I had a lengthy conversation with my wife the other night about our plans for "The Pilgrim's Progress". For those of you who don't know, after "Dark Ritual" is released I will immediately begin development on what we are currently calling "Similitude Of A Dream", based on The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan.
What I'm struggling with is deciding who my audience is for this project. Of course, we're still trying to find much of our audience for "Spirit Blade", too!
As a small company trying to be noticed, producing an adaptation of The Pilgrim's Progress has several advantages.
1. It's public domain material, so I can basically do whatever I want with it and don't have to pay anyone a dime.
2. The outline for the story is already in place, so I don't have to create an entirely new work from scratch.
3. The material presents truth that is scriptural and potentially life-altering.
4. It's a recognizable name. Christians who may not be so sure about this weird "Spirit Blade" stuff might be willing to try a cinematically produced audio version of The Pilgrim's Progress.
The main question in front of me is: How close should I stick to the source material?
In the realm of fandom, straying from the source material can be close to blasphemy. We've seen plenty of comic book movies fail for their lack of fidelity to the source material. But in this case, the source material is archaic sounding and only vaguely lends itself to the fantasy genre.
It's written in the literary style of allegory. Every character is overtly symbolic of something. They have names like Obstinate and Pliable and behave in direct accordance with their names. "Progress" is meant to be read with an openness to learning life lessons and morality. But I'm not interested in beating people over the head with super-obvious lessons. So my inclination is to change the names but keep most of the story. I may even go so far as to split the single character, Christian(and yes, I'll change his name, too.), into a a group of people. A sort "adventuring party" for the fantasy epic I hope to create. However, once I do that, the potential for change becomes dramatic and while telling a really cool fantasy story I may stray so far from the source material that it would be misleading to advertise it as "based on The Pilgrim's Progress". It may be better to devise my own "party based" fantasy later on and keep this a mostly "solo" adventure. (That's where I'm currently leaning.)
The conflict ultimately comes from wanting to attract two very different groups to this project: (a)The sci-fi/fantasy/action geek, like me, and (b) the person who isn't a die hard fantasy fan or audio drama listener, but who would be willing to take a risk if they saw that the project is based on trusted Christian material.
My hope is that people will be willing to check us out based on our adaptation of "Progress" and then stick around for all the original material we will continue to produce in the future. But while I'm doing that, I want to be sure I'm also utilizing my creative strengths and still creating a story with "Progress" that you, our faithful supporters, will love and be excited about.
I'd love to hear any thoughts you have on this topic, and your prayer support would be very appreciated as I look at making a decision on this sometime in July or August.
That's all for now, folks!