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!