Genre: Sci Fi Horror
Interview with Freematik, creator/founder of Dark Moon Comic
1. What inspired you to write Dark Moon?
When I started Dark Moon I was not a writer at all, I was a musician mainly and in some ways a visual artist, and had begun making my own music videos, which were very abstract. I liked the “feel” I was getting, but without an actual story, there was something missing as far as making something that fans would enjoy.
That’s when I realized that I needed to tell stories along with my combination of music and art, and from there I naturally went right for sci-fi/ horror, which I am both a huge fan of, and it’s also where a lot of my music naturally gravitates to.
The specific idea for Dark Moon then came as I had been reading a lot on quantum mechanics and the various interpretations of this view of the universe, especially the concept of entanglement across large distances enthralled me. Eventually a story grew in my head about the idea of some people using quantum teleportation, and this became the Dark Moon series!
2. How long did it take to write and complete each scene?
The average production time is about 4 months. I think that’s partly because it’s just three people making the comic, plus it’s a motion comic so more is involved than a normal comic. I originally worried that fans would lose interest if they had to wait so long, but I’m really happy to say fans have been very patient and have stayed interested and enthusiastic about our series. I think they sense this is a labor of love, completely independent from the “industry”, so the normal rules of the industry like regular installments are somewhat forgiven.
3. How many issues do you plan to make Dark Moon?
The idea is to have an eight episode story arc, which matches the eight phases of the moon. That is sort of the working plan, but as this is our first motion comic (and my first comic) ever, we are still sort of feeling out how much we can fit in one episode, and how far we want the end to go. Plus, there are some other possibilities, like we might complete a full movie of the whole story, if we can find funding, then return to finishing the story in comic form, or even finding a publisher for a print version of the whole series.
4. What do you use to make the art for Dark Moon?
I hired an artist to do all of the art for the series, I found him on DeviantArt, and his name is Benedick Bana. He actually lives thousands of miles away, in the Philippines, but we are able to communicate over email quite well, and at this point I have known him for years and consider him a friend. It’s amazing how small of a world we live in now, I would probably never have been able to do this 30 years ago.
5. Dark Moon recently dropped a preview for the forth coming trailer for the movie. Can you tell us what is the latest with the movie plans?
Yeah, the movie plan came about as I was trying to find a way to finish the Dark Moon story. I have been self funding the whole series so far, and each episode is fairly expensive, since I pay the artist and letterer for their work, in addition to other expenses. I didn’t think I’d be able to afford another episode, and didn’t want to have to raise separate money for each of the next episodes. Plus the time spent making each episode has been very demanding for me personally, as I do the story, music, sound FX, motion comic implementation, plus all of the marketing. I have put so many hours into Dark Moon in the last 3 years, it is crazy.
So it made sense financially and logistically to finish the project all at once, which is crazy in it’s own way, but I think it’s a better choice for a number of reasons. At the same time, I was also thinking of what format Dark Moon would be best as, because while the Madefire motion book format has been very cool and worked well for us, it has been hard to be only on such a “cutting edge” medium, since a lot of potential fans are not familiar with motion comics in general. While it has been very cool to have introduced a good number of comic fans to the motion comic format in the last few years, an animated movie format could potentially reach a much greater audience.
Also, the movie production process would give us all the material we need to do the motion comic and even a traditional comic version, so the idea is that if the movie is successful, it would give us the momentum and content needed to finish the comic in these formats as well.
6. Will you be developing a Kickstarter to help fund the film?
Kickstarter is definitely the backup plan if we can’t convince a private entity to invest in our movie pitch. I think the ideal situation is to find a group that has related production experience to work with, but we are also prepared to do the complete movie in-house using kickstarter to fund the project. Either way, I think the final product will be awesome!
7. When you told me that Tony Todd was on with you guys to be the main voice in the movie I went into a nerd spasm. Personally I think he is one of the most under rated actors on the planet. He's played many iconic roles such as Candyman and many more. I love his work as the voice of Zoom in the Flash TV series. How did you come into contact with Tony Todd and get him as the main voice for the Dark Moon movie?
Tony Todd is a really cool guy! I’ve only met him once in person, for the recording of his dialog for the movie trailer, but was immediately very happy I reached out to him, since he really seems like a genuine person, and also he really seemed interested in our little project and took it as seriously as anything “major” he is working on. I met him through Twitter! Twitter and social media in general is just amazing, we are living in an age where you can connect with anyone you can imagine if you care enough about it!
8. The music featured in Dark Moon adds so much to the atmosphere and mystery. I was constantly asking questions and wondering what is out there. Was it a key factor for you as a writer, to include that suspense to draw your readers in?
Yes definitely, in fact in general the whole series is designed to invoke certain moods with a combination of art, music, and some unique story elements. I learned from Stephen King’s book on writing, that you need to have a balance between atmosphere and action, because too much atmosphere without anything interesting happening results in a boring and pretentious work. So I think there is a nice balance. One of the cool things about motion comics, is that if you are really enjoying a particular atmosphere, you can “linger” on it for a while, in fact, especially with episode #1, if you linger you will find the music continues to change and you end up hearing things most people wouldn’t if they just read the comic straight through. This also adds to re-readability, which was important to me as well.
9. Which issue of Dark Moon is your favorite?
This is a very difficult question because my favorite seems to change over time. After finishing episode #3, I thought for sure that would be my favorite, because it’s the one where I finally show the human side of Dante and the others, and as someone completely new to writing comics, I think I actually did a good job at this.
