How do you make a movie? According to horror and fantasy queen Sybil Danning, the rules have changed. Danning, whose acting credits include Hercules, Howling II, Grindhouse, and Halloween has added producer, writer, and director to her resume. I spoke with Danning at PopConLA.
PopConLA debuted this year, running July 5 - 8 as a new convention for fans of comics and sci-fi. But PopConLA goes further than some other comic book oriented shows by including other aspects of popular culture such as art, design, fashion, music, and xtreme sports. Also, by joining hands with iTVfest, the International Television Festival, it includes a movie and TV festival which this year included over 90 screenings and many professional level seminars.
Danning’s new project is Ruger, and it follows one of many new routes to Hollywood success: Transmedia. Transmedia builds an audience for a film by transporting it through mulitple media.
Ruger is also the name Danning’s character from her film LA Bounty which is about an ex-cop-turned-bounty hunter who goes after a crazed killer. Transmedia Beat One: She transformed Ruger into the heroine of a graphic novel. Transmedia Beat Two: Danning is now turning the graphic novel into a first-person-shooter computer game. “Revenue from computer game sales,” Danning pointed out, “has just surpassed both DVD and music sales.” Transmedia Beat Three: Danning will transform the graphic novel/game heroine back to a film character when she creates the new movie version of Ruger.
Financiers, she said, are more likely to back a movie project which already has a built-in fan-base of comic book fans and gamers.
I asked her if this was her first venture into alternate approaches to movie making. “I tried this approach before,” she said, “with a property called Black Diamond. We got all the way to the financing of the movie and it turned out the writer didn’t have all the rights. The investors wouldn’t touch it.”
This time, Danning won’t run into the same problem. She explained, “I own the character and I wrote the script and action movies always work. This is a project that has legs.” And, as her fans can attest, so does Danning.