By Joseph J. O’Donnell
ED – We are talking with Jon F. Merz about his new venture “The Fixer TV Series”
ED: Jon, congratulations on this new venture. I understand that the show will be based on the Lawson Vampire Series. Can you tell us something about it?
JFM: THE FIXER tells the story of Lawson, a jaded and cynical member of a race of living vampires. Destined from birth to be part of an elite cadre known as Fixer, Lawson must protect the secret existence of vampires, track down criminals, unravel conspiracies, and hunt a motley assortment of rogues. Part spy, part commando, Lawson does his work dispensing sarcastic comments and lots of bullets.
ED: Tell us something about the characters, the setting, and how you created the theme.
JFM: When I determined that I wanted to write a vampire novel, I knew I had to do something different than what everyone else was doing. So the vampires in my universe aren’t undead, but a separately evolving race that has coexisted in secret alongside humanity for tens of thousands of years. They live and breathe and eat garlic and are fairly indistinguishable from humans. As a result of the ingestion of the life force energy (what Asian cultures would call Ki or Chi) from those they borrow from, vampires have elongated life spans and better-than-average strength, eyesight, and reflexes.
For the setting, I knew I wanted it in Boston. I’ve always enjoyed reading books that take place in my hometown and set their scenes in places I’ve been in. I wanted to do the same thing. It’s always nice to get an email from a reader saying that they had the Peking Duck at Lawson’s favorite Chinese food restaurant and loved it.
Lawson’s got a lot of things he struggles with. Most obviously he needs to protect the Balance – the line separating vampires and humans – from being violated by criminals, rogues, and shadowy conspiracies. So on that level, it’s very much the struggle between good-and-evil. But Lawson’s got some other baggage as well. He can’t stand drinking blood, so despite the fact that he needs it to survive, Lawson is very much struggling with his own reality. He’s in love with a human woman – something utterly forbidden in vampire society. So he’s actually violating the very laws he’s sworn to uphold. In a lot of ways, Lawson is a mirror for the same struggles that we all face on a daily basis. How do we reconcile the hypocrisy? How do we find peace in who we are as humans – with all of our wonderful attributes and faults?
ED: Are there any special stunts or visual effects planned?
JFM: We’ll have some special effects, but this is not going to be a CGI-laden production for the simple reason that the universe is designed to be more realistic than not. The lure of Lawson’s universe is that it’s very close to our own reality. The lines blur, certainly, but who’s to say that it couldn’t happen? If we go overboard on special effects, then that line becomes more distinct – exactly the opposite of what we want. These days, the best entertainment, in my opinion, brings our world into close proximity with what the storyteller is creating. We feel a part of that experience more than if special effects and wire-Fu strain even the limits of the incredible.
ED: Tell us about your staff and crew.
JFM: One of our goals was to produce THE FIXER using almost all local talent and crew. I’m very pleased with the results so far. New England has a fantastic cadre of talent – both in front and behind the camera. So we’re assembling a fantastic, albeit small, crew who share our vision for bringing out an amazing product. And Brandon S. Stumpf, who stars as Lawson in the series, hails from Manchester, New Hampshire. He’s got the perfect look that I always envisioned for Lawson. In fact, he pretty much embodies Lawson perfectly. It was evident the very first night we worked with him. We’d never even met – I saw his picture on Facebook and contacted him. But that first night, I had no doubt he could handle Lawson and all his complexities. Brandon’s a great guy, extremely talented, and focused. His commitment to the character and the production have been stellar. I couldn’t be happier with his work thus far. And you’ll be seeing a lot more of him as well in other projects that are being produced locally – the horror movie BEG for example. Brandon’s got a great range; he’s got an extremely bright future.
ED: What is the status of your venture , and do you have a time line for the release of the pilot?
JFM: We’re shooting the pilot around the end of September into October and possibly part of November. Once we have that “in the can” we’ll start work on the remaining episodes of the first season. Aside from that, we’re keeping a tight lip on details for right now. Best way to stay up on what we’re doing is to become a fan on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thefixertv We’ll release sneak-peeks out there first.
ED: What are your plans for the series, and what are you hoping to see for its future?
JFM: Total world domination through kick-butt entertainment. That’s it in a nutshell. And THE FIXER is the first project New Ronin Entertainment will release. It’s my hope THE FIXER reaches 100 episodes and then gets a very nice syndication deal. We’ve also talked about doing a feature film around Lawson. That’s the great thing about the project: with the novels, TV series, and films, we’ll have a multimedia product that spans content delivery platforms. It’s fantastic.
ED- Jon, this looks like a really great show. With this genre becoming so popular recently, it looks like you are ahead of the pack and leading the charge. Our readers at Eerie Digest love these types of stories, and we dwell on mysteries and ‘things that go bump in the night’. We all wish you much luck and look forward to viewing your first show. Keep in touch so that we can add news of your success.