EmzChat with Mike Bennett

With a voice that can chill your bones and a personality that draws in his listeners, Mike Bennett is on his way to becoming the finest horror storyteller our generation has known. Mike has oodles of creepy short stories included in his podcast Hall of Mirrors and reads other classic horror tales on his podcast called Sometimes. Mike grew up as a Science Fiction fan in England. He currently resides in Ireland where he is a teacher, but when the lights go out – or sometimes even during daylight – Mike becomes the macabre voice behind the mic bringing us such gems as Hair and Skin and his newest vampire novel, Underwood and Flinch. I was fortunate to be able to ask Mike some questions recently about fandom, his life, and what scared him as a child. EM: What were you a fan of as a kid? MB: Spiderman, The New X-Men (well, they were 'new' then, now they're just The X-Men), Batman, James Herbert's Rats Trilogy, especially the last one, "Domain". I also loved Man from UNCLE paperbacks. I still have a complete set. Doctor Who (70s), Marine Boy, The Persuaders, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Starsky and Hutch.

EM: Who might you turn fanboy for today? MB: I met Tom (Dr. Who) Baker once. I nearly fainted. I was working in a bookshop and he came in to see if we were selling his book, The Boy Who Kicked Pigs. Fortunately, we had it in stock. I showed him around and got him to sign a copy.

EM: What was the first real life experience that freaked you the hell out? MB: Being relentlessly pursued - and finally bitten - by a horsefly.

EM: Which of your works is your favorite? MB: Underwood and Flinch.

EM: When you were researching for Underwood and Flinch, what kinds of tools did you use? MB: I lived in a small Andalucian town for six months. That gave me the insight into how a place like Almacena and its inhabitants worked. For vampire background, I watched all the Hammer Dracula movies (not exactly research, I know, but I enjoyed myself) and read Christopher Fraying's book, Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula. I also re-read Dracula.

EM: Is there any project that caused you more work than you were expecting? What would you do differently? MB: Underwood and Flinch is a write-to-podcast affair. I began podcasting it as soon as I'd completed a rough first draft. In hindsight, I'd prefer to have completely finished the book first and had an editor look it over and then I'd have implemented the edits and done another draft and so on and so on. But then again, the probability is, I wouldn't have done the whole editor thing and later re-writes. If I hadn't started podcasting it when I did, I mightn't have ever taken the project any further. I would have more likely started work on something else and come back to U&F later - maybe. Maybe not. I don't know.

EM: How did you get involved in The Parent Vac project and what possessed you to become a vacuum salesman and an undead dad on film? MB: My wife and I went down to Wexford to visit some friends, and someone said, 'Let's make a movie'. I was given the task of making up the story, so I looked around to see what props we had. We had a vacuum cleaner and a hat. I threw the story together and we improvised the lines over one or two takes.

EM: Where can readers find out more about you? MB: www.MikeBennettPodcast.Com or www.UnderwoodAndFlinch.Com

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Interview: Ryan Copple from Riese the Series

Riese6I recently interviewed Ryan Copple from Riese the Series: Is this your first video 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.
That sounds interesting.   Most of the best series have a rich story arc knitting all the episodes together.  This is a good sign for the series.

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.
I've often felt that genre is more of a trap than an aid to marketing.  Creators should always feel free to transcend the genre labels applied to them.

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.
Last Exile is a great series.  The story is brilliant and the show is truly well designed.  I have to say the same about Riese.  While I haven't seen the your show yet, the materials you have made available exhibit those same qualities of design and aesthetic.  The look and feel of your site and trailer have only added to the excitement around the series.

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.
The emergence of the Webseries allows the return of the serial: a singular story told over multiple installments.  As a fan of the format, I cannot wait to see what you are going to do with it.

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.
I feel your pain.  We have been toying around with the idea of building an ARG for my next book.  There is a lot to consider and too many variable to consider before release.

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.
It would be a great thing if there were an open source ARG engine to make construction easier for everyone.

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.
The RED cameras produce wonderful video.  It should set you up for multiple versions of the video.

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.

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Interview With Jeff Carlson

**Possible Spoilers**

The Plague series by Jeff Carlson is about a nanotech plague that erupts in California and soon takes over the world. Supposedly a cure for cancer, this plague begins to eat away at anything under roughly ten thousand feet. People are forced up into the mountains for fear of dying from the completely debilitating flesh-eating nano. Soon, the global population is hiding on various heights seemingly floating above the invisible sea of computer plague. These books are so real that you begin to find yourself asking, “What if this happened tomorrow?” According to author, Jeff Carlson, it could. What makes him the authority on the realness of the computer plague? He’s been talking to scientists working on similar projects as we speak.

