Happy New year folks ( Yeah, I realise it’s almost March hah ) but our first video of the year has dropped so please go check it out!
Hope you guys enjoy it.
Happy New year folks ( Yeah, I realise it’s almost March hah ) but our first video of the year has dropped so please go check it out!
Hope you guys enjoy it.
Hey folks, we teamed up with Bury Tomorrow again for their latest single ' Knife of Gold'. Big thanks to all of those who helped with the making of this video.
Here is our latest video for Fifi Rong's latest single 'Attack'. If retro side scrolling action games are your thing, then check this out.
Catch you later,
Even though Superzeroes is a live action series, Episode 2 contains several Animated sequences. Check out our character designs for Zero, Crimson Mist, Man-Man and Resurrection Boy!
Let us know what you think.
After a three year long wait, here is our video for To The Walls fantastic new tune Blue & Grey Mountains.
Big up to Robert Quint and Brian Portsmouth for lending me their great acting skills for the day and not to mention all the extras that came along to push and shove them around.
Hey Guys, thank you for being incredibly patient, but we are happy to announce that SUPERZEROES will be released in July.
We still have a lot more work to go and have some re shoots/pick ups coming up as well. We will also be announcing a cinema screening very soon so watch this space!
Well principle photography has finally wrapped on Superzeroes and while we may need to film the odd pick up or insert shot here and there, we pretty much have everything we need to make three kick ass episodes. It was a pretty tough ride and luckily everyone came out unscathed... well with the exception of a few bumps, bruises, grazes and a sprained hand. I would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their hard work, from the the talent cast, dedicated crew and of course our incredibly generous backers.
Over the next few months I will start sending out various indiegogo perks and I will start piecing together the three episodes. Episodes one and three will be relatively straight forward to edit, however episode two (as it contains a good chunk of hand drawn animation!) will be fairly lengthy post production, however I'm confident in saying that it will be worth the wait!
I will update soon with more information on Indiegogo perks and release dates for the three episodes.
Take it easy guys, I'm going to sleep for a bit!
Production of Superzeroes is well underway. We have been shooting over weekends since the middle of January and thus far we have 9 days in the can with 5 (ish) days left to go.
So far it is going incredibly well, we have had our ups and our downs, but its safe to say that it's really starting to come together. It's been one hell of a juggling act trying to get everyone together at the same time and sourcing out locations. Thankfully everyone is bring in in their A game and really working hard to make Superzeroes as good as it can be.
Keep checking the blog as I will be posting more about the behind the scenes action, but in the mean time check out our little Superzeroes commercial.
See you soon,
It took a while longer than expected, but here is our latest video for BEAR MAKES NINJA's awesome track SHENANAGRAMS. Hope you guys enjoy it!
This will probably be our last music video for a little while as we concentrate on other projects leading into 2017 - Namely SUPERZEROES. Over the next few weeks I will have a wealth of information regarding our brummie superheroes, so bear with us for a few weeks more and before you know it you will be sick of us talking about it.
Take it easy,
Well, here it is. Having started the video over two months ago, our latest video for Youth Man's latest single Look/Wait is finally finished!
Over the past few years we have produced a fair few videos, with the majority being hand drawn animated, so I was very keen to mix things up and do something a little different. Aside from some demented Wallace and Gromit shorts I made as a child, and my final project at university over *cough* ten years ago *Cough* I hadn't really ventured into to the world of claymation, but it was something I really wanted to sink my teeth into.
We ( Myself and Youth man ) had been flirting with working together for a while now but when the band started gearing up to record their latest EP - WAX we all decided now was the perfect time to collaborate on a video. The band were sold on the claymation idea pretty much straight away and also had the perfect song fort it too - Look/Wait. Not only is it a great song but is just over a minute long, the perfect length for a claymation video, which is notorious for being a somewhat slow process.
The idea itself came from Vocalist/Guitarist Kaila, who once had a dream she was abducted by aliens who then rearranged her body. With that in mind, I drew up some designs and came up with a simple concept. What you see in the video hasn't really changed since its inception.
Seeing as their EP was a few months away from being complete we got a head start and filmed a crude live action version of the video with the band back in February. I cut that footage together with a mixture of storyboards as it would act as my guide for the video, helping with the timing and the performance of the puppets.
