Is your Bible really holy? If not it should be.
Now I’m NOT talking about the BIBLE…Yeah, that one–the book of morals, prophecy, wisdom and suffering written by several authors, interpreted in many ways and used as tool for good and evil throughout human history. Not that book.
I’m talking about a story bible!
When I create a world, I create a Bible…first and formost.
My story bible is the book of knowledge I create that tells me everything I need to know and then-some, about the story I’m working on. Whether it is a comic book, short story, novel, screenplay etc…I always make a bible in one form or another.
I have almost finished building my Bible for I Never Sausage A Place, the sequel to the comic book, Gates–that you can view for free on this website.
A PITCH BOOK vs A BIBLE: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
Below is a video of the pitch book I made for the Gates comic book. This is basically a nicely designed representation of my bible with major edits and the inclusion of new chapters used to sell whoever reads this on the world of Gates.
Pitch books are used to pitch your idea and are an abridged and more advanced form of a bible. They typically have more imagery and are much more geared at selling the awesomeness of your universe to others.
A story bible is a collection of information that allows me as writer to have every secret and detail of my universe, plotted out so that I may write my story.
So here’s a little info about it for all of you folks that are curious as to how I prepare and create a story bible.
HOW I BUILD A STORY BIBLE:
I love to build the bible for my universe. It is the most fun thing that I do because I get to combine all of my favorite create juices into one collection. And by creative juices I mean my art, design and writing skills being used to bring forth my vision.
Now for someone who doesn’t draw or design, just writes, your bible may look different. That is cool. Your bible is a reflection of what you need to get your project completed. Every bible is different…not one are the same. It is the culmination of all of your exciting ideas you are going to be using for your project. Now mine just happens to be a transmedia eBOOK, with art, imagery, video and of course, pros, so it’s got some interesting additions…and it is pretty large.
You have to take into account that the length and complexity of your story idea will usually dictate the size of your bible.
So in building my bible, one must first have the ingredients to cook up their creative masterpiece.
THE MAIN CONTENTS OF MY BIBLE:
At this stage in the game, to me, nothing is sacred in terms of ideas so I will always be editing BUT the bible helps you commit to some ideas more than others as you know they are the backbone of your story. The bible for me is a psychological conquer for my story as it gives me the first semblance of a solid foundation. In my opinion, my bible keeps me from unnecessarily changing things. Sometimes, it is an easy trap for writers to fall into in terms of changing things just for the sake of changing things.
So here are the contents of my bible for my transmedia project, I Never Sausage A Place.
1) Brief Synopsis:
My bible begins with a brief synopsis. For my current needs right now, I have a nice four paragraph (one page) synopsis that summarizes the story of I Never Sausage A Place as well as I need it to be. As This is what I lead off my bible with.
2) Detailed Synopsis/Outline:
Next section is where I take the synopsis and expand it…I write something of hybrid synopsis and outline. These are the major plot points of my story, flushed out in clear fashion. It is here that I have the bones and the guts of my idea, laid out clearly so that I may use them as my guide when I write the story.
This is the ultra detailed version of my character descriptions. Along with my character descriptions, I always include an image. I would prefer to use my art for the images but if I don’t have the artwork completed, I will use some kind of representation of who I think would be a great actor or person in my life, that could play the part of that character.
4) Source Material:
This is usually the biggest chapter of my bible because it contains all of the background history about the setting of my story. For this section, I have a ton of collected articles, wikipedia entries and other resources I have found online that comprise all of the information I need to make my setting consistent. This is the research I need to keep my story entrenched in my world. These are details I need to write fearlessly and educated on my topic.
WORSHIPPING MY BIBLE:
So now I have my bible…what do I do next?
I get old school…and I print it out!
I just print all the four sections I just outlined above and punch holes in them, and place them in a three ringed binder.
Now I have a physical specimen of my ideas in my hand, advancing the psychological foundation of my ideas, even one step further.
Cherish your bible and be grateful that you have completed it because now you are on to the next magical journey…WRITING YOUR STORY!
And remember, you are the GOD of YOUR BIBLE and the creator of your world and all of its’ inhabitants.
