Scary Bird

Scary Bird
Bird at Castle Howard - photo by Jeremy Fiest

Monday, November 15, 2010

Island Tales: "The Battle of Strength Between Two Chiefs"

Island Tales is a comic anthology based on folklore and mythology from Pacific. Some stories are adapted from traditional stories, while others are modern retellings of the classics.

This short story is based on the poem by the same title. If you're interested in reading it, you can find it HERE.

Below you will find some of the completed pages from my eleven page contribution. This was a joy to write, and I hope to do more for Island Tales in the future. So, stay tuned!

Check it:
































Created by Stephen Smil
Written by Jeremy Fiest (That's me)
Pencils, Inks, Colors, & Letters by Ray Dillon


FOLLOW ISLAND TALES!!
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http://www.islandtales.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yes, I am a trailer addict...

Thought I would post some trailers for the films I'm currently most excited about. Please, feel free to let me know if I've missed anything super cool, but really these are only a FEW of the films I'm looking forward to. The full list would take much more time.

First up we have 127 HOURS by Danny Boyle. I've see all of his films, and aside from already being an awesome filmmaker, he's one of those that continues to get better with every project. This film looks fantastic, and James Franco looks as though he gives a great performance. 




Next we have TRUE GRIT by Joel and Ethan Coen. I have to say that I am most excited about this film. The Coens are among my personal favorite contemporary filmmakers. The cast, which includes Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon is also quite stellar. I have very little doubt that this will be anything less than great. 





This third choice is another complete package as far as actor and director are concerned. In BIUTIFUL we have Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu directing and Javier Bardem in the leading role. On top of that the trailer looks amazing! However, I do have to say that I prefer the trailer Apple currently has up so you may want to go check it out there at this link: Biutiful - or you can just be lazy and watch this one.





Whoa. This looks nuts.THE BLACK SWAN. I've been a fan of Darren Aronofsky since I saw Requiem for a Dream and then later went back and watched Pi, which I also loved. I would have to say that he is one of the most ambitious and interesting filmmakers today; however, while it was a fine effort, I was not a huge fan of The Fountain. What I'm most interested in is what he will do with X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2. Wow. What a strange, yet, cool choice! All that aside, I have a good feeling about this one:





I think five will do for now. This last choice is THE FIGHTER by David O. Russell. I'm interested in this film on multiple levels. Firstly, I was a professional cage fighter so I have a deep appreciation for the source material, and secondly, because I'm a huge fan of both David O. Russell and Christian Bale. Three Kings is one of my very favorite films, and, of course, Christian Bale is always fantastic; though, it looks like he's, once again, gone above and beyond the call of duty physically for the role - as he did in the machinist - by losing a shit-load of weight. Check it:





Like I said up top, these, of course, are not all the films/trailers I'm jazzed about at the moment, but they do fall at the top of my list. If there's something you think should be on here, please, feel free to post a link. I'm always on the lookout for an awesome trailer. 


Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Great Wall


If you have brought a ladder, take it home.
It will not help you here, in this land,
where even great men lose their authority
in the shadow of the wall.

I have run miles, and miles, and miles
only to trip on my shoelaces
or the remains of other fallen men.
Though, when I stand, I stand taller than before.
Yet never quite tall enough.

Long ago, I was a fool and plucked out my eye
and tossed it to a bird, but could not see a thing,
as the wall has no patience for shortcuts
on this side of great beauty and pain and lust.

I say to you, “Why climb this Great Wall?”
Fingers bleed as you lick your wounds,
all for another chance to remember
you a blind man among blind men.
Instead, you could sit with me and eat fruit.

The wall was not built by the hands of flesh.
Nor will it grant us pity
Because our tears fill the sea,
and drown us as we scream at the sun.

For the day I see over
is the day I grow to a thousand feet
And jump from star to star
as I watch headless chickens play
and remember the hour that I was lost.


Friday, October 8, 2010

1000 Words

Sure, I absolutely love the power of words. I'm a writer. But the poetic assembly of words into a narrative form is not simply where my great affinity for storytelling lives and dies. If fact, words are not even my primary source of inspiration -- images are.

