Archive for the ‘crowdfunding’ Category

A looking from the view of the trusty, Atomos Ninja Blade courtesy of Chance Carroll.

…Sunday a handful of us descended upon an office in Denton, TX to film ‘Shrinking Things’ a short comedy that will be my entry into Round 5 of the Rack Focus film competition. I had wanted to continue 20 Minutes or Less, the short action film I did a few rounds ago, but after some casting issues and then some location issues I decided to back burner that and do it outside of Rack Focus. We’re rebooting that series to ensure it is closer along the lines of what I envision for it. More on that to come in the future though.

Mike Loud getting ready to rock it.

So, I needed a script that I could manage to do in a weekend or two, pretty low maintenance, so I thought about doing something more comedic to be different. Shrinking Things is about a couple who have a free session with a counselor and come out a lot worse than they went in. After all, you never realize how bad your life is until someone else points it out for you right? I called in the incomparable Capt. Clutch himself, Mike Loud to play the shrink as I knew he would kill the roll. Telisa Kyle was going to be great in the wife roll and Allan Thomas, who I worked with in a video for my 9 to 5, he was brought in for the husband.

Ready to run another great take.

Isadora Viana and Chance Carroll helped out on set as with a number of things, among them script super and photographer. Had some bumps when it came to the location as some folks who looked they were going to help out the production, didn’t. It’s OK, that happens. It would be easy to let that frustrate you, you want people to stick to what they say they are going to do, but it happens. Improvise, adapt, overcome, that is indy filmmaking. I called in a few favors and we were able to secure the law office of County Commissioner Hugh Coleman. Hugh and I go back a little over nine years now to when I started working at the Denton Record-Chronicle and he was a newly elected county commissioner. He was always a good interview and helpful source and fun to talk to about sports and movies. And best of all he supported Taurian Films. So when called upon, he let us into the office to film.

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

The shoot went OK. There are of course any number of things looking back on it, that I would change a bit. Nothing the cast did, but just organizational things, technical things that I need to iron out and fix in my own work flow and will endeavor to do next time. I brought in new gear to shoot with so that provided new challenges and new lessons on how I need to fix my work flow. But I will learn and grow.

Usually I would have a rough cut done by now, but I am not cutting the film. I am not touching it in any way shape or form.My brother, Jermaine Spencer, out in Cali with his new baby boy, he will be editing it. J is great at it and has done work for BET, Playboy Channel and a number of reality TV productions. This will be the first time I have had someone else edit my footage so it will be interesting. A little nerve-wracking I suppose, even if it is my brother, lol.

We shall see how it turns out.

Perky Chicks and Roundhouse Kicks!

On the CKS front, Cheerleader Karate School should be on Amazon Video soon. As I have stated before, I want people to see it and hopefully some people like it and see potential in it and will help us do a second episode. There are a multitude of things I want to do different in another episode, casting I want to change and other things to improve the quality of the show. The first is a good first try but I want another crack at it.

Work on the crossover between CKS  and Denton comic creator David Doub’s Dusk comic is ongoing. I have seen a few sketches and pages and it looks awesome. Can’t wait for people to see that.

Previous work on HTB with Annie Cruz

More CKS is coming, 20 Minutes or Less will be retooled, remolded and redone and a short film with the incomparable Annie Cruz will be filmed in late September. In addition Jermaine will be jumping down to Texas to co-direct that project under he and I’s Jigsaw Entertainment banner. Looking forward to that.

 

Lots to do, lots to come. Just trying to get better, get seen and have some success at following this big dream of mine.

It’s 2017.

Resolutions are here again. We all make them. Then we spend months, days, hours on them. Hell sometimes people stick to them for mere minutes. The promise of self-reflection and self improvement. I know I was among the masses who did so. I had a few goals laid out on Jan. 1 2016. Some of them I succeeded in. Some of them, a lot of them, I am big enough to admit, I did not. So it’s time to restock and try again.

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Getting my director on during a 2016 48hr Christmas Horror Film Shoot.

