Bird's Eye View

I haven’t posted an update in a while, because a lot of things have been changing with Dark Moon, and I wasn’t (and still am not) sure how everything will play out.  I didn’t want to post some info only to have it change right after.  But since I have some idea of what’s happening, I wanted to post it, since an update is much needed.

For now, the animated movie plans are on hold, and we are waiting for the right opportunity to possibly do this in the future.  Because of a number of factors that had changed since we created our movie trailer, I decided that trying to pull off the movie would be way too risky, and the last thing I wanted to do is end such a great run of surpassing expectations with an epic disaster.  The smarter move seems to be to wait for a better convergence of fates regarding this, and since I rarely make the smarter move I thought it would be worth a try in this case. ;P

Instead, our motion comic’s story arc will be completed in this final episode, coming out in late July, in the same format as the previous episodes, including a version for the Madefire app.  Unlike the first three episodes, we will be charging a small amount and not providing free on Youtube.  It’s been great to provide the first three motion comics for free, but in order to make this last one happen we will be selling the final episode.  The good news is that this is allowing us to provide even more complete content than our last releases, including an alternate version of the final episode, and a lot of other surprises, which we will be announcing soon.

So this summer the story arc that some fans started over three years ago will come to completion!  But as fans will see, there are places this story could travel to someday if we get the chance.  But this will definitely be the last in the original series of Dark Moon motion comics, which is a highly atmospheric, electronic music charged original experience with some unique artwork that fits the story and music perfectly.  Dark Moon was always more of an experimental project than traditional comic in nature, but I’m so happy this 4-part motion comic turned out to be a memorable experience for it’s “unique combination of flavors”.  

The final episode is the hardest, I am finding, but there is so much to love about it, I am happy to say I think fans will be in for a real treat.  It’s still in production, but I can already feel magic in parts of it, and moments where the iconic, refreshing artwork, the ghostly music, and the story all come together is what Dark Moon is all about!

I’ll be posting more frequently now that production is in full swing, and there is some certainty to where we are headed.  While a lot has changed since we started our motion comic, the goal of giving fans something unique and from the heart remains, and it will be the driving force in our final motion comic!

P.S.  There’s some things brewing behind the scenes with Dark Moon, that I hope to be able to announce shortly!  More updates on the way!

The Quest to Make a Dark Moon Movie

I’m calling it a quest at this point, because to me it feels like one.  A couple years ago I was able to put together a small team to make the Dark Moon motion comics, doing all the work besides drawing and lettering myself, with no previous comic making experience, and this itself was a major challenge, but we did it and I couldn’t be happier with the finished work.  Dark Moon is a unique experience, and something I am truly happy to share with the world.

But motion comics are such a cutting edge art, that there isn’t much of a market for them at the present time, which is why I’ve put them out for free, since I would rather share them with everyone for free, then put a price tag on them and have only a few people check them out.  So in all honesty the Dark Moon series has slowed down, due to lack of my ability to self-fund it further.  This is not a sad thing to me, I am so happy to have shared these motion comics with the world, and it was worth every penny and hour of time spent.  

But I needed to find a new way to keep Dark Moon going, and this is the reason for the long delay after the third episode.

I started to look into fundraising options such as kickstarter, and this is still an option to finish the motion comic, but also during this break, I began to see the possibilities of turning the existing Dark Moon art, plus new art, into an animated movie, where I would be able to add voice-overs, awesome FX, more action, and more music and sound FX options than in motion comic form.  The idea grew in my head that the story started with the Dark Moon motion comics could be finished as a movie.  

The animated movie would give long-time fans the ability to experience the existing story in a completely new medium, and then finish the story (the initial story at least, as with most comics, there are ALWAYS possibilities for more!) in a very satisfactory way.  New viewers would also enjoy it just as the crazy abstract animated sci-fi/horror story that it is.  

Also, at this same time, I saw the possibilities of having voice overs from awesome actors, such as the iconic actor Tony Todd, who I got in contact with, that would give the story such added depth.  I couldn’t resist in seeing where this was going to lead.

So we made the Dark Moon movie trailer, which we were able to get Tony Todd to be part of, and this was a good proof of concept for what we would pull off as an animated movie.  The movie trailer was a great experience, and seeing long-time fans get excited about it was great.  We then performed a poll to make sure fans wanted the animated movie to happen, and they did, so we began pursuing making this happen.  

