Your upcoming movie Cold Dark Mirror - in a few words, what
is it about?
Cold Dark Mirror
is a film about a young Witch-Hunter Lydia, and her
cat Familiar Callista, who must avenge the death of their mentor at the hands
of a secret group who are loyal to the malevolent Timeshadow, and prevent
him from crossing over into their world.
At least from reading the synopsis, Cold Dark Mirror
seems to be a sort of dark fairy tale - so who's the
target audience here, and how far are you going in terms of creepiness,
gruesomeness and the like?
I'm aiming to present the film
as a unique take on the whole mythology of
'witches, cats, magic'. Although the film will have elements rooted
horror films, it will have a more positive slant, I'm shying away
any truly gruesome or gratuitously violent imagery, I feel there's
other films like that out there. It'll be family friendly without
overly sugary like you might get with big studio films.
What were your sources of
inspiration when writing Cold Dark Mirror?
I get a
lot of inspiration from dreams, there are a lot of scenes in this
film which come almost directly from dreams that I've had from time to
I've found that to be the most fertile ground to grow ideas out of, as
dreams are an unconstrained form of creativity. I've had the idea
this film brewing on the back burner for a while. I sat down and
wrote the first draft out by hand, which was good to step away from the
computer for a bit and just have pencil and paper in front of me - no
distractions - I'll probably do that from now on when I'm writing my
don't you talk about your main characters for a bit, and do you see
yourself (at whatever age) in any of them?
character is Lydia, a young Witch Hunter. Together with her cat Familiar Callista,
she travels between the worlds tracking lost spirits
and returning them to their proper worlds. The witch hunters act as
guradians in a sense, under the watchful guidance of their mentors, guided
by the Alchemic Council. There are those on the Council who are
with a dark force, however. Lydia's mentor Acheron is suspicious of
and is tracking a group of Maegis in cahoots with The Timeshadow; this is
where the conflict of the film originates.
There's always a bit of the writer in each character; there isn't any one
specific character I would identify with personally in the film, more that
the entire film is a representation of my creativity... which is good I
suppose, considering I created it... I've tried to create a more
range of characters this time, in terms of personalities. The voice
actors did a really good job of bringing their performance to the
characters, which will make the characters really jump off the page and
out of the screen. Character and story are the two most important
overlooked fundamental aspects of filmmaking.
Cold Dark Mirror
is quite a deviation from the science fiction films you are
known for - how come?
I wanted to create a film that stood
separate from my previous work, I've
done a lot of sci fi in the Rocketmen vs Robots films, Archon
Defender, Tales from the Afternow. Origin: A Call to
Minds was a
of a departure from sci fi, in that the sci fi elements took a backseat to
the story and character arcs, but it was still set in the same mythology
of Archon Defender. I wanted something that could stand on
its own, and I've
always been a fan of fantasy and horror genres, there are definitely
influences from'Savage Sword of Conan and H.P. Lovecraft, in this film.
What can you tell us about the
look and feel of Cold Dark Mirror, and will it vastly differ from
your earlier work?
The main difference in this production
is that I've moved my entire
workflow to the free and open source program Blender, I've spent some time
refining my workflow to get a visual style consistent with my previous
films, there's slight differences but I've settled on a look which will
fit the film. The biggest hurdle was learning how to use Blender,
from 3D Studio Max, but once you jump in and actually learn and use it, a
lot of the workflow is actually faster and easier. Plus there's a
more supportive user community and developers, I've actually talked
some of the developers giving them my ideas to improve the physics
simulation in blender.
Between your last film Origin:
A Call to Minds and Cold Dark Mirror, where do you see the
progress in terms of animation, technology and the like?
is definitely getting faster, I'm going to have to get a new
computer (or two) before I jump into full production, a quad core i7
computer is roughly 8 times faster than the core 2 duo I'm working on
right now. The software is there, Blender is free and open
it can do everything you need for production of a film, modeling,
animation, compositing, editing, sound sync. Blender is constantly
updated and new features added, in fact during the time I started writing
the script for Cold Dark Mirror, they added a physics/ragdoll simulation system,
so I actually went back and added scenes to take advantage of this feature
in some of the action sequences, features which were added while I was in
the middle of writing the script.
The only thing Blender doesn't do yet is full on music editing, in which
case there's a good digital audio workstation called Reaper which has a
commerical license, but it's ridiculously cheap, like $80 or so,
especially for how powerful it is.
what stage of production is Cold Dark Mirror
at the moment, and any
idea yet when the film might be released?
At the moment I'm
syncing the voice actor recordings with the storyboards
to cut a first draft animatic and get shot timings, as well as building
all the sets, characters, props, and effects that I'll need to make the
film. Once that's done I'll have a good idea on the final length of
film and whether I need to go back and make any script revisions or
additions. Once I jump into actual production, it's pretty much just
matter of replacing the test renders and storyboards with the actual
A Call to Minds took me two years from script to finished film, I'm still
'sitting' on that one for an actual proper release, Archon
Defender is set
October DVD and VOD release through Ytinifni Films, that's a new updated
and polished and extended version of Archon
Defender with a fully remastered voice
actor mix. Realisticly, Cold Dark Mirror
should be finished October 2014-ish
- hopefully sooner, depends on how 'particular' I get on the animation.
projects beyond Cold Dark Mirror?
The next film will
be a musical mech space battle film, set as the third
and final film in the Archon Defender series, I'm kind of
on this one (by making Cold Dark Mirror), seeing as I still have no idea how I'm
going to pull it off.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
(and lazily) update my production blog at
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
a computer, download Blender, make your own film.
for the interview!