Top 5 Trending Comics #173

Every week before new comic book day, Trending Pop Culture provides the fans with the Top 5 Trending Comics arriving on new comic book day .
New Comics and items arriving 7/18/18.

Click on the RED links, Images or the comic cover to buy/bid from All available sellers on Ebay

Life of Captain Marvel #1 – A new, in depth look into the origin of Captain Marvel. Written by Margaret Stohl and art from Carlos Pacheco.
Archie Meets Batman 66 #1 – The first time in 77 years that these two iconic characters will team up. Written by Jeff Parker and Michael Moreci. Art from Dan Parent and J Bone.
Clankillers #1 – Creators Sean Lewis and Antonio Fuso deliver this new sold out debut issue from Aftershock Comics
Twelve Devils Dancing #1  – New Danger Zone comic is sold out. Creators Erica Schultz and Dave Acosta.
The Mall #1 – The main question we ask with this new Scout Comics offering, is when will this be tapped by a movie studio? Writers James Haick III and Don Handfield. Artist Rafael Loureiro

Top 5 Comic

Top 5 Comic

Top 5 Comic

Top 5 Comic

Click on the RED links, Images or the comic cover to buy/bid from All available sellers on Ebay

Trending

Trending

Trending

Here are the rest of the trending comics and items headed your way this Wednesday from Trending Comics and More #535
Click on the RED links to buy/bid now from ALL available Ebay sellers.

Infinity Countdown #5
Cable #159
Injustice vs The Masters Of The Universe #1
Rise Of TheTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #0
Euthanauts #1
Barry Steakfries #1
Dead Life #1
48th Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide

Trending items arriving this Wednesday. Most are sold out. Click on the RED links or the image to buy/bid on these hot items via eBay from ALL available sellers.
DC Batman Universe Collectors Bust #7 Nightwing – Eaglemoss Publications
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 Yondu Movie Masterpiece Action Figure – Hot Toys
Marvel Spider-Man Mark IV Mini Bust – Gentle Giant Studios
Monopoly Deadpool Edition Case – Hasbro
Femme Fatales Dawn Executive Goddess PVC Statue – Diamond Select

Carpe Diem.
Jay Katz

Best Covers – New Comics 7-18-18

New comic book release day 7/18/18. New comic releases are subject to change.
These are our favorite comic covers from the new arrivals this week. Shown below are the comic book covers with the cover artist.
Always remember, all of these new comics are just as awesome in the inside as they are on the outside. What are your favorite covers this week?
NOTE: This site is BEST VIEWED on Google Chrome.
Click on the Comic Cover to buy/bid from ALL sellers on Ebay

Click on the Comic Cover to buy/bid from ALL sellers on Ebay

Click on the Comic Cover to buy/bid from ALL sellers on Ebay

Click on the Comic Cover to buy/bid from ALL sellers on Ebay

Carpe Diem.
Jay Katz

VIDEOS – New Comics & Best Covers #535

Weekly video look at some of the new release comics and items from the weekly Trending Comics & More article and the Best Comic Covers article.
New comics & items arriving 7/18/18.
Enjoy the eye candy. Turn up the volume and enjoy!
ALL Of The New Videos….And More

Trending Comics & More #535

Here are this week’s top trending comic books and new items headed your way this Wednesday 7-18-18
This site is BEST VIEWED on Google Chrome.
Click on the RED links, Images or the comic cover to buy/bid from All available sellers on Ebay
Please note: New comic book releases and all items are subject to change

Click on the RED links, Images/comic cover to buy/bid from All available sellers on Ebay

Marvel will wrap things up in Infinity Countdown #5. The fun begins again with Marvel’s Infinity Wars thereafter. Never a dull moment within the Marvel Universe and the new Infinity Wars storyline will bring on a new player, possibly reincarnated character. The big ‘get’ in this series will be this. Who is this newbie? What role will they play? Once fans found out, they’ll go bananas and the speculators will feast among themselves. Gerry Duggan and Mike Deodato Jr. will head the new Infinity Wars project. These two creators will certainly bring it as they always do, so expect a solid series.
Speaking of a good/solid comic, Life of Captain Marvel #1 will be just that. Written by Margaret Stohl and art from Carlos Pacheco. This story will tell of the ‘Definitive Origin of Captain Marvel’. Maybe this is a precursor to the film in 2019? Maybe not, who cares really? This comic will undoubtable have fans clamoring for it, causing the trend to cycle through the social media realms as a comic to read. Although Carol Danvers is a Boston Red Sox fan (New York Yankees fan here), we’ll give her a pass regarding this portion of her origin, because one of the best persons we know Bob Heske (filmmaker/writer) is a Sox fan and he rocks. So, we here at Trending Pop Culture recommend this comic to all collectors….and Mr. Bob Heske.
One thing leads to another (Good song! Did I just show my age?) this week. Writers Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson along with artist German Peralta have been telling the story of Cable’s secret origin within the pages of his self-titled book. This week, in Cable #159, Cable’s ‘dark secret is revealed’ in ‘Past Fears: Part 5. What does this mean? Well, we’ll all have to read it and find out!
79 years; first appearance of Batman. 77 years; first appearance of Archie. 79+77= 156. That’s a whole lotta years there. Well, this Wednesday, Batman will team with Archie for the very first time in Archie Meets Batman 66 #1. This is incredible, isn’t it?
Another team-up occurring this coming Wednesday has no comparison ability in the least but is still fun nonetheless. Injustice vs The Masters Of The Universe #1. Writer Tim Seeley and artist Freddie Williams II.

Archie Batman #1

Cable #159

Infinity Countdown #5

Injustice He-Man #1

Captain Marvel #1

 

The Mall #1

Clankillers #1

Deadlife #1

Twelve Devils Dancing #1

Click on the RED links, Images/comic cover to buy/bid from All available sellers on Ebay

Trending Pop Culture Indie Hot Picks; Indie comics do not always show up on Ebay right way. Please check back on a regular basis, some of the smaller print indie books usually list after new comic book release day or a few days after.
IDW Publishing starts up a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic this week. Writer Matthew Manning and Chad Thomas bring comic fans Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #0. For the record, zero issues are silly. Just don’t put a number on it at all. Anyway, this series is based on the new fall animated series arriving this fall. We think. Maybe it’s based on a new TMNT comic series this fall? Either way, it’s new TMNT stories, so we’re all in. Also from IDW, Euthanauts #1; Creators Tini Howard and Nick Robles.
Clankillers #1 from Aftershock Comics is sold out. Creators Sean Lewis and Antonio Fuso.
Twelve Devils Dancing #1 (Danger Zone) is sold out. Creators Erica Schultz and Dave Acosta.
Keenspot Entertainment has sold out across the board (variants and all) of its offering this Wednesday; Barry Steakfries #1. Based off the video game Jetpack Joyride. Creators Chris Crosby, Mike Rosenburg and Remy Eisu Mokhtar.
Dead Life #1 from Titan Comics is sold out; Jean-Charles Gaudin and Joan Urgell Mamba.
If you’re a fan or a by-product from the 1980’s, or if you’re a fan of the Godfather movies/mob movies, or you recall the days of old visiting the mall with your friends or you’re just a fan of some great comic book reading, you’ll have to pick up The Mall #1 from Scout Comics. Writers James Haick III and Don Handfield, along with artist Rafael Loureiro bring this 80’s vibe, intrigue, mob, money, crime filled John Hughes on steroids comic to life. Yes, it’ll probably sell out, and yes, it’ll probably be made into a film one day too.

Rise of TMNT #1

Euthanauts #1

Barry Steakfries #1

Overstreet Price Guide #48

Click on the RED links, Images/comic cover to buy/bid from All available sellers on Ebay

Back when the seeds of the late great website InvestComics were being implanted inside the mind of Jay Katz, his father introduced a thick book with lots of information and very small text writing. Jay’s dad used to use a magnified glass thingy to literally look over the ‘bible of comics’ as he called it. This book was called ‘The Overstreet Price Guide’. Here we stand now on the 48th Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide release this Wednesday. Although some pricing is a bit skewed due to the rampant pace the speculators partake these days, it’s an incredible tool regardless. Especially on the Golden/Silver Age side…..where the big boys play. Sorry Cosmic Ghost Rider, step aside.

Trending items arriving this Wednesday. Most are sold out. Click on the RED links or the image to buy/bid on these hot items via eBay from ALL available sellers.
DC Batman Universe Collectors Bust #7 Nightwing – Eaglemoss Publications
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 Yondu Movie Masterpiece Action Figure – Hot Toys
Marvel Spider-Man Mark IV Mini Bust – Gentle Giant Studios
Monopoly Deadpool Edition Case – Hasbro
Femme Fatales Dawn Executive Goddess PVC Statue – Diamond Select

Eaglemoss Publications

Diamond

Hot Toys

Gentle Giant

Hasbro

Click on the RED links, Images or the comic cover to buy/bid from All available sellers on Ebay

Carpe Diem.
Jay Katz

 

 

 

InvestComics Newsletter – May 2013

 InvestComics Newsletter – May 2013

 
The-Dawning-COVER-1-jpegWelcome to the May InvestComics Newsletter. Spring is upon us as the summer months quickly approach. Summertime means fun, sun, beach, concerts, barbeques, and the first issue of the new InvestComics Publications. Yes that’s right fans, not only will your summer be filled with all the aforementioned, but you’re first crack at owning the historic first issue release from InvestComics Publications. “The Dawning #1” by David Whalen will hit next month and in this newsletter is the number one issue cover! Bask in its glory, we sure are!

The InvestComics website has a new writer on board; Terry Hoknes. Terry is the author of “Investing In Comic Books.” He will be filling up the new article section titled “Comic Market & Stats.” Terry is going to bring articles with the most comprehensive comic book stat list you will find on the internet. We guarantee it. Don’t just take our word for it, take a look at these articles already posted on InvestComics (Click on the title to jump to the article) “The Walking Dead – Complete Print Run History”, “Best Selling Comic Books of this Decade”, and “Best Selling Non-Super Hero Comics of April 2013.” Yes these are a comic book collectors dream to have such an extensive list broken down like this. We all look forward to these fantastic articles and stats.

A new tab went up on the top of the InvestComics web page recently; it’s called “Conventions.” InvestComics has visited many shows over the years and it only made sense to have a separate section all to its own. For many years the convention articles, photos, and videos were scattered throughout the site. Now it’s all contained in one area. The section is far from done, more to be added, but it IC-Conventions2has filled up nicely so far, so go check it out.

InvestComics Media is building an exclusive video catalog on BlipTV. Be sure to see many videos you will not find on Youtube or anywhere else. Click right HERE to check things out. Included within those exclusive videos will be the new contest that involves Walking Dead. An autograph from Michael Koske; a Featured walker on the show. Stay tuned for that!

The latest Comic Broker’s Report from Topher Seal went up on InvestComics. Check out the Comic Broker’s Report May 2013 right HERE.

Be sure to check out the weekly video review show FFFIC with Sebastian Piccione & Shaun Sorenson as well as the best podcast on the internet; Breaking the 4th Wall with Shaun Cobble, Kirstie Cobble, Jason Craycroft, and Shuan Sorenson. Recently, InvestComics got a hold of Premiere Grader Paul Litch of CGC to be interviewed on BT4W. Fantastic interview done by Shaun Cobble, check that out right HERE.

InvestComics has a vast hub of social media outlets, but the one place to find out about news/articles/contest/videos and so much more is the InvestComics Facebook page. Go right HERE to join the fans and talk things up. Speaking of talking things up, be sure to drop comments on the InvestComics website comment section below every article too.

Bob Heske of Heske Horror, graphic novels, screenwriter, and longtime contributor to the IndieCreator column here at InvestComics has a movie that will be coming out called; Blessid. Bob says the movie is coming along and we will see it soon. To get updates on the film, fans should LIKE the Facebook page Blessid the Movie; click right HERE to that. There will be a new IndieCreator column coming up shortly, so be on the lookout for that too.

InvestComics has a couple of conventions scheduled. So far Miami SuperCon and New York Comic Con. And as always, we will bring you all some goodies (contest) back as well as some interviews, and photos.

See you next month.

Jay Katz – CEO
InvestComics/InvestComics Publications

Receive your InvestComics Newsletter before it hits the website! Sign up below.

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IndieCreator: Interviews Andy Coughlan

IndieCreator interviews Andy Coughlan

 

 

 

Crowdfunder/Web Shopping Czar Andy Coughlan and “Help Me Fund It”

All right, everyone who likes disturbing movies with buckets of blood, raise your hand. Good. That’s all the guys in the room. Now, everyone who likes shopping online … okay, that’s all the ladies. Everyone happy? Eureka! We may have found the best two complementary things since … gosh, peanut butter and chocolate!

Announcing “Help Me Fund It” − a nifty crowd sourcing site that lets you fund your favorite film or game while shopping at great stores online. In short, you help an indie project while you help yourself.  Which now makes it very easy to explain to your wife why you bought that $400 tailgater grill on Amazon (“Honey, I was doing it to support a documentary about children who have their baby teeth stolen.”). Suddenly, you’re not a self-serving bastard … you’re a sensitive metrosexual. Sound good? Hold it, Big Fella. Put down your wallet. Let’s get through the interview first …

1)    Who is Andy Coughlan? Tell us about your background.

(AC:)  My background is mainly in Web Design and Marketing.  Until a few months ago I was a Marketing Communications manager for a Medical Devices manufacturer. Now, I’m a freelancer drawing on my experience building web sites and doing MarCom.

I’m also a bit of a screenwriter and filmmaker, which is where the inspiration for Help Me Fund It (HMFI) came from. I’ve made a few short films, written various spec scripts and edited a couple of low budget feature films.

2)    Help Me Fund It sounds like a simple idea. How hard was it to implement?

(AC:)  The site wasn’t too hard to implement. I’d spent some time in the last few years tinkering with affiliate marketing to try to fund some short films. In the process I built up a large pool of merchants that I could work with. Once I’d had the idea for HMFI, it was quite straightforward to code the site, which I did mainly over the Christmas 2011 break.

3)    For those who are unfamiliar with Help Me Fund It, pitch it to us in a few short paragraphs.

(AC:)  It’s essentially a cashback web site with a twist. Most cashback web sites offer users special links to click through to various merchants and online stores; when the user clicks on these links, they get back the commission from anything they buy.

Help Me Fund It takes the idea one step further by allowing the user to choose a creative project to which their commission is donated.

4)    What are some of the retailers you have on board?

(AC:)  Amazon is the most popular retailer, but we have hundreds, with the likes of Waterstones, HMV, Dorothy Perkins and Currys in the UK and Skechers, Ticketmaster, Fathead and Mattel in the US.

5)    What other ones will you be adding soon?

(AC:)  We’re adding new merchants all the time, although it’s usually a case of “wait and see” who turns up. I’m hoping to get more US merchants on there in the next few weeks.

6)    What was your “Ah-Ha!” moment when you came up with the concept?

(AC:)  The concept came about more through frustration than anything else. As I say, I’d been tinkering with Affiliate Marketing for a couple of years and hadn’t had a lot of success. Various projects had fallen by the wayside because I just couldn’t get the traffic to the sites.

I’d also been looking at Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, and saw quite a few of my friends try it and not get very far because they couldn’t find anyone willing to donate money, especially as, at the time, the recession was just really starting to bite.

At the same time, I was reading more and more about how Internet shopping was taking off big time. So it struck me that there might be a gap in the market for a Kickstarter type funding site that didn’t rely on people having to go out and find donors. If people are shopping online for things that they need – clothing, groceries etc. – why not get them to help as well?

7)    Explain how you came up with your icon — the lightbulb with “IT” against a purple backdrop.

(AC:)  The logo was designed by my friend, David Sturgeon, so I can’t claim any credit for it. We tried various ideas that were based around money, which made more sense as to the purpose of the site, but at the same time made it look like we were in the business of simply giving out money, which we are, but only after a bit of effort on the part of the project owners to sell the concept and got people to use the site.

So instead I decided to use the light-bulb idea to reinforce the creative aspects of the projects that the site was designed for.

8) What were your biggest obstacles in getting Help Me Fund It off the ground?

(AC:)  The biggest obstacle has been getting people to use the site. I was somewhat surprised with the apathy that the site met with when it was first launched. Apart from a few friends, no-one seemed particularly interested. It’s been quite a long, slow struggle to build up a following and get people to use the site.

I think a lot of people were scared of being seen to be the first, which is understandable. Also, because visitor numbers were relatively low, those brave enough to put their project on the site weren’t earning a lot of money. I think the most any project has earned so far is around £20 ($30), which doesn’t sound a lot, but when you consider that was done with only about fifteen people actually using the site before they shopped, the potential to earn more is definitely there.

9)    How are you using Social Media to create a buzz?

(AC:)  I’m using Twitter quite heavily to promote the projects on the site and remind people to use the site before they shop.

10) What are your immediate and long-term plans to enhance the site?

I’ve just added the Help Me Fund It widget that I hope people will embed into their web pages and blogs. This provides a quicker and easier way for people to click through to the merchants. I’m also looking to create an Android and iPhone app as well in the near future along with some other useful utilities for the project owners to use to help them promote their project on the site.

11) Help Me Fund It supports creative projects only whereas other popular crowd funding sites are all over the map. Why the focus on arts and creatives?

I just wanted to give the site a bit of focus, really. Also, knowing that it might not be generating as much money as people could get through Kickstarter and its ilk, I figured that smaller projects would be the main audience to start with: short films, community theatre, individual artists and photographers etc. As the site grows, so I’m hoping the scope of the projects on there will grow too.

12) Are you a creative yourself, or just a visionary?

Yeah, I’m definitely a creative type. Hopefully a bit of a visionary too! I spend most of my spare time creating stuff; writing, designing, coding and filming. I’m currently in the middle of rewriting a spec fantasy screenplay, and I’m hoping to take part in the Fifty Kisses project that’s going on at the moment.

13) Last question, what can our readers do to a) post a project or b) follow you on the web and support projects?

I’ve tried to make posting projects as easy as possible on the site. There’s no need even to create a new account as such, it’ll work with your Twitter, Facebook or Google+ account.

If you’re interested in keeping up with the latest developments, you can follow us on Twitter (@Help Me Fund It) and on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Help Me Fund It).

There’s also the widget – even if you don’t have an active project on Help Me Fund It, you can still help promote projects by embedding the widget in your web site or blog.

And last of all, if you’re shopping online, don’t forget to check out the site to see if you can help out the projects. It’s simple to do, just support the project and then use our links to click through to your shopping destination.

Thanks Andy. What a great concept! I encourage everyone to check out the site and buy yourselves something really good. Cheers!

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske wrote THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST. This graphic novel hit stores on July 5th at a price point of only $12.99. Order your copy at your local comic shop today – tell them the Diamond code is MAR121187! It can also be ordered on Kindle and on Amazon.

Bob has also published COLD BLOODED CHILLERS, the award-winning anthology BONE CHILLER and his end times tome 2012: FINAL PRAYER. BONE CHILLER and 2012: FINAL PRAYER are also available on Amazon Currently, Bob is making his family nervous by investing his time and money on an incredible micro-budget film called “Blessid”. “LIKE” it on Facebook. Support it on IndieGoGo. Bob’s website is www.blessidthemovie.com.

 

InvestComics Comic Hot Picks 8-15-12

www.trendingpopculture.comNEW InvestComics Comic Hot Picks every Sunday!

InvestComics You tube Page HERE
LIKE us on Facebook right HERE
Follow us on Twitter right HERE
InvestComics TV – HERE

Welcome to the InvestComics Comic Hot Picks for comic releases on 8-15-12

One comic you should definitely look out for on the new comic shelf this week is Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories #1. An absolute “gimme” here as an InvestComics Hot Pick. Will this comic sell out quickly? Yes. See a second print? Yes. Does the main character look remarkably like a character that has been around for quite some time? Yes, but we will get past that when reading this book….right?

Marvel Comics makes a couple of promises this week (as they do often, but who’s paying attention?).  Amazing Spider-Man #691 is a MUST GET issue according to Marvel because it’s leading up to that number 700 issue. Marvel says that you will regret not buying this comic now because it’s going to mean so much later. Okay so you reeled us in, thanks Marvel! More Marvel Comics promises lie within the pages of Avengers #29. The promise here is to witness a “tie-in experience like you have never seen before!” What does this mean exactly?? Oh well, guess we’ll have to pick this up and see.

Marvel Comics are in pairs this week. Two promises, now two first appearances. Captain Marvel #2 introduces The Banshee Squadron while Daredevil #17 introduces the villain Coyote. You think Coyote is that old Epic character McFarlane drew? If you remember that, you’re showing your age. Wait a sec….

DC Comics Presents #12 introduces Kid Flash. The Kid’s first appearance is in Flash #110. DC’s Before Watchmen continues with Rorschach #1. And of course Rorschach’s first appearance is in the Watchmen #1. 

IDW goes back to the vaults and collects Dave Gibbons’ old Doctor Who comics in Doctor Who Dave Gibbons Treasury Edition #1. This is very neat for Dave Gibbons fans and Doctor Who enthusiasts alike. If you’d like to search for those original comic books from the legend, check out his first Doctor Who book from 1979’s Doctor Who Magazine #1.

IDW continues with their vault visits with Classic Popeye #1, collecting the original Popeye comics from 1948. It’s funny how IDW didn’t change a thing regarding the original number one cover to the reprinted edition, all but changing 2 things. But one fact that is not going to change is that the 1948 Popeye #1 is around $600.

Number one independent comics are aplenty this week. Homecoming #1 from Aspen Comics. A creation from the late Michael Turner. The Adventures of a Comic Con Girl from Antarctic Comics looks like a fun read. Dan The Unharmable #1 is from the awesome creative mind of award winning David Lampham. And finally from Arcana, check out Curse of the Cortes Stone #1.

A quick little going away note here…..

Bob Heske, screenwriter, author and of Heske Horror AND major contributor to InvestComics has a movie project in the works. It’s called Blessid. The IndieGogo project needs some funding and has some major talent attached to the project. Reader’s can find a fantastic interview right HERE with the Director Rob Fitz. Check out more information on this fabulous project with the full cast right HERE. Contribute as little as $10 to get this project off the ground!

That’s it for this week fans! Be sure to scroll through the InvestComics Covers of the week below! What covers do you think should have made the cut? Let’s hear it!

Invest wisely.

Jay Katz

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IndieCreator Interviews Rob Fitz

 

 

 

Talkin’ Horror, Immortality and Zombie Chicks with Blessid Director Rob Fitz

Makeup and special effects savant Rob Fitz has a long and impressive resume on IMDB with credits on such films as The Perfect Storm, The Fighter, Edge of Darkness, The Grown Ups, Fever Pitch, Meet Joe Black and Jumanji.

