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INTERVIEW: Star Wars Fan Filmmakers and Creators of White Armour

Last month GeekGirl World watched and reviewed White Armour, an edgy Star Wars fan film by James Isacsson and Corie Mills, for Fan Film Friday. Recently, Isacsson (one of the producers and directors) talked with us about the project, the future, and all things Star Wars. Enjoy, and May the 4th be with you!


SONY DSC
Set of White Armour. Photo courtesy of Isacsson.

Geek Girl World: White Armour already has 19,000 views on YouTube! Congratulations! However, for those who haven’t seen it yet, how would you describe the film?
James Isacsson: Generation Kill meets Starship Troopers meets Star Wars. See the side of the Empires Imperial Troops that no one ever told you about.

GGW: We heard that fans and supporters helped bring White Armour to life via Kickstarter. Can you tell us a little bit about your crowd-funding experience?
JI: We operated our Kickstarter for 2 months and had approx 83 backers help fund the film. We spent a lot of our time spreading the word about our film and we funded it 180% over our goal.

GGW: White Armour had a very modern soundtrack. Why did you choose the music that you did? Any favorite songs from the film?
JI: We could not afford to pay composers to write music for our film so we enlisted the help of artists who offered us to use their music for free. We also wanted to do something different compared to all the other fam films we have watched online lately. 1 fav track would be “Fett’s Vette” by MC Chris.

GGW: One of the greatest things about White Armour was the authentic Star Wars wardrobe. Can you describe your relationship with the 501st?
JI: We are in the 501st legion; however, it is to be noted this film is not officially branded as 501st paraphernalia/material. We wanted to include our friends in our film as they showed great interest in the production so that’s what we did!

GGW: Any challenges or interesting stories occur while filming?
JI: We had some last minute location changes from our permit owners which made filming extremely challenging, half the the film was shot in about 3 hours which included setting up equipment, costumes, practical effects etc. The most challenging part of filming was the locations.

DeathtroopersGGW: White Armour ends with a very horrifying and suspenseful cliffhanger. Without spoilers, can you give us an idea of what’s to come? When can viewers expect to see the sequel?
JI: We are working on a sequel for 2016 which takes heavy inspiration from the book Death Troopers. That’s all we can say at the moment.

GGW: Are you working on any other projects that you’d like to talk about?
JI: We are working on White Armour II – Death Troopers.

GGW: It’s an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. Anything in particular that you’re geeking out over? (The new trailer? A comic? A show?) Tell us about it!
JI: Currently reading some EU books and loving them. Also collecting the new Marvel series of Star Wars comics which are great! Enjoying the new fan films that are coming out slowly and helping other people out promote their films now ours is done.

GGW: If you had to describe why you love Star Wars in 10 words or less, what would you say?
JI: There hasn’t been a better story told!

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Interview: Geek Hero Greg Weisman discusses new AudioPlay

Greg Weisman. Even if you don’t know his name, you know his work. He’s been involved on projects with Marvel, DC, and Star Wars (not to name drop or anything). He’s created so many fandoms that I’m pretty sure every GeekGirl needs to have a shrine of him in her closet. But what you might not know is that he has an exciting project in the works: an AudioPlay based on his series Rain of Ghosts. Luckily, GeekGirl World got to interview him about all that— and more, and we have all the gloriously geeky details!


@Greg_Weisman
https://twitter.com/greg_weisman

GeekGirl World: You have had such a wonderful and varied career, and have had a hand in everything that GeekGirl World loves: Spider-Man; Gargoyles; Star Wars; Captain Atom. Is there a character or universe you’ve always wanted to work with but have never had the chance? Any passion projects?
Greg Weisman: Well, I get pretty passionate about anything I work on with any depth.  I’d sure love to get back to Gargoyles or Young Justice or The Spectacular Spider-Man or W.I.T.C.H..  There are literally too many DC and Marvel characters that I’d love to take a crack at for me to list.  I’ve had a blast writing Star Wars Kanan: The Last Padawan, and would love to do similar stuff for Hera, Sabine and Zeb.  Right now, of course, my main passion project is the AudioPlay of my novel Rain of the Ghosts.

