Interviews: Blackgold Creator Aaron Giles
Welcome to the first of the
Kickstarter interviews. For
those of you who donít know Kickstarter is a place where creative projects, like
comic books, albums, documentaries and video games can go to receive funding
from the general public. In this series of interviews Iíll be talking to a bunch
of comic book creators who are using the site to try and get their projects out
First up is Aaron Giles and his labor of love, Blackgold.
Blackgold will be more than just a comic book if it gets funded; Giles
hopes to make his project an animated web comic complete with voice acting. On
the site Giles describes the story of Blackgold asďtaking place in
the far distant future on an alien world called Marratt, where human beings
co-exist with a race of reptilian humanoids called "rygar."Ē It features
assassins and conspiracies and has me interested.
As a creator how beneficial is a
program like Kickstarter to getting your project off the ground?
Kickstarter takes a lot of the guesswork about trying to find funding and
promoting a project. Without programs like Kickstarter, producers usually have
to create extensive press packages or proposal kits just to even get noticed!
Though not foolproof, Kickstarter definitely makes getting a project rolling
2) Do you believe it is now easier to get your project made, through programs
like Kickstarter and the internet?
Compared to only a handful of years ago, certainly. You're not only reaching a
broader audience of potential backers and fans, but you're able to do it
3) Does a program like Kickstarter present any problems and difficulties of its
own? For instance what happens if you do not obtain the funding you require?
Kickstarter is its own worst enemy, in a sense. With so many people vying for a
limited amount of dollars, only the truly "stand-out" projects even see the
light of day. More of than not, you're going to find projects with less than 10%
of their asking prices. Kickstarter simply can't promote everything. If a
project doesn't meet its goal, it simply doesn't get funding.
4) How do you decide what rewards to give your backers?
It became apparent after viewing several different projects that people want
something for their money. While they're certainly investing in your project
because they like it in some fashion, it's always nice to give your backers
something physical as a thank you. For us, the obvious route to go was art.
Giving our backers bona fide art from the comic itself was a logical conclusion.
5) Ideally you want to make Blackgold an animated comic with voice acting. What
about the project made you think it needed to be done this way? Are there
increased risks over just making a normal comic/graphic novel?
I originally penned Blackgold as a science fiction novel, slated to be around
1,000 pages. After developing the story and the universe, I came to realize that
a lot of the interesting aspects of the story are the visuals. It's difficult to
describe the rygar in such a way as to give a reader a clear indication as to
what they look like, for instance. For this reason, I settled on a voice-acted
comic. This was not only because sound design and voices go a long way to
bringing the story to life, but also because I have a very talented crew working
behind me that fit the roles I had in mind perfectly. As far as increased risks,
the only real difficulty we're facing over and above a normal comic is the fact
that voicing and the like makes developing each page harder. Blackgold could
very well be released as a typical graphic novel without too much being changed.
6) What inspired you to make the project?
I've been a writer for a long time, with science fiction being my niche, so
stories like this have always been a huge draw for me. The idea for this comic
actually came to me while I was at work. It started with a single generic
sentence written on hotel stationery: "alien assassin with a mysterious past."
Beyond that, all of my effort was spent into making the story unique in its own
way. I drew inspiration from old novels I had read, some video games, and life
experiences. It all came together in a neat little story that ended up having a
lot of potential.
7) How do you plan on releasing Blackgold? How will you determine it a success
if itís released?
Blackgold will be released on its own website and via YouTube, where we will be
able to track unique hits to the website itself and views on each individual
chapter. If comic companies approach me and want to help and/or publish the
story, that will be another outlet we'll be able to use.
8) Do you see animated web comics as a potential future for the comic book
industry or still more of a niche market?
As of right now, it's still very much a niche market. The time and effort needed
to produce them are greater than making a simple web comic, and even then most
companies would rather move on to full animation if they're going to voice and
sound design something. This particular genre is more cost-effective but just as
work-intensive, so it's difficult to convince people that it's a viable option.
I do feel, however, that if animated web comics have good acting and good
writing, they'll open the door to other upstart comic creators and it'll take
9) How hard has it been to cast the voices for the project when so much of its
success could rely on their talents?
Fortunately, the actual casting of the project has been easy and stress free.
All of the cast members are my good friends who themselves are very talented
actors. Some, including myself, do acting for a living. I have also consulted
Vic Mignogna, a personal friend, to give pointers and tips where they're needed.
All in all, I'm extremely confident in my cast, especially since they're doing
this for next to nothing.
10) Finally, why should people back Blackgold? What about this project singles
it out as a project that demands the backing of the public?
I believe that people should back this project because of the simple fact that
it's a story that has never been told before in a medium that is very rarely
used. You're looking at interesting, believable characters encased in a
fleshed-out, well-crafted universe that has very real, very understandable
nuances. It's a story that is filled with twists and turns, edge-of-your-seat
action sequences, and genuine character interaction. You're also looking at very
talented men and women doing something simply because they love it. We want to
tell a story and to entertain people, and we feel that what we're doing is
certainly worth a second look.
Thanks to Aaron for taking the time out to speak to me and
donít forget, if you like the sound of this project donít forget to head on over
Blackgold page and become a
backer. There are plenty of cool rewards involved as well as a warm fuzzy
feeling waiting for you.