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Posts tagged ‘graphic novel’

CASE STUDY: Of Games and (going with your) Guts

January 12, 2015


CP Study

(by Brooke Burgess)

Happy New Year, kittens and cats!  With 2015 well underway, I find myself shifting gears out of (fiscal) necessity. It happens. The Beast must be fed, and those games and gadgets and goodies aren’t gonna buy themselves, right? Pity.

Most of us don’t have the luxury of making the things we want to make most the time. Instead, our stars tend to align in service of other masters.  That’s where the term ‘service work’ comes from — it’s your focus and sweat, in varying measures of servitude. So all you can do is cross your fingers, twiddle your rosaries, and pray for decent pay, benevolent bosses, and a pinch of artistic satisfaction after the dice are rolled. I’ve just been lucky to get a few more sevens than snake-eyes.

Somehow — whilst chiseling away at the narrative marble to carve out screenplays, a book, a few comics (animated and otherwise), and potentially cool stuff that never saw the light of day — I’ve been able to fashion a (nearly) functional balance between passion projects and rewarding contracts. Writing and narrative design. Animation. Interactive stuff. You can even scope some of it here.

And I’m about to start work on another one, helmed by one of my fav’ game industry pals. We first collaborated on a pretty cool Japanese co-produced PS2 launch game. This was easily one of the most rewarding and educational experiences of my professional life; the scope was massive, the timeline tight, and the team endlessly ambitious. 15 years on, and things have come full circle in many ways. Colour me optimistic.


But it doesn’t always work out so smoothly. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that I swore I’d never work on a game contract again.

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September 1, 2014



(by Brooke Burgess)

Thanks in great part to your pom-pom waving and flashflood of generosity, my first children’s fiction novel — The Cat’s Maw — is complete. It’s in the final stage of layout approvals, and I’m taking care to tweak for optimal print and eBook display whilst squashing any lingering typo bugs. (If you’re a reviewer, and simply can’t wait until the galleys are ready, then feel free to ping me for a ‘99.5% final’ PDF.)

As a debuting indie author every day is a school day, so I’m passing on seven of the tastiest morsels of knowledge gleaned thus far (some bits most certainly culled from the Journals of Duh).

At the very least, you won’t be in utter darkness after your stab at NaNoWriMo this November :D

CM2 Pimp


DIGITAL NOMAD, YO (You can write anywhere)

It’s a brave new world, my friends.

You don’t need a penthouse office. You don’t a need a big-screen, quantum-powered desktop. You don’t a suburban castle with moat filled with craft brew and a 2.3 car garage.


I’m all about ‘setting’ when it comes to getting into the scribing mood, so I needed somewhere special – and specifically feline – to tackle the first volume in The Shadowland Saga. And since ancient Egypt was a little outside the budget, a remote corner of Southeast Asia proved the next best base of operations. $500/month for a bungalow, a scooter, and three tasty squares a day?  Sign me up, slappy.

But this wasn’t just any old fiscally responsible nook — this was a remote jungle island teeming with CATS – a tiny Muslim fishing community with no natural predators (even the cobras fear kitty here!) and a respect for all things fierce and four-footed.

May I say it again:  have WIFI, will travel…and you can too!



GIVING AWAY THE COW (Free reads = free advertising)

In April of this year, I began teasing chapters from an early edit of the book on WATTPAD – considered the social network for writers and readers of all ages. Billing the tale as the opening shot in a ‘contemporary fantasy-adventure epic’, I posted the first 6 chapters and crossed my fingers for a response…

Two months later, I was asked to feature the story in its entirety. In less that 8 weeks, the response has been astounding: chapter reads have topped 140K, along with a tsunami of ‘Likes’, shares, reading-list adds, and passionate comments and questions from an engaged and faithful audience.

Am I worried that posting content for free will dilute book sales come November?  Not so much, considering that this exercise has helped to build great early buzz between readers of my genre. Not to mention the fact that the official eBook and print versions will have exclusive content that’ll get the hardcore faithful twitching like a dignified kitty after catnip tea. ;)

It really is a brilliant time for aspiring authors to chart a course and steer their own damn ships.

