Have you ever looked at two comic characters and wondered who would win in a fight? You know, Batman vs Superman, Wolverine vs Deadpool, and tons of other battles? Everyone has a favorite character, or characters, and they love to pair those characters with others who are similar in some way, to see who'd come out on top.
Well that's Danny Shepherd and Jeremy Le of Ismahawk are doing with their newest YouTube series, 'Minute Match-Ups', taking fan-favorite character and having them battle; TO. THE. DEATH.
Hawkeye— A superhero with no powers, just a bow and arrow, and some hi-tech gear! Fighting with and against gods and god-like men every day!
Green Arrow— A superhero with no powers, just a bow and arrow, and some hi-tech gear! Fighting with and against gods and god-like men every day!
The two are very much alike in skill and expertise, but only one can win in the upcoming second episode of 'Minute Match-Ups'!
Soon, Hawkeye and Green Arrow will go head to head (or bow to bow I guess) in the newest 'Minute Match Up', and to commemorate this epic event, I talked with MMU's Clint Barton himself, Adam Kilbourn!
He's the Founder and President of Black Raven Films, a Las Vegas based video production business, he is also the creator of the YouTube short film, Action! Action!. Well now, he can add bonafide superhero to his resume, as Mr. Kilbourn will be playing Hawkeye in the upcoming 'Minute Match-Up'! Seeing as how Hawkeye is one of my favorite superheroes, he's already got my vote and complete admiration!
Q: So, how did you end up getting the role as Hawkeye in 'Minute Match-Ups?'
Jeremy and Danny, both knew me from my work on Action! Action! and a few other productions here in town. And Aaron, their guy who does all of the choreography, I've done a lot of work with him. So when they were looking for someone to play the character of Hawkeye, someone suggested "Why don't we talk to Kilbourn?" and they all thought that Id be a great fit so they reached out, and said "Would you like to do it" and I said "Heck yeah!"
Q: So you've said yourself that you aren't a huge comic book fan. But, I've heard a lot that superhero actors get into comics more after portraying a comic book character, so does your role as Hawkeye push you to get more into that now?
My older brother was really into comics, I never was too much into it. But there were a lot of comic book videogames that we used to play and several superhero movies that we watched. I don't necessarily think that I would [get into comics], but because comic book character portrayals typically involve some sort of action type thing, I'm sure I'll be doing quite a bit more of those. I'm an action junkie so if we're blowing something up or shooting something, or having some sort of fight scene happen, I'll probably be involved with it at some level. I'll be doing a lot more of those kinds of things in the future!
Well it's true that superhero flicks aren't shy of action and explosions.
Q: When did you start acting and producing? What was the first project that you worked on?
Well the first time I acted was in high school, when I was 16, a friend of mine asked me to audition for the school play and I did. Since then I've been acting pretty steadily. I took a bit of a hiatus after I graduated from college, I got a degree in acting at UNLV. But like many people when they graduate from college, they think about how they're gonna pay the bills. So I stopped acting for awhile and just worked in financing, and so that's what I did for a few years. In 2008, I woke up in a cold sweat thinking "What the heck are you doing?! I thought you wanted to be a big-time actor!" So I started doing more acting at that point and that's what prompted me to start Black Raven Films, so I could start producing myself and I've just been having fun doing it since then. I do stuff here in town, as an actor in front of the camera as well as a producer behind it, so that's sorta been my journey for the last fifteen years or so.
Q: So tell me a little more about Black Raven Films. Did you found it all by yourself, or did you come up with it with others?
