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Kickstarter 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 there. 

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 much easier.

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 instantly.

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 off.

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 to the Blackgold page and become a backer. There are plenty of cool rewards involved as well as a warm fuzzy feeling waiting for you.






 
 



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