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Neil Gaiman, Amber Benson and the Blood Kiss Crew Answer Your Questions 44

Last week you had the chance to ask Neil Gaiman, Amber Benson and the crew of Blood Kiss about the upcoming Kickstarter movie, vampires, and their past projects. The film has reached the initial funding goal with the new target being $200K, making it an entirely fan funded film. Below you'll find their answers to your questions.
by Anonymous Coward

Given the plethora of vampire-related media in recent years, do you believe there is still a market for this type of film? What will you bring to the table that has not already been done?

Michael Reaves: Well, how about just plain people, instead of overblown Transylvanian counts? Maybe because they're not constantly reminding their victims that "The blood is the life," they have something of a sense of humor about themselves.

David Raiklen: Blood Kiss is as much detective story as vampire tale and that is new. There's a mix of glamour and fear, classic Hollywood and the unexpected. Plus great characters, each one could have their own movie. And there's nothing supernatural about our vampires.

Vampyres of Hollywood?
by Scott Loving

Without spoiling the plot, what separates Blood Kiss from the Vampyres of Hollywood series of novels?

Michael Reaves: The fact that I've never heard of them. Lemme check out the link .... Hey, is that Adrienne Barbeau? We used to have a lotta laughs at the Batman: TAS recordings. Yo, Adrienne! (Oops, sorry; wrong franchise.)

Thoughts on Vampire rules?
by kannibal_klown

What are your thoughts on Vampire rules; such as classic vampires vs sparkling? Over the decades we've seen Vampires (and Zombies) change and evolve from the classic rules and mythology to a whole plethora of variations. Powers, weaknesses, origins, turnings, etc. Such transitions have been slow, but now we have sparkling vampires made of stone. Do you feel that we should stick more with the classic mythos? Or are you in favor with your own spin.

Michael Reaves: I'm in favor of whatever works. I can't really comment on the "Twinkleteeth" style of vamps, because I haven't seen any, but I might remind you that Hollywood has been embellishing myths ever since George Méliès punched the Moon's eye out.

David Raiklen: It's time to give old myths a new spin. The classics will still be around, and will get remade. The first cinematic vampires were not undead fiends but 'vamps' or femme fatales. So we're actually true to the origins.

Neil Gaiman: I think the joy of being a writer is you use whatever you need for the story that you're on. The only rules are the ones that make that story work. I wrote a bunch of classical wumpires in the new book, Fortunately, the Milk, and wrote a dozen different kinds of vampire in a short story called Fifteen Painted Cards From a Vampire Tarot, with SF, fantasy and horror backgrounds.

Will Lincoln be in it?
by the_humeister

I'll only watch if the main character is a popular dead president.

Michael Reaves: Yes, Lincoln will be in it. He'll even have his big ol' shotgun axe. Happy now? (And people wonder why I didn't want studio interference ...)

by DocGerbil100

The Kickstarter page asks for $50K, but considering the apparent costs usually involved in making anything other than the smallest-scale movies, as well as the references in the text of your KS pitch regarding venture capital, I'd like to know how much you *actually* need to get this film made and distributed.

David Raiklen: Please check out our stretch goals on the KS front page. The first goal is to see if there's fan interest, and we are so grateful that you guys want to see this movie! We can make and distribute a good movie for about 200k and hopefully all from fan support.

Abuse of Kickstarter
by Anonymous Coward

Given that you have access to the Hollywood funding machine, why should you be using Kickstarter to fund this project? Shouldn't Kickstarter be used for people who have a good idea but don't have those industry connections? Do you worry that this will dilute the pool for indy film makers who have no other options?

David Raiklen: Actually, KS reports smaller projects get more funding when there's a bigger project active at the same time. The old studios just aren't making many movies and are following formulas more than ever. We've all backed indie films by first time filmmakers and encourage you to try it too. There's room for everyone, and if we protect the open nature of crowdfunding, more freedom for all creators.

by AmiMoJo

Will Amber Benson be singing? Some of us have been waiting a long time for the debut album but will take what we can get.

Amber Benson: I will be singing for sure! I've been relegated to my shower for most of my singing days post Buffy, so Michael asking me to actually sing in front of human beings/vampires was both titillating and frightening.

Re:My question
by Anonymous Coward

Tara was a very popular character particularly in the geek/nerd community. Do you think that character would have been as accepted if she was a gay man instead of a lesbian?

