An Interview With JASON NEULANDER Co-Author And Producer Of The Intergalactic Nemesis

 

Scott: Tell me about yourself, and how you became the producer of the show.

Jason: I’m not just the producer, but a co-author and the director as well. The Intergalactic Nemesis got its start as a radio play back in the 90s when I was running a theater company in Austin TX called Salvage Vanguard Theater, that produced new plays. A friend of mine, Ray Colgan, had this idea to create a sci-fi radio play that would be recorded in front of a live audience in the downtown coffeehouse he worked in. Every few years, I came back to the project, revising the script each time, and the audience kept growing. In 2008, I left SVT to focus entirely on Intergalactic and in 2009 we got invited to bring the radio play to the 2,400-seat theatre in the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin. I felt that venue was way too big to present the radio play in, but in a flash came up with the idea of projecting comic-book artwork on a screen the size of the proscenium. It took 15 months for me to rewrite the script to a comic-book format and for Tim Doyle to create all that artwork. We premiered the Live-Action Graphic Novel version of the show in September 2010.

Scott: What are some other shows you have worked on?

Jason: I’m a writer, director, and producer based in Austin, Texas. From 1994 to 2008, Neulander was the founder and Artistic Director of Salvage Vanguard Theater. During his tenure there, he directed and produced more than fifty world premiere plays, musicals, and operas. He has been recognized three times as Austin’s “Best Theatre Director” in the Austin Chronicle “Best of Austin” readers’ polls. He is the writer and director of two short films, A Snack for Piper and The Rapture and two feature-length screenplays: The Transgressors, a Western, and Simon Curtis at the End of His Career, a drama. His current project, the sci-fi trilogy THE INTERGALACTIC NEMESIS Live-Action Graphic Novel, is touring the world, including runs on Broadway and at the Kennedy Center. Book One: Target Earth was named “Best of Austin” in 2011 and has been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and TBS’s CONAN (with Conan O’Brien as a performer). Book Two: Robot Planet Rising premiered in June, 2012, at the Long Center for the Performing Arts to rave reviews (“Makes you want to high-five your neighbor in anticipation of the next installment.” –CultureMap Austin), and is currently touring the US.

Scott: Being that The Intergalactic Nemesis is a live action comic book, are you a fan of comic books yourself?

Jason: I was never a huge fan of comic-books, though I’ve read a bunch of the better graphic novels (Alan Moore’s work comes to mind). I’m a huge fan of old movies. When I was a kid, me and my dad would watch Flash Gordon on Saturday mornings, for example.

Scott: As the producer, how hard is it to put the show together and get things going? What are some of the obstacles?

Jason: This project has come together really easily and organically. Once I came up with the idea to project Tim’s artwork, I quickly found a partner in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, which allowed us to present the project in 15-minute installments as live shorts before certain feature films (Iron Man 2, Kick Ass, etc.) the opening weekends of those films. This allowed us to workshop the material in real-time and also get the word out about the project to thousands of people. About 2,200 people showed up to the premiere of the show and ten days later I started booking a tour. To my amazement, there was more interest in the tour than I could handle. Since we started touring in Oct. 2011, we’ve been booked into more than 80 venues. Now we’ve got the first sequel on the road with a third part in development as well.

Scott: Tell me about some of the others who are part of the show, the writers, actors.

Jason: My co-author is a guy named Chad Nichols. The three actors on the current tour are Chris Gibson, Danu Uribe, and David Higgins. Buzz Moran, who created the sound effects back in the 90s, is still doing the sound effects on tour. Graham Reynolds, the composer, has created the scores for A Scanner Darkly, Bernie, and the upcoming Before Midnight.

Scott: Who first came up with the idea of the show?

Jason: Me.

Scott: On your off time, do you have any hobbies, what do you do when not producing?

Jason: I am a card magician, I play piano, and I’m a pretty devoted dad.

Scott: What are some of the inspirations of the show?

Jason: Star Wars, Raiders, Flash Gordon, His Girl Friday, Sullivan’s Travels, pulp sci-fi of the first part of the 20th century. The Philadelphia Story. Casablanca. Ray Harryhausen.

Scott: When casting roles, how hard was it to choose the right actor for the part?

Jason: Because I had been directing plays in Austin for years, I had access to the very best performers there. Casting was pretty easy.

Scott: How many actors are in the show and who do they play?

Jason: There are three actors. Here’s video of the actual production: http://www.theintergalacticnemesis.com/videos

Scott: What’s next for you after The Intergalactic Nemesis?

Jason: Right now I’m focused on creating The Intergalactic Nemesis – Book Three: Twin Infinity, which premieres in September 2014. After that, I have no idea!

Scott: Any last words?

Jason: Can’t wait to do the show at the Kravis Center! Oh, and here’s a link to our website, which has a bunch of stuff you should know about: The Intergalactic Nemesis

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Scott grew up in Miami, Florida interviewing punk, metal and hardcore bands, reading comic books, playing with Star Wars action figures, Shogun Warriors, and MEGO dolls. Scott’s work has appeared in Flipside Magazine, Scrape Magazine, Zaphod Fanzine, El ‘Zine De Eugene, Rational Enquirer, Maximum Rock and Roll, Rated Rookie Magazine, POPSmear Magazine, Crying Clown Fanzine, Slug & Lettuce, ThoraZine, Fact Sheet 5, ‘Zine Guide, O/Z Magazine, Asian Trash Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, Euro-Trash Cinema and more. He has two culinary degrees and attended art school for a Visual Arts degree with a minor in Music Journalism. Scott was the owner of Action Games & Comics in Clermont Florida from January 1999 til it’s demise in December 2011. Scott can sometimes be seen flying across Florida at supersonic speeds, you just need a good eye to catch him.. :-)

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