I got a chance to talk a bit with Maya Glick about her powerful fan film RAIN, directed by Zane Rutledge and Jeff Stolhand, produced by Matt Joyce, and created by, and starring Maya Glick. It’s good stuff, follow me past the jump, flatscans!
I feel like I have had Maya Glick and this project on my radar forever, at least a couple years, and internet years, like dog years, equal more than regular years. Or something, I’m not good at math.
The Gravy Age: What is RAIN, and how did the project come about?
Maya Glick: A little over 3 years ago I wrote a story inspired largely by a tragedy that had recently taken place in my life. During the dark time I was going through, I rediscovered the Lifedeath comic book where Storm is also recovering from tragedy and going through a depression. Lifedeath is absolutely my favorite comic book story, and it also had a huge influence on the story that would become RAIN. This is my first venture into the world of film so I had no idea how I was going to go about it but I knew it would happen somehow.
When I first went public with what I had in mind by sharing a photo of myself in costume with the mohawk and leather, people went wild over it and suggested I do a Kickstarter, which I did.
TGA: Did the film grow in scope from the original idea as far as shooting on the RED cameras, and and the special effects?
MG: Absolutely. Like I said I didn’t know anything about film going into this. I’m a veteran performer, but music was my thing in the past. I had a rock band in New York City for about 13 years, and I’ve been in a couple documentaries… but writing a screenplay and finding a film crew was all new territory… especially now that I’m in Austin, where I really haven’t done anything creative at all for the 8 years I’ve lived here. So I set out to find the right people to bring the vision to life. Long story short, once I was armed with some money from the first Kickstarter, I ended up finding the perfect creative partner in Zane Rutledge.
Zane is awesome because he’s a comic book nerd too and was familiar with the subject matter, and he’s also just a genius at what he does, which ended up including the majority of the visual effects. When I tracked him down based on some other work he had done, I lucked into a pre-existing production team. Zane brought in his writing partner Jeff Stolhand who helped with script revisions and also co-directed; and the two of them brought in their producer Matt Joyce. So there was instantly this professional team ready to make it much more of a real thing than I ever expected.
TGA: The film has Storm depowered initially, in a way that, though divergent from the era of the X-Men book, allows you to really showcase the fact that though she may be depowered, she is far from powerless. Was it important to show that Storm is more than her mutant abilities, and she is capable and powerful without them?
MG: Of course. I think that’s what draws people in to “superhero” stories is the idea that in some way they are vulnerable and can be broken just like anyone can, but they manage to rise above in epic ways that inspire people to believe in their own ability to overcome. Also, as I mentioned before it was as story that happened because of a very dark time I had gone through myself, so a lot of it was just autobiographical. A lot of just ugly truth about what real ‘powerlessness’ and depression looks and feels like.
TGA: The fight scenes themselves are very impressive, did your background in martial arts factor into making the scenes feel real? By that I mean the violence isn’t cartoon-like, it’s not crazy action stuff where you go, “sure it looks cool, but you would get killed if you tried that in a real fight,” it’s quick and effective and practical.
MG: That was very important to all of us, that the fights seemed real rather than just show-offy. The martial arts classes that I take are more about real life effective self defense than fancy stuff, so yes– that factored in.
Whenever there’s a fight scene with a woman involved there’s always a bunch of unnecessary dancey moves that are just there to make her look pretty. But fights aren’t pretty, so it never looks right to me when a chick in high heels does a cartwheel or some shit before knocking somebody out. Our Second Unit Director Chance Hartman worked with me for a long time before we ever started shooting to show me how to translate what I already know about fighting into film fighting, which it turns out is a whole other animal.
It was important that the fighting looked powerful but raw and realistic, rather than the movie trick where all of a sudden everybody knows karate when a fight breaks out.
TGA: The Easter eggs were fun, particularly the license plate of the motorcycle, which references Giant Size X-Men #1, and Storm’s first appearance, was that fun to come up with little winks and nods to the books?
