|Sins of the Dragon!|
A determined, dynamic, new director has entered the martial arts arena! Joey Corpora’s Sins of the Dragon has already been featured in Black Belt Magazine and is becoming more and more widely acclaimed. Last month Sins of the Dragon was accepted into the prestigious “AOF Festival” (Action on Film International Film Festival- the bases for the AOF Channel on NBC) and the extremely popular “Fright Night” Film Festival.
This week at Celebrity English, Joey Corpora discusses this hard-core, action packed, martial arts Indie-short film Sins of the Dragon. Let the games begin!
Alex Graham: Please tell us a bit about yourself and Platypus Underground, Ltd.
Joey Corpora: I started making movies when my mom and dad got me the Lego Studios movie-maker set back in 5th grade. I used Lego characters for my first few experiments, but I got bored of them really quick and so I started filming my brothers and friends. We made our own fake company "Jollywood Productions," and basically all of our short movies were knockoffs of our favorite real movies: Star Wars, Pok'emon, etc. Since the Lego camera was on a cord attached to the computer, I could only film in my basement, and after a few years I was ready for a change of scenery, so I borrowed my parents big old clunky 8mm camcorder and started filming movies everywhere! That one bothered me a bit though because I couldn't figure out how to get the time code off, so there were always numbers at the bottom of the movie. Eventually I got my own camera, started a new "company" called "Firethorne Crew Productions," and made a bunch of war movies and sci-fi flicks. Keep in mind, this was before high school, so they were low-budget and terrible, but I learned a lot from making them. Once all the neighborhood kids moved away there was a break in movie-making until high school, where I met Kale and his brother Brandon. They made bloody movies with sword fights and gun battles, so we teamed up.
We dragged Shannon into this craziness and in January of 2012, we decided to make a REAL company, so we filed the paperwork with the state and thus Platypus Underground (the name of Kale's old youtube channel) became a real LLC. I guess fancy talk would be to say we became incorporated.
Alex: How did you get started in the movie industry?
Joey: Hahah, not sure I'm actually in the "industry" yet, but we are working on it! We're self-made men (and women) at this point.
Let’s talk about Sins of the Dragon…
Alex: Why did you select the martial arts genre?
Joey: I started training in martial arts when I was 16 (so about 6 years ago). Kale, Shannon, and Brandon were all in the Ninjutsu class, and they had been training for much longer than me. Martial arts classes were the highlights of our week, so once Kale and I began making movies together, it didn't take long for us to want to try our hand at fight scenes. Martial arts scenes have appeared in almost all of our videos/movies so far!
Alex: What was the biggest challenge in getting Sins of the Dragon made?
Joey: The biggest challenge was a lack of people. Everyone likes to say "Hey, I really want to be in your next movie! When are you going to make me a movie star?" But when you tell them, "Okay, we're meeting on set at 5:30am from Monday till Saturday," everyone suddenly has other plans. So we had to work with anyone who lovingly volunteered their time to us (and we can't thank them enough!), but there never seemed to be enough hands on set or ninjas in the background. A lot of times, we had one person holding the camera, boom mic, and recorder while one of the actors clapped the clapperboard and then ran in to the frame with everyone else on set! It got pretty hectic sometimes.
|Sins of the Dragon world premiere!|
Alex: Who are some of the main actors and actresses and what are their roles?
Joey: The main character in the movie is Cunri, a young man who witnessed the death of his family and now seeks revenge. He is played by Kale Sweeney, who is also the writer and fight choreographer for the movie. He's been training in martial arts since he was maybe 6 or 7; his dad (who plays Caligo) is our martial arts instructor. Kale trained in Ninjutsu, Thai boxing, MMA, and a bunch of other stuff like grappling.
Cunri's best friend in the movie is a girl named Kaia, who doesn't want Cunri to sink into hatred and revenge, but she still wants to make sure he is okay, so she tags along with him on this little adventure. Kaia is played by Shannon Lee Haines, who is our production manager/assistant director. She's been training in Ninjutsu for maybe 7 or 8 years now, plus she's trained in MMA. We wrote their roles because we knew we had two martial artists we could use to make the fight scenes look great, not because they're great actors. Not that they aren't good, we just wanted to focus on the martial arts heavily, and we knew they could do it.
Alex: Can you tell us about any funny stories or surprising moments when you were filming Sins of the Dragon?
Joey: Oh yes. There's always something funny going on while we're filming. We have a habit of breaking into song and dance when we're on set (especially when Brandon and Kale are around). We always joke about doing a musical, but I guess since we haven't done one yet they feel the need to spontaneously break out into song while we are filming fight scenes. Speaking of fight scenes, that always has the potential to be funny. A couple guys got clobbered when they weren't paying attention or they were just going too hard. Connor (who plays Garth) got kicked square in the face by Shannon during the bandit fight... and that shot made it in the movie! Similar things happened when Kale fought his dad in the finale; they'd be all amped up and ready to go, I'd call action and they'd just beat the crap out of each other. Then I would call cut, Kale would stop, and Sensei would keep attacking! Hahaha, always something crazy on set.
Alex: What can we look forward to from Joey Corpora in the future?
Joey: We're focusing on submitting Sins of the Dragon to film festivals at the moment. We just got a call yesterday letting us know we got accepted into the Action on Film International Film Festival, so we're really excited about that! I'm currently finishing up my senior project, which is a 15-minute buddy-cop comedy called "Fist of Justice." You can expect that one to be out around late April. Kale is working on a feature script for a movie called "Ralf's House of Assassins." Not sure how much I can say about that one, but there will be swashbuckling sword fights and giant swinging axes, so that should be a lot of fun! On a different note, I am also writing my first short animated movie, based on a fairy tale I wrote called "Prince Ashley and the Magical Crystal Quest." It is my homage to Ray Harryhausen films, as well as Conan the Barbarian and Kung fu fantasy movies.
Alex: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Joey: This is for everyone out there: don't give up on your dreams. It's too easy to fall prey to all the naysayers and critical people and give up on your passions. If you really love doing something, whether that is making movies, drawing comic books, publishing magazines, or whatever, just keep at it and eventually you will find success. I started this when I was in 5th grade, now I am a senior in college, and I just into my first film festival yesterday. As bad as those old movies were, they taught me so much, and even though there will always be people who hate your work and tell you to do something else like get a real job with benefits and all that, you just gotta keep working on what you love. Besides, if I had stopped making movies, I never would have improved, and then all those people who told me to give up on this silly dream and said I would never get anywhere WOULD have been right. So seriously, here's my motivational pep talk. Follow your heart and don't take no for an answer. Eventually you will connect with someone and it will totally be worth it.
Alex: What is the best way for readers to follow your work?
Joey: We are all over! The best place to go for information is our website: www.platypusunderground.com.
However, Facebook is probably the easiest, and we update that fairly often. You can like us at www.facebook.com/PlatypusUnderground.
We also have a tumblr account (http://platypus-underground.tumblr.com) and a youtube channel where you can watch our videos (youtube.com/platypusunderground).
You can also e-mail us directly at email@example.com.
Platypus Underground, Ltd.
Alex: Thank you Joey Corpora for a fantastic interview about Sins of the Dragon! Looking forward to seeing Sins of the Dragon at the AOF Festival and Fright Night!
Joey: Thank you Alex and Celebrity English!
Next week! A fantastic Celebrity filled Easter feature followed by 2 weeks of Epic Super Star Celebrity Interviews with …
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