Rob took the director’s helm for the critically acclaimed Chinese vampire horror/action film God of Vampires which he made for $23,000 (and which he also wrote). HorrorNews.net raved  “God of Vampires is exactly the kick in the ass the vampire genre does need” and Dread Central gushed “A fun, bloody action/horror hybrid that actually presented us with a different kind of bloodsucker for once (always a good thing) and knew exactly what it was doing.” The film fared well on the film festival circuit, received a limited theatrical run, gained distribution, and is quickly becoming a cult classic.

Rob’s latest indie gig is directing a micro-budget feature in Massachusetts called Blessid which films in the Fall. Recently, Rob sat down to talk to us about what it’s like working on big budget films in and around Boston; prepping for his next project about suicide, immortality and forgiveness; and splattering blood on zombie calendar pinup girls.

1) How did you get into the film business? What is your training and background?

(ROB:)  I went to film school at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and when I left school I became a production assistant. I quickly got an opportunity to do makeup on an independent film and became a makeup artist. Most of my training has been hands on.

 2) You’ve got an impressive resume on IMDB. What film was the most fun and which was the most difficult to work?

(ROB:)  I would say that working on “Inkubus” with Robert Englund was a great time as I got to work with a horror icon and engineer some amazing fx sequences. The hardest film other than my own film “God of Vampires” was probably “The Surrogates” with Bruce Willis. I had to do some prosthetics very quickly and it was very challenging.

3) What films have you worked on recently?

(ROB:) Last year I worked on “Ted” and more recently worked on a big film with Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds called “RIPD”.

4) Tell us about BLESSID.

(ROB:) Blessid is a film that embodies what an indie project should be. It’s a very personal, intimate, and dark portrait of a person tormented by her past. The interesting part about it is the supernatural elements in the story that are metaphors for aspects of her life and state of mind. Ultimately the film is about forgiving yourself which I find interesting. It’s a powerful message that I think should be told.

5) Tell us about the team you are bringing on board.

(ROB:)  Because I have a lot of experience on films I have the ability to draw from a great resource of professional friends and colleagues. Silas Tyler shot my first film and he and I have a bond that can only be established working on a movie set under harsh conditions. Kurt Bergeron, the production designer, did my first film too and we have the same bond. The makeup and wardrobe people are both professionals whom I’ve worked with for years. Bob Heske, the Writer/Producer of Blessid has also brought in Paul Speziale as Assistant Director and Line Producer and Iris Tsing as the Producer of Distribution and Marketing (Iris manages the unofficial Fan Page and website for actor Brandon Routh). The crew will be a tight, passionate group!

6) Who are some of the actors who will be involved?

(ROB:)  We have 4 actors who have signed Letters of Interest and they bring some serious acting chops to the set. I’ve seen David Fine in some movies (The Pursuit of Happyness, Rent, Patch Adams) and he’s a proven veteran that’s acted with A-List actors like Keanu Reeves, Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Ed Harris. Rachel Kerbs I just saw in the film “Splinter” and thought she was awesome, a real talented actress that is perfect for the lead in Blessid. We’ve also got two other experienced actors in Gene Silvers and Chris DiVecchio who have impressive resumes for film and TV.

7) What other films would you compare BLESSID to?

(ROB:)  I can’t think of a film it directly compares to because it is unique and when I visualize it, that vision is unique as well. I can say that the despair in the film that is prevalent with the main character reminds me of the film “The Virgin Suicides”.

 8) If you could do makeup any film, what would it be?

(ROB:)  Actually I would love to work on “The Walking Dead” series… right up my alley.

 9) If you could direct the re-make of any film, what would it be?

(ROB:)  I’m for the most part against remakes unless the film was bad to begin with and you can do something good with it. That being said, if I had to do one it would be a remake of Lucio Fulci’s flawed but brilliant classic “Zombie”. It’s iconic and there a lot you could do with it!

10) As a horror effects guy, what is the Halloween season like for you?

(ROB:)  It’s crazy, everyone knows I do fx now and wants me to do their makeup… I have a lot of fun though! I love it!

11) What is the coolest gig you’ve worked on in the past year?

(ROB:)  Probably a film with Eric Roberts and Michael Berryman called “Self Storage”. I cut a person’s knee cap out and Roberts fist bumped me after the successful effect. Those veteran actors were impressed!

12) What other projects are you currently involved in that you’d like our readers to know about?

(ROB:)  I have been working on a fun little side project creating a calendar for 2013. It’s the 2013 Zombie Pinup Calendar! Check out our link on Kickstarter.

Thanks Rob! Hope you survive it through Halloween chaos, Zombie Pinup Calendar and directing Blessid! 

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske wrote THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST. This graphic novel hit stores on July 5th at a price point of only $12.99. Order your copy at your local comic shop today – tell them the Diamond code is MAR121187! It can also be ordered on Kindle and on Amazon.

Bob has also published COLD BLOODED CHILLERS, the award-winning anthology BONE CHILLER and his end times tome 2012: FINAL PRAYER. BONE CHILLER and 2012: FINAL PRAYER are also available on Amazon Currently, Bob is making his family nervous by investing his time and money on an incredible micro-budget film called “Blessid”. “LIKE” it on Facebook. Support it on IndieGoGo. Bob’s website is www.blessidthemovie.com.

 

IndieCreator – with Musician Ben Semmens

 

 

 

It’s been awhile, Mon Ami.

But Yours Cruelly is back again.

And with a little background music to keep you entertained.

No, seriously.

This week I stray away from film and comics and interview uber-music talent Ben Semmens.

Who is Ben Semmens you say?

Well, I could use words to describe him but that would be plain wrong. The best way to introduce Ben is by way of his music. Take a listen to his cover of Joe Cocker’s YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL …

Ben Semmens – “You Are So Beautiful”

For the rest of Ben’s story, read on …

1) Ben, they say the beauty comes from dark places. Have hard times helped drive the person you are and the music you make today?

(BEN:)  Everyone has hard times, and I guess it’s all about the person dealing with them. I have been known to be in a dark place quite a bit. When I hit bottom, I have to climb back up. And music has been my crutch to do this, so yes, definitely. Without music I would not be here right now.

2) What were you like as a teenager and when did you discover you had musical talent?

(BEN:)  I was a pain as a teenager, but not nasty. I just got bored easily, so I was always playing up. I was a handful, put it that way. My love of music was found via a friend who gave me his guitar, and told me to crack on, so I did (LOL).

Ben Semmens in his younger days.

3) What was the first song you ever wrote and played in public?

(BEN:)  The first time I played live was at a battle of the bands contest in Wales, and the band that I was with at the time, BenSem, won. It was an awesome night! “Apathy” was the first song on the set list, and the first song I ever played live. The first song I ever wrote was called “Bored”, and I have never performed it live.

Ben Semmens – “Apathy”

4) Your first album, “Western Lights”, brought you some notoriety because you were able to build a fan base without a big marketing push. How did you initially get your name out there?

(BEN:)  We did a load of gigs around the UK, and it was really tough on the band. We slogged it out playing everywhere.

The biggest help came with social media, the creation of Myspace was a godsend.  With social media I was able to reach people worldwide. It allowed for the first album I ever released called “Western Lights” to be downloaded by over 70,000 people, which was pretty cool as it was done in a bedroom with a laptop.

Social media has allowed me to grow really strong bonds with my fans, and some of my fans are now really great friends. Without social media that would have taken years to happen. The rest was word of mouth, the best marketing you can get, and the cheapest!

 

5) Incidentally, is Ben Semmens your real name? And if not, what was the genesis of it?

(BEN:)  My real name is Craig Semmens. I created Ben Semmens when I needed to get myself out of the slump I was in. I was in a really dark place. I needed something else to push and drive me. I created an alter ego. Kinda like Batman. LOL

6) Your most recent album (“Outside the Box”)was funded by your fans who brought you to the United States. Tell us about the experience and who was your music producer?

(BEN:)  Pledge Music is awesome, and I have the fans to thank for an amazing experience. My producer was Ben Thomas who is an awesome guy who just oozes magic ( he will like that comment!). He has been really successful with Newton Faulkner, James Taylor, Carly Simon, and Ben Taylor. We worked really well together, and he is able to bring to life the musical thoughts in my head, and translate them into what you hear now.

Seriously though, Pledge Music was the greatest experience of my life. I have gained many close friends and an entire family through doing it.

I was concerned about taking the crowd source funding route at first, but as soon as I started I knew it was the right decision. It is an amazing feeling when all your fans pull together to make your dream happen. It was great to go online every day and see them all pulling together to reach the 100% target. The whole process brought me closer to my fans, and allowed me to create music in an environment that I chose, at a time scale I decided. The power of music lovers has made it so that I control my music, which is huge in today’s music industry. It is harder to do music this way, but at least I know that all the decisions are mine, and the music stays true which, let’s face it … is what it’s about.

7) What is your signature song — the one which you think best captures your music, spirit and style?

(BEN:)  I think “Constant Dream” captures what I am all about. I am dark but I have hope, and I think that people can relate to it. I am nothing flashy. I am not anything I am not, just trying to live the dream.  “Constant Dream” also came to me in a dream, and therefore has that little extra “sub-conscious” meaning to me.

Ben Semmens – Constant Dream

8) When you first came up, you were part of a group called BenSem. Whatever happened to the group? Do you see yourselves getting together again when you are fifty, fat and hair-free?

(BEN:)  BenSem had many different members, but I guess it just faded out. The music industry is tough, and we got bashed about a bit. I am not sure if we were ever all on the same page. To be honest, I miss the guys but I can’t ever see us getting back together again. I would like to remember it for what it was.

9) What is the lesson of Ben Semmens that young rogue musicians can learn from? What brought you to the path you are on today?

(BEN:)  All I can say is get ready for knocks and more knocks. If you do music the way I do, you can never stop, you have to keep going, because as soon as you have it, it can be gone as quick. You will make mistakes and you will have to rise above everything, and when you think you can’t take anymore, something else will come and knock you down even further. If you are meant to do this, and this is what you want to do, then no matter what you will rise above it, because you love it!

You need to know yourself and not let anyone make you feel like you aren’t good enough to do it. If you know yourself, have the talent and some great songs, then keep going. You will get there… No one said it would be easy.  And “Think before you speak” is also a good lesson… When you are doing radio shows etc, your words last forever.

Lastly, never underestimate yourself, or those around you.

10) When are you coming back to the States?

(BEN:)  I just returned from my second visit. I spent some time writing, recording some videos, and having a little chill out to recharge the batteries before the album release.

Ben Semmens – Mine

11) OK, since this is technically a comic book site, if you could have any superhero power, what would it be? Did you read any comic books growing up?

(BEN:)  Love comics! I read loads growing up, and I was addicted to Spawn. I think the Joker and I could be best friends, if he’d stop the killing obviously (LOL).  If I could have any superhero power it would be the powers of Dr. Manhattan from the “Watchmen”. Who wouldn’t want to walk on the surface of the sun, and chill out on Mars for a jam session?

12) What are your favorite tracks on your current album? Did you write all the songs?

(BEN:)  I wrote all the songs, bar one. This album is an interesting one for me and where I am in my music career. I see the songs that I write as a reflection of me and where I am in that moment in time. The last two years were pretty dark for me and I think that came out in my writing, in the lyrics. The producer tried to balance the dark with light. He had his work cut out for him! “The Chosen Ones” is one of my favorites because it is about me saying goodbye to what I know and starting new. I also enjoyed writing “Innocent”, as I wrote that on the island. It is a pretty inspiring place to be…

13) Big finale plug the hell out of Ben Semmens. Where can we buy your albums? Where can we follow you online? What is new on the horizon?

You can find me on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/ben.semmens.music

You can tweet me on Twitter – www.twitter.com/bensemmens

You can come and visit me on www.bensemmens.com

You can also download “Constant Dream” from the Western Lights EP at www.noisetrade.com/bensemmens

The new album will be out in August, so to make sure you to miss out, visit www.bensemmens.com and sign up to my mailing list.

All music is available via iTunes, Amazon and more…

2012 is going to be an interesting year for me. I am flying by the seat of my pants and seeing where fate is taking me. I am sure it is going to be an awesome ride…

Thanks Ben. It’ll be our pleasure to listen in. Cheers!

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske wrote THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST. This graphic novel will be in stores on July 5th at a price point of only $12.99. Order your copy at your local comic shop today – tell them the Diamond code is MAR121187! It can also be ordered on Kindle and on Amazon.

Bob has also published COLD BLOODED CHILLERS, the award-winning anthology BONE CHILLER and his end times tome 2012: FINAL PRAYER. BONE CHILLER and 2012: FINAL PRAYER are also available on Amazon.

Bob’s website is www.coldbloodedchillers.com.

IndieCreator – Interview with the Vampire: THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST Artist Diego Yapur

Interview with the Vampire: THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST Artist Diego Yapur

A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie card is worth between $4,000 to over $10,000 depending on its condition and is one of the three most sought after treasures among sports card collectors.

If Argentinean Artist Diego Yapur were a baseball player, his rookie card would be THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST which is due out this May and is available now in Diamond March Previews (Diamond Code: MAR121187). Covering two different time periods, a new breed of vampires, and more gallons of blood than you can soak up with jumbo roll of BOUNTY, the epic tale by publisher Studio 407 was a challenging “first at bat” (no pun intended on the “bat”).

Diego was more than up to the challenge. In fact, his inked artwork was so impressive that Myriad Pictures (which was sharing space in the same building as Studio 407 at the time) optioned the piece for film based on the stunning galleys.

We recently caught up with Diego who, despite having to answer our questions in English (his second language), was once again up to the challenge. Feast your eyes on this interview and some eye-popping artwork by Mr. Yapur. But do it at night, because once the sun rises … vampires will burn!

1) What was it like working on The Night Projectionist? What was your biggest challenge in drawing the book?

(DY:) Yes, it was a great challenge. My first in the world of comics. It was the first time I drew a whole series by myself. “The Night Projectionist” is very important to me because it was the beginning of my career and I am very happy to be part of this series. I was really fascinated by this story and am now looking forward to the release of this book.

2) Did any character inspire your rendition of Dragos, the lead vampire and night projectionist in the story?

(DY:) Yeah, there were a couple of ideas I had and some references I drew upon, but mostly the designs were done on my own. Along with Bob Heske´s script, I was able to give Dragos and the other vampires their own strong and unique identity. We tried to make sure they didn’t resemble any other vampire character. Dragos, Burak and Carmilla are very singular in the way they look, and they have a really powerful presence. All the characters caught in the theater took a lot of thought as well.

Heske really tried to reinstate the bloody and violent personalities vampires are meant to have, ignoring the romantic idea that shows up in recent popular series (that rhyme with “Nite Light”). I tried to design these characters very well to match the excellent story of The Night Projectionist. I’m a fan of this kind of bloody horror story.

3) The Night Projectionist is actually two stories in one: a present day vampire siege and a 1700s back story about how Dragos became a vampire. Was it difficult capturing two different periods?

(DY:) Yes, it was a bit difficult because I had never drawn something like this before. I had to resort to using references, but I was able to handle it. It was a great idea to develop the story in two different time periods side-by-side. This way you get to see the origin of the characters, understand how they have evolved, and why the battle will be bloodier than ever.

4) Where did you get your training?

(DY:) I was drawing since I could reason. I learned how to read through the Argentinian comics my father brought home every week and I’d copy the super hero stickers inside. I also learned how to draw by watching the works of great masters such as Alberto Breccia, L. Olivera, Bernie Wrightson, Frazetta, Horacio Lalia , Deodato Jr, Granov, and others.

My professional work began about 5 years ago working with some covers and pages for Argentinian publications.

5) What other books have you worked on? What are you working on now?

(DY:) I’ve worked on illustrating educational books for Jamestown Education. I´ve also collaborated on some illustrations for the book “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” that was published in Argentina. I have created several short stories, covers and more for independent comics in Argentina. My most recent work was Priest: Purgatory, the Priest film prequel graphic novel from Sony pictures/Screem Gems.

Currently, I’m in the middle of a job for an Argentine Editor and trying to start a personal project that I hope to finish next year.

6) Lastly, I noticed that Studio 407 has a vampire art contest up at The Night Projectionist Facebook page. Tell us how it works, what the prizes are how long the contest is running for.

  • Submit your best vampire art — either an original vampire or your version inspired by The Night Projectionist — to contact@studio-407.com
  • Studio 407 will post it on their Facebook page here
  • Get your friends to LIKE, tweet and share it. (And don’t forget to have them LIKE The Night Projectionist page!) 
  • The vamps at Studio 407 will review the 3 most popular images and declare a winner who will receive some tremendous prizes including Studio 407 comics and graphic novels, an interview on the Studio 407 blog, and original signed art from the series artist — Yours Cruelly! 
  • The contest runs through April 30th and the winner will be announced the date the book is released in May (TBD). We’ve already got some great art up on the site, but there’s always room for more. So send us your best and let the world know you’re a vampire pro!

Thanks Diego. It was an honor doing the book with you. Your art is amazing and come May, the world is about to discover your talent. Here are some links for your fans to follow:

To keep up to date on Diego’s latest art and musings, visit http://diegoyapur.blogspot.com/

To follow THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST on Facebook (and “LIKE” the page), click here.

To follow THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST on Twitter, tweet here.

To follow the Studio 407 blog covering all their comic book happenings, go here.

This graphic novel ships in May at a price point of only $12.99 and a Diamond code of MAR121187. Pre-order your copy at your local comic shop today!

For “Oh-my-gosh-it’s-so-easy-to-Order” links to pre-order the book, click here.

 

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske (shown with his mom in better days) is currently writing/producing a micro-budget horror film called UNREST (http://www.indiegogo.com/unrest). Bob wrote THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST, a vampire horror series to be published by Studio 407 (http://www.studio-407.com) with film rights optioned by Myriad Pictures. Through his Heske Horror shingle, Bob self-published his critically acclaimed horror series COLD BLOODED CHILLERS. Bob’s trade paperback BONE CHILLER (a “best of” CBC anthology) won a Bronze medal in the horror category at the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His “end times” anthology 2012: FINAL PRAYER was also released in late 2009. Bob was editor and contributor to InvestComics’ ONE AND DONE charitable anthology.

 

THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST & STUDIO 407 WANT YOUR ART!

THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST
& STUDIO 407
WANT YOUR ART!


SUBMIT YOUR BEST VAMPIRE
OR NIGHT PROJECTIONIST
DRAWING & WIN ORIGINAL ART
FROM SERIES ARTIST
DIEGO YAPUR!

March 12, 2012 – Los Angeles, CA – Studio 407 is giving fans a chance to showcase their art in a contest to win original art by THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST series artist Diego Yapur!

Fans, send your most ghoulish, frightening, beautiful drawing of a vampire or the Night Projectionist to contact@studio-407.com and we’ll post it to our facebook page. Get your friends to like, tweet or share it when we do and the top three most popular images will compete to win the ultimate prize! A signed copy of THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST, a Studio 407 Prize-pack &, best of all an original drawing from series artist Diego Yapur!

We’ll also feature the artist with a small interview on the Studio 407 Blog!

So start submitting your best renditions of the immortal undead and you too could win big!

 

IndieCreator: The Lowdown on Low Budget Filmmaking with Entertainment Lawyer Paul Battista

The Lowdown on Low Budget Filmmaking with Entertainment Lawyer Paul Battista 

I know what you’re thinking: Egad, a lawyer interview. This is going to be a tough read! 

But before you click to the “Hot Picks” page, let me tell you a little story …

Just about two years ago I had a project where a director had optioned one of my scripts and had gotten involved in a film funding fiasco. It was one of those “you put up 10% and we’ll get the rest in a few months.” As it turned out the film (one of my favorite personal scripts) never got made. It sits on my shelf collecting dust, taunting me.

As my forties creeped to the big 5-Oh, I decided to take things into my own hands and explore making my own micro-budget film. It seemed like a good idea. The problem was I had only a graduate screenwriting certificate and no film school, or filmmaking friends, to jump on board.

Frustrated, I scanned the Internet for insights on producing a micro-budget film and found one gold nugget: an episode of ON THE PAGE (episode #141) had a guest entertainment lawyer who not only was an expert on producing micro-budget films; he had written a book geared to Hollywood “outsiders” like me who were struggling to figure out this whole movie-production-on-a-shoestring deal.

Enter Paul Battista.

Paul Battista, Esq. is an LA-based entertainment attorney who has provided legal services to 100+ feature film, documentary and television projects in which he has represented either a producer/production company or an individual providing services to the project. He has been a guest speaker at many film festivals and conferences, including Slamdance Film Festival and Film Independent’s Filmmaker Forum, in addition to lecturing at film and law schools in theLos Angelesarea.

Paul’s book “Independent Film Producing: The Outsider’s Guide To Producing A First Low Budget Film” is required or recommended reading at film, business and law schools throughout the country including: UCLA MFA Producing Program;  NYU Film School; Art Center of Pasadena; NYU Stern Business School; Southwestern Law School; and Chapman University Law School. He is licensed to practice law inCaliforniaandNew York.

On a personal note, Paul was very receptive when I emailed him to tell him how much I enjoyed his book (I bought it online after listening to Paul’s ON THE PAGE guest interview) and to ask a few additional questions. Those “few additional questions” led to me asking if he’d take a look at my script and if we could have an initial consultation. Since that time, Paul has been instrumental in making sure I don’t teeter off the wrong path and in helping me to set up my film production company with the appropriate legal documentation. Paul is frank, honest, immensely experienced and reasonably accessible. Just the sort of guy you’d want on your team, even if he is an unabashed New York Yankees/Giants fan.

Ah well, nobody’s perfect …

1)  What prompted you to write “INDEPENDENT FILM PRODUCING: The Outsider’s Guide to Producing a First Low-Budget Feature Film”? 

(PB:) The idea for writing the book first entered my mind around 2002 when I was finishing up making the film “Crooks”. It matured during the following years as a result of my experiences while advising independent filmmakers in my expanding practice in entertainment law. I found myself covering much of the same ground and the same issues each time I spoke with a filmmaker; these issues became a foundation for the book. I finally decided to write the book that I should have had back when I started producing my own independent film.

2)  What’s changed since the book came out in 2010 that you plan to update in the next version?