Why? Because I'm a visual guy. But maybe it's just like they say -- images are worth 1000 words. Actually, yes, I'd argue that it is exactly like they say.

An image can tell an entire story within the moments of a single glance. Think about it. What story built only of words has this sort of simplistic power?

Nadda.

This may be why I'm so attracted to film and comics. In film, I use moving images to tell a story; however, I still see each shot as a still photo. In the moving shots I'll imagine two, three or ten still images as I continue to re-frame the shot. 

In comics, it's the combination of still images and text -- the two of the most fertile forms of communication coming together, in my opinion.

So, each day, as I'm wandering about, I notice a slew of inspiring images everywhere around me. As a writer, I can see an image, and within moments, have an entire storyline plotted out from start to finish. This is why I will spend hours online every now and then doing nothing but searching through images on Google. It's a great exercise if you're in need of a relaxing way to spend your evening.

In that time I'll find a multitude of images that will spark all sorts of grandiose creative stimulation, but I'll only keep the ones that I find exceptionally powerful -- in fact, I have an entire folder on my computer full of such images.

Well, you get the picture, I'm sure. (Pun intended.)

But just for good form, I did a quick search on the internet and pulled these 10 semi-random images. Each one of them told me a story and inspired me in some way. If they don't do the same for you, that's fine. That just means you need to go out and find your own.

Enjoy.



Friday, October 1, 2010

Sometimes They Come Back...Again!

I know, crap movie, but the title seemed fitting.

I've been away for most of the month. Sorry about that to my whopping two blog readers. Kidding. I'm sure there are at least three you...right?

Anyway, things have been busy for me. I'm writing for a few projects currently that are keeping me a bit jammed up. That happens. There are times when it seems like I've got all the time in the world and want more to do, and other times when I have far too many things to do and not enough time.

That's the life of a freelance writer/filmmaker/super cool guy.

I love it, though, and wouldn't change a thing. In fact, I'm nearly caught up and preparing to start a couple more projects. I'm working on Dawn of the Ninja right now, but also have a couple more creator owned projects I hope to start on soon. Exciting times.

I was also talking with my 20-year best bud and lover of action figures, John Johnson about doing another film in 2011. The challenge now becomes deciding what film to do. We're thinking horror this time. I also have an idea for a wonderful documentary that I could start whenever, but need to find the perfect subject. If I can get this off the ground by the end of next year, I'll try and post some updates on its progress. If not, this may be the last time you hear of it. I'm hoping for the former, of course.

So, here's the deal. I'm 28-years-old. I've worked with Ray Dillon for about ten years now - though, I took three years off to work in Los Angeles and make my film. We've had may projects come and go. We're continuing to work on a few others even now. I MUST have my own project published before I'm 30. That gives me a year and a half. Sure, I've been published many times in the short story or short comic format, but I'm talking about a GN or a series of some kind.

The good news, with the way things are progressing, I will most likely accomplish this goal very soon.

Last, thought: I think I'm going to start linking to super cool trailers that I find. I'm a junky for such things, and enjoy sharing and talking about them with my friends, so this should be the perfect outlet. Also, I'll continue posting reviews every now and then on the films I see, or comics or novels I read. So, please, keep checking in. I haven't forgotten about you, my love.

Cool photo time:


More to come.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Poem -- The Desert

Every now and then I feel the need to write a poem. Why? Maybe because in writing all the scripts and papers I do, something deeper builds up until it needs some form of release - like a giant ball inside my chest that needs plunged out through my face-hole. Sure, I find that in most writing, the writer experiences some level of true self-expression, however, in writing poems I've discovered maybe the absolute truest form of this.

Well, for myself anyway.

Okay, enough introduction. I like writing poems. That's all.

Please, leave comments, and...

Enjoy:


The Desert

The terrain here is violent,
faces blank.
I search for water, but the space
devours me.
Stopping to watch a passing ghost
I realize
I know her face but not her name.

Vultures fly over head
and laugh together,
calling my name to come out and play.
They gave up on water
for the promise of meat, which burns them away
like soft paper.