BRF has been my creation from the beginning. What you recognize very quickly is that as an actor, you don't have a whole lot of power in the decision making process. This [Minute Match-Ups] is a great example, this is Danny and Jeremy's creation, they're out there and they'll ask people to get involved with it. The actor is typically not the person that starts the process. And so, when I got back into acting, what you realize very quickly is that, you're always asking someone else for a job. And if they don't know you or don't necessarily like you, or don't think you'd be a good fit for it, you don't get that part. And so the production company was really out of my desire to do more stuff, and I realized that if I produced it, I can just cast myself in all these things *laughs*. So that's kind of the reason why I got into production, to have more of a role in the decision making process. So with that we started looking around for projects to do, and there's projects that have come along, I've cast myself in a lot of those things, or called in my friends for it. Which is how Action! Action! our big action flick that we produced a couple of years ago came into existence. It was like, if I produce it, I can decide who and what's going to be in it, and that's how Black Raven Films came into existence. It pays the bills, we've been doing corporate work here in Las Vegas, someone might want a web video produced, or they need us for the reel, or they want to make a commercial for their product or service and we create that stuff. It's not always the most exciting, but it keeps me in the production world and I learn every day, from that process, things that influence my narrative career.
Q: Is this your first time working with Danny and the Ismahawk team?
It is. I've worked with Jeremy in the past, I've actually hired Jeremy to do shooting work for me. This is my first time working with Danny. See, when Ismahawk did Nightwing: The Series, I auditioned for the character of Batman, but they ended up casting someone else for it. So yeah I had known what they were doing, and I actually helped with their big fight scene, in the courtroom.
I get my a** kicked, and get shot at the end, which was a heck of a lot of fun *laughs*. But it's the first time doing something with them where I was one of the main characters for it. I got to work with them closely and had a lot of fun with them! Both Jeremy and Danny have a lot of passion, lot of energy, they're willing to put in the work and the effort, they're really quite talented themselves.
Q: How long does a filming day usually take?
Well, a lot of it depends on what you're actually doing. You could do a quick, short scene for an hour or two or you can do it for all day and all night. When we did a Hawkeye Vs. Green Arrow scene, we started at 6:30 in the evening and went all the way till 6:30 in the morning, so a good twelve hours. And then we actually ended up having to come back for another five hours, to finish up the scene, because we ran out of bank time. So how long production usually takes just depends on what you have to do, but this one was about a day and a half's worth of work.
Q: So what is it like, you know, doing all of this work, and the finished product is about a minute long?
Well the thing is, what it feels like to put all that effort into it and its such a short period of time, I mean that's kind of filmmaking in general. I mean you go, "Alright this is going to be 30 seconds on TV" and it takes you days worth of work to prep for it, and then days worth of work to film it, that's just kind of the name of the game; but that's not too bad. The initial prep work for [Minute Match-Ups], we took about 5 weeks worth of rehearsal, it was first deciding what we wanted to show on screen, and then from there it was figuring out "Well how's this choreography going to work?" There was three or four weeks worth of just fight choreography with Aaron, figuring out what we're going to put on screen, how it would work, you know you have a general idea but then you actually have to practice it and test it out, see whether or not it actually works. You might have this great idea and you're gonna go "Do this punch with this kick" and put it all together, but until you're actually practicing and rehearsing it with all of the actors, you're not really sure if that's actually going to work. A lot of times you gotta adjust things, so we spent quite a bit of time adjusting choreography and then from there it was just getting that down so that you could do it at speed, you could do it fast and you could do it safely. So, lots and lots of prep work for that.
In short, don't take the name 'Minute Match-Ups' so literally. You may be watching it for a minute, but Adam and his co-stars are working for much longer than 60 seconds!
Q: What are some of the logistics of working on a YouTube-based production? I know it's different from working on a film or TV production.
Well the biggest thing is budget! For film and TV production, typically there's someone paying the bills for you, and those bills can get pretty steep pretty fast! For a TV series you might have hundreds of thousands of dollars per episode to use, for a YouTube video you might have a couple hundred bucks, and most of that is going to go to food and the costumes. These are all passion projects, you know, it's a volunteer basis, so it means you gotta work around people's schedules, people work and so you have to schedule around that. And you just gotta be cognitive of it. But it also means that you get to do a lot of fun stuff, and you're working with people that are really passionate about the project. You're wearing a lot of different hats too. Maybe in a different setting where we were all getting paid more, and there were lots of different people doing jobs. You know you might have an entire lighting department that just does the lighting, instead Jeremy gets to do a lot more figuring out the lighting set up, instead of just pointing and saying "Oh go do that!" he actually has to go do that. And Danny, instead of just being the director, he's gotta figure out "Well I need costumes", he doesn't have a costume department, he IS the costume department so he'll actually, dive in and figure out how to create the helmet and how to make the little pieces. It's a learning process that's very challenging and rewarding at the same time.
