Byron Yee, a first-time filmmaker, grew up in Oklahoma, moved to San Francisco to pursue stand up comedy, and later headed to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. Getting tired of waiting for Hollywood to create interesting roles for someone like him, Yee decided to write his own film. His new release, The Aliens, is a film about a UFO believer who must choose between the aliens above he has never seen or the mysterious guide who appears at his campsite week after week.
The Philippines has 181 languages yet most children’s stories in the Philippines are written in only 2 languages, Tagalog and English. Sari-Sari Storybooks has Kickstarted a project to bring those under-represented Philippine language groups life through children’s stories. We interview Christina Newhard about the project.
The same day that the final Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer hit this week, a lesser known project called Black Tiger: Hunter Hunted released its 20-minute pilot episode on YouTube. Black Tiger originally started off as a comic book mini-series in 2004. In 2014, a Kickstarter project to fund a short film based on the comic book was successfully funded. The short film, starring WWE Diva Angela Fong and Robin Shou (Mortal Kombat), premiered at WonderCon in 2014 and went on to screen at other conventions, winning the 2014 Spirit of Comic Con award at the Atlanta Comic Con’s Wizard World Film Festival. Director Patricio Ginelsa took time out to talk to us about the film and the funding effort to continue the web series.
Secret Coders, a new graphic novel series written by Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Superman), sets out to bring computer programming to kids and adults. Some people may not know that Yang, when not writing comics, is a high school computer science teacher. This is his attempt to combine his two passions – comics and programming.
Ryan Nagata has worked in Hollywood as a prop builder and model maker as well as a director for television and web series. His latest project, which he co-wrote and directed, is a feature length film that pairs up the unlikely duo of stars, Randall Park and Steve Agee, for a horror-comedy set in a desert called Amigo Undead. I had the opportunity to interview Nagata about Amigo Undead, his film background, and his thoughts on CGI vs. practical effects.
There is something to be said for having a shared experience with over 6,000 people sitting in an arena in Anaheim, California. A single, solitary moment when a giant video screen fades to black and you hear a voice that you recognize but can’t quite process quick enough before the visual hammers it home, “Chewie, we’re home.” Everybody around me immediately jumps up, fists pumping up high, cheers deafening, not quite processing everything about the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer. Luckily, we are able to see it again and are able to focus more on what we just saw.
Back in October 2014, we did a special Hard NOC Life with rapper Jason Chu about his Kickstarter project to fund the making of a music video for his song MARVELS. The project was successfully funded and last week the music video was officially released on ISAtv’s YouTube channel. The video has been viewed over 18,000 times in its first week and has struck a chord with many viewers.
Back in May, I wrote about Marvel and Disney getting ready to start a big promotional push for the upcoming animated movie Big Hero 6 later this year. At that time only a few names had been announced for the voice actors: Jamie Chung as Go Go Tamago and T.J. Miller as Fred. Maya Rudolph was announced as part of the cast but was tied to an unnamed role. Today, Disney finally announced the actors for the rest of the voice cast.
In late 2013, I heard that director Jeffrey Gee Chin (Lil Tokyo Reporter) and composer George Shaw (TableTop, Keye Luke, Hang Loose) were making a Star Wars musical fan film set in style to Disney musicals.
After many months of production, the short film Star Wars the Musical (Disney Parody) has now been released on YouTube and is sure to garner many views. In fact, our very own Junko was a production assistant for the film too!
If you haven’t seen it yet, Disney and Marvel just released the first trailer to this winter’s upcoming Big Hero 6.
I first was introduced to Big Hero 6 while interviewing artist David Nakayama in July 2008 at San Diego Comic Con. I had asked Nakayama what he was working on for his next project, and he told me about the Big Hero 6 mini-series he was working on for Marvel in a story written by one of his all-time heroes, Chris Claremont. Set in Japan featuring a group of Japanese superheroes, Nakayama provided details about how they really wanted to emphasize a lot of Japanese style into the art of the five-issue mini-series. I was excited to hear about Big Hero 6, and picked up issue #1 a few months later when it was released.
International TableTop Day for 2014 takes place this Saturday, April 5. What is International TableTop Day? It is a day for fans of tabletop games to come together and celebrate by playing board games whether it be at your friendly local game store (FLGS), a coffee shop, library, comic book shop, or just at home. Perhaps take out an old favorite board game or try out a new game. Find more information at TableTopDay.com.
A game that has hit the table in my home most frequently over the past year has been Upper Deck’s Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game (aka Marvel Legendary). The game consists of a game board and 500 cards. Set in the Marvel Comics universe, you and up to four other players cooperate to build a team of heroes using card decks to battle evil mastermind villains and their minions. With the base game, you can set up with heroes such as Captain America, Cyclops, Hulk, Iron Man, Nick Fury, Spider-Man, Storm, Thor, and Wolverine. For masterminds, you can choose to go up against Dr. Doom, Loki, Magneto, or Red Skull. Each mastermind will bring their own team of villain groups and henchmen groups in an effort to complete one of many possible evil schemes. Can the heroes defeat evil and, if so, which player will become the most legendary?
