The Hero’s Journey of Roberto Gagnor

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

Playing like I did when I was a little kid, when I would draw and make up stories for my own pleasure, with my heroes: the Disney characters, and beyond.

Also, the freedom to work on my own schedule, most of the time.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

A day in the mountains, with my wife and my family, in the summer.

What is my greatest fear?

Losing the ones I love.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

I’m a big whiner sometimes, and get bogged down in it: but I’m trying to get over it.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

My friends working at Disney/Panini Italy, fellow writers and artists which I read as a kid and then shaped my writing; in cinema, Spielberg, Terry Gilliam, Woody Allen, Cameron Crowe.

What is my greatest extravagance?

I do tend to spend too much on comics, book, Lego and action figures!

On what occasion would I lie?

I’m a writer: my trade is lying! Making up stories, that is.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

I’m never happy with it: it always seems a mess to me.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

Probably when I first got published in Topolino Magazine, in 2003, in Italy, with my first comic story; and when I won a competition of the Solinas Screenwriting Prize in 2010, allowing me to write and shoot my short film, Sharon’s Number (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNwVUCPCu2I).

If I could, what would I change about myself?

Thinner, younger, gifted with hair again.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

Making a living as a writer since 2003, and writing Disney comics as I dreamt as a kid.

What do the words ‘The Financial Freedom to Create’ mean to me?

I would love that, as it would allow me not to worry about money. Then again, maybe that would take the edge off my work. Anyway, I’d be happy to try it for a while!

Where would I most like to live?

I love Milano, where I live; I just wish I could live more in the Susa Valley mountains, where I come from.

What is my most treasured possession?

Many pieces of original art by cartoonist friends, as well as several autographed books by writers and screenwriters I admire.

What is my most marked characteristic?

I’m fast and I never give up.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

I just moved in the Bicocca neighborhood of Milano: a students’ place, with modern architecture, university building and a nice social life. My wife and I live in a flat overlooking a small station and the rest of the city, and just looking out of my window, seeing the city bustling with activity 24/7, is an inspiration boost.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Many! I love the Mondadori bar and bookstore overlooking Duomo Square: my wife and I are always trying to get that one table with the perfect Duomo view.

What books influenced my life and how?

Gothic novels gave me a passion for literary Romanticism. Thomas Mann’s Tonio Kroeger helped me made sense of my teenage years. Paul Auster’s Hand To Mouth comforted me in my lowest professional ebbs.

Who are my favorite writers?

In comics, Tom King, Garth Ennis, Mark Millar, Frank Miller; in prose, Paul Auster, Nick Hornby, Ian Fleming, Henry Fielding, Lev Tolstoj; at the movies, Woody Allen, Neil Simon, Billy Wilder.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

Mostly embarrassing 80s romantic pop, from Phil Collins to Elton John and Sting. I always loved them, and I still do.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

If I had to choose only one? 007, no question.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

My parents and my late grandfather Carlo, who believed in me and my work when nobody did.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero.

What role plays art in my life and work?

I tend to think of myself as a creator of content, not an artist: if I do end up creating art, that’s for future readers to decide, not me.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My wife, Michela.

Whom would I like to work with in 2019?

I’d love to finally get to write and direct a fiction feature, as well as continue producing with my friend Radek Wegrzyn and our company, Magical Realist. So… continue on this path!

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2019?

Too many greats, can’t decide!

What project, in 2019, am I looking forward to work on?

As Magical Realist, I’m co-producing a feature documentary, so I’m looking forward to finish and release it. I’m also writing Comic Book Souls, a superhero romantic comedy, for Torsten Goetz at Letterbox Films in Germany. Then I’d love to do another Disney parody, after my Odyssey…

Where can you see me or my work?

In the Italian Disney magazine, Topolino, where my stories are published quite regularly.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

They mean that if I can and if my health will allow it, I’ll never stop working till I die, as I love this job too much!

Which creative heroes should Peter invite to share their story? 

Definitely Radek Wegrzyn, screenwriter and director: radek@magical-realist.com, and Torsten Goetz, producer: https://www.facebook.com/torsten.gotz.10

How can you contact me?

I can be found at Roberto@magical-realist.com.

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