Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir talk Dragon Age: Dark Fortress

Today on the show, Melissa is joined by comic book and TV writers Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFillipis. They chatted about their new comic, Dragon Age: Dark Fortress, their time writing on HBO’s Arliss, and more!

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Nunzio DeFiippis and Christina Weir – Interview

Melissa: [00:00:00] This is spoiler country and I’m Melissa searcher today on the show I’m joined by comic book and television writers. Nunzio de Philippa’s and Christina Weir. Welcome to the show. Thank you. Thanks for being here. How are you both doing.

Nunzio DeFilippis: Not bad, not bad. I think the world opening up was always a plus. I, I feel so much better about everything than I did a couple months

Melissa: ago.

Yeah, absolutely. And I’m sure. Cause you’re your teachers as well, so I’m sure that makes it easy. You know, also to not have to do remote, you know, distance learning. Are you, are you back in class? Not yet.

Christina Weir: We will be in the fall. I believe that’s the aim, but yeah, we’ve been doing zoom classes for the past year and a half.

Melissa: Oh, wow. Has that been challenging or has it been actually fun? Maybe not what you were expecting. It’s

Christina Weir: been an interesting learning experience. I think, I think, you know, there are definitely some challenges that, you know, since I teach a lot of writing classes, it’s a lot of [00:01:00] workshop. And so it’s a lot of trying to create that environment to get that back and forth discussion which can sometimes be difficult at first over zoom.

But I think sometimes for some of the shyer students too, it actually makes them more comfortable. So there there’ve been pros

Melissa: and cons of it. Yeah, absolutely. I always liked online classes actually. Even before the pandemic, I would prefer to take them and found that I did better in them actually than in-person for some reason.

Yeah. So, I mean, I think like you were saying for introverts, they’re probably like awesome. Finally, we can sit at home and learn

Christina Weir: we’re most comfortable in front of them. Yeah,

Melissa: exactly. Well, for those

Nunzio DeFilippis: students who are. Going to be very reluctant to come back to campus more heard, and then there are others, I think, who are completely fed up with being on the computer.

So yeah. You have both

Melissa: ends of the spectrum for sure. Yeah, there’s gonna be a lot of anxiety, you know, as well, I guess, with, with returning to school, when you are comfortable at home or you’ve adapted to it, get used to it. [00:02:00] So that’ll be, that’ll be interesting to see what happens, but I’m sure I’m sure the school systems are prepared for it and are gonna, you know, have some, some help and counseling for people that need it.

Nunzio DeFilippis: You know, where, where where where the film school. So we have counseling services in there, but I don’t think we have the same level of support that you might get in a public school system or something, but I I’ve been really. The school we’re working out. I’m really impressed with the level of support that given students in this time.

It’s, it’s been very impressive to see.

Melissa: That’s awesome. And you’re the New York film academy. That’s right. That’s awesome. What’s it like balancing, you know, writing and teaching.

Christina Weir: It’s not easy.

Nunzio DeFilippis: It’s not. And, and, and I think, you know, I think my on Twitter for awhile, my, my Twitter profile said writer slash teacher, or is that teachers lash writer.

And I think that’s the eternal balance, like trying to figure out [00:03:00] do rewrite it. And also that we consider ourselves writers first and teachers second. Or are we so invested in these students at this point that we consider ourselves teachers pers and writers? Second, definitely earlier in my life, it was writer and a teacher.

Now I, you know, I’m on the chair of the screenwriting department and the Dean of faculty there. So it’s safe to say I’m committed to the school as I think Christina is teaching and is I think less certain which way the balance goes.

Melissa: Do your students read your work?

Nunzio DeFilippis: Yeah, occasionally we’ll come in and ask us to sign it, which is weird when you’re teaching them in a class. So we always tell them that that has to wait until they graduate, because it puts a weird dynamic into the, into the classroom. But, but they do seek out the stuff.

And I’ve found when we’re doing outreach to prospective students who have applied to the school and I send out. Letters welcome [00:04:00] welcoming to the school to try and get them to count. I get a lot of response, particularly since our credits include X-Men we get a lot of response on that.

Melissa: Yeah. It probably would help to sway. I think someone’s decision. You know, if you want to learn how to write for, you know, comics or television it does make sense to have someone teaching you that’s actually been there and had the experience rather than just, you know, gone to school and, you know

Nunzio DeFilippis: yep.