Enter the Shadowlands...

COMING SOON (Book Trailers are a thing)

It’s seems illogical – how can you cut a promo with audio and compelling visuals for a work that’s meant to exist solely in a reader’s mind? Still, in recent years, it seems that book trailers have progressed from a rarity to the norm in mainstream publishing. The goal is to sell the feeling of the story in a bite-sized chunk of AV goodness to a literary audience.

The Cat’s Maw is a dark feline fairytale with fantasy, mystery, and adventure elements for brave young readers – think ‘middle grade’ (9-12yrs) — and for all you creepy kids at heart.

I think we pulled it off, don’t you?


This 90sec piece features the haunting narration of Michael Dobson (Transformers, Batman: Black and White, Broken Saints), a chilling score by Tobias Tinker (Broken Saints, I Am Legend shorts, Hellboy 2 shorts), and original art by Sara Machajewski, Welkyna, David Cameron Sloan and more.

It was conceived and designed to set stage for the mysterious saga to come by teasing a major piece of its mythology puzzle — trust me, once you’ve read Book I, you’ll see exactly how potent this bit of promo is.  :-)


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January 7, 2014


The Edit

I’m about to edit a book. Seems like a straightforward mission statement, right? But for me, the prose editing process generates a special, singular kind of fear. I’ll get to that in a second.

When you’re launching an initial assault on the blank page, there’s a leap-into-the-void, roll-the-goddamn-dice, what’s-the-worst-that-can-happen? kinda quality to the whole thing. That’s why I actually enjoyed the NaNoWriMo exercise – you show up, put your head down, and commit to your daily word count. That’s it. So, if your outline was strong enough, and your characters were clearly defined, and you respected your narrative roadmap (no matter how many shortcuts or off-road excursions you indulged in along the way), you’re gonna end up with something. And, unless you’re a complete tool, said thing will resemble an actual ‘story’, with words and paragraphs and dialogue and chapters and a beginning, middle, and end. Groovy.

But then comes the hard part. You see, in keeping with my oft-stated transmedia philosophy, Storytelling (on singular or multiple platforms) is akin to the mining, cutting, and polishing of a precious gem. Writing in prose has only reaffirmed that for me. The story outline is where one surveys the land and takes soil samples. The first draft is digging and sifting until you find the raw stone. Which makes the hardest part – the detailed cutting and polishing phases, which give the stone its unique beauty and shine — the edit.

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‘RISEN’ : A Transmedia Strategy Overview

November 21, 2012



Apologies for the stretch of incommunicado, folks – I blame it on a frenzied mix of travel, research, and project launches – but I wanted to keep you posted on what’s baking in the transmedia oven.

You might’ve noticed a feature I have in development in the PROJECTS section called Risen.  Well, it’s still very much alive;  there’s a third draft of the screenplay nearing completion, a graphic novel ‘package’ with artist attached, and cross-platform strategizing fully in progress.   And now, you can peer behind the proverbial curtain and see some of the lever and pulley action that goes into prepping an original IP for the transmedia stage.


At a remote mountain sanctuary, a disabled orphan receives a revolutionary implant to restore his health.  But when the young man finds himself able to manipulate the digital world with his mind?  Then it’s a race for answers – and for civilization itself – against rogue military, an obsessed scientist, and the terrifying Consciousness awakening within him.

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PLATFORM:  Graphic Novel (96 pages)

GENRE:  Psychological Thriller / Horror

CLIENT:  In-House IP / Arcana Comics

Featuring the pencil and inking talents of hot newcomer Dane Cypel, the rich colour palette of Sara Machajewski, and based on an original concept by rising genre star Curry HitchbornBECOMING is my return to graphic novel storytelling after completing the original version of Broken Saints in 2003!