(PB:) There have not been any radical changes since mid-2010; although I am slowly working to update the book. The process of going from idea, to raising funds to producing and achieving distribution for a low budget film has not changed that much in the last year and a half. My book explores the details in the process, and will help filmmakers to avoid the major pitfalls if they are going to expend the time, energy and money necessary to make an independent low budget film. The information remains relevant. There are, however, always changes in the law that one needs to keep up with. For example, Internal Revenue Code section 181 expired so it’s not available to taxpayers, but its disappearance has not, and will not, materially affect the process of raising funds and producing a low budget film since there were always numerous other tax laws (passive activity rules, etc.) that limited the amounts eligible under section 181, so it was never a crucial building block to producing a low budget feature film. The definition of “accredited investor” has changed within the securities laws as well, and there are currently bills working their way through the House and Senate which would change the securities laws for small amounts of crowd funding which will help low-budget filmmakers if they become law. So you can see that the laws relating to filmmaking are constantly evolving.

3)  What are the three biggest rookie mistakes that newbie filmmakers outside the Hollywood circle make?

(PB:) Is this usually my cue in the interview to say “failing to obtain proper and experienced legal representation?” (Laughs). Seriously, when you’re approaching investors you want to avoid THIS:  and, in order to obtain distribution, filmmakers must comply with the Delivery List.     So, as self-serving as it sounds, not allocating the funds to obtain proper legal representation is often a first-time filmmaker biggest mistake. And it can be a fatal mistake.

A second mistake is not re-writing the script many times with the assistance of a professional script advisor throughout the process.

A third mistake occurs at the time when the money is raised. Often a filmmaker will not allot sufficient time to continue to develop the film and complete pre-production; that is, he or she moves too quickly through pre-production. Rushing into production will unavoidably lead to mistakes. Unfortunately these early mistakes are built to last, and hard to overcome at the low budget level where the money that studios have to throw at problems is non-existent.
4)  What was the biggest lesson you learned when you wrote, directed and produced your first micro-budget film?

(PB:) That it’s much harder than it looks on paper!

I learned too many lessons to enumerate here in the process of making the feature film “Crooks”, as well as in the process of making shorter films (the hard way I might add). I would say the critical importance of working with a solid team made itself very evident early on. In particular, the absolute critical necessity of having a great line producer/unit production manager was a particular eye opener as I went through the process. I was fortunate in terms of the many great people who worked on “Crooks”, except for maybe the director, who was terrible. (Laughs)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Not true. Paul was the director and, for a first-timer, he did an admirable job. Comedy can be actually harder to direct than drama or horror.]

5)  When should you (or any entertainment lawyer) first get involved in a project, and for how long should you be involved? Are there any pending or existing legislation that is overtly friendly to filmmakers that is not being taken advantage of at this time?

(PB:) Those questions could take a whole other interview, but there are some critical tips. When you are thinking of approaching people to ask them for money, you should definitely have your attorney involved. As a matter of fact, an experienced indie film attorney is critical from the moment you decide to enter into any agreement with any other party regarding your project, whether you are approaching someone to option their existing script, or deciding to co-write a script with someone, or entering into a co-producing agreement, etc. In terms of your question regarding the length of involvement, you should have legal help all the way through distribution.

Legislation effecting filmmakers is always percolating. For example, crowd funding legislation that is pending can be very useful to independent filmmakers (depending on the details of any final bill (if passed). As I mention in my book, the State tax incentives are potentially helpful to low budget filmmaking. I say “potentially” because the minimum spending thresholds (and the costs involved) usually render the benefits moot to a low-budget filmmaker; however, most first-time low-budget filmmakers don’t take the time to investigate what (if any) tax advantages are available for their project.

Bob, I know regarding your low-budget film “Unrest” that you have been investigating the possibility of partnering with a Canadian filmmaker to pursue the available Federal and Provincial tax credits and incentives. But, similar to the U.S. State incentives, there are numerous requirements, some of which automatically make low-budget films ineligible (the minimum spending thresholds, for example).

6)  Do you also get involved in distribution? How did you get distribution for your film CROOKS? How has the pendulum swung in just the past few years for film distribution − for example, has the order of the “windows of distribution” been re-shuffled?

(PB:) My involvement in distribution is currently providing legal advice/negotiation and legal drafting regarding distribution agreements, as well as providing negotiation and drafting of production-finance-distribution agreements between filmmakers and distribution companies (representing the filmmaker in these transactions).

At the beginning of the 2000s through the mid-2000s I was providing producer representative services (sales) in addition to legal services to independent films. But as my practice grew, my focus became exclusively on legal services and not on attending the markets and networking with buyers. Producer representative (sales) services is an entirely separate business.

We received distribution on “Crooks” through the relationships we built over the years, which resulted in an introduction through my former law partner, Mychal Wilson, to the distributor that picked up the film.  Networking and relationships are always the foundation of deals in the entertainment industry; they can be newly formed relationships or deeper, more developed relationships. The odds of achieving success by blindly submitting material to a company are very long indeed (whether a treatment, script or finished film) — it’s the filmmaker’s direct relationship building that most often leads to desired outcomes.

For example, I recommend that a filmmaker apply to as many film festivals as financially possible, and to make sure to attend every festival at which his or her film is accepted. Attending multiple festivals is not a small expense, but the most important benefit of attending the festivals is that it will lead to (should lead to) meeting other filmmakers and distribution executives, which will build the filmmaker’s distribution relationships. For example, it is not uncommon for distribution to be secured when one filmmaker who has received distribution recommends another filmmaker’s film to that company.

The answer to your third question is yes. The distribution process has been shifting the last number of years. A primary shift in distribution has been the number of filmmakers who have been exploring new options for distribution by screening at film festivals and then deciding that they do not want to use an established distributor with an “all rights”, “all territories” deal. Instead they can self-release their film and reach out to established companies which can provide specific services that the filmmaker can’t obtain on his or her own − for example, utilizing a video-on-demand (VOD) aggregator who will only license the North American VOD rights and not demand other rights which the filmmaker can continue to exploit.  As I discuss in my book, the shifting landscape has a domino effect and the filmmaker would be wise to understand what this means in terms of his or her expectations for the film, the budget for the film, and other aspects of the project.

7)  Let’s talk about micro-budget features. What trend(s) are you seeing here among your clients? What’s the sweet spot re: genre and budget for films that have the best chance of success (in your “non-legal” opinion)?

(PB:) Well, in regards to this question, I would say I’m more “old school”. In the first place we have to define ”success”. In my book I define “success” as producing a film that looks to have cost 3-5 times the amount actually spent on the film. So my non-legal opinion is to focus on those elements that you can actually control.

Perhaps even more important, be passionate about the type (genre) of film you are making. My experience has led me to the conclusion that trying to “game” the system regarding the genre doesn’t work. If the filmmaker is not excited about a genre, not interested in the topic, not 100% passionate about making the film he or she is making, then it is my non-legal opinion that he or she will fail to ignite the interest of those who watch that film.

The latter is especially true in the low budget genre where the filmmaker does not have access to $100 million in cutting-edge special effects (with 3D glasses) to excite and distract the audience − it is solely about what the film is expressing that creates interest in watching low-budget independent films. I include a list of independent films at the end of my book which illustrates this point; however, the list contains films that illustrate this point to me − meaning another person would have a unique list of low-budget indie films that speak to him or her.

In terms of distribution, as I state in my book, there is no accounting for what the “market” will embrace at any particular moment. It is, essentially outside the control of anyone, including the low-budget independent filmmaker − and supporting the latter conclusion is the scores of films that I have watched at the many film festivals I have attended over the last 15 years that have moved me but which have never achieved any formal distribution. In essence, they have disappeared.

To answer your question regarding a budget level “sweet spot”, my response is to make the film for as little money as you can possibly make the film for, and that amount is determined as a result of careful, knowledgeable producing. Insert plug for “Outsider’s Guide” book here.  (Laughs, but also is partially serious!)

        
What are three of the coolest films that you’ve worked on?

(PB:) That’s a tough question. To me, they’re all cool, and that’s not a “safe” response to dodge the question because, in fact, I have been very fortunate to be able to build my practice by working with “cool” people. By that I mean independent filmmakers who are excited about the genre they are producing, are completely interested in the topic, are 100% passionate about making the film they are making, and to me, that is “cool”.  I guess I’m a bit old school regarding that aspect of indie filmmaking, too.

9)  There seems to be a void of information pertaining to making micro-budget films, at least doing so “legally”. How has your book been accepted by the industry, and has it been used by film schools as well?

(PB:) There had been some really good books out there before I released my book, but I agree with you, there has been much less information available on micro-budget films than the information available in the numerous books that focus on producing films “within the system”.  But it is getting better in that I see new books being released each year specifically focusing on micro-budget films, which is great because I think the more information available, the better it is for filmmakers. In terms of the reaction to the book so far, I don’t think I can speak to the industry reaction but certainly I have received very positive responses from those who have read the book. Graduate film schools have embraced it and made it recommended reading, certain business and law schools have embraced it and made it required or recommended reading. I think Steven Beer’s quote to the effect that the book is “practical” and provides a guide regarding “the most challenging business aspects” of producing a low-budget independent film is illustrative of what a reader will find in the book.

10)   How long should a newbie filmmaker allow to get a film off the ground once they have script in hand?

(PB:) My advice would be to enter the process with no set time frame because each film has its own unique path. With that said, I do recommend approaching the process realistically, meaning that if a script is not getting traction, then write another script, and another script, and continue to increase your understanding and knowledge of independent filmmaking while continuing to network and pursue the funding necessary to make one of your low-budget scripts. In a word, continue to be “tenacious.” I have worked with filmmakers for whom it took years of dedication.

11)  Will you be a guest on any upcoming podcasts or industry events in 2012?

(PB:) I love to lecture and hold seminars for filmmakers and never turn down an opportunity if I can fit it into my schedule. In March I am speaking at a USC film class and also at a UCLA film class, and I periodically present my free seminar based on the book (most recently teaming with The Writer’s Store where Brandon Bannock and Leimomi Coloretti invited the store’s list of filmmakers), so I am always looking to team with an institution that would like me to bring the information to their group. As I pointed out in answer to a previous question, these opportunities usually arise from the relationships I have been building; however, only under extreme circumstances will I not respond to unsolicited invitations.

12)  What’s your favorite lawyer joke?

Well, I am a huge Seinfeld fan so I’ll pick one of his jokes: “To me, a lawyer is basically the person that knows the rules of the country. We’re all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there is a problem the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside of the top of the box.”

13)   Please give us the websites where we can buy your book online, and also contact information for your law firm.

(PB:) The book can be found at www.paulbattista.biz and information about my law firm is at www.tvfilmentertainmentlawyer.com

Thanks, Bob, always a pleasure.

Appreciate your time, Paul. Always insightful.

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske wrote THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST. This graphic novel ships in May at a price point of only $12.99 and a Diamond code of MAR121187. Pre-order your copy at your local comic shop today!

Bob has also published COLD BLOODED CHILLERS, the award-winning anthology BONE CHILLER and his end times tome 2012: FINAL PRAYER. His website is www.coldbloodedchillers.com.

Interview with Filmmaker Adam Ciancio

Alienating with Sci Fi Filmmaker Adam Ciancio on “Vessel”

Pop quiz: What do these four films have in common?

a) El Mariachi

b) Following

c) Primer

d) Vessel

All are micro-budget films with budgets of under $10,000. The first four went on to be wildly successful, and even launched careers of director icons. “El Mariachi”, released in 1992 and made for a paltry $7,000, launched the career of 23-year-old filmmaker, producer, director, writer, special-effects wizard, and editor Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Grindhouse, Planet Terror). “Following”, made in 1998 for $6,000, was the first film by fanboy fave director Chris Nolan (The Dark Knight). To read more on these films, check out this post from 2009 about some amazing low budget film success stories.

If you’re a indie film connoisseur that doesn’t recognize the last name, “Vessel”, well … don’t beat yourself up (unless you enjoy doing that sort of thing!). “Vessel” (tentative title, as you’ll learn in the interview to follow) is a sci-fi alien “ticking timebomb” tale that makes up in substance for what it lacks in a special effects budget. Consider it a “thinking man’s tale” which, come to think of it, was also the case with a variety of other out-of-this-world art house director debuts such as “Pi” (1997, Darren Aronofsky, made on a budget of $60,000) and “Eraserhead” (1977, David Lynch’s surreal freak show, made on a budget of $100,000).

And, by reading this interview, you’ll actually have an inside track on being a part of the picture, as it is filming this summer and is being supported by a crowd funding campaign at indiegogo — http://www.indiegogo.com/Empty-Vessel).

But alas, I’m getting ahead of myself before you’ve had a chance to reach for your wallet, get two tickets and a bucket of pop corn. Settle in to your favorite puffy chair and I’ll let the director of “Vessel”, Melbourne-based filmmaker and commercial creator Adam Ciancio, fill you in.

1) Adam, pitch us your film, VESSEL, in three snappy sentences.

(AC:) VESSEL is about an alien interfacer who has until the end of the day to strip himself of his gift or risk succumbing to its side effects. Basically every time he interfaces with an extraterrestrial, the process zaps him of that thing that makes us human: emotion/soul/character. Essentially, he has to stay on the human side until he can get hold of a past interfacer like himself who figured a way to rid herself of the gift. 

2) What three films you’d most likely compare your film to?  “VESSEL” is a psychological sci-fi film in the vein of ..

(AC:) It’s hard to compare it out and out to one or two films in terms of straight Sci Fi similarities, as it’s more of a mash than anything. I guess if you got “K-PAX” and that whole extraterrestrial loner story and blended it with the last day time clock of the “25th Hour” that’s sort of what my film is like. Throw in the mystery and the questions thrown up by “Contact” for good measure as well.

Style wise, I want it to have that pressing dark nature that “Se7en” had, I don’t want people to know what city it was filmed in so I’m taking a lot of measures to find locations in Melbourne (Australia) that nobody is aware of, or at least film them from angles that don’t reveal too much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) In your mind, what does an alien look like? How do they act? Are they friend or foe?

(AC:) Well, it’s bizarre because in most films we were fed the idea of a little green man. But from my research into Clifford Stone and other sources he claimed there were close to 50 something different species of ET’s. Even more incredibly, they traversed the gamut of forms from reptilian, to human like, to furry to the tried and true little green man.

Personally I can’t shake the notion of them being some sort of spirit entity that is just pure energy, something efficient, and something that is beyond 4th density.  A little like Dr Manhattan from “Watchmen”, although nowhere near as iridescent or even that humanly formed. Just an all-encompassing-voice that fills the mind. I’m also a massive fan of “Super Metroid”, the SNES version; so much so that I’ve actually written a live action script for it. But it’s the idea of Mother Brain that has always appealed to me. Not her shape but just the way she could fill the space without words.

Maybe I should of called the film “The 4th Density” … maybe I might???
In terms of how they act … you hear so many stories. They are cold, clinical, calculating, they don’t have a soul. So that’s why they abduct us, to research these phenomena. What is a soul, how do we get one…all that sort of crap. I honestly think they don’t give a huge shit about us at the moment. If they are out there, they’re probably treating us like children at Christmas lunch — basically we’re sitting at the kid’s table in some sort of galactic quarantine.

4) Who is Adam Ciancio? What inspired you to write, direct and produce this film?

Basically I graduated film school in 2005, I went to VCA for the foundation year and at the time Robert Lucketic had just left and directed “Legally Blonde” and Adam Elliot had just won the Oscar for “Harvey Crumpet”. Then I went and did my main three years at RMIT, which is like NYU.

Funny thing, when I arrived at RMIT the guys who made “Saw” had just graduated like a year or two prior and were just getting big. RMIT was great because it was more hands on than other film schools so you got right into it pretty quickly. What was really insane was in my final year I used the newly released Sony HDV camera. We had DV500’s and I was just so sick of how damn bulky they were and the images they were spitting out, one of them actually needed a car battery to power it! But when we shot with the HDV we were just freaking amazed at how good the resolution was. Now I look and I can’t believe these kids at film school get to use Red Cameras and 5D’s. It’s almost cheating, but I guess they’re the cameras of the time as the technology has evolved so quick.

Most recently I’ve been trying to earn a living directing commercials It’s been a bit of a slog. You have a lot of false starts, join companies that don’t always work out, some even go bankrupt and you’re left once again looking for a new home. But when you’re working on good campaigns, there is no better way to exercise your directing muscle. Here are YouTube videos of two Levi’s virals which will give you a flavor for my work and directing style:

Go Forth with Dan Flynn

Go Forth with Mark Robert Fuller

I wrote the script for “Vessel” between Christmas and New Year’s. The idea had been festering ever since I read about real life interfacers like Clifford Stone, which was at least four or five years ago. So it didn’t take long, roughly two writing sessions. It was already there. I just had to get it on paper.

I sat down and thought “What resources do I have at my disposal that I could get involved/excited about the project?” And when I listed through them, I realized that basically I had a full cast and crew who would most likely want to get involved in the project as much as I would because we were all at the same stages of our careers. It boils down to being the purest form of filmmaking, a skeleton crew, the actor and a camera so you can move at the speed of thought, to use a Robert Rodriguez term.

For me, the film industry is like a boxing match. Specifically, the “Rumble in the Jungle”. You’re Ali and the Industry is George Foreman, this giant hulking behemoth; and for eight rounds he’s pounding on you. Each round representing a year, and each punch representing a rejection. By round 5 you’re thinking “Is this this ever gonna stop?” …  but then you reach round eight and you realize this guy is out of punch, and he finally opens up. It’s basically the industry saying YES; it’s said no for so long that it had to say yes at some point. And that’s when you hit, you get one shot to knock him down so you take it with everything you’ve got. You’re tired, it’s been eight rounds, the ego has been beaten out of you, but you’ve been waiting for this moment for almost a decade now.

5) What’s the film’s budget and what camera will you use to shoot in on?

(AC:) The films budget is around $8,000. Originally I was going to shoot it on my Canon 5D and spend the budget on rigging it up with some lenses and a Zacuto. But a few weeks back my DP Aaron shot a short on an Arri Alexa run-and-gun style and said it behaved brilliantly. So we’re looking at maybe using that if we can finagle a good deal from a rental house. Plus, we’re seeing the film tonight on the big screen so we’ll be able to see what the camera is capable of. I personally want to use it to take advantage of its low light capabilities and the latitude it gives you in grading, even when shot in Log C. Not that the 5D isn’t amazing. I just shot that Levi’s campaign on it and it produced crazy images – all at night!

6) Seriously? You can produce an “in-the-can” film for under $10,000? How are you able to cut corners?

(AC:) A lot of it has to do with my team. Everyone involved is at the cusp of their career where things can take off for them because they’ve paid their dues. Everyone wants to get involved because they get a free creative outlet and its success can mean bigger and better work for them in the future. That’s my hope.

If you break it down, the things we are spending the money on are equipment, some location fees and public liability insurance – that’s it.  Plus the rental houses in Melbourne are great and always willing to give you a good deal.

On top of that we’ve reached a point with digital technology where the argument is over: RED, Alexa, Canon, they all give awesome images now. There is no point in fighting over picture quality. You buy the camera or you hire it, you shoot it and you edit it at home. I shot some Alcohol virals a year ago and all I had was myself, my DP Aaron, one small LED and a Canon 5D and the result was pretty fantastic in terms of our non-existent budget.

Your biggest worry now is finding good locations, getting some actors, and getting some insurance. If everyone is onboard, believes in the story, and wants to take that next step then it really shouldn’t cost that much as they’ll be willing to work on it for free because it helps them as much as it helps you.

Also a lot of the work and savings come in Pre-production. I know Melbourne pretty damn well and yet, in the last month as I’ve gone location scouting, I’ve found areas of the city I had no idea existed. This includes lanes, shops, diners, stairs, everything. What I realized is it’s a lot cheaper to find locations that are already set designed than trying to do it yourself and wasting your money on creating an atmosphere in an empty space with little to no furnishings because you can’t afford it. It’s about creating depth. Nothing sticks out more or looks more amateur than a scene set in a location where it hasn’t got a strong sense of set design. That’s what I admire about (David) Fincher — the director of “Fight Club”, “Se7en”, “The Social Network” — he creates a lot of depth in his scenes. Three or four dimensions behind the action there is detail, and there is a life to that location that existed far earlier than when we actually arrived at it.

7) We’re intrigued! Give us five good reasons to invest in your film.

Let’s see….

1) You’ll be seeing a very different Australian film than the ones you are used to. I’m really going to paint our city in a different light. Very grey, very concrete-jungle-like. I want people to say “There is no way you shot that in Australia”. It looks like an Eastern Bloc country.” And when was the last time you saw an Australian Sci Fi film?

2)    You’ll be adding to the very light selection of Sci Fi films that don’t depict aliens shooting shit at us. Don’t get me wrong, I have a soft spot for ID4 but if we as a species are going to try and reach out, then we have to propagate the idea that there is possibly a civilized dialogue between us. That there is more to our time than taxes and a mortgage and a 9 to 5 job.

3)    Because I want this film to create a dialogue, not just entertain … but create a dialogue. I want people talking and asking the question how far can we go, is this character Ash (the star of the film, to be played by Mark Diaco) just the tip of the iceberg?

4)    Because I can assure you it will be your most original film experience in a while. The story is original, the execution is original and you have a team of professionals that are putting everything they have into it to make it the most immersive story possible.

5)    Lastly, coming from a place of truth, I’ve been on a pretty up and down journey over the past 8 years and it’s finally come to this. I want this to work, I want to create a great film to share with everyone and have him or her involved and feel like they are as much a reason for making this happen as I am. You get one opportunity to make a memorable first impression and I’m sure as hell not going to spit up an inferior film.

– Plus you’ll get to see some futuristic props, which is always cool.

8) What are some of the perks – or “swag” as they say in the biz – that you’re giving to people who support the film?

(AC:) We’ve got a few things, besides a copy of the film and the poster, which is being designed by my mate as we speak. There are also credits you can gain with your contribution. So for one click you can get yourself an Associate Producer credit or even an Executive Producer credit! But the coolest thing is definitely the props that are being worked on by our prop master at the moment. I’ve seen some of the initial mock-ups and they look awesome. So if you wish to contribute, you can get yourself a futuristic prop from the film like an inhaler with insert vials or a bizarre audio recorder.

We might even throw in the Alien glyphs – actually that would be a great idea! They’re pretty random in their design, like those paintings that you see in galleries and just don’t understand. You frame that up and you’ve got yourself some post-modern art right there in your house.

9) Who are the actors that will be in the film?

(AC:) The lead actor is Mark Diaco, I met him a few years back when we shot the teaser for a film with a larger budget (~ $500K) that we were very close to getting produced in the United States. From that experience, I knew Mark was a unique talent; one of those guys that, if given the right role, would be able to create something that would launch his career. Hopefully “Vessel” is it.

