And now for something really different…I helped write a webtoon script! Parts 1 and 2 are available on YouTube, and the links are below.
As for the story behind the script…a few months ago, my friend Shu, who helped fact check my short story Hidden Heritage, asked if I’d be interested in a freelance project. She’s one of the owners of JetPens, an online stationery store (if you’re looking for specialty pens, they’re the place to go!). As a way of engaging their customers, they wanted to create an origin story for their green-clad mascot JetDo, and Shu asked if I’d like to write that story.
The invitation literally came out of the blue. I had zero experience doing work for hire. But it sounded like a great opportunity to write in a different style. Plus, Shu is an awesome person, and I was completely on board with her vision for JetDo.
That’s how I wound up on a team with producer Miriam Ling and artist Joshua Banaag. The project felt a lot like making short films in Los Angeles. There was a scope, schedule, and budget. Each collaborator brought something different to the table, but we were collectively striving toward the goal of crafting a cohesive, engaging story. Some writers prefer to have full control over the creative process, but I rather like group brainstorming and enjoyed hashing out JetDo canon with the team.
The other thing reminiscent of my film experience was that the scope changed as we progressed. The biggest change was the format. The story was originally to be printed as a mini-zine so Josh and I started by organizing pictures and text on a paper layout. However, the mini-zine was eventually deemed less cost-effective and less environmentally friendly than a digital format, so we switched to presenting the story as a webtoon.
That meant Josh and I went from an illustrator/author team to an animator/screenwriter team. The change actually made writing easier because I was no longer beholden to my nemesis, word count. However, the brunt of the storytelling shifted from text to images, so I had to keep in mind the amount of time and effort it took to animate scenes while I wrote.
By the way, Josh did an awesome job shifting roles from drawing stills to animating images. I’ve always enjoyed animation, and it was pretty exciting to see the scenes I wrote come to life this way.
So please check it out! It’s free wherever YouTube is available. And I hope you’ll enjoy the tale behind JetPens and JetDo!