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Podcast #03 – Was it all a dream?

So, we’ve really not published a podcast since April?  Well, let’s rectify that right now!  On today’s podcast, it’s just Frank, Jonathan and the triumphant return of Jon Warne, in all his so-called “British-ness”, discussing what they’re currently watching on the boob tube as well as on the silver screen. We also delve into the state of network television versus their cable counterparts and discuss overused plot devices that seem to flood the airwaves.  And stay tuned to the end where we play the new game, Shot in Van!  Please be sure to rate / comment / subscribe to us on iTunes to support the show!

Podcast #02 – Bronwen Smith and Sandy Robson

It’s our third podcast!  Yes, it says podcast #02 but it’s the third in sequence, OK?  This week, we have Bronwen Smith and Sandy Robson on to talk about their upcoming film, Skyquake.  Listen as we mostly stay on the topic of this new psychological thriller about to hit the festival circuit and still have time to discuss other important topics.  Discover which one of us is American!  Who is the new guy, Jonathan Dolan?  What is Sandy’s favourite thing about funerals?  Will Bronwen get paid for this podcast?  Find out now!

Check this trailer out before listening to the podcast (it will make more sense, believe me):

You can follow Bronwen at @bronwenrules, Skyquake at @skyquake444, Frank @frankrbaileyiv, and Jonathan @jampher.

FanExpo: Your Second Home

It’s 11:58am on Friday and you can sense the anticipation throughout the Vancouver Convention Centre. Some of the vendors around our booth tell us they have been to several of these shows before, many earlier that week, and so I nod, and try and act nonchalant, but then I see them. Hundreds of fans, many in costume, waiting beyond a taped makeshift barricade.

A security guard raises a megaphone and the countdown begins: 5. Did we bring everything? 4. What if they hate us? 3. Man, that’s a lot of people. 2. Are we even in the right place? Did we check the map? 1. They’re coming…

Vancouver FanExpo is open. And I never want it to close.

The Vancouver gathering of fans doesn’t yet hold a candle to the bigger conventions of the world (I’m looking at you, San Diego), but what it may lack in numbers and big-screen guests, it more than makes up with in heart.

Over the course of the three-day convention I had the opportunity to speak to guests from all over the World, many of whom had no idea about the show until they saw a swarm of Harley Quinn’s and The Doctor’s heading towards the glass-fronted mecca. Each person I spoke to had a smile on their face, be it their first convention or their 31st, they knew they felt at home.

We were there promoting our superhero web series, The Super Alliance, and over the long weekend we were able to meet some fans of the show or those who recognized some of its stars (we’re very lucky to have such popular Vancouver actors). It was good to speak passionately to our target audience and tell them about the creation that we are all so proud of and excited about.

Although I must admit I did often come across as more enthused to learn about them than they may have been about us, but they left with some cool buttons, and so I hope that made it worth listening to an excitable 30 year-old describe exactly why their costume was so good (as if they didn’t already know).

Whether you are a guest, a vendor, an artist, or a celebrity, there can be no doubt that when you enter through those glass doors, make your way up the flights of stairs, and journey down the tallest escalator, you are truly somewhere else. A place in which there are no outsiders and the idea of not-fitting in doesn’t exist. It’s called FanExpo, and it’s a place for all of us.

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A Web Series About Superheroes: Filmmaking Experiences of The Super Alliance Ep1

A human’s super filmmaking experience of making a super low-budget web series about superheroes. The experience was just as tricky as that first sentence was wordy, and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

I am a fan of the many superhero movies and shows where the comic book is brought to life on the big screen, like the Avengers from Marvel Comics and the TV show Arrow and The Flash from DC Comics. I enjoy the stories and have the occasional fan-aches when things are missed or ignored from the original stories, but I deeply enjoy when a story adds something new and exciting or old and familiar.

While these well known superhero films are being made there are many other new super human and superhero stories created each year in the form of short films and web series. However, without the extensive budget of Hollywood blockbusters. One of these superhero web series is The Super Alliance where a team of superheroes recruit a TV show host, with recently discovered superpowers, to help them go public. In this show I play Rob, the Alliance’s fearless and compulsively lying leader.

When I was cast as Rob in the early spring of 2013 I was thrilled to be a superhero in a story like this and I wanted to do the character justice.  Two years later I can reflect on how little I understood about film acting, this was my first independent film project ever!
While its fun to look back on filming this first episode and the triggered flood of memories, I remember the challenges of filming this episode. Namely the scheduling, sound, and some of the amusing set locations.

In the world of filmmaking there is an understood rule: paid work comes before unpaid work. Everyone needs to be able to pay rent and in Vancouver the rent is too damn high! Scheduling was an obstacle the producers eventually solved. This doesn’t just include the cast but also the camera operator, lighting department, sound department, make-up and hair artist, director, and writers. It is no surprise that the episode was not put online until August 31st 2013.

The first scene I was in was when Rob and John first meet and it was done in a bathroom in the farthest corner of the arts school that the show’s three producers were graduating from. This bathroom was also located near the metal sculpting department of the school. It was a gem of a location! The graffiti in the bathroom seemed not only untouched but encouraged. Which makes perfect sense for the type of institution. We spent a good amount of time reading it all in between shots. Most of it illegible.


Filming involves very sensitive sound recording equipment and everytime something loud interrupts the audio we either have to stop and wait for it to pass or cut(end) the take(angle we are filming) and try again once the sound is resolved. Sounds like metal sculpting and automatic bathroom flushing make for a long day. It was made even better when students would stumble into the one bathroom with a “Filming in Progress” sign.

Another point that took up time, which I think has occurred on most independent sets that I have been on,  are when actors forget their lines. Silly actors!

**Warning!! This blooper video has some harsh language**

Originally in the story the Alliance’s base of operations was a secret underground building that they threw a couch and chair into, but we couldn’t find the exact location that the writers had in mind. The location seen at the end of episode 1 was Amber’s garage, she is one of the show’s initial producers. It didn’t look a whole lot like the initial vision so the story changed the locations backstory. The Super Alliance’s base of operations was the basement of Big Boy’s mother. Big Boy lived at home.
Now where do you think he gets his name?


While the big name shows get a lot of attention I still think the super awesome experiences of the low-budget filmmaker trying to make a fun story about superheroes should be heard. The Super Alliance just completed crowd funding for season 2 with an end amount of nearly $4,000 ($3,400 after fees). Our goal was $7,000 and while we may not have reached this it has only forced us to forge a leaner and meaner season 2, which we are so excited to bring to viewers.

If you are interested in donating to our project you will receive a special perk for your generosity and a warm place in our hearts.
Click here for the donations page and the list of perks we offer.

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