Amber Benson: I think it would've been accepted, for sure. I know that Tom Lenk has experienced the same love and affection from the geek/nerd community that I have - though his character's homosexuality was more implied than 'out in front' on screen in the show. The Buffy fans are an amazing group: smart, aware and open - less judgmental about our character's sexual preferences.

by Anonymous Coward

From the webpage it sounds like you don't relish the idea of acting Neil. What made you decide to do it and what is Mr. Reaves holding over you?

Neil Gaiman: What first attracted me to the project was Michael telling me he'd written a part for me. And that it wasn't a writer. (I've played lots of variants on myself now, which is fun, but isn't challenging.)

American Gods HBO series
by wynterwynd

Hi Neal - first off I want to say I'm a huge admirer and I can't wait to see you in Nashville this July! That being said, the tour is billed as the "Last US Signing Tour". Say it ain't so! My question: With the upcoming "American Gods" project for HBO, how much creative control do you have over the direction of series? Is there a firm beginning and an end to the story arc, as with the novel, or do you have to keep things open for possible future seasons? Blood Kiss sounds interesting due to the sheer creativity pool involved, although I think the vampire genre is getting a bit washed thin and fraying at the cuffs lately. Hopefully this approach will be sufficiently unique as to revitalize it (entendré completely intended).

Neil Gaiman: Right now I'm just waiting to find out if they like the pilot script. I'll worry about the rest of the things when the pilot episode gets approved.

Series Vs. Movie
by Anonymous Coward

I think the success of Game of Thrones and the fact that most successful Sci-fi or fantasy films unfold over multiple movies shows that people want to get to know characters on a personal level more now than before. Do you think it's still possible to tell a great story with fleshed out characters in two hours or less?

Michael Reaves: Yes; if I didn't I wouldn't be trying to do it. True, TV lends itself better to the "Novel for TV" format -sometimes. But sometimes the series doesn't have enough story to fulfill its time slot commitment, and it gets bloated and boring (yeah, I'm looking at you, Smallville).

Amber Benson: I do think it's possible to tell a great story in two hours. It's just harder than doing it in a serialized/television fashion because people really want to delve into the interior lives of the characters they watch - which is easier to do in a non-film (2 hour) format. I loved the first Matrix movie - I think it stands on its own - sure, it's part of a trilogy, but for me, that first one says it all.
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Neil Gaiman, Amber Benson and the Blood Kiss Crew Answer Your Questions

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  • The answer to the overdone question was disappointing. Vampires are overdone. And these vampires aren't even going to be supernatural, so what's the point? Just make a decent detective story and be done with it.

    Of course, I'm not going to watch (let alone pay to watch) this movie anyway, so don't pay any attention to me. (There's too much other media around. I'm thinking of watching Babylon 5, is it any good? How does it compare to Farscape (almost finished the first season)? Or to the newer Doc Who?)

    • B5 started out awful, got fantastic after about half season, and stayed that way for the rest of its run. Farscape started out fun, was fun for a couple seasons, then seriously lost its way, and was pretty mediocre for the rest of its run (YMMV on that one, some people thought it was all good. I didn't.) Your mileage will *definitely* vary on new DW; some people think the more recent seasons were good. I have no idea why; they're mind-numbingly terrible. Seasons 1-4 of new DW were fantastic, though.Anything else you want opinions on? :p

    • > I'm thinking of watching Babylon 5, is it any good?
      Yea I'm going to need you to turn in your geek card by the end of the day.


      Like most scifi shows the first season is pretty meh, it has to take time to setup the universe, the characters, etc... It's more political than Farscape, and much more serious than Doctor Who.

      It's hard to explain without giving away too much; but it chronicles a war between several alien races. It's worth it just to see G'Kar and Londo play off each other.

      • Why the fuck should I turn in my "geek card"?! Because I grew up reading rather than watching (there wasn't even a TV in the house half my childhood, and when there was (which wasn't a continues stretch, but more, 1 year on, 1 year off sort of thing) it was incapable of getting more than three or four channels, none of which would have shown American SciFi? (Funny, we had at least one computer in the house for most of my childhood though.) Or because I still prefer a good book? You know there are loads of s

        • Wow. I've never seen anyone so offended from a perceived accusation of not being a geek. Come out of the closet already, we know you're really an NFL linebacker, you drive a hummer, prefer jerky to nachos, eschew Axe deodorant, and you get laid 6 nights a week by various models.. the other night you're busy arm wrestling bears while mountain climbing.
          • Meh, I don't even know what NFL is. I don't drive (I ride). Nachos are nice I guess, but there's better food (and it's not nachos). I don't use deodorant, I share daily. I get laid only sometimes. And I wear climbing boots in the machine room, because you can never be sure that a mountain won't spring up out of the floor.