1) You can never have to much information when creating a bible for your universe.
2) Specifically in my source material section, when editing out info that I may not need, taking a conservative approach to deleting was a smart move. I feel like the more I have, the better because even if I never use it is there to support me.
3) A synopsis is there to be edited. But get it to a good point and move on. There will be lots of time to edit your synopsis.
4) The psychological power of having completed a bible I can hold in my hand is incredibly strong.
5) Be organic with the contents of your bible. This is all about what I need to create my story. Period. Everything I need is here at my fingertips so I can write unchained.
FOLLOW HAL HEFNER’s JOURNEY INTO THE HOLY BIBLE OF 1987–I NEVER SAUSAGE A PLACE!!!!
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WHAT A LONG STRANGE TRIP IT WAS:
I just returned from an 8 day journey with my two daughters as we traveled into one of the coolest parts of New York, that people in other states know little about. This was a three pronged trip that was vacation+ work + party.
My goal was to get:
1) Photos: to use in the book to use as is or to paint over and manipulate in Photoshop. I can also use all of these photos in videos and as inspiration for all of the additional transmedia elements that go along with the I Never Sausage A Place Property.
2) Videos: I needed to get some great authentic footage of everything from farmlands, to people.
3) Inspired: I needed to get inspired, informed and engulfed by the Mohawk Valley, the woods, the climate and the people.
I needed all three and I got them all.
eBOOK PRODUCTION ON LOCATION:
I was born in a a small town called Ilion, NY, located in the town of German Flatts. I just got back from an 8 day adventure (7 days in New York + 1 day of travelling) in this area of upstate NY, as my crew and I took over 1600 photos, shot hours of video and went on endless journeys of adventure in the outdoors.
Any good writer will give you the advice to “write what you know”. Well I know this place well–Mohawk NY. I know the people, the philosophy of the old, middle aged, young and dead. I know the waterways, trash dumps, woods, forests, caves, sports fields, water towers and oh so much more. I know it’s soul and it knows mine.
Mohawk is named after a tribe fo Iroquois indians that once dominated the area. Some say the name Mohawk menas “people of the flint” others say it was “people of the crystal” and some speculate the word Mohawk is Algonquin for “eaters of flesh”, which is my personal favorite.
Welcome to the town of MAN EATERS! I have always loved these man eating spirits. As a kid, I could feel the spirits of the Indians when I would walk in the woods by myself. There was a smell of olden times in those woods that was in harmony that can only be seen or felt from a child’s eye in such pure form. My goal is to write an ass kicking science fiction book to bring that feeling to all of you in I Never Sausage A Place, the prequel to the Gates comic book.
So I went back to rekindle those senses, memories and realizations once again.
Mohawk is an old, historical area that was integral in the revolutionary war. It is the area in which the Last of The Mohicans took place, in the book by James Fenimore Cooper. The small town of Mohawk is located in the Mohawk Valley. After my recent trip I can honestly say that it is loaded with love, goodness and naivety while also full of evil, mystery, fear, hatred and negativity. And energy.
It was good to go back in the womb and see my roots for inspiration. Inspiration for the ebook I am writing, I Never Sausage A Place.
THE PRODUCTION JOURNEY:
Going back home is an emotionally draining journey that always leaves me feeling cheated that I didn’t get to see enough of this person or that person. Family can take up a lot of your time and then when you add in the friends factor that eats up a lot too…on top of this I was also trying to get a bunch of work done. For the most part, I achieved what I wanted to accomplish but there is more stuff I could not get done. But that’s okay, I have enough to work with for sure.
It was a hell of a ride but one I will never forget and file as one of the most awesome experiences of my life. With some really great people, I experienced the greatest and most puzzling pieces of Mohawk Valley history as I could in seven days.
I felt like I died and rose from the ashes of my corpse while I was there. Just like old times.
To start with, it was hot as hell and I was on the road most of the time hunting for the bizarre, dilapidated, timeless, natural and quintessential staples of the Mohawk Valley. In some places, 1987 is the same, just a little more withered.
