Despite our rousing him at an ungodly hour to speak to us, Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright shook off the cobwebs to discuss his new project, Brandon Generator – an online comic which you can help write.
He's tackled zombies in the aforementioned Shaun, evil ex-boyfriends in Scott Pilgrim vs the World and twentysomething ennui in Spaced – but with Brandon Generator Wright is taking on the nemesis of all wordsmiths: writer's block.
The online comic, drawn by Marvel and Lucasfilm veteran artist Tommy Lee Edwards, uses HTML 5 via IE9 to create an interactive storyline in which you help struggling writer Brandon come up with story ideas. “I wanted you to feel sorry for Brandon,” Edgar tells Stuff.tv, “That sympathy should help people come up with random ideas to take the story in an interesting direction.”
The interactive comic lets you write prose on Brandon’s typewriter, draw a creature on a page, and leave messages on his dictaphone or answering machine.
But why "Brandon Generator"? “It’s a play on Random Generator. The way to get ideas when none are forthcoming.” Wright feels Brandon's pain – he has recently been working on a script that he wrote entirely alone – something he hasn’t done before. “I usually have a writing partner, which is really useful when doing comedy, but for my latest work I was alone and finding it hard to generate ideas.”
Having heard that Douglas Adams used to take really long baths to come up with material, Wright decided to try his own methods. “I tried randomly picking Scrabble letters, browsed the internet for ages, and even glanced at names and addresses from the paper. These are all good methods for inspiration – but the thought of using social media in Brandon Generator was a really exciting idea for me. Even I don’t know how the story will go.”
The Mighty Boosh's Julian Barratt is narrating the comic – he and Edgar go way back. “We used to work together back in 1996 before Spaced on a series we made called Asylum. He’s a really funny guy to work with so it’s great to be doing this together.”
Edgar Wright, Tommy Lee Edwards and Julian Barratt are all waiting for you to join the story – so head over to Brandon Generator now and you could be making history, creating the first professional crowdsourced comic book.
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