By the way, I did a short for the Interpretations Competition. Had to use the same 4 lines written by David Henry Hwang. It's judged by Justin Lin (Star Trek). If I win this it would be a huge help to me and the show. Can you go watch the short and like and share it! Please!
Four months since my last update, huh? (sheepish grin)
Well, a lot of stuff has happened in that time period. Let's break this down. It's going to be a little vague because I can't use the names of the entities until everything is done, but I'll do my best to explain. Feel free to PM me if you want a bit more clarity.
The two directions...
The show is basically moving in two different directions right now. There is the webseries, that I am in charge of and that I am continuing to do work on (more on that later), and the TV show.
The TV Show
So, due to interest into making The World of Steam into a larger TV show due to the partner that we picked up (see last update), we changed the format. The reasoning was this: An anthology series is an almost impossible sell in the current TV market without an existing name or franchise that the anthology is building off of (eg - Amazing Stories, Tales from the Crypt).
This is because having a non-recurring cast, with non-recurring story lines in a Victorian Science Fiction world is REALLY COST PROHIBITIVE. Basically asking a studio to lay out a few million on crazy costumes, sets and CG that they are never going to use in another episode when they have to compete with 200 other channels...
...makes for a really hard to sell business model (obviously). Sooooo. We kiboshed the anthology as a format. And being told that my idea was dead in the water... well that stank.
Everyone we have talked to really likes the idea of The World of Steam as a SEASONAL ANTHOLOGY (American Horror Story, Fargo, True Detective). The seasonal anthology is now a proven model and people are tuning into them. For the uninitiated, a seasonal anthologyis a series that tells a single story over a season, and at the end of that year (be it 10, 13 or 24 episodes) it resets to a new venue/location/storyline. It allows us to cast the show with bigger names that are only going to be around for a season and then turn around the next year and send the show to another realm. Sooooo, our writing team got together, we broke script, we expanded one of our existing episodes into a larger 13 episode arc and we sent it on to producers, and they...
We then took the shows out to networks and we have gotten an amazing response.
(This is the point where I move further into NDA* area)
*NDA = Non Disclosure Agreement
We've had some serious interest, a few networks have passed, and we've also gotten a "who's this Matt King guy who's heading this thing?" response. So, we're also targeting heavy hitter directors and show runners to move the ball and bring name cred to the project (with the caveat that I still want creative control - this is not an easy pitch in Hollywoodland).
So, without dropping names, I have to say, we're in bed with some heavy hitters, we're moving the show forward, this is my day, night and weekend job, and it's moving forward, albeit at a pace that drives me crazy and makes being a husband and father a more difficult job. When I finally get to drop the names and basically tell you the same news but say who we're involved with, hopefully your heads will spin off your shoulders. But in the meanwhile, please please please, keep the faith, help us get the word out and keep the interest alive because it really does help take the show over the finish line. The more vocal and the more visible our followers are, the better and more likely we do this quickly. Thank you in advance.
Hello from the other side...
And then there's the webseries.
I have continued on with the webseries, although we are tacitly out of money and I am doing this out of pocket. We still have a few pickup shots to go, we need to do ADR and music, and we're slogging through a ton of CG shots. Check out some stuff that we are doing:
Inside baseball here, we're building in all of the reflections in the glass, the dirt on the window to make you think that there's actually glass in that window and not just a wood frame, we're working on the matte painting for the stuff out the window and eventually will be doing more work on various items in the room and movement of the airships outside, etc. But this gives you a sense of the incremental steps.
I love this shot, and I think that we're moving in the right direction. Still too video gamey in the background, but considering we started with just a simple greenscreen and we are moving toward airships etc... And speaking of airships...
These are just placeholder silhouettes, but it gives a sense of our bigger world. And it is going to be a truly big world. And here you can see the progression towards Chad Weatherford's design of the air carriage (especially from the last update)...
You can see how the carriage is going to move and all of the mechanics of the horse (I had our CGI artists really do work on the internal mechanics of the horse) movement that we are going to build in as well...
I hope you enjoy these few tastes. Please share them around and drive eyes to us. Every little bit of help pushing this show forward is wonderful. Thank you as always, and since I am (weirdly) funding this whole thing by being an actor, check out the various projects that I am going to be starring in in the near future and chirp about them please!!!
So it's been a long while since we've spoken, so let's get straight to the nitty gritty. We have a lot of good news, a lot of bad news and a lot of in between. Here's the skinny:
The Duelist is fully shot! (You can have that glass of wine...)