When I was young, I swam
in an ocean.
But as the sun grew, so did the dry land
until raindrops
fled into the heavens, leaving behind
this eternal land.

My comrades encircle me,
pushing me to hunt,
pushing me to
feed
But a single drop of water still remains
on my now drying lips
And I have not forgotten
The beauty of
The ocean.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World -- Movie review



I can honestly say that I've never seen a film that has been, both, so nerdy and awesome at the same time. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is an insanely exciting, jaw-dropping action spectacle, that so thoroughly embraces the ludicrous that you'll find it impossible to wipe the smile from your face.

Written and Directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), Scott Pilgrim is his first American film, however, it is far from the traditional summer action flick. What excites me most after seeing this film is the solidified potential for the Ant Man movie Wright will direct, set for release in 2011. Wright proves that he's no slouch when it comes to the seamless combination of interesting characters and eye-popping action. The latter trait, in this case, also owes much of its success to the cinematographer, the very talented, Bill Pope (The Matrix, Spiderman 2).

The film centers around Scott Pilgrim, a young, nerdy aspiring-rocker (Michael Cera), who seems to attract all kinds of woman trouble (Sounds like me), and lives -- and sleeps in the same bed -- with his cool, gay roommate, Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin), who is undoubtedly the most interesting character in the film. While still recovering from a breakup that occurred over a year ago, Pilgrim begins dating - against the advice of his sister, Stacy Pilgrim (Ana Kindrick) - an obsessed high-school girl, Knives (Ellen Wong), before, again, shifting gears and jumping into relationship with "the girl of his dreams," Ramona Flowers (played by the smokin' hot, Mary Elizabeth Winstead). The problem: Ramona Flowers has seven - count 'em - SEVEN evil ex's that he must defeat in battle if he wants to be her new beau. They call themselves the League of Evil Ex's, and they include an outcast, a vegan (Brandon Routh), a movie star (Chris Evans), twin rockers, a lesbian, and, the leader of the group, a successful record producer, Gideon Graves (played hilariously by Jason Schwartzman).

I absolutely love how the action is first introduced into the film. It begins in a presumably normal reality - despite the animated words that pop up here and there like a comic book - until Ramona's first boyfriend is introduced, in which the film instantly goes from corky comedy, to corky comedy AND kick ass, action extravaganza.  It's not only in the hyperintense, video game-like special effects or the always top-notch cinematography by Pope, but it's also in the ultra-cool fight choreography that really makes the action stand out. Why? Because they somehow convincingly and consistently make the nerd of nerds, Michael Cera, look like Jet Li in the blink of an eye.

This is, for sure, a film you want to try and catch while it is still in theaters. It's just way too much fun to miss out on. And while it may not be a total package for the much older generations - those who never experienced the era of video games - it does have many other charms that will surely interest them, regardless. Because below the face-melting special effects and action, this is really a very simple story about the crazy things a young man is willing to go through for the love of a girl, and while the video game action is the primary point-of-interest, this is a film where our characters learn a few things, and change for the better in the end, even if it's only a little. That being said, like Wright's previous films, Pilgrim will surely go down as another cult favorite, ending up on the shelves of cinephiles around the world.

Thanks for reading.

Best,
Jeremy

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Teaser Art - Dawn of the Ninja

Always exciting to get new art, and in the last week artist Ray Dillon has been working diligently to produce a great deal of it. So, for your viewing pleasure - and because we can't seem to contain ourselves - here are a couple images from Chapter One.

Also, don't forget to check out the site for more updates at www.dawnoftheninja.com

Thanks for checking in.

Reporter turns ghetto in 3 seconds

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Going to Delete Myspace (Someday)

CAUTION: Using Myspace will transform you into this guy.
Last night I decided to check my Myspace page. I do this from time to time because someone will be under the ridiculous impression that I still use it. I'll discover that I have a new friend request - that I usually deny anyway - or someone - who I never talk to - has sent me a message titled "Hey," where they are either asking me a question that needed an answer three weeks ago, or have sent the same message to 200 other friends in a desperate attempt at finding someone on Myspace to talk to.

