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The Worst Thing She Ever Did

I recently read The Worst Thing She Ever Did by Alice Kuipers. It’s the story of a young girl name Sophie who went through a traumatic event and is having trouble going on with her life after it. While my own traumatic events weren’t quite the same as Sophie’s, I could definitely identify with her struggle to express herself and find not only the missing words to do so but discover who she is now that everything in her life has changed.

The Worst Thing She Ever Did is a young adult novel written as Sophie’s journal, so you see inside her head, into what she’s thinking and feeling, as she attempts to open up on the blank pages. At first, the entries are brief with little detail of her daily life and they are spaced days apart. As the book continues, you see her slip a few bits and pieces of the past in as she more fully details her days.

Because a strong theme of the book is finding ways to get unstuck so you can open up and express yourself, I asked if Alice Kuipers could share a bit with us about how she gets unstuck and finds inspiration to get her lost words flowing again.

I’m really glad to be guest blogging for you. Thanks. You asked me to share a few writing tips and so I thought I’d blog a bit about how to get inspired when you’re stuck and you don’t know what to write. In my novel The Worst Thing She Ever Did, the main character, Sophie, is completely stuck with what to say in the face of her suffering. She is lost for words and until she gets unstuck she can’t move on to her future. Turns out, for her, writing is the way forward.

Writer’s block can be something quite terrifying. The blank page stares at you, or more likely the blank screen. That little cursor blinks impatiently. How do you get ideas? Well, there are lots of sources of inspiration so here are five ideas to get you unstuck and get writing.

  1. Read magazines and newspapers especially if you’re writing SciFi because thrilling and weird innovations and events will get your imaginative neurons firing. I saw an old article about giant sinkholes in Guatemala the other day — that could inspire anything from serious melancholy poetry to wild exotic fantasy.
  2. Think of a hero of yours and put them in a challenging situation. What would they do? The harder the challenge, the more difficult the situation, the better the story.
  3. Take a line from something you’re reading and use it to inspire you — it could be your first line for a story or the finishing line that you have to reach.
  4. Put on a piece of music you haven’t listened to for a while but that you used to love. Let the memories the tune inspires get you writing.
  5. Imagine you’ve left every thing and every one you know somewhere far away. You’re in a totally unknown place. Are you still you? What happens? Sometimes writing what you don’t know (as opposed to the old adage of writing what you know) can get you fired up and over being stuck.

Getting unstuck is one thing. But being inspired is just the start of discovering yourself as a writer. It took me several years to find the way I wanted to tell the stories I want to tell.

For me, taking my time was the best way to discover my voice, so I have one final piece of advice on finding your voice:

Experiment with every form and genre you can imagine (and read widely to discover forms you’d never heard of) until you find the one that suits you. You might surprise yourself and discover you’re a sound poet, or a comic playwright, or maybe you’re a screenwriter for children’s movies. The more you write, the more comfortable you’ll be in your writer skin.

I have loads more tips and prompts and links on my website alicekuipers.com for emerging writers.

Come and see me there!

Ali

More Alice Kuipers Links:
Browse Inside The Worst Thing She Ever Did
Alice Kuipers’ Official Website
Alice Kuipers’ HarperCollins Canada Website
Alice Kuipers on Twitter
Alice Kuipers on Facebook

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Infamous

The online network KoldCast.tv hosts a myriad of web series and has an ever-growing sci-fi and fantasy selection. One of those series is Infamous. (I discussed Infamous recently on the KoldCast blog.) For those of you who haven’t seen the show, it’s a morally ambiguous contemporary sci-fi series featuring secret organizations, action, intrigue and mutants. I spoke with the team behind Infamous and asked them a few questions about the inspiration and aspirations for the series. Greg Washington is co-creator, producer and the actor who plays “John”, John Chambers produces and plays “Solomon” and Joey Barto is co-creator and director of the show.

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) What were your inspirations while creating and writing Infamous?

Greg Washington (GW) Our inspirations were comic books and movies as well as video games with anti-heroes.  We really wanted to create a world where people could easily slip in and out of fantasy and reality; a little something for the cynics and conspiracy theorists as well as the action and thriller junkies. Wolverine was probably the seed that spawned the Infamous web series. The most fun we had creating honestly was Solomon and hopefully it shows through the character that John Chambers has brought to life.

Joey Barto (JB) X-Men had a lot of influence, being one of my favorite comics as a kid. There are so many complex relationships and characters in the series, Wolverine being one of the darkest. The characters, both good and bad, were almost always flawed, and that’s what makes it possible to identify with them.

John Chambers (JC) Solomon is pieces of some of my favorite villains and anti-heroes. Many of his mannerisms have come from the many great Number 2’s in the series The Prisoner. The world they created there is very much like that of Infamous. Those who are fans of the show will know which Number 2 is my favorite (Leo McKern). From the heroes side, I really enjoy some of the flaws presented in the character of Michael Garibaldi from Babylon 5 and that of the Clint Eastwood anti-heroes of the old Westerns.

(ÜSFG) Why did you choose the web?

(GW) We chose the web for a lot of reasons. One specifically being the fact that we could make the show we wanted to make and the fact that it’s where television is headed.

(JB) It is the delivery medium of the future. Its instant accessibility is the main reason. Also it’s great to have such immediate response and gratification to what we’re doing. In any other medium, we’d have to wait weeks or months before airing. Now we see the response to what we’re doing almost immediately.

(JC) I think on all fronts the web offers what is being termed as New Media. It is cost effective, gives a wide range to what we can do independently, opens us up to a larger market, and provides us with something that few series have… the unknown use of the web. When I say unknown, [I mean] there are many out there that are trying to find a place in this New Media for both the productions and the products. There is no set game plan for marketing, it is completely open and with that… and a little desperation to create something… it all leads to inspiration and success.

(ÜSFG) Did you write the story and then decide to make it for the web or did you decide to make a web series and then write the story?

(GW) We decided to make a web series and then wrote the story. We wanted something quick that could get out to people in a hurry. Kind of like the mix-tape in hip hop. We wanted to create something stylized with the tools we had and let word of mouth and that home grown experience build our audience.

(ÜSFG) You’ve got a very interesting cast of characters with very distinctive personalities. How much of that is scripted traits and how much freedom do the actors have to create their characters?

(GW) The script laid down the foundation for the direction the characters would travel but everyone has raised their character by 10 times. I don’t think I ever pictured Solomon being as dark as he is because I have known John for years and have never seen that side of him. He is really creating something special. James Palmer is fascinating to watch because he is a perfectionist, but also loves to laugh and joke so seeing him so frantic and disjointed on camera is great to watch. Liz as Morgan, we really couldn’t have found a better person. She’s athletic and beautiful and she is adding that hint of straight psycho to her character. I could go on and on about our cast, we have a great group of people and an incredible organic atmosphere for everyone to create on both sides of the camera. It’s great on the shoot days of Infamous.

(JB) Greg pretty much summed it up perfectly. We are BEYOND lucky to have such a talented cast. The fact that they are so dedicated to this series, it really blows me away. The characters they’ve created are beyond anything I could have thought up, they really are amazing.

(JC) As an actor on the series, I believe there is a great deal of organic nature to all of the characters. It seems that while the scripts and situations lend themselves to certain choices for the characters, overall, those are many times thrown out and something new is created as Greg and Joey let the actors make real choices. This opens up a wide variety of options for the actors. It is sometimes beautiful… sometimes a bit crazy and we have to be pulled in a bit. Overall, it is one of the more expressive shows I have ever worked on.

