In recognition of International Women’s Day, we wish to celebrate some of the amazing women involved in our Chaldea production. I asked each of these women to tell me what they find interesting or challenging in their work on Chaldea, offer some insight into a job or activity they pursue outside of Chaldea, and for advice they would give to young women trying to compete in today’s market. Read More
“I got a little carried away with the arches,” Jordin playfully admitted, sharing his concept art for the Rathskeller set with our production team. By then it was far too late—everyone loved the design, which, of course, meant that we would have to figure out how to build it…
Construct a set that contains 16-foot-long, top-heavy arches on wheels so it could be rolled aside for crew access? Challenge accepted! After completing the set of War Room, Jordin and I were ready to tackle this rathskeller design, arches and all. So, what is a rathskeller, anyway?
In my last casting blog, I discussed Chaldea audition briefs. These are particular to each character we cast and include information about the character, such as the character’s backstory and motives, as well as “sides,” which are sample lines from the script for that character. Once audition briefs are completed, we begin the audition process. In this blog, I’ll discuss the process we used for casting characters for film (as opposed to that used for casting voiceover characters).
In my first blog on the casting process for Chaldea, I explained how we organized our Chaldea cast into two groups of characters: VO (Voice Over) and VOLO (Voice Over with Likeness [R]ights and Option to [F]ilm). In my second blog in this series, I explained why we hired a casting director and what it’s like to work with one. In this blog, I’ll discuss an important tool we use in the audition process that we call audition briefs.
An audition brief is a short document that is sent to an actor who wants an audition. Each role being cast has an audition brief unique to that character. It contains two sections: a one-page character background and several pages of script featuring that character (the industry term for these script pages is sides).
The character background is something I take some pride in. I understand that many directors don’t bother including much information for the background, but I like to make a pretty big deal about it. I love these characters, and I can’t help but want to share that love with the actors. I like to believe this helps get the actors excited to do their best. Read More
In my last blog, I explained how our Chaldea cast is divided into two groups of characters: VO (Voice Over) and VOLO (Voice Over with Likeness rights and Option to film). Now let’s take a closer look at the casting process for the VOLO characters. And I’m going to stop saying “VOLO” for now; for the rest of this blog, all my references to characters and actors are of the VOLO variety.
There are a number of ways to manage a casting process. You could run ads or use your friends network to get the word out and do everything yourself. Or you could work directly with a talent agency that represents actors. And that would work well, I’m sure, but the agency represents the actors, and I want someone advising me in the process who works for me.
So, we use a casting director (or casting agent). A casting director sits beside me, works for me, and manages the entire casting process. The casting agent works with multiple talent agencies to cast the broadest (and most appropriate) net. A casting director will also work with independent actors, or untried actors, who aren’t represented by any talent agency at all. Read More
This is a very exciting time here in the Chaldea studios. After three years of writing scripts, illustrating characters, building and decorating sets, creating costumes, and producing a pilot, we are finally beginning the process of casting for our first two seasons.
This leads me to think, “Hey, maybe you’d like to know more about how we do casting.” Of course, we all have a general idea of what casting is, but how does it work exactly? What are the steps?
First, Chaldea is an odd animal, what with its blend of comics and film. A crucial element of this mixed media is that the comic book rendition of a character look like a reasonable facsimile of the actor who plays said character. For example, compare Reiswitz as a comic book character to Reiswitz in the film, played by actor Stefan Hajek. Read More
Each new journey begins with an initial step…
Team Chaldea is happy to announce PRODUCTION OF SEASON 1 has begun.
The writing team has handed over volumes of tomes and manuscripts to the production team. The task now lies with art directors and production artists to bring words to life, designing characters, environments and laying out storyboards, (panel & page).
Here are a few rough early samples. Warning: work-in-progress!
Back in the early ’90s, it was pleasure to be working at Wizards of the Coast while Magic: The Gathering was being developed. One of the unexpected delights of that project was the art. We knew we were exploring new frontiers of game design with Richard Garfield’s marvelous invention, but it also turned out that under the insightful art direction of Jesper Myrfors, we ended up publishing fantasy art that was dramatically different from the traditional fantasy art the world had seen from the masters. Perhaps because we couldn’t afford artists like Larry Elmore and the Hildebrandt brothers, we went to artists no one had heard of, young art students just up the street at Seattle’s Cornish College of Arts.
The art that came in was bold, edgy, and irreverent. Some of it was questionable. And, yes, some of it was traditional, too. We loved it. Perhaps most representative of this difference from fantasy tradition was Anson Maddocks’s interpretation of Llanowar Elves. With a pink Mohawk, an eye patch with a chin strap, a shaved part of his head sporting a tattoo, and an angry sneer, this was not a Tolkien elf. These days, that’s hardly enough to cause discussion, but in 1993 this was radical.
I’ve always been enraptured by the notion of an “enchanted forest.” From the earliest moments of creating Chaldea, this was one of the first topics I put my heart into. In particular, what does it mean for a forest to be enchanted? And what would cause it to be that way?
I didn’t want it to be strictly evil or monstrous. Nor did I want it to be entirely peaceful and idyllic. I wanted it to be magical, a place where, yes, there would be magical creatures: noble fey, not-so-noble fey, giant talking spiders, dragons, and critters like lizard men and bugbears. It would have a horrific swamp in there somewhere, which of course meant a river. But I also wanted there to be something about the forest that would attract practitioners of the arcane arts: druids, magicians, high elves, and even priests.
And this forest would be unique within Chaldea. There would be other forests, but one forest would be special; the Garnon Forest was beginning to take form.
I honestly don’t understand the creative process. But somehow I had this idea to link the forest to Yggdrasil, the World Tree from Norse mythology. Like all ideas, this seemed obvious after the fact. If Yggdrasil connects the world of Chaldea to the other worlds, where does that connection happen? I mean, is there a physical place in Chaldea where Yggdrasil actually “connects”? Obviously there wouldn’t have to be—the connection could be more metaphysical, less literal. But it also could be! So, what if The Garnon Forest were the location in Chaldea where the World Tree connects? Read More
Yeah, I thought so.
I suspect that, like myself, you routinely scour the Internet searching for maps and background material on characters and locations from your favorite books or TV shows. I’m sure you’ll agree, our favorite works of fiction are appalling light on ancillary details, details readers and viewers crave, such as, where the hell is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizarding in its directional relationship to London? Where does the Hogwarts Express go? My wife couldn’t give a shit less; she’s just happy finally seeing Ron and Hermione kiss. But I want to know. I know you want to know, too. That’s because we’re geeks.
I’m a big fan of World of Warcraft and have spent an embarrassing amount of time in that ridiculously addictive fantasy world. To prove my utter addiction, at one point I had five active accounts. If an MMO is worth playing, it’s worth playing five accounts at the same time. You know what I’m saying.
The challenge I have with WoW and similar all-immersive games is that the developers don’t provide vitally important information gamers want “in-game.” They force users to leave the relatively protective environment of the game and send them seeking information beyond, out on the vulnerable Internet.
Why do this?