Rain of the Ghosts - Kickstarter RGB prevGGW: Your paranormal series Rain of Ghosts is being turned into an AudioPlay, which is both classic (like the old radio serials) and revolutionary (a step up from audiobooks or podcasts). What inspired you to tell Rain Cacique’s story in this unique format? What can listeners expect from this project?
Weisman: The original inspiration is pretty basic: I just wanted to hear it.  But I never wanted a standard audio book with a single narrator doing all the voices, male and female, old and young, living and dead.  So I went with what I know, and listeners can expect an unabridged full-cast AudioPlay with twenty fantastic actors, a full musical score and sound effects.  It’s a studio-quality production without any studio-level interference.  Like a four hour animated movie with everything except the actual animation.

GGW: Your team is relying on the support of fans via Kickstarter to help fund the post-production of Rain of Ghosts and you’re nearly halfway there! Congratulations! In 10 words or less, what would you tell GeekGirl World readers to inspire them to make a donation?
Weisman: Rain’s taking control of her destiny.  Help us do likewise!  (Ten words is not a lot of words.)

GGW: Kanan is one of the most interesting Star Wars characters in the entire galaxy. You wrote Star Wars: Kanan: The Last Padawan, which focuses on his adventures as a kid. Have you heard the internet rumor that an older Kanan will appear in Episode VII: The Force Awakens? What are your thoughts on this?
Weisman: I haven’t heard that rumor, but it would be pretty darn cool if it’s true!

GGW: You were a writer and executive producer for the first season of Star Wars Rebels, and helped introduce some of the most relatable characters in the Star Wars universe. (One GGW staff member is actually nicknamed Chopper, thanks to the show!) Which character do you identify with most and why?
Weisman: Probably Hera Syndulla, the woman behind the curtain, so to speak.  That reminds me a bit of what I do.

staff pick coverGGW: I saw you at Gallifrey One where there was a panel on Young Justice, a show that everyone agrees ended way too early. One of the things that amused me most were the fan questions. Are you ever bombarded by fans who beg for resolutions to the unfinished storylines? Any strange fan encounters?
Weisman: I’m constantly bombarded with questions, both on my Twitter account (@Greg_Weisman) and on my web page (AskGregWeisman.com).  But most of the time, I don’t mind.  I think it’s more frustrating for folks who want closure that I’m unable (or at times unwilling) to give them.  The thing to keep in mind is that I haven’t given up on getting a chance to tell more stories set in those universes, and I don’t like spoilers.  As for strange fan encounters: why, yes, I’ve had my fair share.  Comes with the territory, I think.  But by far, most of the fans I’ve encountered – particularly in person without the anonymity of the internet – have been quite wonderful.

GGW: You’re a writer, director, and producer. You’ve worked in comics, animation, and AudioPlays. Is there anything you can’t do or that is entirely out of your comfort zone? We think you’re perfect! What can fans expect from you next?
Weisman: LOL.  I’m far from perfect, but I appreciate the sentiment.  My focus now is on Rain and Kanan and a new animated series I’m producing that I’m not allowed to discuss yet.  As for my comfort zone, Kickstarter is WAY OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE.  But I’m plugging away at it and hoping for the best!


Check out the Kickstarter video for Rain of the Ghosts below:

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Interview: Joanne Arnett, Creator Of Secret Admirer Handmade Cards

47dce2b4896924dc6cdc5bbf8c20867e_largeJoanne Arnett is an artist on a mission to spread love this Valentine’s Day. Her Kickstarter project, Secret Admirer, has already received a huge response with over 500 backers supporting her efforts to bring a little joy from Loveland, OH to their loved ones and secret crushes. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Joanne about art and romance in general.

Ari: When did you first start crafting and making art?

Joanne: I’m one of those kids who always wanted to be an artist. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t making something

Ari: Do you think handmade papercrafting is becoming a dying art?

Joanne: I visited the SOFA expo in Chicago this fall and there were some great paper/craft based pieces exhibited. Artists are working with the paper in books and maps and making something completely new. The Hansel & Gretel: a shadow theater note book project  currently running on Kickstarter is a beautiful example of contemporary paper craft. I think craft in general is experiencing resurgence and paper is certainly a part of that. So no, I don’t think it’s dying.

Ari: Where do you normally get inspiration from for your art or crafting ideas?

Joanne: I take a lot of inspiration from photography. The process of developing an image is sort of magic, and that experience of seeing an image appear is important to my work. I’m drawn toward awkward and imperfect images, bad yearbook portraits, mug shots, folk and outsider art.

Ari: What advice do you have for others, particularly women, who are interested in art and crafting as more than just a hobby?

Joanne: Get your work out there! You can make the best quilts, sketches, letterpress cards, whatever. But if you don’t get your work out there no one will know and others can’t enjoy it.