It's possibly my most complex video I have made to date, taking over two months to complete ( However I did have an operation in between) Everything you see in the video was built from scratch, the puppets, the sets, the guitars, the drums, the UFO and even Muthers - the bands rehearsal space. The biggest challenge was probably just trying to stop the puppets from falling over, once that happens your shot is ruined and you have to start again - which may have happened on several occasions. overall, I'm pretty happy with out it turned out, but I learnt a hell of a lot of do's and don'ts if I am ever to do it again.
See you in a few weeks with our new-new music video and an update on SUPERZEROES!
Hey guys, sorry its been a while since I last updated you all.
First of all, we have finally finished working on Mercy and the Wild Sea. It's a crazy rock and roll, science fiction stage show, with a live band, on set performances and a 50+ minute film by yours truly. The show makes its premier at the Edinburgh festival on August 6th. For more info go here.
Next up is our latest video for the Paper Buoys new single 'Sharp as Razors'. While it took little under 4 hours to shoot the live action reference it took over 6 weeks ( and then some ) to animate and composite the video. It's a great track, and they were a please to work with.
You can check out more of the Paper Buoys over at their website or Facebook . Sharp as Razors is out August 19th.
In other news we are currently in the pre production stages of our next two music videos, with the first hopefully being released mid August. It's going to be a real change of pace for us, and be in a medium i've been itching to work in for years - Claymation!
In late September we will finally be starting production on Superzeroes. Not only do we have a brand new DP on board, myself and Liam have also been reworking the scripts; making them tighter, funnier and even more action pact. I can't wait to get crack on this, as it has been a long tome coming.
Take it easy,
Since the campaign ended I have had interest from people who still want to be part of Superzeroes, so for all you awesome people we have set up a Patreon page. We have set the goal at $3200 ( £2200) which will help us reach the original £7000 target. While we are 100% committed to making Superzeroes, this will help us make the episodes the way want to , without having to make any compromises. Hopefully with this Patreon page we can fully fund the first two episodes of Superzeroes, and who knows maybe even a third, forth, fifth... you get the gist. If you are interested, please check out the page, check out our rewards and see if anything takes your fancy.
MASSIVE THANKS to everyone who contributed towards the INDIEGOGO campaign. After five long weeks and an ill advised 24 hr superhero movie marathon we managed to raise 75% of our £7000 goal. Keep your eyes on this page as we will be posting behind the scenes info, images and videos as we go into production of the episodes.
Here is a little run down of several influences that have helped shape the characters and world of Superzeroes.
BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES
CORNETTO TRILOGY/BRITISH COMEDY
THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE
INDEPENDENT MUSIC SCENE
Don't forget you can help make Superzeroes a reality by checking out our indiegogo campaign - we are currently half way to our goal! You can help out by contributing to the campaign (Perks start at £5) and sharing the campaign on social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
Thanks for reading,
Make yourself a cup of tea , sit back and get ready to read an overly long, warts and all, 15+ year history of all things Power...less/Powerless/Superzeroes.
2001 - SECRET ORIGINS
The origins of Superzeroes dates all the way back to 2001 when we were just teens. To a time when we thought we could skateboard, played in crappy punk bands and failed at wooing the opposite sex. It was this sense of failure and optimism that fed in to the origins of what became Superzeroes.
Like most people our age around that time we were obsessed with the TV series Jackass and skate videos such as CKY. We spent our free time videoing one another jumping off or onto things, racing around the streets in shopping trolleys and basically hurting ourselves in the name of 'FUN'. However, as an amateur filmmaker and comic book/superhero fan I wanted to do more. I created several inept superheroes based on my friends that we could make stunt films out of.
None of these films came into being, but the idea never left my head. After a conversation about the lack of UK based superheroes with my life long friend Liam Delaney, we started to craft and hone these characters into something more. We titled it Power...less and it centered around a non-powered hero working for a low level superhero team operating in an alternative version of Birmingham UK; where super powers, aliens, time travel and alternative dimensions exist.
It was around this time we met Paul Nadin, who has since been a collaborator on nearly all of our projects. Together we came up with a fourth hero to join the team- Nigel/Man-Man, who gained his abilities after being bitten by a radioactive man.
