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 The Movie – Campaign Launched!

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Campaign Characters_650The comedy web series about the worst starship crew in the galaxy is turning into a movie!

It’s been a long time in the making, we’ve been writing the script for over a year now, but I’m proud to finally announce that we’re making a Voyage Trekkers movie — and our campaign is now live on Indiegogo!

It’s scary territory for sure, but I’m also so energized and excited about the future.  Please take a look at our campaign, we can’t do this project without the help from our audience.

Here’s also a look at some of the cool rewards we’re offering as part of the campaign (…and yes, that’s a board game at the bottom!!!).

 

All Them Perks_2Check out our Indiegogo Campaign here!

Logan Must Make Star Wars

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Our new short film, “Logan Must Make Star Wars”, is now on the YouTubes!  (well, actually, it’s been up for a week or so, I’m just a lazy blogger).

It was a hell of an experience, as all these 48 hour movies are.  We were honored to win Best Story, Best Directing, and Best Comedy at the 10th Anniversary Almost Famous Film Challenge.

It’s probably our last 48 hour movie, as we’re moving forward into features (fingers crossed), but as both Sean Connery and Justin Bieber say … Never say never.

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Photo courtesy of Almost Famous Film Festival

Photo courtesy of Almost Famous Film Festival

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

Making Laser Swords At Dawn

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From Voyage Trekkers Season 2 - Ep. 2: "Laser Swords At Dawn"

From Voyage Trekkers Season 2 – Ep. 2: “Laser Swords At Dawn”

Voyage Trekkers Season 2 – Episode 2: Laser Swords at Dawn” is here!  This was the very first episode of Season 2 we shot, back in January of 2012.  Now, obviously we were parodying the lightsabers from Star Wars, but we wanted to make something that was distinct and different looking for our show.

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Star Wars concept art by Ralph Mcquarrie. Copyright Lucasfilm.

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Ironically, the first  ideas came from original Star Wars concept art right above, where the sabers had less of a “pole” looking blade and actually had some sharpness to it at the end and some “energy bulge” (yes, I’m using quotations on that) to the base.

Voyage Trekkers concept art for the laser sword

Voyage Trekkers concept art for the laser sword.

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We now had a direction to go with this little mock up I made above.  We meaning Robert Baum, the animator who would be creating the effect and then painstakingly rotoscoping the blades over our live action versions, and Visual Effects Supervisor David Stipes.

Other visual references included the way that the game Halo did transparent colored energy, less with swords but more with their shields, and the energy weapons that the Transformers used in the very first episode of the cartoon.  So we were moving kind of in the direction of the first Star Wars movie, where the swords were treated more like broadswords and less like katana.

Adam Rini holds the laser sword created by Todd Cook.

Adam Rini holds the laser sword created by Todd Cook.

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On the shoot the actors held their laser sword handles with long orange poles in them so that Robert could see exactly where the blades where supposed to be and could animate the energy beams over them.  It actually took a while to find a distinct look for the laser swords.  Here are just a few examples in the video below (enlarge and watch on HD to really see the variations)

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We  have some nifty behind the scenes videos below, the first being “Season 2 – Day 1”, which follows us on that first day of filming.  There’s no laser sword action, we wanted to keep that a bit of a surprise for the episode, but it’s still fun.  And second is a neat featurette on the making of some of the props by Todd Cook of Todd Cook Designs, including the laser swords.

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Know Your Galactic Union Uniforms

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Know your Galactic Union uniforms!

 

There’s method to our madness and here’s your official primer to the Galactic Union uniforms!

CAPTAIN:  Red, with a uniform designed to convey more heroic qualities of a leader.  With Star Trek everyone is more or less presented equally among officers, and I wanted to push that just a bit out of balance giving Suntrike (and consequently all Captains) a bit more of a hero feel.

SCIENCE & MEDICAL:  Light blue.

OFFICERS:  Purple.  The standard outfit for the Galactic Union.

