Your new audio drama For Blood Or Jusice - in a few word
what's it about?
the summer of 1977, and a Texas lawman is on the hunt for two killers that
brutally murdered his family. With little left to live for, he forsakes
his badge and heads south in pursuit.
hunt ends in a deserted Mexican town, where the killers take shelter
inside a seemingly abandoned factory. Except the facility isn’t
abandoned. Deep within a fugitive Nazi doctor is performing monstrous
human experiments under the guidance of an unscrupulous US General and his
tight-knit cabal of spies.
For Blood Or Jusice has been
described as "horror noir" - care to elaborate on that genre
combination, and are these genres particularly dear to you?
short, it’s primarily a mash up of two of my favorite genres, horror and
noir. The story’s vibe and the essence of its characters were inspired
and molded by all of the movies and novels I loved growing up. The horror
films of John Carpenter, George A. Romero and Brian DePalma, et al, and the
novels of Stephen King, Peter Straub and Thomas Harris to name but a few.
noir part comes primarily from the gritty action films of the 70s like
Dirty Harry, Death Wish, The French Connection, and the novels of Elmore
Leonard, Robert Ludlum and James Ellroy.
if you could take all of those classic movies, and hard-boiled characters,
and have them inhabit the same world? I felt that if I were going to make
something truly original I would need to combine numerous genres into
something new. It’s horror, action, espionage and the supernatural all
rolled into one.
sources of inspiration when writing For Blood Or Jusice?
addition to the horror and action genres, I absolutely had to throw in a
heavy dose of spy and espionage themes. I’ve always loved, and still do,
movies like 3 Days of the Condor, Marathon Man, and The Parallax
first, I was uncertain if anyone would dig me adding in this additional
element, or if I was just doing it for my own gratification… but it turns
out that everyone loves the spy stuff!
have co-written For Blood Or Jusice with the podcast's
director Scotty Weil - so what can you tell us about him and your
collaboration on the show?
started creating the For Blood Or Jusice universe about 10 years ago. At the time it
was merely a graphic novel work-in-progress I was developing with two
friends, Eduardo Lopez and Brian Wright, who are still involved with the
project. But when I met Scott via a mutual friend about 4 years ago, he
immediately saw the story’s potential as something more. Scott is also
an indie filmmaker, but with a deep background in the voice over world. We
hit it off and started simultaneously developing the project as both a
graphic novel and a narrative podcast.
been a great sounding board, bringing lots of ideas to the project, and
keeping me in check when I stray too far off course with my crazy ideas. He
also did a fantastic job directing the first season, bringing out the
innumerable nuances of the 60 plus characters, their relationships with
one another, and the multiple storylines all going on at one time.
What can you tell us about
the writing process as such?
took a long time, with lots and lots of rewrites. The entire time I was
developing the project I was working a full time job, so most of the
writing took place early in the morning, late at night, or even during my
lunch breaks. It’s not the ideal situation, making for an extremely slow
process, but it eventually worked.
biggest adjustment was learning to write both a graphic novel and a
podcast. At the time I started creating For Blood Or Jusice all of my experience had
been in writing feature film scripts. In a movie a character is largely
developed by showing his actions and reactions, but in a graphic novel,
where you’re only illustrating a portion of the actual action, you
really need to ‘tell’ the reader a great deal about what’s going on.
That was a real learning curve. Or un-learning curve if you will.
then I again had to learn to write for another new medium in creating the
podcast. Early on we decided we were not going to use a narrator to help
guide the listener, so we had to be extra creative in immersing the
listener in the story. In a podcast you can’t exactly have a character
‘give a sly glance at the killer while quietly reaching for his gun,’
so we had to come up with some creative ways to show these things to the
Do talk about For
Blood Or Jusice's approach to horror?
was obviously heavily influenced by movies like Halloween,
Thing, Dawn of the Dead and
Carrie, but probably also saw every slasher
film put out in the 80s. They are all dear to my heart, but I’ll always
lean more heavily toward the films where ‘less is more’. Where the
audience only gets brief glimpses of the monster until the very end. Films
like Jaws, Alien, and
The Fog. And I’ve always been more drawn to
stories that are more realistic in regard to their theme and
antagonist(s). The ghost stories and paranormal killers never held as much
interest for me (except perhaps The Devil’s Backbone!). I love stories
about the human monster, human-created monsters, or just straight up
monsters that feel as if they might actually exist. It’s much more
visceral, cathartic and entertaining to me as both a fan and a writer.
For Blood Or Jusice
boasts quite a stellar cast - so what can you tell us
about your talent on the show, and as creator and executive producer, how
much say did you have when it came to casting?
really delighted with the cast we assembled. I mean with 30 plus actors
portraying over 60 characters it is deep with talent. Most of that is due
to Scott’s tireless networking and extensive professional and personal
contacts. Years earlier, when we were only dreaming of For Blood or
Justice becoming something more than just a graphic novel, we all dreamed
of casting Danny Trejo, but little did we know that it would come true.
the casting process Scott would continually throw me names of people he
thought he might be able to wrangle into the project, then we would kick
around which characters we felt they might best play. And not only did
Scott pull in an amazing cast of not only seasoned film actors, but also
numerous television veterans, and some of the biggest names in the voice
over world. Not only was it important to have amazing actors, but it was
essential that they all have different and unique voice qualities. They
are all very distinctive.
about the recording process as such!
luck would have it, we had just locked the scripts for all of season one
when the pandemic lockdown struck. Scott called me shortly thereafter and
said, “We have to record now. Every actor in the world is sitting at
home right now, not working.” So we did. Once we cast the project we
looked into which actors had access to professional recording equipment,
and which ones didn’t. A surprising amount of the actors already had
some manner of gear to record, and the ones who didn’t we set up with a
friend who had a professional recording studio attached to his home. We
had all of the actors record themselves during a Zoom session, where Scott
directed while playing many of the counterparts, and I occasionally gave
notes. We recorded each session for an hour or so at a time, a couple of
days a week, over a span of about two months. It was a huge undertaking,
but it worked out surprisingly well I think.
