Interview with Jeffrey Morris
On the New Comic Publisher, FutureDude
Published: 08/13/2014 04:02am
Tell us about your company, FutureDude.
We’re a transmedia organization. I’ve developed a bunch of science fiction IPs over the years. They’re all based on some measure of plausible science. They’re not 100% perfect when it comes to the science, but we’re starting from a basis of scientific plausibility--looking at existing technologies, existing theories and trying to bring a sense of reality to each IP that we create.
As a transmedia organization we create comic books as the basis of each IP, then we’re developing videogames--mobile games, specifically. We’re also doing some deck builder games and looking at doing some animation and live action film and television production.
That’s really what it’s about:trying to take science fiction IP that really goes back to what the term "science fiction" is all about, fiction that has a scientific basis to it. I’m a big science aficionado and have been since I was a child. I think there’s a real space for it in the marketplace right now. Instead of basing everything on fantasy, we can really take a measure of reality and take it a little seriously. I think it’s an exciting new approach to this genre entertainment.
What background do you bring to this along with your interest in hard science?
I’ve worked in education and public outreach with NASA (the Jet Propulsion Laboratory specifically), also with the international Space University, did some work with Lockheed Martin; Buzz Aldrin was a long-term client, we built his website buzzaldrin.com, did logowork for him, graphics, things like that.
The reason these organizations hired me is because I was able to bring a cinematic or Hollywood look and feel to telling their stories. A lot of times science is something that’s very hard to convey to everyday people. The idea for us is to use exciting visuals, dynamic editing, computeranimation, that kind of dynamic, contemporary storytelling, to convey these big, lofty scientific ideas or engineering concepts. It’s been a really fun challenge for me, something I did for over a decade working with a number of clients.
I still work with these same individuals. They’re helping us to develop background for alot of the stories we’re telling with FutureDude IP.
As you started this process for developing these IP, you also raised financing for your company?
Yes. I’ve tried to unify my interest in science, entertainment and education with a strong business approach. I am definitely an entrepreneur, have written several business plans in my life, and with the help of my wife to pull together all of our different potential skills, developed a solid business plan and raised some money through a private investment group. We were able to raise low seven figures in order to get the thing moving and off the ground. That happened in 2013, and we are launching our first products this fall.
Brainstorm is a story about weather manipulation and geo-engineering gone haywire. At the core of the story is a very flawed individual who is the lead scientist on a project that’s been acquired by the Department of Defense at a time in the near future where climate change has really driven dynamic, extreme weather. We literally have weather patterns that have stalled and become extremely severe. You have tornados being generated daily in the Midwest, so now the military has decided to fight against this severe weather. This system when it’s created and activated initially works very well, but what we find out is that the system has a mind of its own and happens to have the mind of the scientist behind it involved. It’s become a deadly and dangerous thing. The story is about trying to stop this thing from getting out of control.
You are the writer for Brainstorm. Who is the artist?
I have a co-writer named Ira Livingston who is a producer I’ve worked with for years. Ira and I were able to bring in Dennis Calero who drew X-Men Noir and a bunch of very memorable comic books. He has a great style and he really gets this type of storytelling. He’s been a great find for us. He’s drawing the six-issue miniseries.
Parallel Man is a big adventure across multiple parallel universes where we have an evil version of America that ended up developing the ability to cross dimensions instead of developing the atom bomb. A rogue agent from that universe is leading a rebellion against that evil entity. He ends up teaming up with his doppelganger from our universe to try to stop them.
Imagine Clark Kent and Superman being two separate individuals and having to team up, like the bumbling version of Clark Kent that Christopher Reeve played but he’s actually a real individual. So you’ve got two versions of the same guy that are able to run around together and travel between these different universes. We’ve got dinosaur worlds, and every aspect of our story takes place in 2014, but we’re going to completely different versions of the United States in these different dimensions. It’s a big universe-hopping saga. Lots of cool places to go, cool stories to tell. It’s fun; it’s epic, kind of a Star Wars-style story in its size and scope.
Who is the artist on Parallel Man?
We were lucky to bring in Christopher Jones who is well known for Young Justice and also drew one of the more popular issues of Batman‘66 this past year. It’s fun working with Christopher because he really gets the world-building side of the details. He’s a big Star Trek and classic science fiction fan so we really see eye to eye on how to tell a big, epic story of this type. Christopher is a great coup. He’s really been wonderful to work with.
What other things are you developing around the Brainstorm and Parallel Man IPs?
Brainstorm is targeted to become a feature film; that’s our goal with that. I’m developing a screenplay in the near future taking the six issues and making it into an epic The Day After Tomorrow-style story, only a little more serious and rooted than that.
Parallel Man is our first transmedia property. We have a mobile device game where you’re hopping universes as the main character; we have animation in development, with our goal of doing an animated series; we have a deck-builder game and comic book series. All of that is coming together very nicely, and it will gel and start launching in October. Parallel Manis the ticket for us right now.
Disclosure: ICv2 has a consulting relationship with FutureDude
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