Madefire Press


Let’s Do This Thing!

Posted by Josh Wilkie ,
Uncategorized | Permalink | No Comments »

Good morning!

It’s been an exciting two weeks as we’ve slowly revealed what this contest is about, who’s involved, and what the reward is—THANK YOU for the support and excitement, we appreciate it more than you could imagine…but the day is finally here…what everyone’s been waiting for…


This journal features everything you’ll need to get started—full script page, final designs, and contest legal info. And a special note on the final delivery of your piece—there is no ‘right’ method of delivery, meaning it doesn’t have to look like a finished comic book page or anything that structured…Motion Books don’t have to adhere to a print layout so individual panels can be provided if you’d prefer. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask in the comment thread and we’ll get back to you!

This contest will officially run until September 30th (ends at 6:00 pm PST)…sound good? Good…now, let’s make some pretty pictures!

The Script

Here’s the page from Emma Vieceli’s amazing script which you’ll be transforming into art:

Panel 1
The foreground of this panel is made up of a group of boys outside the school. Dirty, messy, loud. Arm wrestling, spitting, whatever you fancy. Behind them on the path we see Fran, looking extremely unimpressed.Panel 2
Kat is walking next to Fran. Igor peeps out of Fran’s bag, tongue lolling. Boys are behind them now. 
FRAN: How long does it take boys to grow up, anyway?
KAT: Ha! If you’re waiting for one of this lot to be the boy of your dreams, you could be a while.

Panel 3
The girls walk through the school corridors. We see students, bustling. All are, like Fran and Kat, apparently not entirely human. Buttons, buckles, zips, stitches. They’re not zombies, but they’re not normal either.
KAT: Why do you care anyway? I assumed you were too busy for boys.
FRAN: Sure. I’m busy. Sigh.

Panel 4
Fran is taking her seat in class. Students around them get books and pencils ready. Fran pushes Igor’s head back into her bag. 
FRAN: Still…it might be nice to be busy with someone else. Kat’s training all the time for her stunt career, and…
TEACHER (off panel): Mr. Ludlow. You’re late again. Take your seat please.

Panel 5
Fran’s interest is piqued. She looks up, towards the classroom door. We see the back of a male student walking towards her desk, towards the empty one behind her. 
FRAN V/O: Woah, he’s changed classes? He’s in my class this year?! My dream really was a premonition!

Panel 6
A shot of Oscar taking his seat.
FRAN V/O: Oscar Ludlow. Cute. Kind of cool. 
TEACHER (off panel): Books open. Page 65 please.
FRAN V/O: And smart too. And now he’s in my class!

We want you to interpret Emma’s words in as many wild and wonderful ways as you can. Feeling motivated now? Need more??? Wait till you check out…

The Final Designs

You’ve seen the sketches, now for the final colored character designs by Gilang Andrian!

creation_2_final_by_madefirestudios-d7x69ir creation_1_final_by_madefirestudios-d7x69iw igor_final_by_madefirestudios-d7x69ic oscar_final_by_madefirestudios-d7x69i5 creation_3_final_by_madefirestudios-d7x69in fran_final_by_madefirestudios-d7x69ii kat_final_by_madefirestudios-d7x69i8

And remember, you can still check out all of Gilang’s great sketches which led to these designs as well as a whole bunch of interviews with the creators in our previous journals.

Judges Round-up

Over the last few weeks we’ve slowly announced some great judges for the challenge…so just to jog the memory a little, here’s a quick round-up of the amazing talent that will be taking a look at your work:

Stanley “Artgerm” Lau (artgerm)
Meago (meago)
Terry Dodson (terrydodson)
Nei Ruffino (toolkitten)
Dave Gibbons(davegibbons)
Dustin Nguyen (duss005)
Liam Sharp (liamsharp)
Jim Chadwick

I think you’ll agree that we’ve brought in an incredible line-up of talent and experience to judge this contest!

The Boring Legal Bit

Ok, so nobody likes reading boring legal stuff…but in this case, it’s really super important! This contains all the info you’ll need on the contest, and if you avoid it you might make yourself ineligible for the grand prize, no matter how good your art is…so don’t put all your hard work to waste!


These are the official rules of the Madefire Fran Kenstein Artist Challenge (the “Contest”). In these rules, “we,” “our,” and “us” refer to Madefire, Inc. (“Madefire”), the sponsor of the Contest.  “You” refers to an eligible participant in the Contest.

