As with most work notes, just a log for myself: I just finished writing and filed issue nine of THE BATMAN’S GRAVE. Here’s a picture from issue 8, which I proofed the other day. Three issues to go. Unemployment beckons. So does sleep, and not doing a damn thing tomorrow other than sleep some more.
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As with most work notes, just a log for myself: just filed the first draft of HEAVEN’S FOREST 108, the final episode of the season. So there’s nothing left but a rewrite and a polish of episode 1 because I thought of a tweak to add there. But, basically, all the heavy lifting is done, it’s off the board, the hard part is all over, and it’s in the hands of my poor co-directors to make sense of and turn into something worth watching.
I’m off for a whisky.
I just got pointed at this tweet. Details are over at this link here.
Yes, there is an evil Batman who is also a T-Rex. This is a thing I discovered when I was asked to write a two-page short comic about an evil Batman who is also a T-Rex. This is out on August 25.
This is lockdown psychosis in full effect. “Hey, Warren, Scott Snyder invented an evil Batman who is also a T-Rex. Can you do me a two-page origin story of The Evil Batman Who Is Also A T-Rex?” And I say yes. Obviously.
So here’s the thing. Our director, Sam Deats — who is running for cover right now and cursing my name — cried a lot during the end of Season 2. He cried at the script, he cried during the recording, he cried a lot. Sam’s a nice, human guy. He feels emotions.
Now, during Season 3, my scripts got looser and more conversational. I knew Sam and Adam and the team, I knew my actors, and sometimes the scripts became more like a letter, as we developed shorthands and became more comfortable with each other. And, by the end of season 3, I knew that, to obtain certain effects, all I had to do was ask for them. Or, well…. here’s a bit from the end of 310.
Yes, everyone on the show hates me. And quite rightly.
So, we had our Netflix call about the 28-day data on CASTLEVANIA Season 3 last week. And, because Netflix data is protected, I can’t actually tell you all the exact numbers. What I can say is that season 3’s popularity was an order of magnitude over that of season 2, and season 2 was popular enough to get us season 3. It turns out season 3 did, really, shockingly well. Shows tend to show a little attrition in the third season, and it was, quote, “unusual” to see the audience actually rise by a multiple factor.
Season three was in the Netflix Top 10 — not for animation, not for tv, but for all Netflix content — for a week or two in 40 countries. That was huge. Thanks to everyone in the world who posted screenshots of their local Top 10 banner, by the way — all of you joining in to share that made it pretty easy to calculate, and it was wondrous to see them all rolling in.
And I have to thank our partners at NX, and Brittany and Jeff at DKC, for helping us to get there.
So we’re on for season 4. We don’t expect too much of a covid-related delay, but if that one guy who keeps tagging me on IG to demand “season 4 NOW” could fuck off, I’d appreciate it.
Four seasons of an Anglophone adult drama animation about vampires, moral philosophy and toilet paper. Which is not a niche production, but something with an audience of (stops, sees Netflix sniper rifle dot)… many, many millions. Who saw that coming? If it turns out that this weird thing is what prised open the door on doing adult-oriented drama narrative in English language animation, I would be delighted. Because we just proved that the audience is there, in the same numbers that show up for live-action drama.
In conclusion: thanks very much, everybody.
MP: What are the fun challenges that have come up while writing Castlevania?
WE: Mostly the challenge of Netflix saying “have a third season” after I killed Dracula…
From my newsletter, last weekend:
Because I need to move fast and because I can’t sit outside at bars with my notebook, I’m back to developing straight into Word. This has been my usual function for many years, using either just Word or Notepad .txt files and then into Word.
The trick is never to let yourself believe it is pouring fully formed from your fingers into a submittable file. It’s all roughs. It’s layering. It’s starting with the six lines you had, that you footlishly believe constitute “an idea,” and editing them and adding to them and sculpting them and building on them and then realising it’s shit and saving that version, renaming the file and starting again, going back to where you went wrong and rewriting, until you feel like you have the shape of something that might actually be useful.
On my way to bed Friday night, I stopped and scribbled six words in a notebook. I typed them into a Word file around 11am Saturday morning. It is, as I write this bit, 10.30pm Saturday night. I’ve got around a thousand words, including the precis of the story and the end of the story and six markers staking out everything in the story that happens before the end.
All this is not to say I’m a genius, and it’s possible none of those 1000 will survive the clear light of day tomorrow. It’s to say you can develop processes and functions that get you through a thing with efficiency and pleasure. Everyone develops different ones. For some people, this isn’t even the hard part. For others, having a development function gets them through the tougher part.
It’s all layers. Always rewriting over and through previous sentences and words. Just building it up, coat by coat, until it holds some weight.
You have permission to be complete shit in all but the last layer, and you get to decide which layer is the last.