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Speaking of 24-Hour Stuff
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Michael_Harker
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Joined: 17 Mar 2004
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 4:01 pm    Post subject: Speaking of 24-Hour Stuff Reply with quote

I'm organizing a 24-hour comics project this weekend, which may have upwards of 16 participants. It's no 24-hour comics day, but I think its pretty damn cool. It'll be a blast.

Yeah
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Wild Goose
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Joined: 14 Oct 2004
Posts: 3
Location: Columbus

PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 5:07 pm    Post subject: 24 Hour Plays Reply with quote

Sorry Michael, I don't mean to steal your thunder here, but this is something I have to get off my chest.

I can't help but be a little offended by how persistently Mr. McCloud tries to defend his "invention" of the 24 Hour phenomenon. I think it's a wonderful idea, but his insistence on taking credit for it smacks of egotism. A couple of friends of mine met Mr. McCloud at a comic con a couple of years ago, and proudly told him that we were producing a 24 Hour Theatre event, thinking he might find it cool that more folks were doing 24 Hour art. His reply was more along the lines of, "That's great. You know, that was my idea."

We first did a production of 24 Hour Theatre about 3 years ago. Until today, I'd never even heard of Tina Fallon. I heard about 24 Hour Theatre when I was in college and attended a lecture by playwright Paula Vogel. 24 Hour Theatre was one of many ideas she gave us for doing theatre that was a little more dangerous, a little more spontaneous. She explained the rules (which aren't difficult) and the process (again, not difficult). I thought it sounded like a great experience and shared it with my friends back home. We performed it and it was successful enough that we've turned it into a quasi-annual event.

I think it's dubious, at best, to suggest that 24 Hours is an exclusive idea, much less that it should be licensed, thereby prohibiting other theatre companies (including amateur and student productions) from trying the idea without paying a royalty to Ms. Fallon. A little research shows that our company is not alone in doing "unlicensed" versions of 24 Hours: did this theatre company from Madison get their idea from Tina Fallon and Scott McCloud? Could it be that someone else came up with the idea? It's not entirely out of the question, especially when you take into account the simplicity of the rules and the fact that theatre artists are constantly thinking of new ways to reinvent their medium.

I mean, can you even license a method of creation?? If it was a script or some tangible intellectual property, that I could understand, but this is something else entirely. Y'know, just because Marvel Comics has a book called How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way they can't put a license on all the artists who choose to use a sable brush and bristol board and who frame their villains with low-angle shots.

What do the rest of you think about this? I know from the Lawrence Lessig-Disney thing a couple years ago that there's definitely a sentiment out there that certain ideas ought to be in the public domain. Shouldn't 24 Hour Plays be freely available to all artists to use as they wish?
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Michael_Harker
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Joined: 17 Mar 2004
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 9:25 pm    Post subject: Re: 24 Hour Plays Reply with quote

It's funny you should bring this up. Last semester at school I did a 24-hour comic, and I was interviewed in the school paper about it. I mentioned that the 24-hour play, which the theatre dept. was planning, originated with Scott McCloud's idea, which got some theatre kids really pissed off at me, which I found to be hilarious.

That's beside the point. Scott pointing out that he came up with the idea for the 24-hour such and such isn't egotistic at all. If you were in play, and someone happened to mention it, it wouldn't be an egotistical for you to say, "hey, I was in that play." If it's wrong with to get credit for something you've created, why do we have copyright laws?

Scott created something amazing that thousands have enjoyed. He created it in 1990-1991ish (I think.) It was the first 24-hour anything. Although its not inconcievable that somebody else had a similar idea, it is more probably that many 24-hour plays across the country probably came from the same source.

As for licensing "methods of creation", that does seem to be pretty ridiculous if it is, in fact, happening. But Scott's not doing that.
Unless you never take credit for things that you create, you don't really have the right to criticize him for taking credit where its due.
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Eric F Myers
Understands reinventing


Joined: 03 Oct 2003
Posts: 352
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always thought Lord Byron was the first to come up with the 24-hour-write-fest. On some stormy night in 1816 he challenged a group a friends to write their own ghost stories. Mary Shelly came up with Frankenstein. I don't think there where any rules to this contest (and it was a couple of years before Shelly finished the novel), but this is what I always think of when I hear about Scott coming up with his 24-hour challenge.
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William G
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 560
Location: South central...Korea. Word.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, sometimes I think theater students are even more combatative, whining, egotistical, and generally annoying than we comic artists.

