Too Much Excitement? Never!

Fans and friends, 2016 has been such a wild ride. As most of you know from following the Facebook page, we are developing a throwback variety TV show called ‘Electric Tapes’. What started as a self-financed labor of love, has now evolved into a full blown project backed by…well…backers that I can’t reveal just yet. Trust me, I want to tell you…but I can’t just yet. The pilot was well received and it’s going to get a full blown marketing push by the machine. It’s amazing and a dream come true. I made a little mini documentary about it that was screened at the 2016 Louisville Arcade Expo…

Yes, MMSBC issue #4 has had to take a backseat for now. I know, I know…but don’t worry. We’ll get it out eventually. If you missed out on issues 1-3, I will be reprinting them as a trade at our next round of shows this summer. Yes! Shows! We’re doing a ton! Always check the Facebook page for updates! We’ll be all over the place!

I’ll be back shortly with news and more of our upcoming convention tour! Until then…oh yeah! Space Foxes!

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Launch Time!

After (literally) years of false starts and delays, the Bit Pop Empire is finally ready to make a splash. I’ve assembled a great team, and we’re excited to have our first big showing at this years Cincinnati Comic Expo! Speaking of CCE, I was lucky enough to design the official t-shirt for the show this year. It pays homage to Kenner toys Super Powers line, and we all know Kenner was a former Cincinnati based company, right? Sure! It’s going to be a real thrill seeing folks walking around and sporting the t-shirt. We’re also upgrading our status from ‘Artist Alley’ to full-blown vendors! A lot is riding on this appearance, so we’re going all in! Here is a little preview of what’s on tap!

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First up, we’re going to FINALLY release MMSBC issue number 3! It’s been a LONG time coming, and a lot of you have even asked if the book was canceled! No way! Having been busy with the trailer, we had to put the book on hold, but I can assure you it will be ready by showtime. In my humble opinion, this is hands down the best issue yet. Chad has improved so much, and we finally get a chance to introduce the core team! (No uniforms yet!) We’ll have plenty for sale, so stop by and pick it up!

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The Hidden Secret of MMSBC

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This is a hard post to write, because for the first time since launching the Bit Pop brand, I’m expecting a decent spike in traffic to the site. Why? Well, my good pals over at Pixel Brain just released the first teaser for MMSBC: Real Battle on Film, a live action short, showcasing the story and characters from my comic book series! At this point, most people know the story, and while I thought about retelling it for the millionth time, no one needs to hear about how it was a failure-turned-comic-turned-whatever. You can read that in the MMSBC section of the website. It’s super difficult because I can’t properly put into words how exciting this is. Really, it’s honestly so surreal. I’ve managed to churn out a few amazing projects over the last few years…

A self published comic? An Atari game? A children’s book? What?! How amazing is that? Why is this so much greater or more meaningful? It’s about closure. It’s about never saying never. It’s about seeing it, believing in it, and making it happen. Even before I made the call to make MMSBC into a comic book series, the helmets that you see in the trailer, they haunted me. They were stored in my parents basement for years, collecting dust and taking up space. I’d pick one up, dust it off, and all it brought were sharp, painful memories of heartbreak and failure. I talk about the MMSBC film project and I tend to point fingers and place blame on why it didn’t work.

Was it  the fault of one person in particular? It was. That person was me. GASP!

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Yeah, the timing was off, and the people who I was keeping company with and trusting were poisonous, but the truth is…I was making the movie for all of the wrong reasons. I wanted people to cheer me. I wanted people to know my name. I wanted people to ask me deep, personal questions. When I was in my mid-20s, after I screened the short film, ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ at MAGFest, I had a huge inferiority complex about being a a writer and a filmmaker. I thought my films were really simplistic and silly, and I wanted to write complex, intense, beautiful movies. That’s why I wrote MMSBC. You wouldn’t think that, huh? Anyway, I started writing it and studying these modern masterpieces that were winning Oscars and awards at Sundance, and all that I realized was that I didn’t really like contemporary A-list films. I genuinely enjoy garbage like the Swamp Thing TV series a lot. I guess I can’t change who I am inside. MMSBC is a campy love letter to all of my oddball interests and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

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The art of making a movie is so much more multifaceted than just pointing a camera and hitting record — it involves script writing, collaborating with other writers and artists, and some improvisation. I do have a lot of appreciation for what real filmmakers do now, and ALSO see that they can have an important and beneficial effect on the world outside of ONE event out of the year where people happen to like the same old antiquated video games that you do. I met a lot of cool kids at MAGFest, but why that happened to be the benchmark set in my mind for acceptance is beyond me. I’ve changed a lot.

