29 April 2011

Malaak in Dubai

I had a really great evening yesterday at Geekfest Dubai, which was not in my plans until last week but was made possible by Alexander McNabb from Fake Plastic Souks. Having mentioned I was heading to Dubai for the weekend, he nabbed me (pun intended) and got me to present both Malaak and my Kickstarter campaign at the event.

Due to crunch time and the need to get pages to the printer, I had to leave even thinking of my presentation till I arrived in Dubai. I get so bored of repeating over and over how the idea started and what it's about that I decided to go another route and just present the characters as if they were people, extracting some interesting panels rather than projecting pages out of context (anyway Alex had the brilliant idea to print off several pages and tack them all along the way to the screening room) and just making it fun. I was trying to keep it short but now I wish I'd thrown in a few more slides. Judging from the response (I think it was the "this was Malaak's reaction the first time she tried on her suit" slide that won everyone over ^_^) I should really get to work on an animatic clip with this approach, that I can put on youtube as well as use for such presentations.
After that I explained Kickstarter, despite my own campaign having already reached its goal, in the very genuine hope that someone will feel inspired to start a similar site for this region that needs it so grievously, given the total absence of any kind of aid to young creators.

In any case I was approached after the presentation by several people with heartwarming enthusiasm in the project, and interesting things may come out of this, but hush for now. I was also really pleased to talk to three young men who'd gotten very excited over the displayed pages and were motivated both to read Malaak and to go forward with their own comic ideas.

Also everyone thinks to think I'm mad for giving away so much for free. The paradox is that I derive a decent income from the very things I give away, so my thinking behind this should really be the subject of a long and detailed blog post (now added to my overlong list of things I really want to do when I don't have to urgently do something else.)

The questions were much more interesting than what I'm used to, and I was amused that two separate people expressed surprise at "how much good stuff was coming out of Beirut." I stand by my belief that disorder and uncertainty breed creation: when things are solid on the outside, the Muse has little room to play and little need to. Intense emotion, one way or the other, is the midwife of art: Malaak herself was finally born out of my anger and grief in the 2006 war, after several years of remaining an unripe embryotic idea in a corner of my mind. Those emotions are no longer present but by now the story flies on its own momentum.

But anyway.

Thanks to everyone who attended for your interest and encouragement, I didn't know just how much fun this would be! Here's a sketch that may be part of the cover to conclude this post: