Hey Connoisseurs of Cool Things! This is Jan Lucanus writing here, to tell you more about the "JFH" Kickstarter project and the history of "JFH". You just saw a short pitch video with myself and my creative partner, Mercer Boffey, an amazing actor/writer/producer whom you may have seen in shows like House of Lies and Ugly Betty, to name a few. We also mentioned in the above video that each week you'll find new videos announcing our cast and crew posted on this page, starting right now with martial arts icon John Machado of David Mamet's feature film Redbelt and our award-winning co-director/co-writer Aurore Barry. You can find those videos below within the "Who" section of the short, bullet-pointed "Who What Where When Why How" breakdown that says everything you need to know about the "JFH" Kickstarter in a nutshell:
- TEAM JFH, that's who. We're comprised of award-winning writers, award-winning directors, award-winning action choreographers, world champion martial artists, and professional fighters, all working together to bring you what we believe will be some of the coolest action ever shot, infused with a cast of fun characters set in a unique world based on our hit comic book series, "JFH: Justice-For-Hire". We'll be announcing several cast and crew members every week, each with their own video telling you about their role on the team. Here we go:
John Machado - Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Icon - "JFH" Cast Member/Action Choreography Team
Aurore Barry - Award-winning writer/director - "JFH" Co-writer/Co-Director:
Ahmed Best - Iconic "Star Wars" & "Robot Chicken" Cast Member, Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Master of Escrima Stick Fighting - "JFH" Cast Member:
Hinton Wells - Champion San Shou Fighter - "JFH" Cast Member/Stunt Team:
Kancho Deena Naidu - Karate Pioneer and Activist - "JFH" Papua New Guinea On-Site Researcher/Action Choreography Team:
Jordan Forth - International Tai Chi Push Hands Champion & Fitness Expert - "JFH" Action Design & Choreography Team:
Maximillion Chen - Professional MMA Fighter - "JFH" Cast Member/Action Choreography Team:
Konima Parkinson-Jones - "JFH" Cast Member
- A LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM that serves several purposes (detailed in the "Why" section). The short, titled "JFH: Retribution Task Force", will be about 15 minutes long (depending on funding for our Stretch Goals that you'll find below) and expand upon the story from our mixed martial arts series of comic books, films, animations, and videos centered around a family of heroes: two legendary fathers who started as vigilantes and their wild card sons who have turned the family business into a legalized empire of heroics for hire (actually, here's a link to a FREE issue of the comic):
- "JFH: Justice-For-Hire - Rise of Retribution" Issue #0 - https://comics.comixology.com/issue/26886/JFH-Justice-For-Hire-0-Rise-of-Retribution
For a truly immersive experience in the "JFH" Universe, we recommend that you watch this motion comic animation below after reading issue #0 of the comic.
- "JFH: Justice-For-Hire - The Motion Comic Animation - Episode 1" - Winner - 34th Annual Telly Awards for Best Use of Animation Online:
- LOS ANGELES is where most of the cast and crew live, so we'll shoot here for convenience and to save on travel expenses.
- FALL 2013 is when we plan to shoot. Eyes on late September.
- LOVE. We love "JFH". We love our loyal fans that have been asking us for years about a feature film adaptation of the comics. We love telling stories that effect the way we as viewers see the world (hence the Papua New Guinea setting for the short film - seriously Google "Raskol Gangs Papua New Guinea" and spread the word about the injustice happening there). And we love all aspects of martial arts: mental, physical, and spiritual. Now that we have our feature film deal for "JFH" with a new Canadian-based studio, this short film will be a high production value proof-of-concept to showcase our broader vision for the "JFH" Universe as a feature film, so the "love factor" and passion that will go into the production are more important than ever before. Blood, sweat, tears, love, determination, persistence, love, and single-pointed intention will make this short really sing. As we mentioned in the pitch video, the better the short, the more funding we get from the studio for the feature film. Love conquers all.
- WITH YOU + WITH WEAPON CAMERA MOVEMENT™. You first. You, our dear backers, are providing the fuel for us to drive this vehicle to its destination. Okay, now on our side, we've designed a martial arts camerawork system called Weapon Camera Movement™ (WCM). Without giving too much away, our cameramen and stunt team train together, and our cameramen are put under specific intensive training to enable them to achieve unique shots that work with our choreography. In addition, EVERY shot of every fight scene is meticulously planned within the philosophies of the WCM system. The result of using WCM with our "ultra-realistic" style of action choreography is a unique and visceral visual aesthetic that has been proven to draw audiences into our fight scenes. We've tested WCM on a smaller scale in several smaller productions. Below, you'll find a fight sequence called "JFH BRAWL", which was originally shot as a low budget (like $600 low-budget) camera test for some of the WCM ideas:
Weapon Camera Movement™ Test - "JFH BRAWL":
- Inductee - Action Martial Arts Hall of Honors - Outstanding Achievement in Martial Arts '07
- Official Selection - San Diego Comic Con's Martial Arts Extravaganza '07
- Really cool review: "JFH BRAWL delivers raw excitement...top-flight martial arts action" - Black Belt Magazine
The new short film will give us more tools to showcase Weapon Camera Movement™ with a production value akin to a major studio film (especially if we reach our Stretch Goals, which you'll find below). We'll be unveiling exquisite new camera techniques combined with our "ultra-realistic" style of martial arts choreography. Our biggest inspirations for developing this camera system (aside from our own training and a special shout out to the principles of Tai Chi Chuan) are Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Sammo Hung, John Woo, Cory Yuen, Tsui Hark, Akira Kurosawa, David Fincher, Hype Williams, Chris Cunningham, and David Lynch. You'll see more of their influence in the larger scale "JFH" productions, starting with the short that this Kickstarter funds.
The target funding goal of this Kickstarter is the bare minimum we need to make the smallest version our production. Our hope is to surpass our target so that we can put more resources into the quality and scale of the short film. As mentioned before, the cooler the short, the more resources we'll receive from our studio partners for the feature film, so these stretch goals are really important.
- Stretch Goal #1: $40,000 - Gives us more flexibility to shoot the full 17-minute script we've written, but certain wardrobe detailing (to authentically recreate the comic book costumes), set construction elements and on-set special effects may not be possible due to budget constraints.
- Stretch Goal #2: $60,000 - This will give us the ability to shoot the entire short the way we've envisioned it, so this is really our goal.
- Stretch Goal #3: $80,000 - This level not only enhances the quality of the post production we'll put into the film, including visual effects, color timing, and meticulous sound design, but it also allows us to do some special promotions for the film to spread the word of the project, including working with an A-list PR firm, securing a prime location for our premiere screening, and producing a comic book profiling each of the characters that appear in the short (EVERY backer will receive a digital copy).
- Stretch Goal #4: $100,000 - BIG DEAL. If we reach this stretch goal, we're going to do something crazy. We're going to write an original 3-5 minute scene that will tie into the short film, and hire a MAJOR COMIC BOOK ICON to direct it. Kind of like how Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller had Quentin Tarantino as a guest director on "Sin City" for a scene. Some of you may already have a hint as to whom we'll hire. He basically changed the entire comic industry with his work (hint: he's not Frank Miller). Honestly, bridging the gap between mediums of entertainment for creators of all types is one of our mantras, so we absolutely want to be able to do this. And in terms of running time, this essentially turns our short film into a TV pilot (hmm...potential companion series to the feature film...). Really. Big. Deal.
Risks and challenges
Aside from the fact that our team is comprised of professionals, many of who have done productions on a larger scale than the one that this Kickstarter will finance, there is always potential for unexpected challenges to arise on any project. It is the responsibility of Team JFH to have a contingency plan for all that is mentioned below, and much more.
- Since we have yet to start location scouting (that will begin once this Kickstarter is funded), one of our biggest tasks is finding an area of Los Angeles that looks like rural Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. Exterior locations are not like a controlled interior set, and that means factors like weather may force us to alter our shooting schedule.
- The script also calls for a two-story gangster hideout that resembles a large, rundown building in a cluster of shanties. The scale of these set-ups is dependent on our reaching our Stretch Goals. If not, we will have to make adjustments to the script (but we would rather keep it as is, of course).
Shooting Fight Scenes
- We are experienced in this area. Safety is always top priority on our action sets, and in addition to standard precautions for cast and crew - including appropriate padding and EMT caretakers on set - we rehearse our choreography regularly for weeks (sometimes months) before we go to camera to mitigate risk by having an intimate relationship with every move that will be performed.
Creating Your Characters
- For those of you that will send in some amazing ideas for characters, some of them may simply be too expensive to produce in real-life for the budget that we've planning for with this shoot. So if you want to see your giant cyborg the size of the Empire State Building doing martial arts choreography with us, we likely won't be able to make that happen. Please keep all of the ideas within the realm of "reality" established within the "JFH" comic books.
Getting You Your Incentives
- Fulfillment of all the incentives can be a massive undertaking, but rest assured that there will be a professional handling every item for every wonderful backer of our project. Many rewards will be fulfilled well before February 2014.
Release and Screening
We don't yet have a set date for the short film's release and screening, and it may happen before February 2014. We will do our best to keep you in the loop on our schedule every step of the way, so you can plan accordingly.
THE FINE PRINT (legalese inspired by Zach Braff's Kickstarter):
• For those of you visiting our set, we anticipate shooting in September in Los Angeles. However, this has the potential to change. We will keep you updated so you can plan ahead to visit us.
• If you become an extra or receive a cast credit, you must be a US citizen or have a US work visa, and not be a member of SAG/AFTRA.
• You must be over 18 or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian (who will count as your "plus one") to attend the premiere or visit the set. Extras must also be over 18.
• The content of the voice and video messages are at your direction, but at our discretion. We reserve the right to refuse to say or do what you request if we find it inappropriate.
• Some rewards may require additional paperwork. If you are appearing in the short film, you will have to sign a release.
• If you choose a reward in which you are engaging in physical training with any of our martial artists, you will have to sign a waiver. Training sessions will be at least an hour long.
• The final cut of the film may have to be further edited in certain cases to adhere to the laws on the country in which it is being viewed, or for different types of media.
• All shooting locations are subject to change for a variety of reasons, including the amount of money we are able to raise and the particular locations giving us the right to shoot.
• Any content that you send us becomes our property to use across media. Therefore, by submitting ideas, you are waiving any and all ownership rights to them. If you send us a vocal recording, we can manipulate it in any way and distribute it on any platform as we would with any content we own. If you create a character or group of characters, we own those as well. If we do end up making some artwork based on your concept, we'll likely put your name on it as "created by" when initially posting all of the art produced from this Kickstarter campaign. If your characters will be making an appearance within the "JFH: Rise of Retribution" production, or other productions, with or without you and your affiliates portraying the characters, the appearance and all aspects regarding the appearance, will be under our total and complete creative direction. Also, we are aware of how much it can suck to create something and not be involved in its continued development (it's happened to a few of us a few times), so if your idea for a character or team is really crazy awesome, we may reach out to you to collaborate with us on developing it further, or maybe to work on something else together. We're a super collaborative group of creators and we love people and new ideas.
• This fundraising campaign is all subject to applicable Kickstarter rules/regulations and applicable law. if any of this conflicts, we will work with you in good faith to give you a substitute reward.
• For the sake of clarity, this is not a Kickstarter for the "JFH" feature film, rather, it is for a short film that will help our team get the feature made the way we want to make it. With that said, making a film of any scale is a massive undertaking, and as much as we plan for, anything can change at a moment's notice. We will always do everything in our power to maintain the integrity of the production to deliver a film we can all be very proud of.
• This Kickstarter is being run by Team JFH, not by any affiliated third parties. Our viewpoints, enthusiastic trash-talking, and constant references to knuckle sandwiches are a testament to our dedication in bringing you the finest in "ultra-realistic" mixed martial arts action.
Okay, you fantastic person who just read all of our ramblings on how much we care about this project, thank you so much for taking the time to check out the "JFH" Kickstarter, and we love you!
- Jan Lucanus & Team JFHLearn about accountability on Kickstarter