Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Interview with Ballto of Big L Productions

To end our little section of interviews we sat down on Facebook with Ballto of Big L Productions for a candid talk.

So Ballto hello and thank you for the interview. Let’s start with the basics. What is Big L Productions and how did you get involved?

Well, Big L Productions at its very core is really Fans making their Fandom dreams comes true. A production company that will be making the videos that all fans want to see of their favourite characters, quite possibly in ways they never thought of before.

We're all fans of something, and as such we all have things we would like to see our characters do. Because of this we've started with making our first web series be "Casual Fridays", where we explore what our favorite comic book, Video Game, Anime, And TV characters all do on their day off from whatever it is that they do.

Allowing us to see our favorite characters in ways we might not have before.

As for how I got involved with it, as I said before, we're all fans of something. And like all other fans I said to myself "I wonder what The Borderlands Crew does on their day off from being Bad asses?" Wondering on this further I realized that I'm not the only one who wants to see this sort of thing. And from there the idea of Starting Big L Productions was born, utilizing the skills I've learned from attending both the Lethbridge College and Universities Multi-Media, and New Media programs respectively. This all began about 10 months ago with me putting my idea's out there and promoting them to find other people with similar passions, and now we're more than proud to premiere our first Video of the Casual Fridays series at the Fan Round Up.

Excellent. So does Big L have a large production group besides the various actors?

Well, our actual Production crew is relatively small at this point. I have a small handful of general purpose crew members for things like setting up our sets, simple camera operations, blocking, and things like that. But we also benefit from having the advice of some professionals as well. My good friend Emerson Scott is a lighting expert, and we have the advice and support of Make Up expert Katt Panic, as well the advice of my previous "internet Television" professor from the university Ryan Harper, whom after hearing about my project wanted to help in any way that he could. And with such high praise from someone like him, a veteran of the Television industry, it only worked to make me want to strive to do that much better.

I think it's also worth mentioning that in our short time we've also recruited some Cosplay Veterans who are interested in working with us, such as Andy Rae from Andy Rae Cosplay, and fast up and comer Dorothy Thicket, who has already won multiple awards for her Cosplay, one of which given to her by Yaya Han herself!

Wow nice maybe one day Yaya will knock on your door?

Yeah, I think if Yaya ever knocked on my door I would be knocked flat on the floor with excitement!

But people should also know that we're always looking for both people to join our production crew, which includes people for lights, camera's, props, Post production editing, as well as costume making.

Ha. So as far as recruiting goes are you looking for experience or a certain je ne sais quoi?

Well I find that when you work in any creative industry both experience and what I call your "creative talent" go hand in hand. A lot of people might not understand, but when you work with your creativity it's almost like a muscle, the more your work it, the better it gets. So I find that someone's experience, as well as their creativity in flexing that imagination muscle goes hand in hand. So experience comes in all of its forms when you work with creativity.

Ok so...we hear you are looking for that creativity here at our con this year. How do you think you will go about finding new talent and what can someone do to impress you?

Well, I and all of the Big L crew that I will bring with me are actually quite honored to give people who share our vision of Big L the chance to contribute their thoughts and ideas to it. As I said before, we're all Fans doing work that our other fans should be proud of, so there is a certain level of Fandom comradery that we want to share with our fellow fans. At the Round-Up this year we are primarily looking for Cosplayers who want to take their Cosplay to the next level and start actually becoming their characters for our episodes, and at the heart of it that's what burns the passion in my heart. For me, Cosplay has always been about fully immersing yourself into becoming your favorite characters. Not to say that proper costume design and making isn't important as well, but for me I want to see the passion and love in people’s eyes when they get to become their heroes.

As for production crew members, my several years of schooling in all things media has taught me more than a few things for what to look for when I'm looking to share a project with others. They need the talent and know how to know what they are working with for sure, but more importantly is that they have their own visions, and aspirations that they can bring to Big L to make us better by adding it to our own. Even if I worked with the most talented people on the planet at what they do, if they don't share in the imagination of the world we're trying to create with Big L, ultimately they won't be able to work with us.

And that's something that I want the world to know when it comes to Big L.

We're not just creating "short little funnies" for people to watch on the internet and get a laugh out of. We're trying to create a whole world where all of our favorite characters live together.

A world where Frank West playing at a Poker game with Princess Bubble gum, and Sailor Mini-moon is no stranger than seeing anyone else do the same.

So you mentioned earlier that you really love to get into the role of the Cosplay. I assume you enjoy dawning the apparel. How far do you get into character at a typical con and can we expect to see that at the Roundup?

