Framed Sound

Jan Roth

When I was asked to do the music and sound design for Shift I was super excited. I have always been interested in comics and graphic novels. I like the style of Don Rosa with his uncle scrooge drafts and stories and all the details he puts into his drawings. Graphic novels like Watchmen or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as well had a wide influence on my understanding of characters and storylines.

Currently I’m studying Musikdesign at the conservatory in Trossingen. From there I’m doing my internship at the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg in the Interactive Media department.

One of the greatest moments for me as a musician was the time when the first Gorillaz album came out in 2001. The music, combined with the fictional story world and the drafts of Jamie Hewlett blew me away. To this day the combination of comic style drawing and music is one of my favorite things.

Apart from my interest in music and comics, I always enjoy working with the newest media available. It pushes my creativity. I really like beautifully crafted games for iPhone or iPad like the ones from the Coding Monkeys Carcassone or Lost Cities. As they’re bringing board games to the iOS world, one of the most interesting aspect for me in the project is the combination of the medium comic with another – the iPad.

Working with sound design I’m going to make use of the different interactive possibilities you have with the iPad, like shaking etc. For each interactions I’m planing to create a specific sound by doing some field recordings and foley recording. It’s going to be really cool!

At the moment I’m working on a variety of different layouts which are all musical themes for the individual characters. For these compositions I have to deal with the whole story world, every single character like Schakal and the relationships between them.

Here is a screenshot from my Logic Pro session on which I am currently working.

Logic Pro X DAW

Check out the Schakal theme! Find out more about the character Schakal in Marsl´s article!

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This Is Schakal!

Marcel Durer

Let me introduce you all to one of my favourite characters in Shift! – his name is “Schakal”. And this guy is a bit … unique.

I’ve already used this character for short stories and other projects before I’ve worked on Shift!. He was also a character of mine in a pen & paper roleplaying game. Seeing him finding his place in my diploma is therefore pretty exciting.

Schakal is some kind of a modern day shaman, an urban nomad and a spiritual
loner. When you look at him for the first time, you see nothing but a hairy and worn
down street bum. Scrubby beard, piercings and tattoos, torn down street clothes,
massive dreadlocks and a lot of tribal ornaments – all these things are hiding an
extremely intellectual and sophisticated person. He loves to quote poets, talking in
riddles and seriously, he is the biggest source for spiritual knowledge in Shift!. I
simply love the idea that there is more behind the surface. He is another element in
the whole project that screams out “discovering will be rewarded”.
Schakal has a close look on our main character Adam. Both might develop a
mentor-student relationship. But the mysterious Schakal has a deep and dark secret
in his past, that might change everything …

The name “Schakal” is the German word for jackal. He already looks like a
wandering, battered scavenger. But to be totally honest – his name comes from the
song “theme for a jackal” by one of my all-time favourite bands the Misfits.
His outer appearance was influenced by many other personalities and characters:
the musicians Max Calavera (Sepultura, Soulfly) and Chris Barnes (Cannibal
Corpses, Six Feet Under) have been role models for him as well as the pro-wrestling
star Raven and the comic characters Gateway (X-Men) and LoBo (DC Comics).

I’ve spent a lot of time with this character in the back of my mind. Seeing him now
come to life, thanks to wonderful artists, authors and other persons makes this work
even more exciting.


Check out the Schakal theme song in Jan´s article!

Be part of our unique storyworld Shift!

Sabrina Proske

Les aventures de TinTin, Watchmen, Batmen, Spider-Man, Micky Mouse or Donald Duck – just to name some of the most popular global comic strips. Since several decades, comics are inspiring thousands of readers. The medium used to be entirely print based, due to the development of tablet pcs and improving resolutions the digital comic is becoming more and more popular.

Because of new, innovative content and technology, not only big publisher like DC or Marvel are getting the chance to acquire comic readers who usually wouldn´t be interested in old comic stuff.

With Shift – Tales of the Sentinels we want to create an interactive journey. Get involved in our story and be part of our unique story world!                                                                                             But storyworlds aren´t  born overnight. They require considered authorship, strategic planning and effective and intelligent use of social media. That´s why we´re going to present you in this blog our journey – from preproduction to the launch in March 2014.

We would like to give you an exclusive insight in our production pipeline with all ups and downs. Have fun, don´t hesitate to participate in our discussions, like our posts or give us feedback!