I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but Mark test screened for the upcoming big budget “Man of Steel” franchise that is being made right now and got pretty damn close to nabbing the role of “Superman.” From what I gather, he played him in a totally different way to what most people expect with the whole upholding justice theme. Instead, he played Superman as someone who felt burdened by the gift, as if he doesn’t even want these powers and it’s more of a cross to bear than anything. Apparently they were almost blindsided by his interpretation, as they had never seen such an iconic character played like that before.

But words don’t do justice to his ability. You can check out his demo reel here:

He’s also been cast in some pretty decent sized films in the US but have the money fall out at the last minute due to the GFC (“global financial crisis”).

Mark also runs a theatre company here in Melbourne called Human Sacrifice Theatre which has a bevy of super talented people which I’ve seen perform over the years. So I wrote a lot of the roles based on these actors in terms of their look and their strengths. The plan is to get most of the theatre company onboard as the film is basically seven “one on ones” between the main character and seven of his old acquaintances.

10) This is an alien movie without special effects, but you are still creating your own alien mythos. Tells us about the props, glyphs and other alien traits you’re developing for the film.

(AC:) Yeah I always see these films that are low budget but try and pull off the whole horror/sci fi/fantasy thing by doing all the special effects themselves. The problem is they rely on them too much because they know they can be done to within 85% of what you see at the cinema. But what it ends up looking like is a box of Adobe After Effects has spewed up all over their movie. Kinda like using every instrument in your band on every note on every beat. Too noisy! Less is more a lot of the time – especially in filmmaking (see Alfred Hitchcock’s famous bomb theory to show what I mean!).

I can’t do special effects myself, and I didn’t want to attempt them in my first film, so I came to the realization that the film’s strength can come in its realism. You never see the aliens in “Contact” and Kevin Spacey is in human form in K-Pax. But you always get the feeling that these ET’s are around or at least watching. It’s the story and their current environment that pushes you to want to know more.

That’s where the skill in storytelling comes from. My best bet to create this environment is to have a few very well made props, just to give the inkling that there is something different about this environment, that in a few year’s time this is where this incarnation of planet earth is headed.

In regards to the glyphs, they are actually part of the time clock feature in the film. I won’t spoil it; however, they will be used to indicate to both the audience and Ash (the main character) how much time he has left. They are Alfred Hitchcock’s “ticking timebomb under the table”, so to speak.

I found all these Alien fonts on the net and just started using Illustrator to integrate them in designs that you would see on the side of a spaceship or maybe marked in the dirt or even in a dream. Most of the evidence I researched was of the ilk of formulas and people saying that there was something almost artistic about the writings they witnessed. There are also some simpler ones that are just writing so it will sort of build up.

11) What are your plans for distribution? Are you going to self distribute, submit to festivals or hire a sales agent?

(AC:) Definitely the festival circuit would be my first bet, I’ve never really entered any of my work into festivals, or at least the big ones, so I would definitely like to give it a fair crack in terms of some of the top tier fests in the US. Whether it gets in is another story.

I guess the dream like anyone is to have it screen as some prestigious festival and then get the attention of a distributor or two have a bidding war. The reality, of course, is so far from that. Luckily I have relationships with some distributors based on past work, so there is always a chance to just go direct or even carve out a Pay Per View or Video on Demand deal. Aliens, like vampires, are very hot right now thanks to 2012 and paranormal craze.

12) Lastly, how can we contribute. And how else can we help?

(AC:) Contributing itself is pretty easy. Just go right here:

http://www.indiegogo.com/Empty-Vessel

… and click the CONTRIBUTE NOW button at the bottom of the page.

You can contribute any amount, and it’s all appreciated and gets a shout out on my Facebook page. The bigger contributions get the bigger perks, and even a chance to get on-screen credit and your name listed on IMDB which is pretty cool.

Basically, with Mark’s work and my directorial stuff (and my video on top pitching the project), you should already get a good idea of what the aesthetics of this film are going to be.

If money is too tight then you can still help out by spreading the word. Tell everyone that there are a bunch of guys in Melbourne ready to make this Sci Fi/Drama (Sci Rama) film, and they need all the support they can get.

Either way, the film will get made this summer. But by helping us out you could be part of the next El Mariachi, Primer, Following … and VESSEL! Thanks for your time.

Thanks Adam. It looks like you’re on to something and we admire your talent and passion. Here’s a personal plea from myself for everyone to dig for some pocket change and help this very cool project come to life.

Do it now.

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske is currently writing/producing a micro-budget horror film called UNREST. Bob wrote THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST, a vampire horror series to be published by Studio 407 (http://www.studio-407.com) with film rights optioned by Myriad Pictures. Through his Heske Horror shingle, Bob self-published his critically acclaimed horror series COLD BLOODED CHILLERS. Bob’s trade paperback BONE CHILLER (a “best of” CBC anthology) won a Bronze medal in the horror category at the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His “end times” anthology 2012: FINAL PRAYER was also released in late 2009. Bob was editor and contributor to InvestComics’ ONE AND DONE charitable anthology. Buy it here.

 

Bryan O’Neil and Jordan Cushing

BOOKED OUT with Writer/Director Bryan O’Neil and Cinematographer Jordan Cushing

By all accounts, BOOKED OUT is a charming art house romantic comedy with many redeeming features: an eminently watchable, quirky cast, a sweet story-line, and a message wrapped within all the dysfunctional activity and frenetic picture-taking going around the neighborhood.

Here’s a quote from a recent interview that appeared on the UK website “Live for Films“:

“Booked Out has a touching kind of ‘indie romance’ vibe going on, with an underlying theme of acknowledging the past – whether good or bad – and putting it behind you. A wonderful thing…because if you can’t move on, you’ll never know what could pass you by when you least expect it. Beautiful stuff.”

According to IMDB the storyline goes like this:

Booked Out follows the quirky exploits of the Polaroid-loving artist Ailidh as she spies and photographs the occupants of her block of flats. Jacob, the boy next door who comes and goes quicker than Ailidh can take pictures. Jacqueline, the mysterious girl that Jacob is visiting and the slightly crazy Mrs. Nicholls who Ailidh helps cope with her husband’s continuing existence after his death. As Ailidh gets closer to winning Jacobs affection the world that they all live in will be changed forever.

BOOKED OUT is the first film by Scottish writer/director Bryan O’Neil. And it hits the mark.

We recently connected with Bryan and Jordan Cushing, the film’s Director of Photography (or “Cinematographer”, depending on your preference). Ironically enough, both BOOKED OUT and SIDEKICK, a hugely popular Canadian comedy that Jordan was cinematographer on (or is that “Director of Photography”?), both have comic book elements built into the films. So what better venue than InvestComics to introduce them and share their work?

1) Bryan, first off a huge congratulations on getting your film made. What got you over the hump from “kicking the tires” to actually buying the car and getting it done? And what was the inspiration for the story which is has many common themes but is also utterly unique?

(BRYAN:) I had been writing a scripts on and off for about four years with the overall goal of making my own films. As I reached the end of each script, I was left thinking that it was an achievement to have finished it but that I was glad it was over. BOOKED OUT was completely different. I was more excited about the project when I finished the script than when I started it, and about half way through writing it I knew that I was going to make it one way or another. There is that moment where you set a completely unrealistic deadline and then try and stick to it. Mine was to shoot the film within nine months of finishing my first draft. I didn’t quite make it in that timescale but we were on set within thirteen months, so not too far off.

The initial inspiration for BOOKED OUT was a reaction to the previous script I had been writing. It was a multi-stranded thriller. And by the end of it I didn’t know why I started writing it. It made me think of the films I love, the ones that totally connected with me. That was more your American and European indie films like Little Miss Sunshine, Rushmore, Amelie and Goodbye Lenin. That is where I started from but I think it morphed into me putting a lot of myself into the writing and, in some ways, all of the characters are different parts of myself. I think the main theme that ties the film together is of feeling like an outsider. The four main characters in the film learn that even though they don’t fit in with the world as a whole, they fit in with each other. And that is ultimately better as they can be appreciated with all their own unique individual quirks.

2) How did you assemble your team and get the funding? Who did you get on board first, and how long was the filmmaking process – from development to principal photography to post? Which was the most difficult and which was the most fun?

(BRYAN:) I spent the first nine months after I finished the first draft of the script working on my own and managed to cast Mirren Burke, Claire Garvey and Sylvia Syms; as well as attracting finance by holding fundraisers and pre-selling DVDs and premiere tickets. I also set up an investment share scheme by that time and, as well as investing my own savings, I convinced work colleagues, friends and family to invest in the film. This was all part of my “Get on Set in Nine Months” after finishing the script plan. The script took about five months to write so that would be about 14 months into the process and would be about October 2008. At that point I took the hard decision to postpone the shoot as my one man army ran out of time to have everything ready to go.
I set a new date of February 2009, another five months, to be the first day on set and kept going. At this time I met the film’s producer Sam Alani who worked at the same company that I worked for and he was just leaving to try to become a full-time film producer. I worked a full-time job as a computer programmer throughout this whole process. Jordan came on board pretty soon afterwards and we found Rollo Weeks around that time as well. We stayed at this small number till January when we had secured most of the funding, but were struggling to find that last little slice to push us over the line. I had two and a half months booked off of work so we decided that it was now or never. We eventually shot the film in March 2009 in 19 days over a three-week period. The run up to the shoot was hectic as you can imagine, but somehow we managed to assemble a great team through a lot of hard work. I can remember we finished the shoot and I was back at my day job about two days later which felt really bizarre. We spent about six months editing the film and another six months doing the sound design, writing the score and grading the finished film. So from picking up a pen to having a finished film it took two years and nine months to have a finished film.

Each part had its difficult moments but one sticks out more than others and that was when we lost our principal location at the end of our first day on set. We were filming in a 1920’s period mansion block of flats and we had permissions from about four different organizations. But when we turned up on the first day another one that supposedly ran the complex started to complain. I think his aim was to try to extort money from what he had assumed was Hollywood arriving on his doorstep. I still don’t full know if he had the rights that he claimed he had, but after a few calls between lawyers we were informed that we couldn’t shoot there anymore. I found this out at the end of the day as the producers frantically tried to deal with the scenario. I can remember feeling completely gutted at hearing the news. Luckily, our producers and location team did an amazing job and found a new location in two days; the art department had a day to get it ready and, four days after being shut down, we were back up and filming again.

Lots of moments were fun in hindsight but at the time you are so focused on the million and one things that you have to deal with that I am not sure I could call them “fun”. It was amazing to see the very first cut of the film as up until then it is all just words on a page or scenes that you are shooting as quickly as you possibly can to meet a ridiculous schedule. That is the first point where you can sit down and watch it as a movie and to know whether all the choices you have made have paid off. Luckily for me I was happy with the results!

3) Tell us about your cast (which seems genetically made for this story). How did you find them, and what was a genuinely funny moment that stands out from directing the film?

(BRYAN:) They all came from different places really. I was friends with Mirren Burke and she was doing acting training in New York when I was writing the script so I had her in mind for the role of Ailidh early on and was discussing parts of the film with her during the writing process. Mirren possessed all the right ingredients to play Ailidh and from the beginning I couldn’t imagine anyone else in that role. It’s her first film. I am sure when other people see her performance she won’t be short of opportunities for more roles.

Claire Garvey came from a set of auditions that I ran in a warehouse that I had hired to run a series of fundraising events. By day it was a casting studio and by night it was a comedy venue, music venue and a fancy dress party. I got all of the actors to prepare a monologue and Claire did a voiceover from Monster and during that I could see Jacqueline in her. She also spoke to me about the character in such a way that I knew that we would work well together and could get our ideas across which is so important.

Sylvia Syms has been in more films than years I have been alive and I wanted to find such an actress to give some weight to the role of Mrs. Nicholls. I wrote Sylvia a letter and sent her the script. Much to my surprise, she was interested! I think she joked that she decided to take this part as she isn’t killed off in the end.

The role of Jacob was easily the hardest part to fill and we auditioned a lot of different people for the role. Then we came across Rollo Weeks. I hadn’t seen any of his previous films where he was a lot younger and I nearly didn’t see him as most of the photos of him online are of him as a young boy and even the headshot we received was probably taken a few years prior. Getting a bit desperate, I agreed to see him and I was glad I did as he was perfect for the role. In some ways, he lets all the strong female characters be themselves without feeling he has to overpower them, and this trait was central to who Jacob is.

A funny moment − not so funny for everyone else, but I made the decision that the two girls (Mirren and Claire) shouldn’t speak to each other during the shoot. Their characters don’t know who each other are in film so I wanted to mimic that in real life. That provided for some awkwardly comic moments for me, at least where they tried their hardest in the smallest flat in the world to not look each other in the eye.

4) In comic book parlance, the Director of Photography is like the illustrator for a comic book − your Ailidh, so to speak. How did you connect with Jordan Cushing who is already amassing some impressive indie credits?

(BRYAN:) I was meeting with a number of DoPs (or cinematographers!). I met Jordan at a local cafe which we frequented a number of times after that as by chance we lived about 342 steps from each other. Those are Jordan sized-steps by the way. Throughout the project there were a number of people who were key in helping me to achieve my goal of making a film, but Jordan played such a huge part that he is the first person I would call to get a second opinion. The first night we met the manager of the  cafe ended up throwing us out. We stood outside the cafe talking for a bit after that as well. Jordan just really got what I was trying to achieve straight away and then continued to try and understand as much as he could into what I was looking to do. It meant that when we got on set and I mumbled something indecipherable, Jordan knew exactly what I wanted and was able to bring ideas to the table that complimented −or were better than − my own. As a film-maker, you would be foolish to think that you are the only one person who can have great ideas, and Jordan was my Go-To-Guy for great ideas.

5) Jordan, what attracted you to the project? And what did you shoot with?

(JORDAN:) The real draw to the project for me was the level of commitment and enthusiasm that Bryan showed in the early days of getting the film off the ground. I meet a lot of first timers with a script and a dream who are casting about for Producers to swoop in and bring it to life for them. As far as I’ve seen, that just isn’t how it works, so it was refreshing to find someone who didn’t come from a film background who was really driving his project forward despite not having the connections or experience that other people might take for granted.

Bryan had already attached some investment, had organized fundraisers, had a terrific website up and running, and had worked through pages and pages of notes on every aspect of the film. There didn’t seem to be any doubt that he would get the film made. And whenever that happened, this wasn’t a guy who was going to let it sit on a shelf. He was going to go to the wall to get it in front of audiences. You have to respect that, and that’s infectious.

(Editor’s Note: According to Bryan, he’s the “hairy one” in the photo below.)

After I was invited on board, Bryan and I spent a long time discussing what we wanted to shoot on and were both really keen on 2 perf 35mm with a scope aspect ratio (2.35:1).  In the end, there were two big obstacles: one was the lack of availability of cameras in London at the time, and the other was the last piece of financing wasn’t falling into place so it was deemed too risky to start down that path if we weren’t going to be able to secure the money to see it through. Ultimately we shot on a Red One package and Zeiss lenses supplied by Movietech out at Pinewood. They’re a terrific operation and were incredibly supportive of the project throughout the shoot.  We stuck with the 2.35:1 ratio though…

6) By the way, which is it − Cinematographer or Director of Photography? And what preparation is required for someone in your shoes to be ready to shoot on Day One?

(JORDAN:) I’ll answer to either one… I like to think I’m always a cinematographer but I’m a Director of Photography when I have a bunch of people to help me be that.  When it’s me and another guy, it seems a bit grandiose, don’t you think?

In terms of preparing for Day One, there are a few categories of things to do.  I’ve never consciously broken it down but for me it’s something like storytelling, visuals and technical. The biggest for me is to crack the story and try to get inside the director’s head a bit. I’m a bit like a five-year old in those meetings, I only ever say “Why?… Why?…Why?” I want to understand how he (or she) sees each element of the film, be it characters or settings or events, and how the audience is meant to feel about them at any point. Once you’ve got a handle on that, you’re in pretty good shape to know how you might like it to look overall, what style of coverage is appropriate, and what moods you want to set as you go along. I usually exchange a lot of images with directors and we try to watch films that have the qualities we’re striving for. The technical part is  basically just problem solving: “What do we need to do to accomplish all those things (in the director’s head) and where can we plug in our lights?”

7) Bryan, the film is in the can and your website shows that you are getting ready to go on tour soon. How have audiences responded thus far? And how do you plan to distribute the film for more mass consumption?

(BRYAN:) After approaching nearly all of the UK distributors and being told that the film didn’t fit into one of their boxes, I took the decision to release the film myself and I chose that instead of getting the film on release for a weekend in four cinemas like a lot of limited theatrical release films do, that I would set up a tour over a three-week period where I would take the film around the UK with one of the actors coming to each screening and holding a Q&A afterwards. This made more sense to me as then I could make each screening special and the hope is that by making each screening a special event that the word will spread about BOOKED OUT. Only time will tell though!

For distributing the film beyond the UK we just signed with a New York-based sales representative called Locomotive, which is headed up by Coleen Seldin who spent about ten years handling film sales at Miramax, so the film is in good hands for securing distribution outside the UK. We just signed recently so it’s still early days on this. But there has been interest already in a number of countries so hopefully there will be some news shortly about BOOKED OUT coming to a city near you.

To help this process we have just created a DemandIt page(http://eventful.com/performers/booked-out-/P0-001-000559049-1) so that everyone can demand that BOOKED OUT comes to their town. This can only help convince distributors that there is a market for the film.

8) The female characters in your story − young and old − are so strong, organic and well defined. How did you get inside your character’s heads? Did you have five sisters growing up … or is it something that just came natural?

(BRYAN:) I never had any sisters, or lots of female friends for that matter, but I purposefully wanted to write exciting female characters and that was one of my goals right from the outset.  My favorite author by a million miles is Haruki Murakami. One of the things that I love about his novels is that he has these wonderfully unique female characters and I wanted to emulate that. I would like to think that the three main female characters within BOOKED OUT could quite easily live in the world of one of his novels and not stand out. In terms of the elements that make them unique, I think that came from areas within myself and I emphasized and pushed in different directions to get the result that I desired. A lot of the films I watch have strong female characters, so there must be something that gravitates me in that direction.

9) Jordan, in shooting a character-driven story like BOOKED OUT where there are so many different personalities, what is the trick of capturing each of them? For example, Ailidh is so care-free and Jacob seems so constrained. How did you collaborate with Bryan to capture each of their personalities and perspectives on film?

(JORDAN:) Pretty early on in prep we contrived that we would give each of the women that hold sway over Jacob a different treatment. These things were drawn from each of their characters and hopefully emphasize their differences. For example, Ailidh is carefree and exuberant but also a bit erratic, so her stuff is all handheld and much busier and more colorful. This applied to the art direction and costuming too, so hopefully those all work in concert. Sara Ranieri and her team did a terrific job creating the homes of the characters as did Sophie Howard clothing them all.

I also always like to have a visual journey plotted for a film that hopefully reinforces the emotional arc. So it was natural that these two things could work together and, as the film progresses and the characters become intertwined, so too does the visual treatment. By the end they’re all in the same unified visual world. That was the theory going into it at least, and even when we weren’t slavish to it, that concept informed the decisions we made right through post.

10) Bryan, this might be a silly question, but for us clueless Americans, what exactly does the title BOOKED OUT imply in regards to the storyline other than Ailidh, the main character, is a graphic novelist?
(BRYAN:) That is where it came from, to be honest. In the initial drafts Ailidh’s novel had a bigger part and at one point I was thinking of filming her story as an animation that ran alongside the main film, but I reigned that in as it felt like the film was losing focus. I guess if you worked in marketing, you would probably say to change the name but as a filmmaker it’s hard at this point to let go of it as the name is synonymous with the film now.

(JORDAN:) If I can jump in here, I didn’t really get the title and I had to ask some locals for clarification and it turns out it’s a common expression. In the States, people say “booked solid” or “booked up” for a place or event that’s full. Here you’d say “booked out.” Rooms can also be “booked out,” where we’d just say “booked” and when materials are borrowed from the library (or the video store, once upon a time) they’re also “booked out.”  It may also mean other things too…  Bryan, have I got that right?”

(BRYAN:) That’s right. So the title was referring to Ailidh who has finished her graphic novel but is apprehensive about releasing it to the world. So in essence she is “booked out” with the novel. No one would normally use the phrase to describe her as such, but it was a play on words so that I could get the word “book” in the title − and frankly, I think it suits the film well.

(JORDAN:) Plus, for VOD, the titles at the beginning of the alphabet always get more rentals.

(BRYAN:) Fantastic! Yet another good reason for this to be “BOOKED OUT”.

11) Bryan/Jordan − this question is for both of you. What other films would you compare BOOKED OUT to?

(JORDAN:) That’s a tricky one… one of the references we watched at the outset was Ghost World so there may be some echoes of that. I also got Bryan to watch Mystery Train though the movies aren’t really similar. It makes me think of Lost in Translation for moments but then also something like Garden State.  I think there’s something that unifies all those titles but I’d be hard pressed to put my finger on what … whatever that nebulous quality is, BOOKED OUT hopefully has a healthy dose of it too.

(BRYAN:) The other night I was in bed unable to sleep with all the tour preparations going over in my mind and I thought that BOOKED OUT is like as if an early Mike Leigh had made Amelie… then I thought I was probably getting ahead of myself and that instead of thinking such things I should actually be sleeping. I think it has elements in common with the films Jordan mentioned but would add to that Science of Sleep, Submarine and It’s a funny kind of story.

12) Bryan, what project(s) are you working on next? And in what capacity − as a writer, director or both?

(BRYAN:) I have started writing a new film which I am about three quarters of the way through the script. It’s a sci-fi psychological coming of age story! My plan is to write and direct again, but it’s progress is a little slow at the moment as releasing BOOKED OUT is the main focus right now. I can tell that I’ve learned lots from making my first film as I approach the script of the next film, so watch this space. 😉

13) Jordan, tell us what you’ve been up to.

(JORDAN:) Several things, actually. 13 HOURS is a horror I shot a few years back that is just hitting UK broadcast TV this spring, after a good run on DVD and pay per view. It’s got some young up and comers in it including Tom Felton of Harry Potter fame. They’re also retitling it NIGHT WOLF and trying to sell it in the US too. The title gives away the surprise a bit, but if it gets you to plonk down your cash…

LOVE’S KITCHEN, a romcom I shot just before BOOKED OUT, should also be hitting UK and US broadcast TV after doing the rounds on DVD and pay per view since the summer. LOVE’S KITCHEN has a great cast of actors with some impressive credits between them and is more in the Richard Curtis mold of Romantic Comedy. It was terrific fun to make and a joy to watch some of those performers up close. (I’d gush a lot more but I wouldn’t want Bryan to get jealous!)

