Reno Raijnes

My Journey

After college, (1yr Cert in TV, Theatre and Radio 2000, Bachelor of Applied Arts - Screenwriting 2011, Grad Dip 2d Digital Art and Cartooning: The Learning Connexion 2013,) it was taking a long time for me to get through the gatekeepers with a piece of writing, though my poetry was doing well. And to get a movie together. And to learn enough coding to make software and games. And I had no money to develop toys. And I didn't want to upskill my web coding without learning to make games. So I started freelancing, and I was helping people. I found that I was very good at helping them better articulate their means of expression. I was good at helping people with technology who weren't confident themselves. I was good at making cartoons and happy to do something special and unique for the enjoyment of a single individual. I was customising web templates and learning Javascript and Wordpress just by tinkering. And sometimes I would write for games, affordable pricing for small grassroots teams who wanted excellent writing in their projects. Or I could give feedback or help them write their design documentation, rules or prototype. And I was open to doing narrative or design work and/or art direction for interactive spaces and mechatronic art.

 

I still do freelancing. But I've started developing my own work as well. And I manage a small local creative team.

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I am a world-builder. The world-builder style of fiction writing has become overpopulated, but none are as sophisticated and well-loved as Stephen King’s Derry – Maine, Dune, Discworld, the DC Universe including Wildstorm, the Image Comics Universe, Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, X-Men, Narnia, Cronenberg’s New Flesh and the worlds of Jim Henson, Dogme 95, Ender, Tony Wong, Buster, Nny, Roald Dahl, Animaniacs, Bill Gaines and Cow and Chicken. Also L. Frank Baum’s Oz.

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As far as gaming, I almost exclusively stick to PS3, Star Wars on PC, steam indie, emus for sega/ps1/c64/amiga, MTGO, ds lite and win xp discs – eventually also 3do.

My favourite film is Henry Fool by Hal Hartley, closely followed by The Langoliers by Tom Holland, Labyrinth, A History of Violence, Empire Strikes Back, Oldboy (2003), Kids, Upstream Color, Night of the Demons 2, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, True Romance, La Cite Des Enfants Perdus, Demonlover (2002), The Idiots, It's Such A Beautiful Day, Unforgiven, Monster in a Box, The Goonies, Rush (1991), The Neverending Story, Sunshine (1999), eXistenZ, Hard Candy, First Blood, Chasing Amy, The Boondock Saints, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman Returns, Search and Destroy (1995), Umbilical World, The Omen, Oleanna, Crumb, Crash (1996), Spider, Tombstone, Rope, Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut, Tremors, From Bedrooms to Billions, Gunshy (2000), Cartoon College.

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the 5 types of writing that I do

  • Writing to send to publishers and digital publishers, producers, contests: webcomics, graphic novels, comic book series, screenplays, scripts (tv, theatre), ride/attraction designs, novels, indie video games, theoretical design books, tabletop games/rpgs, narrative essays.

  • Writing to collaborate with indie developers – as above

  • Writing e-courses

  • Self-published writing/sketch art: blogs, cartoons, ebooks, comic strips.

  • Writing and designs which I also produce (movies, songs for video, mechatronic games, interactive spaces and puppetry amusements, LARPs, interactive animated visual novels, indie video games, animation, toys, CCGs, CMGs, digital products and game art.)

  • creating design which is both reactive to excessively progressive technology and respecting my deep and powerful need to create something new.

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details about me

I have been reading DC comics since discovering Clayface, Captain Atom, JSA/JLA, Hal Jordan and Plastic Man as a kid.

 

I later discovered: Cerebus, Metabarons, Wetworks, JLI, Michael Holt, Uncanny X-Men, Ravage 2099, Wildstar, Hellshock by Jae Lee, Sensei by First Comics, Tony Wong, Wolverine and Daken, Cable and Deadpool, Bishop, Punisher, Spiderman villains, Spawn and Ken Reid.​

Still into those but getting more into: X-Men, X-Man, Wildstorm, Curse of Spawn, Silver Surfer, Swamp Thing, Suicide Squad, Sinister Six, Death’s Head, Checkmate, Lucifer, Slave Labor Graphics, Bill Loebs and Sam Kieth, Marvel Zombies, Elseworlds, What if, Generation X, Atom Smasher, Spectre, Argus (bloodlines), Thanos, Dr Strange, Richard Thompson, Earth X, X-Factor, Captain Britain, Batman ’66, X-23, Youngblood, Wild C.A.T.S. and Black Adam.

