12th Level Intellects: Mar-June ’19

12th Level Intellects— the geek news podcast co-hosted by myself, Ted Kendrick, and James Strecker– is continuing steadily forward on its bi-weekly schedule with the Watchtower Database, available for listen on Apple, YouTube, and several other podcast platforms. Ironically for this batch of episodes, we lived in a world where superhero cinema received two Captain Marvel movies in one month; the Marvel Studios entry with Brie Larson and DC Entertainment’s SHAZAM!, though the character stopped using the name Captain Marvel within the last decade.

We took a swerve in topic to discuss the launch of GAME OF THRONES season 8 with my friend and GOT expert John Morse, which ended up getting one of the lowest listening counts in the podcast’s history. I suppose the audience didn’t transfer into wanting to hear us talk about GAME OF THRONES. The rest of the world didn’t seem satisfied with how season 8 ultimately played out either. After that flop of an episode, we stuck to discussing AVENGERS: ENDGAME and going through THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES episodes like the fanbase truly wants.

X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX was the final chapter in FOX’s X-MEN franchise after its acquisition by Disney, the film landed with a more expensive flop after an attempt to recreate the same storyline from X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, regarded by many to be the worst installment of the series. On a more positive note, 12th Level Intellects tried its first livestream video podcast, which went pretty well after about 15 minutes of technical difficulties, to chat about the release of the latest LEGACIES OF THE DCAU webcomic issue, “Anno Domini: Prebirth”, the first installment of stories set specifically in the canonical year of 2019 in the DCAU.

MOMHEART crowdfunding campaign

Lately I’ve been producing independent film projects like the comedy feature POP-POP IS DEAD by Coki Productions, which recently made its film festival debut on November 16th at the LA Comedy Film Festival, and the MOMHEART short film entering production from December 1st-3rd in Asheville, North Carolina.

MOMHEART is a dark comedy with sci-fi elements about an impressionable and childlike man named Gavin, who moves into his very first apartment. He has never known the love of a real family since losing his mother at an early age so he reluctantly turns to FamNi Inc., a shady family rental service, to fill the void in his heart. The film stars Gunner Willis (Netflix’s OZARK, HBO’s VICE PRINCIPALS), and is written and directed by filmmaking duo The Joes, Joe Naylor and Joe Pellegrino.

At the moment, we are gathering our resources, and aim to raise a modest $2000 for production– so close to the goal! –and currently accepting donations over Indiegogo: (https://igg.me/at/Momheart/x). If you can’t donate, you can support our efforts by sharing the campaign over social media. The Joes and I appreciate any measure of support in spreading the word and gathering an audience.

BUSTER BUSINESS short film

Over the first weekend of September, Brittany and I traveled to Greenville, South Carolina to work on BUSTER BUSINESS, a comedy short film in the vein of Charlie Chaplin and Pixar, where a quirky man named Buster interviews for a job at Big Business. The film was written and directed by Gunner Willis and Corey Wavle, who also stars as the lead Buster, with Zach Robinson and MJ Slide as Producers.

Day one took place entirely on a sound stage at Anderson College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In the photo below, Gunner Willis directs the corporate extras who work at Big Business as an anonymous mob of black ties and briefcases. MJ Slide looks on as the 1st AD, keeping the production safe and on schedule. The rail across the room was the dolly track, which was used for many moving shots.

Corey Wavle played Buster as a timid but quick witted man with a Kurt Cobain hairstyle and taste for vintage clothes. He enters the lions’ den, totally out of his element, but when faced with unpredictable obstacles and impossible questions, Buster turns his troubles into his advantages. I was not familiar with Wavle’s acting, but knew him previously from his work as a 1st AC on GOOD HAIR THE MOVIE. Gunner Willis, the Director, is a working actor himself, who has appeared in minor roles on Netflix’s OZARK and HBO’s VICE PRINCIPALS television series.

The remainder of the crew on BUSTER BUSINESS was a total pleasure to work with, and involved John Carrington (DP), Kyle Vines (1st AC), Levi Milinar (2nd AC), Thomas Propst (Sound Mixer), Rob Leonard (Boom Op), Shane McMullin (Gaffer), Diana Valerie (Makeup / Hair), Carol Flack (Wardrobe), Clayton Tilley (Production Designer), Rachel Summers (Art Design), Jamie Condon (Key Grip), Micah Taylor (Swing Grip), Tommy Schwendler (Grip), Ben Wallace (Grip), Jon Stegenga (Grip), Nina Publico (PA), Elizabeth Paige (PA), and Brittany Jackson (PA) with BTS photos by Elizabeth Kabakjian and Jordan Hawkins. Supporting actors also included Russ Wood, Joe Wilson, Bruce Green, Debbie Goodwin, Rishik Patel, and Jared Buchholz.

We did it. And I couldn’t be more exhausted or proud. #BusterBusiness ? – @jzhawkins

A post shared by MJ Slide (@mj_slide) on

As the Script Supervisor, I worked closely with the Director, Gunner Willis, to note each take for script consistency as well as any visual incongruities. I kept a running log of notes which should serve as an important resource for the Editor, so they may anticipate any problems with a performance or production error in advance, and know exactly which take was best received. As one of the few people on set who actively watched the monitor for each take, I feel lucky to have such an inside perspective on how hilariously beautiful this film will be once it’s finished.

Be on the lookout for more info on BUSTER BUSINESS over the next few months as they enter post production and beyond. I expect the entire film will be completed by the end of the year with a slew of film festival screenings starting in early 2018.