Capturing Creator Sandy King, President of Storm King Productions
With this final interview for my Vault series I bring you the Princess of Darkness herself, Sandy King. She’s a long time producer with experience in art, writing, and photography. One interview isn’t enough to truly capture this woman’s span. It’s funny how some interviews work, I sit down and ask the questions I do and by the time I get my answers, I just have more questions. There are certain people who just have this passion for life that jumps out via their creativity and as you get answers from them you feel their vigor and it’s contagious. I see why the rest of the Vault team speaks so highly of Sandy.
I mentioned in my James Ninness interview that he (James) was the heart of the operation, Sandy King is the clear and distinct leader of the pack. She demonstrates this in our interview by knowing each persons strengths and contributions and doling out that credit accordingly. Communication is key for a group to operate so efficiently but strong leadership is also a must have. That is what I think her largest contribution to Vault is.
For those that don’t know, her partner in crime for many years has been her husband, legendary film director, screenwriter and composer, John Carpenter. Between the two, their creative lives are possibly the most diverse I’ve ever seen. Everything I’ve gathered from my interviews with the creative team of Vault tells me they both share a passion for creating that simply will not be limited to one medium.
Let’s take a look and see what Sandy has to say about her own projects, including Storm King Productions, involvement with Vault and what’s up next for this creator.
What inspired you to start Storm King?
It’s a matter of practicality.
As a producer who develops projects across multiple platforms, it became necessary to have one branded entity for both business and public recognition of purpose. As the way of doing business in Hollywood became more global and executives used the internet to connect instead of the phone, websites and public corporate identities became more important than our faces and handshakes.
Early on, we’d recognized that websites and games and bells and whistles were necessary for fans to follow John and his projects. It took longer for me to accept that Storm King had to be more public for there to be a cross platform signature there as well.
Now I think fans know they can expect the same quality in our movies, TV shows and comics when they see both John’s name and the Storm King logo on their entertainment.
I want to ask what it’s been like to “ride” along with a partner who’s a household name but the fact of the matter is you’re quite achieved yourself. What is it like to be part of (in my opinion) the power couple of the horror genre?
How lucky can one person get? I’ve always been in the arts. In movies, I was trained early on that it’s an art form wherein a team serves one person—the director’s—vision. As a crew person, I had a very specific function to fulfill and as a producer, I serve both the crew and the director to allow them to do their best work. As a comic creator I get to create whole universes, and as a comic publisher and editor I again get to help other creators present their strongest selves.
Power couple? I’m married to one of the most creative, kind and talented men on earth. My life rocks. I couldn’t be happier.
How did you come up with Asylum?
Thomas Ian Griffith had the original idea of a character with a special attribute that the Catholic Church recognizes as The Gift of Discernment. He had the story outline for a priest who had this gift which allowed him to recognize true evil and take it into himself and dissolve it but in so doing would for a period of time would become the incarnation of that evil himself. We had toyed with it as a sort of Jekyll and Hyde story. Thomas and I and later John all worked on the story, building it out and eventually it became the two character arc you find now in the comics. It was really Thomas’s knowledge of the Church and then our work laying the ground for the characters that created the basis for the comic book.
When do you think we’ll see more of that line?
Early next year. I needed a break for the run into the final third arc. And this year our day job in TV and movies heated up and stole some of the writing time I needed. Beckett and Duran will be back, I promise.
When creating, is there a method to your madness ? (ie. Music, setting et c)
I think I just stare into space. I tend to tune out everything around me and get on a roll. It’s an inward move.
What is your role as co-creator in Vault?
John and I created the structure of the series. Vault itself is entirely a creation of its writer, James Ninness. I’m just his editor on this one.
When did you decide that the concept was one that needed to be read or more, what was it about the idea that made you sit up and say- yes, this is the one?
For Vault? This is now our third/fourth project together (He has another story coming in the next Tales for a HalloweeNight anthology as well.) so we have an ongoing creative conversation. Mostly this takes the form of me trying to pry open the top of his head and rummage around in his brain to see what he has cooking that I can convince him to spit out on paper.
When he presented Vault to me it was a fully formed, great story that just needed the right artist to bring it to life.
I’ve often wondered how larger teams, like Vault’s, coordinate to create the symbiosis where the art, the colors, the writing –all line up just right. Vault feels like it could have been created by one person, it’s that unified. How was that achieved?
That’s where comics are like movies. Great teamwork is seamless. James is a good communicator both personally and on the page. He is able to keep up a strong dialogue with his art team through delivery. And our lettering artist is astounding. Janice Chiang is like having a second editor on a book. She communicates constantly with the writer and the art team and myself to keep on top of intent, emphasis and overall story telling as the pages come in. We talk a lot about our Storm King family but our open communication I believe pays off for the reader at the end of the day.
What can you tell me about the next projects you’ve got lined up for yourself and as a collaborator?
Right now I’ve just finished lining up the writing and art teams for the next three years of John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction. It’s a wild experience to have that many teams working mini series at once! I’ve mapped out a kids’ horror comic that I’m trying to convince James to write with me that could be fun. The third volume of the Tales for a HalloweeNight anthology is headed to the printer next week. The first cut of the DVD of John’s music tour from last year is on my desk. I’m executive producing two TV shows at UCP, one of which is Tales for a Halloween Night for SyFy. And the files for NEXT year’s anthology are already starting up…