Monday, 13 February 2012

The Origin Of My Story



My story started at the tender age of five.

I used to draw angels on the house walls. I was fascinated by them -- I still am. My dream was to be an angel just like St. Michael; I wanted to be a warrior and fight Satan and his demons. I never feared death, it was the key to attaining my "dream job". I did some crazy things during that period: I once ran onto a highway to stop the cars from running over a stray dog; I jumped into a raging river to retrieve my cat and got swept one hundred miles from home; I even jumped from my rooftop in the futile hope of flying and broke my arm.

My parents were concerned, as you can imagine. They took me to our pastor and asked for his help. I'll never forget what he told me: "Tyson, you know me, right? You know that I love you like my own children? And as one of your many fathers, it hurts me to see the roulette you play with your life. Now a roulette is a game of chance, you place a ball on a colored wheel with numbers and you have to hope it lands on the right number and color. If you guess right, you win, but if you guess wrong...you lose everything. I don't want you to lose everything. I am so proud you want to be a warrior for god--and you are, you truly are--but you will get that chance when the time comes, for now...live your life. There are a great many ways to express your many talents, instead of drawing on the walls, you could draw in a book--you could write stories and draw pictures for them, how does that sound?"

That sounded great.

It was the first time I had ever thought of writing my own stories. At the time, I had believed story books were written by great people, like those on TV and on the radio. Needless to say, I gave it a try and I fell in love. The words, the artwork, the characters, the world...it all came so easily to me. I remember running to my mother and shouting: "I wanna be a "Draw-writer!"

"A who?"

"A Draw-writer!"

"You mean an author?"

"Ya, that."

I wrote about fifty novels by the age of ten. All were unique but each and every one of them had something in common: Alterheroes. But more on that later.


It wasn't until High School that I truly began thinking of becoming a screenwriter. Of course, I had no idea how to do this. At the time, my family didn't have internet access so the wealth of information afforded to me now was extinct. The only other source I had was television and it was here I got the most amazing idea ever! I watched Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh all the time, so I figured why not write for them? And that's exactly what I did. I borrowed books about television, screenwriting and Hollywood addresses from the Library and got to work. I self taught myself how to write screenplays and designed a slew of new Pokemon, regions and characters.


I created a huge dragon type Pokemon that had a power generator on its tail; dark, scaly skin; two metal-like wings; and an elongated membrane on his head that ended with a blue wispy light. I described him as a sort of robotic-looking dragon that controlled electricity. I named him Zakrem, the Yin of a duo.











The other was white and bird-like with wings on its arm, a heat power generator as its tail and the face of a dog. He was furry and controlled fire. His name was Reshiroo, the Yang of the pair. I sold them as the creators of a region called Enova. Zakrem and Reshiroo were once one dragon but they fell for the ideals of two great men and split to help each man attain his desires.



















I was super excited about this idea, because I thought this was a shoe-in for the series. I researched Warner Brother Studios, and their many departments, and discovered that Pokemon Johto, which aired on Kids WB, was produced by 4KIDS Entertainment. I got their address, packaged my idea and sent it to Alfred R. Khan, the C.E.O. Six Months later I got a letter from the man himself! He told me the idea was very interesting but that he cannot accept ideas that are based on someone else's property. He encouraged me to submit other work that was mine and thanked me for thinking of 4KIDS.

I was heart broken but not discouraged.

I took his advice and worked on a new project based on some of my old ideas. I called it Fictional Alter Heroes and the Portrayers of Anemos. This time, I did the thing properly and requested Submission Agreement Forms from Cartoon Network and Warner Brothers. Surprisingly, they sent them to my home address AND my school. I have no idea how the heck they knew which school I attended, but when the Principal announced to the whole school that I got a package from Warner Brothers, everyone came up to me and said: "Warner Brothers sent you stuff? WOW, you're gonna be famous!"

The high of that incident lasted for three months, until I heard back from the Development Coordinator, Todd Casey, at Cartoon Network. He praised the idea but thought the story was too "epic" for their network and that they produced small ideas with small cast of characters that appealed to children.  He thought the idea was best suited for a video game and told me to turn it into a book. That struck me like a slab of ham because it felt so right. A book? Why didn't I think of that?

And here I am now, ten years later.

A lot of things have changed since then, but I wouldn't be writing today (at least not with the same drive) if it weren't for those experiences.

