Sunday, August 14, 2011

Welcome to American Sake

About American Sake
American SakeAmerican Sake ~ Comic (2004) by Me and Paradox Found
Lobo Wolfgang, an average American (wolf) transmute, is charged with the task of keeping the pieces of his large family together after his parent’s mysterious death. Stressful, but not so stressful as when he inherits the family business and discovers a secret that could change the lives of transmutes forever…

This story actually has an interesting story behind it that eventually leads to my interest in online graphic novels (well, visual stories in general) and the creation of OGN Studios, my first company of storyteller-visual-artists.

As all hard-core OGN fans know (all one of you, I’m sure…,) OGN Studios was born from lemons (yes, as in the sour, yellow, bulb-like things that grow on trees.) I used to say it was a long story and I wasn’t going to get into it, but here is the perfect opportunity to educate you on the origins of the OGN universe (And we said, “let there be light.” And there was. And we saw that it was good.) I will start from the beginning.

It all started, like all great things on the internet, with too much time on our hands. Beckah (aka Paradox Found,) Anna and Jack (two other friends without tumblrs,) and I had decided to go out to eat. I don’t really remember how it worked out like that (I think my parents wanted to go out and so we decided to get our own table and make them pay the bill.) But there we were, in Sonny’s Fat Boys, at a booth in the second row, third table back, and we had too much time.

Now, it is imperative that you understand that Anna doesn’t like soda, or any carbonated drink for that matter. So she ordered water to drink. As you may or may not know, at Sonny’s (or any other restaurant) you get little lemon wedges to go with your water. Now, it is also imperative that you understand that Anna doesn’t like lemons either, and it just so happened that our waitress was trying to up her extra credit for her tip, so instead of bringing one wedge on the edge of the glass, she brought an entire cup full of wedges.

To review, here we are, three Creative, Intelligent, Teenage Girls (and One Little Man) with Too Much Time and Too Many Lemon Wedges on our hands. So, we three Creative, Intelligent, Teenage Girls (and One Little Man) stare at these Too Many Lemon Wedges with our Too Much Time, and lo and behold! we got an idea. Why not take these Too Many Lemon Wedges and squeeze them into this little Styrofoam cup and mix in some water and sugar packets to make lemonade?

So we did.

And we grabbed our straws and each took a little taste of it (sans One Little Man). It was a bit too sour, so we added water and a tad of sugar. Another taste, a bit more sugar. Oops, too much sugar. So what could we possibly do now?! Well, our lovely Extra Credit Collecting Waitress was much obliged to bring us another cup of lemon wedges. So we squeezed those in. And tasted it. And-

BANG! That was some strong lemon juice. We three Creative, Intelligent, Teenage Girls (and One Little Man) with Too Much Time on our hands had a LOT of fun with this Too Many Lemon Wedges Juice. It was so strong, so bizarre, so entertaining, that we immediately claimed that it needed a name. And thus, American Sake (sah-kay) was born.

Somehow, during that time of giving our taste buds a buzz with American Sake, we got onto the topic of drawing and writing, comic books and finally werewolves. I have no idea how that train of thought worked. It might have derailed and taken a connecting flight someplace outlandish (if you know us, or have ever been involved in a conversation with the four of us, you might have a clue how our derailed trains fly…) Anyway, the lycanthrope somehow looped back around to the American Sake which then got back to comic-booking, and we then experienced another epiphany! Why not create a werewolf graphic novel called American Sake?!

And so we did.

This idea was a huge production among the posse. That’s when two more saps, Lauren and Ross, got dragged into the American Sake project (thus creating the original artists and writers of OGN Studios). Anna, Jack, Beckah and I created a few characters, talked loosely about plot, had fun, and then brought all of that to Ross and Lauren who attempted to make sense of it all. We had a meeting at Beckah’s house and I tell you what, her entire floor was covered with our papers. The rest of the characters were designed, and a plot began to develop.

It was during this time where the idea of sharing this idea with others came up. When we continued discussion on this notion, my friends made a ‘deadly mistake’. It was jokingly tossed about that we should start a website to house our story. We were all either familiar with or fans of Megatokyo (this must have been 2003 or 4ish.) We admired the website, I suppose. I can’t really speak for everyone when I say that, so I’ll just say that I admired the skill, effort, and time put into creating that site.

And when I get a crazy idea, I run with it. I suppose I can’t help it… I consider myself a ‘doer’. I ran to my dad and said “Daddy, daddy, I want to start a website with a domain name and everything.” And he said “Ok.” (Well, he isn’t that much of a pushover. I do have a long history of website design and project managing.) So, I sat down and started searching across the internet and found a good web hosting deal and got to work.

Now, the site was going to be, however, I know myself (and my friends) better than that. I prefer to leave my options as wide open as possible, so I decided to make the domain name, which would allow the site open for multiple graphic novels without having the strict dedication to one particular piece.

From there, I called up my friends, told them what I did, and a year and a half later, we developed a collection of six regularly updating comics, which we persisted with for three years. So just to make it completely clear-
OGN Studios (and American Sake) was born from Too Many Lemon Wedges.
From there, the group had to split up because half of us were setting out to different colleges. Beckah and I knew we were going to attend the same college though (Ringling College of Art and Design,) so I brought with us the hope that OGN Studios could persist in this new environment.

Which it did. In college, I started an unofficial club freshman year and called it the Firesiders. A group of eight artists (Beckah and myself included) got together and I opened up a new website with our new name and a new set of comics produced by each of the artists, and we kept that regularly updated for about a year. Unfortunately the Ringling curriculum is so intense that we weren’t able to keep up with the demands of online comic-booking into our Sophomore year, so the site was shut down and our stories placed back on the shelf.

But then I graduated Ringling, moved to New York, got myself a job, and now old habits are starting to nibble at my brain again. I’d like to start into another venture, this time not with online comics but with interactive ebooks. I’ll call the group Fireside Stories, and we’ll work on the same book at the same time to produce them quicker and get more creative energy poured into one project. We’ll publish the ebooks so that everyone everywhere can enjoy them and my life will be complete!

And when I have my black-tie sponsor dinner, you know what I’ll serve?

American sake.

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