Kickstarter Spotlight: RED HILL BILLY

Our latest kickstarter spotlight is on Red Hill Billy, by┬áRobbie Armstrong. Red Hill Billy is in the vain of 80’s monster movies like Monster Squad and Goonies, here is Robbie to tell us more about the project.

Can you briefly tell us what Red Hill Billy is about?
Red Hill Billy is about a class of 10-year-old kids in Northern Ontario who have to defend an old Fire Hall against a horde of demented, slobbering redhill3rabid werewolves. Or get eaten. It pays homage to some of my favorite Amblin movies of the 80’s like Monster Squad and The Goonies.

What about the characters in Red Hill Billy? Other than the lead has anyone stood as as your favorite, have you been surprised by some character you didn’t expect to be drawn too?
I love the Three Daves. I had a lot of friends named Dave growing up, so the idea came to me pretty quick. And then all three stepped up to become heroes in the narrative.

How long have you been working on Red Hill Billy?
The story started percolating in my brain pan about a year ago, and I thought the idea was so awesome that in no time I had the script written.

How did you put the script together? Did you build from an outline, or did you write straight from one scene to the next?
Neither, actually…I wrote all the action ‘beats’ and divided that up into pages and panels. I played with dialogue while I was drawing the characters and then finalized bubbles as a last step.

What led you to bring Red Hill Billy to kickstarter?
I used to work for a smaller publisher (Dreamwave), and they were never interested in my horror comic ideas (as they did mainly Hasbro properties and manga-style books). Then I went to Comic Con and tried to get other publishers interested – no go. So I thought “Do it yourself and Kickstart this baby!”

redhill1This has become a “do it yourself” universe. Do you think indie creators should go straight to doing it themselves, or should they still seek a publisher first.
A Marvel editor recently said “you have to prove yourself first these days to even get the attention of a publisher”. And I agree, doing it yourself tests your resolve.

Is this your first time crowdfunding a comicbook?
Yes it is, and I’m not ashamed to say it is entirely overwhelming. Gulp.

I was overwhelmed myself on my first kickstarter, what has popped up so far that you weren’t expecting?
That’s a good question. I think in my mind it was going to be easier to get the word out but it’s a constant hustle. Every day you need to be thinking outside the box in order to maximize the reach to your target audience.

Do you think some of these unexpected items might delay you?
It might, but I’m going to be an optimist and say no, it won’t delay me!

What Role do you play in putting Red Hill Billy together?
I am the creator, writer, illustrator, and editor of Red Hill Billy.

That is a lot on your plate. Where do you find the time to get all of this done and still have a normal life?
You give up on a ‘normal’ life when you chase your dreams. That being said, I have reprioritized my time to fit it all in (and it also helps to have the most supportive wife to help pick up my slack).

Can you tell us a little bit about the others involved in Red Hill Billy?
My colorist, Sig Torre, applied with many other people for the colorist position. I had worked with him before at Dreamwave, but I told him he wouldredhill2 have to do a test page like everybody else. He KILLED it (pun fully intended). He’s penciled books in the past for Dreamwave and has worked on multiple projects for DC as a colorist.

Do you think Kickstarter is helping the independent creator, hurting them, or not doing anything at all?
I think Kickstarter can be a terrific way of getting “quirky” projects off the ground. You can organically grow a fan base and learn as you go about the in’s and out’s of publishing. Or fail crash and burn spectacularly.

Have you thought of what you’d do if you crash and burn? (Hopefully you don’t)
Not really, but I guess take some time off to lick my wounds and then try something else. Life is all about trying…and being crazy enough to believe it will all work out.

If you had a choice would you rather keep on using Kickstarter or would you rather be in Previews catalog?
Neither. My ideal would be to have a digital presence with digital comics and a small print run sold straight from the Groovydead website directly to our fans. That being said, if Diamond called me and asked to carry it, I would be a fool to say no.

Do you have plans to do another kickstarter for Red Hill Billy in the future, or is there another project in the works?
Right now, it’s all Red Hill Billy tunnel-vision. I can’t see past the Kickstarter, I am putting every drop of energy and free time into ensuring this project is the success I really believe it can be. There has been some interest from a few production companies in the development of Red Hill Billy…but I’m not even thinking about that yet.

Of all the rewards you have up, which is your favorite?
My personal favorite is the Groovydead Productions “Candy Skull” t-shirt reward. I can’t wait to print those bad boys – EVERYBODY has been asking about them.

redhill4What have you done so far to make Red Hill Billy stand out from other crowdfunding projects?
I have done some cross-promotion with two horror authors: Peter Clines (Ex-Heroes) and Nick Cutter (The Troop) who are fans of my artwork. I have also been trying from the very beginning to secure the very best talent to lend their skills to everything from video direction to the contributed art (Alvin Lee, Kalman Andrasofsky, Joe Ng, Ramil Sunga). My goal was to leave absolutely nothing on the table, and so far – so good.

Once the kickstarter for Red Hill Billy is over, and you’ve shipped out all of your rewards, what is your next step? Do you wind down, work on something else, feel satisfied and leave comic books alone?
The day I finish shipping all of the rewards I start penciling Red Hill Billy Part 2. This has been my life-long dream, and I’m very excited to see it all happening…

Will you be hitting any conventions with Red Hill Billy.
Right now Groovydead Productions will be at FanExpo in Toronto September 3rd-7th! Other convention appearances TBA!

If someone doesn’t find out about Red Hill Billy before the kickstarter is over where can they find it?
Any and all merchandise will be available on starting in September. They can also grab one from me at Fanexpo in Toronto and i will hopefully get them in some stores in the fall!

Before we go, where else can people reach out to you?
Groovydead Productions on Facebook
@groovydeadone on twitter
groovydeadone on instagram
or they can hit up the company inbox any ole time at!!

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