Posts Tagged ‘CKS’

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Legacy cast on set Sunday.

It’s another Taurian Tuesday coming off of a busy Sunday helping Fred Tee out with his short, Legacy, that features fairy tale characters as demon hunters. It was a fun shoot and fun getting to work on other people’s sets to see how they run things and handle themselves and their actors to pick up any pointers for mine.

Tiffany Hoa on set

Some cast members were people I have worked with before like the always amazing Mike Loud, and others I have seen a lot of but haven’t worked with yet like John Charles Dickson. It was a good time though that saw me in a tree to get a shot. Whatever it takes to get the job done I say. Ideally everything works out in post. We got in a bit of a time crunch a couple places being backed up against call times for some actors on other sets and dying camera batteries toward the end of the day, but things worked out. Definitely dig the concept of what Fred is doing and hopefully it can take off.

Perky Chicks and Roundhouse Kicks!

Cheeerleader Karate School
On the subject of demon hunting, which is one thing CKS is about it was good to get a chance to talk to Tiffany Hoa, who played a witch in Fred’s short film. Tiffany is also slated to play a role in CKS. In our original plan for the series, she was going to play one of the past cheer team members who comes back for reasons. In the feature she will play the same role and in the same capacity but we will see her before she comes back in the last battle that is the reason the team is disbanded at the start of the film. CKS is still on Amazon, Youtube and now on Sparkk TV for people to check out and see what the concept is about as we work to retool it a bit.

20 Minutes or Less
We’re casting for 20 Minutes or Less as we retool that series. The first of the trilogy is set to shoot May 21 at what we have affectionately come to know as Mabrey Studios. It’s the home of the Mabrey family. Jenni Mabrey of course known to us as Evelyn Buchanan in the Party Girl series. Jenni opened up her home to us last time for the shoot and is willing to do so again which is awesome. But she is an awesome individual and talented actress, so it’s natural for her.

Cait Pool as Season 2’s Party Girl.

Party Girl / Rave
Speaking of Evelyn Buchanan, Jenni will be dusting her off for a short film that will time jump Party Girl from where she is in the season two finale to a handful of years later. We’re looking for the older Rachel now. It will be a nice and tidy short that will set us up for anything we may way to do storywise as in live action form, I wouldn’t want to do high school PG without Cait Pool involved. I suppose I guess unless we got a lot of money to produce more. Folks who have not seen Party Girl can catch it on youtube (of course) as well as Sparkk TV, a site that aggregates web series for people to discover and view. Also the first season of PG is on BlackFlag.TV with episodes playing daily. Working on getting the second season on there. For more info on Rave folks can email or give a like to www.facebook.com/PartyGirlWebSeries.

In the Hopper
Plenty of projects are in the hopper. A few of them, HTB and Get In will star Annie Cruz in lead roles. We are determined to do and finish Insourcing. We had contemplated a gender swap just to be different since it had not worked in three incarnations with the roles as guys so we wanted to change it up and see what would happen, but things fell through with the actress we planned to take the lead with it. So we retool and we move on. Too many ideas to do and no desire to let the action or more importantly the inaction of others deter from our goals. It’s a grind and that’s OK we will continue to do so, learn, get better and will get to the top.

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.

 

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.

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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.