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January 2017

Trunk Bubbles

Joe Eisma

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TRUNK BUBBLES PROFILE

Name: Joe Eisma

Website: http://www.patreon.com/supajoe

Hometown: Waco, Texas

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your art style?
Eisma: Animation and anime influenced, by way of X-men comics from the 80s and 90s.

TrunkSpace: How has that style changed over the course of your career?
Eisma: It’s definitely gotten more exaggerated. I used to push for more realism, but I’m having more fun these days stretching reality, style-wise. I think that helps really sell emotion and storytelling on the page.

TrunkSpace: How has technology influenced your style?
Eisma: It’s been huge. I worked in games for ten years, and I still use the tools and skills from that industry. I do a lot of my work on a Wacom tablet, and it’s allowed me to really refine a clean line style.

TrunkSpace: For years people have been predicting the death of publishing, and particularly, classic comic books as we all grew up on. Sales and interest in comic properties in other forms of media suggest otherwise. What are your thoughts on the longevity of the industry having been working in it for a number of years now?
Eisma: It definitely surprises me how comics just won’t die—like Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees! You can’t count comics out. Like any field, it has its ups and downs, but comics have really weathered some serious storms over the years. I think it all goes back to storytelling. There’s so much you can do in comics that you can’t do in other mediums, and I think that’s what brings people back, time after time.

TrunkSpace: You started out working with independent publishers and have since worked with some of the biggest publishers in the business. Where would you like to see your career take you next?
Eisma: I’m having a blast working on characters that I read in my youth. In the last year, I got to draw the Flash and characters from Valiant, so my inner child has been geeking out ever since. I’d love to do more—”Teen Titans” at DC is a bucket list property for me, as are the “X-men” over at Marvel.

TrunkSpace: Your hit Image series “Morning Glories” is currently on hiatus. Will fans of the series get to return to Morning Glory Academy in the near future?
Eisma: I hope so! Currently, Nick and I are both pretty busy elsewhere, but we haven’t forgotten the “Morning Glories” fans who are near and dear to our hearts. At this moment, our plans are to relaunch this summer with “Morning Glories: Summer Vacation #1.” This will be in effect, the start of our third ‘season’ of the story. We’re only about halfway through the overall narrative, so there’s much more for fans to check out.

TrunkSpace: You’re currently working on “Archie.” What’s it like moving from something you helped bring into this world like with “Morning Glories,” to a project like “Archie,” which has been around for nearly 80 years? Is it intimidating?
Eisma: When I first got the offer for Archie, the pitch was it’s Veronica at a private boarding school. I was a little afraid of being typecast! But, I got more about the story from Mark Waid, who is one of my all time favorite writers, and I was hooked. It was kind of intimidating to work on such a legendary property. It was the only comic series my sister would read when I was growing up, so I’d read the odd digest here and there. I didn’t want to tarnish the legacy, as it were. I’ve wrapped up my run, and I think overall I didn’t mess things up! It’s a wonderful franchise and I can’t wait to do more in that universe.

TrunkSpace: The new Archie-inspired television series “Riverdale” is set to debut on The CW later this week. Not a bad time to be involved with the Archie brand!
Eisma: True! I know the first time I saw the trailer, I was really floored—it was not at all what I was expecting. However, you can tell the core of each character is there, and I think they’ve got something really special in store.

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of your work look forward to in 2017?
Eisma: I’m drawing some issues of “Faith” from Valiant Comics at the moment, which is a lot of fun. Other than that, expect more Archie-related stuff from me, as well as the return of “Morning Glories!”

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Opening Act

Ian Fitzgerald

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ARTIST PROFILE

Artist: Ian Fitzgerald

Website: www.ianfitzgerald.com

Hometown: Providence, RI

Latest Album/Release: You Won’t Even Know I’m Gone [2016]

Influences: Bob Dylan, Gillian Welch, Hank Williams

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Fitzgerald: I think of what I do as folk music.