ENGINEERING:  “Hazard” Orange.  Their outfit is also rougher and not as shiny because they’re always getting it dirty.  They also don’t have the arm stripes.

MARINES:  Green.  Like with the Navy, Space Marines are the fighting troops on board a Galactic Union space vessel.

ADMIRAL:  Similar to the Captain’s outfit, they’re a touch more regal and statesman, with gold and black being the main colors.

 

Admiral Grissom (James Hoenscheidt; right) has to put up with Sunstrike’s antics as an Officer (Brian Blackwell; left) takes notes.

 

And lastly, there’s also differences between the male and female versions of the uniforms.  When we (Costumer Designer Arlette Parra and I; her actually making them, me making little decisions that made her life an endless hastle) redesigned the outfits we started with Logan’s Blackwell Commander Powell uniform.

We liked the spacey reflective sheen of the colored taffeta mixed with the firmer, more uniform feel of the other fabric, but it didn’t look very flattering on the girls.

 

Gabby wearing the rejected outfit with the same fabric as Powell’s, which made her look like a medieval squire, while holding up her Season 1 outfit

 

So we made versions for both genders with the female one being a little more, ahem, complimentary to the female form.

 

Yes, there were more flattering pictures of Jenna available, but hey…

Living During A Filmmaking Revolution

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This blog is not so much me telling you the answers but looking to start a dialogue on the subject.  Please post your comments here or on the Squishy Studios facebook where I’ll be linking this blog.

I’ve always wanted to live during a filmmaking revolution, like the invention of sound, to see if I could have endured that time of change.  I dunno, I have a huge amount of romanticism for that age in particular.  That’s one of the reasons I love the movie The Artist.  It just seemed like such a thrilling time of invention, yet fraught with human drama.  Make no mistake, the invention of sound flipped the movie world upside down.  It ruined countless careers, put so many people out of work …  Akira Kurosawa’s brother, who worked in silent films, killed himself over this transition.

DSLR filmmaking has certainly been a revolution in low-end digital quality, but it’s nothing to the level of change that social media and the internet have created.

But the thing is, we DO live during a time of DRAMATIC revolution of the film industry.  I’m not talking about Digital vs Film.   That’s a change in the medium of “filmmaking” that’s big for the filmmakers but the audience is barely aware of.  Hell my jaw dropped to find out that virtually every film that I’ve seen here in the valley in the last few years has been a digital projection and not a film print.  DSLR filmmaking has dramatically changed the level of quality for independent productions, but it hasn’t really affected the industry itself from top to bottom.  It hasn’t affected how people watch movies.  No, I’m talking about the internet … and social media in particular.  And it’s a little less perceptible because the internet is basically changing how we do everything, not just movies.

One of the things that got me thinking about this is subject is a comment that Wil Wheaton made here. Here’s the short version, “This is the best time in history to be a creative person, because all you need is an idea and a lot of hard work. You don’t have to go impress one person who is a gatekeeper; you just have to be awesome in your own way, and get your creation in front of an audience.”

Just think about how YouTube, Netflix, internet piracy, Facebook, and Kickstarter all have changed the landscape of filmmaking.  You can now build fan bases through social media, distribute your work online, get crowd funding financing through that same fan base…

Squishy Studios isn’t so much a traditional production company, as it was originally created to be, but a true independent “studio” that exists in the new age of digital filmmaking.

Now there’s downsides to this, of course …  It means a hell of a lot more work because you now have to be your own publicity machine.  I mean seriously, promoting your work is your new full time job, with the only ray of hope being successful enough soon that you can delegate some (not all) of this stuff too.  Because now, with ten million channels out there, your greatest obstacle is obscurity.  Oh and you probably won’t get paid any time soon too …  BUT for the creative soul, who’s willing to put in a hell of a lot of work, I do in fact feel it is one of the best times to be alive.

I just wish I could get more sleep!