Interview - Silver Circle Productions (Megan Duffield and Jackie Musto)

Line Plot is working on an animated film called Silver Circle about a world after a massive economic collapse. The movie is in production alongside a comic of the same name, which will run concurrently with the film. Megan Duffield is the PR guru for the film, while Jackie Musto is the artist for the comic The Chase and both ladies were gracious enough to answer some questions about the project at Boston Comic Con (I still feel weird typing that). The first half of questions focus on the film, while the second half focus on the comic.

Omnicomic: What's the premise behind the Silver Circle film in the works?

Megan Duffield: Silver Circle is an opportunity to connect with an audience about a serious subject through entertainment. Who else is talking about a serious issue with an animated film and a comic book? With the state of the economy and the constant government intervention, one can question whether we are taking the right steps to improve the way of life in the U.S. Silver Circle does not preach, overload you with statistics, or bore you to death. This film is a fictional story about heavy inflation and government power that could possibly plant the seed into the minds of people who may not have taken the time to think about it.

Onnicomic: When is the film due to be released?

Duffield: The film is on the track to being completed by Spring '11

Omnicomic: What's the thought process behind making the film animated? Do you feel that the film's message may be weakened by perceptions of cartoons and animation in general?

Duffield: Well this particular studio has been animation based since its conception. We have completed something similar revolving around education and entertainment with a webisode called "Save Sonny" which told the sad story of social security in a South Park manner. ( I think it is best that the film's message is inconspicuous; and what better way then to make it fun and animated. People don't want to be told how to think. They want to be entertained when they sit down to watch a fictional movie...we plan to do that: entertain but plant some knowledge within the plot.

Omnicomic: Is there someone (alive or dead) that was the inspiration for Zoe?

Duffield: The idea for her character came from a mixture of characters in the past: V, Trinity, and Tank Girl. V brings the political sophistication, Trinity brings the smooth athletic style, and Tank Girl brings the attitude.

Omnicomic: What do you hope to achieve with the film?

Duffield: We hope to reach outside of our expected audience (libertarians and hard money supporters) to spread a message that is growing more popular everyday. We also hope it is successful so we can continue producing animated films to cover all sorts of other topics in a fun way.

Omnicomic: What kind of promotional tour is planned for hyping the film?

Duffield: As of now we have attended close to 5-6 conferences to spread the word. We also have plans through the summer to attend some major libertarian events like Freedom Fest, Libertopia, as well as other Comic Cons in the future (NY, Granite State and D.C.).

Omnicomic: How do Silver Circle and The Chase parallel each other?

Duffield: The Chase is just one particular snippet from the overall graphic novel, which will be named Silver Circle (as far as we know) as well. They will be produced side by side and we are still figuring out the best distribution strategy. Jackie has much of the creative control over the graphic novel, however the story lines will be similar.

Jackie’s side of the story:

Omnicomic: How did you get brought onto the project?

Jackie Musto: Lineplot was looking for a designer to work on the character design and eventually the comic. When I read the synopsis and had some discussion about Zoe as a character, I got rather interested. I started doing some set design as well, as the need arose.

Omnicomic: How much freedom did you have with illustrating The Chase?

Musto: They gave me the script from the movie, and allowed me to work from there. I try to honor the script as much as possible while still inserting what type of mood or tone I think is appropriate. The script looks like a regular movie script, so it is kind of sparse on the description, so I get to feel it out and fill it out like a fiction author would.

Omnicomic: The illustrating style looks almost like colored pencil (pardon my simple art knowledge). Is that what you used for The Chase? Is that your "weapon of choice" so to speak when it comes to art? If not, what process did you use for illustrating the book?

Musto: It's actually ballpoint pen and digital coloring. When I had sent Line Plot my portfolio in the beginning, they had commented they liked one of my short, two-page sample comics where I'd used linework much similar to ballpoint and we went with that and liked it. I really adore using pen - even in my sketchbook. I don't think I've picked up a pencil in years. I usually work full on digital at this point however - I draw straight onto the computer and color it there. For any of those really interested, I'm using a Wacom Intuos 3 and Photoshop.

Omnicomic: Did you infuse any of yourself into Zoe (mannerisms, poses, etc.)?

Musto: I actually don't see a lot of myself in Zoe - I tried to keep myself out of it and just on building her on what they gave me for her personality. I think the reason I find it so compelling to create characters is I can get totally out of my head and into theirs - play out their actions, their feelings - even if they might be contrary to my own. "Zoe would like to eat this" or "Zoe likes this kind of movie" even if it's something I wouldn't associate with myself.

Omnicomic: Is there anything else you're working on?

Musto: I'm working on my own comic, Kay and P, as well as a couple of other professional jobs. I try to mix in personal work with professional work - you never know when you're going to get a really great idea and want to get it out of your head and onto paper.

Omnicomic: What's your convention schedule like for the remainder of the year?

Musto: It's actually pretty quiet. I don't do a lot of traveling outside of the Boston area, and the big three were already here (PAX East, Anime Con and the Boston Comic Con). If you want to see me, you'll have to wait until next year, or...

Omnicomic: Anything you want to plug while you have the floor?

Musto: ...go to my website, to check out my comics and other work. Kay and P is a great little comic about a musical artist and her best friend in the world - a skeleton. I'm expecting to have my first issue for print pretty soon, and there will be details on the website as that unfolds, of course.