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Road warriors 

The creators of Kill Shakespeare are in town this weekend for Hal-Con. Catch them on their meteoric rise and learn from the best.

click to enlarge Kill Shakespeare brings all the boys to the Bard.
  • Kill Shakespeare brings all the boys to the Bard.

The Toronto-based creators of the Kill Shakespeare series---in which the bard's best-known heroes hunt reclusive wizard William Shakespeare to help them battle Richard III, Lady Macbeth and Iago---are coming to Hal-Con. It's the latest stop on a never-ending tour of com-cons, film festivals, bookfairs, Shakespearian celebrations, retail outlets and media appearances.

"We just got back from Sundance Resort in Utah where we participated in the first- ever New Frontier Story Lab," says Anthony Del Col. "There were Oscar-nominated screenwriters mentoring us."

Del Col, part of Nelly Furtado's management team until Kill Shakespeare was launched 19 months ago, is polished and articulate but can't hide his giddiness at what a big deal it was to be mentored by Richard LaGravenese (The Fisher King) and Michael Goldenberg (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). He and his creative partner, Conor McCreery, were the only Canadians among six teams developing projects for film and newer media like video games, internet and mobile devices.

New Frontier was the latest in a series of successes for the first-time comic creators, who set out in 2009 with the ambitious goal of creating a six billion dollar enterprise. They have since encountered worldwide fanfare and been featured in Wired magazine, the New York Times, Fangoria, and on Ain't It Cool News, NPR and CBC's Q, plus a mention on The Colbert Report. Kill Shakespeare is even studied at a German university.

Last year, the team won Pitch This! at the Toronto International Film Festival. The win elicited interest from Hollywood agents and the script is in development. Last month, The Washington Times hopped the bandwagon and listed KS as one of five comics that must become movies.

Before it hits the silver screen, KS is rediscovering its theatrical roots.

"We're having the first live performance of Kill Shakespeare by Soulpepper Theatre, a premier company in Toronto, on November 26," McCreery says. "We had to get the whole thing down to 90 minutes."

KS is part of the festival celebrating the 400th anniversary of the first showing of The Tempest on November 1, 1611.

Amid the whirlwind of promotional touring and constant adaptation to new formats and audiences, the duo, along with artist Andy Belanger, are stoked for the small---but off-the-charts enthusiastic---Halifax event.

"I went to Hal-Con last year on a bit of a whim," McCreery admits. "I was aware Halifax had a scene going on and thought it would be a good place. I was absolutely floored by the people of Hal-Con: Jen [Lambe], Amanda [Schreiber], Shawn [Kehoe], Travers [Milo] and everyone else put such care into it. I literally had tears in my eyes watching the Grand Ballroom fill up with my fellow geeks, who finally had this outlet."

Del Col agrees. "We've been to New York and San Diego but having met the organizers of Hal-Con there seems to be a lot more spirit here. With talent like Darwyn Cooke, who wrote the foreword for our first book--- he's so talented he could be anywhere in North America but he stays in Nova Scotia. It says a lot for the culture."

As for their success in a medium that was new to them, they credit the Bard himself. "If you want to go to a party and you don't know anyone it's good to bring someone everybody knows," Del Col says. "We brought Shakespeare and all his friends."

Hal-Con workshop with Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery, Sunday, November 13, 11am, World Trade and Convention Centre, 1800 Argyle Street,


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