This weekend, we shot the pilot webisodes for Earth Force 5. It deserves a detailed report that I will give you once I have pictures. In the meantime, I can say this: it went very smoothly, almost without a hitch. Having two cameras works wonders. If we'd had just the one, there's no way we would have finished on time. When you can nab two shots per setup, the day can fly. As it must when you're attempting to shoot fourteen pages in twelve hours, not counting your lunch break.
Quick rundown of the goings-on and the happening-whats: . Last week were the auditions for Earth Force 5, the webseries pilot I wrote for Epic Level. I love auditions. They're the first time the I get to hear voices for the characters other than the ones in my head. Which can be a weird experience, especially when an actor's interpretation is quite different from mine -- and the actor is right. I got to read the parts across from the actors. But after twelve hours of reading out loud, I was starting to phone it in. The actors, however, did not. The group we cast is strong and copiously talented, and includes at least one guy you'll recognize. The sad thing is that we didn't have parts for everyone. We saw no dearth of talent. . I'm writing a series of two- to three-page sketches that will potentially show up on TV. I don't know how transparent I can be on the subject, so I'll steer towards opaque. There's a TV station out there that specializes in fan genre programming. And it just so happens they've recently had a regime change, and the new lady in charge is a good friend of a good friend of mine. And while the new exec isn't looking for show pitches right, she is looking for bumper material to fit between the network's existing shows and segments. And any bumpers that get popular enough could potentially spin off into something larger. . I pitch-chained a few ideas for bumpers up to the exec through my friend, and the result was positive. So I'm downshifting from long arcing narratives to one-off jokes. It's nice to be working short form again, as a change of pace at least. And if any of these shorts get made, there would be pay involved. Which is good. And that's not my only project that might be headed towards a paycheck.
As a student at AFI, I co-wrote a thesis film submission entitled History of Demons with director Nathan Atkinson. AFI gave the project a red light, so Nathan and I decided to redo it as a feature. Three some years later, we're on the verge of optioning the script to a producing team that already has financiers interested. And the budget they assure us they can get is in the $25 million range. If that happens, I'll make more in a day than I ever have in a year, and will get into the WGA to boot. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed. If you wouldn't mind keeping your fingers crossed as well, I'd appreciate it.
More of Martin Abel's conceptual art for Fred, Prince of Darkness. . In Hell, the Imps are the worker demons, the blue collar joes who do the actual tormenting of the damned. It's a thankless job with no overtime and no benefits -- or at least it was before the regime change. With Satan gone, the Imps elect Skeezix head of their union (despite his rather loud protests) and go on strike, figuring Fred must be easier to negotiate with than Satan. And if he's not, well ... they're only down Skeezix.