Normally This Weird – In Production

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For the last month Squishy Studios has been knee-deep in shooting the long promised first season of “Normally The Weird.” It’s been a long time coming, and while we don’t have the full resources we wished we did, we felt like it was now or never.  It’s truly been a labor of love and I think that’s going to show on screen.  From here through March we’re shooting all the remaining episodes of Season One.  That’s seven episodes, being each about six to eight minutes long, which comes up to about 41 script pages in length).  For practical reasons, like location and actor availability, we’re shooting all seven episodes together and out of continuity.  That means on one day we where shooting Simon in his room from Episode 3, 4, 7, and 8.

We shot the interiors of the Magic Household (aka The “Smiths”) and FBI Special Agent Danford’s place this weekend.  Two weeks from now we film an episode focused on the teen trials of Ivy, and then we go inside the workshop of the evil Professor Archeval, where we get to see some of his inventions and even learn the identity of his unusual wife and son.

Here’s pictures of what we’ve filmed so far.  Next time we’ll meet the Archevals and look at some behind-the-scenes photos.  Plan on seeing more in the coming weeks and months!  Yay!

Adam Rini is once again Swivey Dinkle

Michael Peterson not only reprises his role as Simon but also lends a hand in producing the show

Grace Steinbach is Ivy, the rebellious teenage daughter of the magic family

James Hoenscheidt's FBI Special Agent Danford is a complicated man

Introducing Ivy's overbearing father, Manfred, played by Shane Stevens

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Voyage Trekkers Photo Shoot Out Takes

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During the last day of photography we made sure we took stills for publicity (website, posters, etc.).  Here’s some of the better out takes.  And don’t forget, we have a new facebook group for Voyage Trekkers now!

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Duct tape and chicken wire

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Squishy Studios is all about scrappy, do-it-yourself filmmaking.  We’ve never had much resources to make our movies (budget, equipment, etc.), even compared to some of our equally broke filmmaking peers.  I’ve always been proud with what we’ve been able to pull off.  But I don’t think this “duck tape and chicken wire” approach can be solely attributed to my meager income (although that’s certainly a factor!).  I think it comes down to a philosophical difference in what making movies means to us.  Or to me, at any rate.

I don’t know, I worry that putting more time and money into a single endeavor is a better way to impress people who may potentially hire you.  That creating a meticulously crafted and slickly presented piece is a more successful route for the advancement of one’s career.  A “calling card” film, if you will.

That may be one of my problems, that that’s a secondary goal to me.  The first being that I just want “to play.”  I want to be an author that create worlds and stories.  Instead of a telling single story I’d rather tell several for the same amount of money.

The heady days of film school - "Without Allies" 1996

In film school students usually don’t make a lot of films.  Maybe three or four.  And their big senior thesis film … their “Capstone” or TCM275 project … can easily cost $2,000 or more.  At USC, where the pressure to stand above the crowd is even greater, we’re now talking tens of thousands of bucks.  And don’t get me wrong, these things look great.  And they’re fantastic calling cards.

My problem with this is that “story” and “character” take a long, long time to master.  Storytelling is THE craft of moviemaking, in my humble opinion.  But by doing so few films, you’ve barely stretched your wings as an artist.  More than cinematography, it’s the storytelling that will set you apart from other filmmakers.  Or at least that’s my thinking.  Maybe I’m wrong.  It’s not like we don’t want to impress these potential people who could hire us — we DO want that very much!  A career in filmmaking is the ultimate goal.

The combined budget of  five our movies, “The Lords of Dragonhoth”, “The Hand You’re Dealt”, “Until the End of Everything”, “Masters of Daring”, and “Zombie Team Building”, is approximately $1,400.  We’re currently shooting forty minutes of new “Normally This Weird” episodes for a dollar sum even less than that.  Maybe this is a testament to our low-budget knack, but the reason I bring it up is that it’s also a design observation.  There are of course sacrifices we make by going this route.  We never have all the equipment, we don’t have the make things look perfect … we basically have to run and gun.  And with any kind of sacrifice you do give something up.

This “choice”, which I don’t know think was ever really consciously choice, has come out of the simple desire to tell as many stories as possible.  It just seems more fun, really.

Voyage Trekkers – Official Info

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What’s the premise of the show?

“Voyage Trekkers” is a sci-fi comedy (much in the spirit of Star Trek) that drops in on a captain and his crew during the worst moments of their space adventures.  The episodes are the embarrassing (or comically repugnant) events that they would otherwise delete from the official records.

Official Info

“Voyage Trekkers” is a new, limited-run, sci-fi comedy from Squishy Studios and Inside Creative Minds Media.  Each of the six episodes will be about two and a half minutes in length.  Production on all six episodes wrapped in December of 2010.  The series premiere is likely going to be in April/May, but we’re still ironing that out.

Wait, aren’t you making another web series right now?  “Normally This Weird”?!

That’s right, we’re knee-deep in filming “Normally This Weird” right now.  “Normally This Weird” is essentially four times as ambitious (more pages, more money) than “Voyage Trekkers.” And yes, it was completely insane to do two web series at once.  Basically I’m an idiot.

Why a “limited run” web series?

Well, to be honest, we just wanted to do something that was fun.  We didn’t want another web series we were obliged to upkeep as it’s heck of a lot of work.  I’ve always wanted to do a sci-fi comedy and we’ve never had a chance to give it a proper go.  By making it a “limited run” it came down to how many episodes we could shoot in one weekend.  We wrote seven episodes but could only finish six.  And yes, six episodes in two days was nuts.

Photo Shoot Outtake - Gabrielle Van Buren (left), Adam Rini (center), Logan Blackwell (right)

Who are the characters?

Adam Rini portrays the cocky Captain Sunstrike, Gabrielle Van Buren plays the exasperated Doctor, and Logan Blackwell is the unfazed Commander Powell.

Will there be more episodes of “Voyage Trekkers”?

The shoot was, honestly, one of the best experiences we’ve ever had.  It was such a ball, and we have so many more ideas for the show, that there’s a real good chance we’ll make more episodes in the future.  However, it’s difficult to predict if future (and more ambitious … muahahaha) projects will take center stage.

Where can I go for the latest info on “Voyage Trekkers”?

VoyageTrekkers.com now directs you to our official page at Squishy Studios.  This blog will continue to have lots of juicy info on the making of the show.  Also, our new Voyage Trekkers Facebook Page also has a ton of really cool photos, from screenshots, to pre-production concept art, to behind-the-scenes stills.

And if you haven’t checked it out already, here’s our brand new Teaser Trailer!