On the job front, that was a big goal of mine in 2016 and that is one I feel I succeeded in. I spent eight years at the Denton Record-Chronicle and while I loved the life of a journalist, I felt I needed more and a job that catered to my interests and goals more, so I looked for another job. I spent a year and a half actively looking for a new 9 to 5 gig and finally landed one. It caters more to what I like and is a bit of a bump in the wallet so it works out. The next goal spun out of that, which has turned into a resolution, is to dig myself out of the financial hole I have been in the past few years making only pennies before. It’s slow going and I will admit, I expected instant turn around with my first new paycheck, but reality set in and has shown me it will take time, patience and work to get to my goal.

Production wise, I said I wanted to grow my brand and make sure more people know who I am and what I can do. In that area, there is still work to be done. So I will restock that resolution and give it another whirl. Over the course of the  year I have heard friends, people I worked with come up with ideas for things, films, series, music videos and all manner of production related things. They have worked on mine and seen what I can do, yet some of them look over me when it comes time to do other productions. Now I know I shouldn’t take that personally, I know that I can’t work with everyone and there are more people out there that do what I do, but I feel I need to do a better job of showing people, those I know and those I don’t, just what I can do and how good I can do it. Then perhaps I won’t get looked over. Also need to expand the circle of people I work with as well. Restocking and reloading that resolution.

On the project front, I have my list of things to do.

Cheerleader Karate School

Of course this is at the top of my list. The screening event is in a few weeks and ideally it will be successful and we will manage to get people interested in the show and into backing it so we can produce the second episode. From the second episode we hope to raise money for the first season.

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We’re also working out a crossover adventure with the flagship character from David Doub’s Dusk Comics. That should be fun.

Speaking of Dusk, that is a big project as well as I will help in the production of a pilot episode of a Dusk live action series.

DadBodies

DadBodies is a comedy that actually should have been written by now. The plan was to have a draft done late last year, but those involved with it were not as interested as I am in working on it, so I have chosen to move on with a friend of mine, Billy Mau, in the script writing. Mau is great at comedy in ways I certainly am not and while I will pen the initial draft, I am counting on him to help me punch up the draft and make it as funny as I think it could be.

HTB

Annie Cruz as HTB's Vanessa Bachman

HTB is going to happen this year. Has to. Too good of a story to not happen. It’s the first big project my brother and I are producing together. It has Annie Cruz attached to it and will foster a graphic novel and film.

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Wrapped after a long but fun HTB teaser shoot.

20 Minutes or Less Trilogy

The first one is in the books. I wrote it as a trilogy with a fun ending, at least I think. Now it’s just a matter of getting the other two done.  Gabby’s plate has filled up in recent months and looks to stay stocked going forth so it’s a matter of seeing if she is up for another go.

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Thinking of doing them for the next round of Rack Focus, to go ahead and get them done and get those and every thing else I have done on Amazon video. Good way to get more eyeballs on what I do and thus, getting more people to know what I do.

 

 

 

 

So those and a few other things are the goals in the new year. I have some goals for my kids and family as well of course. It’s going to take work, grinding day in and day out to make it happen. I’m not saying I will succeed in it all. I am sure I will take my lumps here and there, but I will give it a very good try.

 

A weekend or so ago, we jumped into the film race put on by the Texas Horror Cult. It was a 48hr Christmas Horror Film Race. Things kicked off when we drew our genre options at random. While a name calling snafu had Bj Lewis and Patrick Southerland picking towards the end. With baited breath Bj opened the envelope and peeked at the genre.

Now mind you for many a year now, Bj has vowed to never make a zombie movie. No disrespect to anyone who does or anyone who loves the genre, Bj just had not interest in it himself. So it was a mix of emotions when Bj laid eyes on ‘zombie’ scrawled on the inside of the card. Bj and Patrick were mentally preparing for possible genre choices and crossing their fingers that they would not get a few specific ones because of lack of time, resources and money to make them happen. Zombie was one of those.

But that’s part of the challenge. Bj and Patrick put their heads together and came up with a script, called on stalwarts of Taurian Films projects including Mike Loud, James Larabee, Gilbert Hiracheta and Cloyse Caruthers. Also playing a part was newcomer (to working with Bj) Iryna Spitzer and Jarl Moto.

Kalei Lozano (Heather Arrington in Cheerleader Karate School) had a fun part in it as well. Always good to work with her.