Truth be told, LOVE’S KITCHEN inspired me to get onboard with Bryan and BOOKED OUT as I was hankering to do a romantic film that was a bit more off beat. BOOKED OUT fit the bill and was a fantastic experience. I suggest you rent both films and then, if you’re up for a bit of a scare, watch 13 HOURS!

14) Bryan, what was your marketing strategy to create a buzz about BOOKED OUT? Did you use Social Media? Did the bands from the soundtrack help generate a built-in audience? And how important is it to have really cool music on an indie film?

(BRYAN:) If there is a social media platform that I know about, then we are on there. But my approach to using it is to always respond personally to the fans so if anyone tweets or writes or our Facebook wall then I will also respond as me first and foremost rather than pretending we are a huge film. Most of the fans we have seem to like that and we talk quite regularly. I also try not to overly promote the film as personally that grates on me a bit when other films are always demanding that you do things for them (i.e., retweet this, send this to all your friends, etc). I think it’s better to provide good content or discussion and if they want to share things, then they will do it off their own back.

With the release in the UK coming up I am trying to line up some special competitions and promotions to go alongside it so over the coming weeks we will be running those to help to spread the word and we have some exciting companies that have sponsored our tour that we will be announcing shortly as well.

The bands that are on the soundtrack have been great so far and hopefully they will support the film a lot in the coming weeks. I chose all of the music in the film myself and it’s one area I am particularly proud of. For BOOKED OUT, having a great soundtrack really helped bring the film up another level and if you listen to the score or soundtrack (www.bookedoutfilm.com/music) you can really get a feeling for what the film is all about and that is invaluable.

15) Last question − when will we be able to get our mitts on BOOKED OUT in the States? What’s the best way to help get the word out and request to see the film?

(BRYAN:) Hopefully soon! Our sales representative I mentioned previously is talking to a few companies in the States, so it really depends on how that comes off. If that doesn’t work, then I may just get my film and a backpack and head over in a similar way to what we are doing in the UK.

The best way to spread the word is by becoming a fan on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/bookedoutfilm) and demanding the film comes to your town via DemandIt (http://eventful.com/performers/booked-out-/P0-001-000559049-1) as it’s things like these that can help sway the distributors to buy the film.

Gentlemen, it’s been a fantastic interview. We wish you much success with BOOKED OUT, as it looks like quite a gem. We’ll be looking out − or “booking out” for it. Thank you for your time!

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske is currently writing/producing a micro-budget horror film called UNREST (http://www.indiegogo.com/unrest). Bob wrote THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST, a vampire horror series to be published by Studio 407 (http://www.studio-407.com) with film rights optioned by Myriad Pictures. Through his Heske Horror shingle, Bob self-published his critically acclaimed horror series COLD BLOODED CHILLERS. Bob’s trade paperback BONE CHILLER (a “best of” CBC anthology) won a Bronze medal in the horror category at the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His “end times” anthology 2012: FINAL PRAYER was also released in late 2009. Bob was editor and contributor to InvestComics’ ONE AND DONE charitable anthology. Buy it here.

 

THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST IS COMING!

*THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST IS COMING!*

InvestComics contributor Bob Heske’s long-awaited Vampire epic, THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST, published by Studio 407, is set to be released in *Diamond Previews* in March 2012. We’ll be running the press release in a few weeks, but the attached teaser image gives you a “taste” of the blood bath that’s coming your way in trade paperback. Word on the street has it that the artwork is stunning and Mr. Heske’s prose will keep your eyes peeled to the last fear-inducing page.

We’ll be providing details on how you can order advance copies soon. You can also follow NP on twitter at *#whoisthenightprojectionist* which has several tweets daily and previews of artwork, with more goodies in store. Support our talented friend Bob, and give yourselves a treat with a compelling, creepy read that Fangoria said “Could be the next *30 Days of Night!*”

As a comics entertainment investing expert, I can tell you THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST is sure to be in my May “Hot Picks” bin.

Jay Katz
President, InvestComics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IndieCreator with Dino Caruso

 

 

 

 

 

*Meet Canada’s “Mr. Anthology” — Dino Caruso, Writer/Publisher Extraordinaire*

Strap yourself in for the 2nd installment of creator contributor interviews from ONE AND DONE, InvestComics’ anthology in support of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (buy it here). Last time we interviewed two ultra-cool hombres from South Africa with five stories accepted to the anthology. This time, we interview the guy with the 2nd most submissions − Canadian comic writer extraordinaire Dino Caruso, AKA “Mr. Anthology”, who has three diverse stories included in our “and-then-you-die” collection. 

Why do we call Dino “Mr. Anthology”, you ask?

Because this Canuck and avid Toronto Blue Jays fan has been in more anthology collections than you can shake a hockey stick at (sorry Dino, “baseball bat” didn’t work for this analogy!). According to the short list on his website at Caruso Comics, Dino’s work has appeared in 26 anthologies from publishers including: Accent UK, Ape Entertainment, Black Glass Press, Black Ship Books, Hamtrack Idea Men, Heske Horror, Metahuman Press, New Reliable Press, POP! Goes The Icon, Red Leaf Comics, Ronin Studios, Terminal Press, Time Bomb Comics, Toronto Cartoonist’s Workshop … well, you get the picture.

Now you can add InvestComics ONE AND DONE to the list.

You’ve read his bio, now hear from the “Antho-Man” himself …

1) You had three stories accepted into ONE AND DONE. Give us a quick logline on each one and your inspiration for writing it.

(DC:)  NO QUARTER was inspired by Star Trek, particularly the original series. I’m a huge fan of TOS and TNG, and this one-pager has got a scene I would have loved to have witnessed in the show! Of course, had one of aliens responded in such a way…the show wouldn’t have lasted very long.

SPOUSE INVADERS was an idea I’d had percolating for quite a while, I just didn’t have a venue for it. The notion of a previously timid character suddenly not taking any more guff really appeals to me.

MELTDOWN was inspired by Firestorm, one of my favorite characters and books when I was a young feller. It was also inspired by Gibson’s love of dynamic action.

2) Who were the artists and letters on the respective stories?

(DC:)  Shawn Richter drew and lettered NO QUARTER. We’ve worked together on several projects, such as AGAINST THE WALL, FISK: SUBSTITUTE HERO, and the in-progress BULLETPROOF. Shawn’s also got a very cool project he’s working on right now called LEGEND OF THE SUNSET PEOPLE.

Simon Fernandes drew and lettered SPOUSE INVADERS. We’ve also worked together on a few things. We’re currently doing a webcomic called THE ADVENTURES OF BELL BOY, which can be found right here. We also worked together on a project called OLGA. Simon’s got a hilarious solo project called SUPERVILLAIN PSYCHE.

Gibson Quarter is the artist of MELTDOWN. We met in Ty Templeton’s workshop in Toronto last year, and we both had stories appear in Ty’s Holmes Inc. anthology. Gibson has worked with Alan Grant in the pages of Wasted, and he’s currently working on a cool project called The Organ Grinder.

Jaymes Reed is the letterer for MELTDOWN. Jaymes has lettered many projects for many companies, and he’s the mastermind of COMICS comics, currently being published by Bluewater. He’s written some very well-researched and entertaining biographies of influential comedians. I’m hopeful that Jaymes and I will have something official to announce in the near future.

3) Which was your favorite, and why?

(DC:)  I like them all, for different reasons. NO QUARTER makes me think; SPOUSE INVADERS makes me laugh; and MELTDOWN shocks me!

But you know, all three of them will always bring back fond memories because I got to collaborate with friends and creators that I admire and respect. 

4) You also recently had a story in an anthology called FEAR by Chainsaw comics. I assume the premise of the anthology is obvious, but can you elaborate anyway and tell us about your particular fearful tale?

 (DC:)  The story’s called BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU HIDE YOUR SECRETS, and it’s about a guy who kept the topic of his writing hidden from his significant other. When she found out about it, she didn’t react very well at all. It’s not based on an actual event, just a little meditation on what can come of being scared of sharing what’s inside you…and the importance of being honest with yourself and others about who you really are.

It’s illustrated by Paul Little, whose work as a colorist can be seen in several Image comics. He did an awesome job.

5) And you had 2 stories accepted into Criminal Element, an anthology by Jason Franks and Black Glass Press. Tell us about these stories and your collaborative creative teams.

(DC:)  I love crime fiction, and I’d previously been part of a project called Acts Of Violence. When Jason came calling, I jumped at the chance to be part of this collection. My two stories are:

SLEEPING DOGS LIE, illustrated by Jae Korim and lettered by Jaymes Reed. And OLD TIMER, illustrated by Vic Malhotra and Chris Martinez and lettered by Jaymes Reed.

SLEEPING DOGS LIE is a story about a double cross (or is it a triple cross…? Can’t seem to keep those straight) that literally comes back to bite someone in an uncomfortable place.

OLD TIMER is about how deceptive appearances can sometimes be.

6) In 2011, the Reading with Pictures anthology that you participated in was nominated for 2 Harvey Awards. What was special about this collection that caught the critic’s attention?

(DC:)  First of all, I think that there were a tremendous collection of wonderful stories and wonderful creators in that book. I was honored to be included. Further to that, Josh Elder and the RWP crew have been very busy as advocates for comics in the classroom and improving literacy. It’s a very strong anthology and I think it’s unique in that its target audiences are young readers and the school system. It always gets a lot of looks at conventions. I make sure to put it in a prominent spot on my table. It’s always nice to have something that the kids can flip through.

7) What other anthologies have you had your work published in? Is there a favorite anthology or story of which you are most proud?

(DC:)  I feel very fortunate to have been included in a wide variety of anthologies. I’m proud of all of them, but some of my faves are:

A (YANKEE) ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME, which appeared in Poseur Ink’s “Side B” anthology. This was a fun story, illustrated by Josh Kemble, about a trip to Toronto to see a David Lee Roth concert.

HOLLOW VICTORY, which appeared in Heske Horror’s “2012” anthology. This story was illustrated by Sami Kivela (who’s 2/3 done illustrating our next project…stay tuned!!) and it’s about my vision of what the end of the world will be like. Play Ball!

HOPE, which appeared in The Sleepless Phoenix’s “Survival Stories” anthology. This one was illustrated by Gary O’Donnell, and it’s got soccer and aliens. Need I say more?

Lastly, I’d like to mention BREAKING THE ICE, which was part of Ronin Studios’ “Hope” anthology. It was illustrated by Jason Moser, and it’s about an urban hero who misjudges the people on the wrong side of the tracks.

8) You have very good luck getting into anthologies — and a healthy does of talent, of course. How do you find the anthologies that you want to contribute to, or do the publishers find you?

(DC:)  A lot of times, you can find out about anthologies by doing a Google search to see who’s taking submissions. There are also boards such as Pencil Jack and Digital Webbing that publishers advertise on directly. Both of those sites have “help wanted” bulletin boards.

And after you’ve been around for a while, and gotten to know people, publishers will often come looking for you. Short stories are lots of fun, and I enjoy working on them a lot.

9) Tell us about your web comic, The Adventures of Bell Boy, which you created with artist Simon Fernandes. The main character is a 2nd grade boy with imaginary “super powers”. How many strips have you developed? And what are you ultimate plans for this whimsical superkid character?

(DC:)  BELL BOY is lots of fun. It’s done in the style of a 4 panel newspaper strip, and it’s the story of a kid in grade two who gets superpowers every time the recess bell rings…or at least, he thinks he does. I’d say it’s influenced by Bloom County, Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes.

Simon is an awesome co-creator. He brings the perfect artistic style to this project. He’s amazing with the facial expressions, body language and action. It’s been an absolute joy to work on this with him. It’s my greatest hope that BELL BOY keeps on being heroic on the playground for many years to come. You can read all about him at http://bell-boy.ca.

This is the only ongoing comic strip I’ve been a part of. I might someday like to try a one-panel gag comic, but for now, I’m really content focusing my efforts on BELL BOY.

10) You also do interviews yourself. Who are some of the more memorable writers and artists that you’ve interviewed?

(DC:) Yeah, I had a lot of fun with my ONE PAGE AT A TIME interviews. They first appeared on the Crystal Fractal Comics news page, but then they were later syndicated to ComicBookInterviews.com.

I mostly interviewed creators I knew, and it was a nice opportunity to give some well-deserved spotlight to some of my friends and collaborators. One creator that I didn’t know, however, was Royal McGraw, who worked on Batman. That interview was pretty cool. I learned a lot. 

11) From several posts on your blog, Community Service seems to be a project that has for a long-time been kept under wraps but is now being dusted off and coming to life in graphic TPB format. Tell us about this project and how you got the momentum going.

(DC:) COMMUNITY SERVICE is a story and script I’m very proud of. And yes, it’s been an ongoing project for about ten years. I’ve revised and rewritten it many times and I’m finally feeling comfortable with it. It’s loosely based on some experiences I had, so it was really important to me that the script felt “right”.

Cecilia Latella, a wondeful illustrator from Italy, is working on the pages as we speak. She has a great feel for the characters and her storytelling is superb. There are no superheroics, horror or crime elements to this story. It’s about regular people living their lives and dealing with the stuff we deal with every day…growing up and trying to figure out who we are and where we belong in the world.

You can follow along on my site, http://www.carusocomics.blogspot.com/, for updates. I’ve been trying to regularly post our progress with a little bit of commentary. 

12) Last chance to pimp any projects you’re working on, events you’ll be attending and URLs we’ll want to visit to follow the creative works of Dino Caruso. 

First of all, thanks for the opportunity to ramble. It was lots of fun.

Projects I’m working on…hmmm…

Well, there are a couple of things I’m doing for Red Leaf Comics. One of them is a graphic novel called COURAGE, illustrated by Paul Houston. The other is a serial called GRYFALCON, illustrated by Francisco Paronzini (and my good friend Shawn Richter will also illustrate a chapter).

Sami Kivela and I are working on a project for Markosia. The working title is OUTCAST, but that may be changing. Sami’s doing amazing work on this one.

Shawn Richter and I are working on sprucing up FISK: SUBSTITUTE HERO, a concept that I find lots of fun, and we’re soon going to be pitching a project that’s titled BULLETPROOF.

Sam Agro and I also have a couple of stories on the verge of moving forward, but … can’t quite talk about those ones yet. Hopefully soon.

There are also good things brewing with some other super-talented creators, that I hope to be able to spill the beans about soon. Check in with me at http://www.carusocomics.com/ or http://www.carusocomics.blogspot.com/ for the latest news.

Whew! That’s an epic amount of pots you’ve got brewin’ on the fire, Dino. From now on we’re calling you “CAPTAIN ANTHOLOGY”! Keep cranking out the great work, and I encourage everyone to check out Dino’s submissions to ONE AND DONE.

Buy it here.

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske is currently writing/producing a micro-budget horror film called UNREST (http://www.indiegogo.com/unrest). Bob wrote THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST, a vampire horror series to be published by Studio 407 (http://www.studio-407.com) with film rights optioned by Myriad Pictures. Through his Heske Horror shingle, Bob self-published his critically acclaimed horror series COLD BLOODED CHILLERS. Bob’s trade paperback BONE CHILLER (a “best of” CBC anthology) won a Bronze medal in the horror category at the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His “end times” anthology 2012: FINAL PRAYER was also released in late 2009. Bob was editor and contributor to InvestComics’ ONE AND DONE charitable anthology. Email him at info@coldbloodedchillers.com.

 

InvestComics One and Done Anthology Now Available

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
West Palm Beach, Florida
January 31, 2012 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

InvestComics Announces “One and Done” Anthology Available for Purchase Online

Charitable anthology of “deadly tales” features contributions from industry creators
to support Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF)

(West Palm Beach, Florida; January 31, 2012) – Comic book and entertainment information website InvestComics is proud to announce that “One and Done” − a charitable anthology to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund − is now available for purchase on the Mira Publishing website at www.mirashartshop.com. “Today marks the beginning of InvestComics’ fight against censorship and the right for Freedom of Speech,” said Jay Katz, President of InvestComics. “We are proud to support such a great cause and will always be a strong supporter of CBLDF.”

Bob Heske, a graphic novelist, web columnist and editor on the anthology, added, “We’re thrilled to get a book out that features worldwide talent for such a great cause. The one-page graphic tales that each end in death are like a box of chocolates − you don’t know what you’ll get until you bite inside!”

“I am proud to be a part of such a fantastic charity like CBLDF” echoed Sebastian Piccione, also an editor on the book and a regular contributor to the InvestComics website. “The mix of stories and styles from accomplished and emerging creators makes this book unique and fun to read.”

InvestComics reached out to industry creators with a call for submissions on its website in June 2011. The rules were simple: Stories could be of any genre as long as they were one page in length and the last page ended in death (shown or implied).

According to InvestComics Katz the response was overwhelming. “This unique anthology asked creators to be generous in their submission and extremely creative in their content. And I’m proud to say they’ve stepped up to the plate big time and hit it out of the park,” says Katz in reference to the quality of submissions received. The InvestComics One and Done Anthology features contributors from all over the globe including established industry pros like Mark McKenna, Duncan Eagleson, Rob Jones, and Peter Palimotti and emerging talent on the cusp of being recognized. Nearly 50 “One and Done” tales were accepted. There is also a special section called “Killer Extras” featuring additional original works by Bob Heske, Duncan Eagleson, David Paul, and also a pinup page from cover artist Gary T. Becks.

Orders can be placed directly on line at http://www.mirasmartshop.com/ at this URL:

http://www.mirasmartshop.com/InvestComics-Presents-One-Done_p_322.html

Also, if you are in Florida, the One and Done Anthology can be purchased at Tate’s Comics in Lauderhill, Florida. Tate’s Comics web address is www.tatescomics.com.

InvestComics will announce random winners of prizes to be given out by Tate’s Comics as well as interviews to be carried on the InvestComics website and InvestComics TV website. The first interview will be posted the week of January 23rd featuring South African creators Arno Hurter and David Edwards who had five stories accepted for the book (the most of any creator team), and will appear in Bob Heske’s popular IndieCreator column.

About InvestComics

InvestComics™ started as a magazine in 2006; the first issue wasn’t released until June of 2007. The magazine was distributed as a free comic book Investment Guide throughout local comic shops in South Florida. It was also a giveaway on Ebay for any winning bid to receive with their order.

Although the InvestComics™ web site was on line in 2005, it wasn’t until 2007 the web site became the main focal point and the magazine ceased. InvestComics™ wanted to start reaching a broader audience and began to rapidly expand. InvestComics™ became the “Entertainment” Investment Guide as a result of covering many areas in the industry, focusing on entertainment as well as highlighting investment opportunities. Most recently the launch of InvestComics TV (ICTV) has made the site multi-media, attracting some of the biggest names in the industry to appear in a split-screen 10-12 minute interview format.

About Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers. The CBLDF provides legal referrals, representation, advice, assistance, and education in furtherance of these goals. If you wish to support CBLDF, you can visit their website at http://cbldf.org/.

 

One and Done Dual Interview – Arno Hurter and David Edwards

Now that ONE AND DONE, InvestComics’ anthology in support of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, is available and ready to order, we are beginning a series of IndieCreator columns featuring some of the marquee talent that contributed to the book. What better place to start than with the talented tandem from South Africa that contributed more tales (five!!!) than anyone else? Writer/Letterist Arno Hurter and Illustrator/Colorist David Edwards are absurdly talented comic creators you probably aren’t aware exist but definitely should know. I “discovered” them (actually they submitted material to a Heske Horror anthology that blew me away) a few years ago, and I have been an avid − no, make that “rabid” − fan since. What makes them so entertaining is that they are versatile and can spin any graphic tale with an acumen that would make Stan Lee blush. Take a trip with me to the far corner of Earth and meet two guys with some amazing stories to tell … here’s Arno and David! 

1) Arno Hurter and David Edwards is destined to become South Africa’s version of Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night). How’d you two hook up, and what was your first piece that was published?

HURTER: Hi Bob and audience. Thanks for the compliment, as well as the opportunity. Dave’s wife and I used to work together, through whom we eventually met. Dave’s a full-time freelance illustrator in the coastal city of East London, South Africa, and I was well aware of his exceptional artistic ability (he’s somewhat of a local legend, but is way too modest to ever tell you so himself, whereas I have no such qualms) and I’ve long been a great admirer of his. We were passing acquaintances for years until, not having seen each other in absolute ages, we bumped into one another at a local DVD rental store, then again in a grocery store about a week later. On both occasions Dave asked if I’d be interested to collaborate on creating comics with him. Unable to believe my lucky stars, I immediately said yes and our partnership – STOMPIN’ MASTODON (the naming of which is a story unto itself, but we’ll save that for another day) – was born. Many brainstorms and beers have followed since —

EDWARDS: Good times.

HURTER: — As well as some pretty cool pages. We’re still plugging away, doing what we love, and the creation is still an absolute joy. As for our first published piece… well, Bob, we have youto thank for including our first two stories in your remarkable anthology – 2012: FINAL PRAYER – that was published a few years back. It was our ‘first’ and, as such, will always be fondly remembered. BTW you were real gentle, Bob ;). The day those comp issues arrived, all shiny and magic-dust new, knowing that two children born of our imagination had found a home within those sheltered pages… man, what a buzz!

2) You have the most entries in InvestComics’ ONE AND DONE anthology which benefits the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Arno, give us a one line on each story title.

HURTER: Before I give with the one line per one-pager, let me just say that writing and illustrating a complete (and hopefully satisfying) story in the meager space of one measly page is quite a challenge and really got our creative juices flowing. What we tried to do is condense as much story as possible within the constraints of the assignment, I mean we really tried cramming it in there, so hopefully it feels like 2 pages worth of narrative per yarn (if we got lucky, perhaps even more).

“… COLD!”: The title in panel one actually follows the last word of dialogue at the end of panel twelve (hence the quotation marks), which gives this brief B-movie a looping quality that hopefully makes you want to read it twice in a row.

SAYING GRACE: Perhaps my favourite title, it features a vampire priest trying to save the world one orphan at a time – throw in a psychotic serial killer and a thirsty young protégé and you’ve got yourself a nicely rabid little tale.

PRIME DIRECTIVE: This one’s a welcome change of pace as it turns the basic premise of ONE AND DONE (tales that end in death or the implication thereof) on its head by positing: what if the horror came not from dying, but being forced to live; also, Dave draws one kick-ass cybernetic artificial life-form, which was a thrill to see realized.

THE VOW: I love revenge stories and have a particular fondness for pathos, so I drew a vial of scarlet inspiration from Bram Stoker’s DRACULA (the movie starring an incendiary Gary Oldman) and wrote this sucker to its soundtrack – also, this is the only tale I did some actual research for, which is vital if you’re using history as a backdrop.

