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Posts tagged ‘videogames’

PATTERNS = Memos from the Muse

September 15, 2015



Apologies for the sparse posting this summer, my friends. Work, travel, and Life got in the way (as they so often do), but I intend to hop back on the blog-horse for regular features and updates over the next 6 months at least. As always, your patience with my scheduling weirdness is infinitely appreciated. And speaking of weird…

In my creative and my personal life, I see patterns. 

Something as seemingly random as a rush hour commute with all-green-light intersections takes on prophetic business meaning. Pairs of butterflies circling the deck every morning for a week becomes a relationship omen. Monthly jolts awake after the same bonkers dream, only to see the same goddamn numbers glaring back at me:

(And the less a superstitious double-Gemini says about the thrice-annual shit-show of Mercury Retrograde, the better — back up those files and don’t sign contracts for a month, kiddos…the pattern of ‘Karmic fun’ starts tomorrow!)

Sure. It could just be my monkey brain’s way of making some desperate sense out of absurd, everyday, garden-variety chaos. But what fun is that? Especially when some of the greatest creative and scientific minds in history were/are ardent believers that recognizing patterns and potential connections between objects and events was the key to attaining higher knowledge and artistic excellence???

And that brings us to today’s topic: MEMOS from the MUSE.

Over the past six months or so, a common theme has reared its strange and fantastical head in the stuff I’ve been working on, as well as projects I’ve been brought in to help shape: the WHIMSICAL. The damn term keeps popping up in personal writings, in random conversations, highlighted in reference material, or even blurted out during conference calls. And it always came, it would seem, with the same qualifier: DARK.

How can you NOT smell a pattern like that? If the Muse keeps tickling your brain-balls, then it only makes sense to hear Her out over rib-eyes and a nice cab-merlot, amirite?

So I do what I like to call ‘tracing it back‘.

Follow the breadcrumbs of influence. Find the Alpha of the thought that’s recurring, which might help you predict the Omega of the path that you’re on — IE: the end result of the pattern — what it’s been trying to tell you from the start.

I recalled the shows and movies and books I loved as a kid.

I pondered the stuff I’m drawn to, and the tales I’m now driven to tell.

I revisited the last studio gig I agreed to, and the direction I gave to the team:

The music on that Hellboy 2 short is by my genius composer cousin, Tobias Tinker. We’d been making musical magic together for 7 years…and then that was that. I went off on walkabouts. He made more cool shit.

Last month, I flew my weary ass to his home in Berlin to see if our mutually-creative fires could be rekindled. It only occurs to me now that another 7 years had passed since our last big jam. And there we were, discussing the score on a massive (and massively daunting) audiobook project

‘What’s the vibe you’re after?’ he asked.

Dark, of course,’ I said, ‘but there’s something else…’

I sat up, and I think I felt the ghost of a gear click into place as I spoke the word. And then, in one afternoon, we built the following piece around our masterful narrator‘s silky boom:

A pained music box. Flourishes of harp. Mysterious choir. Moody strings.


A month later, I couldn’t help but smirk when discussing part of a (secret = SHHH!) reality TV project’s score with its producers. There was a scene near the end that needed a special sonic touch —  ‘heavier’ than the rest of the program, but still retaining a hint of playfulness and ‘hope’.  I referred the editor to a section from Howard Shore’s score for The Fellowship of the Ring.  

You can probably guess what two words were exchanged. ;)

That brings us to just last week. A designer on a seriously epic (and another SECRET!!!) game thingie asked me for input on the soundtrack.

Let me say this — if you were privy to the IP in question and what these cats have planned for it? Then you’d barf up the same goddamn tags I’ve been chucking since springtime. But that might mean very little to someone not lost in the vortex of signs and symbols…you know…like yours truly.

Thankfully, since I’d been bashing my head on this whimsy trip for months (nay, a lifetime!), there was an easier way to communicate. To share the PATTERN, whispered long ago through the Chaos by the Muse…

To be useful in this moment.

Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away = bombs of whimsy, yo!

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen = fanciful theatricality and fairytale decadence to legendary excess!!

The Dark Crystal = ground zero for ‘dark whimsy’ from my childhood!!!


What are some of YOUR dark and whimsical favourites?

And what patterns have played a role in YOUR creative and personal lives?

Sound off in the Comments…right below the kitten in a top hat…

Because WHIMSY!




TIMELINE:  Fall 2014/Ongoing

PLATFORMMobile (Android, iOS)


Contracted for text/dialogue creation, cinematic scripts, and ongoing narrative design consulation for this Vancouver studio’s diverse mobile game slate. Titles include action/sci-fi (WARHAMMER: Carnage), niche/casual (Trophy Bingo),  and a celebrated global music/entertainment IP. (TBA 2016)

‘Untitled’ Game High Concept

June 29, 2012


(Here’s a narrative overview I recently created for a game dev client – can’t announce the developer or project specifics yet, but I’m definitely happy with the relationship and the results!)