The very first Power...less character designs. Yeah, they're rubbish!
2005 - STUDENT FILM
Several years pssed and I was now in university studying Animation; for one of my early pieces, I came up with a short film based on Power...less. It involved Jake/Supremo apprehending a mugger, only for the victim to turn on him instead.
This short was very much a shameless homage to the awesome ‘Batman the Animated Series’ both in tone and style.
Screen Shots, original frames and sketches.
2007 -THE ORIGINAL SHORT FILMS AND FIRST COMIC BOOK
In 2007 we decided to go all in on Power...less. Not only did we write/draw a comic book, we also produced four short episodes.
The comic book ‘The serpent and the summoner’ saw the team going up against an evil shaman and a large two headed serpent.
The episodes saw Jake on a date which goes horribly wrong, Nigel and Jess on a stake out, and a two part episode where Jake is captured by a deranged animator Charles Timm.
To play Jake/Supremo we looked no further than Rob Laity. To date Rob has been in (if not most) all of our productions since we started making films over 25 years ago when we were 8 years old. We also cast Jamie Long as Alex/Resurrection Boy, Paul Nadin as Nigel/Man-Man and Maria Broadman as Jess/Lambrini Girl. Each short took a day or two produce. The costumes were made from wet suits and painted with latex. They weren't exactly the most comfortable costumes to wear, restricting movement as well as being incredibly hot. Overall the shorts failed to live up to our ambitions scripts, mainly due to lack of budget and experience on our behalf.
We launched all the episodes and the comic at the 2007 Birmingham Comic Con. It was great fun, and we got to be among legends such as Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.
Behind the Scenes of the original short films.
Comic book pages and sketches.
2008 - THE COMIC THAT NEVER WAS
The next year, myself and Liam got back together to write the second issue of the Power...less comic. This issue had each team member on a separate missions, with events leading them to join forces for an epic finale.
For one reason or another we never actually finished the book, all that exists is a script and rough thumbnails of the entire comic.
Thumbnails from the failed second comic book.
2009 to 2011 - THE LOST YEARS
Over the years, the concept was constantly evolving/maturing, so we decided that we needed to make a few changes to several of the characters.
Original design of the Crimson Mist costume.
2012 - POWERLESS: BUSINESS AS USUAL
In 2010, My good friend James Raynor held a successful indiegogo campaign to help fund his short film Stupernatural. Intrigued by this, myself and Liam thought we would give it a shot, so we dusted off the script for our failed second comic and re worked it as a short film. In August 2011 we launched our Power...less indiegogo campaign to gain the funds needed to make the short film a reality. While it wasn't 100% successful, making only half of our goal, we still managed to get in the local papers/ radio stations and even had support from the likes of filmmaker/podcaster/all round nice guy - Kevin Smith.
Casting wise, Rob, Jamie and Paul returned to their roles with newcomer Natalie Gardner joining the team as Crimson Mist. We had previously worked with Natalie on our feature film Lost in the Headlights and thought she would be a perfect fit for the character.
As we had a budget at our disposal, we were able to hire a cast and crew to bring the film to life. One of the biggest wins for us was Brandon Kahn (Director of Photography) who has since become a key collaborator on all of our films. He even suggested we simply call it Powerless. Another great 'Get' for us was costume designer Peter Hewitt, who made four fantastic, made to measure costumes for Rob, Natalie, Paul and Jamie. I’m not going to lie, the moment I saw them all standing side by side in costume, I got a little teary-eyed.
Filming took place during October/November of 2011 over the course of ten days. We shot in and and around a office furniture Warehouse, a local green screen studio and on location in the streets of Birmingham/Sutton Coldfield. It wasn’t the most pleasant of shoots - which I'm sure the actors and crew will attest to. As the film took place at night, we started at six each night finishing at about three the next morning. Not only that, it was also cold… INCREDIBLY COLD. Even though the four leads were wearing nothing but a thin spandex onesie, they were all troopers and stuck it through to the bitter (cold) end. Before we even started filming the van we planned to use for the chase sequence failed its MOT and conked out on us. We even lost our first location due to a set of keys being lost, almost making our first day a disaster. However it's not all bad, considering we were filming in England, it didn't rain once - that is until the last day and shot of the film when it decided to chuck it down.