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Hitting the reset button, getting married, having a child – it really changes your priorities. When I had the vision of collaborating with Pixel Brain, and we agreed to make this thing work, I knew I wouldn’t have to look at the Ranger helmets the same way again. Everything clicked this time around, and I can honestly say that it’s the most proud that I’ve ever been of a creative project. You guys, I have a comic book series, a few retro games, and now a super cool trailer (or two!) to show off. Finish your projects. Do the hard work. It’s worth it. Visualize it, see it, and act on it. You have plenty of time. Scratch that! Time is just an illusion! Remember, your reality is yours to create and if you do not like what you’ve created so far, you have the power to change it. Ultimately, what you believe is a product of your habitual thoughts. You can truly be, do and have anything you desire. All you have to do is believe it. You may have been taught to only believe what you see, but in truth you will only see it once you believe it.

In the words of Henry Ford, “whether you believe you can, or your can’t, you are right”.

Enjoy the first MMSBC teaser trailer!

Superfriends 2013

Originally published in 2013 on rickyhenry.com

Two-thousand and thirteen. Even though it’s only September, I’m feeling inspired to recap what has been a truly illustrious year, or at least the last couple of months. I’ve been using this blog lately as almost sort of an open diary, which is unlike me. If I’m going to write anything like my last few posts, it’s usually in a Google doc that no one will probably ever read. I like to explore new territory I guess. Deep down though, there’s a piece of me that stays pretty consistent, so somewhere in this article I’m sure I’ll reference a Sega Genesis game or something. Two-zero-one-three. I needed a summer like this one.

This isn’t an article about finding true love or happiness. Getting married and having a child balanced my life out in a major way, and it makes you feel saturated in happiness and peace and contentment. The stereotype is that having a child is the best thing that could ever happen to you and that your life completely changes.  I didn’t think I would really FEEL much different once I had a child because I have always been so absorbed in some kind of project or grand idea. I knew I could be a good dad but I didn’t think it was really going to have the emotional impact that it had  on me. But I walked out of the hospital a different person than I walked in. I just fell so deeply in love with this little guy. He’s amazing and inspires me to be a better person.  At the same time, though, I will say on a practical level my life has not changed all that much. I’m still setting up at comic book and video game conventions, which I’ve been doing for a long time. I’m still, you know, pretty much keeping the same routine.  I still like to have a lot of time to myself, and I find that to be really artistically sensitive I need to close myself off from much stimulation so my feelings rise up to the surface and I can capitalize on them. But at the same time I know that I also have a desire to start the next big thing, to be out in the world, to have fun, to be social, and even to be in the spotlight a little bit. So, you know, I have all of these desires and it’s just a matter of figuring out what the right balance is. And also factoring in everyone else’s needs too. And once you calm down and start thinking about it rationally and discussing it with everyone, it’s really not that big of a problem to figure it out. Before I met my wife and my son was born, the things that I used to cherish seemed so silly now. It’s not that I CAN’T or don’t want to make movies and comics all of the time, but I just didn’t feel like I NEEDED to. Sure, it’s fun, but so is watching your kiddo try to ride a battery powered Batman themed jeep! But, what if I were to jump back into some of those old (albeit time consuming) activities that used to demand so much time and energy? Is it possible to balance a family life and make a movie or a TV show? Would I have any energy left to perform adequately at my REAL job?

I came to a pretty crazy realization over the weekend, and that’s why I’m writing this…

At the 2013 Louisville Arcade Expo, I stumbled upon another group of exhibitors who were showcasing a film that they were premiering called ZACH COOPER’S EPIC SPEEDRUN. I enjoyed it and noticed that they not only had a great camera, but seemed to know how to actually make a movie and tell a story on film! I’m not going to tell the long winded tale of how MMSBC was a failed film project. We all know that one. What I will admit, is how much lately I’ve missed that process of planning and casting and all of the comradery  that comes together with film making.  I never studied film, I never really had any desire to get any real formal training, but something kept calling me back.  Sure, I’ve made a handful of silly movies, most of them I’ll admit are COMPLETE throwaway garbage, but every now and again I would just get the bug! Why? It’s hard work. . .long hours. . .why would I be itching to go through all of that again, only this time, with the added responsibility of a family to take care of? Am i crazy? Perhaps. Independent film making is one of the most difficult tasks one can engage in. You could know everything there is to know about telling a story in motion picture form, but somehow someway, things don’t always go according to plan.

So, the Zach Cooper crew, (or as they preferred being called, PIXEL BRAIN) had my attention. Let’s just say I HAD finished MMSBC back in 2008. God, that movie would have sucked. One HUGE reason that the film was a total flop, had a lot to do with the crew BEHIND the scenes. The camera guy, while a generally nice dude, had no interest whatsoever in sentai or making a superhero film. He was talented, but I’m guessing he was better suited to direct an HBO original series, and couldn’t really relate to the source material. Everything was working against it. We also used really old flip phones in some scenes. Watching it back now. . .it feels about one million years old.

