If you’re a longtime FaithWriters member or have attended any of the FaithWriters conferences, David Ian needs no introduction. For those of you who haven’t heard his name before, David is the Founder and Artistic Director of “Unchained Productions” an umbrella production company of literature, stage, video, audio drama and online works whose Mission Statement is “to educate, entertain and edify, through a wide range of media, for the Glory of God.”
It is my privilege to bring you this interview:
LYNDA: Who is David Ian? What five words would you use to describe yourself?
DAVID: Hmmm, lesse. I’d choose Unique, Energetic, Passionate, Affirming and Out-of-the-Box (if it were a single word).
LYNDA: You are the founder and Artistic Director of the dramatic production company, Unchained Productions. How did you get started in acting/playwrighting, and why do you love it so much?
DAVID: I had this overactive imagination and creative urge at a very young age, and growing up on a rural farm, I had no neighbors or playmates to speak of, so I spent a lot of time “pretending”, which to my delight I discovered had a legitimacy called “Acting”. My first official first full length production was when I was eleven years old playing the lead role for an opera entitled Amahl and the Night Visitors–I sang boy soprano. I auditioned for the part, and then when I got it, I was shocked to find out all the dialogue was sung with no speaking parts! Maybe I love it because I get to be a kid again, just “pretending” like I was out on the farm in the forest. Some very happy times.
LYNDA: Time to brag. You’ve won a few awards for your work. Tell us more!
DAVID: Well, only because you gave me permission, I have certainly been very blessed. I was honored with an award for that performance of “Amahl”, which was quite unexpected, but then, who ever expects to get an award? For writing, I won two separate national playwriting awards for my Shakespeareanesque treatment of the book of Esther entitled Esther, The Hebrew Queen. A performance of the script was sold out every night of the run. I did a voice performance for Imagination X’s audio drama called The CONvergence in which I played seven different characters (some of them dialoging with each other!) which won the Mark Time Award for best Science-Fiction Audio Drama in the nation in 2002. I was also involved in doing sound design and performing Sound Effects for Willamette Radio Workshop’s The Confessions of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde which won the Ogle Award for Best Horror/Fantasy Audio Drama in the nation in 2005, and for their audio drama fantasy entitled HURF which took second place in 2007. I also performed with Tapestry Theatre in a war era musical stage show called 1943 Christmas From Home in which we played a live radio troupe singing ‘40s songs, doing war newscasts and dramas, advertising jingles and also, especially for me, sound effects. For the design and performance of the sound effects I was presented with a “Drammy Award”, which is the city of Portland’s equivalent to the Tony Award for theatre.
LYNDA: Congratulations! That’s so cool! Do you have any projects in the works right now?
DAVID: In November I will be working with Will Vinton Studios and Filmusik as we will perform live music, dialogue and sound effects to two of Will Vinton’s Claymation classics The Little Prince and Rip Van Winkle. It’s all done as a live performance while the movie is playing upon the big screen, rather excited about doing that one. This Christmas I will be closing out the 10-year run of Tapestry’s “Christmas From Home” series, we have had a new script every season focusing on a different year of the war and the series has run twice as long as the actual war it documents! I am currently writing the film scripts to an independent film series entitled “Nightfall” by Dark Soldier Designs which is just getting production underway. And, for a challenge, in attempting to “one-better” my Esther Shakespeareanesque script, I am in the middle of writing a full-length Dr. Seuss treatment of Hamlet entitled Green Eggs and Hamlet. I have also been experimenting with Shakespeareanesque versions of the stories of Jonah and Daniel, but finding the time developing them has been difficult lately with other projects demanding attention.
LYNDA: You are a long-time member of FaithWriters and have been a favorite speaker at all three conferences. What drew you to FaithWriters and why is it near and dear to your heart?
DAVID: What drew me at first to FaithWriters was a browser search for “Writing Contest, Christian” and after I read the premise and purpose of FaithWriters, the next thing I knew I was signing on as a new member. Without a doubt what makes it near and dear to my heart is not the fantastic opportunities afforded a Christian writer with weekly Writing Challenge, or Critique Circle, or access to many professionals in the field, although all these and more features of FaithWriters would be enough; but without a doubt it is the people themselves that make up the community of FaithWriters that makes it so special. Every writer needs a sounding board for ideas, or a resource for research, or a fresh perspective on a subject, or a sympathetic ear for frustrations, or a cheerleader to celebrate successes, and FaithWriters is all that and more in a wonderful Christian setting.
LYNDA: What do you like to do for fun?
DAVID: Well, when I’m not doing my “work” of writing and acting and sound effects for fun and I want to relax, you’ll often find me singing some karaoke with friends. We sometimes like to mix it up with impersonations of Ethel Merman doing heavy metal or Jimmy Stewart busting a rap which is always entertaining.
I like to be involved in a lot of events which involve dressing up as some kind of character or persona, like a Renaissance Faire, or Pirate Festival, or Vampire Masquerade Ball. No surprise there, I suppose. I have quite a collection of costumes and props, so why not put them to fun uses?
LYNDA: Have any big crazy dreams or aspirations?
DAVID: Crazy ones? You asked for it. I have a concept for a graphic novel-to-animation series based upon a crack military type angel unit entitled “Angel Elite Corps”, which involves lots of demon battling and guardian angel type scenarios, but since I lack drawing skills I’d need to collaborate with someone who’d do the lion’s share of the work. And that’s always the worst way to recruit someone into your project: “I’ve got an idea and you do most of the work!” I’m settling for starting it as a radio script right now, and maybe it’d have to be developed in that medium before I could pitch it to a team of artists.
I’ve got a full evening of sketch comedy written and ready to go, I’d love to gather some people together and make that an annual kick off to a season of shows in a permanent venue somewhere. Start the season off with sketch comedy, do a Shakespeare treatment like Esther or Daniel, then who knows? Pirate classic theatre? Zombie love story? Ninja musical? Something unexpected, unorthodox and… wait for it… Unchained. Definitely a season of out of the box stuff. Anyone got some funding?
LYNDA: Ha…I wish I did. Really! I’d back you in a second. So where can we find out more about your work and your company?
DAVID: You can look at my Profile Page on FaithWriters which contains a couple hundred or so of my writings there and is a good representation of the variety of things I do and write. I have different sites that depict various projects I am doing and have done, Unchained Productions has a site on MySpace and Facebook, although I’m looking to consolidate it all onto an actual website (yet another project!) Here’s some links.
Thanks so much for the opportunity, it’s been a privilege, an honor and a blessing to share so much about what God has been doing creatively and artistically in my life. And as always, it is certainly a blessing any time spent with FaithWriters.
LYNDA: No, thank YOU, David, for taking the time to answer my questions and letting us get to know you better. You’ve accomplished so much already but I’m looking forward to seeing what else God will do through you!