From there, we have had some major difficulties and setbacks.  The original animator we had worked with on the movie trailer as well as our music video series, said he would not be able to work on the project in the time frame we planned on.  Also, other issues have emerged, some of which I have to keep private for confidentiality reasons, making this already huge project more complicated than originally thought.

So, I’ve found a new animator, and the initial test went well, and we’re in the process of working with him on a larger test, to be sure he is right before jumping into the whole movie.  This larger test will be a new Dark Moon music video, and I’ll hopefully be sharing it in a few weeks or so, to show everyone what this new animator can do.  I’m paying for this larger test out of my own money, because I don’t want to raise funds to hire him for the movie, without being fully sure he will do an awesome job.

As far as other issues, I believe we can be successful, as long as the animator is right for the job.  I am determined to jump any hurdles necessary to make sure however we finish the story, it will be epic and amazing, and it will put a smile on the faces of all the Dark Moon fans from the past, present, and the future!

Our fundraiser, likely on Kickstarter, has been delayed to a tentative date of Feb. 1st, 2017, based on the reasons listed above.  Like I mentioned, we are only going to start when we are sure we can accomplish our goal of making a totally awesome animated movie, so I apologize for the delays.

One way or another, the Dark Moon story will be completed.  I once again want to thank all the fans for their patience, there’s nothing I want to do more than finish this story for everyone, and also for me, since I am a Dark Moon fan too!  I appreciate all the love and support, and hope everyone has a great holiday and end of the year!

Smooth Animator

I’m happy to announce that we have found a new animator and can begin making plans to start the Dark Moon animated movie fundraiser and then production!  We will release more info about our new animator soon, so you can get a feel for his work and what to expect.  I am extremely happy that not only does he do very cool, innovative work, but also he is cool to work with, and is committed to making the Dark Moon movie awesome!

I have REALLY high expectations for this movie, in my mind I can already see it, and definitely the trailer hints at the potential, but I think fans will be amazed when it is completed.  There is so much to look forward to, some can be mentioned, such as the completion of the story that was started with our motion comic, as well as the voiceover by Tony Todd bringing Dante to life, and other exciting aspects are being kept secret for now, but I expect that fans will be thrilled with what we are going to do with the movie.  More secrets will be released soon ;-)

So after a break while we searched for a new animator, we are back at work on creating one of the coolest new sci-fi/ horror experiences, and think you will enjoy what you see from us soon!

Dark Moon Movie Update

Now that our movie trailer is out, and people can finally see the possibility of a full-length animated movie featuring the voice of Tony Todd, it is just too exciting of an idea not to try and pull off!  In our twitter poll the fans voted for the animated movie as the coolest way to complete our journey!  The movie would allow us to tell the full story that we’ve begun with our first three motion comics, in the most powerful way possible.  As an added bonus, in the process of making the movie, we would create the content that is needed to also complete the story in motion comic form simultaneously, making everyone (including us) happy!

So what’s the plan?

Well the plan was originally to have started a kickstarter campaign by now, to fund what’s needed to complete movie and final motion comic.  We have had to delay this somewhat now, because the animator that did such great work on our trailer and music video series, will not be available to animate the movie until Fall 2017 at earliest, and we did not want to wait this long.  So before we begin our kickstarter campaign, we are trying to find the right animator or animation team to pull off our movie with the style and atmosphere that will live up what we’ve started.  

The good news is that we may have found an animator, and hopefully this will work out and we can begin our fundraiser soon.  If it doesn’t, I am sure we will find the right artist.  And that’s the thing, it really has to be an AMAZING artist to pull this off.  But if we can find him or her, I really think we will be onto something amazing, with powerful art, music, and animation all working together with a creepy, action-filled storyline.  What’s not to love?

So stay-tuned!  We’ve appreciated your patience as we deal with this personnel issue, and you can trust that we will find a way to make our movie AWESOME!!! 

An Interesting Predicament

I finally had one of those game changing ideas about how to release the Dark Moon movie trailer, and it would be one of the coolest ways to market a trailer ever…  very hard to pull off, but possible, and it would be epic.  But to make things interesting, I had this breakthrough very late in the game, and to make things MUCH more interesting, I’ve somehow injured my shoulder badly, and can barely concentrate on anything due to the pain.  Hopefully my doctor’s appointment this week results in at least a temporary solution, I can only hope.

