(This is the fourth in a series profiling WGAW members who are forging into the digital frontier)
(September 6, 2012)
Evette Vargas on the set of Dark Prophet
Evette Vargas has always functioned comfortably in the world of transmedia. She began her career developing videogames (she came into the Guild initially as a Videogame Caucus member) then went on to write interactive content for Madonna.com, Vivendi Universal Games and Warner Bros, among others. So it was natural for Vargas, who has been a Guild member since 2008, to think across platforms four years ago when she conceived of Dark Prophet as a multi-platform franchise for the web, television, film, mobile apps, video games, merchandising, live events, even eComic books. Premiering this Fall as a web series on the Dark Prophet YouTube Channel and on Winnol.com, the sci-fi action thriller encompasses its creator’s fundamental philosophy.
“The excitement for me as a writer and creator is that there are no boundaries,” says Vargas, who created Dark Prophet under the aegis of Digital-Reign Productions, her own signatory company. “I believe that if you’re a storyteller, you can tell a story on just about any platform, once you understand the structure of that platform. I think that puts more power in the hands of the writer and creator. Good storytelling is good storytelling.”
By web standards, Dark Prophet is something of a production extravaganza replete with full-on action and a cast of well-knowns, including Henry Rollins (Sons Of Anarchy), Josh Meyers (That ’70s Show) and Chase Fein (Suburgatory). The series, which is produced, directed and partially funded by Vargas, is also financed through a production award from NBC Universal. Its David-and-Goliath plot centers around a brilliant music student who discovers messages hidden in songs sent from a secret government agency plotting to sabotage the world into war. When the agency finds out they frame him for the murder of his girlfriend, he becomes Dark Prophet and goes on a mission to prove his innocence and, of course, stop the war.
The web premiere of Dark Prophet is the first step in what its creator envisions as a multi-platform franchise. The mobile app is designed, an original song has been produced and the script for the comic book is written. On the TV front, Vargas is also meeting with television executives who have expressed interest.
“Traditional vehicles and resources are drying up and changing,” she says. “But as a storyteller you have the new media space and other roads to explore. If your idea is strong and you’re innovative, you can make your own way. I’m a storyteller. I just want to create content.”
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