Definitely.

Melissa: Yeah. Well, you know, for those who don’t know you know, not only are you two writing partners, but you’re also married and I have to wonder is that the secret to a long lasting relationship right together?

Nunzio DeFilippis: When you’re writing partners, you have differences of opinion about almost everything.

I mean, I think we’re pretty, pretty much in sync with our instincts about story, but the details of a page or a panel or a [00:05:00] scene in a, in a television script. We always will go different ways at first. So we have to sort those out. So we don’t tend to fight about married couples. Don’t fight about finances.

Fight about who left the toilet seat? I don’t,

you know, we don’t, we don’t have a lot of fights about family or other things that like our flights are all waiting fights. And since we are still writing together, after all these years, we’ve kind of navigated those and it made everything else easier to do.

Melissa: Okay. And how do you separate it though? Like when it is time to, you know, have dinner, have family time, can you shut it off or are you find yourselves talking about things, you know, throughout the, the time when you should probably be off work?

I think it

Christina Weir: depends sort of how in a project. When we are, I think, you know, hip deep in a project, it definitely permeates around us all the time and we have a dog, so we spend a large portion of our day walking the dog. And so like going on walks is a great time to talk writing and to [00:06:00] hammer out plot details and character stuff.

And

Nunzio DeFilippis: yeah, well the school stuff dominates a lot of the day to day. She is teaching a lot of classes and, and these other jobs, you know, the, the Dean and chair Johnson. Did you take up a lot of the days? So the evening when we are not taking some time to write a lot of the time, we all are figuring out stories or talking through what’s the next project going to be, or in the, in the recent dragon and stuff.

We’ll run ideas by each other about what’s going to happen in the next issue. We’ve we use that. I definitely walk in time. Is that is the big time. A lot of the dragon age comics were plotted in detail while walking this dog, which is why she’s in college.

Melissa: Well, that sounds fun too, actually, because you know, writing for the most part can be a very lonely career.

So it must be nice to have someone there all the time that you can, who understands for one and relates and that you can bounce ideas off of.

Christina Weir: [00:07:00] Oh, absolutely. I think one of the huge buses of writing with somebody else. You don’t, you don’t get to have the same sort of writer’s block. You know, when you’re stumped, there is someone to talk to, or if the reason that you have writer’s block is you’re burned out, or you’re just not feeling the story.

Somebody else can step in and take over. So it’s, it’s very spelled

Nunzio DeFilippis: out a partner and it also protects you on the other side. When I wrote by myself, which was long time ago at this point there were moments or scenes that I could fall in love with where I would love the phrase that I put there. And then by the time I brought it to somebody else and they would say, oh, you don’t need that scene.

You don’t need that line. I’d be super defensive. Right with the two of us, anything we come up with before, either of us have a chance to get super excited or super attached to it, the other person’s going to get an opinion. And so if we’re going the wrong, we’re often able to catch that before we get too attached.

So I think we’ve been much better than we both were when we were separate, right. Writing separately [00:08:00] about not falling in love with our own.

Melissa: Yeah, no, that’s great to have someone there to kind of check you, you know, in a sense and be like, no, let’s cut this. When you first met, were you, were you dating first and then decided to write together or was it the other way around?

Christina Weir: It was, well, it was, it was a very long storied history there, but we met in college and we were friends first for many years before we started dating and then. When we

Nunzio DeFilippis: started writing together, I think it was, it was, we were both writers and we were both running each other on each other’s stuff by each other.

We were, we, we gave, we were each, probably the first person that would look at the other person’s stuff. But when we got together as a couple of things, Domino’s started because we were roommates. When we got together as a couple out, we went from and gone really

Melissa: wrong.

Nunzio DeFilippis: We had a third roommate and he was like, I’m out.

So, we went from, from friends, living together as roommates to a [00:09:00] couple living together in separate rooms, in an apartment, but that didn’t last very long. And then within a few months we were riding together. So it all just kind of.

Melissa: Wow. It’s like your destiny, you know, it just seems so like fit so well.

I mean, that’s such a rare, a rare partner to find that you can work and live in love together. You know,

Nunzio DeFilippis: now we, we, we know how lucky we are that it all sort of fell together that way. I think I think we also had the advantage. Taking our time going into the relationship and being friends for a lot of years beforehand.

