Christopher A Forrest's Influences
I started out drawing as a four year old, and as I grew older, I developed interests in most other art forms but especially in acting and music. This love of art affected the sort of film and television I selected to view as I progressed.
There was not much sci-fi to see during my first decade – the '60s. I saw a couple of first run Star Trek episodes, and was a huge fan of the early Planet of the Apes film series. I was far more interested in superheroes back then, going in big for the Batman TV series, even if the writers were half joking with the 'style and tone' they gave the show. I was, after all, between the ages of 6 to 8 when the series ran.
I also began reading and drawing Spiderman and Daredevil during this time. As 1970 arrived, so too did a TV series that ran in only Canada and the UK. The show 'UFO' really ignited my interest in sci-fi. Unfortunately, it ran for just a season, but it caused me to keep my eyes and ears open to anything more like it. I soon after discovered reruns of The Outer Limits on TV, and this served me fairly well for another year.
I moved to the UK in late 1972 and hoped to reencounter the UFO show there; however, they had one TV show on the air that qualified as Sci-fi: Dr. Who. Unfortunately, that series' producers did little to enhance the visuals on the show. It was extremely low budget, and most folks saw it as a joke. Sci-fi was in a dark age.
By the time I returned to Canada in 1975, I was more interested in girls and music than anything else. I watched the odd rerun of Star Trek, and the occasional late night sci-fi film from the late '50s or early '60s, but most of these were really a modification of the horror story and not very interesting.
In the early summer of 1977, everything changed. The film Star Wars came out and changed sci-fi permanently. Until its release, the '70s had seen only a couple of notable sci-fi films gross in the top 20 of all those years together. In fact, it would have taken the first six top grossing films of 1976 to equal what 1977's Star Wars grossed alone. Released later that year too was Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This finished second to Star Wars and taught me that great sci-fi did not have to take place exclusively in outer space.
Suddenly, sci-fi was the film genre to beat! Every TV and film studio attempted to duplicate Star Wars success. Although they all failed, nevertheless, the genre received a permanent revival.
During early 1982, someone introduced me to a role-playing game called Dungeons and Dragons. Popular mostly as a university student's game at that point, I became an instant fan, and this led to my playing many hours of various types of these games through the '80s and into the '90s as well. Several of the variations were sci-fi themed.
Also during the '80s, the Star Trek franchise revived in both film and on TV, and this was a good thing. In addition, several long-term sci-fi film series started, including Alien, Predator, Terminator, Robocop, and Back to the Future: I saw every one of them.
I was also a huge fan of the Indiana Jones series – including the TV 'Young' version – and was delighted to discover that I would need a character in my Zarulium Chronicles series who would share at least a similar work background as Indy.
Of course, the late '70s and '80s saw a revival for superheroes too, like Superman and Batman, and their multi-film successes spawned talk of other superhero treatments down the line. I should mention that fantasy was a preferred category for me too, largely due to my D & D playing. I enjoyed the Conan series, Excalibur, Beast Master, Sword & the Sorcerer, and several other lesser sword epics during this time.
By the time the '90s arrived, I noticed far fewer offerings in sci-fi that had large scope. Frequently, there was either one good film in a series like the first Jurassic Park, or one good film period, like The Fifth Element.
I should point out that I have always been a James Bond fan, and enjoyed the series from start to date. I have also liked the Bourne series including the recent 2012 release, and appreciated True Lies as well.
During the millennium, of course, we saw a Star Wars return that I liked but not as much as I had hoped; a Lord of the Rings trilogy that was better than I thought it would be; and a very unexpected but superb Harry Potter series. In addition, the various Marvel Comics hero films were mostly delightful through this time.
I spent about 20 years starting in the early '80s as a stage actor, and grew to enjoy several playwrights like Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Harold Pinter, and Tom Stoppard. I have been a longtime fan of Monty Python, in particular John Cleese. I also continue to enjoy many types of music, and am a big sports fan.
Finally, I have largely replaced my role-playing activity with that of computer games, and I am a huge fan of the Civilization series. I also recently arrived at level 81.5 in Skyrim on the PS3.