It always thrills me when an Ultrakids movie sticks really close to the script. Here's a quick history of how close we stuck to the script in the past six movies:
Ultrakids: I haven't read this script in a while (co-wrote it with Over-the-Hill-Good-Guy when I was thirteen!), but I remember it being very simple, very basic. No flashy special effects. So in that sense, we did stick fairly close to the script just because we were forced to.
Ultrakids 2: This was a disaster. I spent a full year tossing script ideas back and forth with Over-the-Hill-Good-Guy. I read a bunch of screenwriting books, including Story by Robert McKee (which I barely understood. The only thing I got out of that book is that "nothing moves forward in the story except through conflict." Very good rule). The first draft of the movie was like 30-something pages long. Filming this movie was so hectic that I resorted to making it up as I went along, hoping that the final movie would make sense. This was a great learning experience.
Ultrakids 3: We stuck pretty closely to the script in Ultrakids 3 except for the end. The climax was completely re-written a week or two before we filmed it. I had this seven-on-one battle between the Ultrakids and Dr. Hong. No lightsabers. Dr. Hong could blast this purple magic missiles which made people disintegrate. All of the Ultrakids except Heather would've been disintegrated, then with her last ounce of strength, Heather would've turned into a lightning bolt and shot right through Dr. Hong, creating a sizzling hole in his chest (pretty graphic, right). Then all the other Ultrakids would've reappeared.
Ultrakids 4: We added a handful of scenes to this movie. Odor boy singing "Bet On It" was another last minute idea. The scene with Laserboy, Invisigirl, and Odor boy was completely ad-libbed. Halfway through production, I realized Kai had not said one word in the entire movie, so I gave him a quick dialogue scene.
The Recruits: I just re-read this script, and I'm surprised to how closely it matches the movie. I guess since there were no flashy special effects, it was easier to focus on the story. Probably the biggest change was that Laserboy was supposed to cameo at the end of the movie, but that didn't pan out.
I still think this script was really good; if we had the time to add more quality into the movie, I think it would've been really good.
Ultrakids Next Gen: We were once again forced to stick closely to the script because each scene built on top of the next. There was a billion minor changes, but for the most part, each scene was true to what was written in the script. Watching the final movie while reading the script is a very satisfying experience.
It's been an eventful month since Ultrakids: Next Generation premiered almost a month ago. I can't give away too much detail yet, but big things are on the horizon (not related to Ultrakids, unfortunately).
I thought it'd be interesting to revisit old documents created several months ago when Ultrakids 6 was still in conceptual stage. The original title was going to be Mech Wars. Pretty funny, huh. That was when we were going to have huge robot battles in it.
Here's the original Ultrakids 6 brainstorm document:
I'm making a couple tweaks to the movie, stuff I didn't have time to fix before the premiere. It'll be up in a week or so.
Usually in the middle of intense productions I don't have time to update blogs. But my work computer just went in for repairs, so I thought "why not let it fly." Yes, unfortunately, my iMac froze while I was working a visual effect shot for the movie. I tried rebooting it, but discovered it wouldn't go past the loading screen. Bummer.
By the grace of God, I had backed up my entire hard drive literally the night before. If you know me, I can be super lazy at times (character flaw), and I never back up my hard drive. But yesterday night, for some reason I was thinking, "why not let it fly," and decided to back everything up.
Good thing too, because everything fried several hours later.
I had to leave my iMac at the Apple store overnight. Here's another way I see God working through all of this: when I first bought the computer two years ago, I had the option of purchasing the AppleCare Protection Plan. My faith in iMacs was pretty strong, so originally I didn't think that I needed it. But my mom convinced me, so I was like "why not let it fly" and bought it as well.
Heck yeah, that came in handy. All the repair services to my computer were completely free. (Actually I had forgotten how much AppleCare costs; a quick google search showed that I saved about $20. Better than nothing).
So I'm hoping to pick up my computer today and continue Ultrakids. I think I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is without a doubt the greatest movie I've made so far. And it's not just me, it was the amazing cast and crew I had around me; I've never had so much support during a production.
I was literally tearing up while editing one of the scenes near the end. That's like the greatest and scariest thing being a filmmaker. Knowing that you have something potentially great in your hands, but aren't sure if your audiences will see it the same way.
I seriously believe that this Ultrakids movie is going to be the greatest one yet.
I have never been this pumped for a movie. The last time I was this excited was for Ultrakids 3. I thought that script was tight. But after getting back from a meeting with the main actors, co-directors, and writers, I feel like this movie is going to take the cake. The theme is solid, some awesome action pieces, and a mean, like seriously mean villain. It's going to be crazy.
I'm continuing early story work on Ultrakids 6. I don't have an official title yet, but I wanted it to be something simple yet cool. Two words: Ultrakids __________.
I was going through title ideas, but can't think of anything that hasn't already been taken.
This is probably the hardest title I've had to think of. All the other titles came pretty naturally, except for The Recruits (I had to think a bit for that one, despite it seeming very obvious).
The good news is that I have a villain (and an actor to play him). He's probably going to be the coolest Ultrakids villain yet....one that may have actual superpowers himself!
Well, I just gave away a super important plot point. Should I even publish this blog post? I'm honestly writing this off the top of my head.
Anyway, the story's looking really exciting. I'm hoping that this will be the best Ultrakids movie yet. It may be a thing of personal pride, but I'm always trying to make each Ultrakids movie better than the previous one. I was a little disappointed with The Recruits despite having a great time filming it, mainly because I didn't have enough Time to make it better than Ultrakids 4.
But if all goes well, this new movie could definitely surpass Ultrakids 4 at all levels: story, special effects, acting...it's going to be a blast.
We do have less time to make this one...I think we made Ultrakids 4 in three months? I'll have about two months to finish this movie, but I'm also trying out a new schedule.
There is no script, no title, no official plot. All I know is that it will be made, and will premiere in August.
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