Now if you are looking for perhaps the coolest idea in action/adventure Indie films with a comicbook connection, then you totally want to check out the Epic cyberpunk action, in Mark Cheng‘s upcoming film Ghost Source Zero. Now, while admittedly Mark’s name may not strike the responsive chord with most folks, but his collaborator is most well-known to fans across multiple genres, the name of Larry Hama. Well, Ghost Source Zero is an original sci-fi film by Hama — perhaps best known for his work on G.I. Joe — and film director Mark Cheng.
According to Cheng, the film’s story is about how the Artificial Intelligence Revolution is happening, and America is watching it on their interactive Living Room flat screens TVs and Genius Phones. Homeland Security’s Cyber Crime Division is the only thing attempting to keep the ‘bots and ‘borgs from taking over. However, the unit is so underfunded they have to allow a reality show crew to film them in order to meet payroll; what the cameras capture will stun the world. Well, for the past year and half, Cheng’s crew has been working on the script, shooting experimental films, forming alliances, and designing props.
The script itself began as a 110-page screenplay for a full-length feature film. They’ve since restructured the project into a series of 12 episodes of 5 to 10 minutes apiece. The reason for this is that the episode format is how Larry structures the GI Joe comic series which makes for quite a bit of sense for several reasons — it helps them get their story out faster, it allows them to attempt new things and pivot organically, and it makes more financial sense to have shorter development cycles. When all episodes are completed and are played back-to-back, they will form a full-length feature film.
They’ve already shot a a number of experimental test films to hone their storytelling approach and refine their visual style. It was through this technique that they organically arrived at a mix of traditional narrative structure and reality TV-style shooting. As can be expected, some of the footage will never see the light of day, but quite a bit of it will! It’s the stuff that they are showing in the videos on their Kickstarter page. The crew is also very excited about their most recently-completed short film, which they entitled, Protocol Deviation, which was screened for The Machinima Network. The network was so impressed that they picked up our first episode, which you can watch now.
Cheng and his crew have already formed partnerships with The Specialists Ltd, the East Coast leader in prop weapon rentals, which has recently expanded into the full-service prop fabrication business. Cheng has done some part-time consulting for them over the past six years, and they have offered their entire portfolio of props and services to the production. This results in a huge cost savings to Ghost Source Zero, especially as Hama will design futuristic guns, The Specialists will 3D print the design as casings to be wrapped around real, blank-firing rifles.
The Fearless Hyenas is a team of stunt professionals who met and formed their group on the set of The Last Airbender where they were all cast. Founder Jae Greene and his team have worked with Mark in his past projects including Operation: Red Retrieval and Ghost Source Zero. This is another partnership that helps the team keep costs down while boosting production value. Not only are these guys are top notch, but (like practically everybody else) they’re also all huge Larry Hama fans. (So much so that they all fought over who got to be Snake Eyes in the fan film.) Needless to say, the next step for filming really depends on how much money they are able to raise through this Kickstarter.
So here’s where it all stands, they’ve got Larry Hama — a seasoned storyteller with 40+ years of experience, as well as a brilliant character and concept designer — Cheng owns all his own camera equipment and software to produce the visual effects, through partnerships, their stunt team comes at a deep discount, and their prop rental and custom prop fabrication is virtually free. They already have so much of the important stuff, but they still need the chance to pull it all together which they can do with fan help.
This project will only be funded if at least $65,000 is pledged by Mon, Mar 3 2014.
Robert J. Sodaro is a noted comicbook historian and journalist. He began reading “Funnybooks” while sitting on the newsstand in his Uncle’s “Mom & Pop” grocery store, and has been writing about them for so long that he’s become his own grandfather (we don’t really know what that means, we just like saying it). These days, he is just as likely to be writing comics, as writing about them.