Saturday, September 3, 2016

STGCC 2016: Tom Taylor Reveals How He Plans His Regular Day As A Writer

Dramatist. Screenwriter. Songwriter. Comic Book writer. Best-selling author.


Wait. There's more.

Professional Juggler. Fire-eater!

The awards and achievements of rising star Tom Taylor is simply astounding. Comic book fans will be familiar with Tom's works in the DC Comics series "Injustice: Gods Amongst Us", as well as a list of Star Wars comics published by Dark Horse, before the property was handed over to Marvel in 2015.

Tom has also co-created his own graphic novel by Aussie publishing house Gestalt, together with illustrator James Brouwer, called "The Deep: Here Be Dragons". The book, about the Netktons, a family of sea explorers, won Australia's Aurealis Award for Best illustrated book/graphic novel in 2012. "The Deep" is now a Netflix CG animation series, and was recently aired in the USA beginning June 2016. 

Other than books, he is also known for his various plays. The short "The Example" is probably the most well-known, and has been performed at homeground Australia, the UK, and even in Red Dot Island's The Esplanade in 2009! "The Example" is about the collision of opinions, prejudices, superstition and feelings of distrust when two people meet at a train station where a bag has been abandoned on the platform. The story has also been adapted into a Gestalt Publishing graphic novel, with Tom roping in the help of artist Colin Wilson.

There certainly must be a multi-coloured cloud of fun, clever and thought-provoking ideas floating in Tom Taylor's brain. So, Red Dot Diva and Glam Bloggers Alliance pal Agent W neural probed Tom's brain to see what makes it tick:

Agent W: Between theatre, TV, film and comics (all of which you have worked on), which would you say is the most challenging medium?
Tom: Good question. Different mediums offer different challenges. When you’re working in animation, you can have a great idea, but it’s too expensive to make happen. Similarly, if you’re writing theatre, there’s only so much you can do on a stage. I think comics are the most freeing medium for a writer. Anything you can imagine can be done. A great artist can blow up a planet as easily as they can have two people talking in a kitchen.

Agent W: What’s the difference between working for the big 2, Marvel and DC compared to the smaller publishers, like IDW? Do you prefer complete creator freedom?
Tom: There’s not a lot of difference if you’re working on licensed properties. The years I spent writing Star Wars were very similar to writing Iron Man or Green Lantern. Your characters exist in a world where their actions have consequences for other stories and other creators. Complete creator freedom, on a creator-owned book, can be great. But few things are as awesome as writing Batman or Wolverine. I’m basically being paid to play with the best toys in the world.

Red Dot Diva: Unlike many of us who sit in our cubis at a 9 to 5 job, how do you plan your day as a writer? How do you hone that discipline to meet deadlines and keep coming up with something fresh and creative?
Tom: Ha! Nooooo. I am incredibly ill-disciplined. I can spend hours procrastinating. Similarly, if I get in a flow, I can write all night. The trick is the deadline. You can be terrible at time-management. But that deadline doesn’t change. In comics, editors, pencillers, inkers, colourists and letterers are all relying on you to hit that target or you make their job harder. The chain in TV is even scarier. It starts with the writing. There can be hundreds of people waiting for you to finish so they can start. So, the best motivation is the panic that comes before a deadline, or just really wanting to tell a story.

Agent W: I've personally enjoyed reading your Earth-2 and All New Wolverine. However, even with a strong cast of very interesting women characters in these titles, most comics are still very skewed towards male readers. How do you think the industry can bring more diversity in terms of story-telling into the medium?
Tom: Simple. Employ more women. Employ more people from all walks of life. The entertainment industry as a whole needs to start looking like the world around us. And then, maybe, the stories will actually begin to reflect the real world.

Red Dot Diva: What practical advice would you have for those who are starting out on developing their own creative stories?
Tom: Just create them. I hear from so many people who ‘want to make something’ but don’t start. The secret is to start. And then, the even bigger secret is to finish. If you want to write. Write. Every day. If you want to draw. Draw. Every day. There’s never been a better time to get your work out there. The internet makes it possible for anyone to see your work and, if it’s any good, people WILL notice. Create something. Put it out there. Start now. Don’t even finish reading this interview.

Agent W: What is your opinion regarding the number of critics offering very negative reviews about Suicide Squad compared to a large number of worldwide fans embracing the movie?
Tom: Entertainment is subjective. We all go into an experience hoping to get something out of it. If it delivers what we want, with a few pleasant surprises, we’re happy. If we’re looking for more, something that isn’t present, then we’re not.

Agent W: You've worked with Nicola Scott and Mark Torres (and followed Paul Levitz on Earth-2), all of whom have been to Singapore. What have you heard about Singapore, and what made you decide to come and visit us?
Tom: I actually visited Singapore when I was about eleven years old and I still have very fond memories of it. I remember the night markets well. I remember buying a scorpion in a frame – that was about the best thing ever for an eleven year old. I also remember how welcoming everyone was. I’ve been keen to get back there for a long time. So, I leapt at the chance to when I got the invite. I’m really looking forward to visiting! I hope to see many of you at my signings and panels. But you don’t have to bring me a scorpion, I still have the one I bought when I was eleven. :) 

Well Tom, Red Dot Diva pretty sure the fans here and from the region will make your return to the Red Dot Island even more memorable!

Those wanting to meet Tom Taylor, do get your books ready and head to the STGCC on 10 to 11 September. Perhaps, he could even show off his fantastic juggling skills when he is on stage during his panel on Saturday. If not, fans could try see if he'll sing a song or two while he signs books at Walk of Fame or Kinokuniya's booth H21 on both days. :P

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