I’ve had some success with marketing as an independent music artist before, but know how hard it is to do something that can really catch fire in the press, I’ve had it happen maybe twice, and both times I made mistakes that I’ve learned from.  Now I am trying to market a movie trailer, which I have no experience doing, and besides the basics, have really been struggling to come up with a fresh idea that would work.

Now I have it, the secret spice that will work, but pulling off the idea will take so much work.  It’s worth it though, it’s just fun watching people get thrilled by something like this, and that alone is reason enough to try.  I can’t say what my amazing idea is, because its success depends on it being a secret, but I know I need to start on it immediately!

The problem is that my right shoulder went from a little sore once in a while, to barely useable and constantly in major pain.  I’ve scheduled a doctor’s appointment, but can only help there is a quick solution, at least enough of a solution to allow me to work hard on this trailer launch when I can after work and on weekends!

So I see an opportunity to really bring Dark Moon to the globe!  It is a bold, daring, crazy and awesome idea!  But my ability to pull it off while working, dealing with my shoulder, and everything else, will be absolutely put to the test.  I can’t even see how it’s possible at this point, but as Lao Tzu said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, and this is so true here.  I must at least try to pull this off, but of course as Yoda said “There is no try, only do”.  

I just quoted Lao Tzu and Yoda in one paragraph.  High five!

The Dark Moon Movie

As stated a number of times on this blog, we are learning as we go with this comic series.  It started as an idea I had to combine a print comic with a custom music soundtrack, then we ended up finding that the motion comic format worked extremely well for what we are trying to do.  Now recently in previous blog posts I’ve speculated on what other formats we might try.  In a very real sense, fans are watching our series slowly evolve.  

So in the spirit of this, we will soon bring forth our official movie trailer!  The idea behind this trailer is to show Dark Moon’s potential as a fully animated movie.  While animated movies may not seem cutting edge, our approach to it will be, and this will be evident from the trailer!  The trailer features the voice of renowned actor Tony Todd, who is a horror legend from his roles as Candyman and in the Final Destination movies, as well as many more great roles.  

Tony Todd’s voice is perfect for the lead character, Dante, and having him as part of this has added an amazing dimension to our comic.  This is something that wouldn’t be possible in motion comic form, but with animated movies, where dialog is used in place of speech bubbles, it is an incredible fit, and once I found out this was something we could pull off, I knew we had to pursue it!

With the combination of great art, music, animation, and good voice acting like that of Tony Todd, it has been possible for us to create a really amazing movie trailer, which will debut next month.  The goal of this movie trailer is to find a partner that has the right experience to take our amazing content to the next level in the form of a feature length movie.  This would be the best of all possible outcomes in my opinion.

If for whatever reason we don’t find the right partnership, the trailer will also be a great start for a kickstarter campaign for us to raise money to do a shortened version of the film by ourselves.  While I would love to work with a full production company on a feature length version of our story, I think we could also pull off an amazing version on our own, and think our trailer shows what we are already able to do (it’s pretty damn cool)!  If this plan seems somewhat familiar, it is very similar to the “Kung Fury” plan, and while we can never aspire to that project’s level of amazing-ness, we think our project has a lot of the right elements needed for it to be highly successful as well.

An added benefit of being successful at making the movie, is that we will also have produced the content that will enable us to finish the motion comic series, and perhaps when we can find a distributor, to produce it in print comic form as well.  So for fans that want to see the comic play out, this is actually the best way of ensuring this occurs.  But rest assured, even if the fully animated movie doesn’t happen, we will find a way to finish the motion comic, but it will happen at a slower pace and will have it’s own set of difficulties.  But we hope to avoid those logistics altogether by getting this movie made, and could use everybody’s help on this!  If you ever wanted to root for an underdog, than please help support our shot at getting our comic made into a movie!

Dark Moon #1 Revisited

When we first put out Dark Moon #1, it was in the midst of absolute chaos, being the first motion comic we had ever done, and it was just myself and the artist, both with no previous comic experience.  The original plan was to release the print comic with a soundtrack, but at the time, that plan had become very delayed, and we had to make the motion comic happen no matter what, it was actually sort of a back up plan but it quickly became our only chance to put the comic out on time.

All said and done, it was a success.  I knew there were a lot of great elements to the motion comic, and that people would like it to some degree, but I was really surprised to find out how much people understood and appreciated what we were doing, despite some flaws, most of them being due to lack of experience.  I am also thankful for the constructive criticism that helped us identify where we needed to improve.

