Friday, June 15, 2012

Indie Spotlight - Elaine Haygood

I recently interviewed Elaine Haygood,owner of Lens Cap Productions and creator of And the Coming of Nighttime.

What projects are you currently working on?

Along with Issue #3 of ATCON, I’m doing preliminary work on an animated short called “Grey Day”. Think “Twilight Zone” meets Aesop’s Fables. I’m also working on a project with George Lopez (A Distant Battlefield) currently titled, “Codename: Raptor”, but I can’t say much more than it doesn’t have Werewolves in it, but it WILL have plenty of butt-kicking ACTION in it.

I’m also developing a web series that will be done kind of like a Ken Burns-style documentary which I hope to be able to begin pre-production next year. There’ll be a Kickstarter campaign for that one.

Do you prefer writing or doing artwork?
I prefer both, actually-I’m a control freak and I LOVE taking a project from conception to completion and I just can’t see myself not doing both no matter what type of project I’m working on.

What is your work process like?

It all starts by hand: I begin with an idea for a character/story and begin making notes. I get to a point where I realize I’ve gotten a solid feel for the basics of and begin writing in earnest (I use a fine point pen-Black ink ONLY on a yellow legal pad). Once I have a first draft, I put it down for a day or so, then pick it up and begin whacking away at the keyboard.

I edit as I type and when I have a complete “computer draft”, I print it out, hand it over to one or two people I trust, have them read and then give me feedback. I take a day or so to let THAT sink in and then sit down with a hard copy and start making notes. Then I go back to whacking away at the key board.

I trained as a Screenwriter at the AFI. So, these days, I tend to write a script version of whatever project I’m working on and then adapt it to whatever format is needed (Book, comic, graphic novel, etc).

I probably write at least 4-7 revisions before I’m happy enough to either show it to someone or start adapting.

The art’s easier: Once I know the story, it’s a matter of working out the scenes via crude story boards which then end up becoming finished hand drawn panels that are then scanned onto my laptop and using Corel’s Painter Essentials 4 and primarily, paint each panel and then lay them out on a page.

For ATCON, I break the script down into scenes, and then work out how many scenes it will take to make up a chapter/issue. I then start thinking about how each scene needs to play out visually and begin to work out how many panels I’ll need. Then, I start drawing. Once I have the panels scanned in, I digitally paint them, convert them to grayscale and then lay out each page in MS Word. Once THAT’S done, I put in the dialogue, narration, etc and then using, convert each page to .jpg or .png and then put all the pages together using PDF creation software. The PDF’s are then embedded in my website for viewing/purchase.

Tell us about the conceptualization and execution of "And the Coming of Nighttime."

 ATCON came out of seeing the movie, “The Howling” which featured Patrick MacNee as a Psychiatrist who just happened to be a Werewolf.

That got my “what if” button going as I found myself wondering what if he was born that way? How did he manage to go to school and get his degree let alone, start a successful practice and not end up eating up a crapload of people (Or, getting caught, for that matter).

I started thinking of story ideas and characters, but nothing gelled for several years until I was at the AFI and was required to write a complete screenplay as part of my graduation requirement. I spent days writing at this funky little coffee house/club in LA called the Bougouis Pig. The thing there was that every day, ALL day they ran ONE movie on the main screen for MONTHS: “Bladeunner” and before I knew it, I was making things dark and gritty and adding in flying cars.
And the Coming of Nighttime

When did you begin reading comics?

 My aunt Julia collected comics when I was a kid. I started reading her Archie comics when I was 7. Two years later, she introduced me to Lois Lane and Wonder Woman.  I also read kid’s titles like Richie Rich and Casper. When I was 12, though, the world changed for me: I discovered The X-Men! And then, Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja and hell, I was just hooked!

What characters do you enjoy reading about?

Mutants have always been a big fave of mine as I was never good at fitting in, and people have  been telling me I was a freak of some sort since early childhood.

I also REALLY love strong, female characters-Not just strong in the physical sense however.  But, ladies who had strong wills and were smart: Wonder Woman, Storm, Red Sonja, even Mystique! Thos gals NEVER wasted time fretting over what some guy might think because they were stronger, smarter-In fact, that was a BIG part of their appeal when I was younger (we’re talking in the days BEFORE the “Broke back” pose became popular).
Do you pick up any books on a regular basis?

I don’t get to buy too many comics these days-My youngest son is Autistic and we live on a REALLY TIGHT budget. These days, I tend to buy graphic novels/compilations of books I wanted to collect from back in the day: Aliens, AVP, X-titles.

That being said, I have as of late, gotten seriously into reading Indie titles (digital mainly): Undead Norm, by Christine Bunson and Melanie Florencio. Super Corporate Heroes by Suzy Diaz and Miguel Guerra, Onward Bound by D.C. Chen. Todd Alan has a great story he’s working on called, The Dark Ages Of The Dead and I’m CERTAIN I’m forgetting a whole HOST of others, but I’m also looking forward to Disco Frankenstein by Anthony Ball with art by Steven “Sash” Scott and Titans by Johnny M. Brown Jr.

What writers and artists do you enjoy?
Chris Claremont, Jim Lee-I’m a bigger fan of the Older School: Stan Lee, Marv Wolfman, Jack Kirby. I ADORE Barry Windosr-Smith, John Byrne and Louise Simonson.

Who in the industry would you like to work with?

Well, Jack Kirby is dead, so that’s that. I guess that leaves Joss Whedon. In the Indie world, there are just so many great talents I’ve met through Wonder Funders as well as The sisterhood Of Comic Evil (A group for women in the comics industry that I Co-Admin on Facebook) that it would take too long to name them all, but Anthony Ball, Suzy Diaz, James Wisinger, Mindy Lopkin, -Do you know if Bruce Campbell is interested in doing a comic?

You studied at the American Film Institute. How have comics influenced your work in film?

Actually, it was the other way around: I’d always read comics, but never thought I could do one. Studying at the AFI helped me think in terms of visual storytelling as before that, I’d done basically graphic design and gallery art. Once I learned about storyboarding and started doing crude animatics for an earlier project, I began to have an idea about doing a comic/graphic novel and about a year or so ago began working on ATCON. I guess you can say that at 51, with no previous training or experience in the field, I’m pretty late to the party.

Lens Cap Productions 
Lens Cap on Facebook 
Elaine Haygood on Facebook 
And the Coming of Nighttime on Facebook 
The Sisterhood of Comic Evil! on Facebook 
WonderFunders on Facebook 

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