Those who know me well, know I love the Pixar films. I was fortunate enough to meet the creative development team from Pixar this past Autumn, and it changed my approach to creativity forever.
You may have seen the GeekDad/Wired piece on the bumpy development of the film Brave, which highlights the laser-like focus on story, but what the piece doesn’t get into is that Pixar makes each of their films about 7 times. Seven! They actually construct each film, in animatic form, between five and eight times to screen for both a vaunted ‘Brain Trust’ and the larger Pixar staff community. Everyone can give comments, and the film’s director becomes the arbitrator of which comments to accept and which to reject.
I met the Pixar people while crafting a new booked called ALIENATED, about the only human boy at the high school for aliens at Area 51. It’s a big comedy-adventure that combines the coming of age tales of a John Hughes film with the sci-fi chops of an Amblin movie or the original Men In Black. High School as an alien world!
I realized that Matt Knight and I who were writing it were operating in a vacuum, so we decided to open up the creative development process, literally sharing work-in-process chapters and prose with readers both on and offline.
It was a scary, untraditional move. Conventional wisdom asserts that you never show your work to the public until its 100% final and fully edited. I was doing the opposite. It was a risk; but I felt the bigger risk was continuing to create in a vacuum.
That was nearly eight months ago and now I’m pleased to share that we’ve come to the end of the first phase of iterative creative development and have a full manuscript in hand. We are of course doing serious editing on it before submitting to publishers, but the creative process of including a small group of intended readers has resulted in a funnier, stronger, and more poignant story than had we simply continued on amusing ourselves with the prose.
Thanks Pixar! Thanks for giving me the courage to share writing that wasn’t finished, to be brave enough to open myself up to feedback and criticism at an early stage in order to make the final book that much better.
(psst: You can follow ALIENATED on Facebook)
Scientists today confirmed what we here at alienated books.com have known all along, that there is an all-water planet not all that far from the Earth.
Hot and Steamy
GJ 1214b, or as Groom Lake’s resident ventitent, Octo, calls it, “home,” is the planet that Octo’s parents, Hank and Urtha fled upon discovering that their infant hatchling was actually allergic to water.
Native to the recently "discovered" all water planet GJ1214b
Trading their water world for the hot desert sun of Nevada, Octo prefers life in the dry desert, but Hank and Urtha are confined to a massive, U-shapred tank on the base where Octo routinely pours in bottles of rose wine at family dinner time. Of course, since so many aliens crash on Earth’s water surface (70%), the Bureau of Alien Affairs is lucky to have Hank and Urtha to send out on salvage missions to the deepest seas of our planet.
Speaking with Octo by phone, he expressed dismay about how Earth-bound scientists feel that every planet is their discovery: “I whoa, dude, my peeps have been living there for a long, long time, and just because you two-leggeds finally got a camera with a long enough zoom lens to see it, doesn’t mean you discovered it! Gotta go, think my pizza’s just arrived.”
This weeks it’s been reported that 1950’s President Eisenhower met with aliens at least three times in 1954 according to former government consultant Timothy Good.
Huffington Post Video
“Aliens have made both formal and informal contact with thousands of people throughout the world from all walks of life,” Good commented on Frank Skinner’s BBC2 program, “Opinionated.”
Apparently, in one report, Eisenhower met with aliens described as “nordic looking,” which would certainly explain the rise of both flat-pack furniture and Lego, two “scandinavian” inventions that surely could only come from a higher, alien intelligence.
Of course, we here at Alienatedbooks.com know the truth. A total of 37 different species of extra terrestrials have, in fact, visited Earth, with representatives from each world living on the secret base at Groom Lake, Nevada and working alongside our Earthly governments at the Bureau for Alien Affairs.
And of course, by Nevada state law, the children of these aliens must attend school until they are eighteen, which explains Groom Lake High School.
None of this would have been known until we received secret, classified copies of the diary and memories of Sherman Capote.
We’re busy collating and editing his words into a new book which will reveal the shocking (and surprisingly funny) truth about aliens on Earth and once and for all shine a much needed light into the darkness of conspiracy theories.
Here at ALIENATED towers, we spend a lot of time thinking about, dreaming up, and generally musing on what aliens might look like.
As you’ve seen if you’ve been following the site and reading the beta-chapters, we’ve landed on a few outlandish alien designs: a 20 tentacled cephalopod, a pink lizard with 3 tongues, and a fully digitised organism living in a robotic suit (or, Octo, Sonya, and Robbie to you).
We were glad that we’re not the only ones, however, asking the big question.
As the website sci-tech today reports, Richard Dawkins and acclaimed physicist Lawrence Krauss debated this exact issue, in the context of scientific experiments to create evolution, in a packed forum at Arizona State University recently.
Would alien life forms evolve differently to us under different conditions? Would life on Earth have evolved differently if the underlying conditions (e.g. climate) were different?
As you probably already know, we’re interested in all things alien here at Alienatedbooks.com, and so it’s with great interest that we’re tracking the coming alien invasion of summer 2012.
This year, we count at least five (have we missed any?) major blockbusters en route to invade our cinemas and culture.
Yesterday’s Superbowl showcased the new Disney film, John Carter (of Mars) from Disney, directed by Pixar wizard Andrew Stanton. John Carter, as described by the Huffington Post, looks like a mash-up of Star Wars and Avatar, and is based (loosely) on the Barsoom novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Of course, Will Smith is back in a time-bending instalment of Men In Black, sent back to the 1960’s to fight an alien invasion alongside Tommy Lee Jone’s younger instalment, played by Josh Brollin.
The summer’s big superhero mash-up, The Avengers, features villainous aliens bent on world domination (or enslavement of the human race, or perhaps simply queuing up for an iPad 3).
The U.S. navy goes to war against some form of ocean-dwelling sleeper cell of alien invaders in Battleship (yep, based on the family road trip favourite board game of the same name).
And taking us back to the days of face-sucking aliens is Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, a quasi prequel to the Alien saga.
While we’re busy editing Sherman’s story, we’re also developing the look for Alienated.
We’ve got a new logo:
What do you think?
It’s inspired by Groom Lake High School’s crest:
We’ve also managed, thanks to the help of some expert artists with background in police sketching, to take Sherman’s description of his friends and illustrate them.
Here’s a look at Sherman’s pal Octo:
You can see he’s got three mouths, beaks actually, and twenty, count ’em, twenty tentacles. Often called an octopus, Octo is actually a ventitent from an all water planet. But, since he’s allergic to H20, his parents, Hank and Urtha, brought him to Earth to be raised as a landlubber.
Stay tuned for more visual development, including a fantastic new poster!
Also, be sure to like our Facebook page for updates and fun stuff.