there's hell to play
This project has been our most followed, by our most enthusiastic supporters: the people who play the never-say-die classic Nintendo game known as Smash Brothers.
A game designed as a friendly party game and transformed in the hands of ordinary kids who saw a bigger stage for a bigger game. A game of lightning moves with razor-like precision; a chess match played with a personal flair unique to each person's tactical approach.
Check out the updates for continued info on where the project is in production and for sneak peaks at interviews with those who saw the vibrant community form and watched it grow to where it is today.
Take a look at the original pilot that started it all.
The people at AccesSportAmerica were kind enough to let us take a look at their inspiring work with disabled kids of many ages. Ross Lilley opens up about the organization and the effect they are having on everyone they work with.
Melanie Lynx puts energy into everything she touches. Watch her belt out the lyrics reborn into her version. Producer Chris Leon gives Melanie the aural space to hit the power notes.
This was a project brought on by mutual respect between two artists. The artists are unknown.
I've been fortunate enough to work with such great talents like Britt Mahrer and Robert Gillies - two very talented musicians, songwriters and founders of the non-profit Rockstars for Life. This great group goes into hospitals to write original music with children... and boy do they get results!
We just recently produced this music video for the Make A Wish foundation of Massachusetts and Rhode Island - a video for the talented 16 year old Leticia Lopez. She has a wonderful voice and the song she wrote with Robert and Britt brought it out wonderfully.
With excellent mixing from Notable Productions' Dan Cantor, we created a video for Leticia's song Don't Know What To Do.
I've also posted another song she produced (my favorite) called Up All Night.
Here's to Leticia's new career as a rockstar!
Well, the polls have closed and it looks like we're going to end up with around $4,000 (care of the generous Smash community) to produce this documentary series. It's not exactly half of the $8,910 minimum budget, or a third of the original budget, but BY GOLLY, it's something. We'll make it work one way or another.
And one way to make it work - floors. Namely, your floors.
We're beginning to map out where and when we'll be heading to various cities for interviews and b-roll. If you are a smasher who lives in one of those cities, we'd love to come and impose ourselves on your living space.
No seriously. It would be a SMALL crew - maybe just 1 or 2 people with spartan supplies - looking for a place to crash and perhaps shoot in. Disruption would be minimal.
Plus, you'd we'd get to hang out with you! :)
A list of cities to come!
The screaming, the shouting, the music blasting like crazy while Doom screams to be heard over the throng of gamers - THIS is SMASH.
I had arrived ridiculously early to get some sun-up shots of Local Battles Game Center, the venue for Concentrate 2. My cab dropped me off in the sleepy center of Fort Lee and I picked up a few shots to set the scene.
Then I waited... for 6 hours.
Soooooo, I may have gotten there a TAD early, but with such a tight schedule to contend with, I had planned on not booking a hotel - just running and gunning as they say.
I popped a squat at a nearby Dunkin and waited for the first smashers to start showing up. The first to arrive was someone who immediately struck me as (as the Brawlers say) a "random". This kid was PAINFULLY shy, and that's coming from a guy who used to have a blog called Shut In Goes Out.
He was with his family and I could just sense he was out of place. Needless to say, me and many other faces were melted when "Salem", the kid I had painted as a scrub, absolutely mopped the FLOOR with some of the best names in the country. He sent Ally and Holy to the losers in teams, leaving Diem gasping for breath and haters just grasping.
This. Kid. Owned.
Turns out it was his first actual tournament he'd been to - his play has been on wi-fi only (no WONDER he's shy).
But this kid is a perfect example of the kind of talent that needs to be exalted. For those moments of combat, he was king. He had found his tribe.
Unfortunately, I had to leave before the singles matches, but I am now totally hooked on the scene. The whole experience is energizing and addicting. NEXT UP: ROM 4. eeeeEEEEEE!
We'll be posting a short video soon of highlights and a status update on fundraising in the next few days.
ALL COMING SOON!
We were mentioned in the Boston Globe website! Check it out:
Another video update is coming soon!!!
Looks like we're well on our well to making this Kickstarter deadline! Watch the video below to see where we're at.
$3,247 and counting. We're making progress! Donate if you can.
The die is cast.
The pilot episode / FAQ video you've all been waiting for:
The biggest difference between this pilot and the final product is that in the finished series we'll focus more on the lives of these players - who they are, what motivates them, why smash is so important to them - in addition to the competitive scene's ups and downs.
Right now, the clock is ticking. Our Kickstarter campaign is up and running until Halloween (you may also donate directly via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org). If we've made our funding goal, we'll use our treat and we can start shooting!
If not... we've been tricked.
For the price of a few days groceries you can help create a professional series RIGHT NOW.
If you're low on funds and food, feel free to donate something else. Below is the first list of Production Action Items - things we need right now that don't cost anything.
If you can, please help us:
1. Get in contact with Ken Hoang, Joel Isai Alvarado, PC Chris, Mew2King, Korean DJ, Azen Zagenite and Mango.
2. Spread the word to two of your smash buddies (and they'll tell two friends, and...)
3. Photoshop a sweet, original promotional image for the series. Be creative!
That's it for now! Stay tuned for Pre-Production updates, more Action Items and incessant cajoling for The Mulah.
It's my birthday!
And you know what that means!
The Smash Brothers Preview is here!
Yes, it turns out the Promo is a little too long to make perfect by July 29th. So I'm bringing in a pinch hitter while I finish the promo: a little hype video.
To learn more about how you can help make this feature film a reality, click on the "Smash Brothers" link to the left. :)
Okay. I know what you're thinking.
"What a stupid idea for a movie. That's going to be so shamelessly horrible it will literally punch my inner child."
If I were in your shoes, I might agree. It seems like a perfect recipe for a bomb:
1. Take a game that's NOT Halo, Call of Duty or WoW... or anything with boobies.
2. Make a docu-drama about the greatest players to ever compete in it.
Realistically, the potential to make an amateur-rate, piece of trash youtube documentary that's as fun to watch as Santa Monica traffic on a Friday afternoon is very tangible.
That's why I know it's going to rule.
For me, filmmaking has naturally been driven by a desire to see something no one has made before on the big screen (or small screen, whatever. My girlfriend says size doesn't matter). That was the spark for this movie.
Having seen these players fight, read the history of the game's competitive development and participated in the furious battles myself - I know the story pulsing beneath the surface.
It's about making your destiny in the heat of the tournament. About friendships and rivalries across coasts and across borders. Young kids learning what it is to master a discipline and persevere. The heroes of its early days, the influx of cash prizes and new challengers...
...and the backstabbing, the collusion and the heartbreak.
It is a story I know how to tell well. I just need your help.
In the coming months, I will be producing a promo to showcase the quality of the filmmaking I aim to pursue. I hope this will convince those within the Smash Community and the wider gaming public that they have an interest in seeing this movie through - and that I'm the producer to do it.
The promo drops on my birthday: July 29th, 2011.