Newsletter #120: Revealing Batman's Greatest Love
Plus some insight on how a writer's room works!
Hey guys, it's Scott.
It is Tuesday, February 14th. Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you're having a great day, whether you're celebrating with somebody or by yourself, but I hope you're absolutely going out there and celebrating your love of comics, the biggest love affair of your life, in some way. In all seriousness, I do hope you have a great day. I'm sending love from my family to yours. So this week, one tiny bit of housekeeping—Monday is the Final Order Cutoff for Nocterra #12.
I made a little video about it. I won't take up too much time here, but this is the first issue of our third arc. The arc is called “No Brakes” and it's our biggest one yet. It has our heroes searching for this mythical place called Eos that might bring back the light. If you're not reading Nocterra, it's about a darkness called ‘The Big PM’ that covers the earth, and it's 13 years since that happened and now the world is full of monsters because this darkness changes every living creature into a mutant kind of predatory creature called a ‘shade’ (and humans turn into a particularly scary form called ‘shadows’). And so it's about a bunch of truckers, the Ferryman, who are trying to bring back the light and save the earth. I hope you'll check it out, we're really proud of it. Again, it's an easy jumping on point, we recap everything that's happened so far in the issue. And Tony is just blowing it out of the water with his art on this one. And we love the series, so I hope you'll check it out. It's at Netflix, but our hearts really in the comics, and we're proud of it.
Also, thank you guys, so many of you have been a part of the Black Jackett Club, the top tier level of this subscription. It's been great, I have these office hours there and getting to know you and read your work. The fact that you're sharing so much with me and letting me see scripts and comics and starting conversations about where you are and your your journeys as creators or just comic fans has been a real inspiration. I love it. We'll be setting up a date when we'll reopen the Black Jackett Club soon, but for now, we have everything we can handle with it. So we're going to be opening a store soon over on our website that's going to have everything from Best Jackett shirts to links to buy books that we've done, but also DC work that I did before. So that should be good.
But I'm going to answer two questions today, because it is Tuesday. And the first one is a big general one, because I've gotten asked a million times in the last week since the announcement about the animated series of Wytches:
“What is a writer's room, and what is it like in a writers room?”
So a writers room is essentially a group of people that are put together by the studio to pen episodes of a show. And in this case, like you're put together essentially by the showrunner. The showrunner picks people from a pool that's given to them by the studio. So for me, I'm co-showrunning with somebody I really love, who I got to pick, and who I think is just going to elevate the show tremendously, and I'll introduce you to who that is soon, we're just finishing contracts. And so as a showrunner, I'm interviewing everybody, along with her, and we're picking the rest of the room. We'll have about five writers in the room in addition to us, and they’re varying levels. Some of them are new, some of them are more established, and we meet with them and if they love the material and have ideas for it, and we think they'd be a good fit, we hire them. And a writers room is usually anywhere between like 14 and 20 weeks, and we're lucky in that we have the long version, we essentially have 20 to 22 weeks.
And you meet every day, so once it starts it's like a real job where you Zoom, ours is virtual, or you meet in person, but a lot of them are Zooming these days. You Zoom, like a real job, from nine in the morning till lunch, you take a break for lunch and then you Zoom after lunch a bit. And you use a program, either WritersRoom Pro, which is really expensive, or Miro, another one that's easier, I think, to use yourself. But essentially, you use these programs that help you organize the room. So you can talk about a character's arc and then create virtual index cards that walk through that character's arc beat by beat, and you can click on it and it'll tell you “this is Sailor's arc,” and you'll see those cards that you wrote. You can look at it in terms of scares, you have it divided into episodes, and so it creates this color-coded board like a corkboard, almost, but on a computer, that shows you episode one. Like, if a scene is a Sailor scene, it's color-coded a certain way. If it's Charlie scene it's color-coded a different way. If it's a scare, it's color-coded red. And so you get a sense of the music of each episode that way, too. It's really a fun process. I think the key to it, honestly, and I'll talk more about it as we go when we select people, we're still in the process of picking people in the room, but the key is the same key to comics, man. Honestly, it's collaboration. It's being able to get in there and the same thing that worked with me and Greg, same thing that's worked with me at all my collaborators, honestly, is ‘the best idea wins.’ No egos, you're in there to create the best story possible. Don't be precious about something that you did, don't be precious about credit or title or whatever. What you need to be able to prioritize is that you're coming out with the best story possible.
As a showrunner, it's important for me to make sure that everybody gets credit, everybody feels safe, everybody feels heard, all of that kind of stuff. I've heard horror stories about bad rooms, but I'm excited about ours, the mini room that I ran for this ready to get here was a great experience for me, and it sounds like it was good for other people as well. So my hope is that we can create something really positive here. So that's the mechanics of a room. I'll be in there pretty much every day for a number of weeks. So it's a big responsibility. Big job. I've gotten ahead on my comics, luckily, all that stuff, so I should be fine. But yeah, I'll tell you about it as we do it. I can't wait for getting the test animation. That part is what Jock is really handling. We have eight episodes a season, two seasons, I'm excited! It's gonna be good, it's gonna be scary, and I'm very grateful to everybody involved.
So second question is:
Endless13 asks, “since it's Valentine's Day, who's your favorite DC couple?”
Aw, my favorite DC couple is Bruce Wayne and Gotham City. It really is. Like, that is my favorite couple. I know that people say Catwoman and Bruce, but I love reading that couple in some ways, but I don't like them as a couple long-term. I always feel like it's doomed, at least my version of Bruce. Other people's versions are different, like, look at Nolan's version, who eventually left Gotham and retired to marry Catwoman, which is completely legitimate, because that's just his version. My version, that would be an impossibility. He feels married to the city and has responsibility to those, like a soldier, like a warrior. It makes him happy to do what he does, and that's enough for him. He's that character. So any romantic relationship with him, to me, is generally doomed. I don't think that it's a sign of growth on his part, our version of him, to get married and settle down and have kids. I mean, I wish in a lot of ways that would make him happy. But I don't think he's a character wired that way, at least our version. I could see it happening if something dramatic happened to him. There's a story in which he's married with kids that I could wrap my head around, I mean, our version of him, that I could get there. But for me, his true love will always be the city and protecting people from letting what happened to him as a child happen to them, and I think that's a wonderful thing.
I do love Dick and Barbara as my second. I think that both of them growing up under the mantle of the Bat and having such different personalities, Dick being this super, heart on his sleeve, goofball extrovert, almost Spider-Man-like, and her being a lot more kind of grounded daughter of a police commissioner, I think makes for some fantastic dynamics.
And yeah, and I love Clark and Lois as well.
DC has some good couples, but yeah, Batman and Gotham is my favorite. Always will be. Alright guys, thanks again! And yeah, we'll announce a date for the class really soon. It'll be in a week or two, I’m just trying to figure out when this writers room starts and manage that with my kids February breaks. But we'll do it, I can't wait!
P.S. Here's some V-Day memes for the road!