SDCC: Conan writer Rob Kutner talks Shrinkage, Comic-Con appearance

Rob Kutner (Photo courtesy of Rob Kutner)

Conan writer Rob Kutner recently spoke to Solzy at the Movies in advance of his signing appearance at the Golden Apple Comics table (Booth #1806) at Comic-Con in San Diego this Friday, July 21st, at 6 PM.

Thank you for joining Solzy at the Movies today. How are things treating you?

Rob Kutner: Since I’m writing this from LA and currently still have power, I can’t complain!

Conan is returning to tape more episodes in San Diego this year but this year is different as you will be doing a signing of complete Shrinkage paperback at the Golden Apple Comics table (Booth #1806) on Friday, July 21st at 6 PM. Are you excited to meet your fans?

Rob Kutner: VERY. Much like a Harry Potter or Star Wars debut, I’m expecting people to start lining up the night before, cosplaying as parts of the human brain. Looking tight, Medulla!

Will Friday be the only day that the paperback is sold or will fans be able to buy it during the rest of the convention?

Rob Kutner: It will be available at the booth all week long, and Ryan or any of the cool Golden Apple folk will be happy to hook you up with a special SDCC discount. Just you, reading this right now. Not that wannabe behind you.

For those unfamiliar with Shrinkage, how would you describe it?

Rob Kutner: Tiny aliens hijack the POTUS’ brain (not this one, that would actually be an improvement) because they eat radiation and want to make him cause global nuclear war.

So humanity shrinks a crusty old Cold War general and a Liz Lemon-esque neuroscientist and send them in to fight the greatest, tiniest intergalactic battle ever – while the Prez is supposed to be doing his job.

Think Fantastic Voyage meets Dr. Strangelove.

How long were you sitting on the idea and was making the project as a comic book series your first choice? Could it have been made as a feature film?

Rob Kutner: It definitely occurred to me as a comic book first because visually, there’s so much you can do in that medium that would scream “Expensive!” in the film world.

How does writing for a limited comic book series differ from having written for The Daily Show, Conan, and your previous books (Apocalypse How, The Future According to Me)?

Rob Kutner: It’s 1000% different from writing for late night because it’s a chance to write in my own voice instead of someone else’s. And also less topical and time-bound.

Compared to my other comedy books, I had to almost “re-learn” how to write because in comics you have to think about the pace of movement and action that is captured in panels, and how to pace that out for maximum visual and storytelling impact at once. Also, a comic book is thinner than a regular print book, but oddly enough, exactly as thin as Conan.

Given that Farrago Comics distributed Shrinkage via their free app, the paperback marks the first time that the comic series has been published in print. Will people have the opportunity to buy the collected edition outside of SDCC?

Rob Kutner: If we sell out at SDCC, we can order more, as many as we need, until America’s bottomless Sarlacc-like maw is finally sated.

How did Farrago come to your attention as a publisher? What was it that stood out about Farrago compared to other publishers?

Rob Kutner: I was introduced to Farrago by a mutual acquaintance, and what I’ve liked about them is that they totally get the craziness of SHRINKAGE and me and embrace both. And they hooked me up with the kickass illustrator John Lucas. It was love at first weird.

Shrinkage was funded in part by crowdfunding through Indiegogo. Is crowdfunding through Indiegogo and Kickstarter going to be more important as the years go forward?

Rob Kutner: I think almost certainly. Audiences everywhere are nichefying (watch for that word in next year’s OED), meaning that massive tentpole funding is harder to score for original projects.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go catch the 3:45 showing of “Jenga: The Movie.”

What advice do you give people when they tell you they want to be a comedy writer?

Rob Kutner: Try a whole bunch of different genres, write tons more “practice” examples of each than you think necessary, and imagine you’re the tortoise and your competitors are the hare (by which I mean, lay your eggs on the beach and live for 112 years).

Thanks again for joining Solzy at the Movies. Enjoy the fun in San Diego!

Rob Kutner: Thanks for having me, Danielle!

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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