Thanks to the magic of Facebook, I got a chance to pitch an idea to Matt Gaither, the brain(s)…of Pixel Brain. Is Matt’s brain THE Pixel Brain? What if we did MMSBC justice? What if we shot a few key scenes from the script and used it as a vehicle to promote the comic book? I threw the pitch (slow and straight) and before I knew it I had grown men in spandex on my front lawn!

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Surreal. We actually did it. From the get-go, it felt like it was 2003 and I was out in the woods shooting a Blair Witch parody with all of my friends. Was it as hard and as grueling as before? Ha! That’s understatement. It kicked my butt. BADLY. It put a lot of stress of everyone, but we did it. We lost sleep, ate bad pizza, scorched in the sun, and even let tempers flair a bit…but we did it. Did it scratch the itch? Now that I’m at my desk ready to work on VFX can I honestly say that I got the movie bug out of my system? Well, here is my complicated answer…

I never had a bug or an itch to make a movie. It was all a lie. It was a dirty trick that my brain was playing on me.  What I was missing, suddenly became very clear to me.

I missed being among friends.

There really was a fantastic sense of comradery and…well, just people having fun. There were lots of smiling faces. This is what I really missed. Every challenge, and there were a few, was met with a “Let’s get it done” attitude. Matt Gaither and everyone from Louisville, you guys did everything that was asked of you and maintained a positive attitude during the down times. I sincerely thank you guys and look forward to working with you on future projects. To my excellent cast, Aaron, John, Landon, Marissa, Summer, Lily, Jason, Matt you guys were just a joy to be around and really brought these characters to life. Thank you so much. I recommend you all in the highest terms possible. Summer, you get a double thanks for tolerating the makeup and crazy wardrobe while pregnant!  Caleb, thank you for being a professional and jumping around in the cicada suit! Last but not least, Jennifer (that’s my wife!) thank YOU for allowing me to see this though, and while I know it was hard, it meant a lot to me and I love you.

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If this short, promotional film rockets me to the moon, great! You’re all invited to come along for the ride! If not, and all I get are a few hundred hits on YouTube and a picture of John with David Yost to show for it, that’s okay too. What I have now, means much more. I made some pretty great friends, and for a long time, without really knowing…it’s what I’ve secretly needed. So, since it’s been a while since I’ve made an update, I’ll share some pictures and stories to close out this post!

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Summer, along with Landon, Marissa, and Jason all returned from being cast in the original 2008 version. We did several makeup tests with her back in 08, but to see her in the costume (which was made by my wife!) was truly awesome. She is a really sweet person and it was hard for her to act mean!

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Using the same actors is one thing, but what was just as cool, was using some of the same locations! This is a picture of the airport parking lot scene. Shooting it again, over 5 years later with different actors was such a trip! Devon was a great Jonas, don’t get me wrong, but I really can’t imagine anyone else playing him now. Aaron was just tremendous and even shared a lot of the same personality traits and body language as Devon.

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I love this picture. This really captures the moment. A funny side note, we originally kicked around the idea of having John Chambers (Kelley the Pink Security Ranger) playing Jonas. Like I said above, I can’t imagine anyone else playing that part now. Not only did he knock it out of the park, but his physical presence in the suit was just hilarious. He’s jacked!

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I gave Jason a ton of creative freedom not only as our makeup artist, but as the brilliant alien Dr. Wallks!  He gave the character such an awesome voice that rides a thin line of cartoony and completely serious, which is what this franchise is all about. He was awesome and I can’t wait for everyone to see it!

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I’m going to check eBay prices on Street Smart for the Sega Genesis. It’s an early 2D fighter from SNK. Ha! Betcha thought I’d forget!

Project: Suplex – MMSBC Returns to Live Action

I am very pleased to announce that we are once again, with help from our friends at Pixel Brain Productions, doing a new live action short for MMSBC. We hope to begin filming in late July, and debut the short at the September Cincinnati Comic Expo. This is something I never would have dreamed of happening again, and it’s blowing my mind every day that we make new casting decisions or map out effects shots. To sum it up, I first encountered Matthew Gaither at this years Louisville Arcade Expo, where he was screening his excellent film, Zach Cooper’s Epic Speedrun. I pitched the idea that we do some sort of short hype video to promote the next issue of MMSBC, and the project and partnership evolved into a much larger, extended trailer for the series. It’s way past cool.

So, with production goals rising…so are the costs. I’m setting up a PayPal donation link, to help cover some of the costs. Right now, we have to pay for the crew to come up from Louisville as well as material for costumes and props. For anyone who donates, you’ll get a spot in the credits, as well as a fancy DVD when all is complete.

Like I said, I never thought this would happen, and I’m beyond excited to begin. Keep checking back for updates on casting and other fun stuff! Til then, you can send donations below!

 

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