Yes, people really do that. I should know...I mean...

Right. So. I'm checking myspace. No messages. Cool. But I have it in my head that I will soon drop the website completely, but first need to go through my friends list to see if there is anyone I may want to take with me to Facebook or twitter. (You know, where the cool kids hang.) So, I find an old friends page - not going to say who and expose their uncoolness at this time- and click on their profile picture and - OH MY GOD, VIRUS!

To be honest, it was more like five viruses, but who's counting, anyway. A virus from myspace, in my book, is the last straw. Now, I'm really deleting my Myspace page...

Right?

Wait...is it "my Myspace" or "MYsp - " Nevermind.

So, then why haven't I deleted it? What's keeping me? I mean, my film Common look pretty cool on there. That's a positive. But, other than that, I think it has something to do with nostalgia for me. It's like that ratty, old t-shirt you just can't throw out, but, at the same time, are too embarrassed to wear in public. So, you just keep it in the closet and look at it every now and then, allowing it to work its magic and bring back a memory or two before you go about your business. Makes sense. I don't know. Maybe it's just me. I'm sure all of you have canceled the myspace pages that you never check, right? Yeah...

Furthermore, I get thoughts running through my head like "What if someone from myspace doesn't find me on Facebook or twitter?" or "What if myspace makes a comeback?" or finally "What if aliens invade Earth and suck out the brains from all those without a myspace page?"

I know. Those are all extremely valid concerns...

Anyway, here's the kicker. My good friend, John Johnson used to tell me that he would never come over to Facebook because he loved the way he could design his Myspace page and add music. He said it best allowed him to express his personality and Facebook was boring. Well, guess what? Today, John Johnson is on Facebook. (And, yes, again, that is his real name.) But what this means is, if John Johnson - the guy who is always 50 years behind a trend - left Myspace in the dust...man, oh, man...you better not be caught dead there, loser!

Like I was.

But yeah. In conclusion:

Myspace is lame and I'm going to delete it...

Someday.

Best,
Jeremy

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hollywood vs Comics


While I didn't attend the San Diego Comic Convention this year, the one thing stuck out to me more than anything else was that the focus was not on comics; the focus was on movies. Yeah, sure, the majority of the movies presented were those that had originally derived from comic books, but what does this say about the future of the comics industry? Will Hollywood simply have its way with the comic book medium for a few years and then toss her aside like a $10 Taiwanese whore, or will this inspire a larger, more diverse audience for comic books someday?

The answer to that question is impossible to guess, but if it were a bet, I'd go with the former.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love movies. I've spent more of my life working towards a career in film than a career in comics, that's for sure, but that is why I greatly appreciate both. The problem is, Hollywood is not film; film is an art form and Hollywood just happens to hold the monopoly on that art form. There have been thousands upon thousands of films made that came no where near Hollywood's greedy little (or shall I say massive) hands. However, because Hollywood is such a superpower, many filmmakers are more than willing to sell their souls to see their films made. Are comic book creators following suit?

Of course.

It's pretty clear that the hope of having your comic turned into a film  has become the primary goal for a great many comic book creators today, and it's not because it's what's best for comics, it's because they see movies as something bigger and better for their story. Why, because there's more money involved? Sure.  And can you blame them? Not really. Would I sell my comic book property to Hollywood for a handful of cash? You bet your ass I would.

But I firmly believe that comic books are, on their own, a wonderful art form, and I want other people to see this, too. Unfortunately, that's never going to happen if the fan base is built in the shadow of the great colossus that is all "lights, camera, action!" Comic books are not storyboards, damn it. Comic books are stories told with the combination of text and still images; it's an extremely power medium when given the opportunity. In my opinion, comic books should be just as respected as novels or movies because they are capable do doing things the latter two mediums could never hope to achieve.

If you're the cynical jerk shaking your head right now, please, leave.

Thank you.

Now, where was I...

