With only days left to help Mythic Entertainment reach its campaign goal!
From Kate Madison, best known for her Lord of the Rings prequel “Born of Hope”, comes her new project, Ren.
An epic new fantasy series by Born of Hope director Kate Madison
Ren is the story of a young woman, who lives a quiet life in a small village until her face is branded by a powerful ancient spirit and she becomes feared by all who see her. Dramatic events, involving the ruling warrior order of the Kah’Nath, force her to leave her safe existence and journey across the land to find the truth behind the web of lies she’s believe in all her life.
“The first season will consist of 6 ten minute episodes and is scheduled to go into production in the next few months. It’s so exciting to be creating a brand new fantasy world and I’m already working with concept and story artists to brainstorm what the next season could bring” says Kate.
Kate needs your help to get the show off the ground and has launched a Kickstarter campaign which runs until the 19th August. There are some great rewards to getting involved and she is releasing exciting updates throughout the campaign. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mythica/ren-a-brand-new-epic-fantasy-series
Legendarium was able to catch up with Madison to discuss her project, the Kickstart campaign and filmmaking in this exclusive interview.
How did you get started in filmmaking / this genre? What drives your passion?
I’ve always been a performer. Since I was about 4 years old I did shows with my Mum’s amateur dramatic groups. I ‘d always been interested in films and the making of them but it wasn’t until 2005 that I made my first proper short film after joining a film club in Cambridge UK. It was called “Into the Darkness” and it is pretty cringe worthy now I look back but it was a huge challenge and an amazing experience. I love movies for the escapism. That’s why I like action adventures, fantasy and pirates. I want a movie to take me away from the real world. I’m driven by the need to be involved, to make things happen. If I didn’t go out there and make these projects a reality then I’d never have the life experiences I’ve had. I guess I’m driven by the saying, “If you want something done, do it yourself”.
What have been some of the challenges in the creation and pre-production of Ren?
Many of the challenges are still to come. We have a lot of work to do in creating the look of the show. One major aspect of the series is that Ren becomes a marked one, which means she ends up with markings on her face which to everyone she knows, whick brands her evil and dangerous. This isn’t just a black tattoo you might see on a computer game character. This is an organic, potentially glowing and pulsating living thing, visual evidence of the spirit that’s now inside her. It’s patterning and form may also hold hidden meaning. It needs to feel real and not silly in any way. Getting the look of these marking right is going to be a real challenge and I want to work intensively with some concept artists and VFX wizards to explore and build the look. I also want to design and create some fantastic quality costumes. For Born of Hope, because of our low budget, it was a bit of a mishmash when it came to costumes. We had a lot of stuff bought on ebay, or lent to use from reenactors and just a few things made for the film. With Ren I would love the opportunity to make all the costumes properly not just throw it together on the day. The look of a show like this is so important and that’s where the budget needs to be focused.
Coming out of the success you had with the Lord of the Rings prequel “Born of Hope” – What can we expect from Ren, — how is your approach to this series different – or – what have you learned that you bring into this next project?
Born of Hope was shot five years ago now. I have learned a lot since then and technology has moved on too. Born of Hope was shot by about 10 different camera operators, there was no director of photography and we used at least three different types of cameras. With Ren I’m hoping we’ll be able to use top quality cameras like the Red Epic, have a core team working on the whole first season and generally be a lot more organised and professional. I’m very proud of what we achieved with Born of Hope but when I watch it now I’m so critical of it. I know we can do so much better now and make something really professional. If you thought Born of Hope was good then you ain’t seen nothing yet!
How important is Kickstarter and similar fundraisers to independent filmmakers and their projects?
These funding sites are hugely important. Huge Hollywood producers can find it hard to get their projects funded so what hope is there for the rest of us. With Born of Hope I started off using my personal savings but I had to ask the audience for help. People stepped up because they wanted to see the finished film. With Ren, I don’t have any personal savings left so I have to ask the audience to help out right from the start. With Born of Hope we just used a Paypal donation button but it can take a very long time as the money just trickles in. That worked for Born of Hope because we were shooting over a year and a half and I just assessed each shoot as it came and decided how much I could afford to spend on it. However with Ren I really want to have a budget up front so that the money can be allocated in the best possible way. We’re also filming Ren on a much shorter schedule, probably shooting the whole first season in about two weeks. Kickstarter is a great site for really engaging with your audience. It creates a fantastic collaboration. People can contribute to bring a project to life that might otherwise not see the light of day. With Ren being a webseries, I want to make it available to everyone. If I tried to get an investor, which would be near impossible anyway, it might mean that the series is restricted in some way, like only being viewable in certain counties, or having to make it a pay per view in order to satisfy the investors. Crowdfunding keeps the project fan funded and creator distributed. Unlike other great fantasy shows that have fallen by the way side, Ren won’t be cancelled as long as it has an audience willing to support it.
You are approaching Ren with ope access for fans to help steer the story – how did you come up with this idea? Are fans already contacting you – giving you input on what they hope to see in Ren?
It was a very natural thing really. With Ren being a long running show, viewed online on places like YouTube, it’s naturally going to generate discussion. Rather than ignore this, we want to monitor it and give fans a chance to influence the show. The series isn’t going to be a game format or like a create your own adventure book, but as we go through each season and are sitting down to write the next, well look at what people are saying, in the comments and possibly in a forum we set up. Maybe everyone’s loving a certain character, so we;ll try to write in more for that character. We’ll never be able to please everyone all of the time but we’ll try to make the show people want to see. We might even add more interactive elements like voting on the introduction of a new character or the location the main characters should head to next. The story of Ren is not all pre-written and therefore set in stone. I have my ideas but I’m very open to new ones. I think it’s a very exciting way to work. Even at this early stage when we have not even introduced people to the world and Ren herself, fans are already getting excited and wanting to join in. I have even had someone suggest a character for the show already via the Facebook page.
What advice would you give a filmmaker starting out with a project such as Born of Hope or Ren?
It’s gonna be hard work so don’t take it on lightly. However, if you can push through and keep driving it then you can create something you can be really proud of. I always feel it’s better to aim high and then have to pull your ideas back rather than just doing something easy because it’s easy. I don’t want to be restricted in what I can attempt to create just because I don’t know the right people or have huge investors. Find some like minded people, get out there and make things. You can read books, blogs, watch movies and even YouTube videos, and you should, but you’ll only really learn by going out there and doing it yourself.
There many ways to follow Kate Madison and her projects:
Follow Kate on Twitter @Actorsatwork
Steve “Rifflo” Fitch – Legendarium News Director
Steve, also known as “Rifflo”, is a University MBA Administrator in Ontario Canada where he lives with his wife, Lisa and two young daughters, Alexa and Ava. Steve has an extensive background in corporate sales. Steve also worked for ISAF: International Security Assistance Force and the Canadian Military as a recruiter in Human Resources for the operations in Bosnia and Afghanistan. When not immersed in Tolkien works,sci-fi, and film, you can find him training in Muay Thai, Italian rapier, German longsword, and Mixed Martial Arts. Follow Steve on Twitter @HobbitSteve