Interview with Lucy Cruell, writer/director of 31

•April 15, 2014 • 1 Comment

The Writer/Director

L.C. Cruell is the writer of numerous multiple-award/festival-winning feature screenplays, pilots, and shorts and the writer/director of award/festival-winning short films, critically-acclaimed web series, with a feature in-progress. An Honors graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School, Cruell is also a published author of 25 short stories, film critic at multiple publications, freelance writer/editor, entrepreneur, and member of WIFTA, SFWA, Mensa, OBS, and a NATPE Fellow. She has shorts currently in production with an international list of directors, is in development on features “Mistresses of Horror” and “Crimson” and pilots “31” and “Neph,” is in pre-production as the director on projects “Flesh” and “Pallas,” and is in post on “I Need You.” L. C. is represented by Bob Myman of LA entertainment firm Myman Greenspan.

www.cruellworld.com

The Story

31_Screenshot_09“31”
Writer/Director – L. C. Cruell
She awakens, trapped, alone, imprisoned in darkness with no memory of how she got there. She will have to risk everything to escape. But, if she does, will she find the world beyond her prison even more terrifying?
Critically-acclaimed, popular, groundbreaking web series “31″ is a supernatural thriller told in 31, 31-second-long, cliffhanger episodes. As perhaps the first true daily Internet Horror Serial it has amassed hundreds of thousands of views and fans throughout the world and branded the concept of the micro-series. With dozens of rave reviews 31′s success has lead to YT partnership and 6 non-exclusive distribution deals. 31 has since been selected to and won festivals leading to its big screen premieres in both the US and Europe and soon in Mexico.
A pilot version is in development/talks that takes the questions touched on in the series to the next level.

youtube.com/user/31webseries

The Interview:

Q. Were you a fan of sci-fi and horror as a child?

A. I have always loved movies and books, especially sci-fi and horror. In those genres, anything is possible; any what if can be explored and explored in ways that come at the question from odd, view-challenging angles. My favorites were always the stories that would leave you unable to sleep pondering the questions of - what if we, the universe, the world, etc. worked that way? So, of course, I had to start writing my own.

Q. How did you start writing?

A. I grew up in a small, close-knit Southern town in the country, quite literally the granddaughter of a sharecropper. I graduated as the first African-American Valedictorian from my high school and went to Duke University on a full academic scholarship. There I studied everything from history to film to engineering and studied abroad in Europe, graduated with a double major and minor on the Dean’s List, and then tried to figure out what to do with my life.

So, there I was that summer writing and publishing short stories (all of my short stories are sci-fi, hopefully I’ll get around to putting them in a “Cruell World” collection someday), doing local theater, while applying to grad schools. Much as I love short stories, I realized I saw everything as movie scenes anyway, and, though I do want to write a novel someday, film was my draw now. I was accepted into USC’s screenwriting program and into Harvard Law School. As it happens, it’s hard to say no to the fat envelope from Harvard when it comes down to it, so there I went. I focused on Entertainment and Corporate law, graduated with honors, and eventually wrote Crimson (Vampires in the Ivy League) a screenplay based on my time there.

Q. When did you first consider yourself screenwriter?

A. I was going to do law until I paid off my student loans then take the screenwriting world by storm, but life has its own time line and a fatal illness in my family changed everything. I practiced law on a per contract/case basis to have time to be with my family and put everything I went through into my writing. It’s about here I honestly feel like I can say that I became a screenwriter.

I won contests, festivals, grew as a writer, got things optioned, sold, shot. But there is a wall to getting into Hollywood from the outside higher than I would’ve believed. Talent and tenacity is apparently not enough to open the doors sealed, bolted, and welded shut from the inside. It’s a hard climb and if you are African-American or a female, especially in these genres, you don’t have a whole lot of believers or supporters. If you are both, yeah, you can imagine the looks of shock when you do get in the door. But persist, keep writing, and, at some point, get things on film. It’s the need to do the latter so people could actually see my work that got me into directing.

