Browsing articles tagged with " Facts"

Project Update

Sep 6, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

So-Called Living

First: A buddy I use to work with (in the video game industry) is drawing up 6 pages of my SCL script to add to his portfolio. If I feel his style matches the story I’m trying to tell, we’re going to use those pages to submit to Image… pretty cool eh?

Second: I’ve been talking to Corey Reid (writer/creator of Reform School Ninja Girls, and crowd founding guru) about auditioning artists to work on SCL. I’m a little tide up at the moment, so it might be a few weeks before I get to this part.

Third: I have to get around to changing the front page of Still have Jamie listed as artist on the project.

Unnamed Project (A book me and Ray are working on)

First: I’ve plotted out a story that I like… kinda. I like certain parts, but there seems to be something missing. I got to go back to the drawing board on this one. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

Second: Ray has been putting together some art work for our little project (which I’ve shared some of in previous posts), but he’s unsatisfied with the outcome and will be headed back  to the drawing board as well.

As soon as I have more info to share about this project I will.


25 Things About Me

Feb 19, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   The Facts About Mark Maia  //  No Comments

WARNING: If you’ve ever been to my other blog (which no longer exists) you might have already read this.

I was inspired by a blog post I read at entitled “25 Random Things About Me”. And thought to myself, hey there must be at least 25 random things about me too, right? I ran out around 12 and it was an uphill struggle to 25. Either I’m not very interesting or simply blinded to my own feelings and experiences.

Anyways, I managed to come up with 25 “things about me” and actually had fun doing it. It’s an interesting experience breaking down who you are into a list. It stirs up memories and emotions, some good, some sad, but all relevant to who you are. So take a peek and get to know me a bit better, and when you’re done, maybe you’ll be inspired to make a list of your own.



  1. I was raised by women, most prevalent of which consisted of a mom, a grandmother, an aunt, a cousin (also female), 3 sisters and their girlfriends
  2. I am a man of my word, or at least I do my best to try to be
  3. I am a student of The Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” although my grades do slip from time to time
  4. I won writing competitions all the time when I was in school but never considered taking my storytelling seriously until recently
  5. I am my own harshest critique. I will get ten times more pissed with myself for making a mistake that I would easily forgive another for
  6. Although I want to be a writer, I can’t bring myself to read a book. I can listen to them on tape and when it comes to comics I could read a hundred in a single sitting (minus trips to the bathroom of course) but when it comes to novels, the words go in but their meaning never sticks, it’s as if the black text on the white page has memory wiping properties
  7. I’ve been an illustrator my whole life but haven’t drawn a thing in over seven years
  8. Although I am very friendly, I do not believe that everyone is my friend. In fact I’m pretty sure most people don’t even like me, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be any less friendly when it comes to them
  9. I never touched a drink until I was 27
  10. I’m a very touchy, huggy, kissy person when I’m drunk, just ask anyone, Jeff, Aj, Nelson, Phil, Denis… you get the idea
  11. I am not gay… contrary to popular belief
  12. I’m a huge Spiderman Fan
  13. If I had to design a Spiderman game, I think I would have a panic attack
  14. I drift off to daydream land at least 2-3 times a day
  15. Since starting in the video game industry I’ve been an 2D and 3D animator, pixel artist, environment artist, level designer, game designer, voice actor, script writer, lead artist, lead designer, creative director and… I’m sure I’m missing something
  16. I moved to London, ON to start working in the video game industry over 13 years ago
  17. Born and raised in Toronto, and I miss it, my family and friends more than anyone will ever know
  18. I love Indian food, but I fear the what naan bread will do to my girlish figure
  19. I speak both English and Portuguese, although my Portuguese is getting rusty not using it for the past 13 years (Yes, that is the exact time I’ve lived in London, ON)
  20. Some who know me might not think it, but I’m a family man at heart and look forward to starting my own one day
  21. I don’t get offended
  22. I’m proud of the fact that at age 36 I still don’t need glasses. Although with new 3D technology popping up in video games, I’m sure that’ll change
  23. I would love to do some work on the side for Marvel Comics as a writer
  24. I’ve never really been alone, and I’m not sure I would do too well if I ever was
  25. Once I start talking, it’s a conscious mental effort to stop

Drawn By Fate (Part 2 of 2)

Feb 15, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   The Facts About Mark Maia  //  No Comments


WARNING: If you’ve ever been to my other blog (which no longer exists) you might have already read this.

