Posts Tagged ‘Bj Lewis’

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.

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

img_2513So we had a grand plan for Rack Focus that was going to be a sequel to 20 Minutes or Less, the Rack Focus Round 3 entry produced by us here at Taurian Films. As with that film, one particular location was going to be a key piece of the film and while we moved things to an alternate location for the first one, that was something we did not wish to do for the second and decided to put off filming it. img_2433

That left Bj wondering what, if anything he could do for this round. What could he piece together that would not be a waste of time, effort and energy of the people involved. Not getting an idea, Bj thought he would have to eat the entry fee, but while at the gym, Bj worked out a short single location shoot that would take advantage of two powerful resources Bj has discovered in the past several months. Gabriella Corvina and Jo Lorio. They are two talented, driven actors as well as two women who can legitimately kick ass. After a few hours at the keyboard, Bj had a script, a prologue to a longer story he hopes to film with Gabby in the future. It was something small and easy in theory.

Filming was done last weekend and nearly didn’t happen. One of the things Bj has tried to do over the years as he wades through the indie waters attempting to reach the ocean of bigger, funded projects, is find a core group of people who are about getting work done. People like Fabian Lopez and Kerry McCormick who are as real with Bj today as they were years ago when he met them.

img_2500It’s hard though because so many people are all talk, such as the handful of people who were supposed to be on set Saturday to film the short. Now, not everyone is going to work with everyone on everything, but you would hope people could be up front about that fact. Buuuuuuut, while the actions of some threatened to curtail the shoot, Gabby came through in the clutch, calling on guys from the dojo her family own to be actors in the short. They didn’t have to but at the last minute, they were willing to jump and help out and help us get things done. Props to them as well as the fighter Jo brought with her. Will definitely be using those guys again in the future. Same thing with Gabby and Jo, they are talented hungry individuals and Bj expects them to blow up and make it big sooner than later and he intends to work with them as much as he can until then, and hopefully break out right alongside them.

Due date is Sunday at midnight for the short film. It’s clocking in around seven minutes at the moment. Hopefully people will enjoy it when they see it.

fi

On the Cheerleader Karate School front, the Seed and Spark campaign timetable is winding down, with CKS a ways away from the goal. There were some fine print details that served to derail things. $10k was always going to be a hard number to reach for a show that has next to no following currently due to the fact it is in production and not many people outside of our circle of friends and family have seen it. The money donated thus far will go back into the coffers of the people who donated it and hopefully they will again support us when we launch the new campaign.

But undaunted Bj and the crew have plans to reboot the crowdfunding campaign with a lower more attainable goal that will fund the second episode and pay the cast a bit for the work they did on the pilot episode. Bj continues to send out press releases to media outlets both online and offline, and continues to refine those press releases to hopefully work in that key word or phrase that hooks an editor, reporter, columnist, podcast host, radio show host to want to talk about CKS. Bj has netted a few local Denton businesses who are willing to work with him in promoting the show so ideally that can be worked out when the next campaign is run to be able to get more attention on it and ideally smash the goals.kkm_8267Whether that occurs when the pilot is screened at the Texas Theatre or beforehand is up for discussion. Either way, Bj will continue to champion Cheerleader Karate School online and in person and at cons and events. It’s going to take Herculian efforts to get people to see CKS, not just a tweet or Facebook post and Bj understands that and will step up his efforts to expose more people to the show.

More information can be seen at http://www.facebook.com/CheerleaderKarateSchool and we encourage folks to check out the page, like it and share it with anyone who they feel may be interested in the show.


Recent Radio Appearances:

Cutting Room Floor (bj)

http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/audioPop.jsp?episodeId=1085382&cmd=apop.

Cutting Room Floor (bj n Gabby)

www.talkshoe.com/tc/81947

Chatterbox w/ Ellen Hedger

https://soundcloud.com/ellen-smith-hedger/the-chatterbox-with-ellen-hedgerbj-lewis-with-taurianfilmscks

The race is on!

The campaign is live!

Bj Lewis and the rest of the cast and crew of Cheerleader Karate School are out to raise the funds to make the first nine episode season of the supernatural martial arts web series! Viewers, critics, fans, everyone is clamoring for new stories from new, diverse voices and there is no better an opportunity for that to happen than with Taurian Films’ latest series.

Created by Bj, Cheerleader Karate School is the story of five young girls who are drawn together to user magic and martial arts to fight an evil that threatens their home city of Denton, TX and the world at large. Along the way this power team will tackle issues with family, equality, responsibility, identity and more as they strive to find their place in the world they are trying to protect.

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The leading ladies of Cheerleader Karate School.

The current crowdfunding campaign which runs now through Oct. 14 is part of Seed & Spark’s New Voice Rally. The Rally is a way for creators to get an opportunity to tell their stories. Creators have to raise at least $10,000 through their crowdfunding efforts and then use that money towards a pilot episode of their show. Top prizes include a developmental deal and more funding toward the production of the show.