Having never made a film like this before, with multiple stories cutting back and forth, and extensive visual effects; it took a while to put it all together. Once the music was complete (written and recorded by my life long friend Isaac Cartwright) Powerless was really to be unleashed onto the world and premiered at the March 2013 MCM comic con.
It is by no means a perfect film, we were probably a tad over ambitions with what we could produce with the resources we had. Had I scaled the scope back, we may have had a more successful film on our hands. Saying that, I learnt a lot making this film, all of which I have carried forward on future productions.
Behind the Scenes of Powerless - Business as usual
2013 - POWERLESS: TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
After working on my friend Brandon Kahn's short film - Enter the Streets of Myth, I was very keen to get back to my own characters. With Christmas looming I thought it would be the perfect setting for a short Powerless story. Within the space of a month, we wrote (Via Skype with Liam, who was living in Qatar at the time), shot and edited the Christmas centered episode - Twas the night before Christmas.
We shot for three days in late November/early December of 2013, using a lot of the crew that had worked on the previous film and Brandons film. My good friend Nick Pearson was gracious enough to let us trash/film inside his house, which we made up to look like several different living rooms. Other locations include the Station pub, and several car parks and cul de sacs around Sutton Coldfield. We even managed to get Supremo/Jake a Motorbike, which typically conked out on set, so we had to alter several sequences at the last minute, resulting in the failed car jacking scene.
Unlike the previous film, I wanted to keep the effects to a minimum and do things in camera as much as possible. For example, when the burglar dislocates/bends his limbs; they were simply done by putting clothes on backwards and by making cardboard legs that could bend back and forth (As well as some 'snapping' celery sound effects) I even attempted to make my own sugar glass bottles for Nigel/Man-Man to smash when he finds it hard to control his strength while drunk. As hard as I tried, I just couldn't get the sugar glass mixture right and the bottles melted within a few hours. Luckily, at the last minute, I was able to purchase several professionally made sugar glass bottles, which I have to say looked incredible and worked incredibly well- Even if they did cost an arm and a leg..
Looking back at the original short, I wanted to make this one tighter, lighter, and simpler. Not only that, I was not happy with the offensive language and over the top violence and sought to course correct it with this short.
Overall I was much happier with this short and is more in line with how I want to approach the further adventures of Jake, Jess, Nigel and Alex in the future .
Behind the scenes of Powerless - Twas the night before Christmas.
2016 - SUPERZEROES
For the past few years I put Powerless as I worked on honing my craft. I have worked for the likes of the BBC and Channel Four Films; and Last year I won an Empire Award for one of my short films. I have even had great success directing many music videos, for the likes of &U&I, Sylosis, Bury Tomorrow and The Prodigy (with over 8 million hits on youtube alone)
But now its time to get back to Powerless and do things even bigger and better; using all that I have learnt over the past few years. However, there is a snag. DC comics and NBC have announced they are to produce a superhero themed TV show called Powerless. What was originally a nightmare, turned out to be a blessing in disguise, allowing us to have a fresh start. After throwing around many ideas we came up with SUPERZEROES. While it took a while for it to sink in, we now believe it to be the perfect title for the series. Liam even suggested changing Jake's alter ego to ZERO. I was never a fan of Supremo and welcomed this change as it is much more fitting with the new incarnation.
Not only that but myself, Liam and Paul have worked on an entire mythology for Superzeroes. While each episode is designed to stand alone, there are threads throughout that hint to a much wider universe and story for our characters.
We also felt we need to add one more character to the mix, and that is Birmingham City itself. It’s a rich, vibrant city, full of culture and great locations. Going forward, we really want to reflect what a wonderful city Birmingham is within the world of Superzeroes.
As you can see this is a project I have been working on for a long, long time and is very near and dear to my heart. Myself and the team have all grown as individuals and artists, and I hope you can see we are all constantly trying new things, learning and evolving.
Recently, I launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds for the first two chapters of a new series of Superzeroes shorts.
Please take a look at our campaign, If you can contribute towards the project we have some amazing perks on offer for you starting at just £5. If that is not your thing, please share the campaign among your friends and family. We would really appreciate it and it won't go unnoticed. We have several scripts ready to go, a brand new theme tune by Birmingham based band &U&I, and a cast and crew who can’t wait to get to work. The future of Superzeroes is in your hands!