The trilogy has been called ingenious, thrilling, and cutting edge. Here are my thoughts on each of the books:

Plague Year

The first few pages of Plague Year confused me because I am not used to reading a book that jumps so quickly into action. I thought perhaps it would be too "fast-pace thriller" for me to finish. However, Jeff’s ability to make you feel emotion about the characters when you hardly know any back-story on them really amazed me. He did get into their back stories as the novel progressed. There were exciting surprises later on as far as who did what before the plague. These characters are real and once you start reading, you begin to feel like they are your buddies out on that hill. It’s as if you are standing in the huddled masses with them.

This book can scare the crap out of you. Living in Nor Cal, the news reports about what cities the plague takes over as it eats its way across the country seemed too real. Jeff makes you feel like you are watching the news reports on TV. Maybe you’ll be the one making a call to your mom in the hotzone. Maybe you’ll be the one gathering supplies and heading for the hills.

While I was reading Plague Year, I found myself thinking about how long it would take me to pack up my family and flee. My mind would start charting ways to get to Tahoe if the roads were blocked. Then I'd remember it wasn’t really happening and calm down.

As far as all the scientist and military stuff is concerned, I am not an expert. Jeff explained well enough for me to understand what the nano does without making me bored or feel inadequate.

One portion of the book I thought he did particularly well was where one of the characters is in a wheelchair and unable to express himself. The anger and desperation Jeff creates is quite powerful.

While reading the Plague series, you might find yourself taking a few more showers than usual as his descriptions of grime, bugs, sores etc... are excellently detailed.

When I read the first book I thought the end of the book portion where they finally go into a city could have been longer. I felt like I missed out on what they actually did while hiding. Good news! He goes into that more in the sequel.

Overall I was surprised how much this book pulled me in and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to read something no one's ever done before.

Plague War

I was surprised to find that although this sequel was in the same style as the first, it had a different sort of tone. The relationship between the two main characters Ruth and Cam is infectious. They each have their issues and it’s interesting to see how they interact with each other. The sexual tension that Plague War delivers is amazing considering all the characters are grimy, nano-bitten, unwashed, scrappers who will do anything to survive.

This book causes you to feel the desperation of a world that is in constant threat of annihilation. However, the characters have the hope to survive and the power of the human spirit to carry on, no matter what the obstacle.

Some of the untouched mountain people infuse this story with a newness, that by this time you would expect not to exist. The contrast of the beaten down warriors against these innocent, fresh-snow-like individuals is really an excellent contrast in a book that is about fighting for life.

There is a lot of war talk in this book. Military actions, governments colliding, plots foiled, plans carried out. Since I am not a fan of military stories, I was slightly distracted by this. However, the human relationships of the people in those uniforms carried me through those sections of the book. If you are a military enthusiast, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how detailed this book is.

I was happy to see the reappearance of some of the characters from book one that I did not expect. Hernandez was a pleasant returnee. His point of view was intriguing because of his lack of control over the situation that was happening to him. I felt his struggle between what he knew was right and how he was going to survive.

Ulinov, who I disliked the most after book one, was one of the most interesting characters to read about because we get to see his allegiance to his country. It may not be a very popular thing to say, but I think I was actually on his side when the bomb hit.

With the set up of possible resolution in book 2, I am expecting great things from book three, Mind Plague, which comes out Summer 2009.

To find out more about Jeff Carlson, visit his site at: http://www.jverse.com and listen to my podcast interview on the Project Shadow Informant podcast:

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Interview: Kaja Foglio on Girl Genius Movie/Series

A bit ago, Girl Genius was mentioned on Geekdad’s “10 Obscure Superheroes Who Deserve Their Own Movies.” So, I shot out a few questions to Studio Foglio, and Kaja just got back to me:


girlgenius.15

What did you think about the Geekdad post?

I saw that article. It made my day, and that day needed to be made.

Would you ever be interested in making a Girl Genius movie?

Sure. If the right people came along, it would be fun. It would have to be the right people, though. A really good team. Live action movies are often... not so good. So I can wait for that if I have to. (And a good thing too, since nobody's breaking down the door...) What I personally would like best would be a really well done long-form anime series. And while I'm wishing, an adventure-style console game. Those two things would keep me happy for a long time to come.

