Spaghettiman: an indie science fiction super hero movie

A superhero for our times

Spaghettiman! A lazy and manipulative slacker eats radioactive spaghetti and develops a super power: he can shoot spaghetti from his hands.

Spaghettiman and his PR guy
Spaghettiman and his PR guy

Spaghettiman!

Now, he patrols the dangerous streets of Los Angeles fighting crime – for a price!

In this episode of The Sci-Fi Maker Show, I interview the director and producer of Spaghettiman.

Spaghettiman: the motion picture

One of the big challenges for an independent filmmaker these days is getting noticed. How do you stand out from the glut of independent films being produced these days?

Ben Crutcher as Clark / Spaghettiman
Ben Crutcher as Clark / Spaghettiman

Spaghettiman manages to stand out for three reasons:

  1. A great title that grabs your attention. It’s funny and you don’t have to write down the title to remember it.
  2. A great concept. A superhero shooting spaghetti from his hands is just funny.
  3. A great production. Spaghettiman is an engaging, entertaining, well-produced movie.

The director, Mark Potts, and the producer, Reilly Smith, have known each other since college and have produced over 100 short videos.

They have learned their craft well.

The script is well written. It’s obvious the writers understand structure and the hero even has a character arc.

The director of photography, Molly Becker, does a wonderful job shooting this movie with a Sony a7S. This camera allowed them to shoot night exteriors with no lighting kit. As a result, the night scenes look great and realistic.

Winston Carter as Dale / Shadow Man
Winston Carter as Dale / Shadow Man

I should also point out that the casting is great. The performances are first rate and really help sell the concept.

The first voice you hear in the interview is Mark Potts, the director. The second voice is Reilly Smith, the producer.

In conclusion

Here’s what I want you to do. Watch Spaghettiman. You can watch it on Amazon Video, iTunes, Vudu, DirectTV, and XBox.

You can also watch Cinema Six for free on Amazon if you have Prime.

If you want to find out more about Mark, his Twitter handle is @mrmarkpotts.

If you want to find out more about Reilly, his Twitter handle is @reillysmith.

Links

As always

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Science fiction short Darkwave:Edge of the Storm

How to make a major film on a minor budget

Produced for very little money, Darkwave:Edge of the Storm, looks like a major studio film.

On this week’s episode of The Sci-Fi Maker Show, I interview Darren “Daz” Scales, the director of the project.

Darkwave: the universe

Darkwave is a fictitious universe that Daz created. This short subject is just one small story set in this universe.

The story is set in the future on a planet called New Earth 72, a colony established in deep space.

A family is on the run – they are being chased by the Ministry, which was the elected government.

The mother, Sarah, is terrified of being caught and wants to run at any cost.

Nathalie Cox as Sarah in Darkwave: Edge of the Storm
Nathalie Cox as Sarah in Darkwave: Edge of the Storm

The father, David, understands they can’t run forever.

When we join the story, they arrive at a communications outpost, owned by the Ministry, that was mysteriously destroyed.

They don’t want to hang around this outpost, but David knows they can get needed supplies there.

While there, David and Sarah discover why the outpost was destroyed and a few other things.

The Ministry is closing in.

The communications outpost
The communications outpost

Darkwave: the production

Daz became familiar with the location, the communications outpost, years ago. It is a decommissioned communications outpost.

Darren used to drive past the location a lot and thought it would be a cool location to put in a sci-fi production. He had no idea what the story would be.

While creating the Darkwave universe, Daz realized this would be a great location to tell a story.

There’s a great lesson here: find an interesting location and incorporate that into your story. That will save you a lot of money since you won’t have to build an expensive set.

There was a communications bunker at that location, so they used that, too.

The location had no electricity, so they had to use a generator for lights and other equipment.

eots-postcard-29_

Darkwave: the crew

Daz started out years ago shooting fan films, including Star Wars and Indiana Jones films.

On this project, they wanted to branch out and tell an original story.

Half of the crew are people who joined Daz on that journey.

His special effects technician can make explosions, gas fires, and smoke.

He had a driver who could handle a truck to move equipment for the production.

There were also friends from Pinewood Studios who helped over the years. The director of photography and unit manager were from Pinewood.

The production also utilized students from a local university as well as a couple of freelancers who wanted to be involved.

They had a mixture of people in the industry, friends, and students working together on Darkwave.

Everyone worked for free which kept the budget in check. In return, they get credits on a good product as well as references and testimonials.

Everybody wins.

Darkwave: Edge of the Storm
Darkwave: Edge of the Storm

Darkwave: the budget

Over the years, Daz learned from how to be careful with money since they didn’t have any.

