Posts Tagged ‘HTB’

Felt good to get back behind the camera this past weekend for some filming. It was the best kind of weekend really, one that involved both wrestling and film for me. Saturday was a Christian Wrestling Federation show at Hope Irving church and Sunday was filming on the current project, Wildcat. Wildcat is a fan film (lord knows I love them) based on the JSA character of the same name. Our’s is a more grounded take on him. (I really hate that word, grounded, such an overused buzzword). We’re looking at the Arrowverse as a sorta template for what we would like to do for Wildcat. I have done a few fan films in the past a Suicide Squad one a few years back and a Super Sentai/Power Rangers one many many years back. While the Squad one had some things I liked and some things I truly hated, the sentai one had sooooooooo many things in hindsight I don’t like. But it’s something I can reference for mistakes I don’t care to make. Gotta keep moving and keep producing to keep learning right? Wildcat Shoot 2

Wildcat was something we were supposed to film back in January, but my lead actor dropped out right before filming was set to start. That was kind of annoying to say the least seeing’s how I had worked with this person several times before and felt that if things had changed, if their desire to participate had changed, well they could have simply told me beforehand and I would have adjusted. But they chose the path that leaves me with little respect for them now. But that’s the path they chose, I’m not getting too bent outta shape about it. I recast the role with AD Scott in the lead role. He stepped in like a champ with enthusiasm and acting chops to do the job.

Fabian XIV, a guy you have seen in many many many of my projects jumped on board last minute to help me fill an important role. He is one of my go to champs as he always helps me out of a jam and he has been as real with me today as he was years ago when we met. I need more people like him. Aquetta Stiger is kicking ass in her role as well, glad to have her on this and hopefully I will have her talents on a few other emotionally charged scripts I have written to come. Marqui Leanno and Davonate Hogan were late additions to play a pair of thugs who get dealt some hurt in the short and I was glad to have them and hope to have them on other projects in the future where their acting and their physical talents are needed again. Wildcat.00_00_10_10.Still001Lakesha Felton played AD’s sister in a couple scenes filmed early Saturday. It was one of those instances where she knocked it out of the park and I wish she had more to do. But that can change in the future. Wildcat shoot

 

 

We have a few more shooting days to go on this. The plan is five chapters, five to 10 minutes apiece. There’s more after that but it will all depend on how people feel following the five chapters, if they want to do more or not. Obviously I hope they will want to do more.

Gear of choice is of course the Sony FS5 I endeavor to continue to learn and get better filming with it. Also put my Atomos Shogun Flame into action for the first real shoot. Of course with that comes trial and error. I have already noticed some things I need to tweak and get better with for the next shoot. Some scenes were a bit underexposed for my liking, so that will have to be studied and improved. I am happy overall with the roughs so far and look forward to the shoots to come.

Teaming up with Billy Mau

There are plans to collaborate with Billy Mau on a script he has adapted from a short story he wrote. The first draft is a good read and we can already pencil in talent for some of the roles. Though at least one round of auditions will be had to see what other talent can be pulled in, perhaps some that we have not worked with before. Billy has a talent for comedy and has written two scripts for short series that we have wanted to film, Insourcing and Sand in My Cubicle, the former has been attempted four times already and seems to be cursed, but it is funny as hell and something I am bound and determined to see through to a successful finish.

HTB Comic Book

HTB Graphic NovelOn the HTB front, we have seven days to go on the crowdfunding campaign. It has not progressed as we would liked it to have gone. But there is still a week to go. Of course there is $3,000 to go. And it’s fixed funding. So if we do not make the goal, we get none of the contributions and they go back to the contributors. Where will that leave us, well the amount we set was supposed to go to the artist and a limited print run for sell and to cover the perks that offered contributors print copies of the book. The plan may be to go for a smaller amount, in the neighborhood of $2,000 to $3,000 to cover the artist and I will just pay for the print cost myself. The big thing is just getting the book done. We have a few publishing folks who are interested in the book, we just need to them the product. We will keep plugging away and see what will happen in the end. If nothing else the campaign (and the short teaser we shot a while back, which can be seen online now) can be used as a promotional means and when we try again, the people who contributed so far can just repeat the contribution and others may jump on board as well.

The Campaign can be found here

 

We shall see. We believe in the project, just gotta keep plugging away at it.

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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…..

Saturday was another great day as anticipated when Kerry McCormick was added to the project. Kerry is an accomplished actor, martial artist and all around great person. Of the small number of folks met thus far that years later is still as real as they were from Day 1.

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Making notes on the scene. Planning the magic.

