Upcoming Voyage Trekkers Schedule (UPDATED!)

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From the Voyage Trekkers season finale, "Manys Paths to Eden"

Hey gang!  I wanted to keep everyone in the loop on the release schedule for Voyage Trekkers (yay!).  As the season is nearing the end, here’s what we got in store for you….

* SEPT. 5  (MONDAY) “Voyage Trekkers – Episode 8”

* SEPT. 12 (MONDAY) “Voyage Trekkers – Episode 9”

* SEPT. 19 (MONDAY) “Voyage Trekkers – Special Features & Behind the Scenes of the Finale”

* SEPT. 26 (REVISED; MONDAY) “Voyage Trekkers Out Takes” 

* OCT. 3 (REVISED; MONDAY) – “Voyage Trekkers – Episode 10: The Season Finale”

So why the “Special Features” and “Season Finale build up” delay you ask?  Well the season finale is going to be a big, big episode.  We’re really kicking down the door with this one …  It’s going to be a genuine ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ … that’s right, you can actually pick the path that the story goes, and it’s all going to be with video.  It’s a very ambitious undertaking.  We’ve actually shot more footage for this final episode than for the first three episodes combined!  …and it’s going to take more time to finish.

In the meantime, here’s some teasing behind-the-scene photos of upcoming Voyage Trekkers episodes!

Episode 9 is an all green screen environment

Previz for the Episode 9 environment

Episode 8 takes place in the Captain's Quarters .... oh yeah!

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Voyage Trekkers Commentary – Episode 3

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Episode 3 was shot on the day after shooting Episode 1,2, and 5.  With our environment now inside, things were a lot less hectic.  Well, less stressful at any rate, and we certainly had better bathrooms!  That first day my eye balls were practically exploding out of my head with stress.  On the second day I was much more confident that were going to pull off this crazy venture.

Craig Curtis plays one of the doomed Cassigar Barbarians

Major thanks goes to Dorian and Krissy Lenz who own NCT Phoenix, the National Comedy Theatre, and who graciously let us run around their place like crazy people.  This episode was a nice change of pace, as it was more action than dialogue this time, and was a lot of fun to shoot but it was much more complicated.  You’ll notice there’s many more storyboards for this episode than for Episode 2.  

The sash that Craig is wearing in the picture above, that’s actually fabric from of the casino backdrop in our short film “Until the End of Everything.”  We try to sneak it into as many of our projects as possible.

I hate to point out things that may break the suspension of disbelief on a second viewing, but you can clearly hear our smoke machine giving an occasional “puff” of air in several shots.  I added other noises, like dripping water and cave echo to the scene, to give the location more of a “evil base” ambience, but  also to distract from the sound.

In the end this is one of the episodes I’m happiest with.  It’s fast, quick, visual, and has some great comedic suspense as it sets up a solid punch-line.  Not that I don’t have regrets or wish I would have done some things different …  That’s the way it always is, you beat yourself up on mistakes no one else (or so you reassure yourself with) can spot.  You can work yourself into madness if you don’t let it go and just move on.  After all, in the end, movies aren’t released … they escape.

The Adventure Starts This Sunday!

Oh, and if you haven’t heard, we’re having a second Voyage Trekkers “Choose Your Own Path” Adventure!  It starts Sunday morning (August 21), with five daily installments that you can vote on our Squishy Studios facebook page and choose the path that the crew takes.  So that’s five days of interactive fun in this text-based story, with the conclusion on Friday, August 26.  We really want to step things up a bit, so expect a few bits of originally art … including a finished poster with several of the story elements that were chosen at the end!

Voyage Trekkers Commentary – Episode 2

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I thought I’d try something new and hopefully interesting by providing some “director’s commentary” on recently released episodes of Voyage Trekkers.

(oh, and since we’re going straight to Episodes 2, if you want to learn more about making the Lizard mask from Episode 1 head over to this blog entry right here)

Commentary:  Voyage Trekkers Episode 2 – Social Network

Originally we were going to do this with a green screen background because I wanted this world to be a far-out alien environment.  Also I wanted to make the three desert episodes, all shot in the same freaking day, look as if they weren’t shot on the same location.  We had a big portable green screen on hand, but once our Visual Effects team did a few tests, they realized it would be just too dicey to pull off in the time we had.  It would then be up to modifying the colors in post-production to create the different looks of the worlds.

I don't know, I kinda like the jeans look...

Episode 1, 2, and 5 were all shot on a cloudy day, on December 18th 2010, at the base of the Superstition Mountains.  It was a wild environment.  There was jumping cactus, a few broken bottles … a few bullet shells … ah the old west!  Shooting outdoors is always tough.  Not only for the obvious physical conditions, but also in terms of the ever changing lighting conditions.  Balancing out the different levels of bright and cloud sunlight became, and still is since I’m editing Episode 5 right as we speak, a real wrestling match.

Notice the mountains from "Episode 1"?

The Ambassador’s outfits are really funny … I just love ’em.  Nathan Stipes’s mom, our production designer, made the outfits herself.  In the concept designs we called them Space Hippies.  I wanted something that came close to some of the sillier original Star Trek aliens (remember Space Hippies?).  But the look we ended up liking were the cultist priest robes from Conan the Barbarian.  We showed Nate’s mom of a picture of the priests and said that was what we were kinda going for … and what we got back was essentially (except for color) an exact reproduction of the picture!!  Okay, so if asked I’m going to call it a purposeful homage.

Lastly I’m including the storyboards from the episode so you can see how the final product compares.

If you have any other questions about this episode go ahead and leave a comment for me in the blog and I’ll get right back to you!

Reports from the Voyage Trekkers set

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Just six days after “Voyage Trekkers” premiered, we were on the set making new episodes to fill out the ten episode season.

The season finale, entitled “Many Paths to Eden” (formerly “Paradise World”; it sounds much more like an original Star Trek episode now), is quite ambitious.  For those of you wishing the episodes were longer you’ll be pretty happy with this one.  We shot more footage for the final episode than we did for the first three episodes combined!

The episode was such a bear to wrestle we were only able to finish three of the four scheduled episodes that weekend.  We’ll have to pick up the remaining episode some time soon in August.

Episode 3 – Birthday Surprise is out now, if you haven’t checked that out yet.  Also expect a behind-the-scenes video of the shoot to be coming down the pipeline as well.  In the meantime, enjoy some more photos!

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