So we kind of think the worst of each other. So

Christina Weir: it was only

Melissa: uphill from there. Yeah, no, it is a really awesome cool story. So your latest project would, you’ve been, you know, working in this realm for a while is drag a dragon age, dark fortress. And I’m curious for those who, you know, I know it’s based on a video game and for those who aren’t familiar, you know, tell us a little bit about this story in person.

Nunzio DeFilippis: [00:10:00] Well, dragon age in general, for anyone who’s not familiar is a, a video game franchise that is a sort of dark fantasy. Like the world is. Magic is not necessarily a beloved and elves are not particularly treated well. And, and there’s a sort of a hidden darkness underneath this world that in the dragon age, which is one of the arrows of the, of the universe each century gets a different name.

And the dragon age seems to be the age where everything that’s dark and ugly in the world is coming up. And so there have been three games and all of our comics have taken place. After the third, the most recent game, which is dragon age inquisition. And we’ve had a series of mini series that followed it, started with a Knight who was drunk with and had PTSD from having been part of some of the major battles that you see in the games and his Squire.

Oh, [00:11:00] Sort of takes care of him when he’s drunk, but also doesn’t let him know that she’s secretly stealing from the rich and giving to the poor wherever she goes. And so it’s sort of like if donkey hotel had Robin hood as a squad is where we started. And so we’ve sort of taken these two characters through four different miniseries and dark fortress is a combination of the story where we’re weaving through all four of them.

And they built a team around them. That includes fenders. Who’s probably our favorite character from dragon age too. And I think a lot of people’s favorite character from dragon age too. They built a team to break into a fortress that is impenetrable and stop a group of I want to say. Majors, but there’s, it’s so loaded in this game to just say they’re majors they’re Magisters, which means that they’re majors, who rule over people who don’t have magic in their country and they are, [00:12:00] they have sort of fallen out and they’re trying to restore the greatness of their country that used to rule the entire map.

And so they’re trying to sort of bring back and they were villains in inquisition and they appeared to be defeated in our story. That it’s just one last time. One ritual that will make them great and restore their country and then allow them to invade everyone else. And these two and the team that I’ve assembled have to stop it.

And the country is being invaded by a different faction at the same time. So this is all happening in a sort of a nation at war.

Melissa: Wow. So there’s a lot going on. Sounds. Yeah. Did you to play the video game at all to get in.

Christina Weir: We did, we were, we were fans of the video games before we ever started with the comics.

So it was, it was funny, you know, it’s, it’s both work, but it was sort of like a fan dream to, to be able to go and play in this universe and both create our own characters and make our own mark on Vegas as well as use some [00:13:00] of those established characters that were already created for

Melissa: the games. Oh, that’s awesome.

So you did get to like, create your own and add to the world.

Nunzio DeFilippis: We did the two that we talked about. We’re entirely our creations. I mean, once we got the job, we pitched those characters to both dark horse and BioWare which is the company that makes the games and they gave us feedback to make sure that everything’s fit with what was going on in their plans for the world.

And also just they’re the keepers of the world. So they wanted to make some adjustments, but those two characters by and large were created by us. And most of the, most of the original characters. I would say it’s about 90%, less than 10% of them sort of figuring out the edges on the characters. And then they let us play with characters that exist in all of the mini-series we had at least cam there was an often major roles being played by characters who appeared in games.

Melissa: Wow. Now, do you wonder if they have any future games, if they’ll use any of your

Nunzio DeFilippis: characters? [00:14:00] Well, we do wonder that I think the fans really wonder that I have generally told the thing. I don’t think so. And I think that that’s a, the safe thing to say, but B it’s actually what I think, I think if, if our characters turn up in the game, they’re probably going to be little pieces of lore.

There are things in the games, you find that creative codex entries that fill out the world. Those types of ventures will probably be the place where our characters are referred to. We probably would see them or have them join the main character on a mission. I would love it if they did, if, if the people at BioWare are listening and we’ve told them this already, then we’d go ahead.

We’d be so happy, but I just don’t think it’s going to

Melissa: happen. Yeah. Maybe just as a, as an Easter egg or something left, you know, it would be fun. Yeah. Well, and how did you to approach the story in terms of like, which one of you is going to contribute? What, I mean, what’s that creative process. Like

Christina Weir: we generally, [00:15:00] with most of our writings, it’s about plotting together and sort of hammering out all the details and then one person might take lead in terms of doing a first draft and then another person, and then the other coming in and reading it and sort of offering any feedback.