One little health note you learn for instance, the helmet [Hawkeye's] they were using, they utilized Elmer glue as a hardening element. Um, Elmer glue melts when you introduce heat to it, so when that was on my head the entire fighting scene, it was just leaking down my face as it mixed with my sweat! You figure that stuff out, and you know as the director you're like "Oh that's a costume idea that I might not want to repeat" *laughs*. Those type of things you might not normally get to learn because someone else is working with that, well in a YouTube production where everyone is volunteering, you're wearing a bunch of different hats.
Q: So when can fans expect the new Minute Match-Up?
I'm guessing sometime in the next 30 days. They have a desire sooner rather than later. So I'm thinking sometime in early July is when you can see it. I'm really excited about it, the fight choreography looks fantastic, the bow and arrow stuff and the special effects they're going to introduce to it I'm really excited to see. So I think people will be seeing it soon and I think when they watch it they'll be really quite happy with it.
Q: In a way, this match up is sort of a Marvel vs DC battle, and both of those comic book companies have large fanbases. Would say that this appeals to both sides of fans?
Oh I absolutely think so. Both of these characters are pretty evenly matched, I think. Danny and Jeremy are very keen on keeping the lore accurate, you know the world of these comic book characters. It's not meant to be one-sided, I think if you watch it you'll be happy to see both characters get their wins in. If you're a Hawkeye fan, you'll be able to see Hawkeye in his glory, doing very well and if you're a Green Arrow fan, you're gonna see Green Arrow kicking some a** too! I think there will be something for both people and like I said, they're really keen on keeping true to both the comic book as well as the film universes that have been created. I know for Hawkeye for instance, the costume is a blend.
The comic book character has the helmet and the version on film does not. And so they used the vest from the Avengers movie and they introduced the helmet from the comic book series, so they're definitely trying to do their best to stay true to what fans love about these characters.
Q: What would you say is your favorite thing about working on this short?
My favorite thing is the fight choreography. I love fight scenes, I love figuring that stuff out, how it works, and to be a part of it is actually a lot of fun. I love to watch the finished product, it looks great, and so to be a part of that, to be on camera doing it it's a dream come true. I mean how many days do you get to say "Hey, honey! I'm a superhero!" It's pretty cool.
Q: Finally, you have an upcoming full length film with Black Raven Films that you're working on now, can you tell me a little about that?
A couple of years ago, we won 'Best Nevada Film Maker' at the Dam Short Film Festival with our short Action! Action!, a fourteen minute action extravaganza with gun fights, kung fu and car chases! We had so much fun doing that, we thought well let's take these characters, this world we've created and turn it into a full length action film. We're in the process of writing that script right now, and so sometime in the next year we're hoping to fund-raise and then film our full length movie, Action! Action!
You can check out Action! Action! below. It's an amazingly well done short film, and I guarantee that after watching it, you'll be anxious for the full length version!
Well that's it for this interview. You can check out Adam Kilbourn as the Earth's Mightiest Marksman, Hawkeye in the newest episode of 'Minute Match-Ups' when it's released on YouTube!
And make sure to check out the Action! Action! website by clicking here to support Adam and the film! Keep supporting Adam in all his endeavors, and as always,
Thanks For Reading!
Keep up with Adam:
Action! Action! Movie Website: actionactionmovie.com
Black Raven Films: blackravenfilms.com
Keep up with Ismahawk's 'Minute Match-Up':