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Meet Adam Clark, Creator Of YEAR: A Fresh New Zombie Webseries

Sharmake Bouraleh | PopWrapped Author

Sharmake Bouraleh

Updated 03/22/2015 1:33pm
Meet Adam Clark, Creator Of YEAR: A Fresh New Zombie Webseries | YEAR
Media Courtesy of Adam Clark/YEAR
Hello, my little lamblets. It is I, Creepy LaBouche, and I....no, I can't do this, you couldn't pay me to be that unsettling. (Unless we're talking 7 figures.) It is, your beloved and reviled S.A. Bouraleh, here to bring you more news of that awesome indie zombie webseries project YEAR by my good friend Adam Clark. I'm sure you've all been very patiently waiting for an update. Apologies. Someone bet me that I couldn't wrestle an entire police department off the side of a mountain cliff during a lightning-graced thunderstorm, set to a snippet from a score of Imogen Heap's classic song "Hide and Seek." Here you go. Imagine it now. Yes, good. Yes. I'm not even sorry. At any rate, the Air Nomad in me finally allowed me to settle down for a bit to write down this bit of info I know you've sold your souls to read. (Pretty good bargain, I assure you.) Okay, I've been cruel enough. Time to get to the meat of the story. I sat down with Mr. Clark, future Ambassador of the Human Race on Subjects Pertaining to The Zombie Apocalypse (AOTHROSPTTZA -- essentially, he's the zombie translator and representative of us humans)...okay, well, I didn't really sit down with him, but we had a phone conversation and I was sitting, so I guess that's kind of sort of the same thing? Semantics. Right off the bat, Mr. Clark proves himself to be a charming and generous subject. He will be a fine specimen for the experimen--...er, to lead the Zombie Delegation Council. He's witty and receptive to banter, and always quick to laugh and entertain ideas -- the mark of a creative mad genius. After a little chat about who we would sacrifice first if it came down to it (Beyoncé or Mariah -- either option is blasphemous; we settled on tripping up Kelly and Michelle. Talented though they are, amazing singers though they may be, Beyoncé and Mariah cannot go, so Kelly and Michelle had to. Sorry.), we got down to business. Bold = me, Italics = him. Warning: because I have no journalistic integrity, I may or may not be biased and this conversation may or may not be paraphrased heavily. Maybe. Naturally, I had to hit him with the hardest questions first:

How did you conceive of this project? How and when did the idea come to you?

The concept came to me while working on zombie films. I saw all these awesome zombie flicks up close and personal, and I chatted with my buddies Dave Lam (Director of Photography) and Tomasz "Tom" Kurek (Director). We would shoot out ideas rapid-fire as they came to us, and they would be awesome and grandiose, but we would have to keep the budget in mind. I'd say, "AND THEN A BIG EXPLOSION HAPPENS!", but then we couldn't afford to make a huge explosion. Sadface.
year Courtesy of Adam Clark/YEAR

Sadface indeed. Go on.

During the time before YEAR, I went through a rough break-up. It was a tough and trying time for me, and everything was dark and I was gloomy. I didn't like gloomy me. Gloomy me sucks. I'd stay home in the basement, and when I wasn't moping to myself, I was moping to the universe.  Eventually, a thought struck me -- one so absurd, so out-there, so ridiculously crazy that I had to follow it and see where it led: "put your free time to good use." And it was like the clouds parted, the heavens opened up, and I knew I had a purpose...well, okay, maybe it wasn't exactly like that, but artistic license and all that. 

Yas, Gaga. 

Yas.

*

I decided, what better time to improve myself than when I am at my lowest? It is when we are at our lowest that we are open to the greatest change. I would better myself, and  while making something of myself, make something that I enjoy. This was a golden opportunity to improve myself and master my craft as a creative person and a producer. To make this dream of mine come true, I approached a lot of my friends and they were willing to help me out. For that, I'll be forever grateful.

TL;DR.* What happened once you started 

YEAR

? How did your life change?

When YEAR started, a lot of things began to fall into place. I started a company, Toronto Sound, with my good friend and pal Aaron Gaistman. I took up public speaking. I did a lot of sound jobs. Creativity creates creativity. A lot of opportunities popped up for me, and it was as though one thing led to another and YEAR helped facilitate all of it and get the ball rolling!

