So here's the movie that started it all. Basically, what happened was that I had been making short 3 minute videos for a while. Then around October 2006, my dad asked me if I wanted to make a movie for the Jr. Church presentation at the 2006 Winter Retreat. I said sure, and wrote a script with Over-the-Hill-Good-Guy. We filmed it in November-December 2006, and the rest is history.
After I finished the first Ultrakids, I immediately had ideas for a sequel. There were so much more to tell about the Ultrakids: their personalities, their conflicts, their beginnings. It was too much to ignore.
I started outlining the script in January 2007, right after the premiere of Ultrakids 1. This is probably the longest script write for me ever, whereas Over-the-Hill-Good-Guy and I kept writing and re-writing until the end of summer 2007. Even then, the script was constantly being changed throughout filming during fall and winter 2007, which made me wonder if we were actually filming a complete movie. The outline started out with 30+ scenes and went down to a solid 13 scenes.
The craziest thing that happened while we were filming Ultrakids 2 was when our borrowed $4000 camera broke. I put it on the tripod and it just wasn't on right. Tip, smash, silence.
In ended up being that the only scene filmed with golden camera was the flashback sequence at the beginning of part two. Then it was back to el cheapo but el...reliabo (I don't speak spanish).
This was the first movie to actually use Adobe After Effects 6.5 for visual effects. Despite looking kinda cheesy, the VFX took up 65 gigabytes of memory on my computer. What made it more frustrating was that I was still using Windows Movie Maker to edit the thing. Don't get me wrong, WMM is great, but it can't handle all those 'bytes. I had to render, re-render, and render the files to make them smaller, which was a pain in the neck.
There's a lot more about the production of this movie, but that is to be saved or put in a blog...
"There's no way I'm doing Ultrakids 3." -Josh, early 2008.
No way, I told myself. Especially after that hectic Ultrakids 2 experience. But the months went by and my mind was taken off Ultrakids. Until one day, Veggie boy and I were hanging out in the Poconos fall 2008 when...
"Yo, let's make Ultrakids 3!"
Those fateful words.
Honestly, I had a story in the back of my head...one about OTHGG dying, and a new superhero group called Superkids...and I really wanted to tell it visually. Besides, the actors were older and I was a more experienced director and screenwriter now. I made a quick outline and a mock schedule and location plan...and saw that it was possible! Woo hoo!
But first, ask the actors. Without the actors, no Ultrakids.
I received a unanimous yes. So on we went, getting over half the movie filmed by the end of October. Not only that, I was using the latest technology from Adobe: the Creative Suite 3 Production Premium. Good-bye Windows Movie Maker; hello Premiere Pro! I had also storyboarded the entire movie shot for shot, and I was certain this would get done in no time.
Except that we filmed only one scene in November.
Suddenly it was a crazy rush and rewrites to get the movie done (in fact, I wrote the climax of U3 on the back of a kid's menu in a diner). And there was a whole heck of visual effects to be finished, including an entire minute of lightsabers. Now that doesn't sound like much (a minute? You wimp! Yeah? Keep reading!), but we were going 30 frames per second or fps, so 30 times 60 seconds per minutes is an painstaking 1800 frame by frame rotoscoped sabers. Ouch.
But it was finished! And it is over...well, not really. The movie ended on a cliffhanger, right? Oh my fault. I had to rewrite it a week before the Winter Retreat deadline so yeah.
There will probably never be another 'real' Ultrakids movie but hey. Maybe we'll just do a spin-off with some of the new actors for fun.
Until then, film on!