Mesozoic Life is an ambitious project that surprised everyone with a spectacular 1/35 Spinosaurus and just started a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter… Let’s talk about this and more in the interview with founder Kevin Miguel.
Hi Kevin, Welcome to Paleo-Nerd! First of all, would you please introduce yourself and your
projects to our fans?
Hello everyone, first I want to say thank you very much for inviting me to this interview and secondly, to simply say that my name is Kevin Miguel, “better known” as Blayken on the YouTube platform.
And for about two years I have been raising funds and carrying out my personal project called “Mesozoic Life: The New Series” which consists, in summary, with the realization of a CGI animated documentary mini-series of about 5 episodes about the Mesozoic era showing the life of different species of dinosaurs such as Spinosaurus and other animals not so recognized as T. rex, at least in what will be its first Season.
Where did your passion for dinosaurs come from?
A very good question, I remember that the first dinosaur movie I saw was “The Land Before Time” when I was three or four, and although I got quite excited I would say that what I really love about dinosaurs was because my father showed me the Steven Spielberg movie, Jurassic Park.
It was really amazing to be able to see such realistic dinosaurs that still look great for a 1993 film today, especially in practical effects moments like the Tyrannosaurus Rex escape scene or the Brachiosaurus feeding scene.
From that point on, I certainly became a self-confessed addict to all kinds of information about these wonderful prehistoric creatures and would try to watch any dinosaur movies, series, or documentaries.
Finally, besides these two films that I have mentioned, I remember with great affection the series “Walking with Dinosaurs” without a doubt another audio-visual marvel.
Do you remember the first dinosaur toy you ever owned?
I remember that I had several Jurassic Park toys from the Kenner brand but I would say that my first toy was a Raptor and frankly it is a miracle that it has survived the passage of time and my constant games.
Here you have some images of Kenner’s Raptor figure and that of a Pachycephalosaurus that I played with all hours and that I keep in the “toy drawer” of my parents’ house.
How did you get the idea of a 3D documentary series, and how did you come up with the idea of
creating exclusive prints and figures?
The idea for this mini-documentary series came from a child’s deep desire to record or create their own dinosaur movie that people could enjoy as much as I did and still do.
And one day in 2019 I came up with the idea of making a short film about a Spinosaurus that ended up becoming the Teaser Trailer for the Mesozoic Life series in 2D.
As this idea became more popular, I met people who gave me the opportunity to show the project in the very realistic 3D form that we know today.
And then it could be said that the idea of the prints, and the figures later, emerged as ways of finding the necessary funds to finance a project of these characteristics without being the BBC or National Geographic.
What were your main references as a screenwriter? How much research do you put into your work?
Frankly, it was a pleasure for me to write the scripts for the episodes, despite not having any kind of reference, perhaps my desire to learn to write them properly.
I found my inspirations, I took as references several documentary series of dinosaurs known as “Walking With Dinosaurs”, “Dinosaur Planet”, “When Dinosaurs Roamed America”, “Dinosaur Revolution”, as well as some other documentaries on current wildlife such as” Life”, among others.
As for the research that I did at the time of writing the scripts, I would dare to say that it is even too much. Well, I no longer remember how many times I had to modify the scripts just because two specific species could not coexist in the same specific time and place.
It was also curious to discover the many inaccuracies were committed in numerous documentaries that I idolized as a young man.
I mean, if you want to make realistic fiction with dinosaurs it can be frustrating how many limitations you find when telling your stories, since these creatures were, after all, animals and not the monsters we usually see in movies.
You are working with many talented and passionate people (some of whom are well-known by our
community), including paleontologists, illustrators, 3D animators, paleoartists, and sound designers:
what can you tell us about this incredible team?
I’ll start by saying that they’re amazing to work with, if I had to say how proud I am to have them with me, I don’t think I could put it into words.
I invite you and your readers to visit the official Mesozoic Life Patreon to discover who all of our members are.
First of all, and despite how corny it may sound, I want to thank Koldobika Larrazabal and Omar Lagarda, users who are part of the team and who have helped me with details such as promotion and prior research from day one.
Also, to say that it is wonderful how paleontologists advise and instruct me when I send them the animal designs in the form of concepts or the scripts themselves, they are super practical suggesting changes or improvements in the stories of this amateur screenwriter.
And last but not least, there are those members who are true artists, our 3D illustrators, and modelers, and even Sound Designers.
I would mainly highlight three artists who have supported me a lot and they would be Julio Lacerda, Raul Ramos, and Manuel Agüero.
Julio has an incredible talent to be able to represent our animals realistically and has made several of the most spectacular Prints of Mesozoic Life:
Manuel, in addition to being a great friend, has already designed half of the creatures that will appear in the series and has been improving exponentially.
And well, not to mention Raul Ramos, who was one of the first to support me with my Project, making the first designs of our animals, I would especially say that he is the most recognized of all.
Additionally, Raul had the arduous task of making last-minute touch-ups and adjustments to the 3D model of our Spinosaurus figure made by the talented 3D modeler Jacob Baardse. And he also made the resin prints of our figure in various scales:
I also want to make a small mention of Fred Wierum, whom I have admired for many years, and who excites me every time he takes time out of his busy schedule to make a “simple sketch”.