I think with dragon age, we definitely plotted the story together, but Nunzio has a sort of encyclopedic mind for the war in this world. So there were definitely areas where I let him kind of take the lead on putting some of those, those good details in there that fans would really latch onto.

Nunzio DeFilippis: Yeah. And, and and most of our projects, we’ll, we’ll figure out who’s going to be the first pass person.

Like she said, we do all the plotting together, so. Our story together. And then when we plot together, it’s literally one sits at the computer while the other talks and we sort of go back and forth. But on the first drafts, it really on the project who’s taking lead on this project. And on dragon age, I think with the exception of one or two [00:16:00] issues across the four mini series, I did the first draft, the first draft and she didn’t.

Okay. And then the third pass is usually the two of us sitting down and smoothing.

Melissa: Wow. That’s so interesting. And hard to do. You just, obviously you must, I mean, you’ve been writing together for a long time. That must be something you’re just, you know, each other very well at this point, I’m guessing we definitely

Christina Weir: have a certain rhythm at this point.

That can be early. When we had way more time on our hands, we did do a lot, even with the writing of, it was usually me sitting at the computer because Nunzio paces a lot when he’s thinking. And so, you know, I would be doing the actual typing and we always had this joke between us that he would be saying these lines and I would just change them without talking to him to look and be like, what’s that on the screen?

Nunzio DeFilippis: That wasn’t a joke between us that happened a few times.

Christina Weir: After this many years, I think we both know each other’s writing habits too. [00:17:00] So he knows exactly the sort of things that I will come in and pick out. And he’s sort of like, yeah, I know. I hear him say something about

Nunzio DeFilippis: that.

We do first passes, especially on comments and stuff. So it’s a little different when we’re working on film or TV scripts. But we do very skeletal first pass. Right? Here’s a loose description of the panel and here’s a first pass of the phrasing of the dialogue. So that the second person isn’t just signing up.

On what the first person did it. They like the first person was putting the pieces in place and getting some key phrases in that they’ve got their head wrapped around, but, but the, the sec, the second person has given the leeway to really fill everything out so that they don’t feel like the other person wrote it with the dragon age stuff.

There were probably more pages than I had anticipated where I would get into more detail. And be a little less skeletal. Cause I, as she said, it, it’s not just an encyclopedic thing. I, well, before we got the job, I, [00:18:00] we replayed all the dragon age stuff, but she came in and watched the story scenes and then left while I went off and, and, and did the little fetch quests or killed the monster.

I did all of it, every single question, every single game and was so completely immersed in that. Whenever we’d sit down and write it and I’d want to get everything.

Melissa: So, and yeah. So it’s a rough job, you know, having to play video games. No, that’s awesome. And there’s, so you said there’s four issues are all four out yet.

I know the third one came out in may,

Nunzio DeFilippis: you know, th th the dark fortress itself was three, there are four mini series, so there was night errands and that came out and that was five issues. And then there was deception. It was about two years ago and that was three issues. And blue rates was last year and that was three issues.

And then dark fortress, the final one was also through your shoes. And so the, the final issue that came out at the end of may, that’s the end of dark tortures and sort of the end of this [00:19:00] run of calm. Okay.

Melissa: So are you, so you, are you going to be finished with dragon age now or will there be another type of side something or new story for it?

Nunzio DeFilippis: We have a lot queued up in our head for what we could do next, but what we were, we wrote night, Aaron, and that was a standalone story. Sort of, it was open. We knew things we wanted to do. If we got to use these characters again, and we got to play in this world again, but we weren’t short. Then we were hired to do the three mini series and we got a contract for all three of those mini-series.

And so we mapped everything out, everything that we were building towards, we wrapped up now being people who are huge fans of comic storytelling, which is sort of ongoing. We wrapped with the absolute idea of what we would do with via who’s the Squire going forward or with the other characters going forward.

[00:20:00] So, we’re ready if dark, horse and BioWare wat to do that. I think dark horse is waiting to see what their plans are with the property. And then there’s the fact that BioWare’s building a game. There’s a, there’s another. Dragon age game coming. And if we left them where they needed us to leave them, then they’re not going to need us to do anything more.

