Interview with Chicago-Based Writer BC Rice about his new Transmedia Series.

January 18, 2012 12:33 pm 2 comments

Outstanding Pajamas is a transmedia series created by Chicago-based writer and artist BC Rice. An independent production of animation, comics, novels and film, the series promotional prequel “Outstanding Pajamas: Push to Start” debuted online earlier this month focusing on the fall of an icon, the evolution of a mystery and the formation of a new group of heroes.

BC Rice has kindly talked with us here at worldofsuperheroes about his ideas and plans… So let’s get straight to it…

(check the video out at the bottom if you would like to watch that before reading the interview)

Hollywood: So BC Rice, this project that you are working on seems so exciting… but what exactly is it that you and your team are trying to bring to audiences?

BC Rice: Our hope first and foremost is that what we’re doing will entertain people of sci-fi and superhero fantasy. They are who we are. But we also have aspirations that some folks who never thought they’d read a comic or watch a cartoon online will give it a try. The basic outline for Outstanding Pajamas is that it follows an ensemble cast of superheroes and vigilantes in the fictional city of Revelation Falls. After the city’s most iconic hero, Mister Infinite, is made a quadriplegic after stopping a meteor from crashing into the planet, he assembles a group of crime fighters to act in his stead. The over arching storyline concerns the motivations of two other superhero groups, The Supreme Beings and The Fallen, who’ve stepped into the proverbial spotlight during Mister Infinite’s hiatus. So while you have the more intimate storyline regarding all of Mister Infinite’s compiled (but previously rogue and violently individualistic) team members, you also have something large scale in the differing superhero factions of Revelation Falls . And then of course there’re all those wacky villains to worry about.

Hollywood: How long have you had this idea for and realised you wanted to make it a reality?

BC Rice: Like more than a few stories, its impetus was birthed during a dark time in my life. I’d been trudging along, writing literary prose (badly) and working a job in sales when I got very sick and stayed very sick for just over four years. It quickly became a painful chore just to move from one room to the next. Concentration, motivation, all of it gone. So suddenly I was home a lot more, but also in a constant fog. Whereas I used to be able to punch in 3,000 words a day after working a 9-5, now I wasn’t able to string together anything better than a paragraph or two after playing Modern Warfare in bed all day. That’s when I fell back into doodling. At the time I thought, if I never get healthy again, what sort of storytelling can I still accomplish effectively? I found that the tactile, image-based stuff wasn’t as much a burden on my concentration, so I went from doodling your basic oval and square shapes on a napkin, to taking things a bit more serious and learning flash animation, after effects, and film composition. It was through this process that I formulated Outstanding Pajamas. And my disposition being what it was, it all began as a very archetypal story full of archetypal characters. I needed something to lean on, and when a writer needs to lean, archetypes stand the most firm. So I took these archetypes and moved them into a new and awkward space called transmedia where I could blend all of these varying disciplines: prose, animation, comics, illustrated film, and cinematography. And after my own personal four-year long episode of House, and after an inordinate amount of antibiotics, my health finally improved. As did, I think, the purely archetypical characters and storyline of Outstanding Pajamas.

Hollywood:  And for those who aren’t clear on exactly what Transmedia is, could you elaborate on that?

BC Rice: Transmedia, at least the way I’ve chosen to interpret it, is a blending of three or more media formats that involve a single storyline or given set of characters. So, for instance, something like Resident Evil or Star Wars, if you compiled, say, the films, the video games, the comics and novelizations, I personally wouldn’t consider them to be transmedia. What they’re doing is more like property sharing. What affects Jill Valentine or Luke Skywalker in a comic book, is not necessarily a part of their film or video game storyline or characterization. To be transmedia, all of the differing medias need to feed the same story and characters and universe and can be referenced at any given time. So if Luke Skywalker kills a three-eyed swamp monster on the planet of Wytome in a comic book, when you read the novel he should be able to say, “Remember that time I killed a three-eyed monster on Wytome? I knew I had a bad feeling about it.” Taking that principle, I’ve tried to move things a step further with Outstanding Pajamas. So instead of it just being transmedia, we’re also doing transgenre. The animated series, which is our core pilot project, is strictly episodic comedy. It’s what happens between the panels. The illustrated film is your typical action adventure superhero story; the comic book is horror; the serial novels are supernatural thriller; and the first short film is crime noir. I think it’s going to take an audience some getting used to, but my hope is that the odd multi-media, multi-genre format will exist as something unique and enjoyable in the current entertainment environment.