Coupled with the talented Gabriella Corvina and you have the makings of a dynamite scene and from what the ladies put together already, everyone is going to be talk about their scene. Of course we wish it could have gone on longer but Rack Focus films are only to be 10 minutes long so we needed an intense two minute throw down from them. Gabriella will be throwing down with other people along the way, so will she make it out alive? Who knows. You will just have to check things out when the screening happens.

 

We wanted to produce 20 Minutes or Less for Rack Focus Round 2 but things happened with our planned lead at that point. Of course things happen for a reason they say. And who knows if we would have come in contact with Gabriella or the other talented people connected to this project had it not been delayed?


 

We are a week away from auditions to fill out the rest of the team for the upcoming project Cheerleader Karate School. We already have two of the main five ladies cast, one of which is of course Gabriella, the other is Christine Rejcek, a budding actress and trained martial artist. Looking forward to those auditions that, barring any last minute issues, will have Gabriella and Christine onhand to participate and read with the actresses so we can get an early feel on chemistry for the group. CKS is something we are proud of and think in this day and age of franchises for TV shows and movies, we think it could become a successful one.

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Gabriella working out fight stuff with Kerry for 20 Minutes or Less. She’s going to bring that same enthusiam to CKS.

 

 

The first couple episodes have been written and will be broken down in order to gauge an average budget per episode to add to our business plan as we seek funding to make it happen.

We are working on marketing/promotional ideas as well. We are planning a web comic tie in that will take place a bit before the timeline of the show.  Trying to think of swag that we can offer to people in support of the project beyond the obvious t-shirts. Speaking of those we are going through the ND T-Shirt Company, a local Denton business, for our shirts. We have seen the proofs for CKS shirts and we are definitely looking forward to getting them produced and out to the masses. We hope to have everyone in place cast wise so we get get promo pics done in time to do some grassroots promotion at a few local comic book conventions. Of course everything comes down to money, at first anyway and what we can afford to start with.


 

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A past pin up sketch for HTB. Annie has lent her likeness to the main character for the book and plans to star in the film adaption.

Work is ongoing on the HTB teaser for our graphic novel/film project with Annie Cruz. Jermaine is out in Cali putting the final touches on that. In the meantime people can and should be liking the facebook page or following on twitter @HTBMovie to stay up to date with the latest information on the project.


 

Party Girl: The Series is still gaining attention from people who have not seen it before. Which, by viewcounts, is a lot. Hopefully this trend will continue and more people will check out the show as it’s as good today as it was last year when we produced it.

 


Our Suicide Squad fanfilm, A Typical Tuesday is still in post. Probably a month or two longer before it drops. We are still contemplating a screening for it, or if we just drop it online. Hopefully people will enjoy the short which was just made by fans for fellow fans of the soon to be box office record breaking Suicide Squad.

 

Well it was also exhausting as hell but well worth it as my bro, Jermaine, and I filmed footage for two teasers we are working on.

The first was Crapshoot.

On set at the Hickory Street Lounge for Crapshoot.

On set at the Hickory Street Lounge for Crapshoot.

It’s the story of a woman who gets her hands on a strange device that revives her when she dies, each time with a random superhuman ability. She struggles for answers and normalcy while dodging crazed scientists, religious zealots and mercenaries bent on recovering the device from her.

Crapshoot is one of a handful of projects we will be submitting to script contests, for grants and every other thing under the sun that could possibly be a source of funding for us to make it happen.

As I have mentioned before, Jermaine and I have been friends since we were kids and we spent many days of our youth planning stories, creating characters for comics, movies and TV.

We go back like 8track and Crackerjacks

We go back like 8track and Crackerjacks

The web really wasn’t a thing back then, but if it was we would have been thinking of that too. Jermaine has helped me from afar with feedback and advice filming my web series like Party Girl under my Taurian Films banner. But he and I had yet to work on something HANDS ON together under the Jigsaw Entertainment banner.

Crapshoot was the first one. It was cool. While casting gave us some hiccups in the week leading up to filming, things got worked out eventually. We filmed a few scenes at the Hickory Street Lounge. Ken is a kick ass owner and we owe him a ton for letting us in the place for as long as we were there. From there we moved to Fort Worth to the home of Stan Baker, who plays Big Bear in Crapshoot. Stan’s an amazing guy and an asset to any shoot both in front of and behind the camera.

Jermaine, working and planning shots.

Jermaine, working and planning shots.