(ÜSFG) Will we eventually learn any back-stories of briefly occurring characters (such as the poor woman in the beginning of Genesis, Chapter 2) and how they tie into the big picture?

(GW) Yes. Our structure is built to throw tidbits in whenever we can to give a little closure to things we have already shown. It will all close out very nicely and hopefully it will make audiences go back and watch it all again to get the bigger picture.

(JB) We really want to expand the story into different mediums through both minisode vignettes and ARG interactive elements. I’d really love to creative an immersive world for fans over time, create a far more rich story than can be told merely through episodes.

(ÜSFG) From reading your blog, there’s quite a back-story for your production company. Tell me a little bit about how Infamous came together from a production standpoint?

(GW) Joey and I had been dying to do a project together for a long while now. We did a little short together that was someone else’s baby and really wasn’t something that we both enjoyed. We started meeting early last year after work hours to discuss what we wanted to do. After a couple of scripts were thrown on the table and a few more ideas and treatments, we both agreed that we needed that “mix-tape” feel to our first project. Meaning something raw in form but with a look and feel that would get people hooked, more of a calling card for future projects, but we didn’t want to do just any story. We wanted to do something dark like all of the comic books and films we enjoy. Instead of jumping into our main hero and basing a problem around him, we created Solomon. From Solomon we created Palmer and then the world built around them. From day one, we always wanted John Chambers and James Palmer in those roles and were very happy when they agreed. It was actually John Chambers’ idea to make Morgan a woman after reading the pilot. Picking our amnesiac bad ass was very difficult. We had people in mind that had either moved or we felt couldn’t give that kind of commitment so the character was the last to get cast. Once we were rolling, the choices we made for our cast shined through. Its hysterical watching everyone rush to unload equipment then go through the works: wardrobe, hair and makeup, go through the scene, run to monitors to watch playback. Its a whirlwind and everyone does great at it. This project would not have come together if it wasn’t for my friends, the cast and crew of Infamous, and also Fairfield Studios for donating their equipment and staff, Crain Video for all his wonderful space, and Yoboga to keep my energy level up and making me stay in shape.

(JC) On my end, I have always enjoyed working with Greg on set and in the acting world and with Joey. I have been tied to him and production for some time now. It is exciting to be around people with drive and with original ideas and a great sense of Sci-Fi. Once I was handed a script, I had to be a part of it. Then I became part of production and producing staff. All of it has been a wonderful ride with friends and people who I enjoy creating with.

(ÜSFG) Did you hold auditions or are you working with a group of actors and crew you already have a history with?

(GW) We did not hold auditions! We wrote with the actors we have in mind, not really knowing what they would create but knew it would be on the right track for what we wanted to see.

(ÜSFG) Once you decided to put it together, how long did it take to make it happen?

(GW) I want to say October of last year our first few scripts were locked in, I had just started learning basics for new fighting styles, Liz was working on gymnastics and boxing and by November John and James were on board and we were discussing when to shoot the pilot. We were going to shoot it in December but didn’t anticipate the weather, and forgot about the holidays. As a whole, we started principle photography in January, in 17 degree weather. 🙂

(ÜSFG) What are your hopes for Infamous, both as a series and as a vehicle to other productions?

(GW) I hope Infamous has the audience base to go a few seasons. They are fun characters and would be great to revisit with a few more hands on deck that are as eager and into it as the people we have involved now. Once it’s wrapped for this season I’d like to take two weeks off and start brainstorming for the next project and start prepping one that we have already and didn’t think we could do first thing out of the gate. We are learning so much doing Infamous and I would like to show that.

(JB) I hope the audience enjoys the show, and we can get the support we need to continue making the show and pay the ridiculously talented individuals who make this show what it is.

(JC) They are boundless. I would love to work on this for several seasons, to finish the larger arc of all the characters. Other productions… I think… I KNOW they will come as we have many more stories to tell. In the end it would be a joy to just do this for a living, making great shows, working in Sci-Fi (as a fan myself), and doing the craft that I love. If we could fund this, I would work on it for years.

(ÜSFG) How many episodes are you planning for each season and how often can we look forward to them being released?

(GW) Infamous season one will be 12 episodes with the occasional minisode to give a little extra. They can be seen every Monday on koldcast.tv or infamouswebseries.com.

(ÜSFG) What is the overall feeling you hope viewers come away with after watching Infamous?

(GW) A couple of things. I hope viewers think the show is bad ass and enjoy the world we have tried to create and I hope people realize that you don’t need a studio or that big break to create film and television, you just need great friends and an imagination.

(JC) That it’s a hell of a fun story. What is next?!

You can watch watch Infamous on koldcast.tv or infamouswebseries.com. Check out these other great links to find out more about Infamous:

Infamous Creator’s Blog
Infamous on Facebook
Infamous on Twitter
Infamous Zazzle Shop

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AbbyShot Clothiers’s officially licensed, screen accurate, and limited edition Tenth Doctor’s Coat and Martha Jones Companion Jacket from Doctor Who are apparel fit for a Time Lord. While the majority of replica clothing only vaguely resembles the costume it was inspired by, AbbyShot’s recreations look like originals sneaked directly off production sets.

Tenth Doctor's Coat, Image 1

Q&A with AbbyShot Clothiers:

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) What led AbbyShot to choose Doctor Who, a British series, for its newest line of sci-fi inspired clothing?

Tenth Doctor's Coat, Image 2

AbbyShot Clothiers (AC) First and foremost — the fans. Everything at AbbyShot begins with fan suggestions, as it has from day one when we were making our first Matrix-style coat. AbbyShot is known globally as the creator of high quality sci-fi inspired clothing, so not long after David Tennant’s first Christmas Special as the Tenth Doctor in 2005 Doctor Who fans were quick to put his costume on our radar. Then we became huge fans of Doctor Who ourselves soon after.

Over the past several years, there has really been something magical happening with Doctor Who — the buzz has been building and the interest for this show and this protagonist is the highest it’s ever been. David Tennant played a very human and relatable, yet still insanely fun-to-watch, Doctor, and the BBC got the show out to more and more people every year. Let’s just say that our email Inbox was filling up with fans wanting us to create an AbbyShot “real-life” version of the Tenth Doctor’s Coat!

We always listen to the fans so we carefully evaluated the idea and decided to take on this exciting new project. We also attended a Licensing Show in New York City where we met up with representatives from the BBC and from those initial meetings came a new Licensing Agreement for a whole new breed of Doctor Who collectibles — wearable replica clothing.

The Tenth Doctor’s Coat as well was very appealing to our team right from the start — it’s such a classic cut and style for a man’s overcoat, with a back vent and box pleat that make it very distinctive. Add in the deep blue lining and the orange trim on the inside pockets and THAT’S when you realize — this is no average coat, this is Doctor Who!

What makes AbbyShot different from most replica companies is that our products stand up to the test of time. Our products are ones which you can wear every day for years to come. And while they are hits at conventions, they are not simply costumes. We take great pride in our attention to detail, and we never forget that our coats are first and foremost pieces of apparel which people wear in their everyday lives. Both the Tenth Doctor’s coat and the Martha Jones jacket are just that… jackets that were worn by their characters time and time again… It seemed like a natural extension of that for which we stand.