TrunkSpace: Creatively, what is more intoxicating: gigging out or writing new music?
Fitzgerald: The two experiences are so different that it’s hard to quantify and compare. Each time I write a new song, I’m working with a blank slate, and things can go in any direction. When playing a show, the basics of each song are already in place, but there’s no limit to the number of ways those songs can be played and sung. One happens in complete solitude; the other happens (ideally) in front of a crowd that is actively participating in the experience. I’m lucky that I get to do both.

TrunkSpace: If you could hit the road with any act touring today, who would it be and why?
Fitzgerald: This one’s tough, because there are so many acts I’d love to tour with. It would be a real dream, though, to tour as the opener for Gillian Welch or the Dave Rawlings Machine (who are two sides of the same coin). I’m probably no different from an entire generation of folks/roots/Americana performers when I say that Gillian and Dave have had an immense influence on my songwriting and my approach to making music. Practically speaking, it would be a great benefit to get my music in front of their audiences each night. Selfishly, it would also be a thrill to get to see them perform every night and to see how they operate on the road.

TrunkSpace: How important is it for you to stay connected to your fans, and if so, how do you do that?
Fitzgerald: Keeping in touch with people who have an interest in my music is essential. Remaining active as a performing musician requires audiences, so I try to stay connected to anyone who’s come to a show or bought a CD or streamed a song. Social media, of course, gives any number of ways to reach out and interact with those people, so I try to remain at least somewhat active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I have an e-mail list, and I send out one update a month to everyone who’s subscribed on my site or at shows to let them know what I’m up to and what I have coming up. And the best way to stay connected is to interact face-to-face, so I’m happy to speak with folks who come to see me, whether they’ve seen me before and have returned for another show or they’re seeing me for the first time.

TrunkSpace: What do you hope people get out of listening to your music?
Fitzgerald: That’s hard to say. I used to have very defined ideas about how I thought people should best experience music, but I’ve come to realize that people’s experiences vary dramatically and that those varying experiences are no more or less valid than my own. For me, it’s gratifying when people share with me what they’ve gotten out of my music; I never would have expected some of what people have shared, including their responses to the music, their interpretations of the lyrics, or the feeling they got from being at a show. So, I suppose what I hope is that people are reacting in a meaningful way, whatever that may mean to them.

TrunkSpace: Where can people keep track of where you’ll be performing live?
Fitzgerald: I keep tour dates posted on my website (www.ianfitzgerald.com) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ianfitzgeraldmusic). And anyone who wants to receive a monthly e-mail from me can sign up on my website.

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Chilling Out

Trevor Macy

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Chilling Out
Trevor Macy

Chilling Out is where TrunkSpace talks all things horror and genre with those who work on the projects that give us the thrills and chills to keep coming back for more. This time out we’re chatting with Trevor Macy, a prolific filmmaker and co-founder of Intrepid Pictures. Macy has served as executive producer on films like “The Strangers,” “Safe House,” and “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” as well as producer on “Oculus,” “Hush,” and the soon-to-be-released “Gerald’s Game.” His latest film is “The Bye Bye Man.”

Doug Jones – © 2015 STX Productions, LLC. All rights reserved.


TrunkSpace
: How did you get involved in The Bye Bye Man and what can people expect?
Macy: The project came to me a few years ago… I want to say 2009… in the form of a short story by Robert Damon Schneck called “Bridge to Body Island.” “Bridge to Body Island” is part of an anthology called “The President’s Vampire: Strange-but-True Tales of the United States of America.” And what struck me about this particular chapter in the anthology was that it came with a warning, which is, for those who fear obsessive thoughts or are particularly skittish, don’t read this chapter. “And by the way, this is told to me by a friend who holds it forth as true events.” So I thought that was pretty interesting. And what was in the short story that was super compelling was this concept of a villain who comes to you if you think or say his name. That acts as a beacon and it draws him to you.

TrunkSpace: Which is sort of a familiar concept for those who grew up with the classic childhood tale Bloody Mary.
Macy: I’d be happy to be mentioned in the same sentence with Bloody Mary or “Candyman,” you know? (Laughter) But what’s interesting about “The Bye Bye Man” is that he sort of seeps into your cracks. The only weapon he needs to hurt you is you. He can see your worst fears and pervert your worst intentions, so it bespoke terror in a way. He’s going to make you hallucinate based on what you fear the most or what he can get you with and that’s what he feeds off of.