The Contest begins at 9:00 a.m. (PST) on September 2, 2014 and ends at 6:00 p.m. (PST) on September 30, 2014 (the “Contest Period”). Madefire shall announce the grand prize winner on or before October 15, 2014.

You are eligible to enter this Contest if you meet the following requirements at the time of entry:  You are a not a resident of a jurisdiction or country where this Contest is prohibited.  You are 18 years or older. If you are 18 years of age or older, and are considered a minor in your place of residence, you are not eligible to enter.  You are not an employee, officer or agent of Madefire or deviantART, Inc. (“deviantART”), or of any entity involved in the development, production, implementation and distribution of the Contest, including any advertising or promotion agency, supplier of prizes for the Contest, parent company, service provider, subsidiary or affiliate of any such entity or any other entity directly associated with the Contest (hereinafter, collectively the “Contest Entities”) or any member of the immediate family of and/or person living in the same household as such persons.  If you are chosen as the grand prize winner you will be required to sign a release (the “Release”), which assigns to Madefire all right, title and interest to the Submitted Material, including the right to use the Submitted Material in and/or in connection with an upcoming episode or episodes of Madefire’s Motion Book™ action comic or other publications offered by or on behalf of Madefire (the “Products”) and also, at Madefire’s option, the exclusive right to use Submitted Material in advertising, marketing and promotion for the Motion Book™.  “Submitted Material” means any drawing, image, picture, illustration or other material drawn by you that is suitable for use in or in connection with the Products as further outlined in these rules.  Madefire will also have the right (but not an obligation) to use your name, voice, likeness, image, biography and/or signature (collectively, “NVLIBS Rights”) in or in connection with the Products (or any of them) and/or in the advertising, promotion and marketing for the Products.  Except as set forth herein, you will not receive any compensation or other consideration for the rights granted by you with the respect to the Submitted Material or your NVLIBS Rights.  The right for Madefire to use your Submitted Material and your NVLIBS Rights (as set forth herein) will be irrevocable, worldwide and will last in perpetuity.
This Contest is subject to all applicable national, federal, state, provincial, territorial and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited by law. Awarding of any prize is subject to verification of the winner.

Entries to the Contest are to be submitted online at: Any attempted form of entry into this Contest other than as described is void.  You agree that by entering the Contest, Madefire may post your Submitted Material and your screen name on its website.  If you are selected as a finalist, then you agree that Madefire at its option, may also post your legal name and any or all of you any of your NVLIBS Rights on its website.  All Submitted Material will become property of Madefire upon submission and will not be returned.  Madefire is not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, illegible, or incomplete entries.  Madefire is not responsible for any change of email address, mailing address and/or telephone number of entrants.
Submitted Material may be disqualified by Madefire for any reason, including without limitation if it contains any language that Madefire considers obscene, offensive, in poor taste or pornographic.
In submitting an entry, you represent that the Submitted Material complies with the Contest rules and that the information you have given is true and accurate.  You must be the sole author and owner of the copyright in the Submitted Material, and you represent that the Submitted Material does not violate or infringe the privacy, publicity or intellectual property rights of any third party.  By accepting any prize, the winner (and, if applicable, his/her parent or legal guardian) agrees to hold harmless Madefire and the Contest Entities and any of their respective successors and/or assigns against any and all claims and liability arising out of this Contest, including, without limitation, the awarding of and/or use of the prize.  By participating in the Contest, you agree to be bound by the Official Rules and the decisions of Madefire.
If for any reason the Internet portion of the Contest is not capable of running as planned, including, without limitation, from or related to infection by a computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of Madefire, which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of the Contest, Madefire reserves the right at its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest and to award all prizes from among all eligible entries received prior to (or after, if applicable) action taken by Madefire.

You may only submit one entry to the Contest.  You may not enter with multiple email addresses.  Any entrant who attempts to play with multiple email addresses or under multiple identities will be disqualified from participation in the Contest and all entries by that entrant will be void.  You may also submit only one page of approximately 8 ½ by 11 inches size for your drawing or illustration with your entry.  Drawings or illustrations in excess of such 8 ½ by 11 inches size will not be acceptable.