Bj and his cast and crew have begun work on the Cheerleader Karate School pilot and hope to use the funds from the campaign to pay for the work that has been done as well as fund a second episode to give people another look at the show and opportunity to get behind it.

So much work has gone into the show, so much heart is behind it. Bj and the crew just need that last push, that last seed to help spark the amazing project that is Cheerleader Karate School.

For more information on the campaign, check out the Campaign Page

 

The title says it all about what we are doing.

Sept. 12 through Oct. 14 is the first crowdfunding endeavor for Cheerleader Karate School. It’s been mentioned here on this blog and on Facebook and Twitter. We’re participating in Seed & Spark’s New Voice Rally. They are out to find the next great program and it could be anyone’s. You just have to crowdfund $10k to film your pilot, impress the judges and then see what happens. Now of course we have been shooting (and in some cases reshooting) scenes from the CKS pilot but we checked and we can still be in consideration for the New Voice Rally. But we don’t need the whole 10 to shoot an episode of CKS and our plan is to use the funds for two if not three episodes of the show to really give people a good sample of the show and hope they can get behind it. 13934610_1064008977024207_5594595618268369175_n

Crowdfunding seems like a good option but it’s not called a campaign for nothing. You have to work it like one and pour every ounce of yourself into it to make the goal. That’s what the plan is with CKS. We believe we have a cast and crew that is willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen and make the goal. We will just see how it all shakes down a month and a few days from now.

 

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Perky Chicks and Roundhouse Kicks!

More shooting was done on the pilot episode for Cheerleader Karate School this weekend. Boyd High School in Boyd, TX was nice enough to open their doors to us as they have done over and over again every time Bj has needed a school setting to shoot in. The school was an option many times for Party Girl: The Series and for A Typical Tuesday in the past and the school was an option again for CKS.

Pilot Pic 2

Keegan (Summer Dobozy) relays her surprise at the girls fighting to Brice (Christine Rejcek).

A lot was put on the filming plate for Bj and the cast and crew. Boyd is a haul for some so he was hoping to get everything done in that one day so no one would have to be asked back. One the scenes are edited together, we will see if Bj managed to accomplish that goal. Everyone brought their A game as they always do, particularly in a fight between a couple of the main actors, Gabriella Corvina who plays Fi Espinoza and Timylle Adams who plays Tyesha Banks. The two of them have a lot of animosity between them. (Their characters, of course. The actors get along fine) The two of them have played them very well and you can feel that tension between them on screen we believe.

It’s just on Bj to make sure everyone looks their best and he hopes he succeeded. That is one thing that is important to Bj, that people look their best and that they are able to be proud of their participation in any project of his. The stakes get no higher for CKS because Bj is hoping to be able to raise funds for the show and be able to make it bigger and better than he ever could on his own and of course, increase the compensation for those involved.

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Make up testing for an upcoming shoot.

Earlier on Sunday Bj met with Maddy Cerda (The First) and special effects make up artist for a handful of season one episodes. On hand was Jo Lorio, an actress and martial artist as well. Jo is going to help with fight choreography for a number of season one episodes and she is playing the monster the team is pursuing in the opening moments of the teaser portion of the pilot. Maddy is in school for make up and alongside being a kick ass actress who is all in on her role, Maddy is a great SFX MUA on the rise and the entire production team is happy she is lending her talents to CKS behind the camera as well as in front of it.

Pilot Pic

Mark (Fabian XIV) tries his best but there is a lot of rage in Tyesha (Timylle Adams).

We have been dutifully telling people to tell their friends, family and others who may be interested to mark those calendars as the crowdfunding campaign for CKS will kick run Sept, 12 – Oct. 14, 2016 through www.Seedandspark.com and their New Voices Crowdfunding Rally.

As noted in previous blog entries, the New Voices Rally is part crowdfunding, part competition as we would have to raise at least $10,000 and gather an audience of at least 500 on Seed&Spark to move to the next part. That next part will potentially be able to help us finish the first season, outside of us raising the funds ourselves. $10K would cover the first 3 episodes of the show. 

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The look on the face of Fi (Gabriella Corvina) says things are about to get rowdy.

 

Bj continues to work on lining up indie/geek media outlets on their social media pages to line up Bj and the cast/crew for interviews and such to help get the word out. That will be the big thing. The more people that know about CKS the better chance we have of hooking more fans and making our goals happen. Likes have been slowly creeping up on the Facebook page. Hopefully we can increase that in the coming weeks with T-shirts and promotional flyers, posters and cards. Boots on the ground, grassroots effort is going to win the day. We know there are people out there who will be interested in the show, just a matter of reaching them.