Exclusive Pt V: Meet Kyle James-Patrick Director of fan series Nightwing: Prodigal

by Damian Fasciani
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Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 10.59.54 pm


In our Exclusive Part V, DC Fans get another insight on the upcoming fan film, Nightwing: Prodigal. Last week we had our fourth interview with Camden Filtness (Riddler), while this week we go one on one with Kyle James-Patrick the Director of the series.

In the lead up to the film’s release (April 2014) DC Comics News will be publicising an exclusive interview with each of the main cast members and their corresponding characters. Make sure you like their Facebook page.

The trailer is up on YouTube and is now at 214,670 hits. You can watch it here.

The latest Trailer is now available

KJP Derp 101. Thanks for taking the time to talk to DC Comics News, can you give the fans an introduction to yourself, your background etc ?

Thanks for having me! A Canadian by birth, English by nature, I’ve been in the video production industry for the best part of ten years, where I was really fortunate to work in high pressure situations, often low on resources. I spent the majority of my creative career as a music video producer and director, creating short films when we could afford to throw gear together. It was very much a time when, if you had a camera, you were suddenly doing everything yourself – which is a really wicked way to learn if you’re honest about what you can produce with what you have. I came to Canada a few years ago to start making features and it was doing so that I came into contact with this little gem of a project.

2. Can you paint a generic picture that represents your personal style of work ? What consistencies do we see across the various projects you have directed ? 

For me, art is never finished, it is abandoned. I seem to walk out on mine when it has reached an impressionable dark tone. I take each project on as its own unique entity, so the only connection of style is that it’s me doing each project in the specific approach best suited to it. I’m really partial to set design in my work, I’ve often designed my shoots around sets I know we can construct, so you’ll often see a lot of texture and depth to the background. When I was with Roach Productions back in the UK, we would push a dark element to this tongue-in-cheek style of alternative production as hard as could with what resources were available. Vancouver has a lot more resources and in turn my style of work has evolved as more options were available – so I would say that as of right now, my personal style is to make the best possible picture that I, as an audience member, would want to see. All the art and design is for my broody and mischievous subconscious.

My professional goal is to make twelve films that are all different genres but all contain very plausible, real people in them.

3. How did you get involved with Brady Roberts on this project and what was the most compelling aspect to taking it on ?

I met Brady via the audition process for the feature I made last year, and it was shortly after we wrapped that he said he wanted to run a Nightwing script by me – after coming off a 5 month drama production I was looking for a project that would have all the freedoms of a tight brief and nothing screamed more pre-determined then something as rich and varied as the DC universe. I was so pumped at the prospect of having the opportunity to shoot these iconic characters that I said yes after reading just the first episode.

 4. What do you use if anything regarding inspiration to how you work? Are there others directors you look at this inspiration ?

I find the people around me to be limitlessly inspirational. Sharing what we’ve seen, what we like, what excites us, that all feeds into my mind when it comes to making the production. For Nightwing I digested the animated series like the Cookie Monster, but for other projects I’ll dabble in a particular world and see what I come back with. I find inspiration to be like a holiday, it’s wonderful when you’re experiencing it, but it’s what you remember and take with you that will make the long-lasting impression. I was watching From Dusk Till Dawn recently and realised that it was one of the single most important influences in pushing me towards becoming a film maker; firstly because the documentary “Full Tilt Boogie” that came with the box set warmed my heart to the reality of the family that is crafted with a shooting crew, secondly the film’s boldness in its polarised style. It’s not a perfect movie, but it was in internalizing and de-constructing what I felt I would have done differently alongside what I did like, is what pushed me in this life direction.

Here’s the obligatory list of film guys I think are awesome Shane Meadows, Ben Wheatley, David O.Russell,  Richard Kelly, Steve McQueen, Alfonso Cuarón, David Fincher, Roger Deakins and Wes Anderson. Many are known for their current adventures, but they have my attention for their bodies of work.

 5. What did success look like in your mind when taking on this project? Was there a pre set goal of what had to be achieved ?

