The Valiant Digital Panel at WonderCon today was hosted by Hunter Gorinson, Benny Potter talked about Comicstorian animated work in fan communities on Valiant characters and beyond, running on Youtube.
In addition to Youtube, one of Valiant’s biggest partners is Twitch. Zac Eubank from Hyper RPG joined the panel. They do live, interactive programming built around RPG and tabletop gaming. Jonny Cruz, a cast member for the Valiant program “Vanquished”, also joined in.
Catatlyst Game Labs created Valiant Universe RPG which “Vanquished” is based on, and Season 2 has a premise that will be drawn from recent comics. There will be a whole new team this season, and they create ways for the audience to interact with the show while it’s happening live. All of the players are improve artists, which creates plenty of change ups in the plan for the game.The show does giveaways every week and bring chat room members into “Vanquished”.
Cruz was added to the cast for Season 2 and his character is Jay Goldston, a guy who throws parties for a living and has a big social media following. He has more of a “figure this out”, positive attitude than some of the others, clashing with other characters. You can check out the new season, with the past 2 recent episodes on Twitch.TV/HYPERRPG which runs 70 hours of programming a week.
Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe was introduced as the “main event”, to applause, as directed by Bat in the Sun Productions. Aaron and Sean Schoenke, the directors, joined the panel. Asked how they decided to create Bat in the Sun in the first place, they said that it was father and son passion project wanting to make art. They perfect their craft and do what they love. Putting stuff on Youtube prompted a lot of response and they’ve gone on from there. In this project, they create a narrative, following Ninjak through a whole process, rather than just directing fight scenes.
Some of the cast from the digital show joined the panel, including Michael Rowe (Ninjak) and Chantelle Barry (Roku), Kevin Porter (Armstrong), to applause.
Asked what it’s like bringing these characters to the screen for the first time, Barry said “No pressure” and laughed. Rowe said it’s “freeing” to be the first person doing it. Porter said you’ve been cast to “breathe life” into the characters, study the text, then find what it is about you as an actor, that you were chosen to bring them to life.
Asked what it’s like to be first suited up, Rowe said there were various layers to his costume, and being given a silver spandex underlayer, he thought he was in a 70’s David Bowie tribute show, but as the layers were added, he was very happy with it. Rowe said he’s loving the “physicality” of the role, since he hasn’t done a lot of fight scenes before, but this “intense process” is good and helps get to grips with the character.
Bat in the Sun were asked about how they structure the fight scenes, and they said they have fighting styles specific to characters and their fight choreographer works to render them distinctive. He praised Rowe for locking on to that aspect quickly. He’s filmed long takes with up to 20 beats, which is very impressive. They can’t wait to get Roku fighting too, they said.
Rowe said it feels like an old school Kung Fu project sometimes rather than a Western type approach.
Porter was asked what he’s most looking forward to in the role, and he said that his costume was a wearable suit, but he needed to “get huge, get disheveled”, “basically look like a well-fed homeless guy”. When he saw the humor in the role, he was intrigued. He resonated with the loud, loveable, bitchy aspect of the character.
Barry was asked about her perspective on her character, and she said that working on the series has quickly become “collaborative” and a “team aspect” has kicked in to the point that they “get on set and just play”.
Rowe said this company, Valiant, is unique because they aren’t corporate sitting in offices, but are getting involved and reacting to final cuts.
The audience got to see recent special footage of Ninjak in action as well as trailer footage for the series.
There’s also sound design on the series from Bat in the Sun, and Sean’s musical background contributes. It’s important to them to get the music right and the themes right, so they do all the effects and sound. It’s a tedious process Sean enjoys with a classical music background. They promise the Ninjak theme is “super cool”.
A clip was shown also featuring Bloodshot in action, Jason David Frank, who was at Fan Expo Dallas for Valiant, to great applause.
Valiant said the show has always been tentatively planned for late 2017, and Valiant will be making announcements soon about when. It’ll probably be six episodes, but that may still be in flux, according to Bat in the Sun.
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