And we’re totally cool with that. And if there’s, I think there’s going to be some time before the next name. I’m not sure what the timing is. I think there’s going to be some times, so if they want us to continue to fill out the. And to keep the fans happy until the next game, then we are totally on board with that.

So whatever people want to do, we’re good.

Melissa: Okay. Do you have anything else you’re working on to keep yourselves occupied in the meantime, or,

Nunzio DeFilippis: There is discussion or one of our only books and I can’t say the name of just yet reviving it a book we did for all press. Pretty sad did not get to go as far as we wanted to go, might be coming back.

And we’re probably going to be pitching some new story ideas [00:21:00] too. When that time comes, we also want to keep working with the folks at dark horse. We had such a good time there. We’ll probably bring them some original story ideas and we’ve told them we’re open to any other licensed properties.

They want us to write for. So, right now we’re in a very strange place of, of on the comic front, cause we’ve had dragon age for four years basically of going okay, so what’s next, we’re writing a pilot script or one of our original Monga that we wrote that pretty excited about trying to get that out for people to look at as a TV pilot and.

And then we have a couple of original TV, pilot ideas that are not coming from colleagues that we’ve been kicking around as a what’s our what’s going to be our next TV scripts that we’re going to try and take out into the world. So.

Melissa: Yeah. Speaking of TV you both worked on one of my all time favorite shows on HBO Arlis that’s, that’s a, what an awesome experience you wrote on it for two [00:22:00] seasons and you know, what do you, what do you remember most about that experience and how was that?

Christina Weir: It was a great experience. I mean, that was sort of really the beginning way back in the, in the early days and sort of learning everything from the ground up. I started on that show as the script coordinator and writer’s assistant. And so it was sort of my first big Hollywood job and one of the great things.

I had actually previously worked as a production assistant on another show that the writers room was in LA, but it shot in Idaho. And so one of the great things about our list is that the production offices were right next door to where they shot. So being able to sort of be part of the whole production experience from, from page to.

Was really great and working with Robert well on that show, he was amazing because he was so supportive about promoting people from within. So I got to go from writer’s assistant to writing on staff.

Nunzio DeFilippis: And that time pretty much around the time that we got together and then started writing together.

So I totally [00:23:00] got to get into television.

Melissa: I was going to say riding her coattails. Nice. That’s great. So that was sort of your first foray into television writing vine, and I’m sure you learned so much from it.

Christina Weir: It’s definitely on the job training,

Nunzio DeFilippis: which was great. And I think, you know, as a show, what was really fun about. Aside from Robert was incredibly fun and entertaining.

Energetic was it was built around guest appearances from sports. And particularly when those figures from sports were from baseball, I was, I was super excited about that, but that meant even when we would do episodes where we would need an actor and not an athlete. We would always go for big guests or really exciting guest stars.

And so, you know, we’re not that far out of film school and we’re having lunch talking [00:24:00] about the war on poverty and welfare reform with ed Asner at lunch. And it was like an ed Asner, you know, in my house was the ultimate legend. Right. And so. To just be sitting and having lunch with them, being able to tell my parents, oh, guess what I had lunch with today.

It was amazing. And so it really did to make us be like, oh, we belong in this industry. And we belong in, in, in Los Angeles.

Melissa: Yeah. Yeah, that’s awesome. And it was probably it opened a lot of doors for you as well. Once you have that on your, on your resume, you know, it was, it was definitely a well-known super popular show that everyone

Nunzio DeFilippis: loved.

I think the trick for us was the era we were in, there was a much bigger wall between half hour comedies and hour long dramas. And we really wanted to write hour long dramas, but Robert was so great. Christina, the opportunity that, you know, the item [00:25:00] that we were now defined by as comedy. And so when we tried to move to the hour long, I think it didn’t help us as much as, as we wanted.

And I think that. Could go back in time and change. One thing I would have been, let’s just stay in the half-hour world, especially now that I see that half hour is where drama can be too. And like, we could have gotten exactly where we wanted to be my staying in the half hour world instead of fighting against our, the, our biggest

Melissa: credit.

Yeah. Yeah. That’s a really good point because I’ve actually noticed that just recently. You know, I didn’t really think about it before. There were all these hour long dramas and, and comedy sitcom type style shows that were coming out for a long time. And now I’ve noticed they’re going back to that, like 26 minute, 30 minute episodes, you know, particularly there’s that great show on right now called hacks on HBO.