Based on the positive feedback from fans, we continued making the motion comic, and #2 and #3 were made with much more confidence, and also weren’t rushed by a lot of the issues we ran into with #1.  We have been improving on all levels, and now I can look at the comic as a whole and know we are making something special.

But for me, #1 has never felt finished.  I was so rushed to get the comic together, and having never used the Madefire motion comic creation software before, there were some compromises and mistakes.  Most of the issues are extremely minor, but to me they are major, as I’ve put years of work into this comic, and it really has bothered me that our first episode had some easy to fix flaws.  

Ever since I found Kuen Tang, our amazing letterer, and saw what a improvement having a pro letterer made on #2 and #3, I knew we would update our first motion comic with her lettering when possible.  So that is the main change in this revised version.  But since we are making this change, I have also decided to make a few more improvements.  A few lines of dialogue have been re-written, nothing that affects plot, but just some rookie mistakes of mine.  Also, a couple scene transitions are being updated, and the overall flow has been subtly changed.  

I think this will help the feeling of continuity for the whole series, and also I think it’s a better introduction to our universe, since for a lot of people, our first motion comic is their first real experience with us.  I just feel better knowing all three of our existing comics match, and the series starts off as epic-ly (apparently that’s not a word) as it is supposed to.  

Since the lettering is already finished, the revised version should be available in a matter of days, and for me, it couldn’t have come any sooner, I am excited to finally release this important update!

How the Lost Boys Soundtrack Inspired Dark Moon

When I have been asked in interviews about musical influences for Dark Moon, I usually quickly remember examples such as John Carpenter, which is definitely a good answer, but just recently I started thinking about how much the Lost Boys in general, and especially the music, was such a key factor in my young life and in making me want to blend horror and music in my own way.  These experiments eventually turned into the Dark Moon motion comic series!

I grew up in San Jose, California, and when I was young, my best friend at the time moved to Santa Cruz, which was where the Lost Boys was filmed.  His mom was a make-up artist for low budget horror movies, and we were both extremely into horror, and had even heard beforehand that the movie would be made in the area, and it was like a dream come true that the hottest horror movie at the time was being made right where we hung out!

I still think the late 80’s was the pinnacle of the horror scene, at least for me, it was just SO MUCH FUN to be into horror at the time.  I’m also very lucky that my Mom let me watch these sort of movies way before I was 18!  So when Lost Boys came out I was already worked into a frenzy, and the afterglow of the movie lasted for months, and would return whenever I visited my friend in Santa Cruz.  I felt like I was walking around inside the movie. 

Then a while after the movie, the soundtrack came out.  I had remembered the music was great, but when I bought the soundtrack and listened to it, it was almost as cool of an experience as the movie!  It is an amazing combination of music, and I was able to constantly dive back into the feeling I got from the movie each time I played it.  It was also one of those things that you could start a friendship over in school: “If this person is cool enough to like the Lost Boys soundtrack, maybe I could hang out with them?”  

Even after years of not watching the movie, I could listen to the soundtrack and be taken somewhere that the songs alone wouldn’t have taken me.  Because I had experienced the songs as part of this awesome movie, they would always have a different effect on me, a different “mental signature” if you will.  I probably never would have liked songs like “Cry Little Sister” if they weren’t placed so perfectly in the movie.

The soundtrack was incredibly popular, at least in the demographic I grew up in, and more than that, it was a part of my life.  I can still return to a simpler and funner time, just by listening to this soundtrack.  I’ve ALWAYS wanted to offer this feeling to someone else, and it took over 20 years, but I feel like the first Dark Moon comic soundtrack comes really close to this, and have been really happy to hear some responses from fans that indicate we at least somewhat succeeded at making horror with cool music at the core of the experience.

I would also like to thank some of the amazing hip hop artists on our first soundtrack, such as Myka 9, Ad Kapone, Chunk, Lasro, Lokey, Mad Shad, TDC, and many others.  They took my concept and did amazing work with it, and I now can still listen to this soundtrack and dive back into the Dark Moon universe, which is an incredible thing to me.  I still feel like I can do better, and really hope to offer a new soundtrack along with the next part of our story, that works even better to give people that experience I appreciated so much as a kid.  It’s not going to be easy, but I think it is worth it.

What's Next? (Part 2)

The first part of this blog post was a practical look at where we are going in the next couple months and near future.  In this second part I’d like to pontificate in a more abstract and meandering fashion about the other possibilities that go through my mind as I’ve contemplated the future of this series on a near daily basis for over two years now.

