Luna de Cuernos: In Process with Sarah Becan

Sarah Becan, our comic artist collaborator for our spring 2014 show, Luna de Cuernos, is busy working away on the story and visuals for the show, and we can’t wait to get in the rehearsal room and eventually bring this show to you, our audiences!  After receiving some in-progress materials form Sarah in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been drooling in anticipation to see more.  And then I realized that our audiences might like a sneak peek, too!  So here is some insight from Sarah on where she is in the process right now, and it includes some teaser images of her work thus far.  Be sure to click over to the Luna de Cuernos page on our website to learn more about the show, see the performance schedule, and watch the spooktacular trailer!  

Drawing comics is largely a solo affair. It’s a tedious exercise, it’s time-consuming, and for the most part, you’re alone with your thoughts and your pens and paper. It suits me; I like working alone, and I always hated group projects in school. I’ve gotten so used to the process that I usually resist letting people see what I’m working on until it’s absolutely, 100% finished.

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Working with Fifth House is a complete departure from that. This is the first time I’ve ever worked on a project this complex with other people. We’re still pretty early on in the process, but it’s been very interesting to not only share my work in process, but to receive and incorporate feedback as well. I thought I might find it outside of my comfort zone, maybe even a little nerve-wracking, but it’s been an oddly refreshing departure.

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Actually, a lot about working on Luna de Cuernos has been a departure from how I normally work, but it’s been such an interesting challenge that it’s kind of irresistible. Figuring out how to marry the music, story and art together has been one of the toughest and simultaneously fun tasks I’ve ever faced.

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As I’m writing this, we have the story’s outline (and much of the script) written, the main characters sketched and designed, and the music program selected. I spent a few long hours walking around my neighborhood listening to all the music selections on my headphones, deciding which song belonged with which scene. Once I had the songs in an ordered playlist, I wrote down the length of each piece. I had put together a sample animated scene early on, and figured that each image needed to be onscreen for a very rough average of six seconds.

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So, for example, my recording of the first song is eight minutes, fifteen seconds long. Eight times sixty, plus fifteen, that gives us 495 seconds in the first song. Divide that by six seconds a slide, and you get 82.5. It’s a very rough estimate, but that lets me know that I have about 82 frames to tell the entire story of that first song. But hang on, that first song shifts drastically in tone at four minutes forty seconds, and then again at five minutes fifteen, and then again at – well, you get the idea.

When your teachers tell you that you’ll use what you learned in math class as an adult, they’re not kidding.

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That’s what I’m doing right now, a lot of calculations, and mapping out scenes, creating storyboards. It’s difficult, sure. But a few weekends ago, I got to catch a live performance of one of the acts of Ezra Claytan Daniels’s 5th House piece, Black Violet. Seeing the finished product, watching the story unfold on the screen while the music filled the room, the delicate synthesis of art and language and music, it took my breath away. It also inspired a whole slew of new ideas to incorporate into Luna de Cuernos.

I never thought I’d be this thrilled to be part of a group project

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