Inside Star Force 7
Donnie Christianson has been a part of the digital art scene for as long as there has been a digital art scene. Appearing online in one of his evolving personas, you may know him as Silver or AtharianMedia and now he's also expanded into Circuit Scream, his music, recording and movie production outlet. Donnie made a name for himself offering tips and tricks on how to get started in the digital art industry. Donnie's articles and images have been featured on several websites and publications.
To add to his many credits, Donnie is also a journalist, an award-winning recording artist, and now has evolved into a film producer and director. Having been friends with Donnie for many years, I had to find out the inspiration behind his new adventure and creative mischief.
What was the inspiration for the movie?
I had several ideas for the Star Force 7 series and wasn't sure what story I wanted to tell first. This film is first in a trilogy that follows the Blackstar family through various trials and triumphs. The Blackstars are Elven royalty living on the distant planet Despian in the year 4318. Humans are now traveling to the stars and interacting with the Elves (also a technologically advanced race). Much of the story is centered around the tension between Devian Blackstar, our hero, and his sister Atharian, who doesn't like the fact that he is a soldier in the human army (the Star Force) AND engaged to a human named Sondra, also in Star Force. Their eldest brother Vanyares is the ruling prince and often finds himself caught in the middle of their debates. While relations are mostly peaceful between the humans and Elves, it's a delicate situation further complicated by yet another alien species bent on destroying that alliance.
How did you cross paths with Fluffy Starr?
I had known about Fluffy through her work with Celldweller, one of my favorite artists. I rediscovered her on Twitter and once in a while we would chat briefly, you know, as musicians do, supporting and encouraging each other's work. Also being a fan, I would follow her vlogs and not long after I started casting for the film last year, I happened to have one of her vlogs playing one one PC while rendering on another - and so I started paying really close attention to her voice, and I thought she would do really well as one of the Elven characters. So I just messaged her on Twitter and asked her if she ever considered doing voice work. She replied that she actually HAD been thinking about getting into that, so it was really great timing!
("Cartoon Fluffy image by Trepidation Comics")
I sent her a ton of info about the project, a list of the characters, and she was really drawn to Atharian Blackstar's character. I sent a couple of audition scenes, she recorded them and sent them back, and once I heard it, there was no question who would play Atharian. Fluffy really brought her to life with amazing and expressive voice work - she immersed herself in the role. Fluffy will also be contributing a song to the soundtrack, which I'm stoked about! :)
Where can I view the Chill of a Distant Eyes, teaser trailer 1?
Vimeo.com/StarForce7. (Included below for your viewing pleasure!)
Do you have a target date set for the release of Star Force 7?
We haven't set a firm release date, but we are aiming for Summer 2011.
Any guestimates when the second trailer might come out?
Probably March 2011.
What are your production/distribution plans for the movie once it is complete?
We're currently tossing around several ideas for distribution, and there will certainly be a digital download version. It's always been my goal to produce a DVD/Blu-Ray in a really cool package design and include bonus content such as outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage. We're still looking into theatrical release - film prints are just SO expensive and certainly beyond our budget at this time, but I have learned to never say never. :)
How are you funding this project? Aren't these things expensive to produce?
So far it's been mostly self-funded - from freelance work, savings, digital content sales, you name it. Last summer I sold ComicTools.com and PoserMerchant.com to a major arts community, and that paid for a lot of the VO and computer upgrades. In the next few months, we'll be launching an IndieGoGo project to help complete the additional voiceover work and various production tasks. It's not been as expensive as you might think; when we finally list our budget I think folks will be surprised. :)
Another thing that's helped keep costs down, is I've been slowly building up the digital assets library - models, textures, audio, etc - for several years. I'm really fortunate to be plugged into the 3d content community; sites like YUR Digital play an important role in this and our other productions. A surprising number of filmmakers overlook stock content because they may not know the extent that you can customize it, mix it up, and still create something unique. I think we've achieved a good balance of stock and in-house assets.
What software(s) are you using?
DAZ Studio, Poser, Bryce, and Vue 7 are the main apps, but I'm also using dozens of utility apps like the PoseWorks Python scripts, Clothes Converter, Particles, the Dreamlight products, etc. Filter Forge has been a dream come true, and of course Photoshop. Manga Studio was also used for some texturing work. I received an iPad for my birthday back in the summer, and I'm using it for my contributions to the musical score, and for Celtx (screenplay software), reviewing storyboards, and project management.
Who else are you working with on this project?
Until now it's just been myself and the voice artists, but the past month I've been working with a producer on business tasks, logistics, and distribution plans. Hopefully I can announce who that is soon. I'm hoping to get another CG artist or two to help out once we get into the really heavy lifting and rendering phase.
Do you have any other creative mischief that you've been working on?
I do have a few new audio/loop products coming to YUR soon, and another related project I can't talk about just yet... ;)
Oh...the suspense and anticipation! We can't wait for another dynamic digital art master piece!!
For more information and updates on Donnie's projects please visit these sites:
Circuit Scream Products