Boat from David Lumsden started as short film, became a comic & was a success on both fronts, so it seemed like a good time to catch-up with him and find out a bit more about the world he’s created.
How are things progressing with the Boat comic?
Things are going well, I am currently looking into financing for book 3 but Volume 1 & 2 are selling really well. We are getting great reviews, it’s really encouraging. I didn’t expect it to be received so well. It’s been a lot of fun working on the books.
Do you have the whole series planned out?
Yeah I do, sometimes I really struggle with the ending. At the moment it’s just sitting there in script form and I keep going back to change it. There are two endings at the moment that I am going back and forth on. I had that problem with book two. I wanted to have the ending quite open-ended. Then I thought what if no one bought the book, so I changed it to a quite conclusive end… But I spoke to a few people and got feedback and the open ending with ‘The Well’ was really well received so I decided to go back to that.
It was great because someone at The MCM con in Glasgow came up to me and was asking all these questions about the Well and what was in it. One of the characters ‘Joshua’ refers to something in there too, I didn’t expect it to resonate with people but it has. There is quite a fascination with what is in the well and some of the theories on what it could be are really interesting. That was quite a long-winded answer, in short, yes I have the series planned out.
We’ve seen a change of artist as we’ve moved from Volume 1 to Volume 2 – how has that been for the projects momentum?
The change of artist has worked out well, I remember when I would be really into a Comic book and they changed the artist it would always annoy me so I was a bit worried how it would go down but it’s been really positive so far. The books are very different but tonally they are similar and I think the change has worked, the first book was a direct companion to the film and now with it moving away and expanding the world; the change of art has helped. I think the fact that Andrei (cover design/letterer) is a constant there is a strong familiarity with the both books.
The scope and potential for the world shown in Boat seems to have opened up with the 2nd volume but do you have plans for spin-off films or comics?
The hope was always to expand the world, I wanted to include some of the story elements at the start of Book 2 in the film but budget and time stopped me from doing this. I would love to do a spin-off comic that is set in the same world. I have a short story that is set in another part of the ‘boat world’ that doesn’t involve the main characters that I hope to release at some point. I am pretty happy with it, but i don’t want it to distract me from the main story just now… and there are some other non boat related stories I have written that I would like to release.
What’s the biggest difference or challenge when converting a film to comic?
The main challenge I had, was what I would like to put in the book that I couldn’t afford to do with the film. I didn’t want to go too crazy so it differed from the film too much. The biggest challenge for me was logistics of creating a comic like where to start! The sizing, design, print, ISBN, barcodes etc. It was a trial by fire. I had no idea how creating a comic book worked and it became this weird loop of thinking we are done then realising we had to tweak something then we had to go back and start over. It got a bit frustrating. I remember being at Glasgow comic con 2015 and being all happy with how it turned out and a guy came up to me picked up my book flipped through then threw it down on the table and said, ‘You could do with a synopsis on the back’. I thought it was harsh and I had just had my whole print run done so I wasn’t keeping an open mind but he was right. So the next run I made sure it had it. There was a lot of little things I learned from the first book but seeing it finished was worth all the drama. The biggest thing I took from the process was to be open to feedback and making sure to run ideas past people. It is always a big help in moving forward.
It’s been a strong year for both the short film and the comic but how has it been juggling the two?
It’s been a really cool balance, with the film being complete it’s really sending it off to festivals so it’s a bit of a waiting game. So it gives me time to sort out comic cons and do my day job.
It did get pretty crazy at the end of 2016 though, we were just about to release the film online then we got accepted into two really cool film festivals. So it was fun to go along and watch the film with a new audience again. We got some cool feedback too, a couple behind me at the end of the screening in York said, “Scotland is a beautiful place, we should go visit”
I found it pretty funny, kind of like, “ah, love that post apocalyptic world… lets go check it out!” I think that was one of the funniest audience reactions so far!
It can be a lot of work at times with both projects but the main focus for the future of Boat lays in the comic books so that will probably take up most of my time. I am looking forward to it.
It’s a great story to appear across different mediums but do you have a preference between film or comic?
That’s a tough one to answer, I always wanted to make films and growing up I always loved comic books. I just had no idea how I would do comic books because I cant even draw a stick man, but I just needed to find an artist!
Every film project I worked on I would talk about how cool it would be to do a companion comic book, but I just kept putting it off. One of my first jobs was putting up posters in a cinema, I got to see all the marketing stuff come in and one of the big 6 sheet posters was for 28 days later, the poster was basically the opening scene drawn out comic book style. I had never seen that before and it looked amazing… I think I have that poster hidden away somewhere. It gave me a bit of a reminder that I wanted to incorporate comics into the film work and when I eventually did it with Boat it was a great feeling.
I think for the time being I will try to do both but I get a different buzz from each, I think I have a bigger connection with the audience from the comic books because when you get to meet people at conventions that enjoyed the story that’s a big pay off, you don’t always get to speak to everyone that have watched your films but it is cool to see your film play in front of a bunch of people…I am going to dodge the question and say I like them both the same! 🙂
Do you have plans to move onto a feature-length film with Boat or maybe another project?
I really want to continue on with Boat but I think its good to step away and focus on other stories, Film wise I have two projects I would like to make. I have a feature i am working on at the minute with Writer Ronnie Mackintosh called ‘Out there’ It’s a bit of a shutter island meets deliverance set on an island in Scotland. I’m really excited about that project. It’s pretty dark. I should maybe look into working on a comedy at some point.
What’s next for the team behind Boat?
I guess it’s ‘Out there’ I am working with some of the team from Boat on that one too. For the comic its Boat Volume 3: Blood in the Water. I am really excited about where the story is going and the new characters we introduced in Volume 2 like Gwyn & Evie. They have some really cool stuff coming up.
I was very lucky to work with very talented people from the film and the comics so hopefully that will continue. It’s just been a lot of fun seeing it all come to life on the screen and the page. I am hoping to release a couple of one shot stories that I need to find an artist for too. Lots of stuff in the pipeline just need to find the time.
You can take a look at my thoughts on Volume 1 & 2 and check out the Boat website for more on the comic & the short-film that inspired it. You can also keep tabs on what’s next over on Twitter and get hold of the issues over on David’s online shop or over on Comixology.