The Comic Book Palace According to it's official IMDb page, Comic Book Palace is an observational documentary that takes place inside a comic book store that has been around for twenty years. According to me, though, My God! Please watch this documentary! Pretty please with bells on top. Or else I will cry like a rapper with an in-appropriate music video, as mentioned in the following interview I did with my mate Felipe, about his indie film...

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1) What are your own origins, Felipe? Plus what path did you take in life prior to getting to where you are today?   I was born and bred in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Haverhill is a small town 40 to 60 minutes north of Boston (depending on traffic).

Basically I didn’t have any proper guidance from anyone, teachers or parents alike, in my life. Yet I knew that I liked movies but I didn’t know that I wanted to be a filmmaker until I got ahold of a camcorder and started recording things. I listen to plenty of commentaries, podcasts, and watch lots of special features on blu-rays (which is a dying thing in HD land, not many special features or they’re only 5-6 minutes long). Still, I didn’t know I wanted to be a filmmaker and I honestly didn’t take it that serious until something inside me just snapped.

The Comic Book Palace2) What inspired you to develop, ‘Comic Book Palace’?   In my town mostly everybody wants to be a rapper. I want to be a filmmaker, so I thought it would be a good idea to try and make some money making music videos for local rappers.

Bad idea. You quickly find out that even though most of them rap about a luxurious / gangs-teriffic lifestyle, most rappers don’t want to pay money for a service that could potentially get them noticed. I think they feel like they’re throwing their money away but honestly you can’t get anywhere without spending money. That’s the truth. I’m not saying I’m the De Palma of the local music videos scene, but I think I do have skills to deliver a nicely shot and edited music video.

After doing about twelve music videos I realized that this isn’t what I needed to do. Though I was filmmaking, I wasn’t having fun because most rappers wanted the same thing over and over. I knew I wanted to make movies instead of music videos but where do I start?

My days at work can drive anyone insane. I can’t say the name of the company but the department I work in is a mix between a nursery and a nursing home. Most days I just think about ideas and things I would like to do and get made. While at work I was thinking “documentary”. Why not a documentary? I wouldn’t need to hire actors or a film crew, especially film crew because I am the film crew. I didn’t want to travel and spend money for gas, I needed a good subject matter -- one that people would like and be interested in.

The Comic Book PalaceI knew there was a comic book store about 5 minutes away from my apartment. I contacted the owner and told him what I wanted to do and how I wanted to represent his store. He was game and said “Do whatever you want!”

I came in with my bag full of batteries and camera equipment after work and started recording things happening in the store. I never interfered with what was going on but I knew that I could turn it into something. I was there a lot, after work and on the weekends just recording and recording. I guess the real reason what inspired me to make this project was a point to prove to myself that I can make a movie and that I didn’t need a group of people around me to make me look good on Facebook posts. I knew I could do this on my terms, plus it was impossible for more than one person recording because the store is very small and narrow.

3) Can you briefly tell us about this film?   This documentary is about a local comic book store that has been in the same location for over twenty years. With barely any marketing this store has survived over twenty years of business. This documentary takes a look inside and shows what goes on inside this comic book store owned and operated by one person, Glenn O’Leary. Mixed with interviews from store regulars this doc touched on subjects from comic book artists, writers, and movies. The Comic Book Palace will surely ignite a forgotten love for comic book reading. (Running time 42 min).

Kevin Smith
4) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   Kevin Smith. The man is the only filmmaker to talk to his audience, literally. He has his Smodcast show which is great, and is always podcasting shows about filmmaking. He’s funny and has no shame about who he is and what type of movies he’s made.

I think he’s the filmmaker that George Lucas wanted to be. Why? Because Lucas wanted to be that filmmaker who made movies in his garage -- meaning -- that he wanted to make small budgeted movies and not worry about big budgeted bullshit and marketing. That’s exactly what Smith is doing.

I saw “Tusk”. It wasn’t that great but it cost $3 million. The movie already made its money back just by the foreign sales alone. That’s a win! Besides he does do a show on MAC called “Comic Book Men”. My documentary seems a bit more naturalistic than the show but that’s because that is TV.

5) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavor? And were there any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   There’s a lot of obstacles when filmmaking, especially on your own. It’s like a mental ninja obstacle course because you have to think fast and troubleshoot like a motherf*cker. There was so many times that the batteries weren’t fully charged, SD cards weren’t empty, Mic was off during some interviews, etc. It was tough recording everything alone and then I had to edit ALL the footage I recorded into something.

The Comic Book Palace
I liked editing from the start of filmmaking so I was very comfortable editing, but editing a documentary that was totally unscripted was a challenge and a half. I spent so many hours just putting together clips and sounds, rearranging clips here and there, etc. I didn’t know what I was doing but at the same time I knew what I was doing. It was tough work and all the time I kept thinking “this is great, but I wish I was getting paid for making a movie!”. That would be the dream job for me.

6) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?    Realizing that I was making a movie! I knew that this was going to be a good movie to watch and I had to make it. It wasn’t bad to record footage in the shop, it took a lot out of me physically but I knew I was working towards something.

7) If ‘Palace’ had a motto, what would it be?   “The store where you get more for your dollar”

And on that note, dear reader, all I have left to say is please check out Comic Book Palace by visiting their facebook page today. Or alternatively, why don't you pick up a copy via the links provided?

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