Making it RAIN, an interview with Maya Glick
Maya Glick is running her second Kickstarter campaign to fund a film about Storm, a character that is very close to her heart. The first campaign went well, reaching its $10,000 goal, but it didn’t leave Maya and the film’s production team with enough to create the high quality product that they really want to do. So, she took to the internet again, and is trying to double the budget so that they can produce an excellent movie about an incredible hero. I got the chance to ask her a few questions about the film, her influences, and what she’s learned from the process.
Sam:Where did the inspiration for this film come from?
Maya: Several different factors came together in my life and kind of culminated in this project. There’s my obvious love for the character of course, but there was also a major tragic life event a couple years ago that just about destroyed me. It landed me in a scary, dark place and ended up on a long, hard journey of having to rediscover my own power and self, which is basically the story at the heart of the film. During that time of my life, I rediscovered an image of Storm from the Lifedeath series that I love dearly. It’s the very first page: she’s got the mohawk which normally gives her this badass warrior look, but in this image she’s curled up in bed– naked and depressed and looking like she’s lost hope. The caption above the drawing says “Once upon a time, there was a woman who could fly.” That page alone, that single image and caption is one of my favorite pieces of artwork ever. It’s very powerful and moving. It had a huge influence on the story I wrote which became the screenplay.
Sam:What can we expect from your film in terms of content, length, and style?
Maya:It’s going to be fairly dark for the most part. Most superheros do have a dark side, or something that they are fighting for… so I wanted to explore what that might mean for a character who has the ability to control the sky itself. And her name ain’t Sunshine, it’s Storm. So to me that means she has significant darkness and danger about her. Storms are beautiful… but they are also destructive, frighteningly powerful, and potentially deadly. This story kind of explores what might bring that out of her.
As far as length goes, it’s a short… but just how short will depend on whether or not we make this second kickstarter goal and how much we raise.
Sam:You mentioned during your first campaign that Hollywood had let you down with their portrayals of Storm. How did that frustration manifest itself in the writing of Rain, and did that Hollywood take on the character influence your choice in what portrayal you wanted to share?
Maya:I think the manifestation is the film itself. Just the fact that it’s happening and that so many people are interested in seeing it happen. Like I said before, Storm to me represents something incredibly powerful… dangerously powerful even… and on screen she is just another afterthought background player which is maddening. Conceptually she is easily more powerful than all of the other mutants, and yet on screen we saw her passively running for help from the boys when things got yucky. I was so excited to know that a black female superhero was coming to the big screen for the first time, but the way she was written into the background as a pretty little token just broke my heart.
Sam:Since she’s an established character, Storm has a lot of different facets to her; she’s been a teacher, a queen, a runaway punk. How did you end up choosing one over the others to work on?
Maya:Well, the version of her that has always been closest to my heart is “Punk” Storm. I never related to her in her other forms. The long, flowy hair and oversexy swimwear looking outfits were never cool to me. I mean I knew she was there, but it was when I first saw her rocked out with the mohawk and leather that my mind was blown and my life was changed. I know Marvel didn’t make this huge revolutionary change on purpose. In fact Paul Smith who originally drew her that way has admitted the whole punk look was originally a joke. But what was a joke to them waseverything to me. That version of that character was (and still is) the single most badass thing I had ever seen. No other female superhero ever really looked to me like they could kick much ass just because their clothes looked so uncomfortable to me. High heeled boots and a swimsuit? No. Black leather and a switchblade? Hell yes. THAT is the chick who I wanted to come to my school and be my bodyguard when I was being bullied. That is the rockstar who I wanted to grow up to BE.
Sam: Do you enjoy working solo, or do you prefer to collaborate?
Maya: I enjoy facets of both. The creative process for me starts solo and ends up as a group effort. I was a musician for a long time. I guess I still am, I just haven’t done anything with it since I left New York City. I write alone, but I have never been one to do the solo singer/songwriter thing. I need a band. Same with this film. Writing is very solitary and lonely and personal… but then I hooked up with the crew that I have now and that is what has made the whole thing so powerfully beautiful and alive. There are two directors: Zane Rutledge and Jeff Stolhand, who are also writing partners; then there’s our producer Matt Joyce keeping it all organized and flowing; the score composer Luqman Brown; stunt coordinators; VFX designers; make-up and hair people; the other actors and stunt guys themselves… this film is all about collaboration and it’s a beautiful, amazing thing.
Sam: Do you have any previous projects that have influenced this one?
Maya: My main experience as a performer is as a rock musician in New York City. I still think of everything from that perspective, like finding the right crew and director was the same as finding the right bandmates. And I think of the screenplay and story the way I think of lyrics. And ultimately I want the end result to rock your soul harder than you imagined your soul could be rocked. This version of Storm is definitely kind of a rock star, even how she looks… so there is some obvious influence there. I think that punk Storm had already been such a subliminal influence on me, that she has already been part of my other projects. Some of my friends who have known me for a while see the promo images for the film and they’re like “Why aren’t you in costume?”
Sam: What have you learned from this project and what would you do again/vice versa?
Maya: I am learning that I really dig the process of film making. I’ll definitely do more with it in some way after this is done.
Sam: Who or what influenced you to work in film rather than another medium?
Maya: Nothing specifically. Like I mentioned it’s been a while since I’ve had a band and I’ve been needing a way to get some of my creative energy out. I love writing, whether it’s lyrics, stories, or just blogging out my thoughts… and I’m also very visual. I love to draw and paint sometimes, but I suck at it. Film as a medium is a way to paint with words and light and people and sound and music. It’s awesome and I am surely on the verge of an obsession.
Sam: What is your favorite part of the creative process?
Maya: With something like this I think it will be completion. Because of how tight our budget has been, it has dragged out a little longer than it normally might, and for me the actual creative process can be a little painful. It’s like giving birth. It’s amazing and exciting and wonderful, but nobody ever says “My favorite part of pregnancy was the uncontrollable crying fits and labor pains.” Same kind of deal here, including the crying fits. It is also a lot of fun of course in many ways: seeing my words come to life through the actors, learning stunt moves and rehearsing fights… that kinda stuff is awesome. But my favorite part is in the future: the wrap party where everybody is happy and we all still love each other and there is champagne and hugs.
Sam: Any tips for upcoming creators?
Maya: GO for it. Know that it’s going to be a lot more work than you thought. Know that you’ll lose sleep over it and you’ll probably go broke and end up having to beg for favors and money which sucks more than anything when all you want to do is create. Know that it will take your whole heart, and when you put your whole heart into something, it’s really easy to get your heart broken. But if you love it enough to power though all of that anyway then you’ve got something special that deserves to be born, so do whatever it takes to bring it to life!