And finally, apart from illustrators or 3D modelers, another member I want to talk about is Gastón Barthelemy whose work with the sound effects of our animals is simply sensational.
- In fact, here is a short exclusive clip that shows our adult female Spinosaurus, Cleopatra where you can see the work that Gaston puts on the sound:
Can you describe to us your team’s way of working?
Sure, I start writing a script myself first, then submit it to the scientific advisors for review to finally give their approval and suggest some other changes if needed.
Later we move on to the designs of the creatures that appear in the story, something that is normally handled by one or more illustrators depending on the time they have.
Here you have in fact another one exclusively from the interview, and it is the design of our Female variant of Concavenator corcovatus by Manuel Agüero:
Then the Concept Art would arrive, like this one made by Manuel, which shows a group of feathered Herrerasaurus in their environment:
Later would come the Storyboards, Animatics, and the respective 3D models of creatures and environments, but I am afraid we are already entering a complicated terrain due to the limited funds that we currently have, and I hope to remedy in the future.
Can you tell us something about the criteria by which you chose the featured species and their
Of course, the choices of the creatures in Season One of the series are largely based on the idea that 90% of the dinosaur species shown in Documentaries throughout history are from North America, such as Tyrannosaurus Rex or Triceratops among others.
So we limited ourselves to the species that existed in Europe, South America, and Africa. Several of them have already been revealed such as Giganotosaurus, Concavenator, and of course Spinosaurus, but in fact, there will be more than forty different creatures among which are reptiles, mammals, fish, synapsids, and of course Dinosaurs.
As for the names or nicknames that we have given to some of our revealed animals such as Ramses, Aeneas, Heracles, Amon, etc …
Well, the truth is that I have always liked mythology and, despite dinosaurs not being gods or warriors or things like that, I wanted to give them names that in most cases would do justice to these incredible creatures that ruled the earth for more than 135 million years.
The first of your exclusive collectible figures is Ramses the Spinosaurus: how does it feel to work
on such a changing animal?
Well, I am not going to lie, it has been tremendously frustrating to work with the Spino given how changeable this species is, what we are gradually discovering as time passes and the necessary studies of the fossil material found that are carried out.
The first of the problems came with his way of moving since originally we were going to give him a quadruped or semi-quadruped posture, as you can see in this Concept made by Raul (Ramos).
But nowadays and, although it is difficult for some to accept it, it is an animal that was most likely bipedal like the typical theropods.
What seems clear at the moment is that whatever its locomotion on land, this animal spent most of its time in the water given its oar-shaped tail discovered in 2020 and would only come out of the water, maybe to feed on something on the shore, move to another river or lay their eggs for example.
For this reason, with our figure of 2021, we have tried to represent him in this bipedal position so defended by paleontologists such as Roberto Díaz Sibaja.
Although it cannot be ruled out that this animal will change again in the coming months or years according to discoveries that shed light and this time definitively, on its locomotion on land, which for me is the aspect of Spinosaurus that I most want to know.
Despite all this, I must admit that although each animal is indeed unique, the Spinosaurus already holds a place on my list of Favorite Dinosaurs.
Are you facing some challenges in your work?
Of course, I would like to say that in the first instance, it has been a complete personal challenge for me to be able to pay for most of the things that you have seen from Mesozoic Life.
Although the support through Patreon is very noticeable, and I am very grateful, some parts o the project are tremendously expensive and I myself have had to bear the expenses many times until reaching a turning point.
There have also been many bumps in the road during development and of many kinds, but without a doubt, one of the things that affect me the most on a personal level is the harsh criticism from some members of the Paleo community who are tremendously demanding with what for them is “Accurate”. But hey, I like to think that this is something that all these kinds of productions face.
Regarding the Kickstarter campaign, I must say that this is the first time I have created a pre-order for a figure and although I have all the details of Production and Distribution controlled, I have learned that no matter how well you think you have everything controlled, Unpredictable situations can always arise and even more so in the current situation in which we find ourselves with COVID-19.
What are the next initiatives that fans and collectors should look forward to in the future?
I’ll just say that if this first Mesozoic Life Line figure is a resounding success in this recent Kickstarter campaign ending October 2, I won’t hesitate to make some of the unique collectible dinosaur figures when it comes to balancing the scientifically correct and the visually attractive to the public.
Since I have learned that being very scientifically correct and meticulous is without a doubt a great merit, but it is useless if it is not possible to capture the attention of the specialized public in articles such as figures, Prints, and other types of articles that I intend to launch in the future.
Can you give us some links to your site or social platforms?
Sure, if you allow me, I’ll go in order of priority.
First of all, there is my YouTube channel and, despite being a Spanish channel, all the videos related to Mesozoic Life have English subtitles that can be activated with a click or are integrated into the video
My YT channel here
Then there are also my three main social networks apart from YT which are:
And finally, about Mesozoic Life The New Series, the following links are essential:
And what time is more important than now to share our Kickstarter campaign!