Monday, February 22, 2010

Feeding Ground Origin Story

SWIFTY here:

Firstly, welcome all to the world of Blacklight. I wanted to let you in on our history and how collaboration on Feeding Ground has lead to the best work possible.

Our Origin Story: In the summer of 2007, a friend of mine, Thomas Peyton, an incredible documentary filmmaker recently completed a film on the harrowing journey of a man crossing the border from Mexico into Arizona. His story was riveting and I could not shake it. We also had a conversation on the least represented monster during the Oughts Horror Renaissance. We agreed on the werewolf. He had a great idea for a werewolf story at the time, and again, his words were indelible. The origin of this story is without a doubt based on our conversations.

My background is in film and and my first thought is that this story could be represented best through this medium. I presented this story originally to my friend Chris Mangun and he wanted to help me get this off the ground. For me, telling the story to friends and parsing their reactions is paramount to whether or not an idea is worth pursuing. If you can't hold a friend's attention you will never be able to interest an audience.

As Chris and I began the script writing process, it became clear to me that the mythology of the story would not be best represented through film. There was a certain aesthetic I knew that I simply could not communicate. For me, the Mexican Day of the Dead color palette was essential in rooting this story in a very particular landscape and imbuing it with the sense of horror it needed.

Also, the EC Horror Comics aesthetic I believed could best be expressed through print (although films such as Creepshow, a huge influence, were able to do this successfully). Luckily, Michael Lapinski and I had been friends for a decade.

Michael has been my mentor in the world of comics as I did not become an avid reader until my mid-twenties. I am still constantly exposed to new, great work, and awed at the ability of this medium to create such emotional and visceral moments with such visual economy. I am always open to suggestions for reading so please send them my way.

A couple of years back I had given Michael Posada's book on Mexican Folk art for his birthday. I was floored by the seeming simplicity of the design, the content (fascination with the dead), and the color palette itself. Little did I know how significant the connection would be.

On forming Blacklight: I recognized immediately that what was needed in order to bring this to life was a partnership of all of our talents. Chris and I had talked shop on writing for years (he and I both write ficiton) so our working together was a logical equation. Whether Mike was as taken by the story as we were was the question.

I think what we all recognized was the importance of this story and furthermore, how universal the crossing narrative is. Leaving one's homeland for a new world of opportunity is a universal story as much as anything. I also personally was teaching ESL at the time and was reminded essentially, everyone's family has sacrificed to come to this country. That simple truth is obscured by a lot of xenophobia these days, but that is another discussion entirely.

Each of us brought a unique set of skills and perspectives to this project. So, much like the robot at the top, I knew it was time to 'Voltron'; form something greater with the sum of the parts.

No comments:

Post a Comment