Archangel: A Deed Without a Name

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Archangel is a web TV series produced by Scott Torwalt which is currently in pre-production in Canada. It centres around the archangel Michael as he hunts down demons and eliminates them. Set against the backdrop of the battle for he future of humanity, it spans large areas of time and geography. I came to his attention through my amateur filmmaking efforts in conjunction with Nick Cook who produces a Star Trek fan film series - Intrepid - in which I often direct and/or do the roles of camera operator and offline editing.

Nick was commissioned to write a couple of vignettes for the new series, taking place before Season One and intended to showcase the production. I managed to trump even that by being offered the chance to write a prequel taking place even before the vignettes. The prequel was to be in the form of a comic and, since I was a longtime fan of British comic 2000AD and something of a wannabe comic script writer, I put my hand up and volunteered.

Over the next few months I created a virtual pile of notes for myself, even writing screeds on the nature of good and evil and how ultimate judgement might work, in the context of the story.

I offered up a treatment for which I got only a few change notes, which formed the template for the script. I wrote that over the summer, mainly getting up at 4am to give me distraction-free time before going into work. Satisfyingly the comments amounted to the change of only a couple of lines.

A outdoor performance of Macbeth on Inchcolm Island in the middle of the Firth of Forth gave me the inspiration for the title. What are the witches in Macbeth doing? “A deed without a name.” And then it was all about turning the treatment into a script.

I turned to Org-Mode, a mode which could be added to the programmers editor Emacs. These days I do everything with Scrivener but at the time I was certain my ultimate writing system was going to be something I built out of Emacs plus a plethora of modes. Formatting it wasn’t a problem since there was no standard comic script format. Whatever I came up with would be OK. Org-Mode could process the text into something which resembled a script, with the addition of a CSS stylesheet. (I used to do programming in my day job. You can tell, right?)

Our artist, Bryan Sevilla, was found on Deviant Art and, after some character design work, soon started delivering crisp pages.

To smooth the whole production process I volunteered to do the lettering. On the one hand it was an excuse to buy some new software - in this case Manga Studio - and on the other I reasoned that if I was lettering, then I could easily make changes to the script and dialogue, if necessary, without going through an endless chain of emails. Subject to final approval of course.

As of early 2018 the line art is complete and Bryan is delivering colour versions of the pages. We would appear to be ready to court a publisher.

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