Green Light For More Voyage Trekkers!

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We have got some exciting news for everyone on the “Voyage Trekkers” front …  The funding has just come together (thanks to Tray Goodman and his Inside Creative Minds Media) to film four more episodes of the show.  This will bring the first season to a total of ten episodes!  I’m so stoked that I get to make four more installments of our comedy love letter to the sci-fi genre.

Right now we’re aiming for late July for our production date.  Here’s some teasing pictures for one of the new characters we’re making for the show … the alien officer Lt. Jayda.

Color Concept of Lt. Jayda, by yours truly

Clay head (work in progress; and yes we used two different colors of clay) for Lt. Jayda, sculpted by my brother Brian

And, if you haven’t seen it out yet, be sure to check out the new trailer for the show — Yay!

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Jumping Off a Cliff (or: How I Want to Call Myself a Filmmaker)

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Many of you probably know that my day job is working at the Phoenix Zoo.  I’ve been there nearly five years.  I love it there.  I love the people (the co-workers, that is).  And I love the animals.  But it’s time for me to move on.  I’m starting my last week there tomorrow.

An underwater picture I took at Stingray Bay at the Phoenix Zoo

Right now I’m experiencing equal parts of sheer and total panic with a sense of exhilaration.  The “goal” (…like how I used quotations there…) is to make freelance video production my primary source of income.  This means more freedom to do the Squishy Studios film projects (since we got two web series rolling out), but also means lots of unpredictability of where the next paycheck is coming from.

Freelancer = Gun for hire.

All this is so … in a weird way … so I can finally say that I am in fact a filmmaker.  

“Well of course you’re a filmmaker, Nathan!  You’ve been making movies for years!”  I know, I know, but my brain just won’t let me say that to people.  Like someone who centers their whole life around painting, who completely associates their identity with their craft, but yet works thirty-nine hours a week at some part-time job to pay the bills.  Do they say “I’m a painter!”  Telling someone that, the reaction is first an impressed surprise.  After all how does one make a living doing such things?  Then they follow up with, predictably, by asking that very same question.  What then follows is a wrought elaboration of how it actually isn’t your “career”, per se, but that you actually work at a Home Depot in Scottsdale.  But you really do like to paint!!

So then they’re thinking, well if he gets to label himself after his favorite hobby then why can’t I?  I’m a Video Gameteer!

Yes, this is completely ridiculous, but there’s some truth to it as well.  I’m a big fan of Joseph Campbell.  His views on mythology, religion, and the cultures of the world have been a true inspiration.  In his lectures he talks about the King Arthur legend, where before the Knights set out on their quest to find the Holy Grail, each must find their own spot to enter the dark forest.  Each must follow their own path, the one that they find is best for them, and to do otherwise would be to take someone else’s journey.

My badge from last weekend's Phoenix FearCON IV Film Festival

Voyage Trekkers Trailer

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Presenting the brand new Trailer for “Voyage Trekkers”, our sci-fi comedy web series!  There’s been some new touches added to the Squishy Studios website as we get closer to launching the series.  You can also catch this trailer at the Phoenix Comicon during David Sabal’s panel “Film School: A Guide for the Cheap Filmmaker” on Friday, May 27th at 10:30am (Room 129A).

Like our new theme song?  It was created by the ever so talented Michael Markowski.

That’s a Wrap on “Normally This Weird”!

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Woo hoo!  I’m still feeling the glorious ache and pain from Sunday as I write this …  Yesterday we wrapped production “Normally This Weird” and celebrated with the wrap party that evening.

The last day were the Ivy & Toad scenes

From the bottom of my heart I am so appreciative for everyone’s hard work and sacrifice.

Wrap for James Hoenscheidt, Michael Peterson, and Adam Rini

Holy smokes, I still can’t believe we pulled it off.  It was truly a labor of love … no one got paid … we had less money to do the whole season than what he had for the two pilot episodes … and it all came from the donations of our friends and family.  Everyone did fantastic work.  It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch these stories when they’re all put together.

Ah man, now I’m getting all teary eyed…  Shut up, don’t look at me!!

Expect the new episodes to hit this Fall, after “Voyage Trekkers” has it’s run.  And enjoy my grainy iPod pictures from the last day of shooting and the wrap party.

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Billy is coming

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This summer, along with our sci-fi comedy series “Voyage Trekkers”, we’re going to release our 2007 no-budget feature film, “The Constant Epiphanies of Billy The Blood Donor.” We’re going to serialize the film, breaking it up into five to eight minute long installments, so that everyone has a chance to see this fun, quirky little movie.

So what is “Billy the Blood Donor”?  It’s a digital feature film adaptation of my brother’s (Logan Blackwell) stage play of the same title.  The story is an absurdist and dry comedy about a hapless young man, Billy (Daniel Brodie), who like many students at the end of their college career, realizes he’s totally unprepared for the real world.  In a half-hearted quest for adventure, he soon becomes involved with an evil blood donation company and gets entangled in it’s web of diabolical (and often silly) schemes.  Along the way he falls in love with another student, Sherry (Lauren Henschen), who’s secretly addicted to drinking blood.

The project took three years to make, shooting it on scattered weekends from 2005 to 2006, and then over a year and a half to edit.  It’s surprising how long it really took to make, seeing as though it was only about fourteen shooting days (about the same as the new season of “Normally This Weird”).  The project came at a point where I was resurrecting myself as a filmmaker … I was in a major slump, really unsure of if I was on the right path or not, and was just seriously out of practice.

When my first feature, “Forever Midnight” (1998), failed to push me into a film career, I had lost a lot of confidence.  Many years later, “Billy” was all about getting back on the saddle.  I was just tired of not making movies.  I didn’t want to worry about investors, I just wanted to make a movie, so I took out a loan and bought a nice camera … and that’s exactly what we did.  We just made it, and for the fun of it.  This was the beginning of the age of Squishy Studios and this was my return as a filmmaker.

So, look forward to meeting Billy and the strange cast of characters this movie has in store for you.  It’s all part of the upcoming Squishy Studios Network, which I’ll talk more about in the coming weeks!