MG: Oh yeah, there are so many in there. I had lots of ideas for Easter eggs but this is one of the places where it was awesome that Zane is a comic book lover himself and had these great ideas of ways to pay homage to the books in quiet but brilliant ways throughout without calling too much attention to it. For example, the random looking graffiti on the alley walls is mostly signatures of various X-Men comic artists. Then there are the liquor bottles… oh, so many hidden treats!
My favorite is the overhead shot of the bed in the motel room, which is a painstakingly crafted recreation of page 1 of LifeDeath.
TGA: When making a fan film, are there certain things you have to be careful about? For instance no direct mentions of the X-Men by name, or even your own character herself, who is (I may be wrong) never explicitly called Storm.
MG: I guess so. I never really had all that in mind when I was writing it, but it worked out. I mean, she’s on her own in the story so there’s no need for her to refer to herself which is why you don’t hear her name. But it worked out as a safety as well!
TGA: This is obviously a labor of love on your part, how much did Storm mean to you growing up (or whenever you came across her) to have a black, female character, who was not only a superhero, but the leader of a team, and whose strength was more than just her powers? How important was having that representation in pop culture?
MG: I have loved her ever since I first saw her with the mohawk when I was a kid. Her original incarnation never really grabbed me, but “mohawk Storm” was like nothing I had ever seen before, comic book hero or otherwise, and it rewired my whole perception of what was possible for a superhero to be… for a woman to be… for ME to be.
Of course it means the world to have representation, which is why so many people jumped on board to support my project when I did my first Kickstarter. Before I had a film crew, before I had any kind of previews or clips or clue what I was doing… so many people were thrilled at just the idea of this kind of representation. There have been plenty of X-Men films, and Storm has been in a couple of them, but she’s always just kind of a token background character. Her actual power and complexity has never been touched on outside of the comics. So it means a lot to a lot of people that RAIN was able to happen, and that meant a lot to me.
TGA: Did you ever have any moments when you were seeing things come together where you thought, “Holy socks, this is more than I ever expected,” and you had to just pinch yourself?
MG: Every step of the way from pre-production to post production there were little things that amazed me. Especially during post production when there was nothing for me to do but wait and wait and wait which was painfully frustrating… but then every couple months or weeks I’d get a peek at the latest edit and my mind would be blown all over again. I really am so in awe of the skill my guys brought with them. I didn’t know any of these guys when we started this journey but now they’re family. Zane, Jeff and Matt in particular– I call them The Band. I did 2 Kickstarters and raised an impressive amount of money, but it was still a small budget for them to work with in relation to what we pulled off. That means they ended up putting all this time and sweat and work and skill into the project for no paycheck at all. This was a labor of love for all of us, and I love them for it.
TGA: Another thing that I dug was the music by Luqman Brown, it really kicks the movie up another notch.
MG: Luqman is one of my best friends from NYC and I insisted we bring him on board. So glad I did because he rocked the crap out of it!
TGA: How long was the project altogether from conception to finished film?
MG: I finished the first version of the “script” around September of 2013. So, almost 3 years.
TGA: What’s next?
MG: As far as acting goes, I made an appearance as a bad guy in an action comedy that should be out soon called No Chance.
Not sure yet what comes next for my own projects. Kinda waiting to see how much support RAIN gets for now. If people dig what they see it’s very important that people spread the word on a grass roots level. Hopefully the popularity and success of a film like this will let studios know that people care about these kinds of characters and stories.
TGA: Where can people find you?
MG: twitter & Instagram = @mayasokora
official RAIN fb page: facebook.com/xstormfilm
Check out RAIN, tell your friends, neighbors, lovers, grandparents, and coworkers, optometrist, whoever. Tell them TGA sent you.
Huge thanks to Maya Glick for the interview, and I want to tell everyone involved with the film what a great job they did. It’s a powerful piece, and it was so much better than I hoped it could be, and of course, don’t forget to stay until after the credits.