GA-TECH GETS FUNKY!

Filmmakers Partner With The Yellow Jackets to Produce the First Steamfunk Feature Film!

RITE OF PASSAGE POSTER 3

I was recently contacted by an agent who asked if Rite of Passage – the Steamfunk movie that goes into pre-production in May and production in August – was a student film. I informed her that the film is a collaboration between the professional multimedia companies MVmedia and Roaring Lions Productions and GA-Tech’s School of Literature, Media and Communication, so yes, students will be heavily involved in the making of the film, but under the guidance and leadership of experienced and accomplished film professionals who are the directors, producers and cinematographers on this project.

I informed her that the students will not be treated as “amateurs”, nor is the film going to be amateur or second rate. The students involved in the making of Rite of Passage are expected to be just as professional…just as committed as those who have worked on ten or more projects.

The agent’s response?

“Well, I will probably send a few of my actors to audition, but most of my actors would never act in a student film. I was a bit surprised to hear that most of the actors she represents dismiss programs that have produced some of industry’s best filmmakers and actors. “She needs to educate her people,” I thought.

However, “To be fair,” – as Rite of Passage’s Producer, Akin Danny Donaldson, is fond of saying – he’s from England; everyone from England are fond of saying that – I could come up with a few reasons myself as to why an actor would not want to act in a student film – there is no pay; the filmmakers do not have a lot of experience and are still learning how to talk to and treat actors; and few student films become a success by Hollywood standards. However, from her reaction, I was sure she – or some of her actors – had experienced some Stygian nightmare in doing a student film.

RITE OF PASSAGE Promo 1She, or any of her actors, had not; she just thought there was nothing for her people to gain from such projects. She was oblivious to the tremendous opportunity provided by student films to form strong, lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with young, talented, up-and-coming directors, producers, actors and casting directors.

You could very well be working with the next Martin Scorsese or Spike Lee. They are not master directors yet, but “to be fair”, the next Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Malcolm X, or The Inside Man could be their next film.

Student films often achieve admittance into top notch festivals each year, earning these young filmmakers studio deals and the actors in their films worldwide recognition.

If you choose to act in a student film, there are certain things that you should not negotiate. You should receive a copy of your work in a timely fashion, be fed every six hours, and should not be asked to work longer than a 12-hour day without proper turnaround.

Know that student filmmakers, especially those in the early stages of filmmaking, tend to prioritize their aesthetic vision over an actor’s performance. Don’t be shocked, frustrated, or allow your ego to be bruised if hours are spent on a cool-looking, spinning, overhead dolly shot rather than your sublime performance in a close-up.

Keep in mind that these young filmmakers are attempting to bring their visions to life without large crews and budgets, so – “To be fair” – cut them some slack if things take longer than they should.

Actors, don’t feel ashamed, embarrassed or as if you are “settling” because you are auditioning for a student film. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad actor. Agents submit actors to films by USC, Columbia University and Columbia College Chicago every day.

“To be fair”, however, I will admit that many student films simply stink. The most common reason for such odoriferous works is lack of story. A suicide prone emo teen is a subject, not a story. If your story is about an emo college freshman with a football player roommate whose girlfriend is always trying to convince the emo kid to go out and party – who cares?

The second most common reason for the malodorousness is the student’s reach exceeding his or her grasp. The student tries to tell a story that is too convoluted; uses techniques that are far beyond his or her experience. The more complex the story, the more skill it takes to tell it and the greater likelihood that a relative beginner will fail in the telling of it.

Fortunately, Rite of Passage has some of the best professionals in independent film working on the project and the students chosen to work with us will be the best that GA-Tech has to offer, which, “To be fair,” is saying a lot, as GA-Tech is fast becoming recognized as one of the top film schools in America, particularly in the areas of special effects, sound effects, prop and graphics design and cinematography.

