THE LOCKSMITH - A GRAPHIC NOVEL THAT'S KEY

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Can you guess what Stanley Kubrick, Humphrey Bogart, Steve McQueen, and the comic book, 'Terry and the Pirates', all have in common? WHAT! No way! That's bloody disgusting that is! How dare you use Simon Cowell's name as an adjective! Instead, these four forms of mainstream entertainment, have inspired my creative pal -- Terrance Grace -- to write a great graphic novel that is both noir in style and scifi in tone. Here, check out what he told me only the other day, whilst applying to be a contestant in a musical talent show.


New logo with all kinds of size


1) What are your own origins Terrance? Plus what path did you take in life to get to where you are today?   I was born in Los Angeles, but was brought up in the mid-west: Denver, and then Minneapolis. After attending Minneapolis College of Art and Design, I transferred to New York University's Film program, where I received a BFA. At that time, I was very involved in experimental film-making and photography, while making a living in film and television production.

Minneapolis Denver
Over the years, I continued my independent career in film, writing, producing, and directing a couple of independent movies, as well as working in the non-fiction, documentary world. I moved back to Los Angeles, just six years ago after turning my attention almost completely to writing. In that period of time, I've had six feature screenplays optioned and acquired a manager at 'Zero Gravity Management'.

Since writing 'The Locksmith', I've completed another contemporary noir screenplay, 'The Chinese Angle'. I also continue my work as a visual artist -- working with photography, painting, and collage.

2) What inspired you to create your graphic novel, ‘The LockSmith’?  '2001: A Space Odyssey' was the film that inspired me to become a filmmaker, and later, a writer. I've always loved science fiction, especially the kind that has its roots in the real and plausible world. I also love noir. 'The Third Man' is top on my list, along with several Bogart classics, particularly 'In A Lonely Place'. 

After writing a couple of dramatic screenplays -- One that had a definitive euro/indie feel, and another, based on a true story about a British spy in German-occupied Paris -- I decided to have some real fun and dive into my first love: A combo sci-fi / noir thriller! I received quite a few nibbles on 'The Locksmith' but because it is its own mythology and world, not based on anything else, I thought that turning it into a full-length graphic novel, would not only help with the development of the feature film, but open the story and character up to a completely different kind of audience. In turn, this process has enabled me to focus in on the story and character, not always possible when working on a screenplay. It's allowed me to see the potential behind the project: Graphic novel, game, movie and eventually a series. Followed by another 'Locksmith saga'.

2001: A Space Odyssey
3) In your own words, how would you describe this story?    'The Locksmith' is about a street-wise cop who happens to discover a room inside a Bronx tenement building that has a doorway to the beginning and end of time, itself. There appears to be some dark force from the recently dead, that is unleashed, and, at first, 'inhabits' the living. This taste of life though, soon turns into a growing field of energy that sweeps all that is, into a black hole of nothingness.

This is when our hero, Mick Fagan, learns that he has somehow been chosen to be the 'new Locksmith' and that he holds the only 'key' that could possibly save the universe from destruction. In this process, he also discovers a secret organization of Locksmiths around the world, protecting other doorways from becoming 'unlocked'. There are always keys -- some are the traditional kind -- but in the case of our hero -- his key exists only in the past. It is the key that holds his guilty conscience.




Steve McQueen
4) If your novel was a piece of music or an object, what would it be and why?   Well, that object would be an invisible key, of course. We all have keys -- secrets that are kept hidden. Sometimes, those are secrets are ambitions, or an event that is at the heart of what defines our emotional psyche. The invisible key is usually about fear. Fear of the unknown -- fear of failure -- fear of discovery.

5) If you could cast a movie based on your creation, who would you cast, and again, why?   If I could somehow bring back Steve McQueen from the dead -- to play the lead -- he'd be my first choice. I think most 'heroic' actors working today are influenced a great deal by his presence. But of the living? Who else but the King of Sparta? Fearless leader of the 300! -- Gerard Butler!

6) What was the first comic book you ever read? And do you still read mainstream comic books today?   I have memories of reading 'Jughead and The Archies'... And 'Dondi'! Of course, I also went through all the classics like, Dick Tracy, Batman, Spiderman etc. I think that this is an appropriate moment to mention that I was actually named after "Terry and the Pirates". Ha!

7) The artist on your book, Silvio Db, is a really great artist. How did you two first meet? And what have you learnt about each other during your collaboration together?   I received around 50 responses from artists around the world, after I placed an advertisement on the site, conceptart.org. I narrowed it down to two -- both, coincidentally, are from Brazil. I ended up working with Silvio Db because he really understood sequential art -- The visual design structure, necessary in telling a story like 'The Locksmith'. There are some amazing concept artists out there, but not every one can break down a scene or page into a series of panels that move the story and narrative forward. Not only is Silvio a very talented artist, but he understands how important this is. I'm also a designer and visual artist, so I have very specific ideas on how a page should be setup. It's fantastic to work with someone who can take my ideas and not only implement them, but improve upon them.

Humphrey Bogart8) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote ‘The LockSmith’, who would you get and why?   Well, as mentioned before: Steve McQueen, but since he's busy starring in the movie version... Wouldn't it be a coup to also bring back from the dead, Humphrey Bogart? But if Bogart can't do it, then I think getting a nod from Neil Gaiman would certainly help out our kickstarter campaign.

9) What piece of advice would you give to someone else trying to produce a similar project?   Develop your character(s). Make him or her real -- even if the context is fantasy. Complicated characters that have an internal emotional life make interesting choices when confronted with conflict. Two-dimensional characters are limited and therefore the action they partake in will also be limited and uninteresting.

In regards to launching a kickstarter campaign; I spent months following and supporting other projects. Crowdsourced funding is a relatively new arena and it is all tied into the power of social networking. It's important to try and build up your base before launching and then constantly think about innovative ways of getting the word out. I delayed my campaign a couple of months, just because I was hoping for a period of quiet, whereby I could focus most of my energy on the campaign.

Alas, that didn't happen. So I plan on an enormous amount of work, and hope that it pays off!


I'm sure everything will turn out for the best, Terrance. You're stuff is just fantastic! Heck, I bet you my readers will agree with me too; when they eventually shift their flat ass's, and click on thelocksmith.me, plus the related facebookkickstart, and twitter pages! Nuff said.