The following is the final part of the story on the development of Sword of Arreon.
Storyboarding took years to finish. I worked on them steadily at times like lunch breaks, while my son was at swim practice and anywhere else I had to wait. Meanwhile I still had other elements of Sword of Arreon to sort out such as the voices of the characters. The voices of certain people I knew stood out in my mind, so I contacted them about a job opportunity and asked if they had done any acting in high school. We arranged a table read of a scene from the script where three characters are talking, in order to get a feel for the tone and pacing of the dialogue. My three voice actors read their parts from the scene out loud while I sat in the corner and listened. The table read went well, leaving me invigorated as I paid the three for their time.
Later, we arranged a recording session at one of the voice actors place of business. The session consisted of setting up my laptop in one room and the microphone and sound isolation unit in another. Both the actors and myself listened to each other through headphones. I also had a small microphone at the recording workstation to give directions and speak the other characters lines during dialogue. When recording was finished, I thanked and paid the voice actors for their time. Back at the studio, I made backups on DVD of their vocal performances.
With an animation project of this scale I need a production team. My plan to get the funding to hire animators is to make a minute and a half trailer for Sword of Arreon. This video will show the final look of the animation and outline the basic premise of the series, serving as proof of concept for potential investors and crowdsourcing campaigns. Since reading Reiss’s book on independent film distribution and marketing and being made aware of the new phenomenon of transmedia storytelling, I decided to turn my idea into a franchise. Therefore Sword of Arreon will also be a graphic novel and web-based 3D game which expand on the world of the animated series. These other wings of the transmedia franchise are still in development, but tentatively will tell the backstory leading up to the action seen in the Sword of Arreon pilot.
In Edith Hamilton‘s Mythology, a very enjoyable book brilliantly illustrated by Steele Savage (best name ever), she points out some intriguing things that all myths have in common. She states that fundamentally, myths connect us to a time when the world was young and people had a connection to nature. Today this connection is lost, as most of us live in cities or rely on them to some degree. My intent with Sword of Arreon is to weave stories that are both science fiction and ancient legend, set in worlds of the distant future. I wish to evoke the same “once upon a time” atmosphere as the tale of Sleeping Beauty, the legend of Perseus, or the epic poem Beowolf, where there is little distance between the real and unreal.
Another aspect of independent filmmaking brought up in Reiss’s Think Outside The Box Office is that of pitching the franchise to investors and crowdsourcing platforms. The picture needed a short description that stated plainly what it’s about and quickly generate interest. As conclusion to this story on the creation of Sword of Arreon, here is what I came up with after much consideration: “Sword of Arreon is space mythology. Fables of heroes, dragons and powers beyond imagining. When humankind is forgotten, and the Kingdoms of Nature take to the stars.”