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!"
"You mean an author?"
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!