Me, Jermaine and Annie

A throwback look at when the creative parties for HTB first met and got the ball rolling on the development of the book.

At first you don’t succeed you try and you try again is how the saying goes right? Particularly with something you believe in strongly. That’s the view we are taking as we again launch into developing the HTB comic book. We launched a crowdfunding page on Indiegogo on April 25th and it will continue until June 14th of this year.

The page has the requisite information, the who, what, where, when and why we are doing what we are doing in creating the book. We’re looking to hit $5,000 which will pay for the artist ($3,500) and the rest will go toward the initial print run of the book for perk fulfillment and initial sales.

 

HTB Graphic Novel

The artist in question is the Chicago based, David Jaxon. He’s been penciling for 17 years.

Some of his most recent work ranging from 2017-2018 includes: “Red Talon” issue 1 for Flatworld Comics, “Armed n Danger’Russ” issues 1-4 and “Wandering Monkey” issues 1-5 for 15 Year Comics, “Crossfire” issue 2 for Splotch Comics, “Xob” issue 1 for Taurus Comics, issue 1 of “The Teddy Bear Legion”, and dozens of others some to be announced.

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We think he will do wonders with the book. One of the issues we will acknowledge with the campaign and the reason we did the one time extension Indiegogo allows is for Jaxon to be able to work up a handful of pages from the book. Our intent is to have the first 10 pages for all to see so would be contributors can see what they will be getting with the book. We wanted to have them at launch but a last minute exit of the previous artist. We had already launched and could not go back on it, so we are doing what we can to make the most of the situation and get pages done as soon as possible.

We can totally crash and burn again and even if we do we will try again. This book has to happen, the story has to be told, Bj has spent enough of his adult years pondering it.

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Filming a teaser short for HTB.

Comic book….movie…comic book…both at once, the path to production has jumped around but by going back to and settling on a comic book, we think it will the best means. Ideally folks with investor kind of funding will see potential in adaptation once they see the book. We have had a publisher note that the book premise is ‘interesting’ but they will need to see pages and how the story flows to give them that publishing push.

We have to get it done, that’s the hard part. Again, doing the crowdfunding math is easy. Oh, if only X-number of people will give $10…$5….$1, we can do it. But we have to put the work in across social media and other promotional means.

At first you don’t succeed…..

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2018 is nearly upon us. It seemed like just yesterday, we were looking back at 2016 and plotting and planning goals for 2017. cheerleaders colorsb.jpg

We had made goals regarding a few long gestating projects, among them, Cheerleader Karate School. This past year saw us putting it together and ending up with mixed results. We very much wanted to continue with it, but after some reflection (some of which we blogged about) you realize you sometimes have to make changes to your plans. CKS is going back to its comic book roots and recently we have landed the artist who is going to help make that happen.

Brian Brinlee. 

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Brian Brinlee, artist

Brinlee has been working as a freelance illustrator since 2001. Fun fact: Brinlee spent time living in Denton, TX and attending the University of North Texas. Given the fact that CKS takes place in Denton, it’s cool of the artist to have a connection to the city. While living here he pursued a degree in graphic art but soon realized his heart was in illustration. He found that creating a visual story was much more interesting than tooling around with graphic shapes and lines. Brinlee started out working in comics but eventually expanded into other fields such as game art and book covers.

He’s a talented artist on the rise and we can’t wait to let people see some of the designs he is coming up with for the characters in the book. We’re shooting for a mid-2018 release of the first issue. It won’t just be a comic adaptation of the pilot episode either. We retooled the story, the team, dialed up the action and over the top fun and have a great story in store for readers.

IMG_4331We have a couple leads on artists for HTB to get that very very long gestating graphic novel project going. It’s lead, Annie Cruz, is and always has been game to get the book done and play the main character in the film as well.

There’s a couple comedy projects on the docket as well as RAVE, which is a continuation of the Party Girl Series. There’s plenty of things to keep us busy all year. It’s a matter of making it all happen. We are still talking about things from 2016 and 2017 in the planning stages still. It’s kind of annoying actually. But it just shows us that we have to work harder at our goals to get them accomplished.

2018 is nearly here tho, and we are ready to get going.