            I do get pissed off by geeks being elitist and saying that others (including girls and women) aren't geeks because they don't like the 'right' thing, or don't watch the 'right' thing. Geeks

        • No, you should turn in your geek card for your horrific abuse of parentheses.
          • Can't handle a little bit of stuff (is it too much stuff?) in just a few (or is it too many) parenthesis? I bet you would hate Lisp if you ever used it. Besides, I didn't even nest parenthesis in that post. (ESR[1] says that hackers tend to nest parenthesis when writing (like this). I do that, and I'm not even a hacker.)
            Anyway, how is it an abuse? I'm just using them as intended (to mark an area of text that could be removed, and the rest of the text would still make sense).

            [1] []

    • The best part was where he said "The old studios just aren't making many movies and are following formulas more than ever" without any trace of irony. I used to think that the "doublethink" part of 1984 (thought marked by the acceptance of gross contradictions and falsehoods) was a dumb and unrealistic part of an otherwise chilling novel. I feel like Orwell outsmarted me now.
    • From their answers:

      Michael Reaves: ... I can't really comment on the "Twinkleteeth" style of vamps, because I haven't seen any, ...

      It's only the most successful vampire franchise at the moment.

      David Raiklen: It's time to give old myths a new spin.

      Look at the book sales and movies. There are easily a THOUSAND different interpretations of vampires out there right now. What will be different about YOUR "spin" that hasn't been done over and over already?

      Michael Reaves: Well, how about just plain people, instead

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Wednesday May 29, 2013 @12:51PM (#43851659)

    Slashdot is now a teen chat board?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Slashdot is now a teen chat board?

      That would be an improvement.

    • Slashdot is now a teen chat board?

      The audience for the classic vampire story was not teen-age. Immortality at a price. Sexual license at a price.

      It is hard to believe now, but there was a time when moviegoers did not know about vampires. Didn't know you do them in with a wooden stake through the heart, didn't know a ray of sunlight is injurious to their health, that they sleep in coffins all day and go about at night as bats and wolves. Didn't even know they drink the blood!

      All that changed in a single magnificent cinematic achievement. The English solicitor has come by stagecoach past peasants fearfully crossing themselves and up a Mittel-Europa mountain-pass road to a castle of shattered and decayed battlements. On a grand staircase within, the unknown nobleman who has requested his presence awaits.

      The accent of that menacing welcomer, his pauses and intonation, the graceful and slow hand motions, aristocratic bearing, formal white-tie wear with sash and raised-collar cape---does there exist a kid today who has not seen and heard and understood it all, in Saturday-morning cartoons, on cereal boxes, in television ads, comic books, greeting cards, toys, paint kits, plastic representations, Halloween costumes complete with gleaming fangs?

      And who inspired all of this? Well, can you name a king off the top of your head? Of course you can: Richard III, Henry VIII, John, Edward VII. A czar? Peter, Nicholas II. A prince? Hamlet, Charles. A duke? Wellington. Now---quick---a count? Who comes to mind? What, Tolstoy ? Marie Antoinetteâ(TM)s boyfriend Axel Fersen? Monte Cristo? Please. There's only one count.

      ''I am Dracula. I bid you ... velcome.''

      Lugosi was fascinating, showing in poetic manner a soulless being, forsaken even as he is satanically deadly. From the stage version came the 1931 movie, which saved Universal from Depression bankruptcy. Can anyone forget ''Listen to them, the children of the night'' as the count hears the dark cries of tortured beings he has made undead, as he is himself? ''What music they make!''

      The Count [] [1998]

  • Sorry, that's not a vampire then. A superficial emo-goth archetype maybe, but not a vampire.

    • Yeah vampires need to be afraid of religious icons. I'll always remember that scene in Salem's Lot where the vampire challenges the priest to get into a faith-off, then crushes the crucifix. Powerful stuff.

      • Yeah vampires need to be afraid of religious icons. I'll always remember that scene in Salem's Lot where the vampire challenges the priest to get into a faith-off, then crushes the crucifix. Powerful stuff.