Tenth Doctor's Coat, Image 3

(ÜSFG) With David Tennant recently stepping down from his popular reign on the series, it does make perfect sense why his signature overcoat was selected to launch AbbyShot’s Doctor Who line. Will the Tenth Doctor’s Coat be followed by apparel specific to previous incarnations of the Time Lord, such as the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker)’s iconic scarf?

(AC) Iconic is really the keyword here — a quick scan through the catalogue on the AbbyShot site will tell you that we only take on the most iconic characters and their clothing designs. Like you said, David Tennant stepped down from the role of the Doctor at the peak of his popularity and his costume was one of the most recognizable as well (with designer Louise Page stating recently that it was the costume she was most proud of designing). So the Tenth Doctor’s Coat was indeed the obvious flagship to launch our line, but it doesn’t stop there.

This BBC license opens up a world of opportunities as so much interesting apparel has been seen on Doctor Who over the decades — over 40 years worth of material! We don’t want to say too much at this point, but we can say that the wardrobe of previous Doctors would be obvious sources of inspirations (who can forget the Sixth Doctor’s multicoloured coat, or the Seventh Doctor’s question-mark-laden jumper?). However, we’re not ruling out some fan-favourite Doctor Who guest stars either!

We’re always open to suggestions as well and invite Doctor Who fans to email us through our “Suggestions Page” with any wonderful and inspired ideas.

Tenth Doctor's Coat, Image 4

Tenth Doctor's Coat, Image 5

(ÜSFG) The Tenth Doctor had three main companions: Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, and Donna Noble. Why was Martha Jones, and her red leather jacket, picked to represent the Doctor’s companions? Will Rose Tyler and Donna Noble, or companions of the past Doctors, like Sarah Jane Smith, also receive the AbbyShot treatment?

(AC) Again, it comes down to the “iconic” factor — Martha Jones wore her striking red leather jacket for the majority of Series 3 and it really became a signature part of her look. All the women on our Design Team love the design as well, it goes beyond a “cool Doctor Who replica” and is truly a beautiful leather jacket that women not familiar with Martha Jones still want to wear!

For some AbbyShot coats and jackets the fans tell us that wearing them is like being a member of a secret society. The Martha Jones Companion Jacket is one of those jackets where you really do hide your fandom in plain sight! You walk down the street and 90% of people think you’re simply wearing a cool leather jacket. However, those 10% that DO recognize the source material — they will look at you like you’re a goddess! Be warned.

As for other Companions, we’re absolutely leaving the door open for other opportunities there as well. Once again — if there’s a coat or jacket you absolutely MUST have then please visit our Suggestions Page and let us know.

Tenth Doctor's Coat, Image 6

(ÜSFG) Will AbbyShot be producing replica jewelry and accessories, such as the Master’s ring, to accompany the Doctor Who clothing line?

(AC) Interesting question! Our strength here at AbbyShot is in clothing design so while we may create accessories in the future we most likely wouldn’t stray too far from the apparel category. There are also some other talented BBC licensees making Doctor Who prop replicas already so jewelry would most likely fall under another company’s core strength.

AbbyShot is the ultimate source for science-fiction replica clothing and we’ll keep building on that strength into the future.

Tenth Doctor's Coat, Image 7

Tenth Doctor's Coat, Image 8

(ÜSFG) Fans of Doctor Who will always have their “favourite Doctor”, so who do the designers cite as their favourite?

(AC) Our favourite Doctor — that is a tough one but we would have to say David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. And we’re not just saying that because we make his coat replica! He’s molto bene, what else can we say?

All the same, we can’t wait to see what Matt Smith will do with the role under Stephen Moffat’s more-than-capable hands (I mean, the man wrote one of our favourite Doctor Who episodes of all time, “Blink”!). We’re at the beginning of an exciting new era of Doctor Who and AbbyShot Clothiers is so proud to be a part of it.

Thanks so much for the great questions, it’s been a pleasure.

Tenth Doctor's Coat, Image 9

(ÜSFG) Thank you, AbbyShot, for your brilliant answers and the exclusive photos! Now, off to watch some Doctor Who… Allons-y!

Order directly through the AbbyShot Clothiers website.

(Firefly/Serenity fans, be sure to also check out AbbyShot’s Malcolm Reynolds Browncoat at Are You a Real Browncoat?)

The Tenth Doctor’s Coat and Martha Jones Companion Jacket are distributed by AbbyShot Clothiers. For more information on AbbyShot’s Doctor Who replica clothing, visit the Are You a Real Time Lord? website. AbbyShot Clothiers may also be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

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Requiem for Delinquency: Hobs End

Requiem for Delinquency: Hobs End

In the gift-giving spirit of Christmas, we’re giving away 2 copies of the Requiem for Delinquency CD Hobs End.

Back in August, I discovered R4D, fell in love and told you about it here at ÜberSciFiGeek.

Some elements of Hobs End remind me of Bill Leeb projects such as Delerium and Fauxliage… Requiem for Delinquency is the kind of electronica music you might find on a Six Degrees or Nettwerk label… Some tracks are similar to but have more synth than Robert Miles and Enigma compositions, but are not as heavily reliant on synth as Tangerine Dream or Vangelis tend to be. (For the full review click here.)

Now we’re giving you a chance to win your own copy of R4D’s Hobs End. Beginning Christmas Eve, Thursday December 24th, and running through New Year’s Eve, Thursday December 31st, all tweets of this article (just click “Tweet This Post”) or retweets from Twitter will be entered into a random drawing to receive a copy of R4D’s Hobs End CD.

You can check out a preview of their music at RequiemForDelinquency.com and then tweet to enter!

Merry Christmas from all of us at ÜberSciFiGeek!

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The star of Ask the Sharky surfaces to answer some questions about his underwater web series. The interview was conducted by sea-mail, with Sharky assuring “ÜberSciSomething” that “…Me can just answer [questions] with typing or something. Me am very good at typing with fins. True.”

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) What inspired you to create a web series that answers land dwellers’ questions about your life under the sea?

Sharky (S) Um. Me noticed that people not under the water didn’t understand sharkies very well. People not under the water are all like “Hey! Look out! That sharky is going to bite you!” But sharkies don’t care about biting people, me just get confused sometimes because you look like a baby seal. But you don’t taste as good as a baby seal. True.

Also me am very smart and can answer questions verygoodtrue. Something.

(ÜSFG) What is the most unusual question that you’ve been asked so far?

(S) Me had one person ask me what the most unusual question I’ve been asked so far. That was pretty unusual. Hehehe.
Not really. Me just said that because you asked that question. True.

Me get a lot of questions though. Currently me have, like, big-number-something questions (ed– more than 5, although currently Sharky has about 100 voicemail messages). Lots of people want to know about what me eat, or if me like this food or that food, or if I will eat them, or if me will eat their sister, or how I eat, or if I am eating something right now. I guess those are pretty normal questions for a Sharky, though. Me am pretty good at eating. True.

Prolly the most strange was someone asked me how to make cornbread. It is hard to make cornbread under the water.

(ÜSFG) You often complete your sentences with the exclamation “True!” How did that become your catchword?

(S) True. Me say that a lot. True.

