Gratitude & Hope

For all of us, 2020 has been upside down, backwards, and totally unexpected in far too many ways.

While we may be reeling from upheaval, confused at so much contradiction and upset by the rampant contention, shining through everything dark and dreary are the positive and hopeful moments that never fail to arrive just in time.

We see that pattern all around us; the warm promise of a fresh spring always follows the harsh, gray oppression of winter. Yet when things are at their bleakest, it feels as though they may never pass.

This reminds me of the moment in The Price where the narrator is thinking through possible causes for the trauma being visited upon the Black Cat each night, and says, “We wondered who he was fighting? Racoons? A rat-tailed, fanged possum?”

Here’s how I chose to depict this part of the story when I first created the animatic:


I thought having him look out through his office window as the camera moves in from outside the glass would help convey his concern over whatever external force was causing so much torment for his feline houseguest.

When creating the final images, I decided to add raindrops to the surface of the glass, starting the shot tight on them as they trickle down like tears, and then racking focus to reveal our narrator inside.


TP-027-B_Who-he-was-fighting_01I like the juxtaposition, with the colder lighting outside and the more inviting colors within.

I suppose that is where some of my optimism has come from recently. Despite the grim goings-on in the world around me, the mandate to stay inside has renewed the deep affection and appreciation I feel for my family. The disruption of everyday schedules has led to some unique and unscripted moments that have helped to strengthen our bond, and to value familiar relationships more fully.

My gratitude at the pure generosity of Neil Gaiman (who recently celebrated a birthday) and the persistent positivity of Cat Mihos are lights that keep shining on this project even on my darker days.

As always, I am grateful for the many messages I continue to receive that are brimming with cheerful encouragement and kindness, despite the hyper-extended production timeline of this little film. Even those whose comments have been somewhat less than polite on this point still reflect the care and passion of fans who just want to see this version of Neil Gaiman’s beloved story (already)! I thank you for your continued faith and patience, and promise that I am one of those passionate/perturbed people myself!

Stay healthy and safe, and hold your loved ones extra tight; spring is coming.

About Xtopher

Director of The Price, and Owner/Creative Director of Silver Fish Creative, LLC.
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25 Responses to Gratitude & Hope

  1. Christel Adina Loar says:

    Thank you for this bit of warmth and optimism.

  2. I do not mind it taking long. You don’t have a huge team like one of the big publishers. I expected this to take a couple of years when I supported your kickstarter. I’d rather wait for a quality film than put pressure on you to release something sub-par. Stay safe and “Never give up, never surrender!”

  3. Kathy Meidell says:

    Keep the faith, Christopher, as you have been. Most all of us are lovingly in this with you. It has been the best return for a small donation on my part. I’ve seen courage, truth, humility, community and a look into the creative process. A true windfall for me!
    In thanks and patience,

    • Xtopher says:

      Kathy… thank you so much for your thoughtful and generous comments. (I won’t lie, I got very emotional reading them!) You brought some much-needed light, and I am grateful that you took time to share with me!

  4. Mark says:

    Looking amazing! THanks for sharing the update!

  5. Doug Salmon says:

    Thanks for your example of determination, grit, perseverance and goodness, Chris!
    Hoping always that you can successfully maintain a balance with home, profession and your “The Price” passion!
    Uncle Doug

  6. Bridget McKenna says:

    Thanks for the updates. Watching The Price take shape has been a journey I’ve been glad to be part of.

  7. Trevor R says:


    Thanks for the update. Love Gaiman’s work. Love your approach, and the care and diligence that you’ve been applying to something that will be magical on release. Life can be complicated, and what you’ve been through, with a pandemic on top of it, is no small challenge.

    If it’ll make you feel any better, my novel has been a work in progress for twenty years so far. I’m definitely playing the long game on this one!

    What would you say is the primary factor impacting the velocity of the project? Is it strictly a matter of having spare time? Insufficient funding? Too few hands to share the work? I feel like this could garner a Canadian arts grant. Can others help, or would that involve too much overhead in divvying out and coordinating the tasks?

    All the best to you and yours in these strange times.

    • Xtopher says:

      Hey Trevor! You know, the truest answer seems the most trite, but the primary factor really is life. I appreciate the thought behind grants and seeking out help from others, but you are right on the money when you mention the overhead involved in using a a team-based approach (at this point anyway). I worked in the video game industry for many years in leadership positions, and after awhile the job became mostly about administration rather than creation. Thanks for following along and staying so positive my friend/compatriot! :)

  8. cynthia green says:

    I have my poster hung in my sitting room. I love to think about how awesome this film is going to be. It will be worth the wait for all of us. Thank you!

  9. Martha Wallen says:

    The new pictures are beautiful. When you started your project, I only cared about the cat. Now I think we are all a lot like that cat. I don’t know what there is out there that we have to keep fighting. I hope things get better soon for all of us. Thanks for keeping us posted. I hope that making art has helped you in this pandemic.

    • Xtopher says:

      I love where you are going with that thought Martha, and that’s why a gem of a story like this has real resonance. And thank you, it has helped me in dealing with everything right now. Stay health and happy!

  10. Jill says:

    As always, I am thrilled to see an update, and amazed at the brilliant art you create. My hope for you is that you release the pressure valve and enjoy the process. We will bask in the glow of its completion when it gets there. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work with the world.

    • Xtopher says:

      I am trying, Jill, and I really do enjoy every moment of the process (just struggling to have a more concentrated amount of them). Thank you for the ray of sunshine today! :)

  11. Always nice to see another update! Hope you and yours are doing well amid this pandemic. It’s been a grueling year for me, despite a few highlights. I got married this year, and graduated from my reentry to college, but unfortunately graduated into a pandemic and flailing economy, and have not as yet been able to find work. We’re lucky my wife’s job has been mostly steady, and she can work from home.

    Good luck to you, as always. Keep on keepin on!

    • Xtopher says:

      Hey Michael — so great to hear from you! And CONGRATULATIONS!!! Holy smokes, man, that is fantastic news (the marriage & graduation, not the pandemic-sludge that we’re all dealing with). You hang in there as well, and grab inspiration from wherever you can (speaking of, I hope you read the post I’m putting up later today). There is always light to find, no matter how dark things appear… and I know you believe that too; it just helps when you receive little reminders from the people you can truly count on (and you are living proof of that for me, Michael)! Thank you for never wavering and always sending a little sunshine my way.

  12. Lynne Taylor says:

    As we pass the tenth anniversary of the commencement of this project, I am really glad to see some updates. It has been awhile, so frankly I had written this whole thing off. My daughter-in-law ( who I didn’t even know ten years ago) got a tour of the set of Brooklyn Nine Nine and watched a filming of The Good Place for a charitable donation through Mark Evan Jackson last year. She even got to talk to Ted Danson. Gotta admit, I was jealous.

  13. Jeremy says:

    I love this story so much and wish you well in completing it.
    The narrator’s descent into madness has always intrigued me also…
    Take care!

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