Transmedia storytelling is evolving radically, allowing producers, writers, content creators and artists in every medium to reach across multiple platforms and connect with more audiences than ever before. Take the chance and go on an exciting journey with us :-)

- Producer of Shift -

Explore more on the storyworld shift in Marcel Durers article!

Felix Zehender wants to make a living by drawing monsters, sexy babes and exaggerated muscular heroes.

Felix Zehender

This wish goes way back to his childhood. Disney and Don Bluth Movies had a huge impact on this kid’s mind. Looking back, Disney’s Aladdin has probably left the greatest influence on his early drawing career, since all the sketchbooks of 4 to 7 year old Felix are full of strange guys with turbans and sabres.

Later of course, other characters would change this boy’s world. When 7 year old Felix went shopping with his mom he was struck by lightning. What he saw there in the book stand was truly amazing; that day he bought his first Spiderman comic.
A comic fan was born. This passion should go on for years, what fuelled his passion in his teen years were comics like Battle Chasers, animes like Cowboy Bebop, games like Final Fantasy and pen and paper role playing.

Of course what he read, saw and played inspired him to think of stories, heroes and worlds of his own. And eventually he would grab his pencils and they would come alive on paper, but most of the time not how he imagined them since the limitations of his drawing skills were much more restricting than the limits of his imagination.

At first insecure of how to fulfil this dream after school, Felix worked in every imaginable casual job and looked in every direction for what he could be doing as a grown up.
Then one night he woke up and above his bed a green illuminating ghost appeared and with its big buffalo skull it spoke to Felix and told him to follow his dream. So Felix got up and did all he could to become a professional draftsman. With a Rocky Balboa like training schedule, the help of a kind artist who would give him feedback on his drawings and tell him some drawing sorcery and a good portion of luck he got one of the rare spots at the Hamburg Animation School for a one year workshop. From then on things fell into place and currently he is studying at the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg, where he is busy drawing storyboards for clients like Daimler insurances.

When he first heard of Marcel’s diploma Shift it was clear that he wanted to work on it.
Not only do Felix and Marcel share the same damn hometown, they also share their passion for comics and even love the same artists. So there is nothing standing in the way of a great collaboration. Shift will be his biggest and most ambitious project so far.


Recent 30 minute sketch. Felix Zehender is the Director of the Art Department of Shift.

Inspirations for the storyworld

Marcel Durer

When I pitch the core idea of Shift! people are often asking me about my inspirations.   In this post I want to tell you about my main inspirations for the storyworld of Shift!.

I’m a big nerd (surprise!) and as such I love to play roleplaying games. There is one called
Werewolf – the forsaken. In this game you play a werewolf (surprise!) that protects its turf together with his pack-mates. In a holy mission they have to protect the world of humans from degenerated shaman spirits. The game is a part of the World of Darkness universe and definitely worth looking at.

Of course X-Men had a big influence as well. The mutants in this Marvel comic series are
developing their superpowers when they reach puberty – just like it is with the sentinels in
Shift!. But mutants are feared by society, this is why they have to keep it as a secret.

Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics have been a big influence as well. The idea that abstract
concepts and … well, ideas like dreams, fears, emotions, death and life and all that stuff are having their own personalities struck me like a lightning.

And finally last winter a wonderful woman introduced me to the wonderful world of studio
ghibli. Their films are mostly based around the ideas of Shinto, just like My neighbour
Totoro. I became interested in the location based concept of Shinto and wanted to see how it would work in a Western society. I was inspired all winter long.

These are my biggest influences on the world. Some people suggested me to start reading The Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) because those books have some themes similiar to Shift!. And so I did. Now that I know Nochnoi Dozor, I’m prepared not to copy it by accident but to focus on the differences. And it makes fun!

Comics are my first love

Marcel Durer

Ever since I can remember comics were always around. I’m not talking about the cartoonish stuff like Disney and friends. Although, I bought them, the reason for it has been the funny gimmicks in them. No, I was always looking for the good stuff: for mutants, superheroes, action and huge storyworlds. No wonder my first comic book I can remember was an X-Men issue. I can’t retell anything of the storyline, but I remember Gambit and Wolverine in it.

Sure I loved Batman as well. I loved every comic from Marvel and DC that had its own cartoon show in the ´90s. That included mainly Spider-Man, Batman, X-Men and Iron Man. Although there was a Superman cartoon show as well, I never liked him for several reasons. Even in my early years I could tell that a person given THAT kind of power would never ever act purely good.