You and a host of powerful beings were charged with creating Life on a pristine world.  But something went wrong.  Through negligence and arrogance, your creations quickly evolved into a terrifying demon horde, threatening to scour the fragile Eden.   Outraged, your Master decides to wipe the slate clean, and imprison you (his Architects) and the abominations deep underground.  Now, you must harness your divine energy and scattered technologies to destroy your tainted creations, awaken your fallen Brethren, and escape the prison…or remain trapped in darkness forever!

You were the First. 

A being of pure Will, infused with unfathomable power, and charged with a sacred Mission.  But you were the first of many.  A legion of beings would soon join you in this new realm.  Together, you would craft incredible technologies, and harness near-limitless energies to engineer the primordial sparks of Life.  And as lightning and otherworldly fire filled the skies, and the first creatures twitched and stirred beneath swirling dark waters, you could feel the growing pride of the One that had set these events in motion.  And it was Good.

But it would not endure.

As time passed, and the web of Life on this young world grew infinitely more complex, a division began to form within the ranks of your Brethren.  The sheer scope of the plan and the energies at your disposal tainted the weaker amongst you. Some went mad with the weight of responsibility.  Some even whispered of rebellion.  But the greatest flaw was harbored in the hearts of those who fell prey to the lure of Ambition.  Fueled by newfound arrogance, these Architects used their powers to veer the course Life far from the intended design – one of harmony and symbiotic balance – and down a path both twisted and profane.  That was when the monsters rose from the mire.  When onyx-horned and cloven-hoofed things clawed their way from molten cracks in the world’s womb.  When creatures of unspeakable horror howled at the sky with blood-soaked teeth and mindless hate.  And that was when you understood what must happen next, for the grand design had been defiled.

You had failed in your sacred Mission.  The punishment was swift.

With thunder and fury, the One shook the foundations of the world.  The oceans drained into bottomless rifts, and towering mountains crumbled to dust. Through a veil of fire, the earth yawned open, and swallowed beast and Brethren alike in jaws of stone.   And there you would remain…for eons.  Trapped in a forgotten chasm beneath the earth, and shackled by otherworldly machines of your own making.  Abandoned in the dark, with nothing but the shrieking demonic hordes, and the cries of your fallen brothers.  Everything had been taken from you…save for your Essence.

And that is the key to your salvation.

Though disembodied, you are still an Architect.  Through sheer force of will, your prison matrix shall become your liberation, as the technologies transform into the armor and weaponry you’ll use to break free and destroy the abominations.  And as you battle through countless chambers beneath the earth, you are sure to find your fallen Brethren – imprisoned, as you were.  Free them, and you’ll become infused with their essence, as well as the unique tools and gifts that they possess.  Call upon them in a moment of despair, and divine Might shall rain down upon your foes!

You will taste defeat – it is inevitable – but each time you fall, you will retain the knowledge of your prison, your foes, and the arcane powers you have acquired.  Thus armed, you embark again on a desperate quest for freedom and redemption.  You were the First.  Now you are the Last.  This is your only Mission…

And you will not fail again.


May 3, 2012



Welcome to the latest instalment in my new Transmedia Case Study series, where we examine the triumphs and epic fails in executing a Big Media property across multiple platforms.   In the inaugural feature, we were treated to an example of transmedia done right – so now it only makes sense to balance the scales and give perspective on how an intellectual property (IP) rich with potential can both fall flat, and miss out on some major TM opportunities…

For me, this was a heartbreaker.  I’ve made no secret for my love of all things GREEN LANTERN. I was raised on the character, weaned on the socially conscious Lantern/Arrow era of the 70s, and the goofy Challenge of the Superfriends show in the early 80s:

I’d never be a tortured billionaire playboy.  The odds of being bitten by a radioactive insect in the Big Apple were astronomically against.   And, though adopted, I’m pretty sure my cultural roots don’t reach across the stars to the House of El.

But I had willpower…and the potential to overcome great fear…and dreams of being a part something greater than myself.

It appears I wasn’t alone.

Read more




PLATFORM:  Feature Film

GENRE:  Contemporary Sci-Fi


LOGLINE:  Sheltered in a remote orphanage, a disabled teen (JACOB PRICE – 16) has terrifying visions of a technological apocalypse.  Little does he realize that the real battle will be waged within his very cells…and that the future of the human race will be HIS to decide.

With an original short story treatment, multi-stage development financing from Telefilm Canada and Saskfilm was secured for this teen sci-fi high concept.  Reminiscent of ‘thinking man’ cult hits including The Lawnmower Man, The Matrix, and Chronicle,  three (3) screenplay drafts have been successfully completed and reviewed by major distributors.  You can view the digital pitch package here, which includes some sweet concept art by David Cameron Sloan. UPDATE: Or check out the motion-comic proof-of-concept right here!



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