If a Girl Genius movie were made, would you want to be a consultant, art director, or would you storyboard the film?

Hm. I don't know much about movies. So I would say that, ideally, there would be people who are really good at that sort of thing working on the project. We've already made the story, I'd rather leave the "making it look good onscreen" part to professional movie people. I do like the idea of being able to look everything over, flail my arms and say: "Aaah! That bit there is awful! Fix it!" So consulting, sure.

I asked Phil what his answer would be, and he looked at mine and said: "That is exactly what I would say." Okay, we agree. Good.

What, if anything, can your many fans do to make a Girl Genius film a reality?

I have no idea! I think the best thing people can do for us is keep reading, and keep telling their friends about Girl Genius. We're so happy with the readership we have now, and with the great feedback we've been getting. The level of enthusiasm is incredible. We're seeing the most amazing cosplay at conventions, even at the anime conventions. And that's saying something. In anime, there's a lot of great characters to choose from, cosplay-wise. So I think our readers are already doing a lot just with their enjoyment of what we do. That's really what is helping make the comic popular!


So keep spreading the word about the webcomic, short stories, and podcast.  I would love to see an anime series.

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A Second Life Location: Magic Of Oz

For awhile now, Second Life has amazed me with its very realistic settings and endless options. There are writers, poets, artists, and voice actors there that astonish me with their level of talent. Recently, my friend Dream teleported me to a place I thought could never be recreated. The Magic of Oz SIM is a themed build based on the books and movie "The Wizard of Oz". I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with one of the creators Candy Cerveau.

Emz: Candy, thank you for taking time out of your busy launch weekend to speak with me. This place is awesome. How many people did it take to build this place?

Candy: A great deal of the SIM’s incredible look is due to the builder, Jenne Dibou. She took our ideas and thoughts and turned them into something more magical than we ever dreamed possible. Yet she never sacrificed utility for beauty or performance for flash. The buildings are all fantastical, but they are not mere decoration. Each area was carefully planned to be a useful space. She is really incredibly talented.

Emz: Very talented indeed. What inspired you to build this SIM?

Candy: Malkavyn Eldritch and I were looking to create a SIM for our main store locations and we wanted a theme build. I have always loved the Oz books and the movie as well, so it seemed a perfect match. We found Jenne and we worked with her to get the concept of what we wanted. Our goal with the SIM was to interpret the world of Oz differently than had been done before, while still keeping to the spirit of the books. We also wanted to put our own unique spin on the parts of the build that would be the main stores for the two of us. The Witch's Castle was given a Steampunk/Tim Burtonesque feel, while the Emerald City drew more upon natural and elven themes. Our overriding dream for Magic of Oz was to create a place where people could go and be taken out of the realm of the ordinary in Second Life. A place to explore and to experience, to shop and to relax, to dream and to love. A place that is magic. We think we achieved that and hope visitors think so as well.

Emz: Well I for one, definitely admire your vision. For those who don't know what your Second Life stores are about, can you tell me the name and what you specialize in?

Candy: Eye Candy and Treasured Visions. Malkavyn does hand drawn eyes and textures. He is graphic artist, so he works only from scratch. No photosourcing. I make jewelry and accessories. I tend to specialize more in the "elegantly casual" style of jewelry, but I do have some more whimsical type of work as well.

Emz: Your stuff is really crafted well. I just found a free box with “Halloween Eyes” that I can’t wait to try on. Magic Of Oz is amazing. How long did it take you guys from concept to finish date to do this?

Candy: Jenne is a super fast builder and we did it in 3 phases. Basically we got the SIM the first of August 2008 and began plans. So the entire thing only took two months start to finish.

Emz: That is fast for a build of this magnitude.

Candy: Yes indeed. Jenne is in Europe and so each morning we would wake up and a huge portion would magically appear!

Emz: Sounds very exciting.

Candy: It really was so much fun. The story of Oz is such a rich one and there are so many wonderful parts to it that it was hard to choose what to feature.

Emz: I like all the dark features you have here with the flying monkeys and the large skull on the hill. Is there any little secret or feature that you find particularly interesting?

Candy: The secret lab in the Witch's Castle is fantastic! Very "mad scientist". It’s hidden in the right side of the Witch's Castle

Emz: Congratulations on completing this. It's really awesome. Thank you so much for your time.

Candy: My pleasure, Emz. Thank you.