I love visual storytelling. Scriptwriting for both screen and sequential art is one of my core passions.

I grew up in the oldest town in the UK, Colchester – in rural Essex. I came over to New Zealand with family when I was six years old. Coming from a strict primary school where I had to wear a shirt and tie, to a small school where it was so hot we didn’t even have to wear shoes. I went to school in a small shearing village with six other Maori kids. The teacher was also the principal. Recreation was whatever we made ourselves, in busted up rusty cars, in the woods, in the school pool. Making up physical and ball games. Going on adventures, and messing about while the grownups did shearing or docking the lambs or eeling and preparing the Hangi.

Holidays were skiing or road trips or camping. Growing up with the Spectrum, C64, Acorn Archimedes and Amiga. In the early 90’s in Turangi, I was introduced to the Sega Master System. And I would soon begin learning to make video games with a BBC Micro emulator in BASIC. And also writing rpg rulebooks and card game mods.

I don’t want my work to be forgotten. I want to leave something behind, I want my life to have had meaning – for this I feel that I need to effect positive change in the world, to impact society, to make an imprint of myself that will not decay before our species does. To change minds, inspire hope and change. To motivate deep thought. To move tech forward to solve problems or inspire and enable the next generation to move tech and society forward to solve problems. these are turbulent times so there are possibly more problems now than ever. climate, politics, hate, inequality, economy, poverty, the destruction of the hard worker and his/her life/family, bullying (more hate), and harassment (hate turned to action.)

 

How?

Through powerful stories, designs, sketches and tech: YA novels (14-17), scripts, movies and sequential art, documentaries, designs, digital products, mechatronics, cartoons, critical analysis, written ideas, songs for video, ecourses and games.

I have learned to write three kinds of narratives: 1. the magical and scientific, because I’m very passionate about believing in the supposedly impossible. 2. minimalist indie intellectual action/drama – because I’ve always been super-fixated on dismantling and the function and functioning of various processes – especially mental and creative. 3. when I am challenged to write with certain limitations – budget, number of locations, characters, etc.

I am seriously fascinated by the development of digital works. Mechatronics is a combination of mechanical output and electronic parts (usually the brain and power source are electronic.) This includes but is not limited to animatronics. You can have mechatronic spaces, toys, art installations and physical-digital products.

I dig the ideas of minimalism and Utopianism. But I'm also a collector, so having a certain amount of stuff - esp. entertainment and books, is part of my passion. But I do like the idea of surrounding myself with only the resources that I need + my collections. I really like social entrepreneurship because it realigns ambition with a social conscience in mind. The ambition is not to have the greatest profits incrementally increasing infinitely for shareholders, but to have the best products and/or services so that the creatives can live well and to improve the lives of others as well.

Digital products are products that utilise technology for their function. Often this means things like software and electronic games and hardware. With either invisible moving parts or physical electronically controlled moving parts. However, physical-digital products can be any finished physical thing (that is to be sold) that uses technology for its physical functioning. A digital product might be Facebook (software) or a Barcode Reader (hardware). Whereas an example of a physical-digital product might be a consumer robot (physically-functioning hardware).

Currently I focus on writing, scriptwriting, production design, design art, indie game development, and cartooning.

Best hours to pop in for a chat about creative projects

Sun - Fri: `12pm - 7pm

​​Saturday: 12pm - 8pm

My favourite games to design are: Sims, digital trading card games, digital miniature wargames (like Blood Bowl), indie MMOs (like 8bitmmo by Robby Zinchak), Hybrids, slice-of-life drama strategy games (because life has infinite possibilities, so lots of inspiration), precision platformers, sweeping epic stories I can write (3rd person shooter adventure or 2d isometric adventure), story-based fighting games and scifi/fantasy sports games, and racing games. rulebooks or a thick set of rules – though for me it’s about the mechanics and finding the sweet spot between the player having no clue what to do in a completely open system; where it only looks like you could do literally anything with no guide or intrinsic intuit-able journey – and (I do hate these) hand-holding mechanisms.

