Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

THE NEXT DAY Interview Series: Part 3, with Jason Gilmore (Co-Writer and Interactive Director)

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The Next Day Team

This continues an ongoing series of weekly interviews with the creative team behind the newly released graphic novella and forthcoming interactive animated documentary, The Next Day.

This week we'll hear from Co-Writer and Interactive Director Jason Gilmore. The interview series started with Producer and Publisher, Alex Jansen, and last week we spoke with the book's Co-Writer, Paul Peterson. Next we'll conclude the series with Illustrator and indie-comics pioneer John Porcellino ("Porcellino creates some of the most thoughtful, intelligent and beautiful comix in America" - Time Magazine).

The Next Day is both a groundbreaking print graphic novella and interactive animated documentary online, each constructed from intimate interviews with survivors of near-fatal suicide attempts. In this poetic and profound philosophical exploration, four seemingly ordinary people each offer haunting personal insight into life, the decision to end it and what comes after...

The graphic novella is produced and published by Pop Sandbox, the award-winning company behind KENK: A Graphic Portrait. It is available in May. The interactive experience is a co-production with the National Film Board of Canada in association with TVO as part of the NFB-TVO Calling Card Program. It will launch online at nfb.ca/thenextday and tvo.org/thenextday nearer early June. For more information visit www.thenextday.ca

Open Book: Toronto:

What first attracted you to this project?

Jason Gilmore:

The minute I heard the premise, I was emotionally hooked. The number of people that die by suicide every year is staggering, yet it's a topic that is scarcely discussed or explored, and that was personally intriguing to me. I was personally intrigued by the idea of exploring the nature of life through people who had at one point chosen to end it; all the people we spoke to are only alive today despite fullest intentions otherwise.

(According to the World Health Organization, suicide rates have increased by 60 percent worldwide in the last 45 years. An estimated one million people die from suicide every year — the equivalent of one death every 40 seconds; these figures do not include suicide attempts, which are thought to be more than 20 times more frequent than completed suicide.)

OBT:

You co-wrote the graphic novella and directed the interactive experience, how would you describe the relationship between the two (Alex Jansen, Producer/Publisher, previously explained that neither is an adaptation and both developed simultaneously)?

JG:

The graphic novella and the interactive documentary are really two branches that grew from the same tree. Although built from the same source interviews, and utilizing the same visual approach based on John Porcellino's minimalist illustration, neither project is an adaptation of the other. Instead, the two pieces compliment each other while still standing alone as distinct experiences.

OBT:

Did you approach both quite differently?

JG:

Because of their different mediums, each project required a completely different approach. For the book, I provided John [Porcellino, Illustrator] with an actual script, which featured a panel-by-panel breakdown of the imagery and dialogue for each page — including representational illustrations of the four participants. The interactive documentary, on the other hand, never shows any of the people. Instead, it's a much more immersive audio-based experience, taking the user on a subtly haunting walk through an empty house as a raging thunderstorm builds outside. The metaphor of the lonely house and building storm is a consistent thread throughout both projects, tying them together thematically.




This series of interviews will continue next week with The Next Day's Illustrator John Porcellino


Jason Gilmore is a Toronto-based filmmaker, illustrator and graphic designer. Graduating from the Film Studies program at Queen’s University in 2003, Gilmore founded Urgency Company, an independent post-production/design boutique. He has worked on a wide array of projects, including music videos, trailers, documentary projects, t-shirt, poster and DVD package design. Most recently, Gilmore was the filmmaker and designer for KENK: A Graphic Portrait.

For more information about The Next Day please visit the Pop Sandbox website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Images courtesy of Pop Sandbox. Click on the illustrations for a better look. (The images can be further enlarged by clicking on the icon with four arrows that will appear.)

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