String City – Official Trailer

Buckle up – here’s the official trailer for String City! Animation by me, music by the amazing Pete Riley – thanks, Pete! The novel’s out January 2019, and available to preorder now. I probably mentioned that on the blog already. In fact, I know I did. Many times. So sue me.

I recommend watching the one-minute video at 1080px HD, in a darkened room, with the screen expanded to full size. On a scale of one to ten, dial the volume up to eleven. Enjoy!

Aeolus Corporation – A String City Snapshot

Aeolus Corporation

The Aeolus Corporation is responsible for weather control throughout String City. Managed by the wind god, Aeolus, this industrial complex of windwranglers, cloudbusters and stormsplicers delivers a climate that satisfies everyone who has a preference for heavy rain.

Recent fluctuations in the weather have prompted the city authorities to investigate the efficiency of the weather plant. Unfortunately, a freak hurricane blew the weather inspectors deep into the ninth dimension before they could complete their survey. All attempts to retrieve them have failed.

Acheron Lock – A String City Snapshot

Acheron Lock

Acheron Lock marks the junction of the River Lethe with the Acheron – also known as the River of Tears. Laced with anti-matter, the sentient lock gates ensure that the water keeps flowing smoothly at all times, in all dimensions, and frequently in defiance of gravity.

String City by Graham Edwards. Illustration by Vince HaigDownstream, the Acheron is popular with anglers keen to make an unusual catch. Some scatter oatmeal to attract water horses. Others snare selkies using creels crammed with haggis. More ambitious anglers tempt leviathan sharks by baiting their hooks with oxen or other large ungulates.

Explore the World of String City

String City website

Only a couple of months to go until the release of my new novel String City. Yes, the final edits are done, the cover and blurb are finalised, and advance review copies are tumbling off the press.

With the clock ticking down towards publication day, now’s your chance start familiarising yourself with the strange metropolis in which my interdimensional detective plies his trade. To help you out, I’ve created a standalone String City website, packed with information about some of the otherworldly locations that feature in the novel – from Acheron Lock to the Tartarus Club, Big Tusk Railhead to the Street of Plenty.

Take care, however, as you wander the labyrinthine streets of String City. There’s no map in existence that can keep up with the dimensional tremors that regularly rock this unlikely realm. If you should get lost, I’m afraid you’re on your own.

You have been warned.

Coming Soon – String City

String City Coming Soon

Read the new novel by Graham Edwards, out January 2019 and available to preorder now.

It’s a tough job being a gumshoe in an interdimensional city full of gods, living concepts and weirder things. Good job I’m a stringwalker, able to jump between realities.

It started when I was hired to investigate an explosion at a casino. A simple heist, I thought, but it turned into a race to stop the apocalypse. So I rolled the dice, and now I’m up against the ancient Greek Titans, an interdimensional spider god and a mysterious creature known as the Fool. I’m going to need more than just luck to solve this one.

If I fail, all things — in all realities — could be destroyed.

Just another day in String City.

Wrapping Marwen and String City

String City by Graham Edwards - Coming Soon

I always have mixed feelings when I come to the end of a writing project. When things have gone well, there’s satisfaction at finishing the job, but there’s also sadness that it’s come to an end … plus a dusting of fear that I maybe I didn’t do as well as I could have done.

Welcome to Marwen posterThis week it’s a double whammy. Firstly, I’ve just submitted the final draft of my latest Cinefex article – a comprehensive behind-the-scenes story on Welcome to Marwen. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film is based on the true story of Mark Hogancamp, who facilitated his own recovery from a brutal beating by constructing an entire miniature town and populating it with dolls. His dramatic photographs of his one-sixth scale world went on to gain recognition in the art world, proving the power of art therapy and the indomitability of the human spirit.

It’s a powerful story, and Zemeckis’s take on it is extraordinary – just as you’d expect from the visionary director of Back to the Future, Forrest Gump and Cast Away. A huge swathe of the film is set inside the miniature world, following the adventures of living, breathing doll characters, each of whom has a counterpart in the real world.  The backbone of my article is the story of how the filmmakers brought that miniature world to life, from set design and cinematography, to the physical construction of miniature sets and dolls, to virtual production and motion capture, to the painstaking art of visual effects. Of all the articles I’ve written for Cinefex, this may be the one of which I’m most proud.

