Post by Jon Van Pelt on Jun 14, 2016 12:07:25 GMT -6
ENUMA ELISH. The third sci-fi show to be picked up by theVPN after REALITY (created by Brady Brown) and SYNTHESIS (created by Ciarán Graham). It has been awfully quiet since it was announced back in April that Enuma Elish would be part of the 2017 line-up. So VSGuide decided it was about time they sat down with the show’s creator, Jon Van Pelt (JVP), for an in-depth interview.
VSGuide: Let’s start this interview with another sci-fi series you worked on: Star Trek Knight’s Haven. What did that show mean to you as a writer?
JVP: I guess that’s where it all started for me. Where I learned the craft of writing screenplays. I was fortunate enough to be a part of a strong team led by Kyle West. Next to a great learning experience it was also immense fun. It was the first time I was part of a collaborative effort to put something creative out there for the world to see. Those were great years. Very fond memories.
VSGuide: What happened next?
JVP: I guess you could say I disappeared for a couple of years. But I never really stopped writing. I joined Kyle West’s Grey Cat Productions somewhere in 2011. There I worked as a writer and producer for the second season of Knight’s Haven for MZPtv as well as a creative consultant for two other projects. Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, those projects never fully materialized on one of the networks. After that, it wasn’t until somewhere in 2014 when people saw my name pop up again in the world of virtual series. I joined as a producer on The Godfather, a reboot series based on the popular movie trilogy at the Black Zero Network. And then I had one more short stint as a creative consultant on BIONIC before finally moving on to my own projects.
VSGuide: Did you just say BIONIC?
JVP Crazy coincidence, right? But I’m really happy BIONIC got picked up here at theVPN. The show has a really strong concept. Andrew (R.A. Picking) is a fantastic guy and I know he has some amazing adventures in store for us.
VSGuide: I guess this brings us to our next stop. Your new show, ENUMA ELISH. There hasn’t been much news since we learned about the show’s pick-up. Do we have to start worrying? JVP No. Absolutely not. It’s perfectly normal in this stage of production. I'm still in the process of working out the stories for our first season. None of the cast have officially been signed on yet. There just isn’t much news to report yet. Having said that. You can expect a first teaser poster by the end of the month. (jokingly) Does that count as a spoiler?
VSGuide: I admit we hoped for more! But let’s talk a little bit more about the first season. In your pitch for the show, you said the first season would be more Earth-centric. Why that choice?
JVP: Well, the whole concept of the show - which was originally called APOLLO - dates back to 2014. My initial idea was to just jump right into the middle of the crew’s first deep space adventure. I even wrote a pilot. But after I started working on the layout for the rest of the season, I soon realized it left little room to explore the origins of the crew and this future society they were born into. And that would be very important for the seasons that followed. So I decided to go back to the drawing board and start anew. Fortunately, this process enabled me to deepen the characters and strengthen the overarching storylines.
VSGuide: You mention overarching storylines. Does this mean the show will be heavily serialized or will there be room for standalones?
JVP: In this age of binge-watching , I think the audience expects more than just standalone stories. They want to be part of a journey. And that’s what I want to try the achieve with Enuma Elish. There will be room for the typical standalone adventure, but my goal is to really offer the audience the opportunity to immerse themselves into this brave new world. To become part of it.
VSGuide: That certainly sounds promising. You said the series was originally named APOLLO. Why the name change?
JVP: Interesting question. Sci-fi shows are very often American-centered. I guess I wanted to broaden our horizon. Do something different. Which is why I envisioned an internationally diverse crew. We’ve made casting calls around the globe to fill the roles. I think this alone sets the series apart from other genre shows. Having the name APOLLO attached to it suddenly didn’t seem to fit anymore. ENUMA ELISH has always been on one list or another. It’s a name I’ve always loved. I don’t know if people are aware of it, but they are actually the opening words of the Babylonian creation myth. And I guess this is why I feel the name fits perfectly for this show. I’m trying to create a new world, a new mythology.
VSGuide: When you say mythology and talk about overarching storylines, there has to be some serious planning done before you can write the first word of an episode on paper. Does this mean everything about Enuma Elish is already set in stone?