One time, Beyoncé absorbed her sister Aeyonce to siphon off her power. She then repeated it with Ceyonce, and Deyonce.*

What?*

I asked, "What sets 

YEAR

 apart from from other zombie/survival horror/supernatural projects?"

Oh, haha. I thought you said something crazy about Beyonce.*

Don't speak ill of Beyonce. The Beygency will get you. I knew people, good people...I...don't want to talk about it anymore. Let's focus on that question.*

YEAR introduces a few new ideas, in a fresh, exciting new twist on the typical lore and mythos of the zombie film genre. Chief among them is the notion that there are those rare few people who are immune to the zombie virus; instead, when they're bitten, they don't face death, but join a small percentage of the world's population by becoming what's known as a "Cure". Cures have properties that will be relevant to the story line later on, but you'll just have to watch to find out. However, before that, we need to make sure YEAR actually becomes a thing!

And how can we do that?

By donating to the Kickstarter! (I even hyper-linked it in my speech, because I'm super awesome like that.)* Pledging any amount of money grants you perks, with higher pledges earning higher rewards. We don't just take your money and then leave you high and dry; we want you to get something out of it too, in addition to the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is YEAR. It would also be incredibly helpful if we got this trending and generated a buzz around it. If you could share the website Year Series, spread the word with the hashtag #YearSeries and tweet at us and about us, even posting on Facebook or Tumblr or Reddit, it would be a huge help!

You know what else is huge?*

....What?*

Your big, massive...

(collective gasp from the non-existent audience/SIS listening in on the phone call)

...Heart. You're a good guy, Adam.*

Thank you!*

Tell me about these perks. 

Alrighty! 

$5+

 or more gets your name in the "Special Thanks" section (and our priceless love). 

$10+

 gives you exclusive behind the scenes updates and videos sent to your email; you will be included in "Special Thanks" section. 

$20+ 

includes all previous perks and a digital download link to the YEAR comic book prologue, artwork, and music. 

$40+

 includes all previous perks and a nifty little Flarian USB card (Flarian being one of our fantastic sponsors!) loaded with the YEAR prologue on it, including artwork, comic book, and original musical score from the web series. 

$75+

 nabs you all previous perks + an autographed print version of the YEAR comic book! 

$125+ 

means all the previous perks, plus you'll be a zombie in the YEAR Winter comic book. You get to be an undead you! How cool is that?! Not to mention you'll get a digital copy of said comic book once it's finished. There's much more, and they can all be seen on the Kickstarter page!

Coolio! Let's talk influences.

Righty-o! Naturally, The Walking Dead is a huge influence. It's a genre-changer and pretty fantastic. I remember back thirteen eons ago* wen it was still back in production -- and look how far it's come. Even more than The Walking Dead, however, there's a massive influence in the form of The Last of Us.

*gentle gasp* 

The Last of Us.

Yes, The Last of Us. This game is iconic. Unparalleled by anything in its genre. The Last of Us impacted me emotionally in a way and a further extent than The Walking Dead did. It combined the best elements of story-telling, cinematography, action and angst. It's a character drama unlike any other, motivated by the decisions and actions of the characters forced into an impossible situation by the advent of the apocalypse, by way of the Cordyceps virus. I wanted that sort of feel for YEAR as well. I wanted it to be a character drama with zombies as a backdrop, and not the entire package. Any area where human emotions are escalated to a point where the actions, reactions, kills and death impacts these characters is an interesting thing to see, because they you see them evolve and this zombie apocalypse is the perfect scenario where they are transformed past what you recognize in the first episode/prologue.

Tell us a little bit more about the motivations of the main character dubbed 'FATHER'.

YEAR is a piece where you become emotionally invested in FATHER who realizes he’s not dead, has a son outside, and the kid will probably die if he doesn't get to him. His sole motivation is to find his child and nothing will stop him. He will face trials and tribulations that challenge and change him; maybe he becomes a hero, maybe he becomes a monster. By the end of his character arc, he will be changed over the course of four seasons (WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER, FALL) physically, mentally, emotionally, et cetera.

Let's backtrack a bit and go back to the influences. You mentioned at the beginning that you  were influenced by your work in a number of zombie films. Elaborate on that.

