Posts Tagged ‘filmmaking’

OK, well not really but we did turn in our entry into this round of Rack Focus, Shrinking Things. Now there’s a couple things with it. Bj edited the Rack Focus cut of the short in place of his brother Jermaine who had some things come up to where he would not be able to. Now Jermaine will cut the final cut of the film which will actually be 2.5. minutes longer than the Rack Focus cut which had to be 10 minutes or less.

Telisa Kyle and Allan Thomas of Shrinking Things.

Now the film turned in can be viewed just fine and viewers will be none the wiser that is it missing about two jokes from it, but indeed it is. Before submitting it to wider places, the full cut will be done and done by Jermaine. It’s still a funny short as Allan, Telisa and Mike did an amazing job and kept the dialogue flowing in the script which called for a lot of dialogue in one location. Will be curious to see the response to it from the audience.

Cheerleader Karate School

On the CKS front we’re still trying to get people to see the pilot and see the potential in the concept. The episode is available on Amazon Prime, Youtube and will soon be available on Sparkk TV, a web series gathering site as well as any other site we can put it on to get eyeballs on it and hopefully the eyeballs of people who see what CKS could be with some funds through at us.

Perky Chicks and Roundhouse Kicks!

Work continues on the feature script, with season one of the series being retooled a bit as the film script takes one of the concepts and villains from the first season to be the threat in the film.

For more information check out the FB page: www.facebook.com/CheerleaderKarateSchool

20 Minutes or Less

Nearly ready to roll on that and excited for what the trilogy can be when it is filmed in its entirety. Wen-cheih Chi is ready and raring to go in the lead role of the series and Bj is ready to take lessons learned from shooting the Rack Focus Round 3 entry and other shoots since then to make this one the best it can be and get some results we were not able to get before in the previous shoot.

For more information check the FB page: www.facebook.com/20MinutesOfLess

Party Girl

Party Girl The Series will get some more eyeballs on it we assume as just like with CKS, Sparkk TV will be showing both seasons of the series. Of course we wished it could have continued but we did not want to do anything without Cait Pool in the lead role and we weren’t going to be able to get her back in the saddle unless there was some actual money and status behind it. Though we have found an idea, a way to carry on past Party Girl. More details of that to come in the next few months.

For more information check the FB page: www.facebook.com/PartyGirlWebSeries

Various Projects

There are a number of projects being worked on, scripted and such chief among them DadBodies, a comedy, Sand in My Cubicle, a comedy series, HTB, an action drama starring Annie Cruz and Get In, an action short also set to feature Cruz.

Lots to do and hopefully the right people at the right time will see what’s going on and want to jump in.

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.

 

…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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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.


 


 

Three shooting days are in the books for Cheerleader Karate School, the supernatural, martial arts drama series from creator Bj Lewis. After talking about CKS for days, weeks and months it was great to finally get the actors in front of the camera and into their various roles. 13240607_1019089401516165_2030442161112642330_n

We tried to cover a lot of ground as we were going on an extended break between the third shooting day and the next as a few actors are going on summer vacations. But looking to get right back into it strong in mid-July.

As we have said and will continue to say many many many times, the cast assembled is great. They are super talented, hard working and have great chemistry together behind the camera. It will be up to us to get that chemistry to continue to be on display when they are in front of the camera and to make the final product look the best it can be.

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Wen-chieh Chi (The Next) and Maddy Cerda (The First).

 

 

This past Sunday, Bj appeared on The Cutting Room Floor podcast to talk to Casey Ryan about the project. If you missed it, you can catch it here.

In the meantime the plan and the goal continues to get as many people to check out the info page on the show and hope they will dig it and stick with us as we develop the show and be there in a few months when the pilot drops.