The core of the Dark Moon experience will always be the combination of a unique style of both music and art, to create moments that are “bigger” than they would have been on their own.  Motion comics, of which I had only seen a few of before beginning Dark Moon, actually fits us really well.  From the beginning, however, I have pondered, almost like a zen koan, on what else Dark Moon could be.  Other ways to tell the story could include a movie, game, web mini-series, print comic with soundtrack (which we did try as a concept!), as well as more esoteric concepts such as a live music act with projected images, a virtual reality experience, and all sorts of other possibilities have passed through my mind.

All of these would be incredibly fun to pull off.  I even have an idea for the series that I can’t even mention here, because I consider it a complete paradigm shift for entertainment in general, and don’t want to give the concept away to ruin the surprise!  I should be very clear, however, that like many people, I have some amazing ideas, but my ability to pull them off is limited by lack of both money and experience ;-)  But then again, I would have never guessed we would have produced three awesome motion comics at this point either, so it is fun to keep dreaming big!

All of the above ideas have a lot of potential.  I would love to see what a good film team could do with Dark Moon, I feel like we could maintain the right atmosphere that is missing from most sci-fi/horror movies, especially the low budget ones.  I also really love the virtual reality concept, as I think this is going to be a very exciting medium for horror in the next few years.  The ability to completely surround a person’s senses and have horrible things creep up on them in virtual reality is amazing.  As a musician that used to love playing live as a youth (seems like a billion years ago), I also am really excited about the live music concept, this would be hard to pull off at first, but could be possible if other parts fall into place.  Like I mentioned, it is a lot of fun to dream big, sometimes the dream is even more important than what finally happens…

So as we are on this break from production, I am trying to keep the possibilities wide open, and look for opportunities where they arise.  As mentioned, I have very little experience in anything besides music production, so all of this is very new to me.  But at this point I have seen how much fun people have watching our series, and am determined to continue making Dark Moon one of the most original entertainment experiences ever!

The Dark Moon Story Arc

Q: “How many episodes long is Dark Moon’s story arc?”

A: “Let me get back to you” (if you don’t want to read below it’s 8)

This was my answer when first starting Dark Moon, because while I’ve always known basically where the story would go, much of the later part of the story was in a state of quantum flux, sort of like a dream you only remember the really visceral moments of, with the rest leaving only a shadow of substance.  

As mentioned a number of times on this blog and in interviews, I made Dark Moon #1 as a concept at first, just to see if was possible to make a comic that interweaved music into its very soul, and whether people would “get it”.   If it wasn’t for the awesome fans that saw what we were doing and really appreciated it, it would have ended there as a concept.

So I originally had a really rough idea of the story being nine episodes long, probably mostly inspired by Star Wars.  But also, I like the number nine, I think it is a mysterious number.  So at one point I was saying that the Dark Moon story arc was nine episodes.

But the whole time, I also wanted the story arc’s length to be correlated with the phases of the moon, of which there are eight.  Also, the number eight is believed by many to be lucky, so that is cool.  

Finally, when I recently outlined the rest of the Dark Moon story in detail (it gets AWESOME by the way) it just seemed to work better as an eight episode series, so that sealed the deal.  So officially now the Dark Moon series is eight episodes long, with each episode representing a phase of the moon, I think this fits nicely ;-)

Now that doesn’t mean that Dark Moon HAS to end after eight, there are always side stories, prequels, sequels, etc. but I hope it gives the reader an idea of where they are at in the series.

Winter Break

It’s been an amazing two years going from taking Dark Moon from an idea I had, with absolutely no comic making experience, to a full fledged motion comic!  I could not have done it without finding an amazing artist, Benedick Bana, and an amazing letterer, Kuen Tang.  What is surprising to me still is that despite our very small team, and very little combined comic experience (only our letterer has worked on comics before), that we have put something together that fans really enjoy!  I think it’s a testimony to how much love and effort are put into the process, and I am constantly amazed that fans are able to pick up these qualities, some of which are extremely subtle.

Fans have been asking, “When is Dark Moon #4 coming out?” and while we are itching to keep moving as quick as possible towards the finish line (which in our case is episode #8) we are going to really take our time before offering the next episode.  Right now Dark Moon #4 is tentatively scheduled for this Fall 2016, to give us time to rest up as well as prepare to take the comic series into a new level of awesomeness.  So I think fans will understand…  what we have been doing good, we will be getting ready to do even better!