Q. When did you decide to direct?

A. I never wanted to direct. I’m probably the only person I know who directs to be a writer and not the other way around. But I started with a super short “Why I’m a Dogperson” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwezMubJHZU) (first of a series, even though I’m a catperson), realized I could do it and went from there. Then came my web series “31” which led to critical-acclaim, actual fans, 6 distribution deals, and international festival selections and wins. Do not ever let anyone tell you something is impossible because you don’t have money. I made 31 for $390 because I worked hard to make a strong script and concept that would make people want to be a part of the project and shot it outside of LA. Never let money, the doubts of others stop you if you believe what you are doing is something you must do. Next came “I Need You,” first feature currently in post, and now “Flesh” and “Mistresses of Horror” in pre-production, along with several other feature scripts and a constant stream of shorts I’m working to find homes for. So now I’m that rarely spotted creature (we’re out there just rarely highlighted) the African-American Female Writer/Director of the supernatural, horror, and sci-fi. Chose an easy path in life didn’t I?

Q. What other projects are you involved with?

A.  We are now in development on a television pilot for “31” that takes on all the questions and possibilities hinted at in the web series. Fingers crossed that you will soon see the full story of “31” on a small screen near you soon. Feel free to voice that desire by liking us at https://www.facebook.com/31theseries.

Other current projects include “Tales From Morningview Cemetery” a feature anthology from 4 southern writer/directors (myself included of course) currently in post.  “Seekers,” “In Nomine,” “The World’s Worst Horror Movies,” and “Through a Glass House Darkly” optioned and in pre-production. “Flesh,” in pre-production with Morning Star Productions and producer Najma Cade, with myself on to direct.

Mistresses of Horror” is an all-female written and directed horror anthology feature I created (and wrote a part or two of) underway with a great horror producer.

Other features, “Crimson,” “Last Call for Angels,” “The Guardians,” “Lizzie,” etc., dozens of shorts (I write a lot) and pilots “The Four” (4 losers discover they may be destined to be the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) and “Neph” (the last 6 Nephilim (human/fallen angel hybrids) struggle to survive in a world where both good and evil see them as abominations) are all being marketed and can be found on my website.

Current scripts underway include features “Samarra,” “The Sitters,” “The Loft,” and “The Certainty,” pilots “Salvation” and “Country Girls” and about a dozen more shorts.

And I am always looking for new producers, directors, and actors to work with in this incredibly exciting world of genre filmmaking.

Q. What’s next?

A. Let’s see. I want to take the world by storm. I want to write and direct and make a living doing it. I want to be the first high profile, genre, writer/director who just happens to be an African-American female. I want to write and direct either Wonder Woman or the first African-American female superhero film, or both. I want to show-run the next American Horror Story. I want all of my pilots to become series and all of my films to be made by others or myself. I want the Cruell brand to mean something you can’t wait to watch. I want all the fun and crazy hard work that comes with it. And I want the fact that I made it hopefully to inspire anyone who wants to do it to try to the point that I’m just one of many, high profile horror Mavens of all colors bringing fresh, different perspectives from different lives and backgrounds to the screen, giving the world all new what ifs to keep them awake at night. That last one, I want most of all. We’ll see if that’s the journey. I’ll certainly try. ;)

Where to Find Lucy Online:

www.cruellworld.com - for updates on current projects and contact info; if you are producer also lists scripts (features, shorts, pilots) available for production

www.facebook.com/31theseries - updates on 31

www.facebook.com/mistressesofhorror - updates on Mistresses Of Horror

31: The Series:

There’s a Blood Moon tonight

•April 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment

A few minutes ago, I walked outside and take a look at the blood moon. It’s not the first one I’ve seen… I remember seeing the blood moon hanging over the desert skyline just outside of Los Angeles when I was a child, and I remember seeing it again during a lunar eclipse when I lived near Cheremoya Elementary School – the real school that is the basis for the fictional location of Leticia Gordon’s Junior High School. The two schools are not much alike, but they do share a common layout and proximity to apartment buildings. My apartment building in the third grade was the same distance from my school as Leticia’s seventh grade school was to Bridget Gordon’s condominium.

Tonight’s moon is not red, but it is visibly blurry, and there is a dark spot in the corner. I want to stand and watch it, but I am overcome by a feeling of anxiety and I come inside. I have to get my fiance to accompany me when I got out to take a second look, because I am anxious, and superstitiously alarmed by the bite size chunk missing from the apple of the moon.

Greg is disappointed that the moon is not red. We resolve to wait another half an hour, before going out to see it again.

Frames for All Fundraiser

•April 4, 2014 • Leave a Comment
EXPRESSIONS GALLERY presents:

“FRAMES FOR ALL” FUNDRAISER
Saturday, April 5, 6 – 9 pm

     This Saturday night at Expressions Gallery a special fundraiser to assist homeless artists by raising funds for materials, to buy frames and to help artists get their art exhibit-ready.
    Please come and join us, we will have live music and Sumiko Saulson will read a passage from the homeless hero Gerald K. Sampson from her novel “Solitude”. Serena Toxicat will be reading from “Evangeline and the Drama Wheel.”