MANY THANKS TO MY CREW:
A big thanks goes out to all of my family, friends and acquaintences that helped me on this journey of retrieval.
Nobody helped me more than one creative dude named, SEAN BERRIE . To me he is the THE PHOTO/VIDEO WARLOCK.
This guy was a one man wrecking crew of knowledge and photo and video wizardry. He knew where to go to get what I needed and he was available at all hours of the day and night. We had one hell of a trip and I look forward to our next journey.
SNEAK PEEK: HERE ARE SOME OF THE COOL IMAGES I GOT ON THIS TRIP -
(no explanations–sorry you’ll have to read the book!)
WHAT I LEARNED ON THIS TRIP:
1) BE PREPARED: Do as much as you can to prepare, even if you never need it. The fact that you have it, will help you tremendously.
2) BE ORGANIC: No matter how much you prepare, schedule or hope when laying out plans for production, you always have to consider other factors that will throw a wrench into the inter workings of your design. Whether it’s the weather, or some sort of natural happening, be prepared to be organic and flexible.
3) DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF: Things will go wrong. ALWAYS. So don’t piss and moan about it, suck it up and move on. Focus on the good and the things that went right.
4) IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO IT, FIND SOMEONE WHO DOES TO HELP YOU: Just common sense. Throw down your ego and ask for help. It’s okay to ask for help.
5) FRIENDS and FAMILY are invaluable. Respect and love thy friends and family. They will be there for you in your darkest nights and brightest days.
FOLLOW HAL HEFNER’s VOYAGE THROUGH THE TRASH HEAP OF HIS SOUL
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All my equipment is packed up; video cameras, digital cameras, microphones, computer, ipad, iphone, sketch book, pencils, pens and last but not least, my outline and location schedule book. I’m ready.
GOING TO NEW YORK FOR PRODUCTION:
In just a matter of hours, I leave for upstate NY. Many of you around the world have no idea what upstate NY is…well it’s called Up-State because it is the top of the state, near Canada. It is a very interesting place that many people haven’t a clue that it actually exists. The area is rich in history from many points of you, many documented and others not so documented.
The eBOOK I am currently working on, the prequel to the Gates Comic Book, I Never Sausage A Place, is ALL about upstate NY, in the year 1987. This is the flagship story that falls somewhere in between a John Hughes film and a short story by HP Lovecraft.
WHY NEW YORK?:
Any good writer will give you the advice to “write what you know”. Well I know this area well. I lived around it or in it for 24 years before I moved to Los Angeles in the late 90′s. Like I mentioned in the paragraph earlier, upstate New York has been the home of many historic events and continues to be a hot bed of strange happenings to this day.
The place, mentioned in I Never Sausage A Place, is called Mohawk NY. Mohawk is named after a tribe fo Iroquois indians that once dominated the area, but where cheated, murdered and unfairly treated by white settlers. As a kid, I could feel the spirits of the Indians when I would walk in the woods by myself. I want to bring that feeling to all of you in the eBOOK, I Never Sausage A Place, the prequel to the Gates comic book.
The area is beautiful in the summer and boasts some of the most exquisite natural waterfalls, creeks and streams in New York. It is also loaded with myesterious places that I cannot reveal today as it might tip my hand at some things to come later in the book. But here is a little hint, UFO’s, Haunted Places, Conspiracy Theories and oh, so much more. SO MUCH MORE!
VIDEOS ABOUT THE MOHAWK VALLEY:
The town of Mohawk is nestled in the Mohawk Valley and is loaded with goodness, evil, mystery, terror and much more. Below is a cheery side to a slice of American Pie. Here are some videos about this place to give you an idea of what is ahead of me.
As the nuttiness ensues, I will keep you all posted! Until then…
Mohawk Museum at Weller Library open Monday Nights from 4-7 pm
FOLLOW HAL HEFNER’s JOURNEY THROUGH THE DEPTHS OF THE MOHAWK VALLEY:
firstname.lastname@example.org and please make sure to sign up for the Gates mailing list, or I’ll change my name to Ryan Dempster and you can trade me to the Braves!
