TAEM interview with Director Travis Gordon

Travis-Gordon-on-Set-2TAEM- Filmmaking has taken a great leap in progress over the last twenty years and more young filmmakers have been realizing their dreams through the Web. One promising filmmaker from Canada who has pounced upon the idea of creating web series is Travis Gordon.

Travis, tell us what first interested you in filmmaking, and who was your greatest influence ?

TG- I was really inspired by George Lucas’s Star Wars and Richard Donner’s Superman when I was a child.  I’ve been making videos since I was around 13 starting with the family video camera.  My first short film was called “Attack of the Evil Eggs” and I used all my siblings as actors.

TAEM- What made you choose creating a web series as your medium of choice?

TG- Making videos online is a dream come true for filmmakers. You get to show your videos directly to an audience. There’s no middleman and if you do it right you can make money.

domTAEM- How do you feel about the popularity of web series and how does one go about creating them?

TG- The webseries world is getting more and more exciting as things go along. We’re starting to see big names and companies getting involved. Tom Hanks, Jerry Seinfield and Bryan Singer are just a few of the celebrities who see online video as a very interesting place to tell stories.

TAEM- In 2007 you created the film Mass Stupidity. Please tell our readers a little bit about the film.

TG- Mass Stupidity was the sequel to a low budget feature I did called Idiot and the Scorpion. Both films followed around a bumbling secret agent named Max Damage who was trying to stop a silly evil organization known as “Scorpion Force” from taking over the world. Completing those two films gave me the skills and confidence to tackle such a visual effects and action heavy webseries like Spellfury.

TAEM- How did the completion of the film enhance your creativity, and what have you learned from it?

TG- With film you’re locked into the script and it can be very confining. A film also takes years and years to complete. With a webseries it’s very organic and the script can change depending on how the audience is reacting to the storyline and characters. It also doesn’t take that long to complete an episode and release compared to film. You get audience feedback very quickly which is nice.

TAEM- The following year you wrote and directed Revelation. Please tell us about this project and the theme behind it.

TG- Revelation is a story about a pregnant women in New York who is being followed around by a cult who believes she is carrying a magical being. I shot the entire thing in front of green screens using stock footage shots of New York in the background. It ended up winning an award (Bronze Remi) in Dramatic Shorts at the Worldfest Houston Film Festival. It was very exciting.

Spellfury-PosterTAEM- Tell our readers your thought process in writing this film, and how you were able to transpose it to film.

TG- With Revelation I wanted to write something challenging for myself and the actors I normally work with. Once I find actors I like I try to work them into everything I do. Most of my projects usually have a comedic edge to them but with Revelation I tried to tell a straight dramatic story. Using green screens and the right actors allowed me to tell the story. Julie O’Halloran really stood out in the piece and it was one of the reason’s I cast her as the lead actress (Druinia) in Spellfury.

TAEM- In 2009 you created the Short, Spellfury.  This was a major step for you. Describe the theme behind the production and the characters portrayed in it.

TG- I’ve always been a big fantasy fan and after doing three feature films (Zarko, Idiot and the Scorpion, Mass Stupidity) and a short (Revelation) I felt I had the skills necessary to tackle a story set in a magical fantasy land. The majority of the show is shot on greenscreen but we’ll do the occasional outdoor shots. The story of Spellfury focuses on a half-elf named Druinia who is trying to find out who murdered her father. She also finds a magic sword early in the story which changes her life and the fate of Realm of Spellfury forever.

TAEM- Spellfury became an instant success and you were able to build a television series on the original film. Please tell our readers about the awards and recognitions that you have received for it.

TG- We were lucky to have the first episode of Spellfury featured on youtube’s home page which gave us a tremendous amount of views of the episode. Back then youtube staff would select videos they liked and feature them.  At the time there weren’t many fantasy webseries out there, I think we were the first, so we were getting a lot of attention from fantasy fans. After season one was done we had the opportunity to air a condensed version of the season nationally in Canada on Global TV as part of the Jr Digs Show. All 16 episodes of the show have been seen over 6 Million times across different video distribution points on the web. Spellfury was also an official selection of the 2013 Hollywood Festival “Hollyweb”. I had a chance to attend the festival and walk the red carpet, it was a surreal experience.

blue-girlsTAEM- Your initial efforts allowed you to create 16 shows that spanned the years between 2008 to 2012. Where has this been seen, and what response have you received on it ?

TG- The main place the show has been watched is Youtube, Blip.tv, Itunes and Koldcast.tv although it’s available most places you can watch online video. The fans of the show have been key to keeping the momentum going for the series. They keep asking for more and I do the best I can to keep the episodes coming.

TAEM- What plans do you have for Spellfury for the future, and is there any new projects that you are considering ?

TG-  In the short term I’m working hard on completing Season 2 of the show. There’s still 8 more episodes to go and then I’ll take a little break between seasons. We’ve been talking about perhaps doing a  Spellfury feature film in the future. It’ll really depend on getting enough money to do it right. I’ve done three feature films on shoe-string budgets and I don’t think I’d make another film like that. It’s way too tough and takes forever. If I could get a decent budget though I think I’d enjoy the process.

TAEM- Travis, we have heard many good things about you and know that you have great talent. We want to thank you for your time on this interview for our publication and wish you much luck in all that you do.

TAEM