I wanted to give Nightwing fans a show that would stand up to the current mainstreams like Arrow  – something that was tangible, in a real world and was self-aware enough to still hold that amazing enchantment that comics create. To have Nightwing stand up as a legitimate character for consideration without making it as serious and dark that it just becomes Batman on a $2k budget. My goal was to make an environment where you would be able to experience with these characters in a plausible reality whilst making it look as awesome as possible, so at any point you could pause it, print the frame, and have something worth hanging. We put so much into this project; blood, sweat, and sleep deprivation on a massive scale that I hope it transcribes to the screen. We did it purely for the fans and our own stubborn determinism.

 6. How do you manage the various actors in the main cast with different styles and personalities on set ?

Easy – isolation! Our make-up artist Lindsay McMillian is one of the most talented creative artists I’ve known, her translation of rapid Englishman words and hand gestures to beautiful, rich colours blows my mind – and she was my secret weapon. Each character has extensive make-up design and thus hours in the chair, that process allowed them to be amongst the other actors and enthusiast while they transformed into their roles. Because 95% of our cast are characters that already have a history, a legacy, an imprint on the collective subconscious for representation, the background development was done. Once we took them into the sets that I built, and lighting wizard DOP Bruce Borland (Forward Unto Dawn, Marilyn, Not For The Saving) had struck, they became at one with all the elements we created for them. Plus they were able to see just how hard we were pushing ourselves to make this the real deal, so the professionalism in all of them came naturally – bloody good bunch this lot!

6B. What was the filming experience like for you and your crew ?

Brutal. Its worth knowing that despite the 50-60 support folks we had, when it came to the shooting floor, there were 5 people who made Nightwing. Myself and Bruce Borland were director/DOP and A / B Camera Operators pulling our own focus as well as being the grips and the lighting techs. Brian Lam on sound (an honest, quiet, genius), Sam Derochie our 1st AD and clapper / script supervisor and Lindsay who was our lead MUA and props master. That was it, five of us and over 100 hours of set time. Our locations were run down and we had (looking back, comedic) problems constantly that were out of our control. So I think its important to remember that when you go into production, you can have all the best laid plans in the world, but it’s how you flex and problem solve that really shapes what you’re working on.

7. Did you grow up as a DC fan? If so who was your favourite character and why? If not DC then anyone else ?

I grew up a fan of movies, so my contact with any comic hero started with Adam West, hit a mid-point when I was in Thailand and on a cocktail of badly prescribed medication, was completely convinced that The Green Lantern was the greatest film of all time… Don’t trust doctors who have dirt floors kids, it can give you delusions you can’t take back. Now I’m currently trying to get my hands on as many Catman books as possible.

Truth is, I’m an Image guy and a self-confessed Robert Kirkman fanboy. I love Invincible so much it hurts and despite it’s now staggering success as a show – I’m still bone committed to the comic Walking Dead (since Issue #12). I’ve been on a binge of Garth Ennis which is going to lead me to all sorts of places where people get their heads kicked in so I would say my favourite character right now is… Arseface.

 8. If you had to advertise the upcoming series on a billboard, how would you frame it ?

Brady dressed as Nightwing, back facing us, looking over his shoulder. A butt shot to make Bruckheimer blush.

9. Can you share with us your upcoming projects ? 

Sure, my feature – Not For The Saving – is currently in the final stages of post-production and will be heading to festivals in the summer. It’s a real-time film set at 2.30am on a rooftop as a girl attempts to take her own life only to be stopped by a party boy who just came up for a smoke. Teaser trailer is out on the Internet. My second feature, Sugar Holiday, is preparing for a sizzler while writing continues and fund-raising begins. I’m directing some shorts in the summer and will be developing something sinister for the fall – but hopefully we’ll be making Nightwing Season 2!

My thanks goes to Vanessa, Luke and all the amazing people who have supported me in my adventures.

DC Comics News would like to thank the entire cast of Nightwing: Prodigal for making the time over the last seven weeks to give us exclusive access to the team and sharing the interviews with our fans. Working with you all was a phenomenal experience, you are all great people and wish you all the best in the future. – Damian Fasciani Head News Editor 

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