By Ale Bodden
Anxiously Waiting for the Neil Gaiman Documentary Film?
I am so thankful I was able to cover the Neil Gaiman Documentary Film. The panel was moderated by Producer and Cameraman, Jordan Rennert— and joining him were: director Patrick Meaney, Neil Gaiman's fantastic assistant Cat Mihos, CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein, and Author/Editor Leslie Klinger. I will admit, though, I was very sad that Gaiman himself was not there… and then a bit more so when the tag that read David Mack was taken off the table.
[Panelists; image borrowed from Cat Mihos Twitter @Neverwear]
During the hour-long panel we were shown snippets of the film which consisted of: Neil Gaiman, of course, his fans and other authors/artists talking about the man himself. Some featured in the film were G.R.R. Martin, Terry Pratchett, Grant Morrison, Karen Berger, David Mack, Wil Wheaton, Michael Sheen…
As an avid Neil Gaiman fan I was ecstatic to know and see that there were so many people in that room whose life he has touched with just words in the same way mine has; so many inspired to keep dreaming and never give up. One of the subjects discussed was Signings… Mihos, Rennert, and Meaney emphasized how long and tedious signings can be for Gaiman, mostly because he never says no simply to get the chance to meet everyone who has supported him and lined up waiting for him—after seeing him dip his hand into an ice bucket after every signing on the clips shown and Mihos telling us that Gaiman lost a fingernail during a long tour, she gave us the bad news first: while Gaiman will still go on tours, there will not be more signings in his foreseeable future. Mihos stressed how much of a challenge it is to keep track of his schedule and how hard it is to keep the author healthy and sane… She also added that she takes his phone every so often just so he can go back to work.
The good news? Sandman was the series that introduced me to the fantastical Gaiman universe, so you can imagine my happiness when I heard that the Sandman movie is in pre-production stages! I cannot wait to hear and see more about that- it is my favorite graphic novel and it is what got me started on reading comics. However, there were no updates on American Gods, another favorite book of mine.
There is something inherently beautiful about hearing the people that are close to someone you admire talk as nicely as you would about them or just knowing that they are equally star-struck by him as all of us sitting there. They each talked about how Gaiman has changed or inspired them. Meaney mentioned how Gaiman never stops and is always moving from one thing to another- he said that whenever he feels overwhelmed he thinks back to the author they followed for months and whispers to himself how, if Neil Gaiman (the busiest man ever) can find time for everything plus more, then he can go on, too. Mihos said that his endless generosity never ceases to move her; to which Rennert added that Gaiman says yes to everything and does it with a smile.
Brownstein, on the other hand, talked about how inspiring it is to work with someone who is so hands-on. He talked about how Gaiman is always contributing to the CBLDF and always trying to find new ways to help creators—and how inspiring he finds Gaiman's mental toughness and profundity when he goes out to the sea of expectations and dreams of fans, and yet manages to connect with each one that comes to him. Meany chimed in calling the relationship Gaiman has with his fans a symbiotic one, letting us now that he loves meeting his fans as much as they love meeting him. He then proceeded to show other clips of the film in which he see Gaiman meeting his fans. It was shortly followed by another clip of Gaiman talking about his Pen-fetish; talking about how he uses a different pen with different colors every day just to be able to see how much work he has done in one sitting.
If everything goes according to plan, Rennert and Meany said, the documentary film will be finished by the end of the year and -hopefully- out next year for all of us to get. They also mentioned that after his trip to the refugee camp Gaiman was a bit shaken, and is working on new projects to shed some light over the situation and his trip…