But then just recently, I re-watched the series, and I remember thinking that episode #2 is possibly my favorite. This is partly because it was the first episode I did with confidence, as the first one I was very worried that “real comic fans” would not take us seriously, since I had no background in comics. After people really loved #1, I went in with a more serious mindset while writing and producing #2, and I think it shows as far as story content and other details.
I have long had a love/hate relationship with #1, which had some of the best parts, but I had made some amateur mistakes, plus we didn’t have a professional letterer for #1, so it never looked as good as the others. Recently we just went back and updated #1 with pro lettering, and also I fixed most of my mistakes, so now I finally can watch #1 without cringing, and think it now might be favorite!
10. What is your favorite musical score from Dark Moon?
It is close between #1 and #3, but I think #1 is my favorite. There are moments in all the comics where the music and art come together perfectly, but the special thing about #1 to me, is that I used longer audio samples, so if you stay on a page, the music continues to change. I really love this about #1, because I love the idea of “hidden” aspects to the story.
11. I note many influences on Dark Moon and the artwork. Would it be accurate to guess that Aliens, Prometheus, Starshiptroopers, and Predator are all sources of inspiration?
Yes, definitely all of those movies are huge influences! I am a huge fan of sci-fi / horror in general, and generally as an artist I am not afraid of directly using influences, as long as the final product is unique.
I have some other specific examples of influences: Ghosts of Mars, Event Horizon, The Thing, Alien vs. Predator, and many others.
There are also completely unique elements in each story, for example the alien reproduction sequence was loosely inspired by a weird dream, and much of the content in Dark Moon #3 was inspired by codeine hallucinations while I had a nasty fever!
12. There is a notable hip hop element combined with electronic music for the soundtrack with Dark Moon. I feel the level of atmosphere and mystery was strengthened by the current soundtrack. Are there any plans to utilise other genres of music both for future issues and the Dark Moon movie?
Yeah, definitely. To me, the “soul” of Dark Moon the combination of music and images in this dark, creepy environment. I would love to experiment with other artists & genres for both future episodes, but also even for a remix of existing content.
The hard part is to keep the same feel that has been created in the first three episodes. For example, while I grew up playing punk, love punk, but it would be hard to fit that style in without changing the feel. This is why I mentioned the “remixing” of existing content. For example, I think a fully hardcore metal version of Dark Moon #1 would be awesome, but it would be a separate entity from the original. As a fan of my own series, I would like to see “offshoots” like that happen, as long as the commitment to quality is maintained.
13. If one day you could do a live show for Dark Moon telling the story on stage, would that be the next evolution after a possible movie? Or has Dark Moon any plans to tour with some of the artists featured on the soundtrack? Dark Moon themed hip hop live shows? It would be a cool way to promote the comic and soundtrack.
Yeah, I would LOVE to do that. I used to be in a touring band as a kid (about 20 years ago) and had so much fun. I’ve always wanted to do it again, but kind of gave up on the band scene. It would actually be pretty easy to pull off, as there is a ton of musical and visual content to choose from. My general idea is a live act that could play anywhere from bars to chill rooms, to main stages, and would have a combination of electronic and hip hop, with an original visual performance based on the imagery from our comic series.
After three years of building the foundation for this comic, I am sort of betting on the movie as being the catalyst to really take Dark Moon to the next level. I am keeping an open mind to opportunities, and so it will be interesting to see where it all ends up!
14. Any plans to base other stories set on Dark Moon?
It’s definitely possible, I think much more could happen, but also personally I have some other separate stories I would love to develop, so I’m happy to leave Dark Moon at some point. It sort of depends on what fans want to see!
15. What other comics would you like to develop?
Well the only other comic series I have been considering has a much different vibe. It would be a comedy/horror series about some goofballs getting into trouble in space, along with aliens/demons/ghosts etc.
I have a variety of other projects I would like to do, but most of them are more likely to be short films or stories.
16. What does horror mean too you, and the best example of it in film/comics? Personally I think an evening with American Idol auditions would be horror. Have you ever experienced anything similar?
Yeah, that example reminds me of a quote, which I couldn’t find the exact version, but it basically says there is a fine line between banality and terror. I have fairly strong opinions about the good qualities of horror, only because I’ve been exposed to the opposite perspective, which is that what I love and what I spend time working on is not valuable and is actually bad for society.
I think the viewpoint that the public’s interest in horror is somehow a defect, is an extremely immature position. When dealing with any sort of art, the viewer must understand to not take everything at face value, because everything in art is symbolic. While no doubt there are movies, both horror and other genres, with little or no substance, there are plenty of examples of horror movies with powerful and useful content, such as the Exorcist, the Shining, and so many others. The conscious mind does not have to be aware of the content, in fact it is usually better if the conscious mind isn’t aware, but it is there. I believe that art is art, regardless of genre. When someone dreams, they have dreams and nightmares, the dreams aren’t “good”, and the nightmares aren’t “bad”, they are both experiences to learn from.
I think part of the interest in horror is that death in general is very taboo in our society. We try to hide ourselves from any signs of death or suffering for the most part. The absence is noted by our subconscious, and so the need for a substitute in the form of horror or some other “darkness” emerges. But my main interest in horror in general, is the powerful visceral feeling it can produce, being scared can be an awesome thing!
Thx for your time Freematik and is there anything you would like to add or shout out? Gaz, Ancient Visionz.
Thank you for taking the time to come up with some good questions! I’d just like to thank all of the fans of the series, who support us on social media or by buying some of our merchandise, it has been really amazing to see people not only enjoy the story, but sharing it with friends and family. If it wasn’t for the support of fans and indie sites, I would not still be making Dark Moon, so thanks to everyone that has supported our comic!
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