(ÜSFG) Since you now have Sharky Swag on CafePress, are there plans to release other merchandise, like a DVD compilation of your videos or an adorable plushie? (There’s a shark on the East Coast, Nigel from Dante Beatrix, whose family resemblance to you is striking. Maybe he could help you with merchandising!)

(S) Me not know. That is a good question. Me was thinking maybe me would make a Sharky movie sometime, or maybe a Sharky video game or a Sharky rock opera.

Me like Nigel! He is one handsome sharky! Me will have to talk to that Dante someone! True.

A cute furry Sharky would be pretty good. True. Me would rather have an action figure, though. With realistic biting action.

(ÜSFG) If you ever saw a mermaid, would you consider her a friend or fish dinner?

(S) Ummm. Prolly me would be friends with her because she is only half fish and me not like the taste of people. UM! At least me THINK me would not like the taste of people. Me have never bited a person before. Seriously! Me am not lying about that at all. No people biting.

Anyway, if she was half seal instead that would be very tempting. True.

Ok. Thanks for the interview, me hope you got all the answers you wanted! Don’t forget to be nice to sharkies! Also it is nice to drop yummy food in the water. Pleasethankyou.

Swim swim swim swim swim True! swim swim swim

Sharky Links:
Ask the Sharky Official Website
Ask the Sharky on YouTube
Ask the Sharky on Facebook
Ask the Sharky on Twitter

Learn more about sharkies by watching the award-winning documentary film Sharkwater. It will make you see Sharky’s misunderstood kin in a whole new, positive light. True!

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Emilie Ullerup, best known for her roles on jPod and Sanctuary, guest stars on this week's Smallville episode, "Crossfire"

Emilie Ullerup, best known for her roles on jPod and Sanctuary, guest stars on this week's Smallville episode, "Crossfire"

While Emilie Ullerup has won a Leo Award for Best Actress in the acclaimed show jPod, she is probably best known for the role of Ashley Magnus on Syfy’s Sanctuary. Having already guest-starred in such sci-fi and fantasy shows as Battlestar Galactica, Blood Ties and the film Paradox, she’s about to dive into another with a guest spot on this week’s Smallville. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, either.

With recent events on this season of Sanctuary, Emilie has gotten a lot of attention over the past few weeks. IMDb.com searches have gone up over 95% and a Google search of the past three weeks of posts regarding Emilie turned up almost 32,000 hits! With growing interest like that, a lot of Emilie fans may be tuning in to Smallville for the first time this week.

If you haven’t watched the first three episodes of Sanctuary this season and have avoided spoilers as of yet, don’t read any further until you’ve gone to Syfy.com and watched those episodes.

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) I know you had surgery this summer. I’m sorry to hear you had complications! How are you recovering?

Emilie Ullerup (EU) Yeah… thank you. It was quite the process. Basically, it was a tumor that had grown out of my sacrum, wrapped itself around a couple of spinal nerves, and was causing me some grief. So, the only way to get rid of it was to surgically remove it, leaving large margins to make sure it wouldn’t spread. They took my tailbone, the nerves that were involved and (I think) some of my sacrum.

(ÜSFG) Ouch.

(EU) Ouch is right. Cool scar though! It’s easy to say that now that I’m on the other side of it. It was a life changing experience, wouldn’t do it again, but also wouldn’t take it back. I haven’t actually given the official statement until now! I know people have been wondering, so it’s time I let them know.

(ÜSFG) Yes, they have been wondering why you’ve been so quiet about it. I realize part of that would have to be because some of that time period overlapped with the Sanctuary shooting schedule and you can’t give away too many spoilers for the season. Are you expecting a full recovery? Will it affect your ability to do most of your own stunts in future projects?

(EU) It shouldn’t affect anything. It’s just a reaaalllyyy slow recovery. I’m not good at being patient but I’ve been forced to be in this case. I definitely count on being able to kick ass again some time in the future!

(ÜSFG) Good to hear!

(EU) Thanks and also thank you to everyone who has been thinking of me.

(ÜSFG) It did give you lots of time to spend with family though, right?

(EU) My mom came to Vancouver a couple of times throughout. Because there were a few unexpected bumps along the way, she felt best being here at times. It was scary and when it gets scary, the best one to have along with you is your mom… so we spent lots of time together in the hospital, talking, talking and talking.

(ÜSFG) Moms do have a knack with providing comfort in scary times.

(EU) They do indeed.

(ÜSFG) Are you pretty close to back to normal now or will it take a few more months?

(EU) I can do almost everything. I wasn’t allowed to sit for about four months, so that is still new to me. I can’t drive yet because of that but I’m going to the gym, core strengthening, trying to get back in shape, but at least I can be on my own now. I can do all the daily things. It’s crazy how much you can all of a sudden appreciate being able to put your own socks on!

(ÜSFG) When we spoke back in February about Season 2, you said you hoped the Sanctuary team would give you “some juicy, juicy stuff for us all to sink our teeth into” and “I would love some sort of head to head conflict with mom.” It seems you got what you wished for but not exactly in the way you were expecting. After being turned into a super-mutant vampire warrior and sent to destroy her mother and the rest of the Sanctuary network, Ashley apparently dies at the end of Episode 2 after being disintegrated by an electromagnetic field.

(EU) Yeaaaah… not exactly what I was expecting, you’re right.

(ÜSFG) Did your surgery have any effect on that or was this something they had already scripted before you found out about it?

(EU) No, my surgery had nothing to do with this. Killing off Ashley was a network decision made before I knew I had to have surgery but I have faith that there are no real deaths in sci-fi… There will be storylines in the future where I’m sure Ashley could be worked in…

(ÜSFG) What was your reaction to the death of Ashley when you first found out about it?

(EU) I was of course sad. I’ve had a blast on the show and I felt Ashley had so much story to explore still.

(ÜSFG) Yes, she did. And with the turning evil bit, there was so much to explore with her and through her interactions with her friends and family.

(EU) At the same time though, I am excited for what lays ahead. I am excited to get into new projects and hopefully remain busy with lots of colorful characters to explore.

(ÜSFG) I’m looking forward to it, too. I’m certain you have big things in store!

(EU) I believe that there is a reason for me to be out in the world of unemployed actors again and I can’t wait to see what happens next in my career.

(ÜSFG) Was it hard to keep the secret after reading the script?

(EU) At times it was hard. Being at Haven 1 was hard.

(ÜSFG) Oh? Lots of fan questions, I imagine.

(EU) Yeah… They were good though. They knew I couldn’t reveal too much.

(ÜSFG) You didn’t have a lot of dialog in your final three episodes so most of your acting was non-verbal. The final look Ashley gave Magnus broke a lot of fans’ hearts. What was the feel on set while filming that emotional final scene with Amanda Tapping?

(EU) Tough day for sure. Amanda and I were both really feeling the heaviness of the situation; gave way to some true organic moments. There were a few of the tough guys who had to clear their throats here and there. It was really sweet.

(ÜSFG) There’s been a lot of anguish over that final scene. That final glance, you looked 100% sincere.

(EU) Yeah, that was all real and the final scene of Eulogy was almost impossible to do. It was the final scene for me, and throughout rehearsals I was in tears. The director had to remind me that I couldn’t be in tears, that Ashley was supposed to be at peace, so I really had to pull myself together. Ryan, Robin, Chris and Amanda were all there, all so sad, and I was like “REALLY?!? I have to pull it together as the only one?!?!” There was so much love though… it felt really nice.