You’ll be able to read my Welcome to Marwen article in Cinefex 162, out mid-December 2018, and available to pre-order now. I’m extra-excited because, as part of my research, I interviewed Robert Zemeckis himself. Rather than include that interview material within the main story, we’ve decided to pull it out as a standalone Q&A. So, two ‘Marwen’ articles for the price of one!

String City by Graham Edwards - draft cover. Illustration by Vince HaigThe second wrap of the week has seen me doing the final edit on my new novel String City, out January 2019. Actually, I’m not quite there – I still have one last copy edit to do, hopefully before the weekend. But, to all intents and purposes, my work on this book is done.

The novel is a hardboiled detective tale set in an otherworldly metropolis where the usual laws of physics don’t always apply. It’s fantasy, it’s noir, and it whisks its wisecracking interdimensional gumshoe hero to some pretty weird locations, as he tries to solve a mystery that threatens not only the neon-lit city in which he lives, but the entire surrounding cosmos.

Endings lead inevitably to new beginnings, and the two acts of closure I’ve engaged in this week are no exception. I’m already lining up my next Cinefex assignment, for an article that will appear in our February 2019 issue. I’ve also made a start on my next novel, which I’ll be working on through next year.

As for what these two new projects are about … you’ll just have to watch this space.

Cinefex Diaries – Venom and Alpha

Cinefex 161

The new Cinefex is just out, with Joe Fordham’s epic story on First Man gracing the cover. This issue, two of the five articles are mine, and they couldn’t have been more different.

First up is Alpha, which I actually finished writing in December 2017, ready for our February 2018 issue. When the film’s release date got bumped to the autumn, we rescheduled the story for inclusion in Cinefex 161. To cover this Ice Age tale of a young hunter’s friendship with a lone wolf, I spoke not only with visual effects supervisor Jeffrey A. Okun and the many artists under his direction, but also archaeological consultant Dr. Jill Cook from the British Museum, and animal trainer Mark Forbes. It’s fascinating where the research takes you sometimes and, in my quest to tell the story of how a team of talented filmmakers brought a wolf called Alpha to the screen, I ended up going to some pretty interesting places.

I worked frantically on my Venom assignment all the way through the summer, arranging interviews with visual effects co-supervisors Paul Franklin and Sheena Duggal, the team of artists at DNEG, director Ruben Fleischer, and a ton of other people, all while they were working frantically on getting the film finished for its October release. It’s a tough gig trying to join the dots on a story like this, when you’re interviewing people who haven’t necessarily drawn all the dots yet! The upside of all that hair-tearing is that the Cinefex story on Venom hit newsstands barely a week after the film was released. It doesn’t get more timely than that!

As always, I had fun putting together the promo video for Cinefex 161, which goes from historic first steps to shark-infested depths with its stories on First Man, Venom, Alpha, The Meg and A.X.L. Here it is:

Cinefex 160 is on newsstands now, and available to order at our online store. If you’re a subscriber, your copy will soon be touching down in your mailbox. And don’t forget our iPad edition, which features tons more photographs and exclusive video content.

String City – Teaser Trailer

 

Regular visitors to this blog will know I have a new novel out in January 2019, titled String City. To keep your appetite whetted, I thought I’d treat you to a teaser trailer, which features original music by my good friend Pete Riley. Thanks, Pete! Watch out for the full book trailer coming later in the year. Here’s the blurb:

String City by Graham EdwardsIn an interdimensional city full of gods, living concepts and weirder things, a gumshoe – a “stringwalker” who can travel between realities – is hired to investigate an explosion at a casino.

He ends up on a frantic chase to track down and retrieve an unimaginable power source, while staying one step ahead of the ancient Greek Titans, an interdimensional spider god, and the mysterious creature known as the Fool. If he fails, all things – in all realities – could be destroyed.

Just another day in String City.

String City will be published by Solaris Books on January 24, 2019. Preorder your copy now.

Cinefex Diaries – VIEW Conference 2018

VIEW Conference 2018

Last year, I remember looking wistfully at the programme for VIEW Conference 2017 and thinking what a great lineup it was. At the time, our hectic publishing schedule made it impossible for any of the Cinefex editorial team to attend, but this year is different. The stars have aligned and I’ll be heading out to Turin in October for VIEW Conference 2018, ready to report back on the proceedings via the Cinefex blog.