FINAL TAKE: This is our pick of the bunch and, as it’s the only tale that could actually conceivably happen (an horrific indictment of the world we live in), it’s also the most genuinely dark and disturbing.

3) OK, David — now your turn. Which of the five was the funnest to draw and which was the most challenging?

EDWARDS: I would say SAYING GRACE was the most fun. I love the idea of an old man and a kid turning the tables on an arrogant serial killer. The challenge for me was shifting from my preferred 4-6 panels per page to 8, 10 or sometimes even 12! In this game the words ‘fun’ and ‘challenge’ mean more or less the same thing. We enjoyed the one page format so much that we are definitely going to be doing more.

4) You also currently have 3 different graphic novels in the works. Let’s begin with ALTERED NATE. What’s the premise and where does the project currently stand? Are there any links where readers can preview some pages?

EDWARDS: ALTERED NATE (“AN”) is about a scientist who has a very bad day at work.

HURTER: Heh. To put it mildly. AN is a vigorous re-imagining of the Jekyll and Hyde archetype. After a teleportation experiment goes horribly wrong, our titular character(s), Dr. Nathan Vos, finds himself literally torn into physical manifestations of his id, ego and super-ego (in the case of the latter, an almost infinite number of ghost-like “echoes”). An uncompromising battle of monstrous consequence ensues. There are some killer supporting characters fleshing out this tale, including an ex-Russian model turned secret agent as well as a lethal, utterly deranged field operative in the employ of a clandestine American-led international agency (GOD – Global Observation & Defense) who’s been tasked with either capturing or killing the unknowable new threat created in the wake of the teleportation mishap. ALTERED NATE moves with the ferocity and momentum of an avalanche, one whose snow is bright, arterial red.

EDWARDS: The full synopsis is in our ebook (http://www.myebook.com/stompin-mastodon/), along with character profiles and the opening eleven pages. Our hope is to find a publisher who’d be willing to assist us complete the book. This would also make an awesome movie! For more on our comics (and all sorts of other interesting things) you can go to my website – http://artcore.co.za/ – and check it all out.

5) You’ve also been working on THE MUSE and ROXY. Give us a quick spiel on each of these and where they’re at.

EDWARDS: THE MUSE is a Faustian fable for the modern age with the world’s biggest rock star as its protagonist. As with ALTERED NATE we did an eleven page pitch introduction for it. While we would love to finish the story, we have been sidetracked with other projects, but would like to return to it at some stage (perhaps with a grittier style). ROXY is an action packed sci-fi meets surfing adventure that has tons of mainstream appeal. We’ve done a lot of pre-production and are in the process of kick-starting this baby. We’ll let you know as soon as its about to launch. Surf’s almost up. Can’t wait to ride the waves.

 

 

6) Your latest collaboration – BRUISER’S MOON — pairs a hit man and a porn star in an unlikely and bittersweet love story with action, thrills and kills. Tell us about it.

HURTER: At this stage BRUISER’S MOON is a novel in early progress that Dave will provide full-color illustrations for. The story’s going to be a wild excursion indeed, blending pulp fiction elements, some gritty, grisly noir; oh yeah, and a healthy dollop of unconventional romance. I’m really drawn to damaged characters (the more down on their luck and desperate, the better) doggedly seeking salvation.

As you mentioned, BM features a hit man and a former porn star trying to outrun the crushing weight of who they were and all the terrible things they’ve seen and done. Both end up in an anonymous, quiet little town where they try to make a brand new start and things actually go pretty well for a while. They’ve never been happier, except when it comes time to dream, when wolves of the past with men’s faces snarl hungrily from the dark, teeth bloodied and jaws snapping foam. They bump into one another at every turn and fall hopelessly in love against their better judgments (initially unaware of each other’s past, but sensing the baggage and hurt seared into their kindred souls), but theirs is a bruising love not to be contained or controlled. Its something much larger than themselves, a force that makes them mighty, yet renders them vulnerable in the extreme. They’re running from their collective sinful past, which has a nasty way of catching up, especially when stolen money and injured mobster’s pride are at stake, particularly when two relentless killers – one a psychotic giant, the other a sadistic dwarf – lead remorseless packs of hateful men to hunt our star-crossed lovers down, hoping to retrieve what’s theirs and carve monstrous reputations out of butchered human hides.

BRUISER’S MOON is ultimately a tale about the power of redemption and the interventions of grace, about love and guts, brawn and bullets and staying true to all you hold dear against demonic odds. No half-measures here. It should be a bumpy, bloodied rocket ride.

7) What else have you done recently?

HURTER: We’ve completed another six-page comic short called HANDS that’s a pretty full-on excursion into horror – it was designed to make your skin crawl. We’ve sent that off to Heavy Metal magazine, whose sensibilities this story was tailor-made for, so we’re anxiously awaiting their response. Other than that, I’m busy writing both Bruiser’s Moon and Altered Nate as novels. Dave and I are also keen to continue with the Altered Nate, The Muse and Roxy graphic novels, see if we can’t get a corporate sponsor or publisher on board to really add some momentum.

8) Since you contributed a sci-fi story (ANNIHILATION REVELATION) and a gloomy graphic tale (BIRD’S EYE VIEW) to Heske Hororr’s 2012: FINAL PRAYER Armageddon anthology, you’re well aware we bite the dust on 12/21/12. Which or your works will you bury in a titanium container for the next species that inhabits our planet to discover to know you were here?

HURTER: Here’s hoping that what we “hatched” (inside joke here) in Bird’s Eye View doesn’t come to pass, nor any of the other ways the string unravels as imagined by the tales in your Armageddon anthology. Extinction wasn’t part of my new year’s resolutions. I think. Better double-check on that one. As for which of our works to preserve for the next dawning of life-forms to discover… gosh… darn… Hmm, well, I really wouldn’t mind the five tales we’ve contributed right here, y’know. They cover a lot of territory (three contemporary, one historical and one futuristic), so I feel – even though they’re brief – they say a lot. That and Altered Nate, I think. At least at this stage.

9) Regarding your BIRD’S EYE VIEW story, I should let everyone know that your story received rave reviews from just about every person who critiqued and reviewed the book (As did HARKINTON, by Sandman #38 illustrator Duncan Eagleson, which is also re-printed in ONE AND DONE extras section). Have people in the industry finally started to take note of your talent?

HURTER: The critical acclaim we’ve received has certainly been gratifying and tremendously appreciated, as it often feels like you’re working in a vacuum. We can only hope that even more editors and publishers A) become aware of us, B) like what we have to offer as keen, committed storytellers and C) are prepared to give us a shot at the big(ger) time. Regardless, we’ll keep on telling tales, man, the taller and more imaginative, the better.

EDWARDS: Bring it on!

10) What’s in store for 2012? And please provide links to websites where we can follow your work. And are you guys for hire in case anyone out there is looking to hire a writer/artist team that’s ready to break out?

HURTER: Any editors or publishers out there willing to harness our abilities and give us a shot at doing this even for a part-time living, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you and make some storytelling magic together. Once again, thanks for the opportunity, Bob. Hopefully you’ll rope us in on your next anthology, ’cause it’s sure to be a class act. Congrats to everyone else who made it into the collection; we can’t wait to check it out.

EDWARDS: Yeah, looking forward to it. Any interested parties, please feel free to contact us via ed-art@mweb.co.za (Dave) or arnohurter@gmail.com (Arno). You can also visit my website at http://artcore.co.za/ for more info. Thanks, Bob. It’s been a blast.

HURTER: Happy reading, folks…

Thanks guys! I encourage everyone to check out Arno’s and David’s work at the websites above and in ONE AND DONE. For only $6.99, ONE AND DONE is a great little book supporting a great cause, unveiling new talent as well as established creators.

Buy it here.

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske is currently writing/producing a micro-budget horror film called UNREST (http://www.indiegogo.com/unrest). Bob wrote THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST, a vampire horror series to be published by Studio 407 (http://www.studio-407.com) with film rights optioned by Myriad Pictures. Through his Heske Horror shingle, Bob self-published his critically acclaimed horror series COLD BLOODED CHILLERS. Bob’s trade paperback BONE CHILLER (a “best of” CBC anthology) won a Bronze medal in the horror category at the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His “end times” anthology 2012: FINAL PRAYER was also released in late 2009. Bob was editor and contributor to InvestComics’ ONE AND DONE charitable anthology. Email him at info@coldbloodedchillers.com.

 

We’ve Got Some Merry Scary News this Holiday for Horror Comics Creators

 

We’ve Got Some Merry Scary News this Holiday for Horror Comics Creators 

Ho Ho Horror and a Very Scary Christmas to all our IndieCreator Fiends, err “Friends”.

As we wrap up 2011 and hitch up our pants for the Apocalypse in 2012 (not really, we hope!), there’s some good things ahead for horror comic fans who want to celebrate the best of 2011. But you need to make haste and put your vote (or votes, as the case may be) on the table for what favorite ghastly works made the hair stand on your head or turn prematurely grey.

Even if you are a closet TWILIGHT fan, it’s time to man up and let your voice be heard …

Decapitated Dan and his Headless Horror Men Launch the “Ghastly Awards”

We are pleased to tell you that the Ghastly Awards are coming!

Founded in 2011 by Decapitated Dan with the help of Steve Banes, Mike Howlett, Lonnie Nadler and Mykal Banta, The Ghastly Awards have been created for horror comic creators to nominate their peers for industry-wide recognition. But the only way for them to know how to vote is to get the word out there to them.

Nominating works like this:

  • Creators (Artists, Writers, Inkers, Colorists, Letterers, Editors and Web Comic Creators) have one year to nominate, and are allowed to nominate up to 5 times during that year. You cannot nominate yourself and you cannot nominate someone/something more than once.
  • At the end of the year nominations will be counted and the top 5 in each category will be the nominees.
  • That list of nominees will be voted on by a panel of 5 judges. These judges will be members of the horror comics’ community who do not have any part in making comics; Reviewers, Journalists and Historians.

The categories for the awards are:

– Best Ongoing Title

– Best Mini Series

– Best One-Shot

– Best New Series

– Best Anthology

– Best Original Graphic Novel

– Best Archival Collection

– Best Horror Comic Related Book

– Best Writer

– Best Artist

– Best Inker

– Best Letterer

– Best Colorist

– Best Web Comic

– Hall of Fame Candidates

Now we know that this is the end of the year, so we need your help in getting the word out there to creators so we can get nominations in for 2011.

Please visit http://www.ghastlyawards.com to nominate.

Nominating will be open for 2011 comic books until Feb. 29, 2012.

Thank you,

The Ghastly Award Judges

Decapitated Dan, Steve Banes, Mike Howlett, Lonnie Nadler & Mykal Banta

 

ComicMonsters 3rd Annual Horror Awards Voting Runs 12/21 thru 12/31

And this carved from the ComicMonsters.com website…

“The pioneers of horror comic news are back to celebrate the best Horror Comics for 2011! ComicMonsters.com presents the third annual Horror Comic Awards. Voting is open via the ComicMonsters.com site on December 21st, 2011 and ends on December 31st, 2011. Best of Luck to the Nominees……May the most brutal comic prevail!!!”

Cast your vote here …

http://www.comicmonsters.com/horror-comic-awards.html

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Fun-Filled Festivus

Whatever you may celebrate this time of year, may you enjoy a safe and happy holiday, and get everything you want under your trimmed tree (except for you really sick dudes). Thanks for reading IndieCreator for the past few years. We’ve got some pretty cool interviews queued up for 2012, and sincerely hope you keep coming back for more.

Yours cruelly,

RM Heske
12/24/2011

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske is currently writing/producing a micro-budget horror film called UNREST. Bob wrote THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST, a vampire horror series to be published by Studio 407 in April 2012 (http://www.studio-407.com) with film rights optioned by Myriad Pictures. Through his Heske Horror shingle, Bob self-published his critically acclaimed horror series COLD BLOODED CHILLERS. Bob’s trade paperback BONE CHILLER (a “best of” CBC anthology) won a Bronze medal in the horror category at the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His “end times” anthology 2012: FINAL PRAYER  was also released in late 2009. Email him at info@coldbloodedchillers.com. Most recently, Bob was editor and contributor to InvestComic’s ONE AND DONE anthology to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

 

 

IndieCreator – The Making of the UNREST Movie Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Making of the UNREST Movie Poster

This column will be light on copy and heavy on images. The purpose? To show you the evolution of a movie poster for a micro-budget film  − namely, the concept poster for my “currently-seeking-funding” film called UNREST.

Several months ago I wrote a column about the first steps involved in undertaking a micro-budget film which included: 

  • Write your script, then re-write it and re-write it again.
  • Get an entertainment lawyer to help hone your business plan, Profit Participation Memorandum and Subscriber Agreement.
  • Hire a Casting Director to help secure Letters of Interest from 1-2 fairly notable actors who will help make your film more attractive to investors and to sales agents for domestic and foreign distribution
  • Determine what location (and hence state) you are filming in so you can establish your Limited Liability Corporation (LLC).
  • Work with your entertainment lawyer to set up your LLC and Operating Agreement (the rules governing your LLC). 

I also hired a Line Producer to do a budget (which turned out much higher than I expected), which forced me to re-write my script yet again. I’ve submitted my script to additional actors and directors for consideration and a few screenwriting contests (whose valid commentary will force my hand to do another polish to tighten the script and some loose story lines). 

All the while, it is important to look for investors and others who can make your project happen.

It takes a while to get the money (sometimes years − yes … “Y-E-A-R-S”!). But while waiting, it is important to keep the momentum going − establishing more contacts, learning more about indie filmmaking and distribution, and exploring ways to pre-market your film to build “buzz” and a fan base.

Which made me pose this question on a LinkedIn Film Group message board: 

“What comes first − the poster, the teaser trailer or the website?” 

The thread had nearly 100 comments but most weighed in on the side of creating the “one sheet” or concept poster that presented the big ticket concept of your film visually. 

The best comment I received was this one from a writer: “A director I once worked with told me: Show me the poster and I’ll show you the movie.” 

My poster was a bit tricky as it entailed two concepts: a brutal home invasion and a ghost story that were linked together.

Although I had Letters of Interest from great talent and interest from the builder of  a very filmic location to shoot (a desert boulder house), I couldn’t put these elements in the poster. Instead, I had to get creative and show a creepy concept like some of my favorite horror films from the 1970s/1980s:

After posting an ad on a few boards (such as www.nefilm.com), I got 30-ish replies and made my choice. I had the artist sign a deal memo and paid a fair price for the artwork (at least for a micro-budget film).

I provided several samples of movie posters that I liked and gave the artist my film’s synopsis and this tagline to work with:

Unrest
Murder comes back to haunt you

Here is the how the concepts evolved:

INITIAL CONCEPT

My feedback was that it looks good, but didn’t tie in the ghostly back story enough. I wanted the fog behind to be more “ghostly” and I wanted the figures – especially the center character – to be more intimidating.

REVISED CONCEPT

The artist came back with this concept which was closer − he pretty much nailed the silhouette figures in the front (representing the masked home intruders) but the apparition in the back looked like a “singing ghost”.

He also sent a few variations that explored different ghost and main title font nuances, but were also a bit off the mark:

The artist (who was a huge horror fan) and I talked about some other posters invoking ghostly heads and we both remembered this great film:

With the right inspiration, it was back to the drawing board …

THIRD REVISION

Eureka! The artist went with three shrieking ghost heads (there were three unjustified deaths at the outset of the film) and added some red to add dimension to the black and white artwork. The result was a very powerful image that made the poster multi-dimensional and attention getting.

I was happy. Almost. I still wanted a little more “depth” added around the front silhouettes so the artist tinkered a bit and came back with this:

Note the subtle shading and accents made to the three home invaders and the swirls of ghostly matter surrounding them rather than being in the background. To me, this implied that the ghosts were somehow connected to the intruders (which they were via a twist at the end).

I was finally happy! I shared the artwork with a few industry professionals and all gave it high marks. One comment from an assistant director and huge horror fan made me laugh out loud: “Dude, this poster is giving me a boner!”

As for the artist, his name is Chris Waters and you can find more of his work at his website here. He did a great job and was easy to work with, taking direction well and putting any extra time that was required. He just may be the next great horror artist who does a Rob Zombie CD cover or block buster film poster.

Thanks for checking out the making of the movie poster for UNREST. I hope you enjoyed this column and invite you to take the time to leave a comment about the concept art as I’d be interested in people’s reaction.

Would you want to see this film? I hope the answer is “Yes.”

I will continue to provide updates on the long, torturous yet exciting process to get a film made. I will also have a website in the weeks ahead. If you want to know more about the project, you can reach me at bobheske@gmail.com.

Yours Cruelly,

R.M. Heske
Managing Director
UNREST LLC

 

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske is currently writing/producing a micro-budget horror film called UNREST (http://www.indiegogo.com/unrest). Bob wrote THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST, a vampire horror series to be published by Studio 407 (http://www.studio-407.com) with film rights optioned by Myriad Pictures. Through his Heske Horror shingle (http://www.coldbloodedchillers.com), Bob self-published his critically acclaimed horror series COLD BLOODED CHILLERS. Bob’s trade paperback BONE CHILLER (a “best of” CBC anthology) won a Bronze medal in the horror category at the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His “end times” anthology 2012: FINAL PRAYER  was also released in late 2009. Email him at info@coldbloodedchillers.com.

Hollywood Actor David Fine………And Bob Heske!

In a recent Interview conducted by Matt J. Horn’s Blog of Actor David Fine (Visit his IMDB page right HERE), David mention’s InvestComics’ very own (and Heske Horror of course) Bob Heske!!!

Bob Heske is working on a micro-budget feature film called UNREST (Check out the teaser below) and David Fine is attached to the project. So check out the UNREST teaser below and a video Link containing some of David Fine’s awesome work.

Here is the Interview on Matt’s blog:

http://mattjhorn.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/david-fine-sensored-2009/

……And Be sure to check out Matt’s blog. It had some great Interviews & Reviews: http://mattjhorn.wordpress.com/

UNREST Teaser:

David Fine:

http://www.imdb.com/video/demo_reel/vi1015585561/

So join InvestComics in Congratulating Bob Heske for the Kudos from David Fine.

 

InvestComics’ Deadly Tales: One and Done – Guidelines + Rules

Be a Part of InvestComics’ “Deadly Tales: One and Done” Charitable Anthology

Support a good comic creator cause while having some bloody good fun!

InvestComics is proud to launch “Deadly Tales: One and Done!” – a unique short-graphic tale anthology with 100% of sales proceeds going to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. We need talented, good-hearted creators to make it happen … and get some great exposure and potentially win some cool prizes. Intrigued? Read on …

About the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:

InvestComics will be donating 100% of the proceeds to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF). CBLDF is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians and readers. The CBLDF provides legal referrals, representation, advice, assistance and education in furtherance of these goals.

We are working with a printer with a web storefront so individuals can purchase the book online. After the anthology is published, with each sale, we will donate all proceeds to CBLDF (minus printer expenses).

Here’s the premise:

· Create a one-page black-and-white comic story

· Story must have three common elements:

o Limited to one page

o Have mortality or death as a central theme

o Someone bites the dust in the last panel (either shown or implied)

· Story may be any fiction genre: horror, super hero, fantasy, comedy, etc.

· No profanity, racist remarks, or pornographic elements

· No using real people – fiction, fiction, fiction!

· Story cannot exceed one page and must be clearly legible with no typos

· Story title and credits must appear on page (preferably in first panel)

Here are the rules:

· Email your completed story by August 14, 2011 to 1anddone@trendingpopculture.com

· All entries must be complete and meet anthology specs (don’t send us “concepts” to see if we like them – only finished one-page tales will be judged)

· Up to 100 stories will be selected

· If selected, you will receive a waiver whereby you keep the story rights but you grant InvestComics first print rights to your story in electronic and print format for perpuity (that’s forever, folks!). In short, we are the first to publish your work, and we can print it for as long as desired in support of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

· THERE IS NO PAYMENT … but the anthology will be published, we will do our best to promote the hell out of it, and you will be doing your part to help protect creator First Amendment rights.

· Because we will be including up to 100 stories in the book, we cannot provide complimentary copies (which could total as many as 300 books mailed out to every writer, artist and letterist selected – no can do!).

· However, we will be giving away great collectible gifts to random “winners” from the creator teams which will donated from local businesses such as Tate Comics – recognized by the Will Eisner Spirit Awards as one of the best retail comic stores in the world!

· We also will be interviewing several of the contributors to appear on ICTV.

Here are the specs:

· TIFF file, 300 DPI

· Trim size – 6.75 inches x 10.25 inches; Full bleed size – 7 inches x 10.5 inches
Note: Final art must be submitted as FULL BLEED SIZE

· Name your file by story name (for example: OneAndDone.tif)

· Email your file to 1anddone@trendingpopculture.com with “Deadly Tales Submission” in the subject line; and wait for us to contact you if selected

We will be approaching a handful of industry legends as well as “up-and-coming” indie creators to submit, so if your story is selected you will not only be supporting a wonderful cause, you will be in great company which will be sure to provide maximum exposure. Plus you could win some cool collectible prizes and appear on ICTV.

So come on – show us your best, briefest work for Deadly Tales. We dare you to scare us … and join us in helping to protect our rights for freedom of speech and uninhibited artistic expression.

InvestComics’ Deadly Tales: One and Done Anthology

Submissions Open for InvestComics’ “Deadly Tales: One and Done!” Anthology

Publisher promises dire consequences in 100 single-page tales of death and demise, with 100% of profits going to Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
West Palm Beach, Florida
May 31, 2011 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(West Palm Beach, Florida; May 31, 2011) – Comic book and entertainment information website InvestComics has announced plans to publish its first graphic novel anthology with 100% of profits going to Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF). Submissions are now open for the collection, called Deadly Tales: One and Done!, which will feature 100 single-page tales by established and emerging comic book stars.

“Comic creators are amongst the most generous souls on the planet, and they are constantly being asked to contribute free work,” says Jay Katz, President and Founder of InvestComics. “The goal of this anthology is simple: Provide a fun, creative challenge that doesn’t require too much effort but will hopefully yield a powerful collection of work and benefit CBLDF.”

Although the book provides a great opportunity for new indie comic creators to get exposure, it will also include established comic stars covering many genres.

“We’ll be reaching out to established creators whom we’ve featured on our website and our InvestComics TV channel, as well as some of our favorite indie creators,” says Katz. “While we won’t be providing payment for the submissions, we will be offering several exciting fringe benefits … not to mention we will print, publish and promote the book out of our own pockets with 100% of any profits going to CBLDF.