I was inspired, not just by zombie films I've worked on, but films I've worked on in general. Working in film industry and seeing other creators follow their vision/being a part of it is a huge influence. When everything else comes down to the wire, you’re the one who keeps pushing on and keep trying to get people involved. It gives you the drive. Mike Donis, the creator of Pete Winning (and the Pirates) is a huge inspiration. The passion behind creators and works is amazing. Creativity is contagious.

"Creativity is contagious." I like that.

Thank you. I like A&W root beer.

...How is that conducive to the interview?*

Agent, I don't like his tone. Make him change it.*

Oh, so now you think you're Mariah? You can't get away with that. You're not Mariah Carey.*

I'm something better. Adam Carey, her illegitimate son. She will notice me. Notice me, Mariah-senpai. Notice me.*

Moving on...what experience can you boast, in terms of knowledgability and sound work you've done? What jobs have you accomplished that lend to your capability to produce this innovative masterpiece-in-the-making?

As part of Toronto Sound, I've done work for shows such as Battleground on Netflix and the YouTube series Pete Winning (and the Pirates), and worked with companies such as West Jet (Christmas Miracles - 2013, 2014), Canadian Tire, Nike, banks, shoe companies, and more. I've worked on commercial and corporate projects. As for my background in this, I was a film major at York University for seventy billion (editorial note: he may not have said seventy billion; it just sounds cooler -- artistic license!) years and met a lot of friends along the way. I learned everything about the industry in university: what I liked, what I didn't like, how to run a set by observing, things like that. An incredibly important thing I learned was how to network. It's key to everything. You know how Hagrid's the Keeper of the Keys at Hogwarts? Networking is the Keeper of the Keys for any business. I also learned that compassion and understanding and appreciation are the best things in one's arsenal when working on a set. To learn from the successes and failures of others allows me to grow as a person and in this field, and I understand one can't push the crew too far or excluded; feeding the crew, talking to the crew, making everyone from the extras to the cast to the director of photography to Beyonce herself feel involved and included and appreciated makes for a far better production experience than it would elsewise. The #1 thing that will kill a production is unappreciation. I swear by Mariah's whistle tone it's true.*

Tell me about 

Toronto Sound.

I can tell you what your mama said to me last night.*

What the fuck Adam.*

She said you're a good son.*

Oh. Aww.* Toronto Sound, though. Focus!

Weirdest thing happened. My buddy Aaron "Ghostman" Gaistman and I were traversing the Russian mountain range in winter, looking for cinematographic location scouting-worthy scenery in the middle of winter for YEAR's Winter episode. On the way, we figured we needed some fur pelts so we slayed mountain lions and wrestled bears. We sought shelter in a cave where this weird but cool old lady lived, Baba Basic or something? Baba Yoda? I don't remember. But she suggested that we take our friendship to the next level.*

You don't mean...?*

Oh, but I do. We became business buddies! Baba Yoda was right. We realized there was a disconnect between the two areas we worked in for sound production: Ghostman in Music/Post-Sound, and my dashing self in Location Audio. We decided that we would set up shop as a one-stop shop for all things audio, allowing everything sound to be handled with deft care and ease for our clients, so they wouldn't have to keep going to different avenues for different things. All things audio are under one roof at Toronto Sound, it allows for easier communication between departments,  and it's one of the first businesses of its kind. We're very proud of that fact. As well as the fact that I'm Mariah Carey's illegitimate son. Seriously, Mariah-senpai. Notice me.

Alrighty. Any information for newbies who want to enter into the craft/film industry scene?

DON'T. I'm kidding. It takes commitment. It's satisfying, but a lot of work. There's a certain satisfaction that comes after all the hard work and effort and dedication put into it; when that project is wrapping up its final shot, it gives you a sense of closure and a creative high. It's great when you start something and you finish. It sends the message "We worked on that, and we did a good job." It makes me want to do it again. When you have a great experience and film crew, it makes for a great project. But it's most important to remember that manners are your best weapons when trying to break into the industry. Attitude and demeanour are of the utmost importance. You can learn skills, but an inviting and friendly personality is far more conducive to success. Your manners can make people happy, and a happy set is a good set. There's no room for arrogance, meanness, or negativity, all of which are detrimental to your potential career anyways. At the end of the day, it's about being a good person. Someone Mariah-senpai would notice and approve of. NOTICE ME, MARIAH-SENPAI.*

Where has being a good person gotten you? (Obviously not Mariah-senpai's attention.)*

Well, it got me over 100 volunteers who came out and helped me with the prologue, from friends who put their acting chops to use, even those who had never acted before (like yourself, you talented actor-in-the-making you; you deserve an Oscar! An Emmy! All the awards!), to those who lent their equipment and time, which is the most valuable asset. If people lend you their time, it means they like, care for, and respect you. YEAR is very much a passion project, and it's captured the passion of 100+ people, and I'm hoping it will snag more hearts (and brains, but we'll keep the brains for the zombies). We all love YEAR, and we love its world, and we want to share that with all of you. But that means we need your help!

