Friday, March 8, 2013

The Nature of Pursuing a Dream

Sarah Bitely is the creator and writer of Pimpkillah comics. She recently published her third issue of Pimpkillah, a new comic book series that focuses on a violent tale of revenge. I ran into Sarah at the LA Zine Fest, and she agreed to sit down with me and answer some of my burning questions about the journey of pursuing her childhood dream.

Kristen: First, let's get everyone up to speed. What is Pimpkillah about?
Sarah: Pimpkillah is about Sloane Stone’s journey to find her sister. The first two issues are just the beginning. I feel like this second issue is the boiling point for Pimpkillah. We’re ready to kick it into gear and get into the the thick of it. The Descent depicts Sloane Stone’s transition from Sudan back to Los Angeles. Uncovering a shocking discovery about her estranged sister, Naomi, propels her deep into the dark world she never wanted a part of. A path she worked hard to avoid. A path of darkness and despair. A path her sister wasn’t as determined to escape.

Kristen: Why this story of revenge? What draws you to revenge tales?
Sarah: Revenge stories have always intrigued me and it’s one of my favorite genres to explore. I’m fascinated by the idea of a somewhat “normal” and functioning human completely snapping over an injustice or wrong done to them. A kindhearted person turned stone cold over a traumatic event. The loss of innocence. And of course I love the idea of vigilante justice and questioning mild prosecution of those who have done horrible crimes.

Kristen: What were some of your childhood influences Were you into comics?
Sarah: As a young girl, I loved Archie comics. I was obsessed with Betty and Veronica, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Batman was another comic I loved to read. When I was about four years old, I remember putting together this little booklet made of colored construction paper, and I made a Batman themed story with my crayons. I’ve always had a passion for telling stories, especially through images, both in comics and film.

Kristen: How have your inspirations changed as an adult?
Sarah: Today, I am much more into darker themes and noir comics, which I never knew existed when I was in high school. Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips’ Criminal series was my first noir comic love, and definitely set the pace for Pimpkillah.

Karl Edward Wagner’s “Tell Me, Dark” is another amazing noir, horror comic that is drawn and written in such a hauntingly beautiful way. Right now I love Hernandez Brothers’ Love and Rockets, I read all their collected works too, like Maggie the Mechanic, Penny Century and Luba.  A lot of the Hernandez artwork is heavily influenced by Archie comics so it seems I’m drawn to similar classic artwork. I love the way Hernandez draws his ladies, of all shapes and sizes. I’m very much inspired by the shape of female figures and I hope to bring some of that voluptuousness to Pimpkillah. But I think more than anything I’m inspired by films. Cinema translates to comics so naturally, and when I am working on something I draw most of my inspirations from movies. I like to think that when I create a comic it’s like I’m storyboarding a movie. Which is definitely in the works for Pimpkillah in the upcoming future.­ Here’s a link to a short film I made called “Baby Blue.” http://www.viddler.com/v/43eff3db

Kristen: What are some of your favorite films?
Sarah: My all time favorite movie is Mean Streets by Martin Scorsese. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. All 70’s Scorsese cinema is the best in my opinion. I love that unfiltered, raw edge you don’t really get in his films anymore. John Cassavetes’ Woman Under the Influence also has that quality that is hard to come by these days. Catherine Breillat’s The Last Mistress is one of my favorite movies from the last decade. Such a passionate story and Asia Argento is outstanding in it. Sloane Stone, Pimpkillah’s heroine is loosely based off her. Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love and Fallen Angels are two of the most beautiful films I’ve seen. Specific films that have influenced me genre-wise for Pimpkillah include Coffy, Foxy Brown, Oldboy, Switchblade Sisters, Kill Bill – okay, I could fill up pages with my favorite movies, so I suppose I’ll stop here.