For me in particular, I’m a little “obsessive” when it comes to my art projects, so over these last two years, taking care of the story, music, motion design, marketing, etc. for Dark Moon has been an amazing process, but my nature is to obsess over little detail, which can be exhausting after two straight years, so this break, which really started in November, has been and will be great for me to pace myself to finish this thing in an amazing fashion! 

Also, the break is an opportunity to look at how to reach the Dark Moon #8 finale in the best way that we can.  While we will get there no matter what, we are investigating the best method to deliver the series to the world.  This will involve looking for a publisher, investigating a Kickstarter campaign, and other possibilities.  While there are a lot of directions we could go, I think fans of the series will appreciate the effort we will be making to find the right way to complete Dark Moon!

So even during the break, we will not be totally quiet.  We will have updates about our search for a publisher and other topics.  I will do interviews about other developments, such as an update to Dark Moon #1 to match the lettering and style of the other two episodes.  Also, we will be gearing up for an amazing rest of the series!  I have already completed a detailed outline for the next three episodes, and can tell you the story has tons of amazing action and horror moments, can’t wait to bring this to you!  Also, during this break, I am producing more music for the Dark Moon series, some of which will be released well before the next episode!

So, long story short, we have appreciated all the love and support as we have gotten Dark Moon to where it is, and we are committed to finishing this awesome story in the best way we can!

What’s Next? (Part 1)

Getting to where we are at now, with three episodes available, music videos based on our comic, great music based on our series, a print edition, etc. has been quite a journey!  Since I had no experience in comics, being mainly a music producer previously, I had no idea if we were going to be able to pull off even one of these episodes, much less three of them!  What has really been the most exciting and surprising part, is that there are people out there who really, really love our series and what we are doing!

If it weren’t for the fans of the series, I would have stopped after our first motion comic, since it really began as an “art experiment” to try a unique combination of music and art.  I had hopes of telling the whole story, but was being realistic in thinking this might not be accepted by comic and horror fans, since as mentioned the artist and I had no experience making a comic, much less a motion comic!

We made a lot of mistakes on the way, but also did some things so well it’s scary!  As a comic and horror fan myself, I am happy that there are moments in the series that are truly wonderful and scary.  It also was fun to roll the first and third episode out near halloween, and have Dark Moon become part of many people’s halloween experience!

So now we have fans wanting to know what is next with the series and where we are going with it, which is a good problem ;-)  The truth is, we are still figuring this out, but I will give you a quick version of what we are planning in this post, and go into more specifics on the next one.  BTW- sorry this post is getting long, I haven’t written one in a while!  

Dark Moon’s primary story arc is 9 episodes, so fans that have watched all three so far are a third of the way into the story!  Now that we have completed 3 episodes, we are taking a break for a while to regroup and upgrade Dark Moon for the next set of episodes.  By the way, the reason there are nine episodes is that there are 8 phases of the moon, plus the return to the original phase, which makes 9!  Also, it worked great for Star Wars so nine episodes it is! ;-)

During this break we are investigating ways to make our experience even better, for example, we are planning to take the series to Youtube next year, and plan on re-issuing the first three episodes in this format, which would allow us to add more motion and action as well as voice acting for the characters.  Also, Youtube as a format is great for fans, so I think this will be a HUGE deal.  But to do it right it will take a lot of time!  

In addition to this we will be active during this break from new episodes.  We will be updating the existing first episode to match the lettering of the other two (we found an amazing letterer, Kuen Tang, during the making of the second episode) and making other small improvements.  Also, we are planning on releasing more music, including what should be an amazing album featuring some great artists next year.  In addition to this we will be adding prints and more clothing options for sale on our site.  

So, the current rough plan is to get back to making new episodes later in 2016, but in the meantime upgrade the way we offer the comic, and really think out the future of Dark Moon seriously.  In the meantime we will be releasing music, art, music videos, etc. so you will still see some cool updates from us, but new episodes will have to wait until at least Fall 2016.  Trust me, this will be for the best, since I have some really ambitious plans for where this story is headed, but to pull it off will require some serious preparation and planning!

In part 2 of this blog post about “What’s Next” I will get into more specifics about what we will be up to soon, such as the comic series coming to Youtube, the update of Episode 1, our next official music album, and more!

Why Does It Take So Long?

Each episode takes us quite a while to make!  Our three part intro mini-series will take a year from the first episode , which was released around Halloween 2014, to the third episode, coming out this Halloween 2015.