When I started writing a rulebook for an rpg as a teenager, (my first written game design documentation) it began with the characters, then I started making up cool and relevant features/abilities. But it was in the mechanics where I found the best part; how the character operated in my world. And how the characters interacted with each other and the environment.

 

My top 25 favourite video games: Magic: the Gathering Online, Land of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse, Another World, Discworld 2, Limbo, Earthworm Jim, Lemmings, Close Combat, Joust, Mortal Kombat 2, The Sims 1, Gain Ground, Alfred Chicken, Robocop VS The Terminator, Syphon Filter, Kung Fu Master (c64), Osmos, California Games, Hacker Evolution: Untold, Astro Warrior, Skitchin, Rampage, Marble Madness, Pro Wrestling (sms), 3d Ballz.

About my writing

In my novels and screenplays, first is the idea. Then I figure out what the story is that I want to tell; what I want to express. Then I plot out the events and the characters required for those events. Then I summon the characters and watch them hanging out and interacting with each other. I test them with the situations and riff on the settings like God. Then I organically weave together the events, and the journeys of the characters. Meanwhile, amping up what I’m trying to express. Draw the next paragraph from the one I just wrote, while not forgetting what I’m trying to say. I get to know the characters and they start speaking to me and doing things I hadn’t expected, which (like time travel) changes the plot. Eventually I stop writing, that’s when I decide it’s ready to rewrite – which usually takes a month or four.

 

As a self-taught professor of the fantastic, my style is either about deep thought, or something well thought through. Deep and abstract BUT specificity in the action/setting. I was told my stage plays were “too novelesque”.

 

After my TVNZ callback and rejection (due to budget constraints), I learned to create… to low budget, minimalism, restrictions. This was a challenge that took me on a 7 year quest.

While also pursuing: fantastical, sci-fi, big projects. Doing both = different approaches to the same problem.

“If I didn’t find different ways to solve one problem, I’d find myself failing.” – I don’t accept rejection/ failure – it’s just a problem with more approaches to try, and a challenge to meet.

 

Mechatronics – “driven by the hunger to understand, define, communicate and express the process” + “sometimes I get so engrossed in the process I forget about the subject.”

When I was little, I wanted to be an inventor, a pro wrestler and a storyteller. A stretched ligament in my knee turned me off from a sports career, but I never stopped loving pro wrestling and martial arts – inventing became toy design, game design and digital product design.

I was less concerned about being understood, than being myself.

I wanted to create something new and original – which isn’t hard, I’m weird.

How am I weird? eccentric tastes, variety of humour styles, few emotional & mental health issues, neurotic – which is almost a strength in creativity.

Issues lead to: overthinking, thinking things through to excess.

Dream type of work

Epic, fantastical, sci-fi AND grounded in deep thought, morbid absurdism, fear and misery, post-modernism, minimalism, sophisticated silliness and restrictions.

“Alienatingly snobby” – I’ve been called an intellectual snob and I’m fine with that.

 

…Then as I fell in love with science fiction, my keen following of science grew from robots to include things like social science, psychology, software design, hardware design, mecha design and anthropology.

I have a strong writing, design, product management, visual art and art direction, production and sketch art background. I have yet to get my feet wet with a finished original commercial digital product (hardware, software, indie video games, mecha) and toy.

 

I’ve been a fan of Stephen King and Horror since I was 13yrs old. Later Wes Craven, early Peter Jackson and Harry Sinclair, David Lynch, Cronenberg. Then Troma, Miike, Park, Assayas, Jeunet, Carruth, Firth and Henry Selick. Eventually Aja, Pearse Elliott, Mick Garris, Chiodo and Tom Holland (The Langoliers, Child’s Play 1, Fright Night.)