The $64-question of
course, where can For Blood Or Jusice be heard?
Blood Or Justice can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Prime,
Stitcher and just about anywhere you listen to your podcasts. We’re
distributed by reVolver Podcasts, and we can also be found on their
website. You can also go to our website
download the first 7 issues of the graphic novel for free.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of For Blood Or Jusice?
still busily trying to promote For Blood Or Justice, so that we might reach
a bigger audience, but thus far our reception has been overwhelmingly
positive. I’ve personally had teenagers
listen and tell me how much they dig it, and 70 year-olds as well. It
resonates for a wide variety of people, younger, older, male and female.
Will there ever be a second
season of For Blood Or Jusice - and/or other future
projects you'd like to share?
sure hope so. Season 2 is in the early writing stages as we speak. And
we’d love for it to go on for 7 or 8 seasons, with several spin-offs to
follow. I already have an additional 14 issues of the graphic novel
written and ready to illustrate as well. And, ultimately, we’d love to
see it adapted into a television series. We think it’d make a tremendous
multi-season series for some cable channel or streamer.
You do have a background
in filmmaking - so what got you into making an audio drama in the first
place? And how does making movies compare to doing audio?
question. For Blood Or Justice actually started off as a feature film
script, but I realized pretty quickly during the writing process that I
had much more story to tell than would fit in a two hour movie. At that
point I either needed to make it into a movie trilogy or do something
unconventional. As an indie filmmaker I always had hopes of finding
financing and making this story myself, but I knew that would never happen
with a story so big, and me with so few industry connections. At some
point I realized I could create the entire For Blood Or Justice universe, as big and as
crazy as my heart desired, if I adapted it into a graphic novel. It took
several years to finish, from inception to completion, but it got done.
Adapting the story again, this time into an audio drama, was a challenge,
but slightly easier due to the fact it more closely resembles a film.
and I really wanted the podcast to feel cinematic. And when I say that I
mean we want the listeners to ‘see’ their way through it, to follow
the action as it moves from one location to another, one sequence to the
next. Scott detailed this idea to the cast as he directed, and I tried to
make that work as I edited and created the sound design. I think my
background in film helped me work my through the post process and end up
with as filmic an audio drama as we could have hoped.
can you tell us about your education as a filmmaker?
I attended Cal State University Long Beach (CSULB) for Film and Video
production and had some great professors there. My primary professor was
extremely experienced and also taught in the MFA program at UCLA, so we
all received a pretty thorough undergrad education. He expected a lot from
us, expected us to be professionals, and I think it paid off. When my time
there was coming to an end I realized I wanted to learn more about the art
of film, so I applied and was accepted to the American Film Institute.
While at AFI I worked with a ton of incredibly talented students (they
call us ‘fellows’ at AFI) while being taught by a large number of working
professionals. It was an amazing experience, and I learned so very much
about the intricacies of visual storytelling. On a side note, I made a
low-budget feature film almost immediately after I graduated
from AFI. It was basically a student film on steroids, with almost the
entire crew made up of fellow students and friends, none of us really
knowing what to do. I won’t bore you with the whole story, but suffice
it say that I consider that undertaking my post graduate education. It was
brutal, but a serious learning experience.
talk about your creative work prior to For Blood Or Jusice,
in whatever medium?
spent most of my time since graduation writing scripts and working on For
Blood Or Justice. I do have a feature film that I wrote, directed and
edited that is currently available on Amazon Prime and for free on Tubi
called Homecoming. It’s not a great film but considering what I had to
go through to get it done, it’s not half bad. I was still learning a
great deal of things about my craft when I made it, and at times it shows,
but the cast and crew did some amazing work, and it looks and feels like a
solid indie film. I did write and direct another feature film, but it’ll
never see the light of day. We lost our location the night before shooting
was scheduled to start, and subsequently lost our producer, editor and
cinematographer. It was a miracle we actually finished it, but it’s not
worthy of human consumption.
Since this is first and foremost a
film site, your favourite movies?
no particular order my favorite films are Jaws,
Shawshank Redemption, The Taking of Pelham 123 (the original),
Used Cars, Star Wars, Heat, North by Northwest,
This is Spinal Tap, The
Thing, 3 Days
of the Condor, and The Bourne Identity. And so many more…
... and of course,
films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
man. I don’t know that I really deplore any movies. I know how
incredibly difficult it is to make movies, so I usually give most
filmmaker’s the benefit of the doubt. There are certain genres I will
stay away from though. And there are trite or dimwitted movies that I
won’t bother to watch, but I figure they weren’t made with me in mind
anyway. I enjoy horror, action, thrillers, dramas, comedies,
documentaries… almost anything made with passion, creativity and
Your/your show's website,
social media, whatever else?
for the interview!