On a side note: Pokemon's fifth generation was revealed last year and two Pokemon stuck out immediately. Now, I'm not jumping to conclusions but the legendary Pokemon Zekrom and Reshiram look TERRIBLY FAMILIAR to the sketches I sent 4KIDS ten years ago. I don't know if its a coincidence Zekrom controls electricity, like Zakrem; or that Reshiram controls fire, like Reshiroo; or that the story behind Unova sounds eerily similar to the story of Enova, but when I first saw this I was shocked, excited, flattered and disappointed.

This is my story. I hope you liked it, despite being a tad prolix.

Have a great day!

46 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

Oh, wow! If you were my boy, I wouldn't have been at my wits end. Lol

My son loves Pokemon, too.

Grumpy Bulldog, Media Mogul said...

That's a lot more interesting than a lot of these I've read.

T.D. McFrost said...

Oh it's gonna get better, Grumpy!

I'm asking my friend to rush over to my house and look for the actual letters so I can post them. I couldn't find them yesterday or this morning, but I hope he has better luck than I.

Kyra Lennon said...

Well, you get more and more interesting every day!

I am officially fascinated by you! :D

T.D. McFrost said...

LOL! Really? I don't think I'm fascinating at all!

Kyra Lennon said...

But...that's an awesome story! Not everyone can say they have received letters from super cool people, and they liked your ideas!

T.D. McFrost said...

I guess you're right.

My buddy is still looking for those letters. I really want you guys to see them!

Misha Gericke said...

You know, you could probably sue them for copyright, since those pictures and story ideas are yours. :-/

Anyway, this makes for an awesome origin story.

farawayeyes said...

So WHO says your not'Great People'?

I think your Origins story proves my point.

ryan field said...

Great post. Great story.

I have a feeling the sequel ten years from now is going to be even more interesting :)

Cassie Mae said...

Pokemon! No kidding! Dude, you just became my best friend and I wanna see more of these drawings and stuff of yours. Wow.

I don't remember what the heck I was doing at age 5. Probably playing ninja turtles with my brother. You were a very profound child, no wonder you write so well!

Southpaw said...

Swept 100 miles down a ragging river? Oh yeah I bet your parents were worried. I like the way it turned into writing.

Siv Maria said...

Amazing where childhood dreams can take us. Thank you for sharing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, you just went for it! The tale of you going down the river for a hundred miles would be a good story as well. What does that pastor think of what you do now?

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Great to 'meet' you! You definitely have talent. From a chick who can't do a credible stick figure, I am awed by people who can draw. Keep up the good work. :)

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

An interesting read sir. Your inspiration comes from an over-active imagination.

Tracey Neithercott said...

I kind of want to hug young Tyson, and not just to stop him from running into traffic or potentially drowning himself in a river. What an adorable story. It sounds like something my sister would have done when she was little. "But Mom, I'm doing it for Jesus!"

I'm guessing your parents are happier now that you write superheros instead of trying to be one. :)

T.D. McFrost said...

Thanks everyone. My pastor is in awe of what I did since that fateful day. He can't believe I actually listened to him, that surprises him the most.

And I want to clarify that the pictures of the black and white Pokemon aren't mine. I didn't draw those. My old sketches are probably still at my mom's house somewhere, I dunno.

T.D. McFrost said...

Tracy: Oh yeah! LOL. Just two years ago my mom said: "You still wanna fight for Jesus?" To which I replied: "Hell yeah! But I'll wait 'til he's ready for me."

I still very much wanna be an angel. I love them so much.

Matthew MacNish said...

It's really interesting to hear how you came to writing in such a different way than most, T.D.

T.D. McFrost said...

Thanks Matthew.

I don't think mine is entirely different. It started as a pastime that grew into a passion just like all the other Origins I've read today.

Sabrina A. Fish said...

My son is 5 and his imagination is amazing. But the poor child can't draw to save his life. He wants to be a either a pirate or a pirate movie maker. And yesterday, he asked if he could add Darth Vader and the other star wars characters with their space ships to his pirate movie. I said, "Why not, kiddo, it's your movie."

Thanks for sharing your story.

T.D. McFrost said...

He and I will be great friends if we ever meet. I like the little dude already!

I'm glad you support his creativity, a lot of parents don't. He and I are blessed to have cool mommas like you. ^_^

Tracey Neithercott said...