I grew up on farms, but I’m more of a small town and beach guy, I like the mountains as well. Most of my life I’ve been inspired by isolation, heavy metal music, painting miniatures, skateboarding, 90s and 70s rock and folk music, playing Magic: the Gathering, Paul Bonner’s Nepharite Warlords in the Mutant Chronicles Game Universe (now being rebirthed by Res Nova), learning algebra and computer game programming, animation and collecting comic books and browsing concept art online. And reading mostly Stephen King, Terry Pratchett and Roald Dahl. Later came the likes of Glen Duncan, Patrick McGrath and Greg Egan.

I hope to emulate the level of innovation, cleverness and sophistication of my favourite games and movies. That is, to create new ways of thinking, comprehensive construction and designing with attention to detail and elegance of thought.

And I adore old musicals: Wizard of Oz, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Grease, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Little Shop of Horrors. Something I carry around with me consistently is my devotion to physical effects in film.

I am an introvert to the extreme – preferring a good book, a cold fizzy drink or a hot cocoa/coffee and some old heavy metal/acid rock music on my portable player down by the train tracks. But I’m very talkative in a social setting with just a few people I’ve known a while – or after a few drinks.

My biggest aspiration is to turn my creativity – writing, mentoring/tutoring, filmmaking, game designing and critiquing, drawing and design art, and software and comic book creating – into a profession. I’m also fascinated by socialist communes – Twin Oaks and FIC.​

 

My entire life I’ve been fascinated by materialising society’s fears, misery and absurdity, the disturbing and creepy, psychosis, nightmares, delusions, visions and fantasies. with respect to those older processes which are lasting in their effect/revealing something new about something old. the dismantling, evolution, criticism and analysis of minds and processes – their function in society and how they themselves function.

Outside of writing, my process is to explore something - an idea, a feeling, an experience. write and/or storyboard, then take apart its elements and practise drawing those elements, then put it together, colour it digitally and mess around with it. Use my unique eye, use my way of looking at it to fuck with it until it looks funky and I'm happy. But it also tells a story. With games it's more about enabling play inside a scenario and experiential design. How the environment and the situation contrast or conflict with the story and its inhabitants. allowing the player to get lost but also fix something broken, get creative and/or conquer the world. I want to make it difficult for them to win, but not difficult to try it out. It is important to me that I don't insult their intelligence, if I'm being too obscure, I don't care. The game must have a point to it, it's all based on a premise that is about something interesting and cerebral - an intellectual challenge for me, and usually also the audience. Unlike with my writing, the premise is never veered too far away from, in the final design/delivery. With other projects, I just want to make life easier for creative people and deep thinkers.

To give you a better idea about whether or not the content I like to create and engage with meshes well with your interests, here are a few of my favourite creatives:

  • Richard Garfield

  • Stephen King

  • Glen Duncan

  • Greg Egan

  • Jim Henson

  • David Cronenberg

  • Lloyd Kaufman

  • Rik Mayall

  • Jay Silver

  • Eric Chahi

  • Hal Hartley

  • Shane Carruth

  • Joe Penhall

  • Henry Selick

  • Andy Weir

  • Spalding Gray

  • Daniel Rozin

  • Chris Hallbeck

  • David Feiss

  • Gregory Widen

  • Playdead

  • Alex Gansa

  • Lars Von Trier

  • David Firth

  • Anna Mantzaris

  • Pancake Wendy

  • Foddy

  • Jhonen Vasquez

  • Bill Gaines

  • Park Chan-wook

  • Tony Wong

  • Brendon Small

  • Jack Cole

  • Bruce Timm

  • David Scott Jones

  • Doug TenNapel

  • David Peoples

  • Ken Reid

  • Don Hertzfeldt

  • Roald Dahl

  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet

  • B. F. Skinner

  • Ben Ketai

  • Olivier Assayas

  • Casey Pugh

  • Terry Pratchett

  • Bill King (game writer)

  • Will Wright

  • Harmony Korine

  • Twisted Pixel

  • David Seltzer

  • Sloclap

© 2021 by Mike - Flesh Workshop.