(ÜSFG) It’s good to know everyone was there for you though, feeling the pain of losing you to a network decision. I know you said you’ve seen some of the comments from fans over killing Ashley. Many fans, especially those who’ve been watching since the web series days, are saying they are done with the show and don’t plan to watch anymore unless she is brought back. Were you expecting this kind of backlash from fans and how do you feel about it, knowing that you’ve got such a strong, supportive fan-base? I imagine it’s a mixed feeling, appreciating the support but wanting something you put so much of yourself into to continue to thrive even without you.

(EU) I have been completely overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. I am so grateful to have so many people that care so much! And hopefully that will mean that there will be a place for Ashley in the future.

(ÜSFG) You’ve been so genuine and available to fans and that makes a huge difference in the sci-fi community.

(EU) Well, they’re all so genuine and available to me, so really, it’s a two-way street. Aw shucks… so much love everywhere…

(ÜSFG) Whether or not you return to Sanctuary, I’m certain it will continue to have a lasting influence on you as an actor and on your career. What do you think is the most important thing you have learned while working on Sanctuary?

(EU) I will be eternally grateful to Sanctuary. Were it not for Sanctuary, I would not have this huge fan-base who (I hope) will continue to follow me as I venture into new projects.

(ÜSFG) I’m sure they will!

(EU) I think the most important thing I have learned is to never take anything for granted. Things can change in a heartbeat… and also to try to not take things too personally.

(ÜSFG) Difficult but good lessons to learn.

(EU) Invaluable in this business I think.

(ÜSFG) Well, you’ve proven to be a tough cookie so I’m sure you are going to do just fine, whatever comes your way. Many fans are hoping this is a marketing ploy to stir up the fans and drive stronger interest in the show. With the body absent, it does leave lots of room for Ashley’s return at some point in the future. A lot of fans want to know what you will do until we all know if Ashley really is dead or just being manipulated by Dana and the Cabal. There are tons of independent film projects in Vancouver as well as a dozen TV shows. Have you had any auditions lately?

(EU) Oh yes, I have been very busy lately. There are still projects that I am not able to do physically, but I try to get out for as much as possible. I have been incredibly close on almost everything, which feels great. And I did an episode of Smallville but I also have to remember to heal first, work later; so, one day at a time.

(ÜSFG) You’re playing Catherine “Cat” Grant in the episode “Crossfire” which airs tomorrow night on the CW. There are a couple of leaked shots of the episode and I have to say, you are looking great! That dress suit is quite a departure from the dark outfits Ashley wore on Sanctuary or the casual wardrobe Kaitlyn wore on jPod.

(EU) Ha, yeah it sure is.

(ÜSFG) Did you like getting to play a sunny, feminine role again?

(EU) I had a lot of fun with Catherine Grant. I got to be light and bright and bumbling and a bit dorky. Bumbling and dorky are two of my own strong traits. It would be a great character to further explore but I had a blast with what I was given on the one episode.

(ÜSFG) Did you do any research into Catherine’s TV and comic book history before shooting the role?

(EU) Yeah, but they went in a bit of a different direction with the TV version.

(ÜSFG) If Smallville follows previous storylines in the Superman mythology, Catherine could very well become the third corner of a Lois/Clark/Cat love triangle. Did you and Tom (Welling) have the kind of on-screen chemistry that you think could lead to Cat Grant becoming a recurring role for you?

(EU) I guess we’ll see tomorrow! I had a blast shooting with Tom. He’s so relaxed and fun, and I know Erica (Durance) because Kyle (Cassie) worked with her earlier this year… so it would be a blast getting to muck things up for the two of them.

(ÜSFG) I think adding Cat to the mix would certainly be a great monkey-wrench in the Clark/Lois relationship that is developing this season. Hopefully the producers feel the same and invite you back a few times.

(EU) Yeah! Let’s hope!

(ÜSFG) You did a cameo in Steph Song‘s upcoming film, Paradox. Do you have any plans or have there been any talks of projects with other Podsters in the future?

(EU) Wouldn’t that be absolutely amazing?!! I think we would all LOVE to work together again. Hopefully it’ll be in the cards at some point. We are all still such close friends. It’s wonderful. That was just the dream cast, for me anyway.

(ÜSFG) I think it was for all of you. As a fan of the show, it’s great to know your onscreen chemistry extended to real life.

(EU) Yeah, we just had FUN on that set. It was nonstop silliness. And it extended well beyond the cast as well. Kyle and I are headed to J.B. Sugar‘s Halloween party tomorrow actually. We all try to see each other as often as possible. Steph just drove me to an audition earlier this week. It’s really wonderful!

(ÜSFG) That was sweet of her. She is pretty awesome.

(EU) Yup!

(ÜSFG) I personally find it an interesting coincidence that Steph’s episode and your episode of Smallville are airing back to back. 🙂

(EU) Ha! Yeah, we laughed at that too. We are continuously intertwined, her and I…

(ÜSFG) I talked to her last week and had such a blast. I can just imagine the two of you hanging out and what fun it is.

(EU) We get pretty silly. And we can lean on each other for career advice which is just invaluable.

(ÜSFG) Hopefully you’ll get to work together again in the future. 🙂 Would you consider doing another web series?

(EU) I would most certainly be interested in another web series. I have full faith in what that can do after my Sanctuary experience.

(ÜSFG) You mentioned doing a music video with Caleb’s Hope. Do you have any musical talents and aspirations for fans to look forward to? You mentioned wanting to work in New York. Is Broadway in your possible future?

(EU) Oooh… eh hehe… I can actually sing. I am shy though.

(ÜSFG) Awesome!

(EU) It’s not something I’ve worked a lot on, and therefore don’t feel super confident, but the dream is there, for sure. A musical would be a blast, like what Glee is doing right now — SO great!

(ÜSFG) Very cool! So what is your vocal range?

(EU) This is getting technical now.

(ÜSFG) Lol. Um, okay, what singers do you find it easier to sing along with or what musicals and parts do you like best and feel more comfortable belting out?

(EU) When I was driving, I would sing along to Adele. Now Kyle has to drive me everywhere, so I’ve toned down the belting. Chris (Heyerdahl) and I sang along to “Summer Nights” from Grease at the convention (Wolf Haven One), that was quite a sight…

(ÜSFG) Oh, I would have loved to have heard that.

(EU) Hehe… I bet you would…

(ÜSFG) I’m listening to Adele’s To Make You Feel My Love at the moment. How does your voice compare? Do you have that Joplin sound or just more comfortable hitting those notes?

(EU) I’m comfortable in the midrange and can relatively easily go into my falsetto… but I’m sure I’d need some fine tuning. My mom is big on music, so we always played and sang together, weddings and such…

(ÜSFG) You mentioned last night that the theatre scene isn’t that big in Vancouver but have you been to any shows?

(EU) I’ve been to a couple. It’s hit and miss here…

(ÜSFG) Do you have any favorite musicals?

(EU) Yes, Evita is one of my favorites!

(ÜSFG) Awesome. I have been known to belt out “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” more than once. 😀

(EU) Me too!

(ÜSFG) You really have tons of freedom at the moment so it must be just as scary as it is exciting for you. Are you planning on sticking around Vancouver for a while longer or are you looking at making a move or spending the summer in some place like LA or New York?