Anyway, when I was about nine, my mother sent me to an art school called The Labyrinth”. It was that kind of school where busy parents sent their children so they could learn artsy stuff in their free-time. My courses were filmmaking, animation and drawing.

My teachers praised me as a “gifted comic drawer”. Looking at my sketches from this time, I wouldn’t agree. Although I can imagine that if I would have focused more on my drawing skills, I could have become a professional.

In the meantime I started to read X-Men monthly and became a huge fan of their whole universe. My fascination grew when I realised that all stories in it were connected in some way to another. Around that time, X-Men Age of Apocalypse came out.

Until that point I wasn´t confronted with such a grim and epic storyline. Also the level of the art work was stunning. Joe Madureira had a major influence on me – not only on my drawing skills but also in my taste for comic art.

It must have been in that period of time when I tried to create my own superhero universe. The stuff I drew was a pilot scheme with all the characters I wanted to have in the story. There was “The Human Mosquito”, “The Reborn Hercules” and of course the animalistic “Hunter” – my own version of X-Men’s Sabretooth. Sadly, I haven´t had the endurance to finish it or to make something more out of it than a pile of papers.

You see, I became a comic book nerd and as I headed into puberty, I needed some more violent stuff. LoBo became an instant classic for me – not only was there a guy looking like he would listen to the same kind of music as I did, but he was rude and brutal on top of that. AND he kicked Superman’s butt.

Getting older other comics and graphic novels crossed my path as well as mangas. Garth Ennis’s Preacher, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Frank Millers Sin City and James O’Barr’s The Crow are just some of those I still worship today. And of course, I stayed true to the Marvel Universe.

In 2009 I began studying Interactive Media at the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg.  I focused on story worlds and game design. But through the years I realised that I still used comic strips to pitch my ideas or to adopt other story worlds.

When it came to our adaptation workshop, we had to face the impossible challenge to create something cool with Friedrich Schiller’s Die Räuber – and again we did a comic.

Today I’m facing my diploma and with Shift! I want to question what a comic can be nowadays. Given the technology, game elements and experience in storytelling – I think we can do so much more!

Why am I boring you with my life story? I want to show you that I am not only a dude who wants to make a comic because comics are cool. I want to show you that I really, really love that genre and that here is a guy, who has passion for it. I hope my passion will transpire into the work so you can enjoy it as well.


Screenshot from our Die Räuber comic.

Dive into the story with Bastien Vivès cinematic graphic novels

Ricarda Saleh

Sometimes I go into a book shop or a library to browse in illustrated books. Photography, comics, art, design – graphic novels. A couple of years ago I´ve been walking around in my hometown library. Looking at the shelfs, examining different book covers – I feel really sophisticated doing that. Then I saw this one book. It glew turquoise. Took it, opened it, had a look at two pages. I touched the pages. Turquoise, blue, grey – a public swimming pool. I remembered swimming. I could smell it. My corner of the mouth fell down.  I coudn´t bare what I was seeing. I clapped the book and walked away. I knew this was one of the most beautiful graphic novels I´ve ever seen.

The pictures had burned themselves into my memory. About two years later I found the book again, sat down and read it in one turn. Bastien Vivès graphic novel Le goût du chlore THE FLAVOUR OF CHLORINE  is based on a colour concept. It tells the story of a young man swimming. There is very little text. It feels like a film. The dynamic of movement is captured in a very authentic and poetic way.

Bastien Vives

© Bastien Vivés/Reprodukt

Bastien Vivés

© Bastien Vivès/Reprodukt

Bastien Vivès created another graphic novel with the same level of cinematic experience. Polina tells the story of a dancer, from joining a strict Russian ballet school as a young child to finding her own way – idea of expression and place to live as an adult.

Whereas Le goût du chlore had it´s strengh in the colour concept, this masterpiece is told in black, white and beige. The focus lays on the body and dance.

Felix, the Art Director of Shift, told me that Bastien Vivès made a lot of other more classical comics. Some comics with very powerfull storytelling – some comics with fighting and action – no arty farty Intellectual stuff. I was surprised and excited. Excited to learn more about his work. I see working in the project Shift! as an amazing opportunity to learn more about the comic genre and to understand the production process of an Ipad comic!


© Bastien Vivès