Interview: Mark Edward Lewis

Interview: Mark Edward Lewis

OMEGA 1 fans have patiently waited for issues 5 & 6 of the female-centric superhero comic series. A new Kickstarter campaign will fund the artwork, printing, and publication of the trade paper back, already written and adapted for artwork, plus a companion section of ancillary content. Co-creator Mark Edward Lewis (Blade of Honor) talks comics, kickstarter and the Omega 1 TV series he wants to do.

Why comics? What was it about inked offerings that had you jumping through fiery hoops to be a part of it?

Ha ha. It was less fiery hoops (although there’s been some) and more of a necessity to see the world of Omega 1 become a reality. Originally it was developed as a webisodic series which was then turned into a pilot. But it became clear that we needed a visual medium to help pitch the story. Actually, I was never really into comic books. I had a few growing up, but on the whole it wasn’t my thing. It didn’t have the “multimedia” or temporal flare of movies or TV. But when we took the sci-fi, post hacker war world television pilot called “Omega 1” and translated it into comic book format, I realized the power of the perfectly timed freeze-frame. The most amazing part of comic books is in the incredible limitation of the media. The powerfully narrow scope the writer has to tell his story: the perfect shot at the perfect time in the perfect way – of a scene. What was originally a 48 page 1-hour episode became broken into two comic books and over 120 pages of text and pane-by-pane explanation. What I’d get back a few weeks later from our artist Emmanuel Xerx Javier was like having Christmas every morning: the most amazing representations of those perfect-moment shots on paper.

I was hooked there too. The comic book medium is the perfect place to hone your story and force it to be told as efficiently as possible.

Did you find it relatively easy to break in?

Because we’re far more focused on television productions and series, being able to go to comic conventions and speak with comic book  fans was super easy – and SUPER helpful. It’s been amazing to be able to just create a comic book series that really caters to what we’ve heard from fans about what they want to see – and create a wonderful combination of all the thigns we love most about comic books.

Of course, getting a great artist is the most critical thing, and we were very lucky to be able to enlist the talents of Emmanuel Xerx Javier.

You have to have a thick skin, if you’re working in the business, I imagine. How do you handle the ups, downs, rejections and disparagement that the game brings? I imagine you’re experiencing a bit of this with Omega 1 as it finds its legs?

We’ve had a lot of hits the to heart, if that’s what you mean. Especially when we pitched the series around town back in 2006 when Pain Killer Jane and The Bionic Woman were tanking. Nobody wanted a female superhero lead character in a TV series. We KNEW we were on the right path, but we didn’t know we were 12 years ahead of ourselves. It’s really important to have a team in place which can be there. Even if it’s just friends and family. They should all be supporting you otherwise it’s just WAY too hard. They also get to share in the spoils of the successes as well. Generally, if you believe in your story and your ability to get it done, good things happen more than bad. Even in this industry.

You clearly like to be involved in all facets of filmmaking – is that why you prefer to get involved in indie projects?

Great question. I get asked regularly why we’re not pitching our other series “Blade of Honor” to big networks. First of all, sometimes it’s way HARDER to get a big-budget series going than an independent one. The issue I have with a large budget production is that there’s too many fingers in the pie. It’s one of the reasons we’re not really looking for a major distributor or network to buy it. We don’t want to have to deal with 35 executive producers putting in their two-cents just so they have justification for existence. We will work with partners who understand the brand, understand our fans, and have great creative and brand input to maximize all. Also, in an independent production you get to wear a lot more hats – which is fun and grueling at the same time. You NEVER get bored, because your job is different every day – especially if you’re the director.

They say ‘TV is where its at’ at the moment, do you agree? Is that why you’re considering making Omega 1 a TV show over a movie?

I’ve actually been yelled at as the keynote speaker at conference for saying this, “Independent Film is Dead.” Unless you’re doing horror or movies under $1 million, it’s nearly impossible to monetize them. TV and internet delivery not the future, it’s the NOW. We’re 100% committed to getting our media into that stream instead of the film media stream. It’s exactly why Omega 1 and the other 9 series in our pipeline will be done as series.

How is doing a show different to creating a comic?

Although the production aspect of it is obviously different, the primary difference is at the beginning: the KIND of script and WAY in which the story needs to be written out. In a screenplay you have scene numbers, VFX and SFX instructions, actor action instrutions and dialog. You might also have some special directions for camera. But for a comic book, there’s no dialog at all. It’s all in either speaking or thought bubbles and 95% of the script is pane-by-pane telling the artist exactly what your vision is for the freeze-frame you’re wanting “shot” or drawn. It’s the wonder and difficulty of writing for comics. You have to pick the best 4-8 still frames in a scene to tell the story from, the best camera angle, the best lens, the best lighting and the best performance. In contrast to motion pictures which you get the luxury of the temporal element, a comic book is devoid of that and I believe makes it more rich – and certainly more difficult to write. Also, a comic book script is about 5 times as long as a screenplay of the same content.

Omegas Magnetic Field Throwers

Omegas Magnetic Field Throwers

Are folks still buying comics like they use to?

Not at all. IN fact there are large comic book distributors who are considering killing some of their largest brands because of purchase falloff. However, we’re seeing some wonderful genesis of online comics or shell-based apps that allow you to binge-read all the content you can stand from your mobile device. To me, this is wonderful.

Do they still acquire physical versions or are they reading them on their apps?

I’m not sure the figures. We’ve sold far more physical comics than virtual ones, but we certainly don’t match the market. I love the digital delivery of comics, but like the death of DVD and Blu-ray for Streaming and download, my favorite movies I’m always going to want to have in-my-hand.

What would Omega-1 be available on?

It’s been available on our website, and while the Kickstarter is going all our merchandize purchasing is frozen. Once the Kickstarter is complete there may be a while before any further availability of Omega happens. So, the ABSOLUTE BEST way to get your Omega 1 issues and merchandize is from the Kickstarter!

If we wanted to give you some cash to make this happen, how can we do it?

Well, you can just come over to my place and slip me a few bills, but if you can’t do that, then:

The Omega 1 Kickstarter can be found here:

We’ve got ALL KINDS of amazing rewards and perks for your donations. Right now we’re the fastest growing comic book raise on Kickstarter and we’re only going higher.

If you love independent sci-fi productions and comic books and empower female super heroes kicking-ass, this is the place for you to become a part of Omega 1.

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.


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