The lovely Lia Scott Price is a multi-talented writer, director, and now actress. I got a chance to talk to her recently about her new comic book and film series.
Lia, your comic book has just come out can you tell us what all went into creating it and getting it published?
First of all, thank you so much for the interview and for giving me a chance to talk about my work. I really appreciate your support of independent horror writers such as myself!
I’m a self-publisher and I have my own publishing company, but I use online print-on-demand companies such as createspace.com to publish, print, and fulfill orders for my books. The process is do-it-yourself. I oversee everything from concept to publishing and I hire professionals to do the artwork and graphic design. I basically have to think like a business, and do what a publishing company would do: find the services that will help me create my book. But first I had to figure out how to condense a 400 page trilogy novel into just 24 pages per comic book. Summarizing the stories without sacrificing the point of the novel was a lot of work. Cutting chapters was the hardest cause it’s my baby, I’m the sole writer for the comic book series, but I managed to do it. Then I hired two student artists to draw the comic books, design the cover and logos, and deliver the finished pages digitally. I format the comic books myself and upload them to the site, where they are print-on-demand. The book is available on amazon as well. It’s a lot of work being my own publisher, but it’s well worth it. I get to see the comic book in print! There will be three comic books published this year, and I will continue the series well into 2013 with books 4 and 5 in the works.
What is the story about and how were you inspired?
My creator-owned comic book series called Vampire Guardian Angels™ is based on my current vampire trilogy novel, “The Guardian, Revenant, and Dominion.“ Since the book is a trilogy, there will be three comic books released this year. In the series, I turned our everyday guardian angels into vicious vampires. These Vampire Guardian Angels™ from Heaven have become vampires who kill people who pray to them for help. But of course, there is still the good vs. evil element, where humans and ‘good’ angels work together to stop them . I came up with the stories because I have to admit at one point I was kind of getting annoyed by people telling me about their Guardian Angels saving them, and that started a “what if” game. I was in a church one time listening to a sermon about how we had our own guardian angels to protect us, and I started asking “what if” questions to myself: What if they hated us and harmed us instead? What if they were sick of hearing our prayers? That’s what inspired me to write the first novel. I started off by making them serial killers. And by the second novel, it was “What if they were vampires?” Then I sat back and waited for the backlash….but surprisingly, people loved the concept! I’m questioning why we rely so much on a supernatural entity to save us, when we don’t really know what a Guardian Angel really is, and as a result my portrayal is really disturbing and creepy. My idea was to show an alternate view of what a guardian angel could really be thinking or feeling. Kind of like Heaven’s customer service gone wrong. If it was their job to answer millions of non-stop prayers a day and save humans, I think a Guardian Angel would eventually snap and go crazy. And in my books, they go psycho in very bloody ways. And I also wanted to bring back a more vicious, brutal, sociopathic vampire (the way I like them!), but with a twist that pushes the envelope. You would never expect your Guardian Angel to be a psychotic vampire. It’s my fresh take on the vampire image and something entirely new and original.
Can you tell us a little about the artist and artwork for the comic book?
The main artist is Andrew Setter and he’s currently a graphic illustration student. He just completed the first book in the series and designed the cover as well. He’s amazing! This is actually his first comic book project and we used a black, white and red color scheme, and his artwork is incredible. Really talented guy. My fans have told me it’s one of the best work in black and white that they have seen in a comic book. I did give very specific instructions on my vision of how I wanted my characters to look and act and he drew them dead-on. His first words to me when I interviewed him for the job was that he understood my vision, and judging by his work, I chose the right artist! I wanted the characters to not look like the stereotypical comic book hero/villain. I wanted them to have their own look and style. And I think Andrew captured that nicely. Andrew works with his design partner, Chad Hammontree, who is the colorist and letterer. Chad is also incredibly talented and amazing as well, and he is the graphic artist for the series. He designed an awesome logo, and really made the comic book come to life with lettering for the dialogue. Chad also functions as the project’s Art Director, which also helps me tremendously in keeping track of at what stage things are at. He’s very good at it. I’m lucky to have two reliable and wonderful artists. I can’t stop saying good things about them.
Tell us about Pra/ey?
I’ve been turning my trilogy novel into short films over the years, and my latest one is called PRA/EY. The director/cinematographer is Ray Rodriguez, and it stars me, Jennifer Cannon and Brandon Murphy Barnes. The title PRA/EY is sort of a play on words where if you pray, you become the prey and is based on some combined chapters from my trilogy, but uses the same main character. In the film, I play a mental patient who’s confined to a hospital and who tries to convince a psychiatrist not to pray to a guardian angel, and warns her of what would happen if she does. It’s now in post-production. My husband Mike Naz will be scoring the film, and it should be released on DVD this year.
What inspired you to take up acting in this project?
I have to admit I am way more comfortable behind the camera instead of in front of it. But since I am a self-promoter, what better way to promote my own stories than to be in a film myself. When I started out in film, I was told I had to have a “name actor” in the film, so I thought, I can be the name! I thought it was a fun way to promote my own films. I have acted lead before, in my feature film called “The Guardian”. However, I do make it a point to make sure I cast myself with actors who are trained professionals and who do have more experience!
What have you learned being in front of the camera?
That acting is tough and requires practice! I admire the actors who really work on their craft. But it also makes me a much better producer/cinematographer. I like being involved in all aspects of film whether it’s acting, directing, filming, producing, set design, etc., and taking on all roles really helps you see things from different perspectives and helps you understand the input from everyone involved on the set. And it really helps the film itself. Even though I can do everything from filming to editing, I also want to know what it’s like to be in the shoes of everyone who works on my films so I can help understand what they need from me and what I need from them on set. I also think it makes me a better director if I can see and understand things from an actor’s point of view, and a better editor if I’ve actually experienced what it’s like to film and operate the camera. It helps you plan things better too.
You are a multidisciplinary artist, which do you enjoy the most and why?
I have to say filming. I just cannot put that camera down. Even though it is by far the most stressful of my projects, it is also the most rewarding. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with it, because every project does come with its own challenges and headaches. I keep telling myself every year that this is the last film I will ever do and I’m just gonna write from now on, but I say that, I’m already planning my next film. It’s addictive and exhausting, but I love it. I just can’t imagine not doing it. I can definitely say that the day I picked up a camera was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
What are your future projects?
I plan on continuing the comic book series. I guess at this point I can say I’ve stopped writing novels and will be concentrating on using the comic book format for any sequels. I think my stories really need to be told in a more visual form of media, including film. Even though I love writing, I feel that words just aren’t enough anymore for my characters. I want to continue bringing them to life through comic books and films. Or bobbleheads. Or video games. Who knows. I’m also planning a webisodes based on my trilogy novel, using the comic books, of course, as the storyboards!
Where can people find out about you and your work?
They can visit my web site at liascottprice.com