Hollywood:  It sounds like Writing these stories has changed something for you, in your life and now you’ve got confidence and support behind you in your idea. Who has helped you strive to do this? Who are you main influences ??

BC Rice: My influences are all over the map. If I’ve got one book on an island it’s something by Steinbeck, if I’ve got one comic it’s something by Bendis and Charest, if I’ve got one show, it’s something Whedon put together, if I’ve got one film it’s a Scorsese picture, and if it’s one album — Well if I could only have one album I’d surely beat myself to death with a coconut. As to my more immediate interpersonal influences, my mom runs two successful music schools in the Chicagoland area and my dad is a mean, green artistic machine, so all their awesomeness is charging through my veins. Also Karolina Jones who is doing some voice work for the animated series also doubles as our ridiculously awesome marketing person. She’s been amazing at getting the word out. But specifically on Outstanding Pajamas, some of the indie artists not exclusively associated with the project but who have helped things along by their contributions would be Cybo who obviously provided the music for the promo video. She’s an amazing artist and deserves all the best. Also Matthew Bogart who’s a phenomenal writer and artist who wrote the graphic novel The Chairs’ Hiatus. He’s been a big help in getting me started in how to format the comic for the Kindle, Nook and general e-distribution. Also Josiah Brooks from Jazza Studios who makes some really informative tutorials on flash animation and who has a great little series called Larry; and also my friend Joseph Boquiren whose page-per-panel work on his series Wing Wars helped me in developing a new kind of format for the Outstanding Pajamas e-comic that should give the reader a really fun and new kind of comic reading experience.

Hollywood:  W0w you really do have a lot of support behind you. It’s great hearing so many people are getting invoved and have faith in your ideas. It must be a great feeling. With the transmedia you mix up a lot of different visuals and ideas but which one is your favourite to play around with??

BC Rice: Well, it’s always going to be about the writing for me. The scripts are where I have the most fun. But as to what presentation? I suppose the animation, especially when I force myself into doing something frame-by-frame opposed to “symbol tweeing” (which is flash-animation-speak-gibberish). There’s something awkwardly enticing about giving the impression of life to something. Animation is kind of like the Frankenstein’s Monster of static drawings.

Hollywood:  Animation is kind of like the Frankenstein’s Monster of static drawings.’ I have never heard animation put so simply yet inspiring. Ok BC last question… What has helped you get to where you are now and what are your plans for the future???

BC Rice: Bizarrely enough the thing that probably got me through my toughest bits creatively was Tim Vining’s work on Star Trek: Aurora . Here you have this guy who spent like five years hand animating a CGI fan film. I e-mailed back and forth with him a few times. His dedication is awe-inspiring. As to the future, it’s all Outstanding Pajamas all the time. I know it’s going to be my primary focus for at least the next two years. After that, we’ll see. It will depend on how the show and books and comics, film, et al are received. Hopefully they’re received well. The internet is the great equalizer and informer. If you don’t shine, people will be sure to let you know it.
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Thank you very much for talking with us BC your journey as a writer and your work sounds so inspring to me and I’m sure it will to our fans who have struggled and found something that makes them whole again… And for a lot I’m sure it’s the message of Superheroes… anyway fans… Check out the AWESOME video below of the Outstanding Pajamas promo video:

 

Check out the Artists mentioned in the interview below for more info on their work and themselves:

MATTHEW BOGART (Chairs’ Hiatus) : http://matthewbogart.net/comics-and-stories
JOSIAH BROOKS (Larry) : http://www.jazzastudios.com/
JOSEPH BOQUIREN (Wing Wars) : http://josephboquiren.wordpress.com/wingwars/
TIM VINING (Star Trek: Aurora) http://www.auroratrek.com/

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