And but what’s great about that kind of comedy is if it’s [00:26:00] written well, you actually don’t notice it being so sure. You know what I mean? If that’s, if that makes sense, it feels like it’s longer.

Nunzio DeFilippis: Yeah, no. And I’m like, you look at also like one division, one division is episodes where somewhere in between, right.

They were 35 minutes. And so all of these distinctions we have, and, and PennWell one division was funny at times you wouldn’t really call it a comedy. All of the distinctions we used to have are kind of blurring into each other and it’s, what’s the story you’re telling. And what’s the format that works for them.

Melissa: Yeah. Do you think that has anything to do with people’s attention spans?

Nunzio DeFilippis: I think it’s partially that I think it’s the removal of commercials from, from the streaming services that like, I think, and I think it’s streaming too. Like when you’re, when you’re scheduling something on telecom, When it starts and when it ends our fixed points.

So depending on how many, how many, how [00:27:00] many minutes of commercials have been sold? That’s how long the story is going to be. You know, that the time allotted for it minus commercials. But now when it’s streaming, how long you watch it is entirely up to you when you watch it is entirely up to you. So you think that that’s changing, they’re just making the show as long as it needs.

Yeah.

Melissa: Yeah, it’s interesting too. Cause then there’s other shows that go in the other direction that are still on network television that have all the commercials and they’re now like some of the dramas are going an hour and a half an hour and 45 to make up for that commercial time, which I think is interesting and fun.

I hate commercials. So I’m glad that

Nunzio DeFilippis: it’s such a weird thing to commercials like who. I mean nothing against people like Christina Christina’s father is an advertising guy. That’s his, his whole career was advertising, but who’s in that business, like watching commercials. Now, even if you’re watching a network, are you watching?[00:28:00]

Like are you DVR in it? And then fast forwarding through the commercials,

Melissa: always

Nunzio DeFilippis: network. And it’s supposed to start at eight. We look at each other and say, why don’t we start at eight 20, so that we’ll be done on time. And we don’t have to watch a single commercial.

Christina Weir: That’s why you’re seeing things in the app.

Hulu shows or the CW app, where there are commercials that you can’t fast forward through

Melissa: anyway. Right. I hate that. Yeah. That’s why I never watch on-demand because they make you sit there. So I do the same thing as you. I wait like 20, 30 minutes before I pushed place, so I can fast forward and not catch up to the realtime.

Nunzio DeFilippis: Well, I think the thing that’s really sad with something like Hulu is that the commercials are for the same three things. So when you’re forced to watch the commercial, every commercial break or the same three commercials and the next commercial break, it’s the same three again. And sometimes if you’re really unlucky, it’s the same commercial two times in a

Melissa: row, right.

Or it’s the same trailer for another show. I, there was one year I was the same. I think it was called rain. It was on the CW. And by the time I was done with [00:29:00] whatever I was watching, I never wanted to see the other show because I’m so sick of the teaser. I have the opposite effect, I think, turn you off of it.

Well, you know, after, you know, all the stuff you’ve done, you’ve worked on so many amazing comics and shows, you know, what do you think is best? The most rewarding. Is it, it’s what you’re working on now with dragon age or something else in the past?

Nunzio DeFilippis: Yeah, I have I have a little checklist of, of what I consider the sort of highlights of what we’ve done.

I think the Maga that we created amazing agent Luna is really high on my list because that was a huge. 13 volume. And then about

Christina Weir: 10 years that we were working on it, it was such a huge part of our life.

Nunzio DeFilippis: And, and, and we really got to do pretty much everything we wanted to do with it. And, you know, I’m very proud that we wrote on X-Men, but we, you know, as, as a lot of people who’ve written on superhero books have had this experience too, when we left was not of our choosing.

So there were a [00:30:00] lot of stories left on, told. So you can look back really happy with what you did, but then with regret about what you didn’t get to do with the dragon age and with the Luna stories, those feel like we really did what we set out to do. And so we, those are probably things that I’m proudest of.

And then I think the other thing is when we wrote the. The three issue, Batman confidential Ark that introduced king Tut to the comics and had Batman team up with the Riddler. I just was very proud of how that came out. I enjoyed writing it and people seem to enjoy reading it. The things they enjoyed were exactly the things that I enjoyed while we were writing.

