Friday, 21 August 2015

A Rift in Time: An Adventure They Never Saw Coming

A Rift in Time is done! After more than a year living with this comic project, it feels fantastic to see it published. The comic is now on sale as an ebook on Swedish ebook stores: Adlibris, Bokus, Bokon, and Publit. We are working on getting A Rift in Time to international stores.

A little more than a year ago, I pitched a new project in a photography network organisation, Fototräff i Göteborg (Photo meetup in Gothenburg).

This is the pitch I made in Fototräff, the photo meetup network.
I had started the Fototräff network in 2013, to build up an organisation of both amateur and pro photographers, models, makeup artists, videographers, writers, and other people, with an interest in photography and media production.

We had been doing a lot of interesting stuff, but most of it was small scale: photo experiments, and model photo sessions. I thought we were ready to do something more ambitious, so I published the pitch in the picture above, in the Fototräff group on Facebook.

Five people were interested: Petri Olderhvit, Julia Reinhart, Petra Brewitz, Robert Johannesson, and Jesper Andersson. Two more people, Lennart Guldbrandsson and Marie Eriksson joined the team shortly thereafter.

Creating a comic is challenging, and we did not pick the easiest way to do it. Most of us on the team are photographers, and we decided early on to do it like I had done in the pitch, as a photo comic, but with the look and feel of a drawn comic.

I wrote the first version of the script using Comic Life, a comic book layout application. Then the entire team contributed to improving it, and finding ways to solve, or work around problems, both story related, and technical.
Panels from pages 1, 8, and 10 of the A Rift in Time comic.
The inspiration for the visual style comes from many different places, but the most important was 80's style superhero comics by Marvel. At the time, Marvel artists relied heavily on exaggerated perspectives to create drama. We decided to do the same, but photographically, rather than by drawing.

This meant we worked a lot with short lenses, in the 10-30 mm range, for key, dramatic comic panels.

The team spent a lot of time lugging photo equipment around in parks in, and near, Gothenburg.
The team did a fantastic job! We worked for a year, and took more than 2,000 photos, to create the comic. The story went through several revisions. We learned new digital compositing techniques, honed our photography skills, and figured out how to do stunts that looked lethally dangerous, but were actually quite safe.

Just creating the comic wasn't enough. We knew we had a good thing, a cool story that lots of people besides us would enjoy reading, so we started to figure out how to market A rift in Time. It had to be a guerilla marketing campaign: low cost, but a lot of bang for our bucks.

We started by exhibiting pictures from the comic at Planket, the largest photo exhibition in Gothenburg. We had timed it so A Rift in time would go on sale right before the exhibition.

The A Rift in Time exhibition at Planket drew a lot of attention.
The exhibition was a success: People liked our comic! So, we went ahead with our plans.

One of those plans were to start up a web store at Zazzle, for people who want to buy t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and other products with motifs from the comic. There is more, lots more, but we'll keep that under wraps, until we are ready to deliver.

The work we did could fill a book all by itself, and that is exactly what we aim to do. In parallell with developing new projects, we are also going to document why, and how, we did A Rift in Time, in a book of its own.

I hope you have as much fun reading A Rift in Time as we had creating it.

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