Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation! Today I am joined by Zen Davis who is here to talk about his first Kickstarter project ASYLUM 33D. Thank you for joining us today Zen.
Hello James. How’s your day?
My name is Zen and I’m a writer attempting to self-publish his first novel, “Asylum 33D”, through Kickstarter. I recently graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Political Science and am preparing to take the LSAT later this year. I’ve worked in the past on “EvoCreo”, a monster hunting game also funded on Kickstarter, and am helping part time with another couple of games projects slated for Kickstarter.
It’s a pleasure to meet you and your community.
We’re glad you joined us. ASYLUM 33D is definitely something I’d normally not check out as someone who is not a fan of the genre, so thank you for reaching out to start this conversation. Could you tell us about the project?
Asylum 33D is a horror novel that tells the legend of a twenty story underground insane asylum where thirty three inmates perished and now haunt the grounds as ghosts. Ethan is convinced by his younger brother, Corey, to visit the asylum, only to find himself attacked by an unseen entity. He wakes up on the lowest floor of the facility and must climb back up to the entrance before his batteries die, saving the others as he finds them, and dodging the insane and violent ghosts that still haunt Asylum 33D.
The story is setup like a horror version of Bruce Lee's "Game of Death", where each new floor the teenagers climb presents more terrifying and dangerous ghosts than the floor before it. The entrance to each new floor will be preceded by the history of the ghost(s) haunting that floor, and the mental illnesses' they suffered from when they were alive. The mental illnesses will then correlate back with the actions of the ghosts, and tie everything together.
The thing that really drew me to the story of “Asylum 33D” was this idea of playing with new depictions of what makes a ghost a ghost. I’m also really quite excited by the different interpretation of how illnesses like schizophrenia can manifest themselves in supernatural entities. I don’t know of anything that approached ghosts from such an angle and I became really quite enthusiastic to explore all the possibilities.
I’m curious. What about the genre holds you back you from being a fan?
Just not a fan of being scared in general, I’m perfectly fine with the normal horrors of reality. You seem to have high hopes for Asylum not only as a novel, but as a whole range of products, would you explain your plan and follow up projects?
I knew from the start that I wanted to present “Asylum 33D” as a part of a larger vision. As a creator, that was very important to me. I believe the concept of “Asylum 33D” can work as a novel, a graphic novel, or a video game. But for a backer, when an author says, ‘We’re going to have an art book, and then a graphic novel, followed by a videogame”, it makes it really easy to call bullshit. I needed a plan.
I knew I could write. But for me to have any credibility beyond that, I needed people involved in “Asylum 33D” who could prove that the concept would shine no matter what the creative light it was presented in. As an example, the clown you see above; I’m under no illusion that it’s probably responsible for 85% of all funding we’ve received thus far. And that’s no accident.
I spoke with nearly one hundred artists before deciding on Nicolas Chapuis to create the Clown Ghost. The end result isn’t just a cool monster that helps sell the novel though, but a proof of concept that makes the promise of an awesome art book, or graphic novel, much more believable. The same is true for every other stretch goal. We have a crew of top-notch talent throwing their name into the ring to bring “Asylum 33D” to life in a variety of different ways. Nicolas, in particular, is an absolute diamond. I’m surprised he isn’t a bigger name.
The plan has always been to complete the novel first. That will be our bible going forward. Every progressive project: the art book, graphic novel, and visual novel – will not only build off the novel but build towards the videogame. A videogame is a huge endeavor requiring a lot of financial capital. However, by monetizing each step of the production cycle: the story becoming a novel, the concept art becoming a graphic and visual novel – we would be able become a self-reliant team sooner rather than later. This self-reliance will allow us to generate additional capital to invest in things like artificial intelligence, online multiplayer, and additional development time to emphasize our scares and make the best possible game we can without having to sacrifice anything.