unwillingness to let anyone in and help him – because his story is ours.

I appreciate that this 2010 Academy Award winner for Best Picture is rated R for just a scene or two of brief cursing – only the most prudish among us will not find these scenes highly amusing. Though I understand that there is a PG-13 version for those who want to watch this as a family.

Collin Firth’s performance as Bertie, or King George the VI, rivals Tom Hanks’s Forrest Gump. And Geoffrey Rush as the King’s speech therapist, Lionel Logue, steals every scene just as he did as Captain Barbosa in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

There’s a true hero to be found in King George VI and Lionel Logue. The book that’s based on the diaries of Lionel Logue, The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy, was written by Logue’s grandson, Mark Logue. I cannot recommend this book enough following the movie.

For surely, anyone who watches this – my all-time favorite non-Disney movie – will be starving for more information on the history of Britain when the future Queen Elizabeth was still learning about the ways of the world.

I’m especially excited about the movie about Princess Diana coming out later this yearIf it’s a worthy film, it will complete our own self-made “British trilogy collection.” Starting with The King’s Speech, about Queen Elizabeth’s father, then the conspiracy over his granddaughter-in-law’s death in Diana, and ending with how the Queen coped with the aftermath of her daughter-in-law’s death in The Queen

How fascinating to watch the culmination of history from the reluctant King, half a century ago, to the birth of his great-great grandson, of whom he is appropriately named after.

Imagination Run Amuck

jurassicpark4movieJurassic Park is making its grand reappearance in theaters today. I remember seeing it a few times in theaters twenty years ago. Those were good times.

One of my earliest memories of Sarabeth and I dating long-distance is her mentioning something on the phone about Jurassic Park that I never caught before.

I fell deeper in love with her that day.

This dino-romping, spine-tingling movie is great in so many ways. I like to think it was gutsy of the late author, Michael Crichton, to write an adult novel about people living among dinosaurs.

Amusement park attractions break lose and terrorize the visitors! 

Sounds more like a Goosebumps plot, doesn’t it?

Perhaps Crichton purposefully took a kids’ concept and spun it with a grown-up appeal. It seems like this methodology has taken root over the last couple of years.

You’ve got shows like Once Upon a Time and Grimm – Fairy tales coming to life.

Movies such as Jack the Giant Killer and Hansel and Grettle are stealing Hollywood’s spotlight. And weren’t there several dozen movies about Snow White recently?

And while adult movies are trying to reach for the kid in us, kids movies seem to be appealing more and more to the adult in us. What father can’t relate to Marlin in Finding Nemo? What mother can’t help but root for reconciliation between Marida and the queen in Brave? And need I mention the uncertainty of passing from childhood to adulthood in Toy Story 3?

Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg together created a masterpiece that, in its day, was quite revolutionary – a kids’ movie, wrapped in a grown-up package that will appeal to all ages.

I may be wrong here. I know there are some people who would never let their nine year old watch Jurassic Park. I saw it at that age and I had the time of my life. It was the most fun I ever had being scared out of my wits!

Because they were dinosaurs! I’m not talking about blood-sucking vampires or eye-gouging zombies (or whatever they do), or ungodly exorcisms. I’m talking about good ol’ cowboys-and-Indians type of fun here.

To this day, Jurassic Park influences my storytelling and my day-to-day imagination. (Just the other day I heard what must have been a truck outside, and I asked the girls – the dogs – in all seriousness, “Was that a dinosaur?”)  Those who read my book know what I’m talking about, and see the influence Spielberg has had on me.

I’m not about to tell you to spend $50 to go see it in 3d when you likely already own it (we aren’t). But I am saying that we should appreciate the stories that appeal to both who we are on the outside (tax-paying, hard-working adults) and who we yearn to be on the inside (carefree kids who like to be spooked every now and then).

And who knows? Maybe your kids will be as inspired as I was by Jurassic Park, and, like Crichton, have the courage to let their imagination run amuck.

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Seeking Artist for Children’s Book

0842.StickFigure_StandingI wrote a children’s book complete with stick-figure drawings, which you’ll have a chance to look at in a moment. I’m seeking a publisher or agent to get it printed and published, but in order to really sell it, I need an artist to do the artwork. If anyone is interested (publishers, agents, artists), please email me at adoptingjames@aol.com.

Below I have pasted the manuscript which you are all welcome to look at. Please feel free to leave some feedback, keeping in mind that I might send publishers to this post to see if there is enough interest built up to make this book marketable.

The Giving Tree was one of my favorite picture books growing up. So it makes sense that if I’m going to make my own children’s book, it would be inspired by Shel Silversteen’s masterpiece. I’m not much of an illustrator, so stick-figures is really the best I can do. But since we’re all about stories here, this little story can’t be told without pictures. Check out A Warm Cup of String by Andrew Toy.

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