(a) All entries will be judged by a panel of judges experienced in the digital comic book industry who will judge the entries on the basis of the following criteria: originality (33%), creativity (33%) and presentation (34%). The winner shall be the person whose entry receives the highest overall score (“Winner”). In the event of a tie, the winner shall be the person whose entry receives the highest score on originality. There will be one (1) Winner of the Contest. Winner will be selected on or about October 15, 2014. The decision of the judges shall be final and binding in all regards.
The Winner will be notified by telephone or email, and will be required to sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility and Publicity/Liability Release (and any other documents required by MADEFIRE), within five (5) calendar days of notification. If the Winner cannot be contacted within five (5) calendar days of first notification attempt, if the prize notification is returned as undeliverable, if the Winner rejects the prize or in the event of noncompliance with these Rules, the prize will be forfeited and an alternative winner may be selected from all remaining eligible entries. Upon prize forfeiture, no compensation will be given. The Affidavit of Eligibility must be complete and must include the Winner’s social security or resident alien identification number. The information in Winner’s Affidavit of Eligibility must be correct and must be identical to the information provided in Winner’s Entry or the Winner will be disqualified.
(b) The Winner(s) will receive the following prize: SINGLE PRIZE:

The opportunity to illustrate the Madefire digital comic “Fran Kenstein”, in a time frame and manner to be determined by Madefire and to be compensated a to be determined amount that is at least in accordance with applicable law (approx value of $1,500.00).

At the sole discretion of MADEFIRE, the Winner’s illustration may be used in any Madefire product or service, including any digital comic, whether developed, published and/or exploited by Madefire or any of its licensees or third party partners as determined by MADEFIRE in its sole discretion. No compensation will be provided to Winner in the event the entry illustration is selected for publication or other use. NOTE: BY WINNING THIS CONTEST THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT YOUR ILLUSTRATION WILL BE USED BY MADEFIRE OR OTHERWISE.

Other conditions and restrictions apply. Prizes are non-transferable. No substitutions or cash redemptions.

Estimated combined retail value of prizes: One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00).
(c) By accepting the prizes, Winner releases and discharges MADEFIRE, its affiliated companies and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, and all their respective employees, officers, directors, representatives and agents from any liability or damage due in whole or in part to the award, acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize or from participation in this Contest. MADEFIRE reserves the right to substitute a comparable prize of like or greater value for any prize, or to pay Winner a cash equivalent (the value of which shall be determined by MADEFIRE in its sole discretion), for any reason.
(d) If, for reasons beyond MADEFIRE’s control (including, but not limited to, tampering or computer virus infection), the Contest is not capable of running as originally planned, MADEFIRE, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to cancel or modify the Contest, without liability. All taxes (including, but not limited to, income taxes) are the sole responsibility of Winner. Winner (and parent or legal guardian of Winner under 21) may be required to execute (and have notarized) an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability Release, and/or a Publicity Release (the “Affidavit/Release”) which must be returned to and received by MADEFIRE within five (5) calendar days from Winner’s receipt of the Affidavit/Release. Winner will also be required to send a copy of his/her passport, drivers license or birth certificate as proof of age and residency. Non-compliance with any of these requirements may result in disqualification, in which case an alternate winner may be chosen. All entrants agree to comply fully with each provision in these Official Rules. Any person attempting to defraud or in any way tamper with this Contest and any person who does not comply with these Official Rules, will be ineligible for any prize and may be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

By participating in this Contest, you agree to release Madefire and the Contest Entities, and its employees, as well as each of their respective successors, representatives and assigns, from any and all actions, claims, injury, loss or damage arising in any manner, directly or indirectly, from participation in this Contest.  All entries are sent at your own risk and Madefire and the Contest Entities cannot accept liability for any loss of or damage to any Submitted Material.

You agree that any claim or controversy arising out of or related to the Contest shall be settled by expedited binding arbitration in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association.  Such arbitration shall take place in Alameda County, California, and you waive any claim that such forum is inconvenient.  Any such claim or controversy shall be arbitrated solely on an individual basis and shall not be consolidated with a claim of any other party.  The Arbitrator may not change the terms of this Agreement and may not award any injunctive or other equitable relief.

The Contest is void where restricted or prohibited by law.

Madefire’s Privacy Policy will apply to this Contest and to all information that we receive from your entry. Please read the Privacy Policy on the website (presently located at… before submitting your entry. Your submission of an entry will constitute your acceptance of these Official Rules and the terms of the Privacy Policy located at….