Anyway, this isn't a call to action because, really, I'm no authority, now am I? I'm just a mild-mannered writer who hopes to create a few comic books worth reading before I grow old and lose the ability to eat solid foods or wipe my own ass. And, really, that's what all artists should strive for; to contribute something of themselves to the medium they love while they can. I say forget Hollywood. If they come knocking on your door, then good for you, go get your paycheck. But when you get back from taking your new BMW for a cruise around Santa Monica, and sit back down at your keyboard or your art table, consider this:

The future of comics still hangs in the balance, and you've still got a lot of work cut out for you.

We all do.

[Steps down from soapbox]

Best,
Jeremy Fiest

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dawn of the Ninja


What is it? It's a graphic novel I'm writing that focuses on the origins of the ninja turtles and Oroku Saki (Shredder). Here I'm doing my best to stay true to the work of Eastman and Laird, while approaching it with a much more human design. When coming into this I was asking myself questions like "What would it be like to live in a sewer my entire life, and in what ways would this shape the way I viewed the world?" As far as Saki's story goes, I wanted to first see him as a person before the ruthless ninja leader he eventually becomes; a person who struggles with the definition of honor after the death of his father. Later, the lost adolescent finds security in the path of vengeance, and this leads to his eventual downfall .

Think "Batman Begins" with reptiles.

So far, we've had some extremely positive attention from an array publishers, and we firmly believe that it's only a matter of time until DOTN finds a home with one of them. Which one? That will depend mainly on who gets the license from Nickelodeon. Until then...we will keep plugging away.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here is the synopsis of the story and some art by artist Ray Dillon. Please, don't hesitate to continue checking in with us at www.dawnoftheninja.com

 Synopsis:

     Following a series of shocking events occurring in Japan more than thirty years ago, two stories are set in motion that transcend the corners of the globe in search of definitive clarity to the ever so mystifying question: What is a NINJA? The first story follows young Oroku Saki (Shredder) throughout the beginning of his life as he battles with the haunting death of his father, Oroku Nagi, and the feelings of retribution that eventually warp his perception of honor. The second centers on the Ninja Turtles and April O’Neal as they attempt to unearth a disturbing mystery: the transformation of Baxter Stockman into a new and exceptionally dangerous mutant. At the same time, Raphael grapples with the significance of his existence and the duty of preserving the selfless legacy set forth by Master Splinter’s fallen owner, Hamato Yoshi. The juxtaposing narratives focus highly on the human elements of vengeance and honor, while maintaining the charming fundamentals that have positioned the Ninja Turtles as true American icons. In the end, both tales finally converge, and from the resulting, climactic wake, a fierce and everlasting rivalry is born.

Chapter 1: Page 1

Chapter 2: Page 1

Oroku Saki (Shredder)
A panel from Chapter 2

Please, see the site for more images and updates on what what to expect next. Thanks for reading!

Best,
Jeremy Fiest

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Guns, Cigarettes, and Depression

Okay. So. Here I am. I'm blogging. Awesome.

This is something I've been interested in for years, but like many others, I was too fucking lazy to get around to doing it. Well, like I said, here I am. And, I have to say, it feels...good. Natural even.

Right. Enough with the witty intro thingy. I'm here for one purpose: I want to write. And...I want others to read what I write. Right? Right. If I didn't I would write all my thoughts down in a journal, hide it in the floor for 500 years, and then pull it free from its dark chamber and use it for toilet paper. Why? Because I finally came to terms with being a failure as a writer. A failure because I refused to share my ideas with the world, no matter how lame they actually were (yes, at 528 years old, I intend on living forever). Anyway, I'm not saying that one should expect to fail as a writer if they don't do a blog - most great writers didn't blog or even have the option - but it should greatly improve one's abilities at getting their thoughts down on paper (or computer) and into the hands (or screens) of those who would care to read them.

That's you.

Maybe.

For now, let's make a deal. I'll do my absolute best not to put on some kind of cool guy blogger act, and you try and show up every now and then to take a glance at what I'm rambling about, if it even means anything to you.

What will I be talking about? How about everything that interests me, and maybe some things that interest you, too. I'm an aspiring comic book writer and independent filmmaker, so those will be the focus of my posts. I love anything movies or comics related, and I tend to have strong opinions about them. And we'll get to the details of said opinions later, I suppose. For now, let's start with a little (or a lot of) back-story.