Ari: Did you ever expect such a huge response to your Kickstarter idea?

Joanne: Nope. I hoped there would be fifty people who wanted a $5 postcard so the project would be funded, and if things went really crazy well I might be 200% funded. Surprise! The response has been wonderful. I’ve started writing messages and each one makes me smile.  I feel so lucky to be sending out so many lovely notes.

Ari: What do you love most about Valentine’s Day?

Joanne: We should probably all tell those we love that we care about them more often than we do, so I think it’s nice that there is one day of year designated as a time to do just that.

RogueGalleryDetail
Rogue Gallery Detail

Ari: What would be your idea of the most romantic Valentine’s Day surprise?

Joanne: A bottle of champagne and a handmade card.

Ari: Are you inspired by any romantic movies and what are your favorites?

Joanne: I don’t know if this is really considered a romantic movie, but that moment when Johnny Depp swings past Mary Stewart Masterson’s window in Benny & Joon is just perfect. And I think Lost in Translation is a beautiful love story, although it’s about a different kind of love.

SelfPortrait
Self Portrait

Ari: What are some other art pieces you are working on?

Joanne: I am currently creating thesis work for a master of fine arts degree at Kent State University. I break apart the materials used in traditional photography, paper becomes cotton yarn and the metals used in light sensitive emulsions become silver wire, and I build portraits by weaving the new materials together. The image is visible when light bounces off the shiny wire, and it disappears as the viewer’s perspective changes. It’s exciting to create art in a way I’ve never seen before.

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Interview with Ricky “Rickonia” Smith of Follow Me: The Rickonia Experience

Ricky Smith has become a social media celebrity tweeting about his daily life and his witty observations on pop culture. He has also become somewhat of a cult legend by crashing parties and meeting some of the hottest celebrities in the business. Now Ricky is taking his “Rickonia Experience” on the ultimate road trip, and he is going to be filming all the way. Follow Me: The Rickonia Experience is a Kickstarter project to raise money to help produce the film that will not only showcase Ricky’s comedic exploits, but also follow him around the country as he takes a social media journey to meet followers, crash parties, and do whatever. I had the chance to chat with Ricky about life and how he likes to live it.

Ari: Your motto is “Live life to the fullest.” Can you explain a little bit behind the personal meaning of that phrase to you?

Ricky: I think people think way too big when it comes to living life to the fullest. It’s not always about becoming this big time famous ‘xyz’ or doing something crazy. I think living life to the fullest is about enjoying life. It is about being grateful. Whether it’s enjoying a beer or just taking a walk. It is knowing that life is good and could be so much worse. If you always keep that at the forefront of your thinking, then good, fun things will follow.

Ari: Who is your favorite comic book hero, and did you ever dream of being a superhero when you grew up?

Ricky: That’s an easy one! BATMAN!!! Only because he is just an ordinary guy (all be it rich as hell) with no super powers. I honestly thought I was going to grow up to be his eventual replacement.

Ari: How would you classify your brand of comedy?

Ricky: I honestly wouldn’t say what I’m doing is comedy. I think it’s more living in the moment. Just knowing that tomorrow is not given, so why not just live for today. When people TRULY live by this motto, comedy and laughter is sure to follow.

Ari: What was the craziest thing you ever did on your Rickonia Adventures?

Ricky: That’s a hard one. Ummmm probably drinking 10 vodka shots in a minute. Or snuck into the MTV Awards pretending to be a certain celebrity that people think I look like.

Ari: Do you get star struck when meeting famous people and crashing parties?

Ricky: No. Half the time I’m too drunk to remember until someone shows me the pictures online the next day.

Ari: Who have you met who has impacted you the most?

Ricky:I met Selita Ebanks many years ago and we have remained close close friends ever since. Tichina Arnold is another good friend that my antics has allowed me to meet and become really close with. Oh and I can’t forget Redfoo and the entire LMFAO crew. Michael Irving and Suge Knight might have given me the coolest stories.

Ari: What are some of the places you are planning to go on your cross country trip for the film?

Ricky: I plan on going some of everywhere! I am excited about seeing the entire US. I think every place and everyone has a great story. Not just the big cities like NYC and LA, but the small town with two traffic lights and a gas station. Those are the places I think the best stories will come out of.

Ari: Is there any place you will refuse to go or anything you will refuse to do on this trip?

