Posts Tagged ‘writing’

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 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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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.

 

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.