My name is Charlie, but if your looking for my work, I go by C. E. Dorsett. I write scifi, fantasy, and a touch of horror. I like to play with gothic, steampunk, decopunk, epic fantasy, and wuxia. I love to tell stories and talk about books, movies, series, and music.
The Dark Side: Quicker, Easier, More Seductive
My fall to the dark side started with fear, but I would never have become a true Sith if it wasn't for an argument I had with my sister after my grandfather died.. We all took his death hard, even though it wasn't a surprise to any of us. Honestly, I cannot remember how the argument started. All I remember is my sister and I on our parents' back deck yelling at each other. Then she said it:
"How much longer are you going to keep trying to be a writer before you just give it up? You're not a kid anymore. You need to wake up, and realize that not all your dreams are going to come true. Let's set a deadline. If you are not a published author in one year, give it up and take some responsibility for your life. If you don't, you are going to loose Brian."
My blood froze in my veins. The cycle started again, and the hate was easy this time. To hell with everyone and everything.
Step 2: Simplicity
Luke: Is the dark side stronger?
Yoda: No...no...no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.
Luke: But how am I to know the good side from the bad?
Yoda: You will know. When you are calm, at peace. Passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack (Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back).
It is easy... too easy... Missouri banned Gay Marriage not long after that. The Hate made me stronger, or so I thought.
My first book (which I am so embarrassed by) is a hate filled screed against all the people and institutions I felt wronged me in my life. I focused and refined my hate to the point I can literally feel it in my body.
My hate was all I had to get me out of bed in the morning. "I'll show you!" You know the sort of thing I am talking about.
Whenever I felt my strength flagging, I roused up a new batch of anger to get me going. I see that now. At the time, I couldn't see the difference between anger, hate, and passion. They all blurred together.
How did I spot the problem?
I tried to write another book. Shine Like Thunder chronicled my own struggles with internal demons. When I set out to wright another book, I couldn't You can only let a fire burn for so long before it consumes all of its fuel.
I tried to work on a sequel to my first book... nothing happened.
I tried to work on a sequel to Shine Like Thunder... nothing happened.
I wanted to do something new. Those settings looked as used up to me as I felt on the inside. I loved Shine Like Thunder though... why couldn't I right a follow up? I couldn't figure out how to get them off the planet. That's when it clicked. I was trapped too, and until I figured a way out for myself, I was as stranded as Saahdia.
So, now that I know the problem, maybe I can figure a way out... One problem though... What is the real life analogue to the Force?
After Watchmen - What's Next? Identity Crisis!
Five “AFTER WATCHMEN, WHAT’S NEXT?” Specials featuring a cover price of just $1.00:
• SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #21 SPECIAL EDITION
• TRANSMETROPOLITAN #1 SPECIAL EDITION
• PLANETARY #1 SPECIAL EDITION
• PREACHER #1 SPECIAL
• IDENTITY CRISIS #1 SPECIAL (Newsarama)
Don't get too excited, these are not full graphic novels, they are promotional issues to wet readers appetites.
When the spouse of a JLA [Justice League of America] member is brutally murdered, the entire super-hero community searches for the killer, fearing their own loved ones may be the next targets! But before the mystery is fully solved, a number of long-buried secrets rise to the surface, threatening to tear apart and divide the heroes before they can bring the mysterious killer to justice (DC Comics).
I loved this graphic novel. The superhero murder mystery is very well written. It would make a great movie to follow the Watchmen.
Interview: Chris Cowan and Lex Randleman from Elseworlds
I interviewed Chris Cowan (Cyborg/Cameraman) and Lex Randleman (Mister Teriffic/Writer) from the brilliant new webseries Elseworlds.
Why did you choose to make webseries in the Elseworlds setting? While it is one of the most fascinating DC setting, it is not as popular as their other setting?
Lex Randleman (LR): Elseworlds provided a malleable way to craft a story about a universe I, otherwise, wouldn't have been able to depict. Knowing I could twist and turn things however I wanted gave my imagination some room to wander. We (Cowan and I) would never be able to make a DC Universe like what's seen in comics and other media.
Also, I get a sense of ownership out of this that I couldn't get from another kind of story. Sure, these aren't MY characters, but this is MY vision of them. It's funny to me that your review mentions casting (Praise I TOTALLY appreciate) and what kind of process that must have been for us. It's funny because we didn't match the cast to the characters--we matched characters to the cast. The characters we were confident we COULD portray well are the characters we chose to play out the story. They ARE the story. That was our jump-off point.
