The Hallway Project
- February 17, 2022 by John Freeman
Greetings everyone! Welcome to my first blog post of 2022! First, I will catch you all up on some of my personal goals this year.
Jumping right into those, well I started college classes at Santa Barbara City College after a long break from not doing any college courses. The last time I took classes was in 2018, when I lived in Aurora, Colorado. My big goal is to transfer to University of Santa Barbara in two years to complete their Master’s program for Creative Writing-Professional.
I also plan to finish a sci-fi short story script with Crizam Zamora as the artist(more to come on this later!) and also another one-shot. Realistically that other one-shot may be one of my last few one-shots I produce, as I will be doing complete graphic novels after I finish my 2023 one-shot and the scripts I mentioned. This year won’t have a comic release from me, but certainly a lot of things are getting produced!
Onto the topic at hand today. I want to speak about one of my earlier projects that never quite lifted off the ground. I always find that crafting the atmosphere and world of a new story being extremely fascinating. You might of previously read my blog post about my first comic project titled Graves here and how that tale came to be and inevitably fail. Today I will speak about the smaller project that I was focused on making after I stopped work on Graves.
In 2015, I conceived the idea of a comic book taking place inside a Victorian hotel in modern times. The hotel is special because it housed paintings in a single hallway that came to life. This was the first horror tale that I ever wrote and I crafted an eight page for it in a short amount of time. The creative process for this one was much like Graves in that I jumpstarted the production of it, while not having the script where I needed it to be. It was written page for page, but wasn’t at the level where I would say it was excellent. I wasn’t able to tell it with the amount of detail and thought process necessary.
I was certainly inspired by paranoia during the scriptwriting process. The story itself begins with a taxi ride and subsequent arrival of the main character to the hotel. Right away through the atmosphere, we get a feeling of uneasiness and strangeness from the hotel interior, something that the main character disregards.
On his way upstairs with the hotel clerk showing him to his room; he witnesses a strange old lady. When on his hotel hallway, he gets a brief of the paintings on the walls. The paintings included the same old lady that was shown earlier, a murderous little girl, a cavalry zombie, a witch killing a man, and my interpretation of devil and his dog in painting form.
Inside his room is when things start to go downhill. Of course, he takes a shower and boom! Jump scare cockroach! These bug jump scares were something I tried to implement in my earlier horror writing and even in the very first draft of Crow Creek. Okay back to the story!, he spies on a woman on the other side of the hotel. Essentially, the hotel has a big square yard in the middle as the image below shows.
He witnesses her being taken and that leads him into an adrenaline induced race across the hotel because all the phones are dead. When he enters the other side of the hotel, all of the paintings that he saw previously begin to manifest in the real world. He enters into rooms one by one and is terrified in each one by the paintings that are coming to life. The room that was probably the most interesting to me was one with a little girl who was very vampiric. It all culminates in him reaching the woman that he saw in danger and she is being momentarily held captive.
Upon reaching the woman’s room, he saves her killing what he thinks is her abductor, but he disappears, as she transforms into the witch from the portrait. She begins a ritual to kill him and as he is lifted in the air, our final panel becomes the portrait on the wall from earlier. and on her hallway is where everything comes to life.
My Old Creative Process
In my earlier stages of writing, I did plenty of sketches and sent them to my artists. I learned over time that doing the sketches took away from the creative output of the artists. I feel that in the back of their mind, they feel the need to not deviate too far from it, effectively reducing their creative output and reducing the collaboration aspect. That sounds like an easy thing to do being melding visions together, but it isn’t quite so.
I think it was a terrific concept and the artist that I hired for it was excellent. I won’t reveal his name, but he was able to evoke that atmosphere that I wanted, but at that stage of writing for myself; I couldn’t convey it as well as nowadays. I found him off the connecting artists & writer Facebook group, believe it or not! Here’s a look at the artwork he did for the first few pages!
The key thing and this goes for not just comics, but I think every situation. Don’t just send your unrealized things to the trash can. It can have use elsewhere and I’ll get into that topic more as I blog about my other failed project(final one that I actually began the creative process past scripting for).
Thanks for taking the time to read about The Hallway. Keep following for my next blog post or interview!