LEARNING FROM THE PROFESSIONALS THAT HAVE DONE IT BEFORE:
Let’s face it. Originality is rare. An easy formula for originality is to digest what you love, MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF VARIOUS MEDIA! Once you eat a good helping of art, music, books, movies, games and more…YOU use small pieces of ideas of influence from each thing and regurgitate the combination of ideas into one NEW IDEA!___YOUR IDEA!!!!!
But you can’t get there unless you study the past, present and future. So let’s focus on that for a minute.
You have to learn from everyone else’s mistakes, so that you can make your own.
And you have to pay attention to how things are done.
For an example, last night, I saw the Dark Knight Rises at 12:15 AM. After two hours and forty-four minutes, I still wanted more. I didn’t want it to end.
Well many folks might answer that it was because it was Batman and they have always loved this character, yada, yada, yada. But the reality is, that we love the Batman Trilogy by Chris Nolan, because they are awesome stories. Now if you haven’t seen the Dark Knight Rises yet, I highly suggest you do. It’s well written, well directed and the production design is brilliant. Are many people saying the same thing about DC’s newest Batman comics?
The thing that stood out the most was character development. Currently DC Comics is producing something I’m really not interested in, in their “New 52″ lineup. They lost me a long time ago. So I’ve been a bit jaded and scorned because I love these characters so much and they have helped to shape me as an artist, writer and creator. But I get it, you need to sell books so whatever, I’ve moved on. I get my Batman fix on the big screen and in cartoons these days.
The Batman movies are just amazingly produced pieces of film. The Dark Knight Rises is an exemplary piece of film making 101. You cared about these characters from start to finish. EVERY ONE OF THEM–from the villains to the heroes.
If you aspire to make moves or write or create anything at all, watch this movie and enjoy it AND learn from it.
This is one example of something currently happening that is something to pay attention to and learn from…But there is more!
SUPER COOL NEW TRANSMEDIA eBOOK PROJECTS TO CHECK OUT:
I have found two very cool interactivity entertainment pieces that fall within the transmedia umbrella. They have also caught my eye and I have been paying attention to them as inspirational examples for creating I Never Sausage A Place, my transmedia eBook follow up to the Gates comic book.
1) The Numinous Place by Mark Staufer
The Numinous Place is actually a very, very cool Transmedia Project being developed by a very talented writer by the name of Mark Staufer. The Numinous Place is a mind trip of astronomical proportions and Mark has done an amazing job of getting the mythos for his world flushed out and built up. They currently have a kickstarter campaign that needs your support. Please check it out!
It has a very nice alternate reality based vibe. http://thenuminousplace.com/ The official website gives you more details about all of the realistic news reports, documents and other cool things that come into play to get into this world.
2) Tim Street’s new eBook: VIDS
I met Tim Street last week at a TransmediaLA event at USC. We connected immediately over eBook geekery. He just released a new Transmedia eBook called, VIDS exclusively with iTUNES.
Tim Street is a Transmedia pioneer who has produced some really amazing things since his career kicked off in the 90′s. His wikipedia entry is pretty impressive. Tim has done many things in his career, with Disney and Nickelodeon and he also created the popular website FrenchMaidTV. In addition to this he created a website that was his first real delving into transmedia, called fortheloveofjulie.com fortheloveofjulie.com. Wired magazine called it, “one of the Internet’s creepiest sites… and one of the most convincing hoaxes to hit the Net.”
So we shouldn’t be surprised that Tim has continued on his path of transmedia exploration and has taken on a new project entitled VIDS, which is now in the Itunes store. Tim built it entirely in iBook Author: Which I spoke of in my Journal entry Number 3!
Here is an awesome video from Tim, about Vids. Like my intentions for I Never Sausage A Place, it uses images, pros and videos.
Tim has been kind enough to share his secrets with me about using iBook Author. I’ll keep you posted! In this video Tim says something that rings very, very true. “Whatever you were working on ten years ago, take a look at it and see if you can monetize it now.” Ironically I Never Sausage A Place was something I was looking to do about 13 years ago…but now, just now has it really evolved.