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE by STAGEFRIGHT

suggested donation $5 at the door

Expressions Gallery 2035 Ashby, Berkeley, CA 94703  tel: 510-644-4930
www.expressionsgallery.org  expressionsgallery@msn.com
Expressions Fundraiser

Alas, The End

•March 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Sumiko Saulson:

Women’s History Month is almost over…

Originally posted on Ann Fields:

Today, another Women’s History Month comes to a close. It’s been a fun month of spotlighting many fine women who also happen to be talented writers. Prepare to meet the last of the seven soul-deep, inspiring women writers who I chose to feature this month. These women writers pooled their talents to make “ Voices from the Block: A Legacy of African-American Literature” a five-star anthology; a must read!

Meet

Ingrid Lawton & Breggett Rideau

Both Ingrid and Breggett have rock’em, sock’em poems in “Voices,” and Ingrid also has a short story that will leave you gasping in surprise.

Ingrid Lawton
Ingrid is a native Texan, who writes poetry and short stories. She has also completed a screenplay for young adults. The short story “Cornbread and Buttermilk” and the poem “Schizophrenia” which appear in “Voices from the Block” are her first published works. She enjoys reading and spending time with friends and…

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Wicked Women Writers Challenge 2014

•March 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Sumiko Saulson:

I’m one of the squeamish, but just in case you’re not, you might want to apply to the very cool Wicked Women Writer’s challenge 2014.

Originally posted on horroraddicts.net:

REMINDER:

Beauty & the Beast Wicked Women Writers Challenge 2014

Who Will It Be?  2014 Most Wicked

2014 Theme: Beauty & the Beast

Premise: There is something both fearsome and attractive in a wild thing, be it man or beast. From creature legends told around ancient campfires, to modern tales of King Kong and crypto zoology, critters have always captured our darkest imagination. Get your Beast on.

Challenge: Create a 10 minute horror podcast that contains four story elements, plus your written story. Registration closes 4-13-14. Audio and text are due on 5-13-14.

Story Elements: Each of our Wicked Belles will be assigned a location, a blessing, a curse … and a Beast. Your story must include a lady in peril and these four elements:

Location:  Anywhere in the world is fair game. A private zoo? A Japanese Nightclub? Kindergarten Show ‘N’ Tell? You are the game. We’ll give you the board.

Blessing:  A helpful item to tame…

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The Moon Cried Blood series launch this Sunday

•March 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Legend of the Luna

LotL Tshirt 1I am very excited to see all of the hard work that my beta reading team and I have put into “Legend of the Luna” come to fruition. Sunday, March 30, 2014 marks the official release of “Legend of the Luna,” the first chapter in the “Moon Cried Blood” series. And this is just the beginning! We are already working on the second novelette in the series, “Bloodlines.” Legend of the Luna – I couldn’t have done it without the help of Buffie Peterson, Amy Bellino, Phillip Cohen, Michael Reikowsky, and Natasha Fay. I am also grateful for the contributions of Beth Johnson, M. Blau Bockstiegel, and Serena Toxicat on “Bloodlines.” Beth and Blau helped with the Spanish translations. So far Amy Bellino and Phillip Cohen are once again pitching in on “Bloodlines.”

“Legend of the Luna” introduces audiences to our thirteen year old protagonist, Leticia Gordon. Living in the gritty urban streets of Los Angeles in 1975, Tisha is forced to come to terms with many things: the tragic deaths of her stepmother and half sister, the fear that she will wind up in foster care, and the sudden revelation that she belongs to a long line of powerful witches who are endowed with their gifts by the goddess Luna herself, the Mother Moon. These witches are called Luna. There are four tribes of Luna, collectively called the Lunae: they consist of the Luna of Before, Below, Beyond, and Above. Who are these witches, and how did they come to be? “Legend of the Luna” tells this and more.

Bloodlines

Bloodlines“Bloodlines” tells the story of Tisha’s extended family, and her struggle to find a place within them in the wake of the tragic death of her baby sister Kara and her stepmother Bridget Gordon. Her father has been gone for four years – who will Tisha stay with? Her mother, Joy, is locked in a mental hospital, and her only known living blood relative is her ninety-eight year old great-great grandmother Letty, who has been explaining to Tisha how the powers of the Lunae work. There is usually only one Luna in every other generation, but thanks to the intentional machinations of Tisha’s bigamist father, suddenly Luna are popping up everywhere, everywhere they are not supposed to be. What does this mean for Tisha and her family? And what is the dark secret Letty is hiding in Little Rock?

