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October 9, 2012

Touring the Cosmos: Interview with Paul J. Salamoff

Last time we spoke to Paul J. Salamoff, we discussed his brand new (at the time) OGN Discord. We also spoke about his love for sci-fi, some of his favorite stories and characters, and of course his long and illustrious career within the film and television industry. While Discord was just being released at the time, Paul also had plenty of new work on the horizon. Today we will take a trip through the cosmos with Paul, and talk with him about what he has been up to over the last year.


ComicAttack: Hey Paul! Hope this last year or so has been treating you well. Looks like you have been busy!

Paul J. Salamoff: That is an understatement. I always joke that my life is spinning plates and right now I’ve got about 12 pates in the air spinning like crazy!!!

ComicAttack: You were recently put on the “Young and Hungry List,” which is a shortlist for up and comers in the Hollywood industry. We want to congratulate you for all of your hard work, you are creating a lot of buzz around yourself. Tell us a bit about this list.

Paul J. Salamoff: It came as a complete surprise to me. I think the first word that comes to mind is “Validation”. Sometimes you get to the point where you think you’re just not getting noticed or that only a few people have actually read your scripts, so to not only finds out that people have been reading your scripts, but have really liked them as well is quite a boost.

From what I understand Executives, Agents and Managers vote the list on. What was interesting is that two of my scripts were listed. IT made sense to me to see my spec IN A WORLD… on the list because it’s my most recent and it went out really wide, but the other was THE LAST BREATH, which is an older script that only went out to select Production companies. So the implication there as I see it, is that THE LAST BREATH got passed around and whoever was reading it liked it.

CA: The project that put you on the “Young and Hungry List,” is called “The Last Breath.” Want to tell us a bit about this?

PS: The Last Breath is a project near and dear to me because I’ve really tried to approach horror in a unique way. Because of the list it recently sold to producers Eric Gitter (Scott Pilgrim vs The World) and Peter Schwerin (Scary Movie 1 & 2) at Chickie The Cop Entertainment.

I got the inspiration for the story from an article I read in the newspaper years ago about complete strangers in Japan who were meeting over the Internet and forming suicide pacts. It was such a horrific idea and certainly lent itself to a supernatural approach.

But I don’t want you to think that this is another J-horror movie. It’s not that at all, It’s about a girl who is simply lost and she thinks that her only choice is suicide, but when she comes to realize that she truly wants to live, she discovers that others might die because of it. It also deals with father-daughter relationships as well as burgeoning sexuality.

It lends itself more to the writings of Clive Barker and the films of David Cronenberg and is very character driven.

Here is the official synopsis of The Last Breath:

The only survivor from a failed Internet suicide pact, teenager Lindsey Reynolds is soon haunted by a vengeful supernatural entity that demands her death or others will die. As a plague of random suicides grips the city, Lindsey begins to wonder if she’s the cause or are there other forces at play?

CA: That is a pretty unique story to draw some inspiration from! Some of the best horror tales are the stories that can almost be true. Is this more of an “in your face” horror story or something a little more psychological?

PS: It’s definitely something more psychological and character based but the horror elements are really extreme like something you’d see in an Italian horror film. The story really draws from a lot of horror inspirations including what made Hammer films such a success. The last thing I want Last Breath to be is run of the mill, I want it to haunt you and get under your skin.

CA: As we know, this isn’t your first venture into the film industry. You have over 20 years of experience in various departments. I’m assuming a culmination of this experience led to the making of ON THE SET: The Hidden Rules of Movie Making Etiquette, which is due for a release of its 3rd edition. What would a reader get out of checking this book out, and why the 3rd edition?

PS: After working on film sets for years as a make-up FX artist I realized that I had to know all these things about other departments that I wasn’t taught. I was just expected to know them. There’s also all these rules of Etiquette for each department that you better be aware of too unless you enjoy being yelled at all the time.