What can the  potential patrons do to help?

The goal is $50,000. Every donation counts, every effort can help and make this dream a reality and blow people away. This project is all-or-nothing; get everything or get nothing. This allows me to maintain creative control, get people involved, create experience; we’re buying into a vision, a creative series, and supporting the future work of both the creators and the 100+ volunteers who came to help us.

Why $50,000?

We're not paying anyone, because we're putting everything raised into stuff like prosthetic, make-ups, blood/guts/gore, etc. Production costs, labour costs, material costs; we're making a free series online, no monetizing or any of it being kept; backings are purely going into gas, heat on set, tents, equipment rentals; money isn’t going to pocket, it’s going into actually producing series and every visual moment that occurs on screen. Everything costs money: costume, wardrobes, food for cast/crew, transportation, gas, etc. Donations allow for a budget, preparation, fanbase margin of money which allows us to put the project on the screen and it being everything we want it to be (visually). Steep price, but very high-quality YouTube series. Same cameras as The Walking Dead, sound equipment on feature films, editing in production studios and colour in high-grade studios, etc. If you want the zombie to look good, it costs money. And this means the fans have something that looks good for them. Best work for the best product for the best fans.

Got any people backing you? Any sponsors?

Naturally, we have to be in our own corner, so Toronto Sound is of course backing us. In addition to ourselves, Crooked Seas (owned by Craig LeBlanc, who's in charge of lights, cameras, and maybe actions, as is the following company), Spectacle Media (Dave Lam; our Cinematographer and Director of Photography), Pixel Dreams (Branding/creative agency that has come onto YEAR to help making website, branding content, help with launch party, etc.), Zombie Survival Shop, Zombie Survival Camp – zombie preparation shops/camp, help prepare for an apocalypse, and more are all helping us make this a dream come true. That's a lot of help, but we've got so much more to do and so far to go!

What do you hope fans take away from 

YEAR?

I hope they can take away that the Internet is capable of producing crazy awesome things. Enough passion and drive can help you put something online for free – pretty unique. What YEAR has to offer is zombies don’t always have to be zombies “blood/guys/gore running around”; nor do you just have to sit in front of a TV and say “I wish I could do that”, you could actually get up and do it. You have the power to put forth something awesome in this world. 

Why are zombies awesome?

In my first year at university (approximately 3,000,642 BC)*, I had to do a film production essay. I sat down and did theory on zombies and their emergence into the mainstream market. The Walking Dead was in production to come out in his first year, and everyone was excited. Zombie films were doing well. When I was writing it, he came across a cool theory about the outsider. When you lose society, when you lose all aspects of law/order, when zombie apocalypse happens and rules are meaningless (can do/take/kill whatever you want), zombies are the catalyst to allow the entire sub-basis of human emotions to emerge, and for people to become huge villains or huge heroes. It all comes together into something – zombies create an interesting universe, where everyone is fighting for something; you never know who is gonna die next.

Are you a fan of the supernatural in general?

Yeah, that show is awesome. Can't stand Dean's wangsting though.*

Agreed.*

Yeah, I'm a fan of the supernatural. Vampires, werewolves -- that genre is extremely interesting and makes for a fantastic world. Same with aliens and space marines. We need more in video games, because they're awesome. If done right, it can be a cool character-drama piece, provided it's being done right by the fans.

If you had to substitute the zombies for another supernatural entity/class of creatures, what would you choose?