As a kid, my father would take me to see movies on the weekends, and I'm sure the quality time with my father had something to do with the admiration I now feel for the cinema. Into my early teens I picked up a camera and began making short films. They started as comedies because that's what came natural. Plus, my mother was my primary audience, and she thought everything I did was hilarious. Go figure. So, it was then I learned what it was to make someone laugh - to make someone actually feel.

Years later, that childhood hobby turned into an obsession. I wrote my first screenplay at 18-years-old. It sucked. Most of my early writing sucked. Hell, it may still suck. But I know for a fact that it has greatly improved over the years, and for that, I am both proud and grateful. It was around this time that I began writing my first screenplay that I met up with artist, Ray Dillon, who to this day, is my greatest collaborator.

John Johnson, Jeremy Fiest, Ray Dillon

At the time, my best bud John Johnson (Yes, that is his real name) was also a major collaborator of mine, and would continue to be for the years to come. John and I eventually met a producer living out in L.A., and as soon as we were able, we moved out west and started work right away. It was tough at first, but the jobs started rolling in after - luckily for our bank accounts - only a short period of time. John started working for Warner Bros. on a TV show, and I began work on a film called UNKNOWN that was eventually distributed by the Weinstein Company. I directed the behind the scenes documentary for the film and had an amazing time in the process.

Peter Stormare, Jeremy Fiest, Mark Boone Junior

Check it out on IMDb: Unknown

Oh, rewind: I forgot to mention that straight out of high-school I got married, and in the following years before moving to L.A., I had two sons. That's big. Sorry. Today, Christian is about to turn 9 and Keagan has just turned 8. They are everything to me, and the reason that I could only stay in Los Angeles for a short time. Eventually, I decided that I could no longer go without them, so I moved back to my home-town in Kansas. John came with me. Once we were back, we decided to raise enough money to make our own film. In the back of my mind it seemed impossible, but we went ahead with it anyway. We brought on friend and co-creator, Jordan Gray and the three of us were, in fact, successful in raising 20k, and producing the feature film, COMMON, that I directed, John produced, and Jordan wrote and edited.

Jordan Gray, Jeremy Fiest, John Johnson

See here on IMDb: Common

Rewind again: Before John and I went off to the City of Angels we worked with Ray in producing that first screenplay I was working on. Remember the one? If not, read up. I'm new at this. Anyway, we began by creating a comic book of the film we intended to make, and it was there that I became interested in the art of writing comic books. It was amazing to me. I could satisfy my visual side, and also find new ways to challenge myself with the dramatic stillness of the comic book narrative.

For the next couple years I worked very closely with Ray and we developed many creator-owned books that ended up not going very far. Why? We were both still green at our trades. We had plenty of ambition, but lacked the skill to see it through. We started up a company called Golden Goat Studios, Inc. and began helping other creators just like us find jobs in the comic book and film markets. At this, we were rather successful on many occasions. We used our ambition to help others get a step further in the business, and it ended up being an amazing learning experience for all of us.

Fast forward: Today, I attend school at the University of Kansas, majoring in English and Journalism, paying my way through school writing comics, and seeing my boys on the weekends. I love it. To tell you the truth, over the past few years, while I've been working on Common, I've had no time for comics, and it's always bothered me. However, now I'm back in the saddle, as they say, and I'm interested in getting as much done as possible to further my career.

Stay tuned. I will be back soon. And I hope, in some extremely small way, I can inspire others take their next step by learning from both my experiences and mistakes, all of which will be discussed in this blog. I'm not here to tell any lies to impress you; I'm not here because I think what I have to say is the greatest thing since that gum that changes flavors when you chew it (seriously, have you tried it? It's amazing); and I'm definitely not here because I expect anything from any of you as my potential reader; I'm here because I'm a humble writer who wants write, and I want to give others the chance to read what I have to say before I'm 528 years old.

And that - yes, that is why I am here. 

Thanks for reading. I know this may be somewhat discombobulated, but I promise that my future posts will be shorter, more focused, and easier to follow. 

Maybe.

Best,
Jeremy