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.
Interview: Ryan Copple from Riese the Series
Yes, this is our first foray into a serialized media. We've all worked on smaller projects, such as pilots and short films. It's been good practice to prepare for something as big as Riese.
Why did you decide to make a steampunk series?
It's funny, people have really taken to branding us a "steampunk series", which I don't 100% agree with. Don't misunderstand, I love the steampunk genre, and there are lot of elements we drew from it for the show. I love all the anachronisms in steampunk and the way you can meld eras together to create an entirely new world. We are, however, not having this story take place in a Victorian-era, which is more typical of steampunk. That's why we always try to say steampunk-inspired - we were heavily influenced by the story elements and aesthetics of it, but it would be unfair to the genre itself to say we were totally steampunk.
What other steampunk books/series/comics do you like?
[reus name="Last Exile"]I haven't read that many steampunk books yet, though people have been giving me a list that I need to get through. I'm more familiar with the film and television aesthetic. My personal favorite is 'Last Exile', an anime series that people often put with steampunk. The story is great, and the designs and aesthetic is wonderful.
If you had to compare Riese to another series/movie, what would you compare it to?
If I had to pick, I'd say it's a cross between.
How did you decide to make an Alternative Reality Game (ARG)?
We wanted to create an adventure that would help draw viewers into the world of Riese before we launched. By immersing them in the story even before the show began, we thought it might make players feel more connected to the show as they've been introduced to many of the elements already.
What was the ARG creation experience like?
Well, it's still going on, and it's both exciting and daunting at the same time. I'd say the biggest challenge is keeping up with everyone. You can spend days and days creating puzzles that you think will be challenging, only to have them solved in 15 minutes.
What has the response to the ARG been?
Positive so far. My biggest regret is that we lack the resources to make it as expansive as we would have liked. We've kept it pretty small in scope this time, but I know that we have another one planned for down the road that'll be even bigger, assuming the show succeeds.
What tech are you using to make the series?
One big technological asset has been shooting with the RED One. It's an amazing digital camera that has absolutely revolutionized film. It also makes more sense to use for us, as a webseries, because our content is going straight to computers. Shooting on film, while beautiful, would be overkill for a project such as this where the picture quality won't translate to streaming as it does on HD television screens or movies. With the RED we can optimize our media platform and do it economically.
How many people are involved in making the series?
Too many to count off the top of my head - we've got the creators, producers, costumers, set designers, writers... the list goes on and on! We're incredibly blessed to have each and every one of them on our team though, as we couldn't do it without them.
Do you have plans for merchandising the series? (t-shirts, statuettes, dvds)
When we launch we'll also be rolling out our merchandise store, which will feature apparel and other smaller accessories. Eventually we plan on selling episodes digitally and DVDs. In addition, we're also developing an iPhone card battle game to tie-in with the show.
Sounds interesting. I cannot wait to see the series.
Steampunk is a subgenre of Speculative Fiction with Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror manifestations. I am going to go out on a limb and define steampunk using the rubric established in Science Fiction. A story fits into the steampunk genre if the steam powered technology is integral to the plot. In other words, if the plot would have to be changed from the story to use anything other than steam as the basis of technology, then it is steampunk.
Steam, clockwork, and differential engines are often used to replicate modern technology. Robots are replaced with automata, and airships fill the skies.
Steampunk, like all of the -punk genres, approaches its characters and setting with an irreverent attitude, adapting the punk style and sensibility into the story.
Introductions & FAQs
- Brief Steampunk FAQ (Brass Goggles)
- James Roy's Steampunk Talk from 2003 Children's Book Council of Australia Conference in Hobart, Tasmania
- The Age of Steampunk (Boston Globe)
- Aether Emporium
- What is Steampunk?
- Steampunk Essentials
- Steampunk (Wikipedia)
- Retrofuturism (Wikipedia)
- The Art of Alex CF
- Brass Goggles
- Da Vinci Automata
- Jack of All Trades
- Steampunk Fashion
- The Steampunk Home
- The Steampunk Workshop
- Voyages Extraordinaires
Books, Movies, and Games
Desktops & Icons
- Aether Emporium (Wiki)
- Mechanical Marvels of the Nineteenth Century
- Steampunk Magazine
- Steampunkopedia (Link Site)
English posts that contain Steampunk per day for the last 30 days.
What did I miss? Is there anything that should or shouldn't be on the list? Let me know in the comments. Let's make this the best on stop shop for steampunk.
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.
''The Boondocks'' strip on Hiatus
C.E. Dorsett Take a deep breath:
Cartoonist Aaron McGruder, creator of “The Boondocks,” is taking six months off from his popular and at times controversial comic strip about the misadventures of a black family in white suburbia (Indianapolis Star).