(EU) I’m actually planning to do this LA thing in the New Year. It’s time to try and swim in the big pond. I feel like I’ve got enough under my belt to make it worthwhile.

(ÜSFG) You definitely have accomplished a lot in a fairly short amount of time. And you’ve covered quite a spectrum of characters in that time.

(EU) Yeah, I’ve been so lucky. There’s still so much more to learn, but at some point you have to take the leap, right?

(ÜSFG) Yes, you do. Hmm. Steph said she was going to LA this summer, too. Are you going on that adventure together?

(EU) We might very well be down there at the same time and so might Ben (Ayres); David (Copp) is already there and I think actually Torrance (Coombs) is going too! How great is THAT?!

(ÜSFG) That is awesome! Maybe you can do a cheesy horror together? I know Torrance just worked with Kody Zimmermann on the Familiar so maybe some indie project like that awaits you all.

(EU) I’m in!

(ÜSFG) You know, Steph has the production side of things (because of Island Films) and you all have such great chemistry. Ever thought of doing an indie project together, as in you all write it and produce it together? Look at films like The Brothers McMullen and Paranormal Activity. Friends got together and produced something they loved for about $10,000-$15,000 and made more then $10,000,000 at the box office.

(EU) We all have dreams of getting our own stuff made. Kyle and I have several projects that we are working on. The dream is to get to work with your friends. So when we can fit characters in that work for people we want to work with, we try to make that happen. Right now though, Kyle and I are all about developing. We’d like to sit on a bunch of creative property so that when the right connections are made, we have several different genres to lure people in with… That sounds evil… it wasn’t meant to.

(ÜSFG) No, it doesn’t sound evil. It sounds like a smart business plan. When you do get that break and produce some amazing content, you want to make sure you have another ace up your sleeve for the follow-up.

(EU) Precisely… It’s exciting to be on this side, too; to feel like you’ve got some say in your career. When the phone goes silent, it’s all about making it happen for yourself.

(ÜSFG) Yes, exactly. That’s why so many talented people are taking advantage of the Internet to directly produce their own projects, cutting out the middleman and taking control of their lives and careers.

(EU) I think that extends so much further than our profession. We have to take responsibility for our own destinies.

(ÜSFG) Yes, we do. Is there anything else you want to say to fans?

(EU) I actually have a question for the fans.

(ÜSFG) Oh?

(EU) If Ashley ever came back to the show, how could it be done in a manner where viewers aren’t like, “Oh, what a boring way to bring her back”? How to not make it “cheap”, and in what capacity would they want to see her back?

(ÜSFG) Oooh. Good question. I’ll make sure to plaster that all over the message boards, if that’s okay with you?

(EU) Yeah…

(ÜSFG) Well, I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me and for being so candid. Thank you!

(EU) You’re welcome! Always a pleasure.

In science fiction, even when there’s a body, dead isn’t always dead. A perfect example would be Daniel Jackson of Stargate SG-1 who died and came back several times throughout the show and Carson Beckett of Stargate Atlantis who was brought back in the form of a clone after much backlash and an unyielding fan campaign finally overwhelmed the producer’s decision. On Battlestar Galactica, actress Katee Sackhoff and the producers of the show staged a huge blowup over the death of her character Starbuck that even the other actors of the show weren’t aware of. As part of a super-secret plot and marketing strategy, she and the producers had a very public falling out that turned out to be a ruse and Starbuck came back in a season finale surprise that completely steered the direction of the remainder of the show. Sometimes, though, favorite characters are killed off permanently, as was the case with Stargate SG-1‘s Dr. Janet Frasier.

While her future seems grim, there is some cause for hope. In a promo for interactive fan experience, Sanctuary and Beyond, we see Will Zimmerman speaking with a mystery woman in the infirmary. She asks, “Will my blood be of any use to Dr. Magnus’ daughter? Will she be able to save her?” Zimmerman replies “I don’t know” before getting interrupted by our eavesdropping.

Season 2 is already filmed and in post-production so we fans will just have to wait out the season to find out if Ashley is Daniel-Dead or Janet-Dead. In the meantime, get your Emilie Ullerup fix by watching her tomorrow night on Smallville and by picking up the DVD of the wonderful series jPod. Paradox is still in post-production but should be out sometime in 2010 so don’t forget to keep watching for that as well.

Thanks to Emilie for taking the time to speak with us today and a special thank-you to 2Shy, ljscott, PlayItGrand, WR_Systems, Missreepicheep, Aaron and Victoria for sending in questions for her.

Emilie Ullerup Links:
Emilie Ullerup Official Website
Emilie Ullerup on IMDb.com
Emilie Ullerup on Facebook
Emilie Ullerup Fan Forum

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Steph Song as Roulette

Steph Song as Roulette

When we last spoke with Steph Song, she had just finished principal photography on the films The Thaw and Paradox and was about to begin the film festival circuit promoting the wonderful Dim Sum Funeral. She was kind enough to catch us up recently on what she’s been up to.

Be sure to watch Steph as Roulette on Smallville this Friday October 23rd. The Thaw is now available on DVD and Paradox is still in post-production. jPod is available to watch streaming on CBC.com and TheWB.com, and can be purchased from Amazon.com. Also, don’t forget to stop by stephsong.com and islandfilms.net to keep up-to-date on Steph’s latest projects.

Other Steph Song Links:
Steph Song on Twitter
Steph Song on Facebook

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Riese Logo

Riese the Series won’t be premiering until November but it’s not too early to start submersing yourself in the world of Eleysia. Riese the Series is a perfect example of transmedia storytelling — the use of multiple mediums to tell a story and involve the consumer as a participant rather then just an observer in its unfolding. There’s a growing community on the Official Forum, where members are discussing clues and puzzles hidden within the pages of the new ARG (alternate reality game) that launched a few days ago on the propaganda-laden website The Sect is Here. (The Sect is the terrifying religious cult that is taking over Eleysia). What is an ARG? Well, according to CNET, an ARG is:

an obsession-inspiring genre that blends real-life treasure hunting, interactive storytelling, video games and online community and may, incidentally, be one of the most powerful guerrilla marketing mechanisms ever invented.

These games are intensely complicated series of puzzles involving coded Web sites, real-world clues like the newspaper advertisements, phone calls in the middle of the night from game characters and more. That blend of real-world activities and a dramatic storyline has proven irresistible to many.

The internet isn’t the only place Riese is reaching out, though. In our own universe, goggle-clad teammates were handing out postcards at Comic-Con in San Diego this year and there’s going to be an Anti-Sect Mob Protest in downtown Vancouver, BC, tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., if you can make it. While there is more information becoming available daily, much of Riese is still shrouded in mystery. To help shed some light on things, we asked series co-creator Ryan Copple a few questions about Riese.

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) What inspired you to write Riese?

Ryan Copple (RC) There were a few ideas that really inspired Riese. For one, I love telling stories with dynamic and strong female characters. Plus, I find journey stories incredibly epic, so being able to have this tough, yet vulnerable, character traverse a dying land seemed like a great jumping off point. Mythology, fables and folklore heavily inspired the piece as well. We wanted to create a world where these sorts of stories would still exist and affect people, but also keep it close enough to the structure of our own world to make it resonate with modern audiences.

(ÜSFG) Tell us a little about your characters.

