It has been a great honor to sit down and speak with Mr. Jarvis Sheffield.
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today. You have numerous existing projects and some that are currently underway. Could you share some information about the upcoming Earth Squadron?
- How did you come up with the concept?
I have been a fan of science fiction since I was a young child and had ideas of my own from the start. Around 2001 I was in a training class for a cellular telephone job. I was kind of bored so I started jotting ideas down in a notebook. I eventually read a few Sci-Fi writing books and turned those ideas into a short story that was eventually published in Genesis Science Fiction Anthology Book 1 around 2009.
- What is the projected completion date?
We are shooting for the fourth quarter of 2017 from completion of the film. The project has been a multi-year endeavor but we hope to make it worth the wait. The film adaptation was completed by William Hayashi in 2014. Since then we have completed the storyboards, dozens of characters, and location designs. We just moved into the voice over phase which will be followed by animation, special effects, and sound design. The last thing we want to do is rush something out and it not live up to the blood, sweat and tears the team has put into it.
- Do you have a favorite character and why?
I don’t really have a favorite character in the film. I am equally enamored with all of them. I will say this I identify with David the most. He has to find his place in the world and go for it when the time comes. Which is kind of how I felt at a certain time in my life. Once I found my calling then I had to go for it with everything I had.
- Is there a certain message (s) that you desire your viewers to grasp?
The central message that I want people to get is that no matter what society says about you, you hold value. Everything and everyone is here for a purpose, some are easy to see others are not. Contrary to what some erroneously think, one group is no better than the other in this life.
- What books/movies have influenced you the most? Why?
Oh my, books and movies that influence me the most would include; Star trek, Star Wars, Lost in Space, Dr. Who, Aliens, Twilight Zone, Tales From The Crip, Tales From The Hood, Cosmic Slop and Tales from the Dark side. These influenced me the most because they captured my attention at an early age. The movies were all so exciting to see in the theater when I was young that they got my imagination going full speed. I began to imagine myself and others that looked like me as characters in the big Sci-Fi movies. Also, the episodic shows were glimpse into what could be now or what it would be like in the future. In terms of books, I’ve read virtually everything from Octavia Butler. Her work is totally engaging and she was the first Black Sci-Fi Writer I was exposed to. Speculative fiction gives us glimpses of possible futures.
- If you could sit down and talk with anyone (past/present) who would it be? Why?
Wow, that is a really tough question. So that answer will not be an easy one. I really would sit and talk with Jesus. I say this because I don’t think any other living being could answer the grand questions that I would have about life, the universe and the hereafter.
- Any future projects you would like to talk about?
Oh, I always want to encourage everyone I know to support my Black Science Fiction Society Online Network, Genesis Sci-fi Radio Show, Genesis Sci-Fi Magazine and buy our Genesis Sci-Fi Anthology books series. Each of these are ways to network, create, showcase and promote diverse work by talented independent creators. Also, we have begun prototyping of positive toys and video games that we hope to have available in the very near future. In terms of Earth Squadron, we would like to make toys and possibly a video game for it. Hopefully, that will be attainable in the ensuing future.
- Do you have any advice you would like to share?
My advice is simple. If you have a worthy goal or dream don’t let it die as just an idea. You should read, watch training videos, take classes, plan and devote at lease and hour a day towards that goal. Don’t listen to the naysayers, just do it like the Nike ad campaign used to say. Just Do It! Over time you will be surprised at what you will be able to accomplish.
- I know that you have your numerous irons in the fire. Could you list a few links and give us some information about your Sci-Fi Society?
Sure thing! Here are a few links to projects currently underway:
- You are an active participant in many conventions. Are there any on your schedule where we could meet you in person that you can share with us?
I don’t have dates for 2017 but here are the events I would like to attend next year:
Antioch High school Afrofuturism Day
Onyxcon Sankofa ATL
AstroBlackness: Planet Deep South
Afrofuturism Symposium Clark Atlanta University
Atlanta Sci-Fi Fantasy Expo ATL
EAST COAST BLACK AGE OF COMICS CONVENTION
Afrofuturism Network Comic Book Convention and Conference
DuSable Museum of African American History is hosting “BLACK AGE EVENT”
African Street Festival
Independent Comic Creators Convention
Motor City Black Age of Comics Convention
I do my best to attend events around the country. These are our grass roots distribution systems. They are great for networking, selling and buying Black focused products. They are also great cultural events in themselves often with books, art, comics, toys, music, videos, games, food, face painting, dance and other great activities for the entire family.
Lastly, I want to thank you for offering me this awesome opportunity to talk about one of my favorite topics. I also want to thank those that support these projects as well as my family and friends for standing behind me with their loving support.
Thank you for taking the time to sit down and chat with me. It has been a pleasure to not only talk about the upcoming projects, but also allowing me to be a part of the upcoming Earth Squadron film and the fantastic interview on Genesis Science Fiction Radio.
I hope to see you in person at some of the above listed events.