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Friday, November 4, 2011

Divine: the Series Wrapping up Pilot Program

Todd Jepperson

On Sunday, November 6, Divine: the Series will wrap up its six episode “Pilot Program.” These first six episodes were designed to introduce the plot, characters, and revolutionary modus operandi to the millions us out here in the WWW who enjoy the dark, complex, and supernatural side of viewership enjoyment. Their mission was simple: turn mainstream media on its head. Now, at the end of the beginning, we have a new chance to either take this thing to the next level; or sit idly by and watch it lumber its last moments in agony; until rigor and rot destroy all traces of the project.

We had the opportunity to pre-view episode six, entitled: “The Lips of Men,” but before we get into that, let’s go back a few weeks to where this all began. During high school, creator Ivan Hayden had an idea that wouldn’t be put to bed. Some years later, Ivan met up with Kirk Jaques and together they were able to further develop the concept and story arc into something neither man could discard. They then met up with producer Jason Fischer and Divine: the series was born.

With an enthralling composure and one-of-a-kind vision, they set out to make this thing the best of its kind. What kind it was, exactly, they didn’t know. They did know that they had a viable product on their hands and they set out to see where Divine would fit best in the industry. Considering their non-linear plot, barefaced Christian subject matter, and edgy feel they’d designed, it was decided that the internet would provide the best outlet. This allowed them total creative control of the project. There were no corners cut to meet market demographics. They didn’t water the show down to get a bigger budget. They kept it just as Ivan and Kirk had envisioned it. Divine is action, horror, suspense, violence, language, gore and everything else it should be.

From its outset, Divine has been a social media machine. The creators and contributors monitor their outlets daily to make absolutely sure they’re accessible to their fans as often as possible. Their Facebook has over five-thousand active fans from all over the world. Their Twitter is crawling with activity every single hour from the over four-thousand followers and we have the opportunity to jump on board while this thing is still in infancy.

We’ve been in contact with Ivan, series creator for the past several weeks, and this is what he had to say about his progeny so far:

Thanks, Ivan, for taking a moment to talk to us about Divine. It’s refreshing to see the way you approach social media as a way to get your fans in on the action.

We brought the fans in almost at day one. This was very risky, to get people behind a product without them having even the slightest glimmer of the product, because it sets you up for massive let down and outright revolt if they don't like what they ultimately see. However, in our effort to Convert the World to a better way, the viewer coming on board and getting a voice in what they are to watch is part of our Maple Blood proposal. For the studio it lowers risk while building a fan base at the same time... Did I get off topic?... I do tend to try to get people to drink the koolaid with me. Sorry.

So, Divine started as a comic back in your younger days, can you briefly describe its origins?

Well there were two separate comic iterations actually.

Back when I was a teen; [I was] bored, disenfranchised, a dreamer. I was raised High-Anglican. There were a lot of questions I had about what I was told was a fact when at school I was told a whole other set of fantastical things to accept as fact. The thing was, I would never personally verify any of it. I'll never actually see the Earth going around the Sun, or see a molecule or know who or what God is until I am no longer the me I know. Comics, Fantasy, Movies, Sci-Fi, were all escapes for my troubled youth and writing and drawing were how I worked through my mental frustrations and not all biblical.

Divine is a very deep, very complicated and emotional creature; just as I felt I was. He's flawed and he knows it (not unlike me), but he is what he is and, he believes what he believes regardless of other stimulus. Really all we can do is follow what we feel is right. Divine is actually one of 3 religious based comic / graphic novel stories I dreamed up but never did anything with as a kid.

The second iteration was when Kirk and I started talking the modern story of Divine; the one visible at our website. We came up with a "5 years before Divine: The Series" prequel. With Deacon Jim, Jin, and Divine but well before Father Andrew or Father Christopher. It's quite a cool tale actually and we had hoped to release prior to the webseries. We actually had some art work done by a friend of ours, but quickly we realized that we didn't know what we were doing and in an effort to Convert the World with webseries shelved it until we were on firmer footing or had greater support.

Now the series is out. We’ve got five episodes live and one on the horizon; so now, how can we help?

The web is a brave new world, one where you are the marketers. Get out there and talk. Use your voice whatever that voice is. Make Fan pages. Fan art. Plaster Divine pictures or posters on forums and boards. Critique, talk about what you like. What you hate…If you want to have a voice, you have to use it. And because the internet is so new for business, right now, they are listening. They watch hits. They follow trends and try to recreate them. Watch the show and if you see articles or press, post a comment and let them know you like Divine. If you didn't, tell them that you like Maple Blood or that you don't want commercials stuck in front of videos you are about to watch. The more sites see reaction the more stories on a topic they'll post.

Okay Ivan, it's post apocalypse, and we've been attacked by Zombies. Sadly,you were bitten. Do we leave you alone and let the virus run its course; or, would you prefer us to quiet the plague within you and put you out of your misery?

Kill me or I'll eat your brains first!!!

It’s your call, but because we’re such good friends, we’re going to create an Ivan Hayden collectible to remember you by. If you could design the perfect action figure which would it be; Zombie, or Survivor? What accessories would you come with?

A small quick scruffy dog with a good nose, great ears, sharp eyes and an ability to quickly get in and out of tight spaces. A Tommy gun with a drum clip or a shot gun with large scatter shot. A Katana. And a riding mace strapped to my hip. I sport motorcycle plated jean pants, a gray high collar leather jacket, a trench-coat with pockets galore, wrap around shades and a bikers carbon fiber scull cap helmet. We ride in my black challenger till that gas runs out, then we ride anything big and fast that moves.

Folks, that's Ivan Hayden. The man has a grand vision he wants to share with all of us. Let's get in that black Challenger and stick with it 'til the fuel runs out. In closing, recognize that Divine isn’t for everyone. Feedback has been mostly raving, but there have been detractors. Mostly, the reason people are turned off by this is the deeply Christian setting through which the plot unfolds. If the topic of deity is something you’d rather not confront, take a look and walk away if it displeases you. If you can comfortably digest faith and conviction and want to witness the birth of an innovative shift in the way we view television, take a seat and watch the five available episodes before you catch the premier of “The Lips of Men;” 11:00 AM this Sunday. New questions will arise, and we’ll get just a glimpse of what’s going on behind the eyes of Divine as he wades through the ages dispatching evil and labors under the weight of the task.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic interview and commentary! Definitely ramping up the desire to watch the episode! I hear from a couple of little birdies that Ivan is even torturing the cast of Divine: The Series by not having let any of them see episode 6 yet (I refuse to call it the final episode of anything because I will be very disappointed if we don't get more Divine!).


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