• Ceda Shonda

PITCHING A WEBTOONS! OR HOW I BECAME A MARY SUE

My name is Ceda Xiong, a TV writer who likes to dabble in projects in a bunch of transmedia areas. I am also the cowriter of the Blade Runner comic books and pitching a very cool webtoons right now with a major label kpop group.


Now, if you're looking for an expert, step far far away because there's only one true teacher. Her name is "failure" and she's a bitch.


So how did all of this happen? You say, Ceda, when did people decide to start listening to your creative ideas? I would say, ha! no one listens to me but i won't shut up. Being consistent and loud definitely helps when you're trying out your creative voice.


For starters, this webtoons idea really came out of nowhere. I am currently on hiatus from my TV show, Maggie (now streaming on Hulu please watch!!) which means I need to get a jerb to support myself. I have had a working relationship with a talent company debuting a big kpop [redacted] group in America! so, without revealing too much about the identity of the band, I can say that I know they have a huge group of female fans. I thought long and hard about what female fans want and it's often a personal or touching story about their idols.


Since this was a webtoons, some of the pitches I had in mind had fantastical elements, because it’s such a visual medium where literally anything can happen. My favorite webtoons have richly imagined fantastic worlds that I knew something had to be out of the ordinary. I thought about how sometimes women feel confined by the rejections they’ve had in the past, or experience insecurity about what they really want or desire, and how for many people that becomes part of their creative outlet.


So I landed on this pitch. An ordinary girl named Anna (24), maybe an office worker, has had a tough time growing up (I mean, who didn’t). But she’s had this talent of doodling in a notebook that encompasses all of her wants and desires. She always draws what she wishes would happen. When we meet her in her normal life, on her commute or getting breakfast, we see the four Kpop band members in her real life. But, they’re not famous yet. They’re just regular guys, with day jobs and hustling for their real passion, music. Anna wishes she could talk to them, but she’s holding herself back, and so she draws what she wishes. One day, when she’s finally out of pages in her notebook, she goes to a bookstore she’s never seen before, in an alleyway that seems to have portaled out of nowhere! Anna walks in and this is one of these Studio-ghibli enchanted bookstores with fat cats and chubby books everywhere. The gorgeous and funny Storeowner hands Anna a notebook, tells her that the book’s been calling out to her. Anna buys the notebook, doodles in it all day, especially on a page where she’s imagining the dogwalker whom she always sees on her way to breakfast. But on the page, she’s walking a dog with him. It’s an idyllic cute fantasy and it makes her smile. At the end of the day, her work and doodles are finished. Anna is waiting for her bus when a loose dog on a leash runs past her, wrapping the leash around her leg. Anna grabs the dog and sees the VERY handsome dogwalker, exactly like the pages in her notebook! And then of course, the story unspools from there.


How does the notebook work? Is it like Death Note but for romantic comedy fans? I truly have no idea so I’ll probably write another blog post when it’s more obvious what the story is calling for!


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