Met some folks this past weekend.

MTF on setThose folks were the cast members of Fred Tee’s newest project, Meeting the Folks, it’s a no frills boyfriend meets family type of film. The cast is a talented bunch who are bringing unique takes to their roles and bringing some hard work. There have some been a technical hiccup or two, as with any sort of production. As we continue I will be looking at what I can do to better my contribution to the filming.

Production should be done by November. A goal Fred has to have a trailer ready by the time of the premiere of another film of his, Stolen Virginity. The distributor for that film will be in attendance so ideally the work we are doing on Meeting the Folks will dazzle him enough to want to pick up that film as well.

MTF On Set 4Work will continue, more info, stills, BTS video to come. Fred has been active on his IG and FB posting about his projects so give him a follow and you will see it and keep a look out for Meeting the Folks.

On a couple other fronts, we have a potential office spot for a comedy we will be filming with Mike Loud, Allan Thomas and Glenn Franklin. I have railed against any attempt to do another web series at this point in time, but this comedy would be a series. Of course, there is no action, SFX or any of that. It’s three guys and an office space. Meant to be simple. Of course, I have tried to accomplish this simple task four times before and each time has crashed and burned. But fifth time is the charm right? I believe in the script, the comedy, written by Billy Mau, it’s going to be great especially with the talent involved.

We continue to submit Shrinking Things to festivals, hoping it can be accepted to a few of them and get exposure for the talent involved as they are amazing actors and they should be seen far and wide.

Mike Loud on Set

Mike Loud getting ready to rock it.

Slowly but surely gathering people and resources for the slasher spoof short film we are doing. More details on that to come once we have the title registered.

Rave is still coming. It’s pretty much either the slasher film of Rave in the month of

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Alicia Underwood cast as future Rachel Buchanan.

November, we will see with people schedules for those involved, which is the best to proceed with. Of course Rave is a continuation of the Party Girl Series story that will find Rachel Buchanan five years older with thoughts of returning to a mask she has not worn since her sister was killed in season two and the events of season three. Of course the events of season three have not been seen yet, but will take place in an audio drama that will be produced in a handful of months. Currently cast as Rachel is the incomparable Alicia Underwood, and we are excited to work with her.

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away And know when to run
You never count your money When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for counting When the dealin’s done…”

As the lyrics go right?

Not everything you do creatively remains in the same medium you created for it, right?

So it goes with the current live iteration of Cheerleader Karate School. The pilot/short we film was cool and it allowed me to see my vision for it come to life, but there are limits to what can be done with it now. At least with current time, resources, money of course. So we’re looking back to the four color treatment for the CKS ladies and their fight against evil.

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A page from the upcoming Cheerleader Karate School / Dusk crossover comic book from David Doub’s Dusk Publications.

 

As mentioned a few times we’re working with David Doub and his kick ass Dusk Publications for a crossover comic with his flagship title, Dusk. On the heels of that we will be looking to have either a series or graphic novel of CKS, using the first season scripts as the base of the story, pretty will doing each episode as an issue of the comic book. That will allow us to really ratchet up the action, the antics, the danger and the over the top threats the girls face. It will also allow for me to get back to some of the original intentions I had for some of the characters.

Heather was initially Josey Rae, a six foot tall, country strong mother hen of the group. Brice Vicarro will still be her same motor mouth kinda character but she was originally intended to be and will be in the comic, a transgender character. So going back to my original intended vision is something we look forward to doing.

Ideally the comics will be a success and allow us to work on new fans and add to the fanbase CKS has. Hopefully our UK friends who latched on to the show and keep asking about more content are comic book readers and can follow the girls adventures that way and that hey, someone may see it and think, I want to adapt CKS, throw us some funds and we circle back to a live action CKS world.

Either way there are stories to be told with Keegan, Brice, Josey Rae, Tyesha, Mari and the Copeland siblings and we will work on making that happen.

Pretty sure I almost died last Wednesday.

Well maybe not, but I could have come pretty close.