If you feel lucky, bored or lonely, you can sign up for the Gates mailing list. This is listed on the very top left hand column of the website. I promise that I will not email you pictures of the Westboro Baptist Church making their daily offerings to Satan.
FINDING MY TRIBE:
This week I spent a lot of time with Los Angeles’ Transmedia folks. From hanging out at Fourth Wall Studios, to learning, mingling and having fun with the gang at a Tuesday night Transmedia event located at USC.
There is something to be said for the phrase, “birds of a feather, flock together.” It is a very true statement in many ways. I think it definitely applies to all things in life but most importantly a person’s career. If you’re not chasing your passion or working in a place that you like or with people you like–my advice is to leave and find your “kind of people” to work with.
In addition to my illustration and design career here in Los Angeles, CA, I’ve also spent many years as a recruiter for the tech, creative, advertising, marketing and PR industries. When you know exactly what you are staffing because you have personal experience in it, it makes you better than the other goombas doing the same thing.
So the advice I always give people, is find a company to work for that does what you love, when you’re NOT working. For example, if you like cupcakes and you design websites, well find a company that specializes in food and or try approaching your favorite cupcake places to see if you can help them.
My point is this: FIND YOUR TRIBE
And this can either be a social “tribe” to chill with…or a “working tribe”.
But finding a tribe to gel with is important for many reasons and here are a few.
1) These are the people that share the same hobbies, love and passions as you.
2) They can teach you more about what you love and want to know.
3) They can open new doors for you in areas you may not know of currently.
4) Synergy with like-minded folks is priceless.
I have a couple of tribes I belong to. Transmedia LA is one that I am pretty happy with.
I am on the board of directors for a very cool group in Los Angeles, CA that organizes monthly meetups that focus on Transmedia Storytelling. It’s a really awesome group of human beings, and a very talented core of folks who have loads of experience to offer and are kind and willing to help anyone who asks.
TMLA was originally started in 2009 by Scott Walker, founder of Shared Storyworlds.com , Tara Brown and Jay Bushman. These three individuals form the core group of intellects and story lovers who have welcomed me into the Transmedia space with open arms. Through Scott and Tara I have met some AMAZING people and I have learned a ton of things. Jay Bushman, was very instrumental in introducing the founders of Fourth Wall Studios to me–a place I currently work as a contract recruiter, 3 days a week.
I am the Transmedia LA Community Director, meaning I greet folks when they sign up and at meetups and try and help people mingle with others who could help their careers. In this role I have been to some amazing events and I’ve met some awesome people that have helped me out greatly.
Join us if you are in the LA area!
WHY THIS TRANSMEDIA LA TRIBE GOOD FOR ME?
My art tells stories. I write stories and I live life like it is one big story…so I sought out storytellers and found Transmedia LA.
I have always felt like I was more of a storyteller than just a comic book artist, comic book writer or illustrator. I hate labeling myself anything as it limits you and I always feel uncomfortable calling myself anything as I feel I disrespect the other talents by not mentioning them.
I’m at home with other storytellers.
From Transmedia LA I found Storyworld! 2011. A very cool convention that is like one big Meetup that brings the best transmedia folks around the world together, in one building for three days. It’s cool, it’s fun and I met so many great people…from Rich Silverman to Brian Clark. These are good people. Smart people.
It is happening in LA this year…and the leading minds in Transmedia from the entertainment industry including game developers, publishers, film, television and marketing executives, as well as indie producers and content creators. This is the place to learn about what and what not to do and strengthen your story as well as make connections, forge new partnerships and plant the seeds for future collaborations.
It fuckin’ rocks!
If you want to do something creative to tell your story…this is the place to go.
WHAT I HAVE BEEN GRATEFUL FOR IN REMINDERS AND NEW LESSONS THIS WEEK:
1) I’m a lucky guy because I have found my tribe of transmedia enthusiasts, creators and nerds to bounce ideas off of and collaborate with and LEARN FROM!
2) I’m a lucky guy because I have met some really talented people over the last year through this transmedia tribe. They have extremely helpful and influential in my life and creative direction. It’s something to be grateful for.
3) Health brings happiness and happiness is even better when you live your life following your passion.