I realized that there wasn’t a book like that on the shelves only books about specific departments. So I compiled information while working on various films and decided to start interviewing the people in the different departments to discover how they got started and kept going. There were so many interesting stories that I added a section in each department called “Advice from the Experts” and collected over 70 interviews for the first and second editions

The 3rd Edition adds over 50 pages to the book and almost 20 new interviews from such big names as Bryan Singer, Dustin Lance Black, Pen Densham, Richard H. Kline, Greg Nicotero, Patrick Tatopoulos, Andre Royo to name only a few. There’s also a brand new introduction where I discuss my journey in the industry.

CA: There are quite a few other industry professionals that lent their advice to OTS. What was it like getting tips from and working with so many different people?

PS: What’s fascinating to me is that everyone has an interesting story about how they got their first job and none of them are conventional. I think that’s what makes the book special. We have been lead to believe that there is only one way to make it in the business and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s the people who really put themselves out there and took unconventional risks that really succeed. There are no rules and once you accept that then you can figure out how to make your own.


CA: You told us a bit about an upcoming novel you had, The Silent Planet. Any news regarding its release?

PS: The Silent Planet is currently available on Amazon and has been selling quite well at my signings. It’s getting a slow release because there has already been a lot of interest in a feature film version and it ‘s looking like it might be better to coincide a wide release with (hopefully) some future announcements of a film version. A graphic novel adaptation of The Silent Planet is also in the works.

CA: Now last time we spoke about Discord, I had asked about some future work spotlighting the other members of Team War Hammer. Flash forward a year, and it seems as though this project is well off the ground. Tell us a bit about the process and the success of the Kickstarter project.

PS: Of all the projects that I have worked on in my career, Discord is by far my proudest achievement. It’s the story of a superhero team whose spaceship crash on an alien planet, leaving them all dead and dismembered. One of the heroes finds himself reassembled and resurrected by the indigenous aliens, using the body parts of the rest of his team and their enemy.

As he deals with the grief of losing his friends as well as his own identity, he must also come to terms with not just who, but what he is. It explores the themes of self and the loss of identity, and deals seriously with the issues of love, friendship and family and how these can be torn apart by despair and self-loathing. It also examines what it means to be a hero both as a member of a team as well as an individual. In so dealing with the thin line between good and evil.

Getting the chance to expand the universe with the 5-part prequel series, Tales of Discord is more exciting than you can imagine.

Each prequel focuses on individual members of Team War Hammer before the tragedy. They are not origin stories, they are more like character dramas where you really get into the heads of the different team members and why they are who they are.

This also gives me an incredible opportunity to lay the groundwork for things that are going to pay-off in the sequel to DISCORD which is currently in the works and is going to knock people’s socks off.

CA: There are a few different artists attached to Tales of Discord. Why the choice to have a different artist for each installment?

PS: It was both an Artistic and pragmatic decision. Artistically I wanted each hero to have their own feel. I thought that would be unique and special. Giuseppe D’Elia, the original DISCORD artist is drawing all the present day scenes in all the books so it retains an artistic continuity but the flashbacks are the different artists.

From a practical standpoint, I can have 5 artists working simultaneously and get the book done faster and it also doesn’t overburden Giuseppe who I need available to work on DISCORD – Part 2.

I am extremely lucky to be working with a team of exceptional artists which includes Diego Molano, Roy Huetson, Ángel Hernández, Miguel Jorge and Martin Simmonds. I couldn’t be happier how each of these issues is coming out.

CA: Do you have a particular character that you’re attached to, or prefer to work on?

PS: I thought I did. I really adore Iridian, but as I worked on the others they became my favorites as well. They all feel like my children and even though they’re all so different they each have something to love. I guess I’m lucky that they’re all one character now (aka DISCORD), so I can love them all in a single package.

CA: Paul! Thank you so much for your time. It’s easy to feel all of the passion you have for your creations, and as always we wish you luck!

PS: It’s my pleasure. I appreciate your continued support and look forward to keeping you up to date on my future projects.

The Silent Planet Trailer
Tales of Discord Trailer

Mike Parente



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