Rhest and the Unknown

Rhest for the Wicked Short Film Update #10

A characteristic of Rhest for the Wicked and several of the short stories (as well as subsequent books in the continuity) is that of the unknown.  Rhest’s world was inspired by Robert Howard and similar writers from the dawn of the 20th Century.  Howard – famous for Conan among many other stories – created a very rough outline for his world but never felt beholden to it.

Rhest comes from that thinking.  Much of modern fiction today is replete with stories that are tangible, they are so realistic.  Even far-out stories of sci-fi and fantasy often have deeply developed and highly plausible systems.

That is truly masterful and inspired storytelling, but it isn’t universally necessary.  Sometimes, it’s even problematic.  I don’t care for Rhest’s stories to ever explain what a ghost is (or isn’t).  I don’t want the existence of zombies to be explained in physiologically-plausible detail.

The world needs more mystery.

As such, Rhest’s stories are often devoid of a few lines here and there that might explain the hows and whys.  That’s deliberate.  Rhest inhabits a world he doesn’t fully understand because nobody fully understands their world.  Much of what we see and interact with, we take on trust.  We focus less on the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ and worry more about the ‘what’s next’.

It’s that spirit I want to help bring back in small fashion to movies and television.  It’s that spirit, that commitment to internally-consistent-yet-narratively-ambiguous storytelling, that this film is meant to promote.


If you’d like to contribute, please learn more about the kickstarter by going here.

Rejected Rhest for the Wicked Bylines

Instead of talking about the nuts and bolts of the Rhest franchise, I’d take this chance to discuss some of the possible catch-phrases we discussed as by-lines for Rhest for the Wicked and other stories in the franchise.  My publisher and I decided on “Some guys have all the luck.  Not this guy” but there were other contenders.  They include:

“Because competent heroes are overrated”

“Do you ever read fiction and just yell ‘why don’t you just shoot him in the face’ at the hero?”

“Sci-fi had it coming”

“For people tired of Resident Evil’s plodding realism”

“Like lucha libre, but for logic”

“Like War And Peace, but for Metroidvania fans”

“The best literature the Labor Day Weekend can produce”

“Like Lord of the Flies, but with guns.  And zombies.  And giant monsters.  And no children.”

“Come for the zombie-killing, staying for the dual-wielding cyborg.”

“Murder-hobos: the Novel”

Yeah.  I think you can see why we chose the way we did.

And this actually isn’t just a space-filler.  This is Rhest’s stories.  A series of gags that are then explored and thought out.  A series of funny ideas, fleshed out with some cyberpunk and some late-night, B-rate anime.  Stories more worried about being fun and entertaining and engaging then they are contributing to some higher discussion or advancing some artistic movement.  Stories that start with fun, are developed through fun, and end with something fun.

That’s Rhest.

That’s the movie I want to make.




Click here to learn more about the Rhest for the Wicked Short Film Kickstarter here.

Sanctity of Life

I will never understand three crimes: roadkill, animal abuse, and littering.

I consider myself fairly upstanding when it comes to the law.  I don’t break the law or break rules if I can help, sometimes even if it doesn’t matter if I should.  I don’t speed (…much), I don’t buy pirated copies of movies or knock-off toys (it’s a big problem in the Transformers world).  I believe in rules and laws. Continue reading “Sanctity of Life”

Rhest for the Wicked Short Film Update #6

Shooting Location

We don’t yet know where the film will be shot.

It’s a little frustrating because that affects much of the casting and production.  Why don’t we know?  In short, it depends on how well this Kickstarter goes.

Currently, there are two film studies who are interested in this project.  Neither studio has fully committed (understandably) until the kickstarter is concluded.  Once this drive ends, however, one of the studios will be optioned and the film will go into pre-production.

One studio works exclusively in California.  Cool, makes sense.  The other studio works in California and in North Carolina (my home state).  Their filming options will differ if the movie is filmed in the Spring or the Summer, which will affect the casting options and locations available to rent for shooting.

This is part of why I haven’t announced a cast of actors (that and it might present a spoiler or two).  It’s cumbersome to not have something as obvious as ‘what state will the movie be made’ nailed down, but it’s one of the elements that goes into making art from the ground up.  That’s part of what makes this experiment just that: an experiment.

And that’s part of why I am so grateful for your help.

MAGFest 2019

In all this hubbub about the Rhest for the Wicked Short Film (contribute to the Kickstarter here!), a con report on MAGFest had to be delayed.

This year was quite different from previous years.  I had a slightly abbreviated schedule with regards to panels, so I was able to stretch out a bit more.  Some of the panels were filmed, and I’ll be posting those links once they go up on the MAGFest Youtube Channel.  But I spent most of my time at my table, meeting people and selling books.  The 2018 Anthology was very well-received (and you can get your copy now), and RocKaiju sold out because giant monsters plus rock ‘n roll is a recipe for success.

The Punk’d Up panel – talking about cyberpunk, steampunk, etc – got off to a shaky start without any visuals, thanks to some ransomware.  But in some ways, I think that made the panel work better.  The sight gags would have been nice, but there was something visceral about talking uninterrupted about the origins of the 1970s Punk movement and its evolution in literature.

Top Ten Episodes of Transformers drew a huge crowd, as it tends to.  Reviewing and ranking every episode, from Gen-1 through the most recent episodes of Cyberverse, was a daunting task but it was/is done and the final numbers are tallied.  And wow did a lot of Beast Wars make the list!  😊

Transferring Game Mechanics into Literature was a shaky list.  I enlisted the help of some experts – Tee Morris and Azarith Stryffe – to help me with the panel, but it really just kind of turned into an occasional rant about Ready Player One.  We didn’t get to all the topics, but a good time was had by all.

There was a lot of talk about MAGFest’s origins, from ages ago when it was the Mid-Atlantic Gaming Festival up to its arrival at National Harbor.  Work is underway to do a picture book with accompanying oral history.  A lot of us reflected on the weekend’s evolution from niche event into a cultural touchstone.  As a Lumberjack Guest – an inside joke, referring to attendees who have been at every single MAGFest – it’s been amazing to watch the transformation.  MAGFest has always been a party, a good time, a delight.  But with each passing year, it has become all the more ambitious in its fun.  I can’t sing the praises of the convention enough and if you get the chance to go in 2020, I heartily encourage you to do so.

I also heartily encourage you to consider donating to the kickstarter, but that’s unrelated.  😊



Next up is Katsucon.  There was some confusion coming out of MAGFest about my ability to be at Katsu this year, but working with the convention – who were extremely kind and accommodating – I am going to be able to make it happen.  More than that, however, I will be announcing the results of the kickstarter at Katsu!  If possible, there may even be a surprise or two!