What’s so great about VIEW? For me, personally, it’s a chance to rub shoulders with people I’ve admired for years, among them Dennis Muren. Creative director at Industrial Light & Magic and a true legend in the field of visual effects, Dennis has been conjuring movie magic since the days of The Empire Strikes Back through Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Jurassic Park and beyond. Then there’s Hans Zimmer, whose epic film scores seem hellbent on filling up my iTunes library. Both Dennis and Hans are delivering keynote speeches at VIEW this year, and I can’t wait.

On top of that, VIEW will give me the chance to meet up with a bunch of visual effects supervisors I interviewed for Cinefex earlier this year, but have never actually met in person – like Rob Bredow (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Dan Glass (Deadpool 2) and Geoffrey Baumann (Black Panther). I’ll also get to prowl the conference hall in search of new victims – sorry, interviewees – watch the many presentations and, best of all, report back to our readers.

Here’s a tiny selection of highlights from the conference programme, which you can view in full at the official VIEW Conference 2018 website:

TUESDAY 23 OCTOBER

  • “Creatively Driven – The VFX For Solo: A Star Wars Story” – Rob Bredow, overall visual effects supervisor, senior vice president, executive creative director, head of ILM
  • “Step into my Music – Hans Zimmer
  • Black Panther” – Geoffrey Baumann, overall visual effects supervisor, Marvel Studios

WEDNESDAY 24 OCTOBER

  • Westworld” – Jay Worth, overall visual effects supervisor, HBO
  • Venom” – Troy Saliba, animation director, DNEG
  • Adrift” – Dadi Einarsson, visual effects supervisor, co-founder, RVX
  • Avengers: Infinity War” – Matt Aitken, visual effects supervisor, Weta Digital

THURSDAY 25 OCTOBER

  • “From Puppets to Pixels: Bringing the Dinosaurs of Fallen Kingdom to Life” – Glen McIntosh, animation supervisor Jurassic World, and animation co-supervisor Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  • “Next-Gen Virtual Reality” – Dr. Don Greenberg, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Computer Graphics, Cornell University
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” – David Vickery, overall visual effects supervisor, creative director, ILM

FRIDAY 26 OCTOBER

  • “Breathing Life into the Alien Robot of Lost in Space” – Joao Sita, visual effects supervisor, Image Engine
  • “What is the Magicverse?” – John Gaeta, senior vice president, Magic Leap
  • “Deadpool 2” – Dan Glass, overall visual effects supervisor, second unit director
  • “Visual Effects: Defining that Critical, Elusive and Final 5%” – Dennis Muren, senior visual effects supervisor, creative director, ILM

VIEW Conference 2018 takes place 22-26 October 2018, at OGR (Officine Grandi Riparazioni), Turin, Italy. Reserve your place at the official VIEW website. See you there!

Cinefex Diaries – Kessel Runner

Cinefex 160 - Solo: A Star Wars Story

The August edition of Cinefex is out, and I’m chuffed to have the cover with my article on Solo: A Star Wars Story. I had a whale of a time researching and writing this one, interviewing the visual effects team at Industrial Light & Magic, creature designer Neal Scanlan, special effects supervisor Dominic Tuohy and many others.

I also checked off a personal bucket list item by chatting with director Ron Howard. Here’s a snippet from my interview with him:

“This isn’t a war movie with an ensemble cast. It’s about young Han’s rite of passage, running this gauntlet on his quest for freedom. I wanted to make it first-person and put the audience right alongside Han throughout the adventure, to give it an urgency and excitement … There are always elements of the American Western and Kurosawa’s samurai films in Star Wars and I wanted to add a kind of ‘70s energy to all that — which was already there in the mind’s eye of Larry and Jon Kasdan, who wrote with kind of a rock‘n’roll vibe. In addition, I always remembered that A New Hope had a very unpretentious attitude about the spaceships, the worlds. George Lucas always said you have to throw all that stuff away. Don’t go for beauty shots. Don’t linger.”

You’ll hear more from Ron in the complete article, along with a ton of juicy behind-the-scenes stories explaining exactly how the design and effects teams made their movie magic.

With the Millennium Falcon on the front cover on Cinefex 160, I naturally went all sci-fi with this issue’s accompanying promo video. It’s a mere minnow compared to the whale-sized visual effects feast that is Solo: A Star Wars Story, but I had a heap of fun putting it together.

The print edition of Cinefex 160 is on newsstands now, and available to order at the online store. The iPad edition features tons more photographs and exclusive video content, including visual effects breakdown reels for Ant-Man and the Wasp and Solo: A Star Wars Story prepared especially for Cinefex by Marvel Studios and ILM respectively.

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