I have tried to work with others on shoots before in the capacity that Jermaine and I were for these shoots and it has had…mixed results I will admit. But not so with my brother and I, perhaps because we were more in line with each other as far as the vision of the project or perhaps I simply trusted him more than others with what I wrote. He was primary on the camera and I stepped in on the shoots when I needed to as did he. Often we dovetailed what the other was saying or going to say, so it was cool to see we were in such lock step with each other. Made for a smooth shoot and we needed that seeing how we went from early Saturday morning into the Sunday morning hours. We called in Tony Dotson, Cloyse Caruthers, Brandon Henry, Derrick Andrews and Kerry McCormick for on camera rolls in the teaser as well as Nathan Hartley to help us behind the scenes getting still photos, something we never do enough of on shoots.

At least I don’t.

Long hours, but a lot accomplished. Did we get everything, no. I have some small pick ups to obtain in the next week or so. But I will get those in and all will be good.

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Filming a take from the HTB teaser.

Sunday brought us Annie Cruz and filming HTB (Hard Target B*tch). This was monumental as well. We were finally filming the project we have been talking about the longest. Annie was in town attending Exxxotica with her fiancé promoting their new business venture and while she was tied up Friday and Saturday, we marked off Sunday to make the shoot happen. I whipped up a small, short teaser to film with her. We had our first planned lead have a schedule conflict, so again I called on Derrick Andrews, who was available and great to work with.

Wrapped after a long but fun HTB teaser shoot.

Wrapped after a long but fun HTB teaser shoot.

We filmed in Recycled Books on the Denton Square. That store has an amazing look and feel to it. We filmed video for our next stab at fundraising for the HTB graphic novel. Possibly the film too, but we will see where things go, but the first priority is the graphic novel and the money it will take to make that happen.

Making Derrick a little messy for the next take.

Making Derrick a little messy for the next take.

After that we filmed the teaser footage. We got a lot in, and we have some small B-roll pickups to knock out in the next couple weeks. We were filming as the Sun dipped so time was short to get what we needed in the light we needed to have for it.

Jermaine and Annie talking through the next take.

Jermaine and Annie talking through the next take.

Again, it was a good shoot to work on together and be in sync regarding what we set out of to accomplish. I think it was good for Annie too, as much as we have talked about it to finally be here in the moment, in the character…that will go a long way towards feeding that fire to get out in front of the people and show them that this is a great project to get behind. We tried and failed before as far as fundraising for the book, but having this experience and having her be the character, it will just make us all work that much hard when we launch that campaign again (because we will and soon) and try to get the project going.

It was a long brutal weekend yes, but very well worth it.

Don’t forget to check the Taurian Films productions…

Party Girl: The Series Season 2

Suicide Squad: A Typical Tuesday Fanfilm

So, we’re working on a few projects with the incomparable Annie Cruz.

One we have mentioned before on this blog, online and in person, it is HTB, an action drama starring Annie as an assassin for hire.

We are continuing work on that, breaking down the feature script and developing the budget and business plan for it so we can make it easy to digest for potential investors.

The second project is CRAPSHOOT.

Crapshoot centers on a struggling children’s book author who stumbles onto a techno-mystical device that bonds itself to her wrist. She soon learns that the device grants her a new ability…whenever she dies. Now she struggles for normalcy and answers about the origins of the device while dodging very dangerous people who want it back.

Our plan is to film a sizzle reel/trailer when Annie is in Texas at the beginning of August. We’ve got some stalwarts I have called upon to help on the shoot and be involved including Kerry McCormick, Stan Baker, Cloyse Caruthers, Tony Dotson, Brandon Henry, Corrie, Jorns, Harry Johns and my brother, Jermaine Spencer, who will be flying in that weekend for the shoot. So we are putting a lot into it and working to make it awesome.

In addition we have set up a promo shoot for both HTB and Crapshoot.

We have a campaign on Indiegogo hoping to raise some capital to sweeten the shoot and what we are able to do on it.

It’s slow going at the moment. We are hoping that changes. We realize we’re at a slight disadvantage as most media campaigns have video or pix or artwork to go with what they are trying to raise money for. We have nothing but out word that we will produce. That may not work for some. We will see if things changes, ideally they do.

2015 is of course off into high gear and we have made it a point to get moving on our projects. You get out of them what you put into them, right? As far as recognition, word of mouth…people have tons of other things going on so you have to really do your part to step out in front of them and show them that you have something and that your something is good.

Cait Pool, Party Girl for season two!!

Cait Pool, Party Girl for season two!!

It’s happened slowly but surely with Party Girl, Taurian Films chief export right now.

Season one is online.

Season two is nearly done. We of course wanted it to be completely done by now, but when you have as many actors as we have had for it and with the talent they possess, they get pulled into lots of projects, bigger projects and lots of times paying projects, so we have to wait our turn. It’s the way it is for the moment, until we crack that consistent funding code and we’re not scraping together all we can to pay for things related to the project.