So why does it take so long?  Well one thing is that a motion comic in general takes more time than a print comic, but even then, we move at a fairly slow pace.  Luckily our fans have been very patient (which I REALLY appreciate), and actually I’m surprised that no one has really pushed us to move faster.  So here is a little bit about why it takes us an average of 4 months to make each episode!

Well for one thing, like so many other artists in the world, we are doing this out of spare time when we aren’t working, taking care of family, getting sick, and basically living life.  I know, for me personally, it is quite a crazy balance, especially because I tend to want to spend a lot of time on the comic, but also have lots of “life stuff” to deal with nowadays.  This balance is all very similar to what almost all artists deal with, so I don’t think any of us would complain!

A lot of people don’t realize that the majority of the comic is created by three people: the artist Benedick Bana, the letterer Kuen Tang, and myself.  This has to be one of the smallest motion comic teams!  I am really proud of what we are able to accomplish, and can only imagine what we could do with more resources!  

The last reason our comic takes a long time to make is the soundtrack creation process.  Unlike most multimedia projects, we don’t use pre-made music, all the music is created originally for the comic.  And to ensure the music is amazing, I spend a huge amount of time working on the soundtrack.  I could “get by” with minimalistic music, but instead have been working very hard to make classic horror soundtrack music that can be listened to on it’s own.  I am a fan of horror soundtracks myself, and am very proud to say that the music from Dark Moon could be put up against a lot of amazing horror movie soundtracks.

So, while we are looking for a publisher, which would allow us to greatly speed up production, these are some of the reasons our comic takes longer than some others.  We have a lot of fun making the comic, and look forward to bringing you much more of Dark Moon in the future!

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Here is a blog post "guest written" by Ashley J. Perna...  this is also posted on her blog, but she allowed me to repost it here, since we rarely update our own blog! 

 

ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?

No? Don't worry - you will be.

Dark Moon is a motion book that needs to get more press. It was created by musician Tom Freeman and features art by Benedick Bana. Freeman uses every aspect of this innovative medium to his advantage, combining subtle animation, a compelling story, and a haunting soundtrack to create a unique and unsettling world moon. The idea for Dark Moon came from a desire to tell a more epic story that a music video would allow.

"At the same time I was wanting to do this, I was reading a lot about quantum physics, and trying to wrap my head around these concepts that were shooting around, and so the idea of a story that begins with the world's first successful human teleportation just kind of happened. Then it turned out that a comic, and finally a motion comic, would be the best to tell this story. It turns out the medium was perfect for us and we've really enjoyed the response!"

This is definitely the type of story that suits the  medium well, with the music, motion, and plot well balanced. The music composed by Freeman works perfectly with Bana's artwork to capture the creepy tone of the story. The primarily grey and black landscape is depicted in a blurry, dreamy way with vibrant shades of red, blue, and green only used sparingly to accent or emphasize. Using a motion comic to tell the story allows the use of a variety of visual elements, such as zooming in or flashing colours, that would not otherwise be available. Rather than distract or detract from the overall story, these elements work with the story.

The music in particular is an interesting aspect of Dark Moon. There are a few creators who will post a playlist to go along with their most recent work. This takes it one step further.

I had a vision of someone holding a glossy print version of a comic, while listening to the music play in their house or room, and knowing that if done right, they would feel totally immersed in the world we had created.

While new to comics, Freeman is a skilled musician as well as a producer and engineer. He released an album in 2010 called iMatik which received world-wide recognition. In addition, he was the mastering engineer for Totally Insane's latest album. For Dark Moon he drew inspiration from other sci-fi/horror works.

"I've always been drawn to movie soundtracks, especially in the Sci-Fi/Horror genre. For example, John Carpenter in movies like The Thing, Vangelis' music from Blade Runner, as well as Angelo Badalamenti's score for Twin Peaks, are just a few examples of how music can transform and imbue depth and a sense of meaning to a story."

Dark Moon doesn't just sound and look good, it is good. The story itself is suspenseful and has an interesting premise. In the first issue we are introduced to a group of survivors who find themselves on a mysterious moon after teleporting away from a massive disaster. As they explore their new environment, they encounter the moon's nightmare-inducing inhabitants. These truly terrifying creatures were there result of a collaboration between Freeman and Bana.

While looking over my artist's work, I saw a creature that had the basic frame I was looking for. From there I spent quite a bit of time documenting some of the other attributes, and after a couple of iterations, we had the perfect creature!

