After Light series author Cameo Renae
UtopYA and Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing (CHBB) are thrilled to announce the premiere screening of After Light, a short film based on best-selling author Cameo Renae’s dystopian book titled ARV-3 on Friday evening, June 19th in Nashville, TN.
Join the author, actors, filmmakers and others involved in the creation of the project and film for a special red-carpet night of fun. Watch the film, meet the actors, take photos, stay for a special Q&A and other exclusives you won’t see anywhere else! Cash bar for 21+. While tickets are free, there are only a limited number, so grab yours now.
The film was produced, directed and edited by the talented team at Timid Monster, who also produced the 2013 utopYA Award-winning trailer Few Are Angels for author Inger Iverson.
I grabbed the chance to ask the Alaska-based Cameo Renae about the experience of taking her book the the screen.
utopYA: Did you always know you were going to do a short film of the ARV-3 book? How did the After Light film come to be?
Cameo: Doing a short-film for ARV-3 was the furthest thing from my mind. I think every author has a dream of seeing their story on the “big-screen,” but watching it become a reality… indescribable. I pinched myself many times during this process.
My cousin, Katie Baker, read ARV-3, loved it, and shared it with her husband, Dan, who just happens to be the creator/director of Timid Monster. So, in my case, this whole opportunity presented itself from a “who you know” encounter. At first, ARV-3 was supposed to be a simple book-trailer, but as the planning for it started to come together, things fell into place. Soon, they were in the process of planning a short-film.
utopYA: In ARV-3, you have your version of infected, mutant-like creatures called Arvies. What was it like seeing the arvies come to life on screen?
Cameo: To see a character I created, living on the screen in all of its horrifying glory, is another “beyond words” moment. Dan was gracious to include me in the process. When I received the phone call that Matt Singer, co-creator of Face Off, who worked on prosthetics for many huge Hollywood films, was on board to create the Arvy, I just about fainted. He asked for detailed descriptions of these terrifying mutants, and with his creative genius… they were brought to life. The Arvies are even greater and scarier than I could have ever imagined.
cover by Mae I Design & Photography
utopYA: What are the challenges of editing the content to fit a short film format? What was your part in helping that part of the process along?
Cameo: The huge challenge was finding the right part of the story to film, while incorporating important details throughout the book to make the film “make sense” and be complete. They chose the part of the story where the group who, after thirteen years, emerge from an underground bunker, meet the mutants (Arvies) for the first time.
In the beginning, Dan and Katie asked me some very, very deep questions about each of the main characters. They wanted me to explain, in detail, what the character’s plans were for the future, or what their greatest fears were…etc.
As I read through the questions, I was immediately filled with doom. I had NO idea. I could barely answer that question for myself!!! But it pushed me, making me dig deeper into each of my character’s lives and emotions. What were their expectations, dreams, and hopes for a future in a post-apocalyptic world, ravaged by radiation and mutants? Answering these questions gave my characters depth, making them become even more “real.” This process helped me tremendously while writing SANCTUM, (Book #2). The reviews are proof it was a better book, which I am extremely proud of.
The answers also helped them develop the script. There are changes, which happens from book-to-film, but Timid Monster really stayed true to the characters. Have I mentioned how EXCITED I am? Yeah… don’t mind me.
utopYA: What are your plans for the After Light series? What’s next for you?
Cameo: After Light was primarily a genre I thought would be fun to try. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone, after only writing YA paranormal romance up until that point. I never expected ARV-3 to really go anywhere. I wasn’t even sure if I was suited for the post-apocalyptic, dystopian genre, or if anyone would like my take on it. Plus, I added my “romantic” touch to it, thinking the horror/action dudes wouldn’t care for it. But, I was pleasantly surprised at how many guys actually love it. It’s a tough genre to write, but it was a totally new and exciting experience. (Yes, I am a Walking Dead fan!)
What do I have next? I have a few more books in the After Light Saga to write and release this year, then I will be working on my next Teen/YA Fantasy. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time, and am very excited about. I have a lot brewing on the back burner, and I’ll keep stirring until the next one starts to bubble and burn, demanding to be written. It’s finding the time to write that’s the hardest part for me.
utopYA: What have you learned from your experience? What can you share with other authors?
Cameo: Sometimes life will take you on an unexpected journey. You need to be pliable, and ready for anything. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, stepping out of the box opens you up to an even greater, more exciting world. Take chances. Don’t sit back and daydream… get out and chase those dreams!!! The thought of writing a post-apocalyptic, dystopian book scared me. But despite my fears, I did it, and I’m glad I did. Because in a few months… I will be attending its premiere!!!
utopYA: Speaking of that, how does it feel to be attending your own premiere at utopYA 2015?
Cameo: Inexpressible! I seriously can’t wait, and every time I think about it, I tremble with excitement. My amazing publisher, SJ Davis of Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly, will be there, sponsoring the event. We haven’t met in person yet, so UtopYA 2015 will be extra-extra special! Timid Monster, along with some of the cast and crew of After Light will also be there. Talk about epic! Also, a group I’m a part of on FB – Band of Dystopian – will also be there. Eeeep!
I am expecting UtopYA 2015 to be a “beyond amazing” experience. Another dream come true for me, and one I’ll add to my list of “greatest moments of all time.” I’ll also have a table at the convention, so come visit me! I can’t wait to meet you!
Now, take a look at the trailer for the After Light film…
There are only 225 seats available.
After Light premiere at utopYA
June 19, 2015
Crown Ballroom • Millennium Maxwell House Hotel • Nashville, TN