I was traveling back from Oshkosh, WI for the 9 to 5 job. I was dispatched to get photo and video of an event going on up there. I was there Saturday to Wednesday and it was a good experience, good food to be had and seeing the planes and helicopters at the air show is always fun. The trip up there involved flying from Dallas to Chicago and Chicago to Oshkosh. Going up there the flight was delayed due to a plane maintenance issue, which hey, if the plane is having issues I definitely want to be on a different one. My bag was checked at the gate, which annoyed the hell out of me. Sure enough when I got to Oshkosh, my bag was still in Chicago and coming on a later flight. My hotel was trash and my bag didn’t get to me until the next morning. Annoying to say the least. But the show had to go on, and of course it did. As I said earlier, fun airshow, good food.

Then comes the trip back. A storm moved through Oshkosh Wednesday morning. It was pouring at the airport when I got there. I waited in the rental car in the parking lot for about 40 minutes for it to clear up a bit before I went to drop the car back off and head into the tiny airport. Not sure why it’s called an international airport when it was tiny as hell and can only take you to larger airports to connect to another flight.

It’s a little ass plane. There is a single row of seats on the left side. Row of two seats on the right side. Small planes like that already make me nervous. Mind you I have been flying since before I could walk so I am fine with flying in general. Love it. Not as much as I did as a child because I am more cognizant of the fact planes can come down. But I still enjoy smooth flights.

I am looking over this little plane, a ‘puddle jumper’ as a co-worker called them, and I see duct tape on one seat handle. I get to my seat and even though it is in the upright position, it is still leaning back a bit. There’s scuffing on the sides of the interior and the emergency exit door handles were not flush against the plane interior.

Not.

Flush.

This plane done already been through some shit.

The flight attendant had a worrying tone when she was asking the people in the exit row if they were willing and able to perform their duties should there be an emergency. Like she was so hell bent on getting a clear answer from them. It was like she had the foresight to know that some shit was about to go down here.

I’m seeing and processing all this and it’s just adding to my general feeling of ‘oh shit.’

Plane takes off. There is some normal bumps here and there as the plane climbs to the cruising altitude of 19,000 feet. Well…we get up there. All is good. Until the plane starts trembling again. Turbulence. OK, no biggie.

Buuuuuuuut it keeps going and intensifies. The plane starts bucking and dipping all over the air, bringing audible gasps from my fellow passengers. Me I don’t vocalize. I went all internal with my feelings, saying a few silent prayers, a few Lords’ Prayers, a few Hail Mary’s and then onto practically every other prayer I heard in Catholic school at St. Phillips and Bishop McNamara and beyond. Shaking is still going. I’m gripping the arm rest with white knuckle ferocity and pushing myself against my seat, as if that is really going to help.

One woman sacrificed her purse to puke in since there were no bags on the plane. Her boyfriend dutifully held onto the contents of her purse with one hand and patted her on the back with the other. Myself and a few other people looked around at other passengers in the cabin to see how they were taking it in and well, to see all their faces because at certain points in time you got the feeling this might be the day and these might be the people you are going to go down in flames with. For a good 10 minute stretch during that ruckus I did not think we were going to make it. Damn near pulled out my phone and went to texting people last thoughts and shit. Yes. It was that bad.

Worst part about it was the silence from the cockpit. Like dudes said nothing. Usually the pilot will come on and talk about the turbulence, warn us, tell us there could be more and that they are doing XYZ to mitigate it, you know whatever. Anything. Anything at all to make the panicking passengers feel at ease. Even if you don’t feel it, even if you don’t know what the fuck is going on and how you are going to solve it, bullshit for us so we feel better. But nope. Silence until we landed.

It was about 25 minutes of terror on the flight. Something I haven’t experienced in over a decade. The last time was flying through a hellacious storm when my mother and I were on our way back from burying my grandmother. I was afraid then but nothing like I was last week and flying that first leg home.

We got to the airport with me having 15 minutes to make my connection, which of course I did not, but then again that was good as I was not in a rush to get right back on another plane after that experience. The next flight had some mild turbulence as we climbed to cruising altitude, but as soon as it happened, the captain got on the comm with the voice of a reassuring grandfather to tell us what was happening, why it was happening and what they were doing to mitigate it. It was what the guys in the first flight should have done.

