This is episode one, of GO SUKASHI!, the latest media excursion by our old friends over at WestHavenBrook. Well to celebrate the release, John Soares, sat down and talked with me about his latest projects, check it out down below!
WESLEY: Most people in the Indy Mogul most likely knows your work through the Kung-Fu episode, could you give them a little backstory on Battle Jitni, and bring them up to speed a little on what all of this “Danger Element” is all about?
JOHN: Battle Jitni is a character I created almost ten years ago during our (brief) stint in film school. I’ve been developing the character that whole time. I’ve written one feature length script and am working on another one. The Danger Element is the result of an idea I had to tell the entire story of the first feature length script in the form of an internet series. So I have adapted the script to fit ten minute segments.
W: There has been a great fan response to the great car chase you featured in the short, could you tell us a little about the difficulties of putting that together, and any tricks or advice you can offer on how to do them at such low budgets?
J: The car chase was not technically difficult to pull off in my opinion. I think with experience and an interest in action films, something like this can be visualized, which is really the hardest part. Visualizing and coming up with all the things that would happen in the sequence and make it interesting was probably the most challenging part. And all that was done sitting on a couch with a notebook. As for tricks or advice on pulling it off without a budget, you just kind of have to remember that a budget isn’t going to take a good photograph for you. Its not going move the camera or pull focus for you. Its not going to visualize a sequence for you. All a budget really does is get people who don’t want to work to show up and work. . . if you can get people to do that without paying them, you don’t need a big budget. The things you see in the scene like the car and so on. These are things we had access to. We searched for like a year and found one that was then donated to the production. (It was a mess and needed a lot of work, but it was free) See what I mean?
W: A lot of questions have been asked about how to got Doug Jones assistance on the project, and how you met him, could you shed some light on that?
J: I met Doug Jones and Guillermo Del Toro at a panel for “Pan’s Labyrinth”. They signed a poster for me. Justin had given them a bunch of stuff and when I got up to Guillermo he told me he liked Battle Jitni’s goggles, which was one of the shortest and most exciting moments of my life. Then Doug signed my poster and stood up and shook my hand and looked me right in the eye and started asking questions about what I do. He stopped and had a real conversation with me while like 200 people waited in line behind me to meet him. A couple of months later, I sent him a message on Myspace and he actually asked me if he could be in one of my projects. We met for lunch shortly after that and have been really good friends ever since. (I don’t think anyone who has ever been friends with Doug wouldn’t call him a ‘really good friend’. He’s probably the nicest person in the film industry.) He actually celebrated his last birthday in my house during a weekend of filming on the Danger Element.
W: (Side Note: “That’s awesome.”) So when do you plan the next segment of “The Danger Element”, and how many segments do you think it’s going to last in all?
J: Right now, its difficult to say. I have filmed parts of the next two installments of the Battle Jitni series, but with between the Go Sukashi project and the size of the Battle J productions, I just haven’t had the time or the money to put a lot into the next two episodes of the Battle J series. If I had my way, I’d release one every month. I have about 10 episodes outlined, about five of which are full scripts and project that it would take about 20 episodes to really get everything out there. I’d love to be able to do it like a television show, where you film like a whole season and release a new episode every week on the web. That would be a lot of fun, but kind of unfeasible at the moment.
W: You mentioned “Go Sukashi”, could you talk a little about what that is all about?
J: Toward the beginning of the year, the Watanabe company contacted Doug TenNapel, who we worked with on Sockbaby. They wanted him to help them adapt a character created by Japanese Pop star, Shoko Nakagawa, and introduce it to an American audience. Doug let us do pretty much what we wanted with it, kind of supervising us as an executive producer and making sure we didn’t get too crazy with it. Its kind of a wierd sentai super hero with a comedic twist to it.
W: For those that might not have seen it yet, could you give a description of it so they know what to expect?
J: Sukashi is a super hero with the face of a sand dollar who protects the Earth from invisible bad guys. Since no one else can see them, his girlfriend and best friend just think he is either insane or trying to make excuses for not getting a real job
W: What has been the response you’ve been getting from it so far?
J: Its really positive and a lot bigger than we’ve had on previous work. I suppose you might be able to attribute that to the combined fanbase of Doug TenNapel, Shoko Nakagawa and Brooke Brodack. Ultimately, people really seem to like the combination of humor and action, which kind of harkens back to Sockbaby.
W: What was it like getting to work with Shoko Nakagawa, (as some of the Otaku who are reading might know as being the person behind the Gurren Lagann theme song) who is really well known in Japan, but less so here? Did you have to get a translator or anything?
J: This is actually really funny because I have never met her. We wrote the script with a scene for her in it and the Watanabe company translated it and filmed the scene in a dressing room in Hong Kong while she was on tour. I’d love to meet her. She seems like a lot of fun. . . you know, based on the raw footage of her saying lines we wrote.
W: So how many segments are you going to be doing for “Go Sukashi?”
J: Like Battle Jitni, this is still being discussed. We have a couple of different pitches lined up in the coming week that represent different directions the property could go, but we have also been discussing the necessity of making more internet episodes to keep the fans interested. People really got into this and I feel like we need to reward them for that.
W: So other than “The Danger Element” and “Go Sukashi”, do you have anything else planned that your fans can keep watch for?
J: I’m going to shoot a couple of really wierd short films this month with Justin Spurlock and Ben Page just for fun. I’m sure people will get a kick out of them. I’ve also been talking to Zara Phythian about trying to shoot an action feature as early as next year, but we are still very early into that. Ben Beames, Justin Spurlock and I still need to tackle the script. (Don’t tell Zara we still don’t have a script!)
W: Thank you very much for sitting down with me, it was great talking to you!
So there you go, and now… a Video Blog from Sukashi himself…
For the next Vlog, SUKASHI WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU GUYS! So submit questions you have for Sukashi down below, or here on the Forums, and Sukashi will answer them personally in the next update! So get to asking! Don’t be afraid to ask anything you want!