(RC) I love of all of our characters. Riese is very mysterious and almost aloof, but holds firm to her own convictions so strongly. She’s not a superhero though — she does what she can, on her own, and that’s enough for her. Although Fenrir is a wolf, he has such an intense personality. Ever the faithful guardian, its doubtful Riese would’ve survived this long without Fenrir’s protection. It definitely plays into the “pack” mentality.

Even Amara, who allowed her own family to be murdered in exchange for power, is still somewhat sympathetic. She’d lived in the shadows of her family for so long that when the opportunity presented itself for her to really shine, she took it. While it’s not something to be admired, it is a notion that I believe we all struggle with at some point. It’s clear it’s a decision that haunts her, but she can’t back down or show weakness. Additionally, this character intrigues because she is so driven and strategically brilliant on the one hand, but so politically vulnerable on the other.

Herrick and Trennan, our Sect members, are also pretty compelling. While at first people will view Herrick as the “one-dimensional villain” of the show, his depth really becomes apparent in the horrid actions he takes. He’s a man who has completely lost his humanity. Discovering the history that caused this, I think, will prove very interesting to viewers. Trennan, as opposed to Herrick, is almost the only character that retains any shred of humanity. He has a conscience and thinks about the consequences of the actions everyone is taking. I like to think of Trennan as being “us”, how we would act as people if we were in this world watching the events unfold.

(ÜSFG) Why did you choose steampunk, something traditionally reserved for graphic novels and anime, as your medium?

(RC) I wouldn’t say steampunk is our only medium — we’re very careful to say that we’re inspired by steampunk, not strict adherents. We love the genre, especially the anachronisms. It’s such a cool feeling to enter a world where electricity might exist, but not gas-powered vehicles. Placing this in a setting where monarchies and religions still rule the people also creates a further surreal feel to the setting. The fashions from steampunk, as well as the clockwork parts, are also amazing, so we definitely wanted to find ways to incorporate them into our story.

That being said, we still wanted to tell our own story with our own look. While we borrow heavily from the steampunk aesthetic, this does not take place in a Victorian-era future, but more of a Medieval-World War setting, which is not typical of steampunk. There are rudimentary steam-powered engines, and technology is sparse, but the technology itself is not the key focus of the show. I like to think we’ve taken the genre and done our own spin on it, not recreated it verbatim.

(ÜSFG) Steampunk traditionally features fantastical settings, clothes and technology. Are you relying heavily on CGI like condition: human and Sanctuary did or on more traditional sets and locations as seen in shows like Lumina and The Ennead?

(RC) It was very important to us that Riese was a very textured, gritty world. In our opinion, this wouldn’t be achievable with excessive visual effects. Instead, we opted to shoot in locations that really felt like they’d be part of this world — a decrepit, run down warehouse, for example. We had two green screen shots for matte paintings, but otherwise we wanted to keep this world as real as possible.

(ÜSFG) Why did you choose to produce Riese for the web instead of as a traditional film or television series?

(RC) Initially we thought of shooting Riese as a pilot, but realized if it didn’t fit into a network’s schedule, it would end up on a shelf somewhere and not be seen by anyone. So, the obvious conclusion was to broadcast it ourselves. Other shows (Sanctuary, The Guild) have had considerable success, so it wasn’t even a bad alternative. Plus it means we can really be connected with our fan base, show them we’re listening and want them involved, and really try to build a community around the show and its immersive story world rather than it just airing on a television station. The market for this form of entertainment is still relatively new, so while the future remains unclear, I believe we have a lot of innovative ideas that’ll really make it stand out — and this is something we could only do online.

(ÜSFG) Once you decided to make Riese, how long did it take to put it all together and get production rolling?

(RC) We actually spent over a year developing the concept and fleshing out the characters before we really began production. Preparing for the actual filming only took about two months, as we had enough experienced people on board to ensure we did everything as efficiently as possible. The saying you’re only as good as the people who surround you definitely proved true here.

(ÜSFG) What kind of budget do you have for Riese, and did you rely on traditional financing or is it primarily self-funded?

(RC) We have a budget that’s much larger than most traditional web series, largely due to the cast as well as the lengths we went to with production and costume design. It’s privately financed, and we’re blessed to have financial backers who really believe in us.

(ÜSFG) Your primary antagonist is a religious cult, The Sect. Is it just a “Big Brother” type of plot device or is there an underlying message you want to convey?

(RC) The Sect is a “Big Brother” persona, but it also has other indications. It is most definitely not a knock on any specific religion. With the imagined era we’re setting the world in, it seemed an appropriate organization to serve as the villains. The Sect is meant to show the dangers of blindly clinging to archaic belief systems and the problems of fanaticism.

Riese

Riese

(ÜSFG) I’ve been looking at your production stills and loving the wardrobe! I was curious how you’d pull off the steampunk feel but from what I’ve seen, you’ve nailed it. I do get the impression the clothing chosen for each character has more behind it than just looking cool or being functional, though. For example, Riese’s hooded cloak is lined in red, the only contrasting color other than her skin that you find in her outfit, and her companion is a wolf. This makes me think of a Stephen Sondheim style Little Red Riding Hood, the inexperienced girl going off into the dangerous world facing predators that threatened her mind and spirit as much as her life. The mechanical gears and mask worn by Herrick makes me think of the figurative political machine that moves behind the scenes, manipulating governments. Is it just my imagination or are aspects of the character’s clothing intentionally representative of ideas or themes you want the audience to subconsciously pick up on?

(RC) I’m glad you noticed the attention to detail that our outrageously talented costume designer, Megan Leson, brought to each piece. I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that we meticulously inspected each outfit to ensure it fit into this world. The costumes themselves are certainly archetypical to each character. Riese, the wanderer, travels with a wolf, in hiding, so a cloak with slashes of red turned out as a beautiful way to demonstrate that fairy tale connection, perhaps not so subtly. Each character also has a thematic palette that mirrors both their persona and their place in this imagined world. For example, Riese’s costumes are very much a dark, rugged leather, very earthy in nature. She’s the embodiment of a rogue that has strayed away from civilization. Amara, on the other hand, is a regal purple and platinum. Man-made and cold, she is the antithesis of Riese in every sense of the word.

The costumes of our Sect Members were also heavily inspired by both the steampunk genre and militaristic uniforms. You did well to pick up on the idea that the gears have deeper significance than just “looking cool”. Sect Members, as you’ll see in the show, are almost of a hive-mind, and so we really wanted to ensure this uniformity was apparent in their wardrobe — at the same time, we also wanted to make each look unique. Therefore, rather than insist they all wear the same clothing, we opted to connect them via their relics, or the clockwork. The idea is that the more relics one has affixed to themselves, the more indoctrinated into the Sect’s beliefs they are — a concept often seen in our own culture.

We embraced the idea of clockwork as being associated with The Sect for a number of reasons in their costumes. For one, we liked how much they stood apart from any aspect of the show, truly making the Sect a unique, and obviously strange, organization. In addition, as you stated, they have a deeper significance than simply being small pieces of brass — they represent something grander and more manipulative, working behind the scenes, not ever clear how exactly it functions. Finally, in this medieval, primitive world, the Sect’s technology is extremely advanced, which just illustrates how the people of these lands would fear them and be willing to give up their territory and people so easily.

(ÜSFG) You’ve wrapped on the first part of the series. How many webisodes will come from the first round of shooting and when will they start rolling out?