Tate’s Comics in Lauderhill Florida will be providing 10 collectible prizes to 10 lucky contributors to the anthology. Tates Comics has been in business 18 years, and is a force within the comic book community. InvestComics TV will also be interviewing several contributors from the “Dead Tales” anthology.

“Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is all about First Amendment rights” says Katz. “And InvestComics wholly endorses freedom of speech and creative expression – CBLDF is a true cause that we are proud to support.”

InvestComics will also be publicizing the anthology with like-minded comic book websites, including Matt Bergin’s Comics Cure. Katz says InvestComics also plans to run additional contests pertaining to the anthology, including running a cover contest.

“Although the anthology has a ‘death’ theme, in the end we are all about helping the living,” says Katz.

Anyone interested in being a part of “Deadly Tales: One and Done!” can go to the InvestComics website (www.trendingpopculture.com) for full details on the project and rules for submission and guidelines.

About InvestComics

InvestComics™ started as a magazine in 2006; the first issue wasn’t released until June of 2007. The magazine was distributed as a free comic book Investment Guide throughout local comic shops in South Florida. It was also a giveaway on Ebay for any winning bid to receive with their order.

Although the InvestComics™ web site was on line in 2005, it wasn’t until 2007 the web site became the main focal point and the magazine ceased. InvestComics™ wanted to start reaching a broader audience and began to rapidly expand. InvestComics™ became the “Entertainment” Investment Guide as a result of covering many areas in the industry, focusing on entertainment as well as highlighting investment opportunities. Most recently the launch of InvestComics TV (ICTV) has made the site multi-media, attracting some of the biggest names in the industry to appear in a split-screen 10-12 minute interview format.

About Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers. The CBLDF provides legal referrals, representation, advice, assistance, and education in furtherance of these goals. If you wish to support CBLDF, you can visit their website at http://cbldf.org/.

IndieCreator 4-22-11

Matthew MacLean Spins a Tale about the “Dead West” in Forgotten #1

Graphic novelist Matthew MacLean (Cthulhu Tales, Murder at Pine Lake) has just released the first in a four part series about the “Dead West” in Forgotten, a new spaghetti Western from Hades published by Studio 407. Saddling up to do the art is Italiano Indie artist Stefano Cardoselli whose credits include Heavy Metal, 2000 AD and the upcoming one shot “Good Boy” to appear in the Vincent Prices Presents series by Bluewater Productions.

Here’s the premise:

Meet Dakota Smith, a former soldier who wakes up dead from three bullets in his chest in Forgotten, a ghost town in a corner of Hell. Dakota makes a deal with the Devil to be the town’s Sheriff and get all the “rewards” that go with wearing the badge. Unfortunately the job ain’t so easy. Being the Devil’s minion never pays off – it always about “payback.”  This four-part series, which has received stellar reviews follows, the travels and travesties that Sheriff Dakota Smith must encounter and overcome as he tries to conquer the Dead West and his new hellish boss.

 
1. Matthew, welcome! First tell us a little bit about yourself and some of the other published works in your portfolio.

(MM:)  I’m an amateur who’s managed to convince people at a number of places, including BOOM!  and Bluewater Productions, that I have some talent. I’ve even convinced them to pay me from time to time. 

2. How did you come up with the idea for Forgotten, and how did you hook up with the artist?

(MM:) Forgotten 22 was written in the heat of the summer in an old mansion that was so dilapidated that it had been carved up into various apartments that I shared it with a crack house and an abusive, alcoholic couple.The walls were thin enough that what my neighbors did was no secret.So I needed something else to focus on.
Sitting over my computer, sweating in the Tennessee swelter, it seemed only natural that my mind turned to Hell. I was raised Catholic, but had always had my doubts. Overall, the Christian faith seemed like an inherently unfair, even rigged, system. At the heart of the dogma’s contradictions was one of its big stars, Lucifer. Lucifer, or Satan, or He of the Many Names (I went with Red), was portrayed as the source of all evil, the bane of mankind, the scourge of our Lord and Savior. But if God is all knowing and infallible, he knew that Red was going to go bad the moment he laid hand to create him. It doesn’t take a big leap of logic, then, to connect God as the source of all evil. He is, after all, the source of everything. So Red is just God’s whipping boy, a figure he created for humans to demonize while God horded all the love and glory.

 
Whether I believe any of that or not, I’m not going to bother with, but it’s that little thought exercise that led to Forgotten 22.

3. How did you pitch the idea to Studio 407? Did you have a treatment or did you have to show completed pages?

(MM:)  I did it over a lunch with the editor at New York Comiccon. Having a good treatment and completed pages are a must, but the simple truth is that you need to get out to conventions and meet these people, show them you aren’t a loon or a lazy-ass and that you’re real and they should look at your stuff.

 
4. Tell us about some of the reviews you’ve received, and how the book did in its release in the March Diamond Preview catalog (Order # MAR111247).

(MM:) I honestly try not to read the reviews. While the positive ones can make you feel great, the bad ones can tear out your soul. I can’t survive them, so I try to pretend they don’t exist.

5. Where else is issue one available – either online or in stores?

(MM:) It’ll be available in both. You can check out a preview at the Studio 407 site here.

 
6. What is the timetable for releasing issues 2 thru 4? And I presume a full-fledged graphic novel is in the works?

(MM:) All four issues are finished so there’s nothing stopping them from coming out back-to-back. But there will definitely be a graphic novel.
 

7. Your publisher, Studio 407, is pretty aggressive, or should I say successful – about getting properties in their library pitched for film. Are there plans to make this into a film as well?

(MM) I have no idea. If I wanted to be in films, I’d write screenplays. I want to make comic books.

8. Who did the letters for the book?

(MM:) Jaymes Reed did all of the lettering and logo design. The rest is Stefano. He’s the man.

9. Are you planning to be at any upcoming cons or other event to sign copies, meet and greet the fans, and pimp the book?

(MM:) Studio 407 usually has a presence at every major con. If they’ve got a booth there, that’s where you’ll find me.
 

10. What advice do you have for indie creators who’d like to follow you path – i.e., get a book made and into Diamond Previews?

(MM:) Finish the book. Is it a one shot? How about a 10 volume epic? Finish the book. And get advice to make it better along the way. Publishers love, love, love, finished works. Pitches and treatments are great, but if it’s your first time out nothing shows a publisher you’re serious like having the entire f#$king book ready to go.

11. Bonus question: What else are you working on, and please share any websites or social networking sites where we can follow the latest news with Forgotten.

(MM:) You can always find what I’m working on at http://madbastard.hypersites.com

Thanks Matthew. Keep up the Good Fight and best of luck with Forgotten.

 

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske is currently writing/producing a micro-budget horror film called UNREST. Bob wrote The Night Projectionist, a vampire horror series to be published by Studio 407 with film rights optioned by Myriad Pictures. Through his Heske Horror shingle, Bob self-published his critically acclaimed horror series Cold Blooded Chillers. Bob’s trade paperback Bone Chiller (a “best of” CBC anthology) won a Bronze medal in the horror category at the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His “end times” anthology 2012: Final Prayer was also released in late 2009. Email him at info@coldbloodedchillers.com.

IndieCreator 4-16-11

A Nail-Biting Interview with Stricken Writer/Director Matthew Sconce

While he may not be a comic creator, indie filmmaker Matthew Sconce is the epitome of an “Indie Creator”. Besides, I have a soft spot for horror, and this guy delivers with the sharp edge of a butcher’s blade. With a nifty film concept, dogged determination, and a Robert Rodriguez-esque “jack of all trades” skill Matt created an impressive, thrilling indie horror noir film that not only has won buckets of awards at film festivals but has also recently been picked up for distribution on “Video on Demand” by Warner Brothers/Gravitas.

Here’s the premise of Matt’s film as it appears on IMDB:

After her mother’s death and her father’s brutal suicide, 25 year old Sarah Black fears she is losing her grip on reality. She is haunted by nightmares and terrifying visions, and she can’t shake the feeling that something evil is about to find her. When people she cares about start to die, Sarah believes she may be next. Detective Scott Aro has been investigating a string of murders for 10 years, but nothing he has seen can prepare him for what lies ahead. As hope seems lost, the two must face the evil that has been unleashed, and battle to stay alive as they discover that some things won’t stay dead. It waits in the dark.

A multi-award winning Director/Writer/Filmmaker, Matt has produced 7 shorts (including the short film version of Stricken) and is currently producing the feature film Gold Fools, and is slated to be the director of photography on the feature film Sunny and Ray Ray.  He has also filmed trailer footage for the Warner Brothers feature film Red Riding Hood, and has written three Feature screenplays, two slated for Production in 2011. His feature, Magic, is in pre-production, co-producing with Industrial Light & Magic’s Kerner Studios. He was recently nominated for an EMMY for his editing.

But let’s get back to Stricken …

1. Your trailer begins with “With guys, a borrowed camera, no money and a dream … made the movie Stricken”. Who were the other two guys, who did you borrow the camera from and how much did the movie end up costing to reach distribution?

(MATT:) The other two guys were Assistant Director, Troy Ruff, and my Father and Executive Producer, Gary Sconce.  Sometimes we would have one of us pushing the dolly and holding the boom mic, while the other held a lighting fixture and I ran the camera and directed. It got pretty crazy but we knew we had to do our best so the finished product would be able to be distributed.  Our motto was “Never Settle”. I borrowed the camera from the Assistant director and we paid expenses from our pockets as the need arose. We are by NO MEANS wealthy and $50,000 later we had sacrificed quite a bit but had a movie ready to pursue distribution.

2. You took a very smart road in making and distributing this film. You created the short film first (2007) and then did the feature in 2010. Did you know from the outset that “Stricken” would be a feature?

(MATT:) After the short film had received acclaim, I decided to write the feature script and, in 2008, it won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Action On Film Festival. From there, it was a long and frustrating road until we just decided to make the feature ourselves, instead of waiting for funding in a down economy. When I made the short, I never thought I would make a feature from it.  That came later.

3. What did you learn from making the short that you later applied to filming the feature?

(MATT:) I learned that my visual style would lend itself well to feature films. I learned that I needed a more powerful camera and some organizational and editing workflow lessons. I also learned that I wanted to delve deeper and become a better director. I highly value the instruction of Judith Weston and, after reading her book Directing Actors I felt ready to conquer the world. I also made some great connections that helped me when I made the feature film.

4. What was your biggest obstacle – finding the funding or getting distribution? Tell us how you approached each, and why you were so successful.

(MATT:) We had the hardest time with Distribution. In this down market, Distributors were looking for slam dunks and wanted films with Cameron Diaz or other megastars in them. Our movie with name actor David Fine (shown below) in it, and our chilling and deep story, was a risk to them, so they passed us by. I ended up getting Producer’s Reps, “Filmmarketingservices” to represent Stricken.  They heard about Stricken when it went to the Action On Film Festival and eventually won “Best Horror” feature.  They contacted me and, after watching the film, they wanted to represent it.  Four months later, they had landed me the deal with Warner Bros/Gravitas for Video on Demand.  They are currently shopping the DVD rights and all other rights.

5. You’ve done well at festivals and caught the attention of big-time distributors (Warner Brothers/Gravitas). What is it about your film that connects so well with audiences?

(MATT:) Stricken tells the story of a young woman going through hard times in life and a detective struggling with addiction. They both want to matter and to feel loved and I think people can relate to that. I also feel people enjoy the slow building, thinker thriller that leads to a huge ending. It is a throwback to a more Afred Hitchcock-style film and deviates away from common slasher movies. It is ambitious and leaves the audience wanting to stand up and cheer. That is our Company motto at Aftershock Studios: Telling stories that make you want to stand up and cheer.

6. Tell us a bit about the two stars for your film – David Fine and Stephanie French. Stephanie was in the short, but David’s character wasn’t created until the feature. How do these two characters intertwine and what is their back story?

(MATT:) Stephanie French’s character “Sarah Black” has lost her parents to suicide and is trying to maintain as her life seems to be headed toward a similar precipice. She feels haunted by a darkness and sees disturbing visions which eventually become more than that when an elderly woman dies in the retirement home where she works. The subsequent investigation connects her to the character “Detective Scott Aro” played by David Fine. He is a struggling alcoholic who used to be in love with Sarah’s mother “Olivia Black”. She married someone else but Scott always loved her.  For 10 years Scott has believed a serial killer is on the loose. He believes a supernatural culprit is to blame and because of this he has been suspended from the case. After the death of the woman in the retirement home, Detective Aro belives Sarah may be the next victim. Their paths come crashing together as they must fight the darkness before it gets them both.

7. As already noted, both the film and your actors have picked up some impressive accolades recently at film festivals. You cleaned house with an armful of awards at the Action on Film Festivals in LA and Pasadena, plus the Best Director, Best Feature Film, and Best Art Direction at the City of Death International Film Festival in Texas. Are you surprised with your success?

(MATT:)  I believe in myself and my dreams and pursue them with all my strength.  I surround myself with people who feel the same and will give 110% of themselves to the project so I EXPECT success.

8. How did you pick which festivals to submit to, and how did this ultimately affect your ability to pick up a distribution deal from Warner Brothers/Gravitas?

(MATT:) I NEVER miss Action on Film Festival in Pasadena. It is THE best film festival in terms of size, contacts and a supportive staff that I have ever been to. Since Stricken was born there, I decided to submit the feature there as well. Because of this, the Producer’s Reps heard about us and because of that we got our distribution deal. So Action on Film was instrumental in our distribution of Stricken.

9. You were both director and writer on “Stricken”. In low budget indies, the script is God. Can you tell us about the process – how hard was it to adapt the script from short form to feature, who gave you notes, and how many drafts did it take to get to the final shooting script?

(MATT:) When I started writing the feature script, I knew that I wanted to move away from the psycho-slasher feel of the short. I wanted to introduce the supernatural and some mystery and because of that, gravitated to Celtic Mythology. I wrote “Free Form” – in essence, writing without an outline, or even a list of what would happen. I watched the movie happen in my mind and wrote what I would want to see, as it wrapped up into a twist ending and exciting conclusion. Sometimes I write with outlines and other times I write free form. The script rough draft was done in two months and the revisions took about 1-2 months. I believe the final draft was draft 7.

10. What type of camera did you use to film Stricken? And how did you handle the visual effects on a shoestring budget?

(MATT:) We shot on a Panasonic HVX-200 camera with a Brevis 35mm adapter that allowed us to use 35mm still camera lenses on the video camera for shallow Depth of Field. The camera costs about $5,500 dollars and, with the attachments, comes out to about $9,000 dollars. We had planned on having help with the visual effects from someone who works for Industrial Light and Magic so we shot incredibly ambitious vfx shots. When the movie was finished, the person who was going to help us was too busy with the post production work on Avatar and so we were left on our own. I had to learn how to do all the vfx and then accomplish the compositing myself. I used my time and computer system built for the task, and delved into Adobe After Effects, scouring the Internet for tutorials, and working 16-18 hour days for 10 months. In that time, I lost my job due to downsizing and was struggling financially with a family and a little baby girl. The days were long, but I pressed on, finally finishing the film.

11. You are currently producing the feature film “Gold Fools”. I couldn’t find any information in IMDB. What can you tell us about it, and why are you wearing a Producer hat on this film in lieu of directing or writing?

(MATT:) Gold Fools is a feature film that was pitched to me by local filmmaker Travis Cluff (Star of the TV show WipeOut “Super Shorts”). He had written it and wanted to direct, and it was his first feature film. I enjoyed his script and knew that with my equipment and knowledge, his movie could get made so I came on board to produce. It is currently in post-production and is turning out wonderfully.
I am also deeply involved (writing, directing, and producing) my feature film, Magic, which is currently in pre-production and has approached stars such as Ed Harris and Kim Coates and is being co-produced by Kerner Studios (Kerner Optical of Industrial Light & Magic, which is a division Lucasfilm Ltd.). Because of this, I have time to produce as I can still give time to the big features that come next for my company and I.

Here is the storyline for Magic:

A detective (John Michael) loses his daughter in a tragic bus accident. Two years later, an orphan girl of the same age appears claiming to possess supernatural powers. As the world rallies to her call to believe nothing is impossible, John must discover the truth about her, his daughter, and the power of belief itself.
I’m very excited about this project. Magic is a 3D film that will have megastars in it and be shot in 3D for widescale theatrical release. You can find out more about the film here.

12. You bio says that you have written 3 screenplays and 2 are slated for production in 2011. That’s a pretty good percentage. Most of us go “oh-for-ten”. What “magic” (pun intended) formula have you found in creating marketable, distributable films?

(MATT:) Number one thing: Have a story that inspires you when you imagine it and has an ending that will make people stand up and cheer. When you believe in your project, it is very contagious. It will make others be excited as well. I also create posters, websites, teasers, facebook fan pages, etc for my projects as well as pitch them to people at film festivals, building networks that help my stories see the light of day.

13. With your film being picked up for distribution, you are definitely in PR mode right now. What is the process like – for you and your key cast members? Are you exhausted yet?

(MATT:) I am tethered to my iPhone 4 constantly, sending emails, organizing television appearances, newspaper interviews, radio shows, Facebook events and reminders etc. I am a walking PR machine. I am definitely exhausted, but the excitement of my feature finding distribution and making money is still going strong in my veins. David Fine has been helping me market the film and has been an invaluable asset to the process.

14. Here’s a question you’ve probably been asked a thousand times … so I’ll make it 1001: What’s the best advice you’d give to someone who wanted to make an indie film?

(MATT:) Make sure you have a story that MUST be told and blows people away, then build a team around you of extremely talented and hardworking people with high-end equipment and resources that will allow you to accomplish the motto of “Never Settling”. Remember that if you make a great film with a section that is embarrassing or just poor, the entire thing has been for nothing and will most likely be an unsuccessful blip on your life. Succeed by preparing well, executing completely and to the best of your ability, not cutting corners with visuals or sound, and building a vast network of connections that have a vast network of connections and believe in you. Know that you will be working long days and may spend 1-2 years on the making of the project and another 1-2 years marketing and selling it. If you have those resources and are ready to commit the time, and have a great story to tell, GO FOR IT and don’t let anyone stop you. People told us we were crazy, and told us we would fail but we did not. You can succeed. Look at us.

15.  I always thought “The day I make a film the world will end.” Now that I’m working on an indie film, I realize that if I do make it that it will be done in 2012 (the end of the Mayan calendar). Do you have any superstitions about filmmaking?

(MATT:) I am not superstitious about the filmmaking process but I believe their are some certainties. A filmmaker should make his major mistakes when he makes 5-10 short films before he attempts his first feature. I would MUCH rather mess up on a 5-minute film than do irreparable damage to a money making feature. Also, If you cut corners or say “That was good enough…” then your movie will fail and you will waste your time. If you plan well, pay attention to detail and NEVER SETTLE, you will create something marketable that will do well for you. The never settling also comes into play pursuing distribution.  Pound the pavement, make connections at festivals and online. You will hear a ton of “No” but you will someday hear the YES, and you only need one.

16.  If you ever win an Oscar, which would be your biggest fear – making the speech or forgetting to thank someone in it?

(MATT:) I would fear forgetting to thank someone. Speeches come easy for me but I would hate to let down someone who has given so much to help me be where I am. When I reach the top, I want to be able to look around me and see the friends that helped me get there. In the words of my favorite swordsmen. “All for one, and one for all.”

17. Tell us where we can watch Stricken and follow any other of your ventures.

(MATT:) Stricken is available from Warner Bros/Gravitas in its first release for 90 days on:

•    Charter
•    Verizon FiOS
•    AT&T U-Verse
•    Rogers (Canada)
•    Dish VOD (Order Online to send to your television)
•    www.dishnetwork.com/vod/default.aspx
•    Mediacom
•    Suddenlink
•    RCN
•    Eastlink Communications
•    Bresnan
•    Frontier
•    Wave
•    Blue Ridge
•    Atlantic Broadband
•    Bend
•    Access Communication (CCSA,
•    HTC
•    Click
•    Hargray
•    Cincinnati Bell
•    Source Cable (CCSA)
•    NorthwsTel Cable (CCSA)
•    Bluewater (CCSA)
•    Seaside (CCSA)
•    NTELOS
•    James Valley
•    Enhanced Telecom
•    Cable Cable (CCSA).

See more about Stricken here.

Thanks Matt! I admire someone who sets course on their dream and sees it through fruition. We wish you luck and will be looking out for Stricken on VOD and for Magic when it hits the Big Screen.

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske is currently writing/producing a micro-budget horror film called UNREST. Bob wrote The Night Projectionist, a vampire horror series to be published by Studio 407 with film rights optioned by Myriad Pictures Through his Heske Horror shingle, Bob self-published his critically acclaimed horror series Cold Blooded Chillers. Bob’s trade paperback Bone Chiller (a “best of” CBC anthology) won a Bronze medal in the horror category at the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His “end times” anthology 2012: Final Prayer was also released in late 2009. Email him at info@coldbloodedchillers.com.

Bob Heske – Columnist

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IndieCreator

Bob Heske wrote the bi-weekly column, *IndieCreator*, at InvestComics for 3 years. Bob is a screenwriter with IMDB credits and an award-winning indie comic creator. His anthologies BONE CHILLER and 2012: FINAL PRAYER have received strong reviews and are sold in stores and are available on the web. Bob’s original graphic novel, THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST, is being published by Studio 407 and film rights have been optioned by Myriad Pictures (Bob wrote the screenplay!). Bob is currently writing/producing a micro-budget horror film. Visit him at www.coldbloodedchillers.com.

InvestComics Comic Hot Picks 10-6-10

1aaa1aahp106101InvestComics hammers its way through another week of Comic Hot Picks. This week, it’s all about Thor, Kung-Fu, Uncanny X-Force…and oh yes Batman, lots of Batman.

 

 

This week we’re going to look at a few quick picks then get to the main attraction. The main attraction is a legend and he’ll be coming out with a Batman book. More on that in a minute, first some quick picks…

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Brightest Day  from DC comics continues to absolutely burn up the charts. This week we get origin of Aqualad in issue #11. Marvel releases 8 number one issues this week. That’s 8 different number one issues, as in 8 titles. One of which has 8 variant covers. Is it the 90’s again?? Let’s take a look at a few of them. Shadowland: Spider-Man #1 would be the most fun as far as the back issue’s go. This issue will sort of re-introduce us to Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. The solicit from Marvel states that this issue will set a new path for Shang-Chi. So with that, if you want to get your collector paws on Shang-Chi’s first appearance, you’ll have to look for Special Marvel Edition #15 (1973), brought to you by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin. Comics Price Guide.com has this comic listed at the $80 mark. Maybe a bit high for some collectors right now, but karate, and kung-fu comics were a hot item at one time. Will Marvel bring back the coolness again? Two words… Iron Fist.