Perfect indeed. Thanks for those nightmares, guys!

"The alien sound is mostly comprised of an insect-like 'scuttling' sound that I designed, then I added a few other layers. The sound design was somewhat inspired by the movies Bubba Hotep and Slither, not that I tried to recreate the exact sounds, but I had a feeling of visceral slimy insectlike-ness from movies like that while making the sounds."

Freeman has made both issues free for viewing at his DeviantArt page. His reason for not charging his fans:

"I really wanted to share this story, and as an artist in today's age, it is extremely hard to get people to stop and capture their attention for even a minute. We are completely indie and funded by myself, and don't have a budget to be able to reach a lot of people, so I don't want to turn off anyone by charging money to enjoy our comic- I wanted everyone to be able to experience it!"

"The long term hope is that people fall in love with the comic so much, that they buy the soundtracks, or our collectors' edition print version, or other products on our webstore shop, and we have to charge or crowd fund at some point to keep the comic moving forward, but for now, I am not worried about making money, I mainly want people to have a great time reading our comic!"

The soundtrack, collectors' edition, and related products are available for purchase through their website, and priced quite modestly.

The second issue was released on June 18, making now a great time to give it a read.

State of the Dark Moon

As previously mentioned, I am not a great blogger.  My last post was before Dark Moon #1 was released, and now I am writing the next post months after the comic has been released.  Also in the meantime the collectors’ edition print comic was released, then a series of music videos using imagery and music from the series.  It’s been a crazy fun time and the best part is, a lot of fans really “get” us, which is great because sometimes I don’t even get it, but I sure do love doing it!

Dark Moon Episode #1 is everything I was hoping it would be, and by the reviews and fan comments so far, it seems like we have a recipe for something people really enjoy as well!  I think we have found a proper home for our comic with Madefire, which enables us to bring our combination of art, music, and motion to people on any computer, as well as phones and tablets on either iOS or Droid.  

Here is the link to the motion version of Dark Moon Episode #1 created with the Madefire app, and hosted on DeviantArt.

We also released Episode #1 as a PDF + Soundtrack download, so a reader could, for example, load the PDF on their tablet, while playing the mp3’s, and get the full Dark Moon experience on their tablet or any other device.  This is available on our shop here for only $2.95.

To honor the original concept of Dark Moon, before it morphed into a motion comic, we decided to release the print comic to actually hold and read while listening to the soundtrack.  This is a limited edition product meant for collectors and super fans, and while the production of this proved to be difficult (long story), I am really happy it is available on our store and making it’s way out to fans and comic book shops!  Holding the print comic while listening to music designed to specifically fit the mood is a truly fun and immersive experience.

We also did something that we can’t think of any other comic doing, which is to release four animated music videos based on our comic!  In many ways, these videos are as true to the concept of Dark Moon as the comic book is, since the idea is to connect visuals and music to tell a story that can’t be “felt” without both of these elements.  I think all of the videos are amazing in their own way, so if you haven’t yet, please check them out on our Youtube channel.

There’s a lot more to talk about, so I'll be writing more posts soon!  We are getting deep into Dark Moon #2 production, and I think the story really starts to pick up in this next episode, so get ready for a wild ride!

Welcome to Dark Moon!

OK, I'm not a blogger by nature, but there are a lot of details to explain about Dark Moon, that just don't fit into social media posts, so I might as well get started here!  I'm Tom Freeman, or "Freematik", the creator of Dark Moon, and I appreciate you taking the time to check out our unique comic!

Dark Moon is a comic that uses music and sound FX as an essential part of the storytelling process.  This is not new to comics, but our contribution to this genre will be very unique, both with the music and artwork.  There are two main ways to experience the comic, one is an online "motion" version that will be available in the "Motion Books" section of Deviantart.  The other is to read the comic while listening to our complete soundtrack.  Both of these experiences are different, but tell the same story.  We feel this adds a multi-dimensional aspect to the comics' universe, which we will further increase in other ways (more on this coming soon).

The artwork for Dark Moon is done by Benedick Bana, who I met online through Deviantart, and have never met in person!  But I think we make a good team, as I was able to translate what was in my head, plus some horrible stick figure drawings in a storyboard, and he was able to turn this into all the images needed to create the amazing first issue that will be coming soon!

So stay tuned, I will be posting more here soon.  I appreciate your patience as I learn the art of blogging ;-)  

-Tom Freeman