Back from Billund (with a sidetrip to a hotel on the west coast, about which more in a future entry), after a very successful BIONICLE story meeting. So I thought it would be a good time to answer some of the questions I get about how the story is put together and how the story meetings work.
We went into this meeting with a very, very basic idea for 2008, which had been approved by top management. The whole team was there -- myself, representing the actual writing end; Leah, the web producer; Lena, head of the team and in charge of overseeing the franchise as a whole; Birgitte, who works closely with Lena and does things like maintain the names list, put together the story bible from disparate sources, and much, much more; Christoffer, long-time head of set design for BIONICLE; and Christian and Jeppe, both of whom work for Advance, a Danish creative/advertising agency that has been working on BIONICLE since day one. (Christian, by the way, is the one who designed those maps of Voya Nui, Metru Nui, and Mata Nui we show in the comic.)
We started the meeting by going over the presentation that had been made to management last month, and then saw some prototype 2008 sets. Then I made a story proposal for 2007-2009 -- one which was in line with the concept for 2008, made the changes necessary to fit that concept, and also would hopefully set us up for some more exciting stories in the future. I was pretty nervous, because it was a proposal I believed in, and I would have felt bad if it had failed.
Anyway, long story short, it went over well -- but as usual, there was more work to do. Questions were asked; plot holes were sought for and filled; some things stayed the same, some things changed radically; ways were found to loop in old mysteries; and a lot of things were debated because we were discussing major, major changes to the story. Sometimes, in the past, story team debates can turn into hours-long arguments, but this time everyone was shooting for the same goal -- finding a way to make the story work. And everyone contributed, either with a question, an answer, or both.
The upshot was we did in four hours what we expected to need six or seven to do, and everyone came away feeling like we accomplished something. Assuming it gets the go-ahead from up top, I will be working on a story bible for 2008 before the end of this year. Then the 2009 concept will get discussed with management next year.
After the meeting was over, we adjourned to Leah's house for dinner. Then the next day I was off to a town called Ulfborg on the west coast of Jutland, where we would be spending three days in LEGO Club/Community meetings.
More later ...