When a troubled student at a remote university challenges his professor to share his ‘secret knowledge’, he is drawn into a horrifying game of life and death.  To play, he will learn that the only rule is PAIN, and that the only key to salvation is the desire to KNOW…and the WILL to overcome.  


(*trailer features original music by yours truly and Tobias Tinker – cut and conceived by BB)


August 30, 2012




It feels like I’ve been teasing this project forever…

You can get the ‘official poop’ from the press release here, and the publisher page here.  Expect exclusive pics, interviews, and creative revelations in this space soon!

And, if you’re the impatient (and tablet-toting) type, snag Act 1 from COMIXOLOGY!  They’ll be releasing the follow up parts in Sept and Oct before the official print release later in November.

Special thanks to Saintly maestro Tobias Tinker for the chilling trailer tune, which we hammered out together in his family’s idyllic country home last month.  As a result, I’m seriously craving more quality collaboration :D

‘BECOMING’ to Premiere at SDCC this week!!!

July 9, 2012



If you’re one of the lucky ‘few’ (ie: 180,000 genre fans and professionals) making the pilgrimage to San Diego this week for Comic Con, be sure to drop by Booth # 2415 and scope out the advance release of my new graphic novel:  BECOMING.

96 Pages.  Two years in the making.  And only 50 copies available!!!

After the big show, Arcana will be releasing the book digitally (for tablets and mobiles) in three acts between August and November, with print versions hitting Amazon and major retailers before Thanksgiving.  So be sure to watch this space for the latest scoops, interviews, and reviews from around the WWW, and spread the good word :)

What’s YOUR Story?

June 6, 2012



Special thanks to Hulo Films for the shoot/edit, and Tobias Tinker for the tunes!




PLATFORM(S):  Graphic Novel / TV Pitch / Web

GENRE:   Sci-Fi

CLIENT:  3Brane Entertainment

Collaborating with established producer and IP creator Nastasha Baron (Kingdoms of Grace) to package her exciting new sci-fi graphic novel project, and capitalize on its transmedia potential.  With two completed issues (available in print and digital), we focused on the following strategy to get the property ready for the spotlight:

  • Working from existing bible outlines, breaking out a story arc that would clearly showcase what an initial ‘season’ of television would look like.   This would be then be adapted to a ‘stand alone’ graphic novel, comprised of five acts/issues.
  • Building a ‘tastemaker’ presence on Tumblr, employing daily genre posts (focusing on mainstream projects with similar themes and appeal) to engage her core audience.  In less than 6 months, her ‘geek oasis’ has received countless post reblogs and likes, with regular mentions of Grey Seal increasing brand awareness well ahead of any official release.
  • Consulting on all aspects of packaging including: logline, series summary, comparative analysis, broadcaster pitches, indy fundraising, and long-term transmedia strategy.
  • ADR direction of Tamoh Penikett (BSG) for the Grey Seal motion comic trailer.


Lt Commander Trevor Jones.  US Navy Seal.  Decorated veteran….and paraplegic.  A man trapped in a sweeping conspiracy on this world — and a puppet for forces from another.  Follow his struggle to uncover the truth behind haunting flashes of ‘missing time’, a powerful alien artifact, and the mind-bending possibility that he’s much more than human:  he’s the GREY SEAL.




PLATFORM:  Feature Film

GENRE:  Contemporary Sci-Fi


LOGLINE:  Sheltered in a remote orphanage, a disabled teen (JACOB PRICE – 16) has terrifying visions of a technological apocalypse.  Little does he realize that the real battle will be waged within his very cells…and that the future of the human race will be HIS to decide.

With an original short story treatment, multi-stage development financing from Telefilm Canada and Saskfilm was secured for this teen sci-fi high concept.  Reminiscent of ‘thinking man’ cult hits including The Lawnmower Man, The Matrix, and Chronicle,  three (3) screenplay drafts have been successfully completed and reviewed by major distributors.  You can view the digital pitch package here, which includes some sweet concept art by David Cameron Sloan. UPDATE: Or check out the motion-comic proof-of-concept right here!



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