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It wouldn’t be the first time that one of best-selling author and contemporary legend Neil Gaiman’s stories have been turned into a movie. Both “Coraline” and “Mirror Mask” were critically-praised, the former even garnered and Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature. However, both of those had big studio backing, independent film-maker Christopher Salmon has a different idea. Utlizing the popular site, Kickstarter, Salmon has pitched the idea to make one of Gaiman’s short stories, “The Price”, into an animated short.
Newsarama recently spoke with Salmon about his artistic talents, the animation process of the short, and what it was like to recieve Neil’s approval.
Newsarama: Okay, Christopher, tell us a bit about yourself
Christopher Salmon: Where to start? I’m Canadian & grew up in the stunning Okanagan valley in BC.. I’ve always wanted to make movies an spent my youth and, well, pretty much my whole life trying to develop the talents and skill set to do just that taught myself to draw, write, and sculpt (so I could make rubber monster masks and then foam-latex creatures & stop-motion puppets) Took enough piano so I could generate a simplistic John Carpenter-esque score to go along with my cheesy horror films I made in High School TV class, which usually plotted around some cool new special effect I’d figured out, like my own version of the chest-burster scene from Alien so, totally high-class stuff
I thought I might get my break into film through special effects make-up, but I wound up in the video game industry for many years, just from reading stuff (Fangoria, Cinefex) and trying things out. I blew my chest off once trying out a home-made squib (not so funny) my Mom took one look at the blackened mess on my chest and ordered me to surrender my can of re-filling gunpowder on the spot not too bright either … (me, not my Mom — she rocks)
Nrama: So big horror fan, I take it?
Salmon: I love monsters, so yeah, I’ve watched a lot of horror flicks, but the whole blood/torture/dark-evil thing isn’t what draws me … I just dig the monsters, you know?
But I love Sci-Fi, fantasy, anything really mostly, I love movies. That’s what I love about this story of Neil’s; even with the cool monster stuff, the overall feeling is hopeful, positive, and a little melancholy.
Nrama: Out of all of Gaiman’s stories, what drew you to the Price that made you want to make something like this?
Salmon: The theme of redemption. A chance to design some really cool monsters. I like cats too, so really it was win-win-win! Also, I was looking for something on a small scale that I could handle the bulk of the work for. In the animatic, I didn’t feature any of the secondary characters at all (you could see their feet or profile in shadow) … by being able to keep the focus on the Narrator/Neil, The Black Cat, and the monsters, I could manage costs and put the funds towards these central characters. So it was all of these things, but primarily the theme & feeling I got while reading The Price.
Plus, if I can see it immediately in my mind, I know my chances of recreating successfully are very high and once it’s in there, the only way to ever get it out … is to make the film!