Below are the current professional members of the crew of Rite of Passage. We are all excited to work with the next generation of Scorseses, Lees, Singletons, Spielbergs, Poitiers, Tarantinos, Lucases and”To be fair,” Balogun Ojetades (go ahead, you can laugh)

Crew 1 Crew 2 Crew 3 Crew 4 Crew 5 Crew 6 Crew 7 Crew 8

About Balogun

Balogun is the author of the bestselling Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within and screenwriter / producer / director of the films, A Single Link and Rite of Passage: Initiation. He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at http://chroniclesofharriet.com/. He is author of three novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the Urban Science Fiction saga, Redeemer; and the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika and contributing co-editor of two anthologies: Ki: Khanga: The Anthology and Steamfunk. At present, Balogun is directing and fight choreographing the Steamfunk feature film, Rite of Passage, which he wrote based on the short story, Rite of Passage, by author Milton Davis. He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk –a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at http://chroniclesofharriet.com/. He is author of three novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the science fiction gangster saga, Redeemer; and the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika. He is also co-creator of the soon-to-be-released role-playing game, Ki-Khanga™: The Sword & Soul RPG. Balogun is Master Instructor of the Afrikan Martial Arts Institute and Technical Director of Martial Ministries of America, a non-profit organization that serves at-risk youth. He is also a traditional African priest, actor and conflict resolution specialist, who works and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, his seven daughters and his son.

16 responses »

  1. Milton says:

    You have to realize that Hollywood and those closely associated have very little foresight. It is a risk averse culture that is quick to dismiss anything that doesn’t follow the norm and just as quick to duplicate anything that has proven successful. The only thing that matters is that we believe in this project. Everything else is irrelevant.

    • Balogun says:

      Milton, you are absolutely right about Hollywood, those closely associated with it and – I might add – those still seeking to be a PART of it. Of course, WE believe in this project and we will only work with others who share that same belief…and fearlessness. Those qualities are, in fact, the main criteria I have for working with a person on any project; second is skill. Thanks, so much, for your comment! I am looking forward to you and I, once again, making history in a huge way!

  2. srtorris says:

    Um, to the best of my knowledge Tyler Perry wasn’t even a “student” filmmaker, he just did. And Matty Rich of “The Inkwell” fame, taught himself how to make movies by reading books. And if we go way back-in-da-day, wasn’t nobody handing out invitations to Oscar Micheaux either.

    Sleeping on potential talent, geniuses (like yourself, Brotha) is the reason why we see comic book sequel after comic book sequel, horrific ticket prices, and the stupid gimmick that is “Real-D 3D”.

    Make my funk the Steamfunk and funk this movie UP!! Ase.

    By-the-way, what you hear is applause, not laughter… ;)

  3. [...] and I have developed – the world you will experience in the upcoming Steamfunk feature film, Rite of Passage – the secret to Nicodemus’ survival lies in its four very powerful protectors – Harriet [...]

  4. [...] Reeves has been immortalized in literature and in film. We continue this tradition in the Steamfunk movie, Rite of Passage, in which Bass Reeves – one of the guardians of the town of Nicodemus, [...]

  5. [...] our first Info Session for the Steamfunk movie Rite of Passage, GA-Tech Professor and an Associate Director of the film, Lisa Yaszek, asked who was familiar with [...]

  6. [...] the opening credits for Rite of Passage, we are hoping to get permission to use the song, Snowden’s Jig, by the Grammy Award-winning [...]

  7. […] more about the world of Rite of Passage before the release of the movie, check out author Milton Davis’ Rite of Passage: Kiowa Rising […]

  8. […] as a joke with my friend, creative partner and one of the Producers of the Steamfunk movie, Rite of Passage author Milton Davis after he and I were unceremoniously booted from a little website for having a […]

  9. […] the Rite of Passage universe, Railroad Bill is a resident of Nicodemus under the guise of mayor John D. Konkeroo’s […]

  10. […] of Passage a reality. Your donations will go toward providing props and costumes needed to make Rite of Passage an amazing experience. And they won’t go unrewarded, ‘cause we want to feel the love, […]

  11. […] the worldwide premiere of Rite of Passage in February, be sure to see me afterward and let me know how the film affected […]

  12. […] 4, 2013, Yours Truly and the rest of the brilliant cast and crew of the Steamfunk feature film, Rite of Passage shot a short film that ties-in to the feature film, Rite of Passage: The Dentist of […]

  13. […] August 30, 2013, at 6:00pm, join me in creating the Rite of Passage Money […]

  14. […] that is sort of paraphrasing a description of Rite of Passage, the Steamfunk feature film, by Professor Lisa Yaszek, Director of Undergraduate Studies. School of […]

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