It’s always fun getting to talk with fellow Zelda fans. Something about sharing the excitement of Zelda sparks an instant connection. I recently had the pleasure of talking with Jay Norris, the writer of the upcoming Zelda fan film Oblivion Rising where we discussed the film, how the project came together, Zelink, and all things Zelda.
Based on the trailer, Oblivion Rising has me totally blown away. Often when you hear fan film, you think it’s just going to be shot on an old camcorder in someone’s backyard, but this looks professional. Tell us a little bit about the production process and what all went into it.
Thank you for saying that. The thing is every major player on this film is someone who is seriously pursuing a career in the film industry. Some of us have even been able to work on various SAG film sets. And during those moments each of us soaked up as much info on how a film is made as we could. So we take what we have learned from the taste we have had of the industry so far, and apply it to Oblivion Rising. Many times during production it was easy to forget that what we were making was a fan film, because for us it was so much more.
With Oblivion Rising being the sequel to Triforce Prophecy which was done several years ago, how does this differ from its predecessor?
When Scotty made the Triforce Prophecy his goal was to create a film that was heavily based off of the 80’s cartoon series. Which I might add he did a fantastic job doing. Most of my writing comes from a darker place and as I began writing this sequel the mindset was that the cartoon movie had been done and this new movie needed to go in a darker, more serious direction. I wanted to make Link’s adventure more personal than anything we’ve ever seen him go through. At times it gets almost uncomfortable to watch what we put the poor guy through.
Oblivion Rising is its own story, it’s not just a retelling of one of the games, but are there any Zelda games in particular that the film pulls from?
It does borrow bits and pieces from a few of the games. But we did try to avoid making it feel too much like any particular game. As far as what elements from what games were used … We’ll just let that stay a surprise.
Where would you say it fits within the timeline?
Thats actually another element that can’t be revealed at this time. It does indeed have a place in the timeline though. In fact, it actually replaces one of the games in the timeline.
Where was Oblivion Rising filmed?
It was filmed in many locations across South Mississippi, Primarily in Laurel, Mississippi and Columbia, Mississippi.
How long did it take to film?
We began filming sometime around August 2013 and filmed the last scene on Super Bowl Sunday 2015. So a little under two years.
Will there be any kind of special premiere or screening? Will you be taking it to any conventions?
The plan as of now is to have a private showing in Laurel, Mississippi for the friends and family of everyone that helped make this possible. We haven’t finalized anything else as far as showings but their are a few conventions we are in talks with to get the movie shown. Then of course there is the online release. The film will be released on Scotty’s Youtube channel (SW83) and we will also be releasing it with director commentary over on our film groups channel (Teaghleagh Films)
Having done film work myself, I know firsthand that what goes on off camera can be just as entertaining as what happens when the camera is rolling. Are there any fun behind the scenes stories from filming?
Oh wow! I could be here all day telling stories like that. But I’ll tell on in particular that sticks out for me. The day we filmed the scene where we first see the moblins we almost got arrested. We went through all the proper channels to get clearance to be on the land but it was owned by many people and one of them didn’t get the message that we would be filming. As we were walking back to our car after filming the scene the guy showed up with a sheriff deputy. We explained to them that we had gotten permission to be there but the guy wanted proof. So I call the guy we got permission from and of course he didn’t answer. Eventually we got everything worked out but the best part of all is the sheriff deputy that was supposed to be there to arrest us was a Zelda fan. When we told him what we were doing he asked us all to take selfies with him while we were all still in wardrobe. As you can imagine that didn’t set well the guy that owned the land.
Aside from Oblivion Rising, I know you’ve just launched a few other film projects. Tell us a little bit about those. Maybe it can tide us over until Oblivion comes out in May!
We actually just launched our own indie film company called Teaghleagh Films (pronounced tie-lee). While working to put the finishing touches on Oblivion Rising we filmed three short films. The first one was a film I wrote and directed called The Gatherer. Our second one was written by Oblivion Rising’s costume designer Irene Gracie (who also plays the goddess Nayru) and is called Scylla. We also have on called Find Me which was created by Julian Benson and Kyle Wittlief. Julian is actually the guy who first came up with the idea to do a second Zelda movie. All three films recently launched on youtube. Anyone interested in seeing them can do so by searching for Teaghleagh Films on Youtube.
Now on to some fun questions! Favorite Zelda game?
Easy. Majora’s Mask. My favorite film director is Tim Burton. Majora’s Mask to me feels like what would happen if Tim Burton made a Zelda. To me it’s an absolute perfect game.
If you could be friends with any Zelda character, who would it be?
Skull Kid. My absolute favorite character. In fact in one early draft of Oblivion Rising, Skull Kid played a very important role.
Being a huge fan of the Link x Zelda, or Zelink, pairing, I’m so excited to see them together in Oblivion Rising (bracing myself as all the Malink and Midlink shippers come after me). In the games, which iteration of Zelink is your favorite?
Skyward Sword. To me that version of Zelda truly cared about Link more than any other version. While it isn’t my favorite game by any means, that iteration of Zelink had the best relationship to me.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me! Anything else you’d like to add?
Just be sure to check out Teaghleagh Films on Facebook and Youtube. You can also follow us on instagram @teaghleaghfilms. And thank you all for the excitement and patience you have given us for the last two years. We promise the wait will be worth it.