When I started this blog at the end of July I thought that I’d be writing about models I painted, a scenario or two, have a bit of a moan about a gaming injustice or two, and maybe get to do the odd game review. I didn’t think that I’d be interviewing the creator of The Lord Inquisitor, a CGI short set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Yet here I am, staring down the barrel of a two-part interview with that very person.
TSC: Erasmus thanks for agreeing to chat with me. For those that don’t know you, tell us a little bit about yourself?
E: Sure, my name is Erasmus Brosdau, I’m 26, and live in the North of Germany. I learned everything about 2D, 3D, Composition, Music, etc by myself and got a job as a 3D artist with 22. During that time I worked 8 to 10 hours professional and continued my private CG things in the nights and evenings whilst my girlfriend was asleep. The big project before Lordi was a video about the Audi R8, which you can watch on my homepage http://www.destrega.de. This took me around half a year to create, not to mention the render times, but I learned a lot from it. I also do a lot of music related things, but writing all about my creative hobbies would take way too much space here, so let’s say I’m really addicted to CG and spend all my free time with my girl or my computer.
TSC: Sounds much like myself. What gave you the idea in the first place to begin such an ambitious project?
E: I always have to do ambitious projects in my free time, otherwise I feel uncomfortable. After I finished the Audi video I thought ‘Ok, what’s next?’ and by this point my brother had infected me with his passion for 40k. So I really was into the whole atmosphere, story and so on. I quickly recognized that there were a ton of fantastic 2D images, but almost no CG related images – at least no good quality ones. So I decided to create a short movie about 40k to show its grim and dark atmosphere. It was my brother who suggested I focus on the Inquisition, so I opened up Lexicanum.com, had a look at famous Inquisitors and quickly decided on Torquemada Coteaz to be the main character. I wanted to spend the next two years with the project, but it now seems that it will take 3 years probably.
TSC: You said your brother pointed you towards the Inquisition, but with the 40k Universe being so fast and rich, how did decide that was the right way to go?
E: My main intention was not to make an animation about Ultramarines – don’t get me wrong they are really cool but they are displayed so often. I wanted to show something that hadn’t been done. As I said my brother had the great idea to show the Inquisition, and I thought they are really a good choice for a movie, as they have much influence within the Imperium.
TSC: The film focusses on the imposing Inquisitor Coteaz, Protector of the Formosa Sector. Can you tell us a little bit about the plot?
E: The story seems very easy to overlook at first, (TSC: As was evident in the Ultramarines Movie) but there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes, that he discovers more and more as he follows the trail to the root of all evil. It all starts with the Imperial Guard finding an artefact of unknown origin on a distant planet. Believing it to be of xenos origin they have it send to the Ordo Xenos sector headquarters. When the ship carrying the supposed alien artefact is destroyed by Chaos forces an already sceptical Torquemada Coteaz gets involved. He does not believe artefact destroyed and assumes the influence of Chaos. However the extent of the corruption is staggering into him.
TSC: Sounds awesome. Dealing with such a detailed universe, did you get any advice or guidance along the way to keep the look and feel authentically ’40k’?
E: Yes, it was important to me to reach all the fans of the Warhammer 40k universe, so I created a blog and later a website where everyone now can post comments without registrations and so on. This way I receive a lot of positive and motivating feedback and often lots of constructive ideas and advice. I can’t know everything about Warhammer 40.000, so I’m always happy when someone says ‘Hey, this is not right.’ or ‘Have you tried it this way?’ when I really made some errors to the 40k franchise. I think this is something the official site should have taken more care of, they had a comments section, but never replied to fans and eventually disabled comments. Maybe this is something that makes The Lord Inquisitor so special, as you can write me comments and I will go through them all and see if I can bring those ideas in – so this project includes the whole community.
TSC: So a movie for fans by fans. Which brings me smoothly on to what kind of visual treats can we expect from the film, am I right in saying we can expect to see Grey Knights?
E: Yes! Torquemada will be supported by a group of Grey Knight Terminators and also a heavy vehicle support which includes a GreyKnight strike cruiser, Landraiders, Thunderhawks and a custom dropship for Torquemada which I designed by myself. And of course the whole atmosphere and the aspect of violence and gore will be a visual highlight too.
TSC: If you’re not elbow deep in blood and guts you’re not doing 40k! Judging from the clips on your website, the film is going to be epic and it’s fair to say puts the Ultramarines Movie to shame and there’s only 5 of you working on it. How many people hours have gone into it so far, and how many left to go?
E: Well that’s hard to say as I don’t count the hours exactly, but basically it’s like this: I created 95% of this movie on my own and have some people supporting me with modeling (vehicles and props etc). Also I was lucky to make a friend who takes care of all the website which is really time-consuming and I have no idea how that all works. But most of the modeling stage is done and I’m very thankful to the people who helped, as it would have taken me so long to create the Thunderhawks and so on as well by myself. However there is still a lot of work to do, especially shading, lighting, animation and post production, which I do completely alone. Combined with the aim to create the graphics as cool as possible this can take some time. But to come back to the question – I have my core team of 4 people (for CG) who try to create things as fast as possible in their free time. Reliability is very important to me, so some people had to leave this project already, as their progress was really too slow and I was faster creating it by myself. Right now for the Trailer I’ll do everything alone, but once this is done I’m sure I will have more to do. I’d really like to get some support from a rigging artist and animators by the way if anyone is interested?
TSC: The Games Workshop is known for protecting their IP quite vehemently and other similar projects have been shut down. What was the process like approaching them for permission to see The LordI through to completion and beyond?
E: When I started this project I had no idea about this IP thing of Games Workshop. I discovered that 6 months into the Lordi. However, it is true that films are forbidden, but their policy allows animations. Obviously it is hard to say what is a movie and what is an animation, but I see all computer animated elements as animations, so I regard The Lord Inquisitor as ‘legal’. Also GW is aware of the project and haven’t made contact – so I continue.
TSC: No news is good news. Now, the trailer is coming out 11.11.11 which I’m dead excited about seeing, but when will the finished product be released and what’s the estimated run time?
E: The whole animation should last around 20 minutes and can be expected in 2013. Sadly, as I am a one man army, I can’t make this any longer, otherwise it will take the rest of my life… I wish things were different, but Lordi can only be longer if GW makes it official, which is rather unrealistic.
TSC: And presumably give it financial backing too. Finally, what suggestions or advice would you give to any budding writer or film maker wanting to embark on a similar project?
E: Well, this all about passion. Were I not so focused on creating 3D characters, scenes and so on, this amount of work would have killed me already and stopped this project. And because the project requires a lot of research and I’m tackling it on my own, it would make a lot of people stop before they even get started. But as you might think, Lordi wasn’t my first project, I have been creative my whole life and I’ve been doing 3D for around 8 years now. Having high aims and to be inspired by other 3D artists, movies, etc is really the way to go and to become better and better every day. Start with small projects which you can finish and then make every project a bit bigger. You’ll need all the experience in the next project you create. Of course I have some plans already what I will do next once Lordi is finished, but I won’t tell for now. So practice and endurance is the key to create projects like The Lord Inquisitor.
TSC: Erasmus, thank you very much and keep up the good work.
The trailer for The Lord Inquisitor will be out on 11.11.11 after which Erasmus will join me again to go over some of the content and hopefully reveal a little bit more what Inquisitor Coteaz and his Grey Knights will be up against.