Chris Cowan (CC): We’re only planning to do 6 episodes for this story. As much as we love doing this, we also have MANY more projects planned (mostly all original and a few being fan fiction works). But I mean if DC/WB would want to fund a project like this then I’m sure we could do quite a few more episodes <wink> <nudge>
LR: Yeah, 6 episodes. That's not because I couldn't make this story stretch, no. It's because we've set a pace that I can't completely halt. Given free reign, I would basically restart and show SO much more of the action and events that preceded the present action in this story. Cowan can attest to the fact that I've built up a whole history for this world and all of its characters, but reality (a.k.a. $) dictates that I must exercise some restraint.
Are all of the episodes written ahead of time or are they being written as the series progresses?
LR: The episodes have been written one by one as my time allows. I put episode 2 in Cowan's hands. He filmed it. I put episode 3 in his hands. He filmed it. He just got episode 4. I took my time with that one. And he'll film it soon. It's played out that way because this whole project was sprung on me by Cowan (Yes, man, I am taking a dig at you) with the release of the 1st episode (incomplete, at that!) a YEAR after the project had been conceived. Since then, I've had to rethink a lot of the things I had originally intended.
I know it sounds like I'm blaming Cowan like he did something awful. That's not the case. He actually challenged me in a way that I just hadn't expected. In the end, I can't be mad at that. After a long period of not writing the way I should have been, I can feel my blood pumping again. This project has reawakened some of my dormant creativity.
CC: Hey, It’s not my fault that he liked the cut of the first episode. I edited it randomly out of the blue a few months ago and showed it to him and he said “Cowan, that was hot.” Haha. So I said lets keep going with it – and we have. Besides, if I hadn’t, Lex might have never came up with the story that he’s created (which I think is a really good and original one).
But yeah, the episode scripts are given to me one by one. In fact, the Episode 2 script was put in my hands not even 5 minutes before filming hah. We’ve always been a sort of run & gun crew of filmmakers though (when budgets not involved – because it usually isn’t for our personal projects ha).
Episode 3 is over 8 minutes as opposed to the 2 - 3 minute length of the previous episodes, what is the target length for the remaining episodes?
CC: At first, we thought it’d be a good idea to keep the episodes under 4 minutes. One reason being that we were gearing this towards youtube and usually 2-4 minutes is the avg. length of most videos – and I figured that’d be the avg. youtuber’s attention span (because it is for me ha). Not to mention, it would have been a smoother editing flow for me. Now, after seeing how episode 3 came out, we realized that we prefer the 8-10 minute run time. There was a thought to break up Episode 3 into two parts but we liked how it ran all together, so we kept it – and the response towards the runtime was a positive one.
LR: The thing about targets is that you either miss them or they get shot... That's my way of saying I don't know. Even after I write the script and we "should" know how long an episode will be, it all gets muddled in the production. A lot of last minute changes and improvements happen ON SET. That's our creative process.
Do you have any plans to make them available for download/ podcast? (with the abundance of companies like Mevio who offer free hosting I hope you do)
LR: I don't know. Cowan, do we have plans like that??
CC: Haha honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t thought about doing that already. I’ll definitely make them available for download.
What software are you using to make the special effects?
LR: I have this awesome special effects program called Triple C...Christopher Clark Cowan.
CC: Hah and I this awesome special effects program called Adobe After Effects. In terms of any other technical questions that anyone might have – I edit on Final Cut Pro and shoot on the Panasonic DVX100a. I’m hoping to be able to shoot the finale in HD – More on that to come though.
How long does it take you to produce an episode?
CC: It always depends. Script writing and scheduling are the biggest time consumers – even more so than with the shooting an editing. Shooting is fairly easy because after reading the script, I can already see what I want to do (let me rephrase – I can already see what I’m able to do haha). Editing usually takes me 2 days because after we have it all shot, I clear my schedule and sit in front of my computer for 2 days straight and edit. There’s usually food/sleep and some Xbox 360 spliced throughout those 48 hours.
LR: That always varies because of the time I might take to write the script and the scheduling that needs to get worked out for the actors and such. When everyone works for free, it's hard to put a demand on anyone's time-- except, of course, for mine. Cowan is always making demands on my time... I'm so disrespected...
What is your production schedule like?
LR: What's a schedule?
CC: Yeah we don’t really have one. It all depends on all of our work schedules. I call a friend and ask “can you film today?” they say “no.” I say “what about tomorrow?” they say “sure” and then we film. That seems to be the extent of our “schedule” ha.
