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Me, Myself & I
For those that might have not seen the postings on our forum, there is an exciting new force in our "girl power" community, Maiden Comics Studios. Maiden Comics Studios (MCS) has recently launched a new streaming channel called the Maiden Network which is also available as a channel on Roku. The Maiden Network focuses on female-led production content and their studio tagline is "Be Sexy. Be Strong." which is something that our audience can definitely understand (though I guess ours would be "Be Sexy, Be SUPERstrong" ;) ). We reached out to Patrick Desmarattes, the architect behind Maiden Comics Studios, and he was gracious enough to answer some questions about the Maiden Network.
SWM: Firstly, congratulations on the successful launch of the Maiden Network! Over at SWM, we've been waiting for a "girl power" channel like this to come along. Can you tell us how long you've been planning this and how you got the idea?
MCS: We've had the idea for the network for a little over a year now. Shortly after Inara, the Jungle Girl was completed we always dreamed about debuting it on a network that focused on female characters. With companies like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon leading the charge with familiarizing the masses with a streaming network it became feasible and seemed to be the right time.
SWM: You seem to wear many hats at Maiden -- writer, director, producer, etc. Can you give us a little background on your previous work and film experiences?
MCS: I've been filming for over 12 years but would honestly only say that I've completed two full length feature films. Its a work in progress and you get better each time around. But I have had the luxury of shooting on just about every camera and every type of lens in any type of setting that featured amazing female talents.
SWM: Maiden's tagline is "Be Strong. Be Sexy" which seems to be a mantra our audience understands! Is it a significant challenge to find programming content that matches your catch phrase?
MCS: I don't think so. If someone truly understands the meaning of the tagline. I'll post an excerpt from my personal facebook page that helps to clarify it:
Someone today brought up the question about our studios tagline "BE.SEXY.BE.STRONG" and when I answered I figured I should clarify for anyone else that was wondering.
In a day and time where for some reason cutting bodies in half, shooting people point blank in the head and blowing up the world on film seems to be ok, but a beautiful actress, confidently taking the place of a male actor in a lead role who isn't afraid/ashamed of her own beauty seems to be a big no no. There are a segment of people out there that believe that a woman being beautiful or a woman being proud of her own sexuality is bad. A woman who embarrasses her own sexuality is weak. I'm sorry, I don't subscribe to that theory. As a matter of fact I think the exact opposite.
News flash people, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a beautiful woman being beautiful. Because the fact of the matter is ALL women are beautiful. No matter how big or small you are no matter what height or race. EVERYONE has someone that thinks YOU... yes... YOU are absolutely GORGEOUS. And you shouldn't EVER be ashamed of that.
"BE.SEXY.BE.STRONG" is the motto of a true MAIDEN. A woman that FULLY grasps that she is beautiful, she isn't afraid to show it and guess what she can kick your a$$ and look amazing all at the same time. Be comfortable in your own skin just the way that you are. When you wake up in the morning don't let the status quo or the people in your life that have their own insecurities prevent you from knowing that your beautiful and honey if you want to throw on a sexy dress and go out on the town feeling sexy guess what? DO IT!!!
God made all of his children beautiful male and female. Don't let people with their own hangups make you feel uneasy about how beautiful YOU are.
You all have a MAIDEN deep inside of you. #UNLEASHYOURINNERGODDESS
With that said, being sexy isn't inversely correlated with your strength. The above post was in response to a critic that said that our female roles were "overly sexual" and didn't portray "strong women". As if to say being comfortable with your sexuality makes you weak. When you spell it out like that it's clear to see how little sense a critique like that could make.
SWM: So are your current plans to both produce your own original shows as well as syndicate or license third-party content to the viewers? If so, what kind of things is Maiden looking for (e.g. films, web series, scripts, actresses)?
MCS: Yes that is correct. We are looking for all things female led. Films, TV Series, Books, Comics. With it being a network there will be a variety of content genre and style. The idea is not to be close minded or cater to only a niche audience. We are primarily focusing on action adventure but there will be all kinds of content on the network.
SWM: Getting back to your productions, The Athena movie was very well produced. How long does it take to make such a quality movie and are you planning any followups to Athena soon?
MCS: Athena from start to finish took nearly two years but only because of some technical hurdles which involved getting up to speed on certain equipment and software that allowed us to achieve what we did. If our studio were to produce that same movie we could get it done in months today. As far as Athena goes we do in fact have plans for a sequel.
SWM: I see that Victoria Vesce, who plays Athena, is a former Miss Charlotte and an NBA Dancer. Is she planning on returning to future productions?
MCS: Actually she is a current NBA Dancer (when did we stop calling them cheerleaders? Cheerleaders sounds so much hotter...) and the reigning Miss Charlotte USA 2015 as she still wears the crown today. She wears a lot of hats. She is a true Maiden which is why she is our Maiden of the Year. But to answer your question she is an amazing person and actress and we will definitely be working with her again.
SWM: And the girl that plays Artemis in the movie near the end of the film. Is she the actress that will assume the mantle of Artemis in your upcoming series? Can you talk more about that production?
MCS: (laughs) You're casting all my films and shows out to 2016... :) we don't assume anyone is playing any role. We have an extensive casting process that we go through to choose who will be the right person for each role. As far as the Artemis project I wish I could say more but I can say that the series itself will closely follow the amazing comic book that is currently available on the Maiden Network.
SWM: what about other plans or original shows in production? You care to give us a brief idea of original projects in production?
MCS: I wish I could but then I'd have to take you out... and not like take you out to dinner like Kim Jung Un in the interview. I mean like REALLY take you out...
SWM: Fair enough! Moving along then, in addition to the live-action content, you also have content areas for comic books, including a lot of old Golden Age books. How many new creators of comics do you have lined up and are you looking for "girl power" comics to syndicate on your network?
MCS: Over the course of time we plan to feature tons of original comics produced by our studio and produced by other studios across the world.
SWM: OK, so doing a quick rundown of your lineup, I see content featuring vigilantes, mythological goddesses, jungle girls, vampires, and spies. Hmm, there seems to be a void in the superheroine category! Any chances we might see women flying around and saving the day on the Maiden Network soon?
This is something that I think our community has been looking for and, in my opinion, we should try and support their channel as much as possible to help it succeed and flourish which hopefully would mean more original content and programming for all of us. Finally, please note that we have established a dedicated forum for the Maiden Network where you can post comments and ask questions.