By entering the Contest, you agree and acknowledge to be bound by the Official Rules, as well as the decisions of Madefire which are final and binding in all respects; to waive any rights to claim ambiguity with the Official Rules, and that Madefire shall have no responsibility or liability (including, but not limited to, liability for property loss, damage, personal injury or death) in connection with: participation in the Contest; technical or mechanical error(s) on the website; typographical error(s) in Contest promotional material; acceptance/possession, defects, and/or use/misuse of prizes, human error; incorrect or inaccurate transcription of entry information; any technical malfunction(s) of the telephone service, telephone network, computer online system, computer dating mechanism, computer equipment, software, or internet service provider utilized by or on behalf of Madefire or by you; interruption or inability to access the Contest, any Contest-related web pages, or any online service via the internet due to hardware or software compatibility problems; any damages to your (or any other person’s) computer and/or its contents related to or resulting from any part of the Contest; any lost/delayed data transmissions, omissions, interruptions, defects; and/or any other errors or malfunctions, even if caused by the negligence of Madefire.  You further agree to indemnify and hold harmless Madefire and the Contest Entities from any and all liability resulting or arising from the Contest and to release all rights to bring any claim, action or proceeding against either Madeifre or any of the Contest Entities.  Winners release Madefire and the Contest Entities from any and all liability/responsibility with respect to the prizes won (including any property loss, damage, personal injury, or death).  Neither Madefire nor any of the Contest Entities shall be liable for any injury, damage, loss, expense, accident, delay, inconvenience, or irregularity that may be caused or contributed to (i) by any wrongful, negligent or unauthorized act or omission on the part of or any of its respective agents, servants, employees or independent contractors, (ii) by any wrongful, negligent or unauthorized act or omission on the part of any other person or entity not an employee of Madefire or any of the Contest Entities, or (iii) by any other cause, condition or event whatsoever beyond the control of Madefire or any of the Contest Entities.

(a) To obtain the identity of the prize winner, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: ” Madefire Fran Kenstein Art Challenge” Contest Winners List, 805 Folger Ave Berkeley, CA 94710. October 22, 2014. The Winner’s name will also be posted on the website and on Madefire’s official deviantART page.
The sponsor of this Contest is Madefire, Inc., 805 Folger Ave, Berkeley, California 94710. Questions regarding the Contest can be directed by mail to “Madefire Fran Kenstein Art Challenge” Contest, Madefire, Inc., 805 Folger Ave, Berkeley, California 94710.
(b) Copies of these Official Rules may be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to “Madefire Fran Kenstein Art Challenge” Contest Official Rules, Madefire, Inc., 805 Folger Ave, Berkeley, California 94710 (WA and VT residents may omit return postage.) Requests for Official Rules must be received by July 30, 2014. All times and dates in these Official Rules are Pacific Standard Time.

Phew, glad that’s done with! One last thing before we gothe great artwork which Gilang has supplied for this contest is in a very particular style. We want to hammer home that this is NOT the only style we’re looking for. We want your personal take on the characters, so your entry should be whatever feels natural to you! 

We’re waiting with baited breath here for your submissionsjust make sure you send them before the deadline.

Good luck to all entrants!

Starting a Story From Fresh pt.1 – Liam’s Journal

Posted by Josh Wilkie ,
Liam's Journal | Permalink | No Comments »

I promised, a while ago, that I would write a journal that addressed the writing
and creative process as much as anything else – how I start, and even why.

What makes a memorable character?
What are the themes?
How much do you care about popularity – ie. is it a project you’re doing for
yourself, or because you hope it will generate a huge, mainstream audience?
What age-range is it?
And as mentioned earlier – why is it important you do it?
But let’s start with…

Where do you get you ideas?

Great ideas do not come fully-formed out of the ether. Even the ideas I’ve
had that were born of dreams, and dragged screaming from my subconscious
before I forgot them, were an accumulation of living experiences. In Metawhal
Alpha the setting is somewhere I lived as a boy. I know every inch of the 
Clock Warehouse, the noises and smells of the place, as well as the referenced
folklore. The Pub in Death and the Myrmidon was indeed a local, and it does
have a well covered in glass that you can imagine some ancient, slime-slick
creature inhabiting…

Metawhal Alpha by MadefireStudios Death and The Myrmidon by MadefireStudios

The point here is that it pays to write about what you know.

I’ve broken that down more specifically into three areas to write about:

1. What you live
2. What you love
3. What you learn

What you live is your first-hand experience – your direct knowledge

of interfacing with the world. That is your feelings, your emotions, what
scares you, excites you, angers you or gives you peace. This includes the
people you know – which will become important for how you build your
cast of characters. You know from living how people interact, how they
respond to things. You know from living how everybody responds to
the same stimulus in unique and individual ways. You know from
living how things smell, how they feel, how they look. And you can 
extrapolate whole imagined worlds from this knowledge. Use it!

