Author and Filmmaker: Stephen Zimmer
Rayden Valkyrie Celebration
August 16-23, 2017
Please Welcome Stephen Zimmer to Sapphyria's Books today!!
Developing a TV Pilot
It has been a very challenging and creative process developing a TV Pilot centered around Rayden Valkyrie; a character that has a deep connection to me and is one that I enjoy writing more than any other across all of my works. The pilot episode has been designed to demonstrate a series concept, with the aim of finding a network to work with in developing a full season of episodes.
Of course, everything begins with a screenplay. Unlike writing a book or a short story, a screenplay is a blueprint, in a manner of speaking. It is much more bare bones in that it does not contain lots of description, and does not go into character's minds. Dialogue, brief descriptions of settings and actions, and specific visuals and movements are contained in the pages of a screenplay to serve as a foundation as all of the other elements in a production come into the collaborative process, from directors, to art departments, props, costuming, special effects, and many others.
A final screenplay enables a production to develop a cast list, location list, costuming and prop needs, special effects needed, and many other elements required to bring the story to the screen. This period involves lots of script analysis, and the final result will determine just how ambitious a given project is.
In the a case of the Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot, the story is a wilderness-based adventure, so the locations are almost all exterior, natural settings, and there was no need for complex sets to be built such as fortresses or towns. This reduces a lot of pressure on budget needs, which can mean all the difference for an independent production.
Fundraising can take place in many ways, but for Rayden Valkyrie we raised part of the budget through a Kickstarter campaign and the rest through private investment. Despite hitting our Kickstarter goal, the total budget for this project is by production standards very tiny, so a little had to go a long way.
The building of a production team, casting, planning logistics, locations, and all the other details of readying for the production itself took several intensive months of work. Casting and the team capturing the image are both critical aspects, and they were approached very carefully to ensure that we had the best matches possible for each character and that we had top talent with top-level gear on the camera team to capture their performances.
The painstaking effort was well-worth it, as we ended up building a cast spearheaded by the likes of Brock O'Hurn and Sol Geirsdottir, who were incredible matches for the parts of Ragnar Stormbringer and Rayden Valkyrie. Similarly, the matches for characters like Hallad (John Wells), Gudrun (Katie Stewart), Kjarten (Dale Miller), Cartholo (Lyon Beckwith), Markos (Nathan Day) and many others were every bit as strong in matching character to actor/actress. We had to reach across the United States and even abroad (Sol and Marita Tathariel Svensson, who plays the witch Liana, are from Norway) to find the best cast possible.
On the camera side we found a sensational talent in Cory C. Warner, our cinematographer, and we put an amazing camera team in place around him (such as Steadicam operator Aaron Gantt and First Assistant Camera Jonathan Klepfer) to make sure that our camera unit had great chemistry and worked well together. As far as gear, we opted for the renowned Alexa, by Arri, with a full array of Zeiss lenses.
Kentucky is rich with natural settings, so after an extensive amount of scouting we found tremendous matches for the needs called for in the script. We kept in mind logistics at every step of the way, as we needed to be in places that worked visually and made sense in terms of using them, as a production has all kinds of needs, including meals, transportation, lodging, power access (a big one when filming on location in natural settings) and much more.
We set up a core area on a private farm with lots of woodland acreage and a house less than one mile away. A great number of the scenes could be shot on these properties, so we only had to add in a few more locations, which ended up involving the scenic Cumberland Falls (in Southern KY), Cove Spring Park (Frankfort, KY), and a cave on a private property near Cumberland Falls.
Our base area was just 25 minutes from the main hotel where our cast and crew from out of the area were staying. We set in place RV's, tents, trailers, porta potties, and provided a main spot for our set caterer. Each day involved making sure water and all manner of snacks were available, as well as gear being ready, preparations for costuming/makeup, and much more.
On the first couple of days, it is quite the maelstrom, but things always settle down once the crew and cast begin to come together as a cohesive unit.
