OUTLAWED FAITH is an independent steampunk feature film that recently met its funding goal on Kickstarter. We got the chance to sit down with indie writer/director Ron Newcomb to talk about his upcoming film, crowdfunding, science fiction, and indie film making.

ComicsVerse: First off, congratulations on getting funding.

Ron Newcomb: Yeah man, appreciate that. Kickstarter and crowdfunding, in general, have changed a lot. It’s a grueling task for sure.

CV: What’s the premise of OUTLAWED FAITH?

RN: OUTLAWED FAITH is about a reluctant gunslinger who’s been reformed. The main character, Kulta, finds himself being double-crossed. He’s brought into this warehouse and shot and left for dead, as is his fiancée. So it sets him off on a revenge path to try to avenge his lost love. But along the way he finds a girl with special powers, called a seer. The larger antagonist of the story is the galactic federation – they’re hunting these seers, and so in the midst of Kulta trying to avenge his lost love, this young girl comes into his care, and suddenly he’s thrust into this father figure role of protecting her.

Outlawed Faith
CV: I was really impressed with the fifteen-minute concept short. It’s really rare to see steampunk films — why did you guys decide to do your own steampunk film, and why do you think there are so few steampunk movies out there?

RN: You know, originally it wasn’t written in that genre. It ended up being a moment of opportunity. A local filmmaking crew called One-Eyed Horse Productions does Westerns, so we had access to this Western town. Originally OUTLAWED FAITH was purely sci-fi, but suddenly it became, well, what if it was set in this Western type world and yet still maintained the integrity of science fiction? Then we defaulted even further back into steampunk. There are a lot of books in the genre, but film – I think one of the problems is it’s just difficult to get right. With steampunk, there are no hard and fast rules. So as a filmmaker it’s fun to explore. If you’re a purist, steampunk is set in an alternate history of the late 1800s, early 1900s. But when you add that sci-fi flair, suddenly it opens up to an even further exploration.

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CV: Was OUTLAWED FAITH influenced by anything particular? How about you as a creator?

RN: As a creator, you bleed over the pages you write, and as a filmmaker, it’s the same way. Certainly, it’s easy to pull forth FIREFLY. You’re not going to do a Western science fiction story without being compared to FIREFLY. We embrace that. I love FIREFLY, so why wouldn’t I? It even feels a little like STAR WARS. We have this galactic federation that’s looming out there and hunting these seers. We’re also influenced by other great stories from BLADERUNNER to LORD OF THE RINGS. Any strong, great storyteller that captures the imagination and puts their spirit into doing something – it captured us. Those things have definitely influenced us in one way or another.

Outlawed Faith Steampunk
CV: So what’s next now that you have funding?

RN: We’re working on a rewrite and then we’re going to see if we can level that project up. It’s really going to be pitching it to some LA contacts to get a strategic producing partner, and then to see if we can get some talent attached. Once we have talent attached, then it’s to go out and raise the capital in order to execute a full-length feature.

CV: So as far as the film element goes, do you prefer staying in the indie realm or are you looking to move more into the mainstream Hollywood industry?

RN: A lot of people are anti-Hollywood for a lot of reasons, and I’m not anti-Hollywood. It would be foolish not to discern and see exactly what they’re doing and for us to get involved instead of trying to fight the system. But at the end of the day, we’re always going to be indie because we’re not from the studio infrastructure. I love the freedom that gives us.

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CV: One thing about working in indie film is I imagine you’re a lot closer to your audience and to your fans than if you were working in the Hollywood system. How important do you think it is as an indie filmmaker to connect with your fans through things like Kickstarter?

RN: Fan is such a passive word. Like “Yeah, I like your stuff,” and that’s kind of that. We call our fans “The Tribe” because I’ve realized everyone is a creator. Everyone wants to be given that opportunity. So our goal is to get as many people as we can in the boat. We give opportunities for people to really influence the story and how we do things. Our fan engagement is huge. A lot of our fans have become really good friends.
That’s why I like crowdfunding—yes, you get the funding, but what’s more important to me is you get the crowd. That’s the secret sauce. They support you because they know that without them we’re nothing.

CV: Let’s say someone is just finding out about you guys right now. How do they get involved, how do they become a member of ‘The Tribe?’

RN: We have a couple ways we do that. One, we have a VHX site—that’s a streaming site where you can watch our stuff. So there’s a way you can still pre-order OUTLAWED FAITH.

People can also get involved joining our email list and our Facebook page. We have opportunities like, “Hey guys, we’re gonna be filming and we need people for this tavern scene, or anybody wanna play an orc?” People jump up and they come out and have a blast because there’s nothing like being on set. We see it as a two-way communication stream. People have asked, “Hey, can I send you a script? Can we take a look at something?” We’re always looking for a good partner. We have to create our own opportunities. That I firmly believe.

Outlawed Faith Steampunk
CV: OUTLAWED FAITH is one of multiple projects you guys (The Forge) have going on. On the Kickstarter, I saw you guys were talking about the Forge as a multimedia endeavor. What else do you guys do?

RN: We’re storytellers on multiple levels. Games, novels, graphic novels, video games—there’s a lot of mediums to get your story out there. I have two other business partners, Skip Lipman and Arel Avellino. Our team has a strong influence over every story. We recognize you can’t do everything, so we’re trying to carve out the very specific niches of fantasy and sci-fi. That’s what we want to be known for, so when people say, “Hey I’m looking for a cool fantasy sci-fi” they think of The Forge Studios. Film is probably what we love to do most and what we have the most experience in, but we love putting stuff out there. We have a RANGERS card game [Author’s Note: THE RANGERS is Forge’s previous franchise endeavor], we’ve developed a RANGERS board game.

CV: What advice do you have for budding filmmakers, artists, writers, anyone interested in getting into indie film making?

RN: Don’t do it in isolation. You don’t have to do this thing by yourself. Film making is a unique collaboration of different artists coming together to do one thing. So don’t feel like you have to do it all. There’s nothing cooler than saying, “Hey, I’m gonna do this short fantasy and I need six rangers to fight this orc,” and seeing what you get. People really step up in a professional way.

CV: Any last minute thoughts?

RN: I’d love to get a mention of some of our partners—a group up in Canada called Miniwargaming, and a group of cosplayers in South Carolina called Fellandfair. I’ve noticed that people sometimes need an excuse or a catalyst to go out and do something. They might not have the story themselves, but if you give them a few components, suddenly they can come up and do stuff. We’re very open to people working in our world. Just to have an excuse to be like, “I’m gonna go out and create.”

You can check out The Forge Studios here and browse their shop here.

You can also watch the concept short for OUTLAWED FAITH here and the trailer for THE RANGERS here

This interview has been edited.

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