Continued from “Drawn By Fate (Part 1)

…Illustration Technical (ILT later to be renamed DMA: Digital Media Arts) that’s what she (my good friend Mimi) chose, and that’s what I applied for… nothing else. I convinced myself that if I didn’t get into this course, it just wasn’t meant to be. And low and behold I got in… legitimately this time.

On day one I knew I had to make my move and pick a college buddy before the good ones were all taken, enter Denis Cawson. The story of how that friendship came to be is an interesting tale onto itself, but we’ll save that for another day.

Half way through the course and everything is going great! I’m at the top of my class with my now good buddy Denis, and my future is looking bright. During one of our classes our teacher Derek Elliot gives us a heads up on what’s to come in the second half of the course, “great!” I thought, ‘cause in truth, I never actually looked up the curriculum. So when I heard that we were going to learn 3D animation I thought “all right bring it on!… hey Denis… what’s 3D animation?” Ok, so I had no clue, but it all worked out in the end, between me and my good pal Denis, we had the two top animation spots nailed down.

2 years later, college is over and the search for a job starts again, but this time I got a subpar student reel to back me up, ain’t nothing going to stop me now! My future as an employee of an animation house is set, except… I never sent out a single reel, why? Because an easier opportunity landed at my door step before I could lick a stamp (those things you used before e-mail… ask your parents) and I took it.

You see, my mother was working as a custodian at an advertising studio, and in passing she tells the owner, “Hey, my sons an artist” to which he replies “Oh really, well bring in some of his work and I’ll have a look”. Upon hearing this story I hand my mom one of my old Photoshop assignments from school. She takes it to the advertising guy and he loves it and gives me a job on the spot, things are looking up.

Six months later and I get the second of 2 calls which got me where I am today. While sitting at home on a Sunday watching American Pie on my brand new VHS, the phone rings, the caller ID reads “Sandbox Studios” video game developer and current employer of my good buddy Denis. I answered the phone expecting it to be Denis on the other line, I’m surprised when I hear the voice of a complete stranger, but being the friendly type of guy I am, I chat it up with the stranger, never once asking him his name or why he’s calling. We talked about video games and art, two subjects that I was very familiar with. By the end of this most delightful conversation with this complete stranger, he tells me he wants me to come work at Sandbox Studios in London, On. “Did I just have a job interview?” I thought to myself… “Well I’ll have to think about it” I tells him. We say our goodbyes and hang up… what the hell was that! Apparently Denis dropped my name at the studio, and whatever he told them had them sold, and less than a week later, I’m the newest employee at Sandbox Studios in London, Ontario… a city I didn’t even know existed up until a few weeks ago. So what do I do now? I’ve got no savings, and I don’t get see my first pay check for a month. Oh wait a minute, I just started dating a girl from London just a few weeks earlier and she tells me I can crash with her parents till I get my own place… isn’t it nice when all the pieces just fall into place.

First day at Sandbox Studios: I started off as a pixel artist on GBC (Game Boy Color), “what’s pixel art” I ask myself, and that’s where that form of questioning ended, I knew if I wanted to keep this job I better learn to how to sling a pixel and fast. Oh, did I mention I was the only “pixel artist” on staff? Ipso facto, I land the title of Lead Artist by default.

Game design was something that always interested me and I made it my goal to get involved as much as possible. Eventually that persistence paid off and I was official named lead designer of the GBA team (Game Boy Advance), but by that time Sandbox was bought out by Dice, the creators of the hit Battlefield franchise.