Kristen: Have your parents always been supportive of your career in film and comics? Sarah: My parents have always been my number one supporters who would do anything to help me achieve my goals.  I think no matter what I would chose to do they would be behind me a hundred percent. I love them so much and wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Kristen: What are some of the struggles you've encountered in pursuit of your dreams?
Sarah: It usually starts with money. When you’re fresh out of school, thousands of dollars in the hole, and hardly making enough money at your desk job it can be quite trying to get something published and off the ground. My first two comics were mini-comics, and no longer than ten pages so it was relatively cheap to print. My next issue is more than double the length and full size. But you have to expect people not to buy your comic, and you probably won’t make your money back. But the keys are trading your comics with people, and spreading the word about your work. I have yet to make an Indie GoGo account or Kickstarter, but I think I will definitely start one for the third issue.

The next biggest challenge is finding someone as passionate as you are about your project. Finding artists is always difficult and sometimes working with others can be painful as well. I prefer to work with close friends of mine who understand the way I think and envision. Since I’ve been developing, writing, and re-writing Pimpkillah for the past four years it can save a lot of time when you meet someone who truly understands where you are coming from and where you want to go with the project. The last hardest thing is finding the time to work on your projects. Balancing time is imperative. I was working full-time and then I worked on my comics or writing after work, on my lunch break, and on weekends. Currently, I’m on hiatus. I’m taking time to gather all my thoughts for Pimpkillah 3, not titled just yet. Now more than ever we need people’s support to continue printing copies and issues. There are comics and prints available at www.pimpkillah.com Also available in Stores: Meltdown Comics 7522 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA. Pop Hop Books and Print 5002 York Blvd. Eagle Rock, CA 

Kristen: What have you learned from completing your first three comics? What are you going to do differently in the next issue?
Sarah: Issue 3 is going to be so different! I’m thinking of coloring it myself, and working with different artists. I digitally inked Pimpkillah: The Descent and have been learning more Photoshop as I go along.  The story is really going to get going in this one because I feel I know what could have been done in the previous issues. I want issue 3 to engage the reader more. I want Sloane’s inner dialogue to have much more of a presence and really get our readers into her subconscious. When I reprint issue 2, I will be adding more of her thoughts and feelings into it. Rosendo Santos, artist for Descent, will also be working on the ending to tie together a few loose ends. So when we run out the first prints, the second print will be a bit different. But you’d have to check out both prints to really observe the added details.

Kristen: As you know, one of the primary themes of my blog, “Cinematic Escape,” is escapism. How do you personally and also your comics relate to escapism?

Sarah: I feel as though my entire life has been centered around escapism and creating my own realm. From playing cowboys and Indians as a child to directing films, I’ve always found other outlets to live my life through and cope with my surroundings. Now, my career path is focused on creating alternate realities through writing, drawing, and making films. I’m entranced by crafting another universe that is so foreign to me and yet still making it relatable to anyone. When I write a story, rather it be a comic or screenplay, I love diving into the depths of my character’s subconscious and discovering what drives them. While directing actors, empathizing with another and connecting with them on an emotional level is what initially sparked my inspiration to make films.

I can put myself into anyone’s shoes and escape through doing so. My hope for Pimpkillah is for people to want to put themselves in Sloane’s shoes and go along on her journey.

Kristen: Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for aspiring comic book writers just getting started? Sarah: Network, go to festivals, and spread the word about your comic! Pimpkillah Press: http://www.laweekly.com/2013-02-14/calendar/revenge-of-the-zines/

Pimpkillah Productions is located in Los Angeles, CA. Call for Artists: Have your work featured in the next Pimpkillah comic! Internships also available. For more information on how you can get involved email pimpkillah.productions@gmail.com

Pimpkillah the series is available for purchase at: www.pimpkillah.com
Available in Stores: Meltdown Comics 7522 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA.
Pop Hop Books and Print 5002 York Blvd Eagle Rock, CA
For exclusive updates and upcoming release dates visit the Pimpkillah facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Pimpkillah?ref=hl
Follow Pimpkillah on twitter: https://twitter.com/SloaneStone
Zine Fest photo credit: Brodie Foster Hubbard http://fairdig.com

18 comments:

  1. If you are hosting the next Ρoκeг paгty
    at уour home, heгe are sоme great Ρoκer party fooԁs and Pοker paгty ԁecoгations that are easy to make аnd will not
    break the banκ. I can't exactly remember why--maybe it was peer pressure from our health-driven community, who knows. I tried dozens of different recipes for pizza crust, and none of them were satisfactory.