I was able to explore the area for some time and found many hidden gems here. If the pictures don’t amaze you, the features will. Right now there are tons of little shoes around the SIM that when clicked, give you free things. There are also a number of boxes, pumpkins etc… Keep an eye open and click things.

The Witch’s Castle Features: Steampunk architecture, hammock to lie in, perches to see the whole valley, skeleton fountain, elevator, flying monkeys ride.

Scary Tree / Graveyard Features: laying dead pose and sinking in lava pose.

Munchkin Land Features: Shops, park benches, a nice promenade.

Emerald City Features: Emerald throne, many little meeting or discussion areas, Oz’s curtain, 3 levels of fun activity, beautiful emerald gems.

Center of town Features: Watch The Wizard Of Oz by clicking the sign on the giant tree, follow the yellow brick road to Munchkin land, tree attack, stairs to Witches Castle.

Cool things to buy:  Jewelry, specialty eyes, clothes, bodies, hair, and these gear tattoos inspired by the designs of Da Vinci.

These are the various ways I risked my life to bring you these pictures: I was trapped under a house Wicked Witch Of The East style. I was attacked by trees. I got to be Oz for a little bit. And, I was attacked by monkeys.  I am really scared of monkeys people!

Magic of Oz launched on October 3rd, 2008.  If you would like to visit Magic Of Oz, click here: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Magic%20of%20Oz/130/152/0

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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.


n12413997_43129202_155Why 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.

Cowan Headshot Small How many episodes do you have planned?

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.

Have you considered producing an original webseries like The Guild, Stranger Things, or Dr Horrible's Song-along Blog?

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

To watch most all of our films – Including the X3i episodes you can go to: www.youtube.com/RivenX3i or www.youtube.com/Komikarate

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.

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Morning Vision Blue

What a wonderful concert! What a wonderful time! In the middle of a great show, I got to sit down with Morning Vision Blue again for another interview. Thanks to everyone who joined us in the live chat especially Brian, and to Susan & Mike Shea who asked questions from the audience. We talked about a lot of things, from their work to St Louis Musicians Unite. Listen to the interview here or

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Underground Blue Division

Underground Blue Division Band Logo Sorry it took me so long to get these Pics up, but I got my butt kicked by a wicked cold starting on New Years Day and my hands were not stable enough to get the pics and sound ready for you. But I am better today and I cannot stay silent anymore.

On New Years Eve, we went to see Underground Blues Division at the Wine Rack/Java Stop in Poplar Bluff, MO. Thanks to these guys, I had one of the best New Years I have had in years. I was glad I broke my, "No going out on New Years" Rule.

There music is hard to describe, they swung from Cream to Rage Against the Machine so naturally. If you can imagine that kind of a range in a band, you have an idea of the talent and energy they filled the stage with.

Before the show the guys sat down with me for an interview (listen to it here or subscribe to the podcast here).

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Pamela Moore Interview

Pamela Moore is one of the greatest vocalists I have ever heard. My first exposure to Pamela's soulful and sultry voice, was in 1988 when she stole the show in Queensryche's epic rock opera, Operation: Mindcrime. I was thrilled when she returned for Operation: Mindcrime II as the ghost of Sister Mary who is hungry for revenge. Now, Pamela Moore has released a new album, Stories from a Blue Room Pamela Moore - Stories from a Blue Room .

Pamela Moore Live

Without further ado, the interview:

  • Why do you write and record music? Is it a drive from within you, the connection you feel with your audience, or some combination?

PamelaMooreSexy2 PM: I would say it’s a combination… For me, recording and performing are two different outlets for creativity. Performance deals with more of the visual aspect that is designed to make the musical experience more powerful while recording is all up to the music that is being created. I enjoy both performing and recording equally because they have aspects to it that are very satisfying. When I’m in that creative mode I get so consumed sometimes I literally forget time. That’s when I know I am “in the zone” and it feels awesome! When I perform I get that same trance like feeling but it’s being shared with my audience and that connection in the room is a very powerful drug! There IS something to be said about the adulation of an adoring crowd! Almost as good as sex…. almost! (Laughs)

  • When someone hears your music for the first time, how do you want to be remembered? Your voice, the song writing, the performance or the connection they make with your songs and what do you do to make that happen?

PM: The connection. I want my writing and performing to touch the listener in such a way that they find ownership in the song! In other words they easily embrace a personal attachment to the performance because they can relate to it. I try to do this by writing about real life situations that most all of us have had happen at one time or another.

