Tesla vs Cthulhu was born in 2012. I was in the film industry at the time, working as a screenwriter, independent development executive, and story consultant. In addition to the feature films we were developing, we also did fun side projects. I had wanted to do something in the vein of Lovecraft for a while, and I had also been a long-time fan of Nikola Tesla. And then, as I was brainstorming ideas for new projects, the phrase just entered my head.
Tesla vs Cthulhu.
I searched extensively but no one had done anything like this. So I wrote a short film, The Nightmare of Desolation Sound, a three-person, one-location film with the characters of Nikola Tesla, Elaine West, a graduate student from Miksatonic University, and Dr. Daniels, her professor who harbours a dark secret. I assembled my team, launching a Kickstarter shortly thereafter. Despite not having a big reach or much of a plan, we exceeded our goal and had coverage from as far away as Italy and Croatia.
Although the film started it all, the first story in the Tesla vs Cthulhu world would turn out to be the start of my serious fiction work. Kickstarters have updates, and daily updates are a good habit. As I was about to post my first update, I had an impulse: it would be fun to have something in the updates from inside the Tesla vs Cthulhu universe, so I wrote a diary entry from Elaine West.
I hadn’t thought that I needed daily updates for 30 days, and so in addition to running a Kickstarter and balancing my other film work, I’d also committed to writing several hundred words nearly every day for a short story that I didn’t have an outline for and had only the vaguest idea of plot.
From that was born the first tale in the Tesla vs Cthulhu universe, and it was a universe that would also lead me to my first novel.
The Nightmare of Desolation Sound was filmed in 2013 and had its world premiere at the HP Lovecraft Festival in Portland, Oregon.
Elaine West – Stephanie Dyck
Nikola Tesla – Sacha M. Romalo
Professor Daniels – Kirk Wilson
Written, Directed, and Edited by Jeff Richards
Produced by Mehgan Atchison, Jeff Richards, and Brad Johnson
Cinematography by Yong Jin Kim
Graphic Design by Stephanie Malone