TrunkSpace: It’s sort of the even more terrifying version of the famous line from “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep!” But here, he can get you at any moment.
Macy: Right. The comedic version of that is that if I tell you not to think of pink elephants, what are you going to do?

TrunkSpace: The actor portraying The Bye Bye Man is Doug Jones, a sort of modern day genre icon. How important was casting the main villain?
Macy: I need to start this and end it by saying how much I love Doug Jones as a person because I think the guy is just an incredible human being. More importantly, professionally, he has, I think, such an extraordinary… my friend Mike Flanagan with whom I’ve also worked with and also worked with Doug… says that Doug has more acting talent in his little finger than most actors do in their whole body. What he means by that is, a lot of his characters only can emote with expressions and movement. Not only is he extraordinary at doing it, but he’s extraordinary at doing it usually in a lot of make-up and prosthetics.

TrunkSpace: Which is interesting because a lot of people probably don’t even realize that he has been behind so many iconic characters over the years.
Macy: Right. I showed my 6-year-old daughter “Hocus Pocus” the other day and because Doug has been over to our house and she’s met him, I was like, the zombie… Bette Midler’s ex-boyfriend is played by Doug Jones in that movie. Doug’s been everywhere! (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: And that’s got to be a great position for him to be in because he’s had such an incredible career for years, and yet he can probably still walk down the street and just be Doug Jones.
Macy: Absolutely right. I can’t wait to work with him again. He’s super talented and just a pleasure as a human being. It’s weird actually, to have somebody play… I mean, he can turn on the performance in such a way that he just exudes fear. And for someone who is such a warm, caring person, it’s a fascinating skill.

TrunkSpace: Would “The Bye Bye Man” have been a different film had it been a different actor in the role?
Macy: That’s a good question. I mean, I don’t think there’s another Doug Jones running around the world. So yes, because of his performance, I think it would have been different. Story-wise, because it has antecedents, it would have certainly seemed like the same story, but I believe Doug really elevates it. 

TrunkSpace: Many people have been predicting the demise of the theater-going experience for a number of years now, and yet one of the tried and true success stories for Hollywood remains the horror genre. Why do you think the genre continues to resonate with audiences?
Macy: Fear is hardwired into us as human beings. It is an evolutionary basic response that has ensured the survival and development of our species. Moreover, as it pertains to the theatrical experience, fear like laughter, is better shared. I have often said to people, “Please don’t watch “The Strangers” or “Hush” at home alone by yourself because you might call and be pissed at me the next day.” If I do my job as a filmmaker and it feels real and relatable to you, it’s still once removed. And so, you get to share that experience and I don’t think that’s ever going to go away.

TrunkSpace: Fears have many layers as well, which makes them something everyone can relate too. Not everyone will be afraid of the dark, but those who are will be, and those who aren’t may be afraid of what’s hiding in the dark. They can share the experience without having the same fear.
Macy: That’s exactly right. That’s well put. The unique thing about fear is that it really sparks the imagination. I think good scary movies allow you to do that work as a fan and audience member. I mean, I can think of a few images that maybe lived up to my imagination in cinematic history, but the thing is, most of what any audience member creates is scarier to that individual person than anything you can put on the screen.

TrunkSpace: Which is why a lot of fans of the genre always point to the source material when it comes to the adaptation of books because they already have an unattainable visual in their head for the monster, villain, etc.
Macy: In engaging the audience, it’s really important to let them fill in some blanks. That’s why I don’t really favor… I’m going to call them “jump scare fests.” When you puncture the tension it’s fun and some of those movies work, but really it’s about the build and letting that tension play. I think most of the movies I gravitate towards working on… that’s something they share.

TrunkSpace: Horror films are at their best when you can’t track them and you are caught completely off guard. One of those moments that worked so well comes from your film “The Strangers” in the scene where Glenn Howerton’s character is wrongly identified with very grave results. Was that a moment, even during filming, that you thought would catch audiences by surprise?
Macy: Well that’s a funny one because I think we won on two fronts with that. Some people were like, “oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no,” and the other people were like “what, what, what, what.” (Laughter) So depending on how you perceived that moment, I think it kind of works either way. That’s not a common thing to be able to say about a moment like that, but I think that was a fun one.