Needless to say I wanted to kiss the ground when we landed, ending a hugely stressful travel day for me. And I know there are good days and bad days with any mode of transportation you take, just this one was very very bad. Glad it is over with and I am hoping the next one will be smoother. Might have to travel for work in September, we shall see if I need to and want to.

In other recent business…I continue my goal to make movies and kick faces as a filmmaker and professional wrestler.

A recent match at a Christian kids camp…

On the film front I am still working on the feature script retooling of Cheerleader Karate School. I am 50 pages in and I can already see some things I am going to correct in as I edit that draft. I am working on a couple character tweeks as well. Things that I took out when we did the pilot, that I compromised a bit on from my original vision as I did not think I would be able to find certain actors for certain roles. CKS on Amazon I am going with what I originally wanted and just going to search high and low for those who match up with it.  I had seen pages on the DUSK / CKS team up comic and they are looking great. Hopefully it will be well received as we continue to try and spread CKS to the masses and to those who have not seen it.

Of course people can see it on Amazon Prime and we encourage them to do so and if they have seen it to watch it again and to share it with those who they think may enjoy it. People seem to dig it once they have seen it, it’s just a matter of getting them to see it in the first place. So work on that goes on.

 

Finishing the edits on the full cut of Shrinking Things. It will be the first project of mine I really want to push out to film festivals as I think it has some great performances from those involved in it, highlighted by Mike Loud’s turn as the shrink in it.

Mike Loud on Set

So hopefully as we look over the lists of fest and start submitting, we start to hear some good news from them.

 

 

aliciaRave planning continues. The big thing now is getting the costume materials. My vehicle took a crap on me a few weeks ago which forced a shift in financial planning toward necessities, like working transportation, so it put things off. But we are very confident in it happening and we have a great actress in Alicia Underwood that will play our future version Rachel Buchanan. Really geeked to see her on camera and in what we have started to zero in on what the costume will look like.

This round of Rack Focus will see me team with Iryna Spitzer (Jamie from ZEE MOVIE, which you can see on Amazon Prime as well as CKS) on a short film she wrote. Should be a fun experience as I have yet to work on a script that was not written by me. So we shall see how it goes once casting and filming commences.

 

So….if you are reading this blog then it means we are still here.

We are all still here.

I mean, that’s a relief. Why wouldn’t we be here? Well surely due to the apocalypse that happened Sunday when the 13th Doctor was announced and it was Broadchurch’s Jodie Whittaker who will take the mantle from the departing Peter Capaldi. Yep. A woman. A female Doctor. This isn’t fanfiction or a fanfilm (and I read and watch lots of fan stuff I love it). That is no longer the only way to see a woman Doc. It’s happening. Sure there have been female Time Lords, a female Master, but the first woman Doctor. I’m excited. jodie-whittaker-doctor-who

I make no bones about being liberal as fuck. I am all about equality in every way and for the shows I watch. Particularly for a show that made a point to show how the title character can literally be young or old, black, white, whatever. He’s been a white guy for 52 years, I think the character can stand to be a woman or a person of color at this point.

Of course lots of people’s heads exploded Sunday with the news and we got the usual reactions like “what else are we going to reboot with a woman?” and dumb questions like that. Or the usual people swearing off watching the show. It’s been curious to me to see women railing against the change. One woman in a geek group I am in said she would have a hard time seeing a woman in a classically male role. I told her that in the time the character was conceived, no woman or POC would ever have been considered for a role like that. And again, it’s been said the Doctor can be any gender or color, so why not?

I’ve seen reaction videos with little girls reacting with positivity and energy at the Doctor being a girl. I hope Whitakker has a great run and that this move opens the door for a black Doctor sooner than later. People want to see characters that look like them, nothing really wrong with that.

It sucks to have Whittaker have to tell fans to ‘not be afraid of my gender’ when taking on the role, that we have to deal with this sort of thing these days. But racism, sexism, those are eternal things I am afraid. I can’t wait to see the regeneration and her take on the Doctor. Hell my biggest concern is the showrunner. I was bored to death by episode two of Broadchurch so I worry about what he will do with Who. But I was told the guy did some Torchwood, so that gives me some hope that he can dabble in this universe. Of course I didn’t like the first season of Torchwood as I thought it was needlessly oversexed just because they were in a time slot they could get away with it. It’s like Suits on USA and their habit of saying ‘shit’ every five minutes because they can.