Mariah Carey's vocal range. I swear she's part banshee.* I'd love aliens, like the creepy kind that explode out of your chest cavity. What really intrigues me is the transformative factor of aliens, vampires, werewolves and creatures of that sort -- to be experimented upon, and to be transformed is interesting because ultimately it comes down to you fighting against yourself. And isn't that what we, as humans, do everyday anyways? We fight our thoughts, we fight our desires, we fight for our dreams, family, friends -- we fight against ourselves every day, but it's most interesting when you have to fight for your very humanity itself. If it wasn't zombies, it would most definitely be set in space marines and feature aliens.

Why did you settle upon the title

 

YEAR?

 

Has it ever had any different title, or a working title?

It's always been just 'YEAR', I think. It's called such because it’s split up into four seasons. I thought it would be cool to put a chronicle/timeline to the change of the characters, and be able to put dates to it. Each season is unique in terms of colours, feelings, sounds -- Winter is time of death, Summer is time of bright colours/lights, etc. Figured it would be a nifty way to portray character of Father and to chronicle his progress.

Most rewarding aspect of working on 

YEAR

?

Seeing it all come to life. The comic book was sort of the first incarnation. Seeing it flourish from an idea to becoming an actual finished product that represented the beginning of something beautiful. I think that's the most rewarding aspect. Mariah-senpai noticing me would be more rewarding, though. Seriously, Mariah-senpai. Are you going to notice me or not? It's like that?*

Most challenging thing about working on 

YEAR

?

Most challenging thing is dealing with yourself as a creator; it takes a lot to do something over three years. Lots of ups and down; sometimes lost heart, and lost myself and nearly gave up, but I have to make the most of what YEAR is and always work hard and acknowledge the struggles and successes (peaks and valleys) that come with this winding road. Riding the line between success and failure, creativity and destruction allows you to better yourself as a creator, as well as better and motivate yourself from this challenge that requires you to grow stronger.

Any films that inspire you/pay homage to?

I'm a big fan of Guy Richie and multiple different plotlines and characters and everything sort of weaves together. Manipulating the plot-line and working with time and space  challenges the viewer and is engaging the viewer – they’re not dumb, so I'm not gonna spoon-feed them. I'm going to lead them on false trails and get their hopes up and make them wonder and worry and care. Being given something results in you not appreciating it the way you would if you had to work for it. You don’t wanna be spoon-fed information, but you want to hunger for it.

Where do you see 

YEAR

 

five to ten years from now?

Hopefully done with! [Laughs maniacally.]* I see it done, on the shelf, hopefully a cult classic. I'll be onto space marines by then.

You and space marines.

Me and space marines. My OTP.*

I ship it.*

I want it to be seen as an inspiration and hopefully get people to get up and make their own things, to realize their dreams can come true and they have talent and time. Everyone has a unique story to take, their own take on how the world is. They should share it with the world, and impact people in ways they never knew they could. People can put their best foot forward, and think “not that I can’t, but I’m gonna try.” Everyone has a unique story to tell and share with the world. Whether it’s writing a book, making a movie, drawing a comic book, painting a picture, anything. “Creativity is contagious. If you believe in your project, wholly and completely, other people will too.”

Your catchphrase is contagious.

So was your mom's STIs.*

What?*

So is your brilliant smile.*

Aww, you.* Any last words?

Yes! Shout-out to the zombie fandom! We love you! We hope you can support us and make YEAR a mainstay in this subculture for years to come. Support us and others as independent artists and creativity in general, follow our links, tweet about us, donate if you can, help us to make this vision a reality. I will keep working on it until I can get this creative bug out of my chest and feel like it’s done. Oh, and the Kickstarter staff should totally staff-pick us because we're balls-off-the-walls awesome sauce.

It was a pleasure chatting with you. As was getting to know your mom.*

What?!

She's a delightful woman, really. And she brought forth a creative mad genius into this world. Kudos to her.*

Thanks. I appreciate this!

TL;DR. Ciao for now!

  And that was that, Poppies! Did you learn something today? Did you have your eyes opened? Anything stuck with you? Good. I'll need a 4,000-word essay on something you learned delivered to me and on my desk by noon on the 14th of February. Get started. For extra credit, make sure to like, reblog, share and tweet about #YEARseries and get it trending!   NOTES: *: I actually did not say this. He actually did not say this. Beyoncé MAY have said this, but we can neither confirm nor deny because The Beygency is watching us. Artistic license, y'know. Take this with a grain of salt. Unless you're Sam and Dean Winchester. Then take this with a lot of salt, and protect yourself from demons. Godspeed.

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