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to make their own webseries?
CC: Just go out and do it. You don’t need a huge budget to do everything (it helps – but it’s not always necessary). One of the most fun parts for me is reading a script and challenging myself to come up with ways to achieve a certain shot and/or effect that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do with out a lot of money. Even if you do have the funds, it’s always nice to keep a “that look for less” type of mindset.
LR: Don't be afraid to do take the time to make things RIGHT. There's no profit to be made, really, but the chance to share your passion and your vision. If you compromise those two things, then you've wasted your time and your project will suffer. I find that when I look back onto our older projects, the things I regret are the decisions we made for any reason other than "that's how we want it." Compromise = Regret.
Also, embrace your dorkdom. I don't write for the masses. I write for myself. I write for other comic book nerds like myself. They're the only people I hope will truly "get me." Everyone else can catch up. That's what Google is for.
LR: Have we thought about it? We did it! X3i is the name of the series we produced in college at The Ohio State University. We diverted our attentions from that series to do a feature based off of the series...Long story short...We didn't finish either the series or the movie.
Don't look at me! The scripts were written! The culprit is always the same: RESOURCES. Resources in the form of money (or lack thereof), casting, sufficient time, and ALL of the stuff that can derail a zero-budget project. It also goes back to our policy to not deliver crap. If it wasn't going to get done RIGHT, why do it?
Here's some good news: even though the project was never finished, I'm sure my dearest buddy Cowan can provide you with some fancy footage of our stuff. ;)
CC: Yeah, we’ve definitely done that already ha. X3i was our first shot at an original webseries – And one of the most fun filmmaking experiences I’ve had. Our crew is actually doing another webseries called “Komikarate” which is a sketch comedy based show (dealing with original skits and fan spoofs). All of which can be found on youtube. If you’d like to know more about X3i, you can visit: www.myspace.com/X3i
Aaaand lastly, to keep updated with the Elseworlds project, you can go to: http://dcelseworlds.blogspot.com
No more links haha.
I am enjoying the series, and will have a review of the first three episodes up shortly.
LR: I'm happy you've enjoyed our work! Your interest and excitement is what makes it all worthwhile.
CC: Many thanks to everyone for viewing and supporting! Also big thanks to Eric and Project: Shadow for the review, interview and overall interest. We’ll have episode 4 out to you all shortly!
Thank you for your time.
LR: If you made it through all 3 episodes, we should be thanking you for YOUR time.
Two nice guys and amazing artists. If you haven’t read it yet, check out my review of Elseworlds. I think we can expect great things from them in the future.
Dear Hollywood, treat Comics like Books
This is just a quick note to ask a little favor from you and all of your brilliant writers, directors and producers. If you could, please start treating Comics like books. I know this might come as a surprise to many of you, but comics are not just collections of pretty pictures of men and women in tights. They have stories, characters and depth. Well not all of them. Some of them are pretty bad, but like novels, there are good ones. There are some that are classic.
If you want to do a Batman film, may I suggest The Killing Joke, A Death in the Family, or even The Dark Knight Returns. All of them would make great movies. They are action packed and full of emotional touch tones. If you want to do another X-men film, why not try the Dark Phoenix Saga, it has superheroes, space battles and magic.
I know what I am suggesting is radical. I know that none of you have ever thought about mining stories for sources of screenplays but they are there. Consider V for Vendetta, Sin City and the forthcoming Watchmen films, you found your stories there even though they do not have any big names. I really hope you can get over need to recreate beloved characters, telling stories about them that do not make sense at all.
This is just a thought. You don't have to take my advice. I mean what are the odd you are going to make another film as bad as Spiderman 3, X-men 3, Batman Begins, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin... wow, I suppose it isn't that hard to make a really bad superhero flick.
No Justice for Superman or Batman?
The film is about Green Lantern, Green Arrow and others of the Justice League of America, an organisation made up of the world's greatest superheroes. They must deal with the expulsion of Batman and the death of Superman at the hands of the monstrous Doomsday (EntertainmentNewsDetail)
Really? That would be awfully dark for a superhero flick, but a story I would love to see. The Doomsday arc is a great story... but it has recently been done as an animated film. Would DC allow the story to be filmed twice so close together? Maybe.
I have to wonder if with the recent Batman related tragedy, that could be the reason they would drop such a popular character from the League.
Rumors are rumors, but it is interesting to think about.
BTW: Comics2Film is reporting that the release has been pushed back to 2010. Sounds like a lot of retooling to me.