After over 4 months of fight training, huge builds, crazy shooting schedules and big obstacles... We're done with the first few rough cuts! We're planning some re-shoots and working with a few different CGI teams to work through the show. It took a tremendous amount of work to get this film over the finish line, but it's there. Now begins the process of making it pretty enough to go to the dance...
The Duelist had so many massive complications it was ridiculous. As the backers of this project I think you should have full transparency on all the goings on. Here's most of the craziness that went on:
Drones. Steve Preeg (the amazing co-director on The Duelist) constructed a drone that was going to be able to get us some massively cinematic shots. This would allow us beautiful flyovers, pull out shots and things that we were really excited to bring you. It would also be able to do some really great things that most drones can't. However, three days before we were to begin shooting at The Huntington Librarywe were notified by FilmLA and the FAA that they were grounding all drones. They only allowed 6 exemptions which were pretty much large studios and helicopter companies that already had a big infrastructure in place. This was a massive hit to us and sent us into a mad scramble to cover as many shots as we could with the equipment we had and to get supplemental equipment on crazy short notice to cover what we couldn't. This sucked.
Data loss. We had a massive data glitch and lost an entire 10 hours of shooting fight footage. Reshoots had to be done to cover the loss, which meant a huge added expense in order to finish one of the main set pieces of The Duelist.
The Studio. Due to a management shift at one of the studios, we went from having a free day to shoot to having to pay full studio rates. You can look them up. This was a nasty hit.
The 10k. This was downright hilarious, if it wasn't so downright awful. We were set to shoot on a big studio backlot, but when we got there, there was a 10k for charity running through our set. This set us back and into overtime.
There were a bunch of other minor hiccups that were huge at the time, but all told this pushed the production way over budget and almost shut down the whole affair. However, it got done and we were able to move into post.
THE GOOD: The Duelist is running about 43 MINUTES! Which means that we will be able to break it up into 3 episodes (at the original planned 15-20 min length) once the additional CGI, sound and ADR are added. We're going to keep it towards this length as it's full running time, although we are still planning on future episodes to be shorter.
THE GOOD: We were able to use our time really well on the studio Backlot and get some exterior shots for the third episode Mrs. Whitaker's Hat. Annnnnnnd...
THE BEST NEWS: GINA TORRES (Firefly, Matrix, Suits) SIGNED ON TO PLAY MRS. WHITAKER!!!
(here are some shots of Gina from that day's shooting)
THE BIGGEST BAD: The Duelist ate the budget for the next 3 episodes. Including Mrs. Whitaker's Hat. We are incredibly disappointed by this because Gina was really excited to play the role and even flew down to us from Canada to fit our shooting into her busy schedule. But the facts are that with the tax hit that we took earlier (SEE UPDATE #59), I've already shoved a ton of my own money into the project to cover the shortfall and I can't push the project beyond 'The Duelist'. I feel it's my obligation to follow through on a first season since that was one of our stretch goals, but that season will have to come in the form of The Duelist and perhaps if we are able to do a quickly written single location piece of some kind. =(
ADDENDUM to the BIGGEST BAD...
A lot of you have approached me about contributing more (quite a few of you have mentioned Patreon - which I am unfamiliar with). I really love you guys. I couldn't have asked for a more supportive and helpful group of backers. Thank you so much. If you want to reach out and help us with the process, we would be happy to have the help, but currently all of our energy is concentrated on bringing the most cinematic and beautiful episode that we can create.
Which brings me to...
THE GOOD: POST PRODUCTION!!! We are currently working through the Post Production process. This includes:
Color Correction. Everything that we have put out so far is pretty much straight out of the camera. We'll be coloring and tweaking with a really wonderful Post house here in LA.
Editing. Tommy Aagaard has been working his butt off on The Duelist all in his spare time from working on Avengers 2. Tommy has really been killing himself and we can't thank him enough.
CGI. We've been working with a few teams of CGI artists to cover all of the shots that we have in the show. We've enjoyed a great relationship with Academy of Art University in San Francisco and they've been really amazing at creating some of the assets for the show:
the steam carriage - based on the work of Chad Weatherford
and the flame test...
So, we're cooking with gas! We still have a ton of distance to go, but we have a great start.
Bear is still on board! Despite becoming one of the most sought after composers in LA (Walking Dead, Agents of Shield, Outlander, etc) Bear has kept on with us and is still engaged in the project.
Bear is stupid crazy ridiculously busy. Getting him on the phone is well nigh impossible, let alone getting into a studio room. So we are a bit tethered to his schedule (and therefore to the schedules of Dead, SHIELD and Outlander) in order to get music out.
So with all that said, I thought you guys deserved a clip of the piece since it's still a long way from being done (and you read all the way through this post).