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Chaos War #1 will be a sellout. This comic will be coming from 2 very talented and awesome creators; Greg Pak, and Fred Van Laente. Deadpool fans have a new Max title. Merc with a mouth in a Max book? Deadpool Max #1, yes this will be fun. As the Thor movie draws nearer, the more Thor we seem to be seeing. Ultimate Thor will be debuting in his own title; Ultimate Comics: Thor #1. This comic will see a second print in a few weeks, which brings us to our 8 variant cover comic. Uncanny X-Force #1 will go total 90’s style and have a cover for each one of you brothers, sisters, and cousins, maybe one for the dog too. 8 covers?? Is this really necessary? So if you want to flip at least one of these comics, look for two of these variants, IF you could get your hands on them. Look to buy the Retailers Premiere Edition, which is the rarest of the 8 variants, and then you have the second most scarce out of the bunch and that’s the Marko Djurdjevic (spell that right??) variant. Get these, CGC them, get the 9.9 grade, and bingo you’re in the money.

Now on to our Main Attraction this week, if you’re a horror fan and you know comics, then you know Bernie Wrightson. Simply put, this is THE horror artist of all comic bookdom. Check out Bernie’s web site right here to learn more about him, and see some of his amazing work. One day the comic world needs to see a Bob Heske/Bernie Wrightson Collaboration, now that would be awesome.

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Speaking of awesome, a “lost” Batman story drawn by Bernie comes out this week. Batman Treasures #1 will not only give us fans the lost story but a reprint of Swamp Thing #7. Funny DC decided to reprint Swamp Thing #7 from 1973 within this comic, because it also happens to be the first time Bernie actually drew Batman in a comic. Think they did that on purpose? The first Batman art from Bernie cost only $60. That is a beautiful comic to own. No doubt about this one. Now it’s important to know that this isn’t the first time that the horror master has touched the Batman character. The very first time Bernie Wrightson’s name appeared with Batman was actually in the self titled comic, Batman #237 (1971). He wrote this comic, and this is truly his first batman work. Issue #237 also happens to be the first appearance of the Reaper…..how fitting. This Gem cost only $120. There you have it, two Bernie Wrightson Batman comics you should really own. Actually, add another 4 comics to this list. If you collected comics back in the 80’s you’ll remember a comic named Batman: The Cult. This amazing 4 issue limited series was so hot back in the 80’s that it would have cost you an easy $50 to buy all four issues. Yes the markets were a bit crazy then, in today’s market each issue will cost about $3.50. The creative team on this series consisted of; art by Bernie, inker Jim Starlin, and writer Bill Wray. It was a great miniseries back then; it belongs in your stash today.

Bernie Wrightson’s first professional works are DC’s House of Mystery #179 (1969) $120, and Chamber of Darkness #7 (1970) $40 for Marvel.  These too need to be in your stash today.

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Watch InvestComics next week for some cool stuff regarding New York Comic Con. InvestComics will be there!

Until then, see you next week, Invest Wisely. 

Jay Katz

 

InvestComics Comic Hot Picks 3-10-10

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An introduction of a new hero in an Ultimate title by Brian Bendis makes for a quick sell out. Also the week that was and more news on InvestComics.

It was another very busy week in the comic book market place, movie discussion in particular. So let’s jump right in! 

nealadmas2.gifSuperman movie news came out and it’s news that many of us have all been sort of waiting for……well not ALL of us, but many of us. More on the movie front with Flash getting a writer for his film. Angelina Jolie killed the Wanted sequel and Mark Millar said different, looking to possibly replace Jolie as he said that the Wanted sequel is NOT dead. Who to believe? Guess we will find out eventually. You could read about some Justice League movie news right here and then shoot over here for some Captain America movie news. Follow the link to IGN for the possible candidates for the Cap role. Dynamic Forces (remember them?!) are putting out a bunch of Kick Ass movie variants for a limited time special of only $10! Check out all the details and buy buy buy, then sell sell sell QUICK if you want to make a quick buck. Finally as the movie news winds down here, check out Mark Millar’s new movie venture right here with a Spider-Man announcement.
In Comic book news (yes there was news on this!) hit last week with a preview of
nealadams1.gifSiege #3 , get linked to preview the issue. Check out a very nice preview (no link to follow here!) of DC’s First Wave right here. The biggest news this week was that Neil Adams is doing a possible Wolverine comic. This guy is as awesome as awesome gets. I’m a huge fan so take a look to your left and right of this section and you’ll see just a smidgen of what this guy brings. The article also mentions that he is still currently working on the Batman book with Frank Miller. Wow cannot wait for this as well!! Peter Parker will join the unemployment line. Check out the details of the firing right here with covers. 5 Teasers for the New Avengers rolled out here, here, here, here and here! Marvel also teased an X-Men spot, check that one out right here. Geoff Johns talks about the new Flash, read more about Thanos Imperative and Gail Simone leaves Wonder Woman, but better things are in store. Check out the cover to Blackest Night #8, also check out a preview of the Free Comic Book Day Cap/Iron Man book. The winners of the first annual Outhousers awards were announced, check out who won right here. MUCH more news on the pages of InvestComics, so check all of the other articles not mentioned here.

The latest articles to hit InvestComics were simply awesome. Bob Heske brings in another great performance with his superb IndieCreator column interviewing Chew’s John Layman. Bob will not stop here; next article will be a biggie too. 10 For The Pros keeps bringing in the hottest names in the Industry as well. Artist Georges Jeanty of Buffy the Vampire Slayer stopped by to answer the 10 questions and then some. Chris Winters of the music review column ChrisToPhenom stopped by to review the newest Gorillaz album. Topher Seal brought a new Brokers Corner article that hones in on some variants. Our friends over at Cosmic Book News introduced us to “The Uniques”. The Uniques is an awesome comic book that needs your attention. Check out the details right here and get the first issue for free!
Speaking of Cosmic Book News, InvestComics™ will now be syndicating IndieCreator over to our new friends. This new team up venture will ensure fans get more of the awesome Bob Heske of Heske Horror and InvestComics will be doing more collaborating with Cosmic Book News in the future. Stay tuned for that…
InvestComics will be attending Orlando’s MegaCon this year, thanks to our friends at Project Fanboy. I’m really looking forward to attending the event as well as being a part of the announcements for the winners of this year’s Project Fanboy awards. I’m looking forward to meeting all of the PFB fans as well as the IC fans. You’ll get a full report in next week’s Hot Picks.
As always the InvestComics™ Forum is still growing! Want to join a community that doesn’t have ridiculous drama? Want to go to a forum and actually give your opinion and not be cursed out or be told you’re a tool? Want to just have FUN and hang with collectors like yourself? Then the ICF is for you! A special thanks to Rob, KK (Collectors Alliance) and our newest mod Ben Akers for making the ICF such a fun place to hang.
Well that’s it for NOW. Look for more InvestComics™ news coming your way soon….
 

Hot picks 3-10-10 

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batmanrobin10.gifwolverine159.gifwolverinemisterx.gifA very cold winter here in Florida and a breezy week as far as Hot Picks go, but we forge ahead and find “some stuff” in this week’s cold front . As previously mentioned just a little while ago on InvestComics™ the week that was Peter Parker will be getting fired in Amazing Spider-Man #’s623/624. Look for this comic to garner a little bit of attention. Marvel knows how to tell a story and have it relate to the times we are currently living in. DC’s new Batman & Robin #10 has a blurb on the cover that says “The Return of Bruce Wayne Begins Here!” That with the sick Frank Quitely cover has enough to grab my attention! Wolverine: Mr. X will be a fun knock em’ down drag them out type fight comic. If you want to find Mr. X’s first appearance look for Wolverine #159 in the $1 bin at your LCS. ultimatecomicsspm8.gifUltimate Comics Spider-Man #8 will be introducing a NEW hero into the Ultimate universe. Let’s see…New hero (check), Spider-Man comic (check), Brian Bendis attached to this book (check), Sold out on Thursday (check), Hot Pick of the week status (check).  

 

 

 

Here are some more Hot Picks coming out this Wednesday…… 

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See you all next week. Invest wisely.

Jay Katz

 

 

Bob Heske Interview on Comics Bulletin

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 Bob Heske gives us the latest in this Interview by Alex Rodrik on Comics Bulletin!

 

Robert M. Heske: Slicing Through the Chills Behind the End Times


By Alex Rodrik (www.comicsbulletin.com)
 

bhcb1.gifRobert M. Heske is the man behind “killer” anthologies like Bone Chiller, Cold Blooded Chillers, 2012: Final Prayer, and the original graphic novel The Night Projectionist. Along with this work in the creative field of comics, Bob also writes a regular column on Investcomics.com entitled IndieCreator, where he chats with industry professionals about the art that is comics. Recently, I got the chance to catch up with Bob and pick his brain about his work, the horror genre, and what it’s like being an Indy comic book Publisher and writer.
Enjoy!

Alex Rodrik: Tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Robert Heske?

Robert Heske: A late bloomer in the comics world. The longer description? I’m a married forty-something, with two kids and two dogs (technically 1 and ½ since the 2nd pooch is an 11-pound cockerpoo), who is a financial writer by day and a screen writer/comic creator on lunch breaks and late at night.

I’ve been writing screenplays for over a decade and, up until recently, my biggest accomplishments were winning a few screenwriting contests and having some shorts produced that won awards at film festivals (most notably, Waiting starring Richard Schiff which can be seen at this link ).

In more recent developments, in May ’09 I won an award for my Bone Chiller indie anthology collection and have a vampire OGN called The Night Projectionist that is being published by Studio 407 (Hybrid, Night & Fog, Smuggling Spirits) with film rights optioned by Myriad Pictures (10 Items or Less, The Good Girl, Jeepers Creepers 2, Kinsey, Van Wilder 1, 2 & 3). And oh yeah – I have a dark comedy called Love Stupid that hopefully (fingers crossed) will secure financing soon and I write a bi-weekly column called IndieCreator for InvestComics.com .


But enough about me …

AR: What brought about the move from screenplays to comics?

RH: I was doing a polish on an animated script (that never got made) and pitched my vampire idea. The gent I pitched it to was Alex Leung, the Managing Director of Studio 407 who helped bring The Ring series to the US and was an associate producer on the 2004 Jackie Chan film, Around the World in 80 Days.

I sent Alex Leung a detailed treatment. He loved it . . . but as a COMIC BOOK. Nearly three years later the graphic novel has been written, inked and colored. It will release later this year in comic book stores pretty much everywhere. Alex’s company, Studio 407 , shared space with Myriad in LA while the book was being developed. The Myriad people saw some galleys, their interest was piqued, and the film was optioned in December 2008 (announced in Variety on 01/01/09).

bhcb2.gif AR: With titles like The Night Projectionist and Cold Blooded Chillers under your belt, what is it about Horror that draws you to it so much?

RH: I don’t know, man. Ever since I got married, my wife thinks I’ve become a much darker writer. I used to write screwball comedies and animation. But, especially with Cold Blooded Chillers, there is something about horror shorts that really amps my creative juices. Thriller novelist and short-story writer Jeffrey Deaver once wrote that “Short stories are like a sniper’s bullet. Fast and shocking.” With horror shorts, it’s totally true – except I’d add “fast, shocking, and fatal.”

As for The Night Projectionist, the idea of an audience held captive in a theater where the night projectionist turns out to be a vampire and the coven he fled is coming to town – well, that set up a cat-and-mouse game that really appealed to me as a writer. The big questions surrounding the story are: Is the night projectionist friend or foe to the human audience he holds captive? Why did he abandon his coven? And why did he seek refuge in the town of Crosston Falls, inside this theater? In fact, I’d characterize The Night Projectionist as a mystery wrapped in horror – not just another vampire tale.


AR: Tell us a bit about 2012: Final Prayer.

RH: Well, you pretty much covered it A to Z in your Working Title column in January (thanks for that, by the way — it was a great column!).


AR: [Laughs] Thanks man! It was my pleasure.


RH: Anyone who hasn’t heard of the 2012 phenomena has been pretty much under a rock – it’s in movie theaters, in books all over Amazon, and has over 27.3 million hits on the Internet when you Google “2012 end of world”.

For the layperson, it relates to the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar which stops on 12/21/2012 at 11:11 GST. The calendar cycle is 5,126 years and began in 3114 BC.

What happens when it runs its course on 12/21/12?

bhcb3.gifSome people think Armageddon. Others think it will usher in a transformative event – such as a coded gene in all of humanity triggering and awakening us all to a singular consciousness. Others think it will merely be a re-setting of the clock – in other words, it will be just like us re-setting the calendar on New Year’s every January 1st.

What makes it eerie and intriguing is that some strange things are brewing in the cosmos which could impact the sun and our planet. For instance, on 12/21/12 the sun will be aligned with the Milky Way for the first time in 26,000 years. The alignment of energy between the sun and the stars (the sun will be allegedly blocking the black hole in the center of the Milky Way) will be disrupted at 11:11 GST.


Also, 2012 is supposed to be a year of peak solar activity (i.e., mucho sunspots blotching the sun’s surface) which could wreak havoc by triggering a solar flare that shuts down the national grid; not just for hours or days, but for months or years! If that happens, we go back to being an uncivilized world pretty fast.


It’s not just the Mayans that pinpoint 12/21/12 as “el final” (although many will say the Mayans don’t believe this at all, it is just Western hype), the date is also chosen as an end date by the Hopi Indians, the Hindus, the Chinese I-Ching (“Book of Changes”) and even at least one interpretation of the Bible. People focus on the Mayans probably because they were such amazing star gazers with an incredible system for mapping and tracking the cosmos. They were literally centuries ahead of their time.


Speaking of numbers, fans of numerology will enjoy this tidbit – the date 12-21-12 reads as, A-B-B-A-A-B (each number has a corresponding letter – 1=A, 2=B). When you consider that the Hebrew language is read from right to left, this date would read BA ABBA which, translated from Hebrew, means “Father comes / is coming.”

(For an entertaining podcast on the subject, go to Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast at “2012: Final Prayer Roundtable” to listen to a one-hour panel discussion with myself and best-selling 2012 authors Marie D. Jones and Marshall Masters.)

Sure, no one knows what WILL happen until the proverbial Fat Lady Sings. But there are so many wild “could be” scenarios floating out there, that I thought I’d throw the premise out to comic creators to see what they could cook up.


Hence, 2012: Final Prayer.


AR: What brought about you choosing 2012 as the theme to your newest anthology?

RH: I began work on the 2012 end times anthology last May when I was at Borders looking for a book to read. My indie anthology (Bone Chiller) had just won a Bronze medal at the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards for Outstanding Horror, and I was trying to figure out what I’d tackle next. For some odd reason, I ended up in the “Divinity” section and saw a whole bunch of 2012 books. I’d listened to a few podcasts on the subject and started skimming back covers, thumbing through books.

bhcb4.gifI ended up buying Apocalypse 2012: An Investigation into Civilization’s End by Lawrence Joseph. It was a compelling read with a credible journalistic vantage. I realized the 2012 phenomena would make a great anthology, but knew I couldn’t write a whole end times anthology by myself (I wrote all of the stories in the Bone Chiller anthology, and hired different artists for each tale).


So . . . I opened up a contest on my website and contacted a few indie creators whose work I admired. I got some great submissions and, well, the rest in history.

Until 12/21/2012 at 11:11 GST, that is . . .

AR: What’s next for Heske Horror?

RH: Recently, I’ve been focusing on screenplays. I’ve done a few re-writes of a contest-winning dark comedy called Love Stupid (co-written with Kevin Passarelli) and have hooked up with a director, producer and a production company. They’re trying to finalize the $1.1M budget now so fingers crossed that it happens and we start shooting this Spring.


I also finished a screenplay version of The Night Projectionist which is out to gather financing as well ($6-$10M projected budget). I am cautiously optimistic about both projects since 8 out of 10 film options never get made.


And I am working up a pitch with a talented artist and letterist to send out to the smaller indie publishers in a month or so for a new graphic novel series. It’s a cool comic, and has a great marketing angle so we hope it catches on.


Finally, I am working on a project that I can’t divulge any details on BUT hope to have published by year’s-end. Oh yeah, and I may be collaborating real soon with a director on a micro-budget horror feature or two. So I’ve been pretty busy.


AR: Who are some of your biggest influences? What about their work inspired you to pursue writing?


RH: It is so embarrassing to say that I am late to comics and have only recently been inspired. Still, there is so much terrific talent out there from legends like Stan Lee and Bernie Wrightson to modern era wizards like Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith. More recently, I like Chew written by John Layman and drawn by Rob Guillory. Like the old Guinness beer campaign says — It’s BRILLIANT!

AR: How do you define a good horror comic? Film?

bhcb5.gifRH: Fresh. Unsettling. Surprising. Those three words apply to both comics and film. Too many comics and films are “been there, seen that.” People who take a premise and turn it at an angle people have never seen before are, frankly, visionaries. It’s like looking into a prism and finding a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end. A classic example is M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense. Since the film broke new cinematic ground in 1999, how many people have copied that “he was really dead all along” twist at the end?

Oh, and you need an uber-talented artist. Diego Yapura drew The Night Projectionist and when the book comes out later this year I think that many people will agree he draws a “beautiful vampire book.” For those who want a sneak peek, check out Night Projectionist Noir on Studio 407’s website by clicking here — (the color artwork holds up magnificently in black and white).


AR: Of all the comics you’ve written, which one is the most personal and revealing? Why?


RH: None are too revealing about me. Although I wrote a short called Dead Dog which was drawn by Zeu (Infiniteens,Charlatan, Project Elohim) that quasi-mirrored my life.


One day I was writing at my computer when the doorbell rang and a man with a toy cocker spaniel told me, “Did you know there’s a dead dog in your driveway?” At the time, I had two dogs so my first reaction was to ask “What color?” It turned out the dog wasn’t mine, but an abused pit bull that had been dumped into my driveway. Mind you, this was 1:00 pm in the afternoon and no one had told me until then (it was a weekend and I hadn’t gone out to do errands yet). The police told me that since it was on my property, I had to get rid of the body myself (the Dog Warden was away until Monday). I was a bit surprised that they weren’t even interested in inspecting when I told them it looked like it was a fight dog that had been dumped (this wasn’t too long after the Michael Vick dog abuse incident).

Anyway, the first 2-3 pages are based on my firsthand experience but the story quickly takes a dark turn that has nothing to do with my actual life. You can read a few pages on MyEbook for free here . (Note: To read the ending, you have to buy the e-book!)


One other story that is a bit personal is Demented which appears in 2012: Final Prayer. It takes place at a nursing home with a son visiting his mother with Alzheimers. My mother has severe dementia; although she is not in a nursing home yet (my 81-year old dad takes care of her). My mom was at my house and went to use the bathroom. Inevitably, she locked herself in. I was yelling at her through the door not to break the lock. When I jimmied the door open she looked at me with an angry and then confused face and asked, “Who are you?”. WHOA!! It hit me that from one minute to the next she may not know who I was. After this unsettling incident I sat down and wrote Demented and was fortunate enough to have Irish artist Stephen Downey draw it for me (he did the artwork for Cancertown by Insomnia Publications).


AR: Any update on the Night Projectionist film?


RH: No, just that the script is still being tweaked and we hope to have funding locked up this year and to go to production in late 2010/2011. As always, screenwriters’ hearts get broken a million times, but I am extremely hopeful this project will get made.

bhcb6.gifAR: What titles do you have coming in 2010 that our readers should look out for?

RH: Aside from The Night Projectionist, I will probably publish another anthology and begin work on it in the summer. That is, if my wife lets me and I have enough cash infusion from any screenplay sales. I have an idea of what the theme will be for the anthology, but can’t announce it yet. I will likely go the same route as 2012: Final Prayer, and seek submissions from talented writer/artist teams rather than write all the stories myself.

AR: Where can readers go and buy their copy of your works?


RH: Amazon , Zaldiva.com , Haven Distributors , HeavyInk.com , Last Gasp Publishing . . . and I hope to be added to a few other distributors in the next month or so since I just got approved by major distributor Baker & Taylor. Digital downloads are available at DriveThruComics , MyEbook (store) and Yudu.com/store.


Zaldiva has the most copies of 2012: Final Prayer and Bone Chiller, so I’d try them first.


Also, the Cold Blooded Chillers comic books are available at IndyPlanet , ComicsMonkey , and Comixpress .

I greatly appreciate anyone who takes the time to buy a book and support indie comics – this is a tough gig to survive!


AR: And last, but certainly not least, rumor on the street is that your next anthology will feature the writing styles of the Alex Rodrik. From what I hear he’s pretty damn awesome! Care to comment? [Laughs] . . . sorry, man. I had to, I just couldn’t resist . . . [Laughs]

RH: Dude, you hook up with an artist and you are IN!!


AR: Awesome — I’m looking forward to it! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Bob. Keep us posted on what’s coming.


RH: Thanks for the interview, Alex.
 

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This article comes from the pages of Comics Bulletin, visit them now at: 

www.comicsbulletin.com 

Also, Bob Heske NOW appearing at the InvestComics Forum! Click here to be directed to his threads.

 

InvestComics Comic Hot Picks 2-10-10

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 Superman #419 from 1972 leads the way this week on Hot Picks. Find out why with a click of the mouse. 

action_comics419.gifNow the Hot Picks 2-10-10

humantarget1.gifAn extremely small week as far as Hot Picks go, but a nice pick up in this week’s hunt if you feel up to it! Human Target #1 comes out this week with a possible hit television show behind it. Check out Action Comics #419 from 1972 for his first appearance. This comic is a very affordable $20 right now and will show moderate gains IF the television series starts taking off. A 1972 first appearance of a character in a Superman comic that NOW has a television series for only $20 is a steal. No longer flying under the radar is this book! And look at that cover too! A Neal Adams beauty with what looks like a New York City photo backdrop. This has to go down as one of the top 5 best Superman covers ever.
Sticking with the “Super” theme, Black Lantern Superboy will be
adventurecomics7.gifchoker1.gifstaring in the TOP SECRET Adventure Comics #7 this week. Look for this “undisclosed” comic to sell out quickly. Black Lantern pounds and pounds on!
Image Comics comes at comic book fans with 2 number one issues this week. InvestComics’ fan favorite Tim Seeley (Check out the IndieCreator Article ) has his web comic Colt Noble and the Megalords collected with new material. Also, look out for Tim Seeley’s new spot on InvestComics’ 10 For The Pros coming out soon! Ben
coltnobleandthemegalords.gifTemplesmith and Ben McCool’s newest creation Choker #1 from Image will be one to check out this week too.
Well that’s it for this week! Told you, short wee, but a perfect time to look through some back issue bins to find those treasures!

See you all next week, Invest Wisely.

 Jay Katz