Please help us make this series a reality!
A taste of things to come.
Thanks for reading,
A more in depth video version of this will be included on the Superzeroes DVD/BLU RAY, filled with never before seen footage and behind the scenes action. Check out the indiegogo campaign for more details.
Hey guys, our campaign to raise the funds for the first two episodes of SUPERZEROES is up and running. Check out the campaign and see what great perks we have on offer. If you fancy contributing Perks start at £5 ( &U&I theme tune). If contributing is not your thing, please share us on Social media using the Indiegogo share tools to the right of the page.
Check it out...
Here is an outtake from my 7000th attempt to make my pitch video, enjoy.
Campaign kicks off 7pm UK time. See you there :)
Sorry it's been so long since our last update, but I promise it's not due to the lack of work, au contraire! We have been working our socks off on a multitude of projects, all of which we will go into more detail on a later date. However one project I can talk about is our latest music video for Metal-core merchants Bury Tomorrow which was released earlier today.
I Hope you guys enjoy it and I promise it won't be so long until our next update.
The origins of this video date back to the 2000 Trees Festival earlier this year after a drunken chat with the band where I agreed to direct the second video from their new EP 'Merci'. It didn't take much arm bending (if any at all any) as they are a great bunch of lads and make some pretty darn awesome music.
After discussing ideas with the band and seeing as the song is called 'The Artist' we decided to go in a 'silent film' route. Being a fan of George Melies (Trip to the Moon) Fritz Lang (Metropolis) Robert Wiene (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari I decided to using these as my main source of inspiration I wanted to do something that was dark, atmospheric, fantastical, and stylish..
After a brainstorming session with my good friend and college Brandon Kahn, we came up with a simple boy meets girl fantasy/fairytale where the world tries everything to separate them; but through perseverance the pair reunite. As well as the aforementioned silent films we also discussed the likes of Wall-e, Hannah, and Princess Mononoke as well as video games such as Journey and Limbo as inspiration.
Originally I wanted to do all the video in camera with minimal sets and crude props and costumes. However I neither had a space of a budget to make anything other than a few costumes. So I decided to shoot all the footage on green screen and produce all the backgrounds on the computer and the animals via traditional animation in a similar way to my previous videos for Bovine and The Prodigy.
Prep for the video took several days where I designed and costumes, and storyboarded the entire video. all the costumes and props were fully hand made from all manor of things found laying around my house, from the rag market, Second hand shops and Primark (other clothing retailers are available).
For the cast I looked no further than Hannah Arnott and Romelo Fray , two Sutton Coldfield College students studying Drama who I worked with briefly on a video for To the wall. Both seemed very keen to be involved with more projects as well as having the talent to back it up.
Filming took place in the Station Pub (believe it or not) over the course of two afternoons. I drafted in my good friend Paul Nadin to help Co direct the live action parts of the video. Paul is great to have on set, he is incredibly thoughtful and has great insight into what we are doing. I value his opinions and ideas greatly. I also think the two leads appreciated his help too, as if I was busy with the technical aspects of the video he was always at hand to help the actors develop their characters, and work on their performance. As it was both their first time on camera, I was impressed with how well they adapted to the stop start nature of film, especially as they were working with nothing more than a green screen and had to imagine every thing around them ( Also I give them props for wearing the daft costumes which out of context look incredibly dumb)
All in all the video took four weeks to produce from start to finish. Post production was by far the biggest challenge of the video as every single shot was an effects shot, be is just snow/trees, a full on chase sequence with a pack of wolves, or a fight scene with a beastly Polar Bear. To say this was an undertaking is an understatement. Towards the end there were a lot of sleepless nights (and a hell of a lot of tea consumed) but all in all it was worth and I'm incredibly pleased with how it turned out.
I would like to thank all those involved with the Making of the Video - Paul Nadin, Bandon Kahn, Hannah Arnott, Romelo Fray, Thomas Peckett, Robert Wisely and Richard Lee.
&U&I's new EP 'Merci' featuring The Artist and The Stamp is out on 02/10/2015 and is available on Spotify, Itunes and Robot needs home