I wonder if there's a "Creative-Type Dork" scale?
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Wild Goose
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Joined: 14 Oct 2004
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Location: Columbus

PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the input William. Nothing raises the bar of thoughtful discussion like good ol' fashioned name-calling.

So maybe we all should be giving credit to Lord Byron for coming up with the 24 Hour idea. We could give him a "special thanks" box on the title page of every 24 Hour comic, just like Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster get credit on the title page of every Superman comic. I mean, doesn't that seem silly?

Here's something else that might sound silly: If I went up to Matthew Broderick and said, "Hey, I've never met you before, but I really admire you and I thought you'd get a kick out of knowing that my theatre company is doing a production of Biloxi Blues next month," what do you think he would say?

"Hey that's terrific, I'm really happy that show is still getting produced. Best of luck with your production--you'll have a lot of fun with it."

Or...

"You know, I originated the role on Broadway and starred in the feature film. I hope you give credit where it's due."
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Scott McCloud
The one and only


Joined: 23 May 2001
Posts: 299

PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry, Wild Goose, I'm having trouble figuring out exactly what I'm doing wrong here.

I'm not asking anyone to pay for anything, or claiming a license on anything.

I'm not claiming to have created anything directly except the original 24-hour comics idea in 1990 (whatever your friends may have told you, second-hand, I've always made it clear that the idea for the Plays came from Tina Fallon who got the idea after finding out about the comics).

I mostly only bring it up when there's news related to the phenomenon like 24 Hour Comics Day?which was someone else's idea BTW?or when someone comes up and talks about it.

I've never denigrated or devalued what anyone else has done with the idea or any of the related ideas.

I've never tried to restrict what anyone does with the idea other than the tongue-in-cheek "rules" which anyone is free to ignore and plenty do without any consequences whatsoever.

Am I proud of having set something in motion that's affected thousands of people and travelled across the world? Yes.

Do I have any illusions that I'm in any way in control of or directly responsible for what's happening now? No. Of course not.

So what's the problem??
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Wild Goose
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Joined: 14 Oct 2004
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Location: Columbus

PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, that didn't take long.

I guess the problem is that Tina Fallon doesn't have her own message board, so unfortunately you guys are left to bear the brunt of my bellyaching.

You make a lot of good points, Scott. I'll admit that much of my frustration has been misdirected at you, so for that I apologize. However, I think the way you phrased your 10/13 blog entry indicates that, yeah, on some level you do feel responsible for the 24 Hour Comics/Plays phenomenon, and that you're a little irked when people don't give credit where you feel it's due. This lends credence to the story related to me by my friends.

But that's not what upsets me. At the end of the NY Arts article, reference is made to the fact that Ms. Fallon is pursuing a licensing program for the 24 Hours idea. That's what upsets me. I appreciate her desire to try to capitalize on a good idea, but I don't think she'll be very successful at enforcing a license on it. Unlicensed 24 Hour Play productions have been done far and wide for a number of years now, and to attempt to charge a licensing fee at this point seems awfully futile. And even if it was possible to enforce a license on it, why on earth would you want to? Shouldn't this idea be freely available to anyone who wants to try it?

As Scott mentioned, he has had the good sense to not ask anyone to pay him for any licenses or fees for doing a 24 Hour Comic. Why wouldn't Tina Fallon continue that tradition of goodwill?
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Michael_Harker
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Joined: 17 Mar 2004
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back on topic...

24-hour comic...

I'm going in!!!
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William the guest
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wild Goose wrote:
Thanks for the input William. Nothing raises the bar of thoughtful discussion like good ol' fashioned name-calling.

If it helps, my name calling stems from many years of experience and interaction.

You'd be surprised how people, from Toronto to Guam, are the same in some respects.
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