I have really been enjoying the Zelda Sundial of Shadows animations created by Isobel Kelly. I wanted to ask her a few questions about the series, her process and thoughts about creating it. If you haven't checked out episode 1 I highly recommend it!

jdodson: I really like the style of Sundial of Shadows as it has the guts to do something a bit different. Instead of providing a paint by numbers generic story it takes its time to build its own style, and narrative. I wonder what you wanted to accomplish when you started the concept of Sundial of Shadows and wonder how you look at your first few episodes?

Isobel Kelly: I could've illustrated a comic book of this fan fiction but I wanted to really bring the story to life through animation. Sometimes I regretted creating it this way because of how long it takes to produce just one episode. I continue to remind myself of how worth it this will be in the end and of what a great self accomplishment it will be.

To create this Zelda fan fiction I had to first choose a concept, what character was the story going to be focused on and in what era of the Zelda timeline was the story going to occur? Ocarina of Time was my immediate choice, for the protagonist; typically, Link would've been the first choice but I wanted to try something different.

I thought back on the confrontation between Link and Dark Link in the Water Temple, it always used to bother me how the doppelgänger of the Hero of Time was never given a significant role in the game, he wasn't even made a boss monster. That's when I decided to shine the spotlight on the villain for once. I went with the concept that not everyone begins evil, there was a time where even the Great Ganondorf sucked on a pacifier. So where's a better place for the story to begin then at the birthplace of Dark Link, at the peak of his innocence.

The plot is of Dark Link's delve into darkness and his journey takes place during the same time as Link's. Their paths eventually intertwine at the fated location, The Water Temple. I wanted to do Dark Link justice and give him a proper purpose.

jdodson:The choice of using text to convey dialog and story as it harkens back to the original Zelda games. I wonder how you decided on this and if you considered voice acting for SoS?

Isobel Kelly: I've always considered voice acting for the series, for one it means viewers can enjoy watching the animation without the distraction of text and it's also nice to know what the characters sound like. I'd chosen simple subtitles to stick to tradition, I believe it also adds to the nostalgia of the Nintendo 64 classics.

jdodson:Link’s Awakening is one of my most beloved Zelda games, I wonder for you what game or games come to mind?

Isobel Kelly: If you're asking me which of the Zelda games are my favorite? Ocarina of Time N64 version, hands down. The first game I'd ever played, I was 6 years old at the time. I've played that game so many times (still do) I remember every puzzle by heart, I could play that game with my eyes closed. And then there's Majora's Mask. I can only ask, what happened to the keaton after that!? Any Zelda fan who has not, I implore that you play the classic Zelda games. Last time I'd visited an expo wearing a keaton mask with Link's cap, people were asking if I was pokemon crossed with Zelda.

jdodson:I wonder what prompted you to create Sundial of Shadows?

Isobel Kelly: I was first inspired to create this fan fiction after watching another person's animated Zelda series on Youtube. Seeing this person bring his story to life channeled the Zelda fan within me, before then it lay dormant for ages.

jdodson:I found SoS on one of the many game sites on the web. I wonder, as the episodes reach a wider audience how you look at this and what you think about it? Did you anticipate people to respond in the ways that they have?

Isobel Kelly: To imagine that more people could discover and enjoy this series excites me, I have what I believe is a great story that I want to tell everyone! But at the same time it worries me. Because I produce the episodes at such a slow pace, I can only hope that they can be patient. It's certainly a story worth waiting for. Thinking back I sometimes wish I could've saved up the episodes before releasing them, I was much younger at the time though and didn't realize how the series would catch on. Being a one person team I can only push forward and do the best I can.

jdodson:How many episodes of Sundial of Shadows do you plan on releasing to conclude the story or is SoS a story that can continue on for many seasons?

Isobel Kelly: I can't even determine how many episodes it will take to produce this series. HEAPS. Each episode I try to make at least 8 minutes long (not counting the 2nd ep since that had a specific deadline I had to plan around.) The series consists of the three stages of Dark Link's life, childhood, teenhood and adulthood. Each of which are almost an entire story on their own. However, I don't mind how long it will take to complete this series, it's the journey I should enjoy.

jdodson:Episode one takes its time with the characters to exist in the world and ends on a tense moment. Episode two takes us back to explain a bit more backstory. As you are charting out the Sundial of Shadows narrative how do you figure out what elements of the story should be shown in each episode?

Isobel Kelly: I've planned the whole story through a script, marking the key elements. I write a separate script for each episode using the overall script as a guide to ensure the story is told in the proper order. For the first sequence of episodes I plan to intertwine the stories of Dark Link as a child (under the age of 10) with the episodes of his current adventure. For example, the 1st ep was of his current adventure, 2nd ep was a flashback, 3rd ep will be current, 4th will be flashback and so on. This way you will get to know the relationship between his mother and him and the sort of character Uhu is.

jdodson:I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to me about SoS and wondered if you had anything you want to say before we wrapped up?

Isobel Kelly: No matter how long it takes this series will continue. And I just want to say that I appreciate everyone's support on the production of the series so far. Your encouragement has really kept me going during this large project. So thank you!! And thanks for this interview, I'm happy to have been given the chance to explain my process to everyone more thoroughly.


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