Assistant editor and animator Grant Dillion kept working on 1000 Journals through post production, late summer 2007. He had a short stint with a video game company, and then decided to move back to Arkansas, to finish his B.A. at Harding University, majoring in English (creative writing), with a minor in Electronic Media Production. The decision to leave Los Angeles wasn't easy, but as Grant's father is on tour in Iraq and offered his house and tuition, Grant packed up his car and left.
We are pen and Facebook pals, and when Grant told me he's working on a graphic novel I immediately wanted to know all and everything about that. I love graphic novels!
Here's an interview about this work, entitled Mad Meat.
Andrea: How did you come up with the idea?
Grant: I had wanted to do something involving slaughterhouse sanitation workers ever since reading in the book Fast Food Nation that it was the "Most Dangerous Job in America." Then one night in 2007, my 17 year old brother, David, and I were watching a series of horror movies at my apartment and decided to write a cheap slasher flick that could be shot in a warehouse. I proposed we do something involving sanitation workers and my brother suggested we base it around The Odyssey. David's a sucker for big epics and had just been playing the videogame "God of War," which takes just about every Greek myth and meshes them together. Once I started writing the screenplay I realized that it would lend itself to a graphic novel and it evolved from there.
A: What is the story about?
G: A small group of sanitation workers are locked inside a meat packing plant they have to clean during the night. While working, they discover that the plant's day crew has been transformed into violent, savage, monsters from a new mutated strain of mad cow disease introduced into the plant's meat supply. Realizing they only have until sunrise to escape the building before the next day's crew arrives and releases the infection, the men battle across the plant's multitude of boilers, grinders, and packagers to escape the infected and warn the world without becoming infected meat themselves.
A: Who is creating the artwork for Mad Meat?
G: I'm working with a fantastic Turkish artist from Istanbul, Alperen Kahraman.
A: How did you meet him?
G: After dozens of failed attempts using artists in the US, I started looking for European artists online. I happened upon Alperen's art one day at a website called CGportfolio.com. I emailed him and explained the project. He loved it and got involved right away. Although there's a bit of a language barrier, we work together brilliantly because we are communicating with images. Pictures are the easiest way to get the story across. I'm sending him very rough pencil sketches, which he is turning into beautiful panels.
A: I noticed the hero of Mad Meat does look a bit like you.
G: Perhaps. I certainly would have never asked for it, but I'm happy that it's turned out that way. I have a dozen or so Graphic Novels that I'm working on and just about all of them have main characters that are based on certain sides of me. Maybe Alperen just sensed that I'd written myself into the main character and captured my "tough" side into the character's look.