4 Years into my career and I’ve had the opportunity to be Lead Artist and Lead Designer, not to mention my work as level designer, UI designer, 3D modeller, voice over actor and pretty much everything else but programming.

When the game boy department shut down, I was put on Battlefield 2 where they had me building what felt like the same vehicle over and over again, I was board out of my mind. There were points when I swear I was moving backwards. So the time came where I had to make my move, I had to leave Dice.

By the time I made the decision to leave Dice, Damir Slogar (now former dice programmer) had started a little company called Big Blue Bubble, he offered me a job as creative director and I took it, it was the fresh start I needed (although I was scared out of my mind. You know, job security and all). That was back in 2004, now 7 years later, Dice Canada is no more and Big Blue Bubble is bigger and more successful than ever, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Someone once asked me “What is your biggest regret in life” and I answered “I have no regrets.” To which he responded “everyone has regrets”, so I explained “Everything that’s happened in my life, both good and bad have lead me to where I am today, so if I’m happy with my life, then how could I regret any of it?”.

Drawn By Fate (Part 1 of 2)

Feb 14, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   The Facts About Mark Maia  //  1 Comment

 How I Got In To Video Games

Me face

WARNING: If you’ve ever been to my other blog (which no longer exists) you might have already read this.

How did I get into the video game industry? Well, I’d like to think that hard work, raw talent and persistence got me to where I am, at least I hope so. I mean… to make it this far in my career and simply chalk it up to dumb luck, well that’s just sad. Dumb luck is for people who fall over backwards into circumstances that they would otherwise never achieve on their own, winning the lottery for example. What happened to me… that was fate, I was meant to be here. Allow me to explain the chain of events that got me to where I am…

It all started way back in 95. It was my last year at Western Tech high school in Toronto, when I met one of my best friends, Mimi (seriously that’s her name). The semester was almost up and it seemed that everyone but me had a list of colleges and universities to apply to, they had a plan, and they knew what they wanted to do with their lives. Me… I just didn’t want to end up on the street living out of a box, so I started to panic.

In an attempt to salvage what was left of a misspent youth, I signed up for a “career path & planning class” hosted by the school’s guidance counsellor, in which I paid no attention, and got called out for talking in class. After class she sat me down in her office, and went on to tell me what an excellent radio voice I had. Now, anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I’m a rambling mumbler at best, two qualities that don’t go over well in the radio biz, but I was 17, WTF did I know?! If you told me I had what it took to be a tap dancer, I’d be falling on my face right now auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance, but I digress… After our little talk I thanked the nice lady and went on my way to start my ever so promising career in broadcasting… NOT.

Over the next 2 months or so I applied to every broadcasting course at every college I could think of, but to no avail. Then the mail strike happened, so instead of sending out rejection letters, colleges had to call each student to let them know whether or not they were accepted, not a big deal for me, I was already turned down by every school I applied to. I even applied for jobs at the mall and nothing… at the MALL… who can’t get a job at the mall? I was truly in dire straits, well not so dire I was living with my parents after all, but you get the idea.

Then the call came, this would be one of 2 most unexpected calls that contributed to my present state of affairs. It went something like this…


Mark (aka, me): Hello

Centennial Desk Jockey (aka, CDJ): Hi, is this Marco Maia?

Mark (aka Marco): Yup

CDJ: We’re calling to let you know that we loved your portfolio and that classes start on blah, blah, blah.

Mark: Oh…um, great…what course is this?

CDJ: The visual arts course. You’ll need to come down to the campus to pick up your schedule for the coming semester.

Mark: Oh, of course… duh. Um… what campus exactly (trying to figure what school was calling)

CDJ: Centennial’s Warden Woods campus

Mark: Ok… thanks a lot (hang up).