Obviously, you can save a lot of money if you don’t pay people.

Since you aren’t paying people, you really need to look after them.

Daz feels the crew was fantastic and, as a result, they got the results they were after.

The location worked out well since everything was in one place. That saves a lot of time and money on a production.

Daz also points out that, to be smart with money, you need to know when to spend money. For example, they had to pay to rent the generator so they would have electricity on the location.

Principal photography took about four days. Keeping the production schedule short is essential if you’re on a budget.

Part of learning to keep costs down is learning how to perform many tasks yourself. Daz wore many hats on this project.

Working with actors

Daz was in the RAF and had to work with pilots. He finds they are similar to actors; you have to work with different people in different ways.

He tends to get excited about his stories. When he directs, he often jumps in there with the actors.

Some actors require very little direction and can run with it by themselves.

The actors really understood the Darkwave universe; they understood what the stakes were and what they needed to do.

The location

It took a lot of negotiation to secure the communications outpost location.

The location was owned by a local farmer. Daz used his diplomatic skills and was able to win over the farmer.

The production won over the farmer. He even allowed the grass around the outpost to grow so it would appear to be abandoned.

Finding actors

Independent filmmakers often get stuck (or intimidated) when it’s time to find actors. Daz got creative.

Daz found actors by attending science fiction conventions. I never would have thought of that!

He found Nathalie Cox (Sarah) through networking.

The production

The production used an Arri Amira to shoot the project. This was part of the assistance that Pinewood Studios provided.

Pinewood was really excited about the project and were happy to get involved. They even provided post-production assistance for the film.

Daz used Premiere Pro for editing Darkwave and graded it on Da Vinci.

Daz used a drone to get a few high angle shots, but was very selective to ensure it wasn’t overused.

Note to filmmakers: when you use drones, you’re at the mercy of wind.

They used smoke canisters to produce smoke from the large dishes. They made some of their own smoke canisters to save money.

Dom, the special effects expert, learned how to make smoke canisters by searching on Google.

The future

The producers hope that Darkwave will be made into a television series or movie.

They have a feature called Darkwave: Phoenix Rising they are shopping around. The Phoenix is the spacecraft seen at the end of Darkwave: Edge of the Storm.

The producers want people to see Edge of the Storm. Some investors they’ve spoken to want to know there is an audience for Phoenix Rising.

If a lot of people watch and like Edge of the Storm, they’ll have their “social proof” and will, hopefully, get funded.

Links

Check out these links to see Daz’s other projects

As always

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Afro Punk Girl: a sci-fi short about a dystopian world

Female warrior in the future

In this weeks episode, I talked to Annetta Laufer, the writer/director of Afro Punk Girl. I also spoke with Shobu Kapoor, the producer on this project.

According to their Indiegogo page:

Afro Punk Girl is a sci-fi short film about a dystopian Britain where everyone is escaping to the ‘new world’. This story is about preserving compassion and finding the inner rebel.

Danielle Vitalis as Lil in Afro Punk Girl
Danielle Vitalis as Lil in Afro Punk Girl

Annetta and Shobu have created a powerful science fiction short that shines a light on what is going on today in some troubled parts of our world.

This was not an easy project for the production team or the cast. No one said filmmaking is supposed to be easy.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

There are a lot of great lessons for science fiction filmmakers in this episode of the show.

Interview highlights

  • Who are Annetta and Shobu?
  • What is Afro Punk Girl about?
  • Origin of the story
  • How the project and production team came together
  • Getting funding from Film London
  • Challenges during the four-day production
  • The key crew positions
  • Why they used steadicam
  • The casting process
  • Finding the location and how they changed how it to look post-apocalyptic in production (and post production)
  • The drones – scary insect survelliance special effects
  • The crowdfunding process and why they were successful
  • What they are using the money for
  • The deliverables required for film festivals and distribution
  • Why you should make short films
  • Their story of production company – Roman Candle Productions
  • Advice for independent filmmakers

Links

As always

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How to make a quick science fiction short over the weekend

I spent my Labor Day weekend making a science fiction animation

I was planning on recording an interview for this week’s show, but we had to reschedule.

Instead, I decided to see what kind of science fiction short I could make over the weekend using only the items I have in my house.

Robby the Robot, lights, and tripod
This is most of what I used to make the science fiction animation

As luck would have it, I have a lot of Funko Pop! figures. I decided Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet would make a good subject for a short animation.

I kept the total running time under 30 seconds so I could show it on Instagram. Continue reading How to make a quick science fiction short over the weekend

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