And that’s, that’s rare sometimes, you know, people enjoy your work, but they’re looking at something other than when you wrote it, you were thinking, oh, that’s just functional. But they get really excited about that. There’s a line like the things they got excited about were exactly the things I was like, you can’t wait for people to see this.

So. That’s awesome. But I don’t want to answer for Christina [00:31:00] on that. You already hit,

Christina Weir: because for me it was amazing agent Luna. That was I think my favorite story and project to date. And some of that, I think it’s the longevity of it. How, how long those characters were part of our lives. But it it’s also what Nancy said, just that, that chance to be able to set out, to tell a story and to finish it and feel like you accomplished everything that you wanted to.

Melissa: Yeah, that’s really cool. Well, you know, before I let you go as both we are teachers you know, for, for writing, what is, you know, the most important, you know, less than you try to instill in your students.

Christina Weir: Really? I think it’s too right. Because it’s so easy. Sometimes when they get frustrated or they feel like it’s not good enough and they don’t bring it in.

You know, trying to teach them. I, first of all, tried to teach them that that’s what a workshop is for to work on it. Like, if it’s perfect, you don’t need to workshop. But you can’t make any progress till you have something on the page. And a lot of times I think writers can get in their [00:32:00] own heads and sort of attach themselves and not, not just not put words down on the page that, that there’s something Meredith to work with.

Nunzio DeFilippis: Yeah. What Christina is saying is something that. Say sometimes in orientations, when we have new groups of students coming in or at graduations, when they’re leaving, I try to remind them to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good to not be so obsessed with being perfect, that they don’t write it all or don’t show anyone what they wrote or, or just don’t move forward as a writer because they think they need to be perfect before they move forward, because I try to teach.

That in writing, there is no perfect that Shakespeare came into my writing class. We’d give them notes because there are things that, that could be better. It’s not, it’s not math or science where you’ve hit a hundred percent and it’s over. But then the other thing is other than writing novels and even we’re writing novels, if you have an editor, there’s probably a fair amount of collaboration that goes in.[00:33:00]

I think the illusion of the writer as a solitary figure, who creates a story and then puts it out in the world and hopes people like it can do more damage to a screenwriter, a TV writer, or a comic writer than, than anything else, because they’re utterly unprepared when somebody else starts adding things to their vision.

Like if we aren’t prepared as comic writers for what the artist brings, we’re ignoring the facts. I’d say about 80% of what people love about comics. They read actually comes from the artists, not from us. And that all our job is to do is to create a framework for a story that the artists can tell. Well, so.

Melissa: Yeah, it sounds like it’s more collaborative than like you were saying for novel writing. It’s it’s you do have an editor, but it’s a little different, and I can imagine when you’re, you’re working on a television show or a film or a comic book, you know, there’s multiple people that have to you have to work with and, and agree with and all that.[00:34:00]

Nunzio DeFilippis: Yeah. So I, we, we have gone into the thing. And when it was learned, the hard way, you know, Robert knew what he wanted on our listening and, and was going to make sure that it was in shell. He was going to make sure that he got that. And Marvel is very protective of the X-Men. So what we can and can’t do is very limited.

We had to learn that our vision is less important than the finished product because our vision is only one step. Our vision of an episode walls. It’s just the beginning. She didn’t even at the beginning, it probably started with an entire writers’ rooms vision, and then our draft was the next step forward.

But in comics, our vision was the first step. And then the artists, the editor, the colorist in the letter, or the everybody’s bringing something to it. And the comic is something completely different when it’s done. And when we started it. When you’re waiting to see something look exactly the way you thought it was or read exactly the [00:35:00] way you wanted it to you wind up being upset that somebody else contributed instead of excited.

Yeah.

Melissa: I think that’s great advice. I mean, yeah, right. Every day, right? A lot to work hard and be flexible. Right.

Christina Weir: You’d be open to the collaboration because it’s amazing. The direction stories can go in. And where are they? Where are they

Melissa: at? Yeah. Yeah. When you are open to other people’s ideas, I can imagine.

Yeah, it would, it would definitely stir up more creativity rather than just being sort of stuck in your own head. Absolutely. Well, thank you both for coming on today. This has been awesome. Yeah, definitely come back any time, everyone listening, you know, go check out dragon age, dark fortress, and it’s by, you know, dark horses, putting it out and it’s available anywhere comics are sold.

So, yeah. Thanks again for coming on. This has been great. Thank

Christina Weir: you. Thank you.

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