Now, at a glance, you wouldn’t think there was anything particularly fascinating about that call, I mean, I am an artist, no big surprise that I would go to an art school right?… But take into consideration these little morsels of knowledge.

Now, at a glance, you wouldn’t think there was anything particularly fascinating about that call, I mean, I am an artist, no big surprise that I would go to an art school right?… But take into consideration these little morsels of knowledge.

  1. I never applied to Centennial College
  2. I never even considered art as an option, let alone apply to a visual arts program
  3. I don’t have, or up to that point in time ever had a portfolio

So, how did I get accepted into a course I didn’t even apply to? Who cares, I’m going to college baby! (Mom will be so proud) While attending the visual arts course I made some long time friends and coincidently, my friend Mimi also got accepted into the same college (although a different program that she did in fact apply for).

So I did the college thing and when that finished up, I did what all college graduates do, I started looking for work.

Fun Facts:

  • I wasn’t allowed to display my artwork at the end of the year exhibit, because my professors didn’t consider comic book illustration art.
  • With the help of a few classmates, I cleaned up a portion of the studio next to the exhibit to display my work and made signs that read “More ART this way”, and it was a hit!
  • My portfolio and all my work was stolen less than a week later.

So where was I?… oh yes, looking for a job. Still no idea of what kind of job I could get as an artist (I honestly thought unless you wanted to be an architect, there were no jobs for artists, that’s why they’re called “starving artists”), I was lost, then I saw the sign… actually I was watching an episode of Who’s the Boss and thought “hey Angela’s got a pretty cool job, I’ll do that, I’ll go into advertising”. So I sent resume’s to every advertising studio I could find in Toronto. Less than two weeks had gone by before the rejections letters started pouring in, one studio actually rejected me twice, and I only applied once.

Broken and feeling defeated, I decided to give up on art as a career option, and for the next year and a half, I took on jobs as an extra for movies shot in town, things were looking grim.

Mimi, friend and voice of reason, thought that I should give school another shot. I wasn’t completely convinced but I thought what the hell. I started looking through a phonebook of available courses around town; I had no idea what to do. Turning to Mimi I hand her the book and said “here, you pick a course, any course at all (as long as it doesn’t involve math) and I’ll apply” and so she did…

To be continued…



Using 3D to Direct my 2D

Jan 30, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

So here’s the plan.

Now that I’ve completely rebuilt So-Called Living issue 1 to be a little more “artist friendly”, I’m taking it to the next level. Using Maya (the 3D software package), I’ll be storyboarding pages for Jamie myself. I’ve downloaded some pre-rigged characters from, so that I can pose them, and position the camera where I want, to achieve the scene that I want to see in the final product. Each rendered scene will then be taken into Photo Shop where I will be laying out the comic pages, panel sizes and word bubble placement. After which I’ll hand it off to Jamie and have him draw the scene I laid out. Not sure if anyone else does this, but I think it could work out pretty cool.

In case I wasn’t clear… The final pages will be all hand drawn, no 3D art will be used in the final product.

Stalking Matt Hawkins

Jan 9, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

I think I’m stalking Matt Hawkins (President / Chief Operating Officer at Top Cow).

Ever since I sent in my submission for the talent hunt, I can’t stop following his twitter feed obsessively. He’s already sent out an e-mail letting us know he’ll send us a message regarding our submissions when he gets to it, but for some reason I persist. Not sure what I’m hoping to see. I think subconsciously I’m hoping for something like “WOW, Mark Maia’s script is fan-dabby-dozy-tastic. Sorry you other 1100 people, better luck next year”… I know, I know, chances of that happening are…well… ok, it’s probably not going to happen, not like that anyway. I mean I still think I have a chance of getting the gig, but then again, so do over a thousand other people.

Matt…um I mean, Mr. Hawkins (in case you are reading this, I have the utmost respect) has got a lot of scripts to read, and a lot of those are going to be bad, and that can change a man. I mean a few bad scripts can suck the life out of you. I guess what I’m trying to say is… I hope the bad scripts will make mine stand out a winner, rather than put the man reviewing them in a bad mood… you dig?