        I prefer the interpretation in Vamps comic series. One person totally fails to ward off the fanged biker chicks because he really didn't have faith in what the cross symbolized and it didn't even slow them down. An Amerind shaman apprentice falls when his raging hormones win out over the teachings of his master, and a Manhattan homeless man manages to totally hold off the vamps with a Chevrolet hub cap because of his total belief in it's warding power. In that story, it's not the icon, it's the sincere

    • What if it's like: "There's nothing supernatural about our zombies." "They just have this virus that makes them crave." "Brainz."
      So: "There's nothing supernatural about our vampires." "They just have this virus that makes them crave." "Blood. Or, you know, money." Sucking the life blood of our community. You mean that money is the life blood of your community? Yes. Damn vampires.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That sounds silly. Why do vampires have to be supernatural? They could easily be mundane; a "scifi"-style vampire that's a genetic mutation ... porphyric hemophilia, intense sunlight allergy, throw in some fangs, uncommon strength, and maybe even an extended lifespan, and you've got a vampire that's not undead, magical, cursed, or any "supernatural" quality beyond "improbable".

      Of course if this is a story about people who dress in black, wear fangs, and hang out at sad clubs ... well, those aren't vampire

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Wednesday May 29, 2013 @01:32PM (#43852139) Homepage Journal

    Amber Benson singing? Sold.

    Seriously, it was really nice to hear natural singing voices on Buffy. Not just Amber, the whole cast. What struck me the most was how apparent it was that Amber and Anthony were both passionate about singing and enjoyed it. For some reason actors who also sing tend to me more like that... It's hard to explain but Hugh Laurie is the same.

  • I think the interesting thing that seems to go somewhat unmentioned is that the main advantage of funding via Kickstarter vs vc or the industry is that with Kickstarter, worst case you just have to give out swag (t-shirts, dvds, etc.) that you can factor the costs into your fund raising.

    With vc or industry funding, they are going to expect a percentage of the profits or gross. What I would like to see is a Kickstarter where if you fund above a certain level, you get a certain percentage of profits (even
    • by stdarg ( 456557 )

      My thoughts exactly. I'm done with Kickstarter until they offer equity stakes.

      Kickstarter is a great idea, and I've participated a handful of times (and gotten burned). But at this point it leans too much towards charity and good will.

  • This is when I recall it really first took off.. almost 20 years ago. I like the idea of that American God's series though :) []
  • Who among the recent glut of vampires was an "overblown Transylvanian count"? All the vampire fiction that we've been swamped with lately has been of the dangerous but sexy 20-something variety. Or as I call it, the Ann Rice Archetype.
  • by RoccamOccam ( 953524 ) on Wednesday May 29, 2013 @02:14PM (#43852603)

    Blood Kiss is as much detective story as vampire tale and that is new.

    The Night Stalker (1972) []

    • Have you read the story about the young British boy, who was kind of an outcast and wore glasses, who one day was informed that he was destined to be a great wielder of magic for good?

      Gaiman wrote that story 7 years before Rowling. Does he feel he was ripped off? No. There are only so many stories out there, and everybody cribs off of everybody else. Look at Shakespeare – hard to find an original idea in any of his plays. What differs bad plagiarized works and brilliant works is the execution.

      Here is

      • by khasim ( 1285 )

        But Gaiman never claimed that it was "new". And I'm sure that if you asked him he could give you a dozen or more references that he pulled from for that.

        The problem is when you take something as obvious (and done multiple times) as a detective story with supernatural elements and call it "new". It shows a lack of research.

        There's even a TVTropes page dedicated to the sub-genre of detective-vampire. []

        • Actually, I wasn't even thinking of "vampire as detective" when I mentioned "The Night Stalker". However, for a *very* relevant example of that genre, I present Angel (1999) [].
          • by khasim ( 1285 )

            And if it's about "detective investigates X and finds vampire" then there's even more stuff out there.

            But it wasn't a real vampire. Just someone faking it for an alibi or an insane guy who believed he was. But it wasn't a real vampire.

            Dum dum DUMMMMMM!

            Or WAS it?!?

            Anyway, how about a list of clichés that you do NOT want to see in a vampire movie? Mine are:
            1. Vampires dress normally. NOT like they just left the fetish party.
            2. Vampirism that does NOT seem like most of the people in the world would

  • So, when the vampires bite you...
    Yeah, I guess it's some kind of pathogen or something.
    And that gives you powers while weakening you? You said that about Werewolves... and Zombies too.
    Well, I guess we've got a deep seated racial fear of being bitten and getting sick. Probably for good for evolution or something.

    Ah, that explains the monkey-virus epidemic films. So, Evil Robots?
    Fear of things that are different? Perhaps folks are afraid of being replaced or destroyed by their own creations.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken