2013: Shadow(Cast) Takes All

As 2013 winds to an end, it’s tempting to reflect on all the things we’d hoped to have accomplished this year, but didn’t. Broken New Year’s resolutions. Career stalemates. Neglected relationships. As cliché as it is to say, it’s easier to dwell on our failures rather than recognize our achievements.

This time last year, I was certain that my colleagues and I would be in production on The Devil’s Carnival: Episode 2 by now. I put a lot of things on hold based on this assumption—other projects, like my in-limbo comic book series, The Molting, and even some partnerships. In many ways, the looming calendar-reseting makes it feel like we’re starting from scratch on TDC, a project that’s already consumed over three years of my life.


I’m being dramatic, of course, but the slow process of songwriting and fundraising has caused me a lot of dismay, especially these last few months. Adding to this dread, I also feel responsible to the others who are just as anxious for TDC2 as I am: the cast, crew, and you, the fans. As such, it’s difficult to field the influx of Episode 2 inquiries I receive at live events and through social media.


When I’m feeling down, I try to remember the many positive aspects of even difficult journeys and how truly fortunate I am (what with my teeth mostly pointing in the right direction, being the lucky brother that ma didn’t feed to the hogs, and that somewhere, right now, a gal with black nail polish and tattoos is dancing for dollars to “Zydrate Anatomy”).


Yes, I’m a lucky son of a bitch: a working artist who’s somehow managed to inspire others with his craft. I’m reminded of this weekly by way of correspondences from strangers sharing how they’ve been affected by something that I’ve created. To those who’ve reached out to me in this way, thank you. Even though, it’s impossible to personally respond to each and every one of you, your kind words (and artwork) are always much appreciated.


In the spirit of seeing the silver lining instead of the gloom clouds, TDC‘s director, Darren Lynn Bousman, and I used this year-end lull—when the rest of our industry all but shuts down—to actively move the project forward by updating our promotional materials.


Collaborating with TDC‘s graphic designer Sean Scoffield and behind-the-scenes editor Brian Smith, we’ve set a holiday deadline to build a sexy, new TDC sales brochure and sizzle reel. These materials will be used not only to demonstrate our unique brand of cult horror-musical filmmaking to potential producers and investors, but to spotlight our batshit awesome fanbase: YOU, the loyal folks that allow us to continue making our art.


In the process of collecting materials to give Sean and Brian, I spent a few days organizing five-plus-years worth of photographs and press clippings from Repo! and TDC. Part of these efforts included creating folders for the thousands of images of fan art, cosplayers, tattoos, and shadowcasts surrounding the projects.


It’s humbling to think that our fans are so dedicated that a screening of our films where the audience wasn’t wearing costumes and singing at the screen would feel like a failure. Going through the scores of files, I’m reminded of this. I’m also reminded how special it was to witness the evolution of the community that embraces Repo! and TDC, and how cool it is to see characters I dreamt being play-acted by strangers all over the world.


Clicking through the images, I relived the rush of first seeing Repo! shadowcasts, where even the most obscure roles were represented—from Rotti Largo’s limo driver to the strange, popcorn-eating bird-man in the background of GeneCo’s Sanitarium Square.

Last month, I was fortunate to be in attendance for one of the first live shadowcastings of The Devil’s Carnival. The performance was in Phoenix and was part of Repo!‘s five year anniversary in movie theatres. Arizona’s “Missing Sheep” were the featured troupe.


Watching the performers shadow-act in front of the movie screen as the film projected behind them was a real treat. Like with Repo! shadowcasts, I was floored by the level of care and detail put into Missing Sheep’s costumes and props and tickled by the gender-bending nature of some of the roles, including a young woman with realistic facial hair glued to her chin playing The Tamer.


Like with the many shadow-GraveRobbers I’ve seen over the years, I was also honored by the shadow-portrayal of Lucifer. The actor captured all the slices of cheese and carvings of ham present in my initial performance as the character. Also present were the reenactments of every minor part, including the role of Tamara’s murderous boyfriend, originally played by none other than TDC‘s makeup effects coordinator, George Frangadakis.


Lastly, what shadowcast would be complete without irreverent audience callbacks. Can someone please get Hobo Clown a few panties more… a few panties more?


I hope Missing Sheep will be one of many likeminded TDC shadowcasts (cast booking inquires can be directed here), but whatever the future holds, I’m honored to be along for the ride. Thank you all for your continued support and patience as we work to bring TDC2 to fruition. We look forward to seeing all of you wonderful lunatics in 2014!


  • Symphonie von Liebe

    Whow. There we are and everything. Could not be more thrilled over how the double feature panned out – we seriously worked our asses off and you guys were champs, incorporating us into your mini-tour. We had a crazy blast, and we look forward to many more tributary performances.

