Acclaimed comics creators James Tynion IV, Elsa Charretier, and PK Colinet are taking their talents to a new medium: film. Announced today, the trio have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of a short horror film entitled Room Service. Tynion IV has written the film’s screenplay, with Charretier doing storyboards and Colinet set to direct, assuming the Kickstarter meets its ~$53,000 funding goal (and given the lineup of talent attached, that seems like it won’t be a problem).
Here’s how the Kickstarter campaign describes Room Service:
What’s the cost of one perfect evening?
We live in a world where everything is for sale, for the right price. Where the wealthy know there is no desire outside the reach of their wallet. “Room Service” is a brutal glimpse inside that world. Our protagonist is down on his luck, his family is on the verge of ruin, and with the help of the mysterious Caretaker, he might have found a way out of his trouble. But at what cost?
Along with production of the film, the Kickstarter campaign will also go toward the creation of posters for the film by Charretier and Tynion IV’s The Department of Truth collaborator Martin Simmonds, as well as an artbook for the film that will include Tynion IV’s screenplay, Charretier’s storyboards, and design artwork by Tonči Zonjić, among other things. Other rewards include an artprint set and a zoom session with the creators.
With the Kickstarter launching today, The Beat chatted with Charretier and Colinet about bringing the project to life, the choice of taking the story to film, and what makes for good horror.
Joe Grunenwald: How did this project come together? The two of you have worked together a number of times before, but how did James get involved?
PK Colinet: The video we did for our second Kickstarter was really what started this. There was a good bit of storytelling in that one and that brought back memories from the days when you couldn’t find me without a camera in my hand. That impulse led to Elsa and I starting our YouTube channel. Foolishly, I thought it would be enough but it had the complete opposite effect. I had too great a time and realized I needed to stop stalling and just get back to directing movies again. Then I just emailed my favorite horror writer. And the crazy thing is, he said yes.
Elsa Charretier: There’s always a certain level of anxiety that comes with welcoming someone new inside our well-oiled little team of two. But this ambitious project was most definitely a three-person job. We needed a very talented writer, that much was obvious, but also someone independently minded who would thrive in the role of an active partner. James has proven to be all that and, incredibly, a lot more.
Grunenwald: What to you makes for a good horror story?
Charretier: I’ll be completely honest, I am a complete newbie when it comes to horror. My parents forbade me to watch horror movies when I was growing up (also, Dawson’s Creek? Go figure). They really put the fear of god in me and even as an adult I always stayed away from them. When PK told me he wanted to shoot a horror story, I was…full of preconceived ideas, which working on this film helped debunk one by one.
Colinet: A good horror story has to challenge our primal instinct, our very own survival as humans. The world is a terrifying place, chaotic, full of monsters. How can we make it a little less frightening? By defeating the monsters. At the end of the day, we’re still cavemen painting predators on the walls to warn others of what to fear. Room Service is mesmerizing and terrifying because it really is a reflection of today’s primal cultural fears: that the wealthy can do the most horrendous things and get away with it.
Grunenwald: Given all of your backgrounds in comics, what drew you to want to do something in a different medium?
Colinet: The plan was and had always been making movies. I’ve made movies my entire childhood and young adulthood and came to comics almost by accident. I’ve had the most fun working on our books. So after the best of detours, I’m simply returning to what was always inside me.
Charretier: My dream as a teenager and twenty-something was to become an actor. It took me a few years to realize that I had misinterpreted my love for the medium as a need to act in them…I actually sort of hated it! Coming back to it as a storyboard and poster artist is much more in alignment with who I am and what I enjoy doing: drawing.
Grunenwald: How does working on a movie, whether it’s storyboarding or directing, compare to working on a comic? Has anything about the process surprised you?
Colinet: I have to unlearn what I’d had so much trouble learning when I came to comics from short films. A different style of storytelling that thinks in camera and actor movement rather than selected frames and grids. It’s like rewiring your entire brain. My first pass on the script was basically a series of still shots. My second pass was better. I did it again and again until it was a movie.
Charretier: Unlike in comics where the artist is very much in the director’s seat, the way I saw my role was to be of service to PK’s vision of the script. We talked a lot about camera movement, the tone he wanted for each sequence, and I had the same difficulties figuring out actual movement at first. I kept wanting to cut away to different angles! Another big challenge was actual drawing. I rarely draw wide angles in my comics and Room Service has a lot of it. Figuring that out was a nice addition to my skill set.
Grunenwald: What are you excited for people to see when they back this Kickstarter?
Charretier: For starters, we are putting together the most gorgeous movie artbook. It’s a superb 80-page, 6.8-in by 10.4-in hardcover edition, designed by Emma Price, that will include James’ script, movie treatment, details on production, Tonči Zonjić’s mask design for the Caretaker, interviews, a making-of, and the full short movie storyboarded, by me. We’re right at home making artbooks and this one is a wonderful addition to the collection.
I’ve also drawn an alternate, exclusive movie poster that is available only for the duration of this campaign, as well as drawn spot illustration for a prose story written by James, so you might want to jump on both right away.
Colinet: I’m very excited by our Deluxe Print Set. Cliff Chiang, Francesco Francavilla, Jim Mahfood, Rafael Albuquerque and Elsa are some of the best creators in our industry and we’re over the moon to have their interpretation of Room Service available to backers.
We’re also offering something really special for backers at the high tiers: visits on set. Come and see us as we shoot the movie, eat with us and the cast and crew, have fun with us for a whole day and get cool swag!
The Kickstarter campaign for Charretier, Colinet, and Tynion IV’s Room Service short film is live now, and runs through Thursday, November 17th.