Well, you know, there are ways to fight for Jesus that don't involve death-defying feats. But, of course, those aren't nearly as much fun. Also, I'm totally using your reasoning next time I do some adventure activity, thus avoiding the "are you testing God?" lecture.

S. L. Hennessy said...

I love your origins story. Your interests...are very much in line with my own. I had my own superhero, attempt to jump off the roof experience, though with a better result at least.

I'm glad you kept at it.

T.D. McFrost said...

Tracey: That made me laugh. LOL

S.L.: Thank you so much for the kind words. <3

Melanie Stanford said...

Great story. Most of us just have the usual- we wrote a whole bunch of crap before we realized we could maybe do this thing. Love how determined you were as a teen.

Jay Noel said...

That was an awesome origin story. Sounds like you had your mind made up at a young age.

When I was in grade school, my friends and I made up stories and then acted them out and recording them onto tapes. We used special effects from records (we could control the speed). We'd play them for the classroom whenever the teacher wanted us to all shut up so she could grade papers for 15 minutes.

DL Hammons said...

What leaps out from your ORIGIN is the passion and the total confidence in yourself that you displayed. Yes, all of us writers have it, but the lengths you took to be noticed go above and beyond. Your writing is tight, and compelling. I predict good things in your future!

Thank you for sharing with us today!

Morgan said...

Goodness, you just ooze of talent, don't you? Proud of you, my friend. Keep at it, run with it, and never doubt. :D

Ashley Nixon said...

Man! You sure did give your parents a fright! LOL. My boyfriend loves pokemon. He still collects the cards. LOL.

David P. King said...

That's a fantastic story, sir. I started off on drawing and animation before deciding on writing. Glad to hear about your origins.

I gave you a shout-out on my blog today! :)

T.D. McFrost said...

Thanks so much guys. And I uploaded the letter from Todd. Dunno why it's upside down--I tried to fix it.

I have no clue where I put the letter from Alfred. It was in a box with the original script but I can't find the stupid thing.

Deana said...

What a story TD! You had so much gumption and at such a young age. I cannot believe that a talent like yours will go overlooked. You will get your day in the spotlight, I have no doubt!

L.C. said...

Duuuuuude, I watched Pokemon religiously. Holy crap, I'm simultaneously very impressed and pissed at Cartoon Network. There's a few similarities between your ideas and what came out. Just a few. lol.

D.G. Hudson said...

Interesting tale, but it was the vision of the Frost Lord that pulled me into your blog.

Dropping by late from the Origins blogfest. Nice to meet you. Now following too.

nutschell said...

TD,
Great to meet you on this blogfest. I love how you sent that package to Warner Brothers. Wish you well on your path to draw-writerdom!

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

The Golden Eagle said...

Wow. What an amazing story!

That's really strange about Pokemon; I know nothing about the franchise, but the names and characteristics are almost identical.

Melissa Sugar said...

Hi, I am a new follower from the Origins blogfest. I am still playing catch up from yesterday. Very cool artwork. Nice to meet you.

DEZMOND said...

hello, gorgeous, love your blog and love the story in today's post, such a lovely way of channelling your excess energy :)
Angels is what we should all strive to be. And thanks for putting me in your blogroll!

Lori M. Lee said...

Wow, what a great story! And that's awfully fishy about the pokemon lol.

We're in the same YA campaign group. Just wanted to come by and say hi!

Medeia Sharif said...

Draw-writer...love it.

I remember beginning my journey and not having the internet. The web has made things easier, although I enjoyed my time at the library.

Your story is fascinating from beginning to end.

Stuart Nager said...

Love where the young, stimilated minds go. Great story

Bornstoryteller #125 (sorry for coming late: been trying to read the blogs and have a life)

Sher A. Hart said...

Hello from the campaign! This is better than your meme. You're lucky to be alive, as are my sons after the crazy stuff they did. I still have boxes of Ninja Turtles and Pokemon in the attic. I hope you do find your letters and post them. There are plenty of lawyers who would take your case and only take pay from any winnings. I wish I'd started at your age, and I hope it's not too late.

Sher A. Hart said...

I forgot to invite you to weigh in on how much of my new book intro is enough without being too much of a spoiler. It's at http://sherahart.blogspot.com, the post before last.

Jeremy Bates said...

Well just keep on dreaming that's it..

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