“Oh, that’s cool. You just decided to write a book?”
Roller Derby Vampire Girl wasn’t always intended to be a book. (Or book one of a proposed trilogy if we’re giving this whole speaking things into existence a try.)
A little backstory about me is probably required to understand a lot of how this all unfolded, and we got to this point.
I have always been passionate about art. From the time I could hold a crayon, I have loved to draw, and from the moment I realized that people drew animated movies, back when animation was hand-drawn, I wanted to be a cartoonist. This sometimes conflicted with my desire to be a paleontologist, but at the age of 7, I rationalized that if I made animated movies about dinosaurs, I wouldn’t have to betray either aspect of my life.
I kept this dream steady probably until high school when I was urged to try out for play. I was cast and realized that I enjoyed acting.
I decided I was going to turn that new passion into something that better suited me. Despite what my wife tells me, I am not a great singer. Being the star of a Broadway musical sadly wasn’t my destiny. So I decided I was going to write, direct, and act in my own projects. Those started with horror movies, as every teen movie director does. I made a few short films, even went to a festival and got my name in the newspaper under the headline of “Teen Movie Maker.”
I was unstoppable; I might have also been ahead of my time. In 2007-ish, I decided was going to take the internet by storm with a short-form web series, basically streaming before there was streaming as I like to say. It was “Wildly unsuccessful” and was responsible for my first real soul-crushing creative defeat.
So when RDVG first began as an idea, my goto thought was a campy teen vampire movie. And the first few pages of the screenplay I wrote for it reflect that sentiment to an embarrassing degree. That didn’t stop me and my coworkers/friends from joking about making it.
As a side note to those with creative friends:
Here are some words of advice, if you ever have a friend who is really into movies and says they are going to write and film their own movie and asks you to be in it.
Always say yes.
First of all, be a good friend. More importantly...that movie is never going to get made. I am living repeated proof of that. If I had a dollar for every movie or show, I wanted to make and film, I would have enough to actually make or film those same projects.
Reality often gets in the way of dreamers, but always encourage. Always support. Always say yes. We need to hear it.
As you can imagine, there was never a filmed version of RDVG as a campy, teen vampire slasher movie. I eventually wrote a loose first draft as a novel and then sat on that for the better part of a decade. I also briefly toyed around with the idea of turning it into a comic book, and even have drawn several drafts of some of the characters. One of my favorite versions of Regina is posted below.
Again, it just never felt quite right. The book kept calling.
And here is the thing if this gets popular, would it work as a movie. Absolutely. Would it work better as a series, yeah, most definitely.
There is nothing to say I won’t one day decided to write a pilot and ask my friends to be in it. Hopefully, they will say yes, and knowing my track record, they shouldn’t have to worry about actually filming it.
The thing is, though, I sort of see it as a testament to the story. It does work really well across mediums. It also passes the Bechdel test, though not that those should be demanding criteria to meet.
It also never let me forget it. Roller Derby Vampire Girl refused to let me leave it in a google doc, collecting digital dust and destined to be forgotten.
It has kept coming back for the past ten years, demanding to finished and desperate to be read.
In less than six months, I will give it a fighting chance!