Interview with the Vampireby Dan Van Crone
By now we've all seen the new Nosferatu poster. This poster along with the previously released "Jeanette" and the upcoming poster featuring "Ming Xao" were the brain child of Activision's Shane DeFreest. After coming up with the idea it was decided that they had to be done properly. To that end he enlisted renowned illustrator Tim Bradstreet and set about finding models for the posters who would embody not only the ideal image for each of the chosen clans but who were also gamers themselves and would approach this project with a mindset that went beyond it being merely "another job".
Enter Felixx (or "VampiricuS" as he's known on our forums), the model for the Nosferatu poster. He got in touch with me not long after he completed his shoot and he agreed to participate in this interview to give the fans a look behind the curtain at the process of creating a piece of promotional art for a title like this.
We've had to wait quite a while for the poster to emerge but now that its out we can finally speak openly about it.
I hope you all enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed compiling it. Thanks to Felixx for taking the time to talk about his experience with us!
1. Where are you from? Do you model regularly or is it just something on the side that you do when the opportunity presents itself? Do you have any involvement in the Goth scene apart from moonlighting as a vampire for computer games?
I reside in San Diego. You might think beautiful sunny San Diego is terrible place for a vampire. On the contrary southern California is filled with millions of health-conscious fit vibrant individuals that take such good care of themselves with their diets and exercise. Mmmmmmm vegans taste great.
As for my past modeling experience, I never modeled for more than the occasional club photo or for friends who are photographers. I have to admit I really enjoy this. If the chance to do more modeling presented itself I would jump on it. I enjoy dressing up. I was about 16 when I "came out of the coffin". Recently I modeled for Greg Passmore for a book he is working on. That was a lot of fun and the pictures turned out great.
2. Are you a role-player? Were you a fan of V:TM and the WoD prior to this project? Do you play V:TM or have you played Redemption on the PC?
I enjoy a good role-playing game thatís for sure. I have toyed with the first PC version. Iím a gamer in general; I have played and still play a variety of FPS and RPGís since the days of the first Doom and Wolfenstein.
3. How did the job modeling for Bradstreet come up? Do you keep your ear to the ground for opportunities like these or did it just fall in your lap? Were you subjected to any scrutiny to determine your "worthiness"?
A friend forwarded my profile from GothicPersonals.com to Shane. It wasnít difficult for him to get a hold of me to present his idea. He mentioned that he was looking for Vampire models and that I had a unique look that fit what he was looking for. When I found out what I was modeling for I was instantly embraced by the idea. Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, Half Life 2 Engine, Tim Bradstreet; I was honored. Opportunities such as this donít come around often even when youíre presenting yourself for this type of work. The only thing I had to change was that I had to shave my head bald, which turned out to be a good thing. Now I keep the hair very short, Iím told it feels like velvet.
4. How was it working with Bradstreet? How does he operate and how did he get you into the mood for your shoot? What was the atmosphere in his studio like? Were you a fan of his work prior to this job?
I brought to his house a duffle bag with a variety of items and clothing, I wasnít sure what to expect. The atmosphere was very serene and when I shook hands with Tim, thatís when it hit me "how cool is this?" I am touching the hand of an artist, whose work I have admired since I first saw it in the Shadowrun books as a teen.
Before the shoot I researched the game and the character I was to be. Tim also took me into the room where he works his magic, showed me a demo of the game, and how my character behaved. After we picked out what to wear we went into the photo studio where he had all these props hanging on the walls. I recognized many of them from previous work. The studio was set up in such a way that only an artist like Tim could describe. I could go on forever about how great it was to work with him. His concern for my comfort resolved any lingering anxiety. His presence set the mood of the whole shoot. The way he used lighting was simple and perfect. Only an artist of his caliber would understand how the lights from above would cast the shadows he was looking for. This wasnít a simple "Do this - do that" type shoot. During the session itself he stood in a manner that helped me define how a Nossie stood. He motivated me in several ways: the demo, his direction, and just being there.
He told me to just "be" the character. Hell, I even was hissing and in a way transforming. I felt that the only way to make this convincing was to "be" the character. I wasn't embarrassed or shy about it, I couldn't be. After seeing the shots he took, it was like looking into a side of me I never saw, it was quite surprising. I was given the freedom to be a bit creative on my own which was very useful. I was stoked he signed a copy of Maximum Black for me while I was there.
5. How did you feel when you found out that you were going to be a Nosferatu? Would you have preferred to be some other clan?
Shane told me all about the character I was going to be. I am very pleased to portray "Max Schreck". I respect the character and the man of his namesake but I would have been pleased to play any clan. I think I personally differ from the Nosferatu in that I am a very social creature. I enjoy relating to others on a regular basis. When I play the game a second time I think I might try the Ventrue.
6. The outfits you wear during the shoot are very cool. Were these provided for you or did you bring them along yourself?
Everything I wore was from my own wardrobe. I made all the hardware (harness, wristbands, collar) myself. I previously used to make items like those as a side project. The pimp coat was a score at a second hand store here in San Diego. One thing I recall is how I had to take breaks often due to my vinyl pants and 20-hole docs. It was very hot, and the boots were digging zippers on my pant legs into my calves. Unlike a bikini model that has to look fresh and beautiful during her shoot in 120ļ weather in the middle of the Sahara, my pain helped me find some of the character I was looking for.
7. How do feel knowing that people are collecting posters of you to put on their walls and downloading images of you to use as their desktop wallpapers?
Fans are not just downloading pictures of me, but a piece of the whole package: Timís work, what the poster represents, the character Iím portraying, an icon of all the hard work that is going into this game. I only wish that I could have made it to Dragon Con this year to assist in passing out the posters.
8. How closely have you been following the development of Bloodlines outside of your direct involvement with the creation of the poster? What is your impression thus far? Do you intend to play the game when itís released? If so, will you play as a Nosferatu first?
Ever since the first discussion with Shane, I began reading reviews, watching demos, looking at screenshots, and learning about the history of the game as a whole. I was hoping to attend E3 this year but didnít make it due to time restraints. So far Iím very happy with how the game is progressing. The way the engine is being used is very impressive, character interaction, creation, and overall feeling seems to be in line with the original theme. I plan on reserving my copy of the game and see myself becoming a bigger part of the community in general. Of course my first character of choice will be of the Nosferatu Clan, Max Schreck. I look forward to having more of a face-to-face relationship with the character I portrayed.
9. Finally, what do you think now that you've seen the end result?
I am really happy with the end result, I had imagined I was going to be pretty altered but the fact that he didn't do much altering of how i look is rather scary. It makes me feel... bad ass, confident and honored.
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