(RC) We shot five episodes and they will begin airing November 2nd. Pre-production has begun on the next six episodes, and will shoot in December.

(ÜSFG) Will Riese be an ongoing series with new adventures unfolding for as long as there is an interest and a following or do you have a story (or chapters) to tell that will come to a conclusion within a predetermined number of webisodes?

(RC) I’d say both — we definitely have a long term plan for Riese and its characters, but as I said before, we also have our ear to the ground every step of the way. So while there is a path Riese will follow on her journey, it’s also somewhat fluid to accommodate input from our viewers.

(ÜSFG) The cast and crew all seem so excited in the behind-the-scenes videos, and Chad Krowchuk commented on the symbiotic work relationship on the set. What was the feel on set during the production and how did it carry over into what you’re seeing on screen?

(RC) There was a huge sense of camaraderie, largely because people knew we were trying something that hadn’t been done before. Moreover, it was an opportunity for our crew to collaborate creatively, making Riese an even richer final product. Everyone was thrilled to be there, and we’re ecstatic to have the chance to work with them all again in December.

(ÜSFG) When can we expect to see an extended teaser trailer?

(RC) The full trailer is scheduled to be released early October.

Can’t get enough of Riese? Be sure to keep checking out these links for more treats and teasers before the series launches this fall:

Official Riese Website
“The Sect is Here” Website
Riese on YouTube
Riese on Twitter
Riese on Facebook

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Magic Trixie

Fans of Jill Thompson’s Scary Godmother comic books will be enchanted by her new series, Magic Trixie, a Scary Godmother for the younger set. Filled with witty dialogue, the graphic novels are illustrated in Thompson’s signature style of energetic, brightly-coloured watercolours. The books are recommended for ages 8-12, but the universal childhood themes will appeal to all ages.

Trixie, a young, pink-and-orange-haired witch is introduced in the debut title, Magic Trixie, whose cover proclaims, “Meet Magic Trixie! She’s smart. She’s sassy. She has magic powers.” Trixie’s also an outgoing little girl who shows off, complains, pull faces, gets into mischievous scrapes, and acts rashly like any normal kid. In this first volume, Trixie deals with the familiar problems of peer pressure and sibling rivalry. Any child, or adult who remembers being a child, will relate to Trixie’s school woes and empathize when, frustrated by the constant favouritism she perceives for her baby sister, Abby Cadabra, she wails “Not fair!” and runs off to hide in a closet. Unlike most people, however, Trixie has a talking cat named Scratches to give her a pep talk (or play pirates with her in the backyard). The story’s conclusion, in which one problem is inadvertently resolved by the other, is heartwarming without being sacharrine, and will make readers appreciate the benefits of having a sister, big or little.

In Magic Trixie Sleeps Over, no longer at odds with her sister and having called a truce with her nemesis at school, Trixie turns her displeasure elsewhere. Her parents, she thinks, have gotten much too bossy and demanding, plaguing her with baths and unreasonable bedtimes when all she wants to do is watch tantalizingly forbidden shows on Spell-O-Vision and stay up late playing and making messes. When she finds out that her friends from school — a mummy, Frankenboy, werewolf, and vampire twins — don’t have to put up with such inconveniences, she decides to go stay with them, only to discover that they have other, much less appealing nighttime rituals (to a witch, at least). Each sleepover is amusingly in keeping with its host’s archetypal monster heritage, and the art changes subtly to reflect the associated atmosphere, such as the vampires’ pages being done entirely in a spooky, grey monochrome that’s broken only by the twins’ glowing red eyes. This peek into the home lives of Trixie’s friends really fleshes out the secondary characters, while teaching the increasingly homesick Trixie just how good she actually has it at home.

Magic Trixie and the Dragon whisks Trixie off to visit an extraordinary circus where there are performances by pink elephants, a mermaid, fairies, wizards, robots, alien creatures, and more. Best of all, the main act features real, live dragons! Naturally, Magic Trixie then wants a pet dragon, but has to settle for getting a genuine dragon scale as a gift. When she takes the scale to school to brag about it to her friends, a misunderstanding results in them thinking that she has the amazing beast the scale used to be attached to, and they want to see it. Trixie, like any kid who doesn’t want to lose face in front of friends, never thinks to just ‘fess up. After letting her mind wander during a routine transmogrification spell, she thinks her dilemma is solved when she accidentally turns her sister into a dragon. (Look for a cute cameo appearance by Scary Godmother‘s Bug-a-Boo in Abby’s nursery.) The moment Trixie turns her back on dragon-Abby, though, her baby sister promptly flies off, and Scratches, believing he’s been replaced in Trixie’s affections by this new “pet”, runs away from home to join the circus. A remorseful Trixie must race back to the circus to retrieve them both, in the process surprising her friends by making an unscheduled appearance in the Big Tent with the famous Dragonriders. Later that evening, in bed, Magic Trixie says to Scratches, “Well, everything worked out fine in the end, pal. I learned my lesson, Abby’s Abby again, you’re still my bestest bud, a dragon is a drag, and best of all — no one is the wiser…” From a child’s point of view, it’s the perfect happy ending.

Jill Thompson is the winner of multiple Eisner Awards (the highest honor in graphic novels) for her art and writing. She’s the author and artist behind Scary Godmother, Magic Trixie, and many other titles. She lives in Chicago. Visit her online at magictrixie.com.

Q&A with Jill Thompson:

ÜberSciFiGeek (ÜSFG) Is Magic Trixie set in the same universe as Scary Godmother?

Jill Thompson (JT) Magic Trixie is set in her own world. One that is closer to our own reality. But one where magic is totally part of the culture. And there are monsters and robots and dragons and other marvelous things…

(ÜSFG) Will there be more Magic Trixie books, beyond the three currently published?

(JT) There are only three on the schedule as of now, though I’d love to do more. I’m working on Beasts of Burden, a series debuting in September from Dark Horse. And then I’ll be starting the second Little Endless Storybook which should come out next summer.

(ÜSFG) Do the Magic Trixie books mean the end of the Scary Godmother series?

(JT) Not at all. I’m currently talking to prospective publishers about reprinting the books and comics and subsequently more new stories.

(ÜSFG) Is there any possibility of a Magic Trixie film or television adaptation, like the Scary Godmother animated specials made by Mainframe Entertainment?

(JT) There’s always that possibility but nothing has happened like that as of yet.

(ÜSFG) Has there been talk of any tie-in merchandise for Magic Trixie and Scary Godmother, such as dolls, action figures, or plush toys?

(JT) I’d love to do some merchandise for all of the characters. I’ve recently dabbled in embroidered patches of some of them and I’m looking into creating plush toys, statues, figurines, and other items. I have a sketchbook full of designs I’d love to see made.

Author Interview from HarperCollins Publishers: Jill Thompson on Magic Trixie

Order now at Amazon.com:
Magic Trixie (Canada)
Magic Trixie (US)
Magic Trixie Sleeps Over (Canada)
Magic Trixie Sleeps Over (US)
Magic Trixie and the Dragon (Canada)
Magic Trixie and the Dragon (US)

Magic Trixie is distributed by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollinsCanada and HarperCollins Publishers. For more information on the book series and its author, visit the Magic Trixie and Jill Thompson websites. Jill Thompson may also be followed on Twitter.

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