Thanks to little interference from rain and great focus on part of the crew and cast, we did complete the production on schedule. The TV Pilot is now in post-production with the folks at Frozen Creek Studios. We have released our first teaser trailer and are beginning our outreach to potential homes for a full season. That is a full process in itself, and the aim is to have the full TV Pilot ready to exhibit this fall.
Developing a TV Pilot is far from a simple task, but we are poised to take the next step.
About the Author:
Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk). Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot. Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.
About Thunder Horizon:
A deadly menace stalks the shadows of the lands to the north, stirring the winds of war. Farther south, the power of the Teveren Empire spreads with every passing day, empowered by dark sorcery. Formidable legions bent on conquest are on the march, slavery and subjugation following in their wake. Within the rising maelstrom, Rayden Valkyrie has returned to the Gessa, to stand with the tribe that once took her into their care as a child. No amount of jewels or coin can sway her, nor can the great power of her adversaries intimidate her. With a sword blade in her right hand and axe in her left, Rayden confronts foes both supernatural and of flesh and blood. Horrific revelations and tremendous risks loom; some that will see Rayden's survival in the gravest of peril. Even if Rayden and the Gessa survive the trials plaguing their lands, the thunder of an even darker storm booms across the far horizon. Thunder Horizon is the second book in the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.
About Heart of a Lion:
Rayden Valkyrie. She walks alone, serving no king, emperor, or master. Forged in the fires of tragedy, she has no place she truly calls home. A deadly warrior wielding both blade and axe, Rayden is the bane of the wicked and corrupt. To many others, she is the most loyal and dedicated of friends, an ally who is unyielding in the most dangerous of circumstances. The people of the far southern lands she has just aided claim that she has the heart of a lion. For Rayden, a long journey to the lands of the far northern tribes who adopted her as a child beckons, with an ocean lying in between. Her path will lead her once more into the center of a maelstrom, one involving a rising empire that is said to be making use of the darkest kinds of sorcery to grow its power. Making new friends and discoveries amid tremendous peril, Rayden makes her way to the north. Monstrous beasts, supernatural powers, and the bloody specter of war have been a part of her world for a long time and this journey will be no different. Rayden chooses the battles that she will fight, whether she takes up the cause of one individual or an entire people. Both friends and enemies alike will swiftly learn that the people of the far southern lands spoke truly. Rayden Valkyrie has the heart of a lion. Heart of a Lion is Book One of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.
Teaser Trailer Link for Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7w_UI_RCg4&t=34s
Teaser Trailer for Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart: TV Pilot
Tour Schedule and Activities:
8/16 The Temple of the Exploding HeadGuest Post
8/16 The Page Turner Guest Post
8/16 BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH Author Interview
8/16 Bookishly me Author Interview
8/16 DarWrites Guest Post
8/16 Sheila's Guests and Reviews Guest Post
8/16 Sapphyria's Books Guest Post
8/16 Deal Sharing Aunt Top Ten's List
8/17 DarWrites Review
8/17 Bookin Around Town Author Interview/Podcast
8/17 Full Moon Bites Character Interview
8/18 BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH Review
8/18 The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn Top Ten's List
8/18 I Smell Sheep Guest Post
8/19 Paranormal Pleasures Review
8/19 The Page Turner Review
8/19 Bella's Book Reviews Review
8/19 Jeni's Bookshelf Guest Post
8/20 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! Guest Post
8/20 The Seventh Star Blog Guest Post
8/20 Stuart Thaman Books Guest Post
8/21 MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape Author Interview
8/21 SpecMusicMuse Author Interview
8/21 Jordan Hirsch Review
8/22 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post
8/22 Discover New Authors Author Interview
8/22 Butterfly's Booknerdia Blog Review
8/23 The Occult Detective Review
8/23 Bookishly me Review
8/23 Jeni's Bookshelf Review
8/23 Jorie Loves a Story Interview
8/23 Readers Life With Trisha Ratliff Review
Amazon.com Links for Thunder Horizon:
Barnes & Noble Link for Thunder Horizon:
Amazon.com Links for Heart of a Lion:
Barnes and Noble Link for Heart of a Lion: