Creating a World of Anti-Heroes

Written by Ryan McCoy

May 5th, 2019

The Rapture. It has become the subject of several new stories, both on television and on the big screen. Stories about the end of times, whether they be biblical or made up, have always been a fabric of humans’ lives. Just like the subject of death and dying, humans are just as curious about what there is after life and what will cause it to come to an end, as they do about life and its meaning.

Apocalypse was meant to be an onslaught of action. The easiest way to have a high body count and especially high number of head-shots, is to make your enemy a art of the undead. But, so many zombies movies and stories had been done before, that I had the idea of having the story take place after the Rapture. The setting would become the driver in creating my characters.

Since, in theory, the only people left behind after the Rapture are “bad” people, or were bad people in life, it allowed me to explore different fabrics of humanity, specifically western ideaology. Each one of the characters is a representation of currents subjects I wanted to explore. I find it fascinating the choices some people make in life to lead them to where they end up.

I wanted to challenge myself by introducing our main characters, or “heroes” of this story in the worst possible way, and see if by the end of it, I can have the audience feeling genuine sympathy and empathy for these characters. It’s similar to the concept of “The Dirty Dozen” or “Predators.”

It’s interesting because on paper, each of these characters are horrible humans. Yet, even within the fabric of this world, their are still anti-ANTI-heroes. Meaning, even though allof these people have been left behind deservedely, there are still clearly defined protagonists and antagonists. (For anyone who may not be aware with these terms, protagonist means “good guys” and antagonist means “bad guys.”)

The choice to not give the characters first names, only labels, was another block stacked against me in terms of difficulty when it comes to the audience sympathizing with the characters. Just because you tell the audience who the good guys and the bad guys are, doesn’t mean they’ll root for them the right way. You have to give them a reason for caring about the protagonists, and that’s done just like any other exposition in story, through conflict and action and how the character deals with given conflict defines them as a character.

If you notice from the opening pages, you’ll see it starts with a group of kids. These kids all have first names and appear as innocent as a group of young adults travelling in the night, hiding from something, can be. However, what the reader might miss, is that regardless of how these kids are presented in the opening, they are still left behind after the Rapture, meaning, they must have done some seriously fucked up shit in their lives to be here!!! That’s what I love exploring about this world I am creating and I hope to continue to be able to tell stories and creating characters and weaving their stories all together, set against the bacdrop of the end of times.

Why I decided to start my own Cinematic Universe

Written by Ryan McCoy
April 27th, 2019

It was early 2016 and my friends and I had formed a production company in LA, with the hopes of attracting some video projects that could fund our desires to make some feature-length films. We invested in a bunch of professional gear and wanted to make some short films in order to continue to hone our craft. As the writer/director, I decided that I didn’t want to make some random one-off short films. I wanted them linked to a current story of mine, so I came up with the idea that they would all be prequel-type stories for a feature screenplay I had written, “Apocalypse.”

It wasn’t until we had made the second short film in the series, that my mind started to race, coming up with stories for each one of these characters. At the same time I began to have these thoughts, was the same time that all the other major studios in Hollywood began trying to launch their own “Cinematic Universes” to copy what was being done by Disney and the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).

If you break it down, I think the move that Disney made and Kevin Fiege quarterbacked, is one of the most successful moves in studio history. They made an unprecedented move that has garnered them practically every box office record in history. Yet, the vast majority, if not every one of them, fail at telling a compelling story.

What Disney did was very smart, but nothing new or original. They were mearly copying the original idea from Marvel’s comic books, by having many compelling characters and interweaving them throughout each of the respective character’s life-cycles. Where the other studios missed the mark, and where I believe I will be successful, is they tried copying the exact same formula as Disney and tried to weave together existing IPs and still focusing on spectacle over story.

So, I decided I would also copy theDisney framework, but do it with 100% original IP and characters, set in a world after/during/before the Rapture, where I can weave these characters together and come up with my own universe of virtually never-ending story fodder. There are no usper powers, everyone is a villain by the shear nature of being”Left Behind”, and they are all fighting an un-stoppable force. I believe these things, mixed with the imagination of a kid all grown-up who actually has something to say in his writing, rather than fishing for funny quotes or great one-liners, can grow over the coming decades and become just as popular of a “franchise” or “universe” as the current trend of comic book movies that are littering our cinemas on a monthly basis.

Every one of my projects has a purpose. Some are meant for awards, others meant to make a statement, others are me trying to vent and get something off my chest. “Apocalypse,” and all of its subsequent iterations (screenplay, novella, graphic novel, short film, feature film) are for one purpose and one purpose only: the FANS.

I want to build characters that the public falls in love with the same way they fell inlove with their favorite super heroes or villains when they would stroll their local comic book shop or hobby store. I want to make something for the rest of the “grown-up” kids out there, just like me. I believe I have the talent and the mental resources to be able to provide that. All it’s going to take now is time, which I have. :)