JVP: Absolutely not. And I know that must sound strange. Of course I know where the show is heading to, but the journey and where it takes us is as much a mystery to me as it is to you. We need room for creativity. Sometimes when you’re writing a story, it starts to lead a life on its own. I think, as a writer, we need that freedom. As a showrunner I try to focus on execution, not detailed planning. Writing should be fun!
VSGuide: And so it should. One last question: name one actor who you definitely want to have on the show.
JVP: (thinks hard) Gary Oldman.
VSGuide: In what role?
JVP: (jokingly) You already had your last question. Don’t trick me.
Post by Brady Brown on Jun 17, 2016 12:21:38 GMT -6
I'm so pumped for this series, Jon! It has such a strong concept, and I love the focuses you seem to be having from this little promo. Has me all the more excited for this awesome series to make its premiere!
CREATOR Reality l The Super Teens l Audition
CO-CREATOR Tomb Raider (with Chris Davis on MZPtv)
CURRENTLY WRITING Audition l 5.11 "World Premiere" The Super Teens l 2.14 "Super Gem"
Post by Jon Van Pelt on Sept 18, 2016 6:25:32 GMT -6
Today the production team behind Enuma Elish released another teaser poster as part of the “Are you ready for the future?” promo campaign. Time for us to catch up with the showrunner, Jon Van Pelt.
VSGuide So are you guys ready for the future?
JVP We definitely are. The outline for the first season is locked and I can tell you it’s going to be an amazing journey! VSGuide How far are you into production?
JVP I guess I should start off with the news that, after long consideration, we’ve decided to write the show in a webisode format. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but at the end of the day we truly felt that this format would suit our story best. For the first season we’ve got 20 episodes planned. The writing staff is just so energized, it’s really amazing. We’ve got a first draft for the first 9 episodes. We recently finished up the treatments for the final 2 episodes so next step will be of course writing the second half of the season.
VSGuide Is there a release date set for the show’s premier?
JVP We haven’t decided on a date yet. But right now we’re looking at somewhere in May 2017. That seems like a very long time but it’ll give us the necessary breathing room to do re-writes if necessary because next to writing the first season we’re already mapping out our second. This gives us the opportunity to put even more thought into the overarching storylines and character arcs.
VSGuide Any news regarding casting?
JVP Well the biggest news I can give you right now is that Chris Pratt and David Giuntoli will not pick up the lead roles of Nathan Storme and Muhiddin Aydin. I know a lot of people will be disappointed, but we realized early on it would be difficult to keep them on board. With Avengers: Infinity War and the Jurassic World sequel in pre-production, it’s just impossible for Chris to commit to a long term TV-project like Enuma Elish. As for David: NBC ordered a sixth season of GRIMM shortly after we pitched our show to theVPN. Of course we’re happy for Chris and David, but it also meant we had to start looking for other actors to fill their roles.
VSGuide Can you give us any names? JVP (smiles)
VSGuide But you’ve finalized the casting process?
JVP For the main cast? Yes. We’re so happy and grateful that we were able to bring together such an amazing group of talented actors to carry our show. Unfortunately I can’t give you any names right now. But we’re planning to get the cast together for a first press conference by the end of October. Having said that, you should keep a close eye on the Season One casting thread. You never know if someone accidentally leaks some casting info.
VSGuide We noticed in the teaser poster that you’ve settled on an official series logo.
JVP Shiny isn’t it? We’re such big fans of Darrin McCann’s artwork here at theVPN so we’re incredibly grateful that he found some time in his busy schedule to create this for us. We’re very proud of what he came up with. The logo really nails down the coolness factor of our show. Extraordinary work.
VSGuide Final question. We’ve talked a bit about the story. We’ve talked about the cast. What we haven’t talked about yet is the ship. The actual title character of the series, the Enuma Elish.
JVP Well just this weekend we’ve approved the final design of the ship. We wanted to go with something retro yet futuristic. We’ve gone through various designs. It wasn’t easy. But I think we really found something that will spark the audience’s imagination.
VSGuide Something we definitely look forward to! Thanks for the interview Jon.