Check it Out: Sockbaby 4 TenNapel Edition

Master creator Doug TenNapel just released a new creation, and gives some insights into story telling, the TenNapel way. You'll see in this short starring John and Dan Heder, Doug will never be accused of being predictable. If you ever see him as him about the "Hook" story.

In his words:

Sockbaby is a world where words have almost a pagan power unto themself. Calling your foes a woman, effeminate or gay is a claim of self-confidence. Hello and Un-hello are ways that you can see if a friend is really a friend or not because a true friend will always acknowledge the un hello state, or announce that the state has changed to a hello state. At least that's how I thought of it.

more from Doug:

This is trivial information, perhaps too much for some. You can cut open the frog to find out how it breathes but then you have to kill it in the process.

Vernacular is a big part of the Sockbaby series...the way they talk is part of the "why" of the show. Burger is a mechanical guy, they fight in their homes in normal suburbia instead off on top of skyscrapers.

If they make black jokes, like the music is "funk", the whole thing has a 70s blacksploitation vibe, then Ronnie has black in his DNA. We had a question about him being black by a nice girl and I didn't get a chance to expand about my philosophy of the Sockbaby universe. So I'll do it here.

If they call each other gay, then two men will have to put mouths together in order to save Ronnie's life.

Food is a high commodity, which is why they frame their day in terms of where to eat. To "food up" is a sign of close friendship. Notice when Ronnie goes to heaven he's surrounded by cakes. He just wants to eat with his mother, but is interrupted. I think if he took a bite and supped with his mom he couldn't go back to earth.

Family, especially fathers and sons are in all of my work (and every hero's journey) but the Heders provided a great twist. Jon and Dan are duplicate Frogmen yet they are twin brothers in real life. But when talk to Ronnie underwater they talk about killing Ronnie's father, notice how these twin frogmen fall under the Sockbaby universe and project themselves into the plot. They didn't kill Ronnie's father, they killed his clone, or his "Manitou".

"Magic doorknobs" around how beings can port through different parts of the world. Frogmen come up in the pool, Optichord goes to earth and Burger goes to his underground labs. The door magically closes behind Ronnie and Burger behind them, as if the Magic is on their side.

Finally, the whole idea of SOCKBABY is the title. I called it "Sockbaby" then engineered a story out of the word. It had the name "sock" because it's a kung fu movie. The Baby is not just the Christ story of this's a fun word that was part of our past slang vocabulary. The titles in all of my stuff tells a story. So you have a Sockbaby-Jesus lording over a universe about fighting and odd-slang sayings.

I like to use the phrase "economy of elements" where I try to tie props and dialogue down to the plot by reinforcing it wherever I can. It looks like random humor but I don't like most random humor so I tie mine down a little more.

I could explain all of the above paragraphs, or I could just say "Sockbaby". . . .

I think it's more important to ground your story/acting/camera work into some kind of motivation just to make it more real while we're performing it.

Once it's done the editor tells the final story anyways, and at that point, it's less important that it's accurate and more important that it works.

Telling you about my motivation for writing the universe is only meant to tell fellow story-tellers that grounding your work into any kind of cohesive form is a good tool to lean on. I have all of these psycho scenarios I use to keep me drawing a comic every "If I don't do a page today I'll lose a year of my life."

Most story-tellers don't talk about their process...and I agree with not talking about how the magic happens. But I have a big mouth and can't resist.


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