    Look into my site Pizza pan Ashtabula

    ReplyDelete
  2. If you are hoѕting the next Pоκer party at yοur home, here
    are some great Poκer party fooԁs and Pokeг ρarty decorаtions that are easy tο maκе anԁ ωill not break thе
    bаnk. I can't exactly remember why--maybe it was peer pressure from our health-driven community, who knows. I tried dozens of different recipes for pizza crust, and none of them were satisfactory.

    my site Pizza pan Ashtabula
    Also see my website: pizza pan avon oh

    ReplyDelete
  3. Excellent blog here! Additionally your web site lots up fast!

    What web host are you using? Can I get your associate link
    to your host? I desire my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    Here is my web page ... ultra pro

    ReplyDelete
  4. Spot on with this ωrіte-uρ, I honeѕtlу think thiѕ web site nееds а lοt morе attention.

    I'll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the information! visit the next page

    ReplyDelete


  5. Feel free to suгf to my web-sіte: web page

    ReplyDelete
  6. Іt's actually a nice and useful piece of info. I am happy that you just shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Here is my web page - payday loans

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey there! This іs my first vіsit to your blog!
    Wе are a team οf vοluntеers and startіng
    а new initiatiѵe in a community in the same nіche.
    Youг blog ρгovided uѕ beneficial information to ωork on.
    You have done a outѕtanding ϳob! click here

    ReplyDelete
  8. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on
    the web the simplest thing to be aware of.

    I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about worries that they just do not know
    about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole
    thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal.
    Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

    My homepage ... registry cleaners

    ReplyDelete
  9. analyst Ӏ fееlіng thаt there аre nоn-гаtіonal forсеѕ at function.
    Thіs haνe аll the timе been a favoreԁ еxeгcise
    in mу dwellіng. Thе wаll panels can bе
    intгoduced in hаllwаyѕ, doorways, аnd shіning ѕtraight аs a danсe gгound.


    my weblοg http://www.flppp.org/user.php?login=dextermanx71

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ηeyа i'm for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me.

    My website ... payday loans

    ReplyDelete
  11. Saved as а favorite, I like your ωеb ѕite!
    lazyrichesonline.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. We aге a grοup of volunteers anԁ opеning a new schemе in
    οur community. Υour web ѕite proѵіded us with vаluablе informatіon to worκ on.
    You've done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you. Highly recommended Online site

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hello there, just bеcame alert to yоur blog through Google,
    and found thаt іt is reallу informatiѵe.

    I am gonna ωatch out for bruѕѕels. I'll appreciate if you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers! Ringing Ears Cure

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love the blog and hope to read alot more. Lord-Bond has kept his promise.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What's up, all the time i used to check web site posts here early in the break of day, since i like to gain knowledge of more and more.

    Here is my web page: Louis Vuitton Outlet

    ReplyDelete
  16. What i do not realize is in truth how you're now not really much more smartly-appreciated than you may be right now. You are so intelligent. You realize therefore considerably in terms of this matter, made me individually consider it from numerous various angles. Its like women and men aren't
    involved except it's something to do with Woman gaga! Your individual stuffs excellent. At all times deal with it up!

    Stop by my blog ... bmi chart female

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great reading! I think every dream can be achieved (except unreal ones, of course). It is only matter of how far we are from them, and how much hard work are we willing to do in order to see it accomplished. Here is another anrticle on the matter Common mistakes when pursuing dreams

    ReplyDelete