We have a long time to see how this will go, but it’s a long time for people to step off the ledge and stop being stupid about having a woman as the 13th Doctor.

 

We’re in a partying mood at Taurian Films, I suppose as we shall soon continue on the story of Party Girl.

But she can’t stay a little girl forever and Party Girl is growing up and growing in RAVE. Rave is a short film coming soon, that will transition from high school years to college years and beyond for our hero.

Party Girl, of course, is the story of Rachel Buchanan, a high schooler who in order to get out from under her mother’s thumb, she becomes a vigilante, protecting the streets of Pyramid City. Along the way she learns that being a hero is more than just putting on a mask and jumping out into the night.

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Jeanne Lampley, season one Party Girl.

She was a character that began as Marvel Comics fan fiction when I was 15 when they did the Heroes Reborn comics and rebooted Bucky as a female character. The more I wrote stories on her the more I liked her and wanted to make her my own so I started detaching the elements that tied it to the Marvel universe and filling them in with my own and making her into a wholly original entity, thus becoming Party Girl.

PartyGirl

Cait Pool kicking ass in season two.

I tried to bring her to life in college and managed to film one scene of it before things went off the rails. A handful of years ago I managed to produce the first season with Jeanne Lampley in the lead role She did a great job though she had to leave us after the first season was complete. Taking up the mantle for the second season was Cait Pool. A very talented actress who brought spunk, attitude and physical skills to the part. She was not afraid to mix it up when the time came for physical stunts and we appreciate her for her enthusiasm and commitment to the role. After the second season Cait left to venture to LA where she is an amazing actress, hustling, working hard and still as humble as they come.

So what to do with a third season was the question. The season has been written and though filming will not occur it may be revisited in the form of audio dramas. I am a HUGE fan of the work Big Finish does with Doctor Who and other various titles and I would like to dip my toes into that and see what kind of work I can produce by doing it. And it’s a way to still tell the story and not leave it unfinished as we have had more than one person asking us in the years since season two, if there will be any more Party Girl.

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Alicia Underwood

With Rave, there will be. The plan right now is just the short film, but depending on the response, we could see more adventures from an older Rachel Buchanan. I have already come up with a handful of ideas for those adventures. Stepping into Rachel’s shoes is Alicia Underwood, a talented Texas actress I first saw in the Rack Focus short, Birthday Girl. Alicia is amazing in that and through other projects and her audition for Rave, we have seen her acting chops on display and we think she will be great as Rachel. She seems game for the short and the character and had positive things to say after watching both seasons of the show to prep for her audition and participation in the series. We have already begun to look at the costume and how it can be updated for an older Rachel and over the next few months we will work on assembling that. Updates, info, costume tests and such will of course be posted so be watching for that.

Catch season one (and soon season two) episodes streaming daily on www.BlackFlag.TV

Check www.facebook.com/PartyGirlWebSeries to catch up on news and past episodes.

Shrinking Things

Great Cast

Great cast/crew, just great people to be around.

Shrinking Things is undergoing a slight tweak before it is submitted to a handful of film festivals we have checked off. This will be the first short we have really thought was good enough to submit to festival. It’s gotten great reaction and laughter from the two screenings it has had so we feel good about our chances. The cast was exceptional and while there are a couple technical snafus, we feel its still good enough to garner some positive attention from various fests. We will see what happens.

 

Cheerleader Karate School

CKS on Amazon
The pilot episode is of course on Amazon Prime and we want people to check it out. Work is ongoing on the feature script. We have landed our new Keegan Fox in Cassidy Gatlin. She’s a Dallas based actress taking classes where Cait Pool used to, so we know she’s coming from good stock.

Cassidy Gatlin - Headshot 6

Cassidy Gatlin

 

A few of our UK fans have been asking about more CKS content and we’re working on bringing it to them and others. Pages are continually being completed on the CKS / DUSK crossover comic. Definitely can’t wait for people to see that.
Keep eyes peeled to www.facebook.com/CheerleaderKarateSchool for more information on that and the latest updates.