Writing is definitely one of those things that look easier than they actually are. And a lot of people I know have ideas about stories, books and movies they would love to write, if they only could find the time. I know I do! But even though I don’t do a lot of writing, I have really learned some respect for the art over the years.
Writing comics comes rather easy by now, after many years of doing it. At least I have the technique down, coming up with ideas is a whole other subject. But when it comes to writing other things, such as these little blogs, or descriptions for our online shop, or prefaces for our books etc. I still break a sweat. It’s hard to be witty, concise, while keeping it interesting and bringing the point across. But I think having dabbled in writing makes me appreciate other people’s writing even more.
I’m sure this is true for most subjects. As an amateur guitar player, I think I can appreciate the craftsmanship and achievements of many professional musicians on a different level than a complete layman. Having dabbled in music, I know what it takes to get up on stage and have a vague idea of what it takes to become a star, just like maybe a recreational pilot can appreciate a Blue Angels pilot more than I can.
A friend of mine once told me how he would like to start a band, describing to me all the vivid details of how awesome it must be on stage. But when I asked him if he played any instrument, he said no. I neither want to bust that friends dreams nor want to sound like a downer, but, most likely, his band career is not going to happen. I have also met kids who thought it would be easy to fly a helicopter, after having “practiced it” in computer games.
This combination of overestimation of one’s own abilities and underestimation of what it takes to become a star is the basis of the whole industry of casting shows. And to be fair, I haven’t watched one of those in ages, but I remember that I always enjoyed the first rounds the most, where you can see the absolutely untalented cohort making asses of themselves.
That gave me an idea: How about an aviation themed casting show? Put wannabe pilots in airplanes and let them have a go! Action and entertainment would be guaranteed! But it would probably be rather expensive to produce.
Anyway, let me tie this all together by pointing out one more time how hard writing is. I’ve rambled on for a few paragraphs, moving on aimlessly from one subject to the next, without really gaining very much insight into anything except a couple of opinions I hold. Now you see why I draw chickens and don’t write blogs for a living.
If I should ever feel for a pseudonym, “Hotshot McThunderbolt” would probably be on top of the list too! But wait, now that I’ve mentioned that, I can’t really use it anymore. And “Maverick” clearly is taken. Hm, maybe “Ice … man”, periods and all. But then, I don’t like the cold very much. I can see why Chuck is having such a hard time!
Chucks frustrations most likely might come from our own past of trying to sell a movie script. But we will never know, will we? 😉
Many of you might not know this but we came pretty close to getting Chicken Wings animated twice in the last ten years. Unfortunately the movie business is brutal and things got in the way. We ended up with a few half-done shorts and a bunch of storylines, treatments and storyboards but not much else to show for. Maybe after things settle down with work and Stef’s kids start being able to feed themselves we can revisit the idea. What do you guys think of a Chicken Wings short-film?
If anyone reading this is a media mogul or producer, get in touch with us! 😉
Here is one page of one of the storyboards we wrote:
It’s always fun, with the benefit of hindsight, to analyze predictions from the past about today. And it looks like the prediction of the “paperless office” was about as wrong as you can get. But, on the other hand, maybe the content of that prediction is not wrong, but only the timing! I’m sure we will reach that stage at some point, but it just will take its time. Technology can advance in leaps, but societal, cultural and economical change needs time to run its course.
I still do almost all of my accounting in paper format. But I’m getting more and more digital receipts etc. that I’m sure I’ll get to the point of not even bothering to print them anymore. Coincidentally, exactly while doing my accounting, I came across the line “think about the environment before you print” that gave me the idea for today’s strip …
Ha! We drew this strip right before I went to Greece for the fire season and right when I got to the helicopter fire base the internet was down for two days. Boy, was the helicopter and the base clean after those days! Could we possibly predict the future with our comics?
On the same token I couldn’t help but wonder the whole time if the crew chief didn’t do to us what Hans did to Sally. As I am writing this blog I am actually starting to wonder if we should even publish this strip since my boss might be reading it as well. But Stefan is on vacation and I can’t make the changes so I will have to live with the consequences I guess.
We truly do live in an era of technological wonder. It’s so easy to lose sight of all the technological awesomeness that surrounds us, because we adapt so quickly and take everything for granted. I remember the first time I heard what a GPS was, I was about 12 or 13 years old. The concept blew me away! Satellites! In space! Helping you pinpoint your location to a few meters! Of course, back then it was ridiculously expensive.
Not so today. Nowadays, every third grader has technology in his pocket that would have blown the mind of even the most visionary person just a lifetime ago. But smartphones are around for just about a decade! So has Youtube! Of course, I also just take all that for granted. But every now and then stop and think about how things have changed just in my lifetime. It’s simply amazing! And I am curious about what else I will live to see.
Everything comes with its own problems, risks and drawbacks, of course, as Chuck experiences in this comic strip.
I think I mentioned here before that I don’t have any games installed on my computer. The reason is simple: I work from home and sit either in front of, or right next to the computer all day. It’s so easy to tell yourself to “just play one little game”, and boom, suddenly your whole afternoon is gone. I experienced that in the past more often than I’d like to admit. My biggest problem is that I really like strategic and/or building games, along the lines of Civilization, Age of Empires or Sim City. Those things can absolutely absorb me. I decided to go cold turkey many years ago, because it seems that’s the only way for me to deal with it.
It’s not like I wouldn’t be wasting any time anymore. Tons of browser games are just one click away! But I limit myself to ones where I know I can quit, and a round takes maybe 10 minutes or so. I don’t play Airport Madness though, because that really stresses me out! However, my brother is rather fond of that game. But, let me stress again, that all similarities between Mike and Chuck are strictly accidental!
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Reddit. But those of you who are, probably already stumbled across “Tales From Tech Support” or “Tales From Retail“. I really think Julio has it easy compared to what some poor people working in tech support or retail have to deal with all day. My favorite call of all time probably is the guy who can’t see the difference between 0.002 dollars and 0.002 cents. I think it’s way longer in the original, but I found a clip on Youtube here. Although in this case, it’s the support guy who’s the moron. If I remember correctly, it starts out with a disgruntled customer who has been quoted 0.002 cents per MB of data used and was then charged 0.002 dollars.
Does anybody have any stories to share in that regard? I know that in aviation, you have to deal with a whole zoo of customers too.
I have days (currently actually) when it’s a little more difficult laughing at this joke of ours then others. On this tour I need to fill out Report A, then scan it with the cam scanner, then email it to the laptop that goes with the aircraft, then download said report and save it in the “Report A” folder, then load it back up on the company lap top where it will be added to Report B (which I also just filled out – which literally has the same information on it, yet it’s on a different company form for a different company) so they can both go together to 5 different people. At least this year we got rid of Report C which was pretty much only a prediction of what the crews here think “might” be happening tomorrow. That doesn’t include updating 2 iPads (2 in case one breaks) and the currently applicable navigation data for the country I am in, plus the GPS(‘s).
Now, depending on the upload times here in the bush, this process takes anywhere from 20 min up to 5 hours.
I might be dating myself but I remember a time when we had a chart (which always worked, even if you left it in the aircraft in the sun all day) and we faxed a sheet with the days flight times to one fax number.
Ok, so bring on the pro and con arguments. Let’s hear (read, rather) them.
I have vague memories of some of our toys mysteriously going missing when we were kids. I also have a lot of memories of our mom telling us to tidy up our room “for the very last time, or else!”. It didn’t struck me at the time I drew this strip, but now that I look at it again, I get the weird feeling that there might be a connection and similarities to our childhood. It seems I may have more in common with Chuck than I’d like to admit. But don’t we all?