When the final encore is done and they are walking to the car I want people to feel satisfied. Kind of like that feeling you when you’ve seen a great movie or had an awesome gourmet dinner with friends!

PM: It was an awesome experience. First, I was excited to finally get the opportunity to work with legendary producer Neil Kernon; he is an amazingly talented man and was one of the key ingredients for making the record sound so good. My song-writing partner Benjamin Anderson (Rorschach Test) and I decided to take Neil's advise and record the bulk of the album at a studio near El Paso Texas called Sonic Ranch. It’s an all-inclusive studio, which means they provide meals, lodging and state of the art studios. Needless to say, this allowed us to completely immerse ourselves into the project without any distractions and we put in many hours in a day without even realizing the time!

One particular night, we had just finished another long day at the studio and the owner of the studio (who is a wine connoisseur) decided we needed to relax and celebrate Bastille Day! So he pulled from his wine cellar a couple of amazing Bordeaux’s and we proceeded to drink but for some reason it caught up with us fairly quickly. (Laughs) It was quite innocent really. We had such a successful day we were reeling with contentment… it’s just that the combination of the wine and sleep deprivation made us all bit goofy! Before I knew it, I was outside playing with a huge toad and Ben was taking pics of himself with corks in his mouth! I felt like I was in a chapter of Alice in Wonderland… To this day I still can’t believe how big that toad was!

PM: I haven’t yet started touring. I was touring with Queensryche all last year which took up all my time but now I am in the rehearsal phase with my solo band and hope to start booking shows this next year before I join Queensryche in Europe next summer.

  • Do you prefer to play stadiums or small venues and why?

PM: Actually, I love playing anywhere! I might prefer the smaller venues a little more because they tend to feel more intimate. However, the large festivals and arenas are awe-inspiring… gazing out to a wash of thousands and thousands of people is quite a rush!

  • Which song on your new album means the most to you and why?

_AAA0203_1 PM: All of my songs on BLUE ROOM have special meaning for me. I tend to write semi-autobiographically so a lot of my lyrics come from personal life experiences, either my own or those of people I know. My favorites seem to change each time I listen to the CD.

  • With so many artists making tribute albums to the songs and artists that inspired and influenced them most, If you decided to make such an album what would some of the songs be and why?

PM: This is always a tough question for me because I have so many favorite artists who have influenced me in one way or another!

If I have to name a few I would say U2 because they are brilliant songwriters and tell powerful stories that most people can connect with. Bono as a singer has wonderful phrasing and is such a passionate singer. Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel for the way they weave lyrics into music so elegantly. Perfect Circle, Tool, and Puscifer for passionate songs that make you think and feel at the same time.

God my list can go on and on…

  • What is your fondest memory of music in your life?

PM: I have a so many!

Winning Best Vocalist award in a High School competition. (It was my first competition ever)

Many fond moments with Queensryche:

Recording “Suite Sister Mary” for Queensryche at Le Studio in Montreal. Experiencing my very first professional tour with Queensryche in 1990 (The Empire tour)

Receiving my first Gold and Platinum records.

Recording basic vocal tracks for a project that Brian Johnson (ACDC) was working on. (He is awesome!)

Writing and recording my latest Cd STORIES FROM A BLUE ROOM

  • What was it like returning to the Role of Sister Mary for Operation: MindCrime II? Mary's role in the second Mindcrime was much more profound and emotional than in the first. What did you think about her ghostly presence in the story?

FH050023PM: It was AWESOME! I was wondering how it was going to work because as most people know, Sister Mary killed herself in OMC1. But as the storyline became more familiar to me I started to understand my role as “ghost Mary” and the character really came to life, in a ghostly sort of way. (Laughs).

I enjoy working with Geoff too. We work well together on stage and vocally our voices match up. It’s very satisfying.

  • How has your experience with social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook changed the way you interact with your audience? Do you feel it has brought you closer to your fans?

PM: Most definitely it puts you more in touch with the fans and that is a very good thing. If you think about it there are over 200 million people on myspace! That’s a staggering number! Granted maybe half those numbers are bands (Laughs) but needless to say, that’s a lot of exposure!

  • Thank you for your time.

PM: Thank you for inviting me. Such great questions too…I do appreciate that!

For those interested, I invite you to visit my websites: www.pamelamoore.net and www.myspace.com/pamelamoore.


Get her new album, Stories from a Blue Room at Pamela Moore - Stories from a Blue Room

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