  • arivalscientist

    As one of the performers at TDC (God), it was even more of a joy to see how our performances put smiles on your faces and joy in your hearts. It was a blast to do the show in front of you, Darren, Spooky, and an audience full of TDC/REPO! addicted maniacs. We are all looking forward to greater things to come from your fertile minds and endless talents. Thank you Terrance, and thanks to everyone that made TDC such an awesome show to shadowcast!!

  • Oleander

    “[...]that somewhere, right now, a gal with black nail polish and tattoos is dancing for dollars to “Zydrate Anatomy”).”

    thank you for the shout out.

  • Kelley Lester

    We were and are honored to have been a small part of this. To have the opportunity to, not only mimic something that we love, but to do it in a way that you liked this much. Please keep doing what you are doing( at what ever pace you need) with the knowledge that us weirdos and freaks will be here to catch you; chasing the morning, falling for your songs.
    Green dress carnie.

  • Variel

    He definitely meant me. :) Unless there’s just two of us.

  • Johnna Nolan

    Yup, that is most definitely my tattoo. Now to wait patiently for chapter 2.

  • Eliza

    I attended this shadowcasting in Phoenix and I had a blast! This troupe was awesome and their costumes were amazing!! I wish that I had the talent to make some of these incredible costumes for myself (porcelain doll & blind mag)…or maybe they should have some for sale at the next performance…*fingers crossed*

    P.S. I still think that a Terrance Kissing Booth would bring in tons of cash to fund TDC2. Just a suggestion.

  • Arielle

    Terrance, please trust me when I say that everything you create, is a gift for us, your fans, to open and look forward to. No matter when it is given, the sweetness of having something new from you is unrivaled. So please, do not feel pressured to rush your creative genius. We love you, and all art that comes from you.
    And from that, I’m transitioning into saying that I still await with great anticipation, that glorious porno coffee table book that you so whetted our hungry appetites with a while ago.
    Seeing those tattoos is making me jealous, I have to admit. I want one to somehow represent the lyrics from Repo!, “A sheltered rose needs a little room to bloom outside her bedroom.” To me, those words hold such power, meaning, and beauty. I was actually thinking of writing you, asking your opinion on how they would be best represented in an image or picture of some sort.
    But THEN I decided to get a Diabetes ribbon awareness tattoo on my wrist first. And I’ve just (hopefully) gotten over a 2-week infection in my arm. Think Requiem for a Dream level. Because brilliant Arielle no asked her doctor first. And I basically have no immune system. SO. I might be waiting a little while (forever) before getting my next one.
    Endless love to you, and my excitement for your future endeavors is ever-growing!

  • hercarelesswhispers

    You ladies are everywhere. Well, at least in the cool parts of whatever place you’re in. ;)

  • Samantha Dutchie

    there i am! three times. eep! i am so greatful to have helped direct/ assistant direct and be tamara for such an AWESOME show. we definitely rocked if i do say so myself. and i never thought id see the day when i had my face in your blog. all my dreams are coming true ;) xoxo

  • Samantha Dutchie

    also i cannot thank you darren and spooky enough for being there for us. <3

  • Samantha Dutchie

    comas would hae helped. Thank YOU, Darren and spooky…..im sure you knew what i meant ;p

  • Linda Steele

    Keep up the great work. We are still here and going stronger than ever in our love and respect for your endevers.

  • Jvantheterrible

    As a fellow artist (though not nearly on as grand a scale as you boys & girls, of course), I want you to know that I continue to fully support every and all project(s) that you come up with. It was an absolute thrill to have met you all here in Tucson when you toured TDC, and I wish you all the best and loads of success. It is truly easier to become bogged down with what hasn’t happened thus far, as opposed to the successes you have reaped – but you are such a talented, brilliant, dynamic, intelligent, creative bunch of individuals, there is just no way this won’t work out for you. I was, and remain, incredibly honored to have shaken your hands and have the opportunity to gush over you a bit – you deserve it and so much more. It’s even disappointing to me to see the lack of “Likes” on yours and Darren’s FB posts as the months post-roadshows drag on, but life does intrude on the rest of us who aren’t lucky enough to be “living our dream.” Please know that you are held in very high esteem, and moreso for this girl because there are so few people that are as passionate about their work as you are. I love that you love what you do, and I love that you keep pressing forward, onward and upward. You guys are the best, and I wish I had more money to throw at all of you instead of just scraping up enough to buy CD’s and DVD’s. Take care, happy holidays, and please keep doing what you do. You ROCK! <3

  • yessikg

    It really is so amazing, I’m so happy to be part of the awesomeness :) I’m sure I’ll love TDC2 as much as I love Repo and TDC, I can’t wait for that sizzle reel :D