Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dead Gentlemen at PLU

A week from Friday, four of us Dead Gentlemen will be returning to our alma mater to talk all about how we got where we are and where we went once we got there.
Yes, that's me in the green, in costume for JourneyQuest.
The panel will be hosted by Dr. Eric Nelson, the man who taught me Latin, which I mostly forgot. The Latin, not Eric. We'll be showing clips of our work, new and old, and probably give a sneak peek of the latest project. The panel will be open to the public.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Whither Must I Wander?

Home no more home to me, whither must I wander?
Hunger my driver, I go where I must.
Cold blows the winter wind over hill and heather;
Thick drives the rain, and my roof is in the dust.
Loved of wise men was the shade of my roof-tree.
The true word of welcome was spoken in the door -
Dear days of old, with the faces in the firelight,
Kind folks of old, you come again no more.
Home was home then, my dear, full of kindly faces,
Home was home then, my dear, happy for the child.
Fire and the windows bright glittered on the moorland;
Song, tuneful song, built a palace in the wild.
Now, when day dawn on the brow of the moorland,
Lone stands the house, and the chimney-stone is cold.
Lone let it stand, now the friends are all departed,
The kind hearts, the true hearts, that loved the place of old.
Spring shall come, come again, calling up the moorfowl,
Spring shall bring the sun and rain, bring the bees and flowers;
Red shall the heather bloom over hill and valley,
Soft flow the stream through the even-flowing hours;
Fair the day shine as it shone on my childhood -
Fair shine the day on the house with open door;
Birds come and cry there and twitter in the chimney -
But I go for ever and come again no more.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson, Songs of Travel, 1895

Monday, April 12, 2010

JourneyQuest promo pics

As promised, here are some promotional pictures from the set of JourneyQuest. You may have already seen these on ZOE or Dead Gentlemen's facebook pages. The images have been color corrected and are indicative of what the finished look of the series will be.

The costumes were designed by Dameon Willich and JoAnne Kirley. The prosthetics -- the elf ears; orc foreheads, noses, and ears; and orc facial tattoos -- were designed and created by Shawn Shelton.

Christian Doyle as Superfluous (Perf)

Anne Kennedy as Nara

Brian Lewis as Carrow

Kevin Pitman as Glorion

Emilie Rommel Shimkus as Wren

Kevin Inouye as Kurn

Jeremy Spray as Grellnock

Saturday, April 10, 2010

JQ Preview at NorwesCon

A week ago, members of the JourneyQuest team attended the 33rd annual NorwesCon to offer the world the first glimpse of JQ footage. I arrived early in the morning, got my badge, and set about on some general, all-purpose meandering.
The art show was particularly spectacular. The sculpture work blew me away. On display were works of fairy tale fantasy,
otherworldly masks, and future-past/steampunk gadgetry. Along one wall was a costume piece we used in JourneyQuest: a wicked skull pauldron worn by our lascivious orc shaman, designed by freelance artist and Seattle Knight Douglas Herring.
Speaking of the Knights, I did a double take when I chanced upon a sketched portrait of their commander, Dameon Willich, who in addition to being
JourneyQuest's Production Designer and Fight Director is a tremendously accomplished artist in his own right. It was not a self-portrait, either. That guy's everywhere. It's starting to scare me ...
After the art show, I scored some $2 paperbacks in the exhibit hall and decided to sit in on a panel or to. I arrived just in time to attend a talk about writing for the gaming industry. On that panel was my good buddy Sean Reynolds, a prolific game designer who works for Paizo. He also played the Inquisitor in Dorkness Rising.
Sean K Reynolds, shown smiling
The panel was surprisingly informative, and gave me more than a few ideas for future projects. I got to catch up with him afterward, and he was as glad to see me as his picture above indicates. About that time, I bumped into con organizer Rob Stewart, who played the Innkeeper in Dorkness Rising (see a pattern?). He ushered me into the green room and gave me my "panelist" badge sticker, which, among other things, meant I got free coffee.
Rob Stewart, also thrilled to see me
After drinking all the coffee in the green room, I quivered and pulsated my way back among the panels. The JourneyQuest sneak peek wasn't until 10pm, so I still had some time to kill. Lo and behold, I found myself at a panel with the incomparable JoAnne Kirley, our costumer from JourneyQuest. She was teaching the numerous costumed attendees how to move in their magnificent attire without tripping themselves, and how to post for the camera without looking like someone had just drowned their cat. It occurred to me that I'd somehow managed to only attend panels with people I've worked with.
At 8pm, I and the rest of the JQ team at the con attended a show by A Little Knight Music, the Seattle Knights' choral group. It was a memorial concert for their fallen member, John Moore. The place was packed, the performance wonderful, alternately bawdy and hilarious, somber and bittersweet. Nobody wanted them to stop. A finer choir I have not seen in many a year.
When 10pm rolled around, we made our way into Evergreen 2 for the JourneyQuest panel. Fans packed the room. First, we showed a 13-minute documentary of behind-the-scenes footage shot by our producer, Corrie Moore of Kairos Productions. That we followed immediately with the 5-1/2 minute convention exclusive teaser trailer, the first time JQ footage had been shown to the public. They liked it so much, we showed it twice. And because it was (and is) a convention exclusive, I can't share it with you here. Long story short, they loved it and wanted more. Hooray, our audience likes the new show.
Congrats all around
So, by all appearances, the JQ sneak peek was a success. I will be posting promotional photos in the coming days; you may have seen some of them on facebook. There will likely be a non-exclusive teaser/trailer up on the site in the coming weeks as well. I'm keeping busy editing the first cut of the season. We are still set to release the first episodes in July, though we don't have a set date yet.
To everyone on the JourneyQuest and NorwesCon teams: thank you for a wonderful con experience. I can't wait to share more with you.

Friday, April 2, 2010

In Memoriam

There will be plenty of time to discuss how unlikely and remarkable it was that we pulled JourneyQuest off. Anecdotes will be shared, photos posted, trailers linked to. What we accomplished with all the roadblocks and setbacks in our way was, in all senses, astonishing. And I will share these things. But not yet, as I'm not ready.
We lost a dear friend during the production, who passed away during the filming: John Moore of the Seattle Knights, our Art Director, a maker of rare craft and skill, a builder of worlds for theater and opera and film, a man-at-arms, a troubadour, a sergeant in the Knights, a thespian, a gourmand, a man of great humor and greater humanity, who lived a life unbridled, a man free, happy, kind, and pure. The family of our crew will never be the same.
It is to John we will dedicate the show. And it was to honor him and finish his work, I believe, that we found the strength to rally and complete the project. In the days following the tragedy, when the production was shut down, everyone had the opportunity to leave. And many had reasons far more painful than mine to step away. Yet when we made the decision to continue, everyone came back. Everyone. In trickles and in waves, the cast and crew reassembled. We persevered. And we produced what I think you will agree is a rather amazing piece of cinema. And you have no idea how proud I am of everyone involved.

Honor is something we think lives in the past, that is antiquated and has no bearing in modern life. That's completely untrue. Honor is alive, though rare, and it is never easy and seldom painless. When you do witness it, it shines like blinding beacon, a lighthouse of resolve, and it was via that light that we steered this foundering ship into harbor. I am humbled and moved in ways I will not completely understand for quite some time.
This Saturday, April 3, at 8pm, the Seattle Knights' troupe of songsters, "A Little Knight Music," will be performing a concert at NorwesCon in memory of John, who was a member. Two hours later, at 10pm, we'll be screening the first trailer for JourneyQuest with many of the same people. I will be at both. You are invited to come celebrate John's life and work.