TrunkSpace: And what’s cool about that scene, and particularly for Glenn, is that it’s such a small role, but it had such a big moment and impact in the film and with audiences.
Macy: Because of where and how he comes into the film, you imbue him with so much hope. (Laughter) Anything his character does is kind of heightened. And it’s always fun to mess with people that way if you can. I mean, I think they like it. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: By having a moment like that, you give the audience hope and then take it away, putting them in a position to then question that anything is possible moving forward.
Macy: Yeah, that’s true. It’s an interesting balance though. You kind of always have to keep it grounded and relatable. “The Strangers” wasn’t obviously supernatural, but even when you are dealing with supernatural elements, you kind of have to keep it in the chute so that people… you want them unsettled. If you cross over into the point where anything is possible, then a lot of people lose interest and I think rightfully so.

Trunk: Is that why you think “The Strangers” worked so well with audiences… because it could have been anybody in any house?
Macy: Well, one of the great things in Bertino’s script, and which became one of the great things in Universal’s campaign (because I think they picked up on this aspect of the movie as much as anybody), was that it was because you were home. That instantly makes it relatable and chilling in a very concise way. So I think the answer to your question is yes.

TrunkSpace: There’s been talk and speculation for a long time about a sequel to “The Strangers.” Is that something fans can expect in the near future?
Macy: Well, your lips to God’s ears. I hope so.

TrunkSpace: Is there pressure for you as a filmmaker to make the “scariest movie in years” every time out and knock it out of the park?
Macy: One always wants to knock it out of the park. (Laughter) I think, in a sense, scary is in the eye of the beholder in how a movie comes together. What I feel pressure for is… are we making something fresh and interesting, are we making something that is going to grab people, and are we making something that is going to stay with them when they leave the theater? People can decide what becomes a classic and what doesn’t, but I think if you can do those three things, then you’re on great footing and the movie can succeed on its own terms.

Courtesy of STX Entertainment – © 2015 STX Productions, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Bye Bye Man arrived in theaters January 13th, 2017.

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Bottled Up Emotions

Choklat

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Brewer: Southern Tier

Beer: Blackwater Series Choklat

Alcohol Content by Volume: 10%

I’m never afraid to bury my emoting face into funky flavors brewed with obscure ingredients, but I admit that this one had me wondering if my yellow frown would be turned upside down. Concern crept in when I popped the cap and caught the scent… a nostalgic rush that was more childhood scratch and sniff sticker than bubbly beer laced with Bavarian sweets. Thankfully I am not a judgmental emoticon. Pushing aside my desire to scratch and/or sniff the beer a second time, I tasted the slightly-sweet stout and let the taste of chocolate tickle my taste buds as opposed to what I originally expected, which was to be assaulted by overpowering sweetness. That was definitely not the case. There’s a great balance of flavors here, and while I wouldn’t make a night of it with a sixer, I would reach for a Choklat with a savory dinner or as a liquid dessert. To my loving emoti-wife… I’m skipping the chocolates this Valentine’s Day and getting you Choklat instead.

DRUNKEN EMOJI RATING

 

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Bottled Up Emotions

Sunday Mole Stout

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Brewer: Weyerbacher

Beer: Sunday Mole Stout

Alcohol Content by Volume: 11.3

Holy mole! Weyerbacher isn’t just fun to say, it’s also delicious. This unique stout is brewed with coffee cocoa, cinnamon, and peppers, making for a boozy concoction that has a down-home taste… as if my old uncle Experimental Home Cook Emoji made me a private batch in his seasoned crockpot. The 11.3 percent alcohol by volume certainly gets the job done, and as it turns out, the more you drink the creepier the clown/jester on the label gets. Thankfully I’m a problem solver and I poured the three (or so) I enjoyed into my favorite pint glass and then consumed. In life, it’s all about the little victories!

DRUNKEN EMOJI RATING

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