Apologies for the recent lack of visible updates – we’re busy trying to whip ISOLATION (and the numerous other projects we’re all juggling) into shape and keep things moving forward.
I wanted to post today because a number of people have asked me what it is we’re actually planning to make here. Is ISOLATION a short? A feature film? Something else entirely? I’ll try and explain.
More than ten years ago, I released my book AUTUMN online, giving it away for free to anyone who wanted to download it. Back then that was quite a radical move and people were quick to criticise – think of all the money you’re losing, they used to say. I thought they were wrong, and I still do. Giving hundreds of thousands of copies of AUTUMN away cost me nothing. It enabled me to directly connect with a vast number of people who liked the kind of books I wanted to write, and it made me look at the traditional publishing model in a whole new way. I realised I didn’t actually need a publisher as such. For those who are unfamiliar with my work, I’ll briefly explain what happened next: I wrote more books which I sold instead of giving away, giving me enough capital to start my own publishing company, which in turn enabled me to produce paperbacks as well as eBooks and to distribute my work to a vastly increased audience. Guillermo del Toro then bought the film rights to my novel HATER, one of the largest publishers in the US picked up my back catalogue, a movie was made of AUTUMN, and now my books are published around the world and translated into various languages.
So why I am telling you this? Am I just showing off?
Far from it. My experiences showed me a). that I could produce books that people wanted to read, and b). that I could get them directly into the hands of the people who wanted to read them.
I’m always happy to admit that I’m a frustrated film-maker at heart. I’ve wanted to be involved with films for as long as I can remember, and it’s becoming increasingly apparent that we’ve entered a time where it’s at last feasible for people to independently produce movies to a professional standard. It’s both financially and technically viable, and distribution channels are available. It’s a fantastically exciting prospect: to be able to make a film with complete artistic freedom, free from the shackles of marketing men and studio executives, and to be able to get it straight to the people who want to see it.
I guess you could say I’m talking about self-publishing films instead of books, and that’s where ISOLATION comes in. One of the obvious differences between films and books, however, is cost. I’ll talk about funding some more in an upcoming post.
Our plan is this: produce a 20-30 minute short, and use that movie to generate further interest/investment in the project to expand ISOLATION to full feature length. But the short won’t be instead of the main feature, it’ll be part of it.
This is going to be possible because of the approach we’re taking with our story. As we’ve already explained, ISOLATION will be a unique vision of the zombie apocalypse. Its uniqueness will come in no small part from its perspective – showing the end of the world through the eyes of a handful of survivors and their interconnected situations and experiences. This summer we’ll be filming the first story, and if the project is as successful as we’re all confident it will be, we’ll return soon after to show what happens in the rest of the dead world beyond our initial characters.
I’ve rambled on, so I’ll wind things up by returning to the original question: what exactly are we making here, a feature or a short? The answer’s both – a short which will become a core part of something much, much bigger…
More very soon. In the meantime, here’s a question for you to think about. The zombie apocalypse has just begun – what’s your ultimate nightmare scenario? I’m not talking about having thousands of zombies crowding outside your safe-house, or being down to your last few rounds of ammunition like in the movies. I’m talking about what you would do if the unthinkable happened in your life, to the people you know, in the place where you live. Give it some thought, because we’ll be asking for your input in a future post.