My life in Shardlow informed Metawhal Alpha and my upcoming
novella ‘Paradise Rex Press, Inc.’ My life in London informed
‘January Man’. My life in the UK and the US, as well as what I
have witnessed historically and culturally, has informed ‘Captain

January Man by LiamSharp Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 1: Chess by MadefireStudios

What you love is part of what defines you, and you will almost
certainly be an expert in these areas! It will help you chose the kind
of characters that populate your world, the genre, the period, the
the smells, sights and sounds. Your love will give your project one
of the most essential ingredients – authenticity. This is crucial to
any fiction if it is to be believed, no matter how outlandish! 

I’ll comeback to this in the next section!

What you learn is where your world gets its depth. In most great
stories you learn something from the author, and quite often it is 
something the author learned that triggered an idea in the first place.

Over the years I’ve gone from blindly believing in God, for instance,
because my teachers told me I should, to discovering evolution at
a young age, to realizing that there are many compelling points of
view around just about everything. There is no one answer. Over 
time my views have radically changed, but my trajectory took me
from blind faith, to science, to a wider look at all religions, to finding
a deep love of anthropology, to new age hippy spirituality, to a
fascination with particle physics and astrophysics, to agnosticism,
to pretty much atheism, and still onwards. My point isn’t to say my
path is the RIGHT and only path, it’s just to say that my questing
and inquisitive mind led me to a wide and wonderful variety of
subject matter – material that has informed ALL my writing over the 
last couple of decades, and the net result is richness and balance.
‘The more you know the less you know’ is a cliché, and therefore a
truism. It’s is also the best way to generate story ideas. Learning
and research will form the bedrock of your story. You need to
know the answers to any questions that may be asked of you.  

What makes a memorable character?

The best characters feel real, and that is generally because they
are based on somebody the author knows, or a fusion of two or
three people. Giving your character the voice of a friend – or
enemy – gives them an immediate cadence. You can imagine
precisely what they sound like, their use of language, their
mannerisms, etc. The way they look can also play a big part.
A friend of mine very precisely matches a character I drew in
‘Spawn: the Dark Ages’, and he later became Tunny MalTuboly
in my novel ‘God Killers’.

You may also be inspired by historical figures, or aspects of
yourself. You may find that a character represents all the aspects
of yourself that are suppressed. He or she may be the calmer,
spiritual aspect of yourself, or the fearless, uncaring beast. 
There’s fun to be had with wish-fulfillment, setting yourself on
a journey within these stories, this world you are building -
though you should be wary of creating a perfect protagonist
who wins at absolutely everything.

When it comes to imaginative characters you can go way
more exotic. Here your knowledge – what you have learned,
your research – will really help. You might have discovered
the incredible clothing styles of the Inca’s, for example (maybe
you watched Apocolypto!) and think, hey – this flying reptile
would look amazing covered in dried white chalky mud, and
festooned with Indigo gemstones! 

Alway go a step further than you think you need to. The
added layers of thought will bring your character more life.
He/she/it will seem to have lived more years, and have a
mind unique to them. Remember, your characters have
generally lived a long time. With that comes nuance.

While I was writing ‘God Killers’ almost out of the blue
it struck me that my character Cherry Longorn could get
really ill at some point. She developed psoriasis, which almost
killed her, and directly informed how she looked and acted
in the wake of such an experience. In fact if she hadn’t had
this (unnamed, undiagnosed) condition in the book much
of her resulting experiences would have seemed, well, lame!

Here’s a character I am currently developing. I know he
needs to be powerful, and ancient. He needs to have horns,
but I want to somehow not be overboard with that. I’m
fixed on the beard, but should it be white or brown? 

New character concept 3 by LiamSharp

A little detail is the tattoo on his face, which represents his
familiar – a horned snake.

New character concept 1 by LiamSharp

And with the musculature – because he’s so far beyond human
concepts of strength and power is it OK to go really over-the-
top with him? Or should I reign myself in?

New character concept 5 by LiamSharp

Do I show his face, or does he wear a mask? 
Is his face always in the shadows?
How do I make him more alien and other?

When you create your characters you need to know what
part they play in the grand scheme. Are they pivotal? Do
we need to care about them? Even love them? What is their
most prominent quality? Their kindness, or the fear they
instil? Or does the way they look not conform in any way
with the way they actually are?

Regardless of all the above – nothing will ring as true unless
YOU fall in love with your characters and believe in them.

Next up:

What are the themes?
How much do you care about popularity – ie. is it a project you’re doing for
yourself, or because you hope it will generate a huge, mainstream audience?
What age-range is it?


Which fictional characters have you most identified with over the years?

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