Speaking of, I am looking at taking on a workshop gig teaching at risk youth multimedia and having them work towards generating their own short video project. What those projects will be, I don’t know, but I can’t wait to see what can be created when you take those minds and that energy and put it towards something positive. Planning on using that payday towards some post production work on Party Girl (mostly the sound) and hopefully raising some money for the rest.

Party Girl is seen on a handful of Roku channels, most recently Maiden Network and we are eyeing some international outlets as well.

The North Texas Comic Book Show is in a week in Dallas and our plan is to be there promoting the show as well. We’ve gotten good responses as the cons we have went to so far and looking to have things continue as we work to build up interest in the Party Girl season two when it drops May 4th at a special screening at the Texas Theater. Really looking forward to that as things will definitely go a lot smoother than the season one screening and subsequent release of the episodes online. Not afraid to say things could have gone better, but we take our lumps, we learn and we get better and we’re anxious to show how we have gotten better.

The first teaser for season one is set to debut on the Jan 29th installment of SCNS: Live with myself and Cait Pool in their studio talking about the show. Can’t wait for it as those guys are always very supportive of the show.

A past pin up sketch for HTB. Annie has lent her likeness to the main character for the book and plans to star in the film adaption.

A past pin up sketch for HTB. Annie has lent her likeness to the main character for the book and plans to star in the film adaption.


The other big iron that has been thrown in the fire is HTB, Hard Target B*tch, a graphic novel/film project that has been in the works for a while now. It’s been gestating, getting tweaked here and there, movement hasn’t been supremely fast on it for the simple fact that we need money to go forth with it. The size and scope of both the graphic novel and the film are out of our financial wheelhouse at the moment and we’re hoping our fundraising efforts, both crowdfunding and seeking other investors, can yield success.

The crowdfunding part of things is online on Indiegogo at http://igg.me/at/HTBBook/x and we’re hoping fans of Mz. Cruz can help get the ball rolling on the support of the book. In our mad plan, the book gets made and its a made to order blue print of how the film can be done and will be done and hopefully people who would potentially help fund it, can see that and get behind it. Because it’s not moving forward without funding.

We shall see.

Coming down the pike as well this year a couple pilot pitches, the third and final season of Party Girl and…who knows what else.

Monday marked a great occasion as we took another step toward bringing HTB to life.

Me, Jermaine and Annie

Bj, Jermaine and Annie meeting summer 2012 in LA to talk all things HTB.

HTB is a screenplay written by me (Bj Lewis) a few years ago as part of the April Script Frenzy event. I had the character around for longer than that, and had started planning some aspects of it, but it was really Script Frenzy that gave me the kick in the pants to bang out a draft of the script.

Annie Cruz prepping for the kickstarter campaign video.

Annie Cruz prepping for the kickstarter campaign video.

Over the years, I got my brother from another mother, Jermaine Spencer involved in it, fulfilling dreams and aspirations the two of us have had our entire lives. And then the heavens opened and we got Annie Cruz involved in the project and things could really roll.

Last year, as mentioned on this blog before, while on a trip to California for Power Morphicon, Steph, Jermaine and myself met up with Annie and outlined the project and our intentions and got her fully on board.

We nailed down a potential budget and decided to go the crowdfunding route to bring the character to life. As part of that endeavor we have been planning the campaign, the videos, the perks all that fun stuff.

Monday, Jermaine got Annie in front of the camera to record her portion of the pitch video as well as recording content for some other videos we will post as the campaign goes on.

I plan on a longer blog on this and detailing the creative history between Jermaine and myself, but I just wanted to mark this step in the process.

It’s exciting and continues to motivate us.

Find more information at http://facebook.com/HTBMovie

And of course even with the movement on HTB, my primary focus on my end of the world in Texas is Party Girl and continuing to do what I need to do to bring it to life. Footage and project files are in the hands of Jason Terry who will do the FX, so ideally that goes smoothly. We will be working closer together in future episodes to make sure what we shoot makes it nice and easy for him to do his FX work.

Party Girl Still 1

A still from episode 1.7 “For My Sister” featuring Party Girl’s battle with Delilah, a thief from Angel City.

The search for music continues and the search for a grasp of when to use music and when not to continues. I realize larger projects have people specifically to handle the musical end of things, but this is one of a million other things I am handling myself for this project. But when in doubt, do it yourself right?

Soon, very soon, it will be released and years of hardwork can be seen by the public.

Geeked.

And of course more can be seen at…

http://facebook.com/PartyGirlWebSeries