I interview The Sun Brothers, Brad and Wesley Sun, of the Chicago-based Sun Bros Studios. After running a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012 to fund their first graphic novel Chinatown, they followed-up in 2013 with Apocalypse Man, their interpretation of a zombie horror survival story. In 2014 they are setting the stage with a follow-up Kickstarter campaign for their new graphic novel Monkey Fist, which is inspired by the classic Monkey King story.
The holiday season has arrived and if you have a difficult time finding the perfect gift for your nerdy friends or family members who love table top games here are five themed games that are worthy of consideration.
Zombies are the cat’s meow these days thanks in large part to the popular cable television show The Walking Dead. Zombicide is a miniatures board game that comes with 71 miniatures. Each round zombies spawn on the board adding to the horde so the game board can quickly fill up with zombie miniatures. This is a cooperative game where 1 to 6 players try to figure out how to accomplish a particular mission goal and control the approaching zombie horde in the process. Meet the victory condition and the team can celebrate a well-earned respite from the undead.
Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints are companion books telling two stories from opposite viewpoints. The stories are told through two characters, Little Bao and Four-Girl, based on the historical and violent Boxer Rebellion movement in China that started in the late 1800s in which pro-nationalists tried to rid China of foreigners and Christian missionaries. Boxers tells of the pro-nationalist point of view while Saints tells of the Chinese Christian point of view. Although each book is sold separately, they are intended to be companion pieces to each other, even so far as to have covers which can be matched together to form one larger cover.
Vitals: Freedom – The Underground Railroad is a cooperative board game for 1 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, with a playing time of about 1 to 2 hours. Designed by Brian Mayer, a Library Technology Specialist, and published by Academy Games, Freedom allows players to work together as a group of abolitionists in the 1800’s. The goal is to attempt to end slavery in the United States by raising support for the Abolitionist Movement and helping slaves move through the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada. The goal is difficult to accomplish and people and events can have negative impacts. There are also slave catchers roaming and reacting to movements of slaves on the board, hoping to catch runaway slaves to send back to the plantations.
Thoughts: Before becoming a parent, I organized game nights with friends frequently. Now while still regularly getting together with a gaming group to socialize, eat food, and be merry, my children and I also play games quite often. Beyond the social interaction, games are a great way to teach children different skills such as spacial reasoning, reading, math, dexterity, and logic. Games can also be a great way to teach history.
It’s Star Trek Week here at The Nerds of Color and what better way to celebrate than to play one of three Star Trek related games that have been released in the past year.
Star Trek Catan
“The Settlers of Catan” designed by Klaus Teuber and originally released in 1995 has sold over 15 million copies worldwide with more than 30 different language versions. “Star Trek Catan” is a game that is a re-themed version of the original. The game is a resource management and trading game at its basic level and the first player to 10 points wins. The “Star Trek Catan” version maintains the same rules as the original Catan, so if you are already familiar with Catan you will easily jump into the Star Trek version. The “Star Trek Catan” does enhance the game play of the original Catan, however, with Star Trek TOS crew members cards with special abilities adding to the overall theme. If you are a Catan fan and a Star Trek fan, “Star Trek Catan” is a great addition. If you haven’t played Catan before but are a Star Trek fan, this is a good game to introduce you to the Catan game play and have Trek fun.
“Star Trek Catan” is a game for 3 to 4 players, ages 10 and up (some reading required for the cards but I’ve found children as young as 8 can grasp the game concepts pretty well), and an average game takes about 75 minutes (can range from 45 to 90 minutes).
I can pinpoint the place and time from my childhood that has steered my life – the origin of becoming a nerd. Prior to that moment on September 1974, I was your average mild-mannered kid growing up in the early-70’s, wearing wide collared button-up shirts, playing with Hot Wheels on a wicker chair race track. Little did I know my life was going to change forever.
It was the first week of second grade at a new school. Our class consisted of children from a variety of neighborhoods in San Francisco, many bused in, as an experiment to group so-called “gifted” children together, to form this new class (sort of like X-Men but without any mutant powers for us children). Since I knew only one other classmate, a girl, and I was too shy to actually talk in her presence, new friendships needed to be forged and quickly. Recess break came around and I walked out of the classroom to the school yard. Two of my fellow classmates, Chris and Jeff, had taken out a black Hot Wheel car from a pocket and began to play on the ground over in a corner of the yard, secretively trying to put something into the car. Immediately I was drawn to the fact that they were playing with a Hot Wheel so I approached and asked about the car. Chris replied that it was the Green Hornet’s car and they were trying to put a dead bee they had found into the car so they could go and fight crime. I had no idea who the Green Hornet was and why a bee would be in a car to fight crime but I was intrigued at that very moment and had to find out more.