In Mr. Hawkins’ email, he mentioned that our odds of NOT getting the gig were 99.64%… wow, that’s a harsh bit of reality right there. But I do believe, if “wanting it” bad enough plays a factor, well… in that case, I’d put my odds of winning up against every last one of those competing.

Thanks again for all those at Top Cow who gave us this great opportunity.

My Top Cow Talent Hunt Submission

Jan 7, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

As you all already know, I submitted a script to the Top Cow Talent Hunt. I’ve posted out-takes from the script in the past, but now I’m posting the script in full, for any of you interested. Keep in mind, these are not my characters. All characters in this story are from the Top Cow universe, as per the rules outlined in the submission guide lines.

So, here it is. I’ve included both the script and synopsis. Enjoy!… I hope.

Synopsis: Bad Blood

Script Submission: Bad Blood


I also had a second submission that’s a lot shorter. Here it is.

Synopsis: Puppet Master

Script Submission: Puppet Master

Revising So-Called Living Book: 1

Jan 4, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

It’s 2013… time to get my shit together!

Now that both my Top Cow Talent Hunt submissions are sent off, I can get back to working on So-Called living.

After showing Jamie my Top Cow script, he asked if I could format our So-Called living scripts the same way. You see, what’s different about my So-Called Living scripts, is that my descriptions were vague, on purpose, for two reasons. 1: I see Jamie everyday and we talked through every panel in person. 2: As an artist I assumed he would want the freedom to express himself, and not be tide down to my vision of things. So here’s where I went wrong…

Drawing a comic is a lot of work and according to Jamie, he would rather me break the panels down for him, so he has “less thinking to do” (his words not mine); Thus allowing him to focus more on creating the art asked of him, and less about directing the story itself. Fair enough.

Also, I never broke the story up into pages (panels yes, pages no). I did this to put less constraints on Jamie’s creativity, but now I see the errors of my ways. My panels were labelled, PANEL 1 – PANEL 90. Not a good idea.

So that leaves me with my latest task. I have to go back to book 1, expand on my descriptions and break my panels up into pages. So far it’s taking me longer to do that than it did to write the story in the first place.

FYI: I’ve never written a comic before.

I’m Back!… ish

Dec 10, 2012   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

Hey guys… We’re back! Well I am anyway.

You might have noticed that I haven’t blogged for quite some time. The reason is because So-Called living was put on hold for a bit, while Jamie was dealing with other things in his life such as, moving out of his old house and into his brand-spanking new house.

Now that he has, we should be able to get back on track… not that the holiday season is the best time to do that, but what the hell.

In the mean time, I’ve been working on a submission for the Top Cow Talent hunt. You can find more details here:

Well that’s it for now, but I should have more soon… maybe even later today. We’ll have to wait and see.

More Facts

Mar 22, 2012   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

You might have noticed a bunny or two in yesterdays post. You might have even noticed that there was a bunny on the back side of our little promotional cards. Now you’re probably asking yourself “what’s with the bunnies?” Well here’s a few facts to get you through the day

Fact 1: Bunnies are everywhere and they’ve become a global concern.

Fact 2: People in So-Called Living know why they should be afraid of bunnies, but you’ll have to read to find out.

Now that you’ve had your fill of obscure bunny facts, let me get you up to speed on where we are with the series.

As far as the script goes, I’ve written 2 of our 4 issue mini series while Jamie has started cleaning up his pages for the first book. I’ve started on the third, and had a sit down with Jamie to address some concerns he had about continuity, panel layout and length. For the most part we saw eye to eye. Some of Jamie’s concerns were valid (appropriate changes were made), and the other stuff was the result of a lack of clarity on my part. So after a 30min talk or so we got everything cleared up, and the story is all the better for it.