Well, for the Roundup I plan on coming as the Heavy Weapons Guy from Team Fortress 2, or to be more precise MY version of the heavy from Team Fortress 2. Anyone who plays the game will know that there is a plethora of ways to change the appearance of your character in the game, and I will be coming as the way I dress my Heavy when I play as him. Though some people might be surprised that this will only be the third Cosplay I've ever done. The first being Heat from Bust a Groove when I was 14 going to Animethon 9, the second being Salvador from Borderlands 2 for the launch of the game a few years back, and now the Heavy from TF2.

The costume I'll be wearing was actually made with the assistance of lots of my friends, as I personally don't have the costume making experience that I wish I had, but what I lack in costume making skills, I assure you I will make up for in my ability to properly play the character, and invite everyone to come see firsthand when we host the Cosplay Match Game.

Let's just say you shouldn't be surprised to find that "Sandvich and me going to beat your ass!"

Ha, that will be something to see. So Big L has a whole room to themselves. There will be two Cosplay match games that are taking place and the actors will be the celebrity panel. Who can we expect to see, character wise, on this panel and will they be in character during these games?

Big L will be represented by The Heavy Weapons Guy, Human Pinkie Pie, Dovakiin, and Sailor Mini-Moon. And I don't know what you mean by "in character", these are the real people, pulled strait from the Big L World. Maybe people should get an autograph while they have the chance. I'm sure if you asked The Heavy nice enough too he'd let Sandvich give autographs too.

 Oh my, the real deals. I might need to fan myself for the vapors! So, one question that's been burning for me is I've been dying to know. When these characters are not working on the match game what do they do? Just like the premise of Casual Fridays I want to know what these guys are up to when not in the lime light!

Well, not many people know this, but Heavy Weapons Guy is actually a poet in his spare time. He is actually quite the masterful poet in his native tongue. Pinkie Pie works the pizza kitchen with Mad Moxxi over at Moxxi's bar, and likes to go out dancing in public. I hear there's a laundry mat in particular that she likes to strut her stuff in.

Mini-moon likes to ride horses and participates in weekly fight clubs, and Dovakiin recently tried to see what life would be like Outside of Skyrim and move into the city.

Sounds like they lead full and...Interesting lives! So, while everyone is at the con do we need to have security make sure they don't start a brawl with our vendors or will they be behaving? I sure hope that The Heavy personally shares a poem or toe with Helen Stringer - I'm sure she'd love a serenade.

Well, some of them are more.... Rambunctious than others, personally I wouldn't trust Mini-Moon near sugar and a broken bottle, but that's just me. As for the heavy sharing some of his poems, I'm sure if you asked nicely, and had Sandviches permission he'd love to share. Ask him to tell you a tale or two and you might even get a song out of him.

 Well I'm sure the con goers will be very happy to bump in to any of the characters and grab a photo op or two. So, with all that happening you are also premiering the Casual Fridays episode "Poker Princesses and Frank" closer to the end of the day. How did filming go on this first outing? Any issues or funny stories happen during filming?

We suffered the normal problems that could be expected from filming anything, but we did run into a few extra Complications. Princess Bubblegum got held up in the candy Kingdom and ended up being nearly 5 hours late, and Wolverine just couldn't stand playing poker with the player so he left. Then there was the fact that Mini-moon had to leave so she could go join in Mortal Kombat, so we were really pressed for time.

That's why in the end we had to finish filming before 7pm. Hence why the episode was changed from its working title of "Poker Night" to "Poker Princesses and Frank" because with all the summer time filming it was still light out when we wrapped at 7

 Any divas on the set? I'm looking at you Frankie boy.

Well, all of the characters live in their own little world most of the time and are used to being the stars of their own shows, some sparks are bound to fly when you have such Huge Ego's all together in the same room. Oddly enough Frank was the least of our problems, though I feel like that may be because no one could understand him all day.

 Well I'm sure after the premiere everyone will be chomping at the bit for the next episode. When can the fans expect more of Casual Fridays?

I will be Filming on location in Skyrim the week after the Round Up, so with any luck you can expect to see the next episode be up the Friday after.
Will you be trying to release all your episodes on a Friday?

Well, it's not called Casual Monday's.

Well I'm very glad to say that the Medicine Hat Fan Roundup is privilege to have you and all our special character guests coming for a visit. At this point we should let the readers know where they can find more on Big L and Casual Fridays.

We have all the mediums you would expect, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, the whole thing.

and we're on Twitter @gottothinkbig

And if they want to talk to any of us personally we'll have a table all day at the Con.

As well as the events happening in the Big L Room.
That's right. Big L can also be found in the vendor’s hall
Good stuff. So before we let you go is there anything else you might want the fans and con goers to know?

Only that Big L is looking for not only new members to swell its ranks, but we also would love to hear suggestions from people on what kind of episodes they would love to see. And remember... "Gotta think big, BIG!"

Because Bigger is Always Better well thanks for taking the time to talk with us Ballto and we'll see you at the con!

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