Voyage Trekkers star in anti-smoking PSA spoofs

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VT PSA Still 8 Take A StandVoyage Trekkers are going legit!  Over the past few months we’ve been working on a secret project with the ad agency RIESTER and STAND (Students Taking A New Direction), Arizona’s statewide anti-tobacco youth coalition, to produce a series of comedy spots starring the worst starship crew in the galaxy!

“Voyage Trekkers To The Rescue” is a satire of the old, stiff PSAs we all saw when we were kids. They’ll be fun, irreverent, and with the exact same style of humor you’d expect from the web series.

These commercials will feature the Voyage Trekkers crew who are on a mission to stop kids from smoking (possibly due to community service, it’s hinted) and educating people throughout the galaxy about it’s dangers. They’ll spoof all the tropes and situations of these PSAs, and the characters themselves being their normal ridiculous selves, but not at the expense of the message.

We’ve been working with some fantastic people at RIESTER and STAND, and the whole thing has been a heck of a lot of fun.  We can’t wait to show you these … and you shouldn’t have too wait long … expect them to hit the web early next year!

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Voyage Trekkers – Season 2 Finale

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The Season 2 Finale is finally here! We really through the kitchen sink at this one, we wanted to make it as epic as possible. There’s literally four times more CGI ship effects in this single episode than in the entire season combined … we recorded the score with a live orchestra (the NAU Wind Symphony) … and we wanted to put the characters in a situation which they’ve never been in before, where they were genuinely in trouble with no way to escape (as they almost always do).

Voyage Trekkers Websitehttp://www.voyagetrekkers.com

Voyage Trekkers Novella – Gambit of Chance

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Voyage Trekkers – Gambit of Chance. Coming October 2012

We’re excited to finally announce that Craig Michael Curtis has secretly been crafting a Voyage Trekkers novella, entitled “Gambit of Chance”, due out this October as an e-book.  With this announcement I thought I’d answer some questions you may have about the book (and tease you a bit too).

How much will it cost?  Most likely the e-book will be “Pay what you like.”  Meaning that, yes, you can get the book for free.  And if you want to pay $5 or $10 that’s certainly fine as well.  All proceeds directly support the show.

– How long will it be?  We’re not 100% sure yet, but under 200 pages is probably where we’ll end up.

– What’s the story of “Gambit of Chance”?  The crew of the G.S.V. Remarkable are sent to a planet embroiled in political turmoil.  There, each hero will find their courage tested as they risk to restore the balance.  (but yes, hilarity ensues)

Who is Craig Michael Curtis?  He’s a novelist and a writer on Voyage Trekkers (he wrote the Voyage Trekkers Radio Play), but you may know him as General Kang from Episode 7 – “The Clutches of General Kang!”

Is this Craig Michael Curtis first novel?  But of course not!  He’s a published author that’s actually written four novels (or five???  errr, I’m a bad friend…).  You can check out his author blog and learn more about his other work right here:  http://craigmcurtis.blogspot.com/

Any hints or tidbits on what we might find in the book?  “Gambit of Chance” will be the first appearance of many new crew members created for Season 2 of the web series.  And because Craig is in the “inner circle” with the making of the show, he’s privy to a lot of details in the Voyage Trekkers universe that don’t always make the five minute episodes, but will help enrich the book.

Season Finale of Voyage Trekkers

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The first season of Voyage Trekkers is now complete.  In a marathon of post-production, with over a 193 green screen composite shots, and four people working on effects alone (and let’s not leave out composer Michael Markowski), the season finale is finally out.

So I used the word “finally” …  I’m writing this just six hours after it’s delayed release.  At the moment it’s 7 am and most of you haven’t seen it yet.  I’m really hoping, for many of you, that it comes as a surprise treat that the “last episode” is effectively SEVEN episodes, being a ‘Choose your own path’ video adventure.  We wanted to end on a big note … I just didn’t grasp how big until we were in the final stretch.

It was supposed to come out on Monday (and it technically did if you live in Hawaii!), but wrangling the all the final details (from sound design to final effects) became a protracted ordeal.  I was aiming for a 10am release, but it turned into 1am the next day … and for pretty much for every moment of that (except for lunch), I was chained to the computer, running on an hour and a half of sleep, fueled by adrenaline and caffeine.  Not that “thrill seeker adrenaline”, it sounds weird when I describe it that way, but there is a force of energy that props you up when you’re working on a project like this.  It happens all the time when I direct.  You keep plugging away like a steam engine, but about a half hour after wrap is called it all nose dives off and your body suddenly remembers it’s mortality.

Special recognition goes to David Stipes as my partner in the sleepless race to the finish line.

What I really like about “Many Paths to Eden” is that is really lets the characters out of the box.  And the box is the short format that the previous episodes have had, and often with a controlling theme or style.  In this one, all the comedy comes out of the character’s personalities and the variations of their unique comedy.

It’s been an exhausting yet truly wonderful experience.  I can’t express how grateful I am for everyone, the actors and the crew, playing along with me and running around in space man outfits with our toy guns.  The fun has been infectious and I think everyone wants to do it again.  I know I sure do.
Here’s the part where I sum the entire season and the show and put some perspective on the journey … but instead I think I’m just going to take a nap.

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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Voyage Trekkers Premiere

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The Voyage Trekkers Screening Party on Monday was a heck of a lot of fun and a big hit.  We packed the house, screened our short “Zombie Team Building” along with the first three episodes of “Voyage Trekkers”, and ended on an audience Q &A.  We’ve done quite a few of these premieres now, and I have to be completely honest, this was really the best we’ve ever had.  It was just a warm fuzzy glow of yayness.

The event was thrown at FilmBar, which is just a great downtown venue, quickly emerging as Phoenix best indie movie hangout.  Maybe it’s just me, as I’m probably the only one that’s a bundle of panic and nerves at these things, but I must say that the availability of purchasable beer also made the night much more enjoyable.

The event was the launch of the weekly comedy web series, which you can see the first episode right below.  Also be sure to check out more photos from the event!

 

For more of “Voyage Trekkers” check us out at either www.voyagetrekkers.com or www.squishystudios.com!

 

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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!