Ricky: Nope. I am open to going everywhere and doing everything as long as my life and anus aren’t in jeopardy, I’m down.

Ari: What is your best recommended method for getting over a hangover, and does it really work?

Ricky: Drink more. Can’t have a hangover if you stay drunk.

Ari: What warnings or advice do you have to give people, especially women, about the hard partying lifestyle?

Ricky: Know your own personal limits. Partying is fun but only if everyone is having fun. Nobody wants to babysit the drunk mofo in the corner throwing up. If you are a lightweight, get your weight up in the off season, but leave the weak stuff at home.

Ari: What other projects besides the film are you working on?

Ricky: Working on a coffee table book and getting a date with Tatyana Ali.

Ricky has met his goal for funding but he could use everyone’s help in getting to at least 500 backers on Kickstarter. Pledge just a dollar for the chance to just be in on the hilarious updates on the project that are sure to follow!

Follow Me: The Rickonia Experience on Kickstarter
Rickonia on Facebook
Rickonia on Twitter
Rickonia on Youtube

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Interview: Keith Knight, Award Winning Artist and Author

keith_019Keith Knight is an award winning syndicated American cartoonist and author. His comic strips have been syndicated in Mad Magazine, Salon.com, and the San Francisco Examiner. Always outspoken, his weekly strips The KChronicles, (Th)ink, and The Knightlife showcase his humor and perspective on the social and political issues that face all of us in America. With a career that spans nearly 20 years in comics, Keith has decided to take a look back at his early formidable teenage years with his first graphic novel I Was A Teenage Michael Jackson Impersonator. The project was successfully funded on Kickstarter last month, and I got the change to chat with Keith a little about his work and Michael Jackson.

Ari: Your style of comic strip has been compared to Calvin and Hobbes, was Bill Watterson a big influence on you?

Keith: Watterson was a huge influence on me. I changed the way I drew cartoons after taking in his work. My style became simpler and more expressive, which is very important when working with such a tiny amount of space.

Ari: You’ve received many accolades during your career, did you ever see yourself being this successful?

Keith: Yes. Dream big, I always say.

Ari: Like most syndicated comic strips, do you get a lot of your inspiration from daily life?

Keith: I’d say I take more from my daily life than most, considering my strip is autobiographical.

Ari: What is the most important and key part of your creative process?

Keith: Taking that sketchbook out every day and putting pen to paper. Sometimes it’ll come easy and sometimes it’ll come hard, but you should always do it. Being open and receptive to ideas coming in from everywhere.

Ari: You have given commentary on race in America, how do you feel that relates to “geek culture” and particularly women of color?

Keith: Geeks have been goofed on and mistreated for years until the age of the internet. Now the geeks are getting their revenge. I think the same thing is gonna happen for women of color. That’s why all these old white dudes are trying to restrict voting and women’s reproduction rights…They see the writing on the wall, and they’re totally over-reacting.

Ari: Do you believe that America still has a problem with race, and if so, what is the biggest obstacle in overcoming that?

Keith: Oh yeah..Though younger people have a better attitude about it. But as long as people refuse to have frank discussions about race in the U.S., things will never significantly change.

Ari: You’ve been active during the transition of more newspapers going on line, and more established newspapers going out of print, is print media becoming obsolete?

Keith: No–print is just going through a transition. The same transition that radio went through when television came in to being. Print media will be a smaller piece of the pie, but it’ll never go away.

Ari: What was your reaction when Michael Jackson died?mjlook1

Keith: I felt terrible. A piece of my childhood went away. Same with Adam Yauch of the Beasties.

Ari: What is your favorite Michael Jackson album and/or song, and can you still do your Michael Jackson routine or the dance moves?

Keith: “Off the Wall” is my favorite MJ album. Though I’m also partial to the Jackson 5’s “ABC”. “Workin’ Day and Night” is a favorite. There are many, though.

I’ve ruptured my achilles tendon and haven’t been able to walk, must less dance, but I caught my 3-year old lip-syncing to the Jackson 5, so the torch is passed!

Ari: What advice do you have for artists and/or writers, particularly women of color, who want to get into the comics industry?

Keith: Practice. Patience. Persistence. Embrace a D.I.Y. philosophy. Be prepared to dance with the industry when they come seeking your expertise, but don’t completely rely on them to fulfill your every dream!

Visit Keith at his websites below, and you can still pledge to help fund his graphic novel directly on his website.

KChronicles.com
Knightlifecomic.com

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