We filmed at the home of Dean Morgan, Chief Douglas in both seasons of Party Girl:The Series. Thankfully we did not put any holes in the walls this time.

It was a good time though. Everyone rocked the roles they played. And everyone at the screening tonight seemed to enjoy it, which is what counts.

Lots of good films were made for the film race. The bar is constantly being raised and Bj knows he has to up his game and better his output to set himself apart and standout from the rest.

Onward and upward. Check it out.

 

 

It’s Perky Chicks and Roundhouse Kicks when the girls of Cheerleader Karate School burst on to the scene to save us from any and all evil.

See how the story begins Jan. 2017 from this Denton, TX produced series created by Bj Lewis and Taurian Films!

For more information check out http://www.facebook.com/CheerleaderKarateSchool or follow us on Twitter/Instagram @taurianfilms @CheerleaderKarateSchool

…more to do of course. But first, Rack Focus, Round 4.

The always epic Gabriella Corvina was nominated for best actress for A.kO. The judges and other people, from what I heard, enjoyed the short and really bought Gabby in the ass kicking role as they did with 20 Minutes or Less last round. 15002523_10101235674570548_2675640111358219789_o There are a handful of brief B-Roll type of scenes that need to be added to the short to make it festival ready. Also need to muck with the sound. It sounded good in Bj’s headphones in final edits, but played on the screen, there were issues. Same thing as 20 Minutes or Less. Sound is a pain in the ass for indie filmmakers. Just one of those things you have to keep working at. There were a few instances where Gabby was a talking head for a while in the short and Bj knew the judges would ding him for that. Hence the B-Roll scenes. 14907015_10101234917073578_9219480496827156196_nThey are going to show some of the things Gabby’s character is talking about. There was simply no time as the short was put together last minute and dealt with a few people flaking out on the shoot last minute. Not that Bj would make excuses. There were a few other action shorts during Rack Focus and one of them even garnered a best film nomination. We will get there. No disrespect to the other filmmakers who do action in the DFW but Bj’s goal is to be THE guy to know for it. Just gotta keep at it. And keep at it he shall.

There will be more action to come as the plan is still on the books for 20 Minutes or Less 2 AND 3 to complete the trilogy. Currently looking at festivals to send A.kO to as well as crafting the script for the full short film. img_2500

There’s another day of shooting for Cheerleader Karate School, the last pilot shooting day. It’s been a long ass time coming and as it has been stated before the plan is to definitely not take the same amount of time to work on subsequent episodes. We are shooting a few more scenes at the school for the monster’s first appearance as well as adding some extras to the school to give it a more organic feel.

It will be good when it’s all together. Have enjoyed seeing Gabby, Kalei, Timylle, Summer and Christine kicking ass in the production of the show. Words cannot express our gratitude for their dedication to it.

Screening and further fundraising dates to come for that. For further information on Cheerleader Karate School, check out www.facebook.com/CheerleaderKarateSchool

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Almost done, yet so much to do with Cheerleader Karate School.

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Last weekend saw us engage in the dreaded R word.

Reshoots.

Thankfully the cast and crew were willing to make it happen to make the final product better from a technical standpoint. We have finally got a handle on the environment of the dojo and the lighting needs to make sure everyone and everything is properly exposed. A common problem from previous shoots. Not to mention everyone in the cast is so much better in every way than they were during the first shoots. They are more comfortable with each other and with their characters.

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We have a few more weekends of filming on the pilot and then the work begins to get the word out to get people to watch it and to become fans of it and thus join the team to help us make the rest of season one happen.

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It’s gotta be all hands on deck going forth and many of the cast and crew are and it’s great to see everyone get invested and get involved in what we are trying to bring forth.

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Meantime it’s more planning for promotional ideas as well as an upcoming crossover comic appearance with Dusk Comics. That shoot be fun and interesting to see the characters from CKS interact with a totally different world. And if it gets us more eyeballs, and it should, then so much the better. It also helps that the Dusk Comics creator is a local Denton guy and we’re trying to keep everything connected to the production of CKS as local to Denton or the DFW area if at all possible.

Lots to do.

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