The Release Party

Legend of the LunaSunday, March 30 at 7pm PST, here: https://www.facebook.com/events/705907199432097/

It’s official! Online release party for Legend of the Luna! Show up and win fabulous prizes! I know what you’re asking yourself: what kind of fabulous prizes?

You can win:

1) A really cool white cotton XL “Legend of the Luna” t-shirt
2) An eBook, “Legend of the Luna.”
3) A $5 Amazon gift certificate
4) “Legend of the Luna” bookmarks
5) The author’s eternal gratitude

And everyone knows you want that….

So I hope you can make it.

Legend of the Luna contest

•March 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

“Legend of the Luna” is out! Contest!

Imagehttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/403102

Book One of the serialized tale of The Moon Cried Blood, the Legend of the Luna introduces us to the Lunae, and to the character Leticia Gordon.

It is said that the Wolf may howl at the Moon, but the Moon never howls at the Wolf. In the gritty urban streets of Los Angeles in 1975, Leticia Gordon is forced to come to terms with many things: the tragic death of her stepmother and baby sister in a car accident, fear she’ll wind up in foster care, and the sudden revelation she belongs to a long line of powerful witches known as Lunae.

Legend of the Luna is the first of a series of eight novellette-length installments in the serialized tale of The Moon Cried Blood. A dark fantasy / horror story in the young adult and urban categories, The Moon Cried Blood tells the tale of the four Luna clans, together known as the Lunae, women imbued with hereditary power by the moon goddess Luna. Each of the four clans possess a different power – the power to see into the future, to visit the past, to detect changes in the unraveling timeline, and to see into the hearts of men.

Each novelette will come in at a bit over 15,000 words and be available for 99 cents. It is currently available via Smashwords but will be going into broader distribution over the next six weeks.

The series will eventually be available as a set of two paperbacks, each consisting of four of the novelettes and coming in at about 75,000 words.

Legend of the Luna Contest:

How do you view the moon? What if there was no man in the moon, just a woman? Who would she be? What would she look like? In this contest, you will depict Mother Moon grieving for the loss of her only child by submitting photographs, drawings, poetry or short prose honoring the following events in the beginning of the story. They do NOT have to be original work, you MAY post a link to your favorite song about the moon, for example, or to a traditional painting that you feel honors the moon and shows the moon personified. If the moon was crying, would you play her a ballad? What would that ballad be?

In “Legend of the Luna,” a young Luna witch tells the tale of the Mother Moon, and of the Wolf and his unrequited infatuation with her. Mother Moon has a daughter, Leticia, who unlike the Moon, can come to Earth. One day Leticia comes to Earth, and falls in love with a man. Mistaking Leticia for her mother, an enraged wolf kills the girl in a fit of jealousy. Here is a passage from the book:

“Afterward, every day she appeared in the sky, the moon cried blood. As she waned, the tears decreased, and they increased with her waxing. She cried a river of red tears that began to flood the rivers and threatened to drown the villagers. The tears killed the plants and flowers on the shore, and fish in the river. There was no clean water for anything living to drink. “

600

How To Enter:

1) Go to my Facebook author page http://www.facebook.com/authorsumikosaulson

2) If you have not done so already, like the page.

3) Under the Legend of the Luna Contest post, which will be pinned to the top of the page, add your photo, song, video, painting or poem link to the comments below.

4) The comment or photo that gets the most “likes” wins the Grand Prize.

Entries will be accepted through April 15, 2014. Winners announced April 16, 2014.

The Prizes:

Grand Prize: The Grand Prize winner will receive one “Legend of the Luna” t-shirt, one signed, framed 4 x 6 print of the painting used for the cover artwork (by Sumiko Saulson), and a signed print copy of “Legend of the Luna”

Second Place: The Second Place winner will receive one signed, framed 4 x 6 print of the painting used for the cover artwork (by Sumiko Saulson), and a signed print copy of”Legend of the Luna”

Third Place: A signed print copy of”Legend of the Luna”

Entry Prize: Everyone will receive a free eBook of “Legend of the Luna” JUST FOR ENTERING THE CONTEST.

 
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