I know it's hard to hear, but it is for a good cause:
...his hiatus ... would begin the week of March 27 and end in October. Speculation has centered on the demands of McGruder's Cartoon Network TV show. The show, which is based on the strip, was launched last year.
Cartoon Network says the show won't be affected by McGruder's hiatus (Indianapolis Star).
I wish McGruder the best of everything. He has the best strip on the page and the best show on the TV machine right now. I wish him the best and will miss the strip.
Saving Star Trek
Mixing Star Wars and Star Trek
Wired.com: J.J. Abrams makes no secret that he’s more of a Star Wars guy and not so much into Star Trek, but you two were full-tilt fans.
Orci: In terms of fandom, yeah, and Damon too is a fanatic - we’re not going to drop the ball out of ignorance. Nobody can say that we don’t know Star Trek. There might be some things we do that people could question, where they go, “I hate them for some other reasons,” but they can’t say, “They didn’t know their stuff.”
Orci: And it’s controversial to even mention Star Wars and Star Trek in the same sentence, but Alex said, “We have to bring more Star Wars into Star Trek.”
Kurtzman: (joke-coughing) Original Star Wars.
Orci: Original Star Wars. I want to feel the space, I want to feel speed and I want to feel all the things that can become a little bit lost when Star Trek becomes very stately — which I love about it , but….
Kurtzman: Star Trek is often the space equivalent of sub battles, which is what makes it unique and different from Star Wars, so you can’t blow that away, either.
Orci: It’s somewhere between that the truth lies.
Really? Again with people thinking that Star Trek is suppose to be an action series! It sounds like the new film will be, but that is not the original concept for the series.
I feel like I have to say something:
Science Fiction ≠ Action
I know this is a hard concept for some people to understand. While science fiction can have action scenes in it, one is not equal to the other.
Star Trek was intended to be a Science Fiction show, and many of their best episodes did not have any action scenes at all Like the City at the Edge of Forever.
Roddenberry wanted the show to highlight how diplomacy should be our first resort rather than violence.
5 Ways to Ruin Star Trek by Adding Star Wars
Make Your Heroes Less Perfect
Yeah, that is a great suggestion. Instead of trying to show a future that actually lives up to the ideals you have set for it, and that you are hoping your audience will also aspire to, throw all your ideals out the window and make your characters flawed and while your at it, make the future something no one will ever want to aspire to.
Less Talk, More Action
Diplomacy is overrated, lets just beat the crap out of each other for no good reason. A puerile show filled with hate and violence is better than a show that sets reason and self-control on a pedestal.
There is no way that a Star Trek with more space battles and less attempts to sit down and talk things through like grown-ups would be a bad thing (io9).
Except it would have to sell out all of its ideals in order to do it. For some people selling out seems to come easier than for others.
Ignore the Laws of Physics
Ok, Star Trek was a Science Fiction show. Science Fiction is a subgenre of Speculative Fiction where science plays and integral role in the plot, and it would not be possible to tell the story without it.
Ok, so, we take that away and Star Trek is nothing but a run of the mill Space Opera.
Have At Least One Sequence That Will Make A Good Video Game
That’s right. Think about the merchandising first. Stop thinking about the plot and the characters. Just think about the money you will make with the crappy game based on movie. (honestly, has there ever been a good one?)
Think about money, nothing but money. Nothing matters but money, and entertaining people who are so emotionally dead inside that they could not be moved by anything.
Put Uhura In A Metal Bikini At Some Point
Because, I am sure it is better to turn an important character into nothing but a vapid sex object that only hormonally brain damaged men will care about. What where they thinking trying to give women a role model to look up to. I suppose Graeme McMillan thinks that women should stay in their bikinis and not have all those pesky opinions.
IF this is the new Star Trek…
…then I know it is nothing that I want to see. My snarkiness aside, these truly are bad ideas.
If Star Trek was to be rebooted, I wish people would have listened to J Michel Straczynski and Bryce Zabel who wanted to keep the spirit of the original alive. (see there concept here)
What these people have described is not a reboot for Star Trek, but a different show with the same name.
May the Great Bird of the Galaxy save us all.
JJ Abrams told Entertainment Weekly:
Plus, at heart, Abrams is still more of aguy. ''All my smart friends liked Star Trek,'' he says. ''I preferred a more visceral experience.'' Which is exactly why he accepted Paramount's offer in 2005 to develop a new Trek flick; creatively, he was engaged by the possibility of a Star Trek movie ''that grabbed me the way Star Wars did.'' That meant a bigger budget and better special effects than any previous Trek film, plus freedom to reinvent the mythos as needed. ''We have worldwide aspirations and we need to broaden [Trek's] appeal,'' says Weston. ''Doing the half-assed version of this thing wasn't going to work.''
So everyone involved in the new movie wants to see these sort of changes... Grr Argh.
Check out my Star Trek Review.