Production Blog

APRIL 22, 2009

Joe Pearson here welcoming you to the first in a series of production blogs about "War of the Worlds: Goliath". On these blogs we’ll share with you a lot of the back-story on our little epic and ongoing production updates on the continuing process of making our collective dream a reality.

We hope to get these up every few weeks and will keep them coming until we wrap up production in early 2010. As the creator, producer and director of the film, I will do a majority of these, but we’ll also feature blogs and commentary by the movie’s other creatives from time to time.

Joe Pearson & Leon Tan
Here I am with my fellow Producer, Leon Tan, and one of our film's "investors". You can tell he's the strong silent type and not the kind of guy you want to disappoint, so please buy our film when we release it next year.

We are also in the process of building a dedicated "War of the Worlds: Goliath" website and hope to open that up in a couple of months. This will feature even more stills, clips, uploads and information on the film as well as an extensive section devoted to the making of one of our film’s 25 Sequences—the infamous "Sequence 22". This section will give you a blow-by-blow breakdown of the whole process, from script to initial design, storyboarding, voice recording, animation and finally final footage with full sound.

I’m writing this first blog in the restaurant of my hotel in Western Seoul, South Korea, at the tail end of a two-week production trip through Asia. An L.A./Kuala Lumpur/Seoul/L.A. axis that I make every two to three months to monitor production on the movie. Making a film on the scale of "War of the Worlds: Goliath" is a bit like fighting a war, and the production team on our film is every bit as much of a "band of brothers" as our heroes in "Goliath Squad".

I'm sitting here with my head literally spinning, filled with the voices, faces and output of dozens of top artists and production personnel. So many talented people and so much brilliant work. So much dedication to our collective dream.

Here are a few of the many, many fantastic images that I was lucky enough to review on this trip (next blog will showcase much, much more) —

character design
First, here's a lineup of our battered and bruised A.R.E.S. Tripod crews. This was drawn by the phenomenal "Director" Lee and colored by the talented Ms. Han from Sun Min Image Pictures in Seoul, Korea.
Leviathan Leviathan
Next, is an incredible drawing of the Bridge of the Leviathan airship and a detail of the Bridge Radar Station by the master, Spencer Ooi from Studio Climb. This guy was clearly BORN to design steampunk.
Interior of the Golianth's main cockpit
Here's a painting by the amazing Wei Siong, also of Studio Climb. It's a rough comp of the interior of the Goliath's main cockpit.
Martian Tripods
And another color comp of a lightning-lit shot of the Martian Tripods.
Cg TestCg TestCg Test
Here are three freeze frames of a CG test of the Leviathan and escort planes in motion, animated by the CG team at Sun Min. Wait until you see the final scene with full color, texture and sound!
Steampunk Prop Detail
Finally, a cool steampunkish prop detail from Mr. Ngee Seong from Studio Climb.

On this site and blog we'll showcase a lot more of these amazing individuals and their work, but for this first installment I want to thank three people who have been key in making "War of the Worlds: Goliath" happen.

First of all, I want to give a heartfelt "thanks" to Heavy Metal Master Supreme, Kevin Eastman for giving us this ongoing space on the heavymetal.com website. And that's just been the tip of the iceberg in Kevin's involvement with "War of the Worlds: Goliath". Kevin's been involved since the beginning in 1997 when I first conceptualized and developed the project at my studio, Epoch Ink Animation (www.epochinkanimation.com). He was one of the first to really "get it" and see the potential of an edgy steampunk sequel to H.G. Wells' seminal novel and he drank deep of the "War of the Worlds: Goliath" Kool-Aid.

Joe Pearson & Kevin Eastmen
Kevin in K.L. with yours truly. I think we were warming up for our lectures.

"War of the Worlds: Goliath" was one of the proposed slate of six Heavy Metal branded movies when we attempted to raise funding for our nascent Heavy Metal Video company. For five years we labored in the wild and wooly world of fundraising, meeting and dealing with a diverse group of potential investors. We could write a book on our ups and downs and the myriad of"characters" we dealt with while trying to make our joint dream come true.

Through all of it, Kevin stayed fast and we truly covered each other's backs more than once.

Mike Bloemdendal & Kevin Eastmen
Kevin in K.L. with Tripod co-owner, Mike Bloemendal.

When the opportunity presented itself to fund a "War of the Worlds: Goliath" movie out of Malaysia, Kevin was totally behind it, even though it wasn't to be branded as an official Heavy Metal movie. And he was there all the way, making the 8,000 mile journey with me to steamy Kuala Lumpur, speaking to audiences of artists and suits, shaking countless hands, visiting endless studios, eating lots of strange food, and gracing us with his presence as an honored witness at the final signing of papers.

Now, we're making this movie together (hopefully, the first of many). Thanks again mate! It's been a long, strange trip and it's just beginning!

Next, I want to thank my other "brother from another mother" and fellow producer on "War of the Worlds: Goliath", Leon Tan. I met Leon at the Tokyo International Film Forum in October of 2006, where I had been invited to present an audio/video pitch of another Heavy Metal Video project, "Lost Angeles" (developed by Simon Bisley, Kevin and I). On the very last day of the Conference and on the very last shuttle bus from my Roppongi Hotel into the Conference, I met Leon. Actually, he was the only other passenger on the bus.

Leon Bok Tan

We struck up a casual conversation and less then a year later (!), we were fully funded for production on "War of the Worlds: Goliath" and I was in Kuala Lumpur signing the papers.

Leon's an amazing guy. The owner of a pair of genial twinkling eyes, he can put on shades and look like the Chinese "Terminator". A high-powered "suit" who can clearly raise serious funding, Leon is also a full-on "otaku", a fanboy who can hold his own with ANYONE in a "Lord of the Rings" or "Dune" trivia contest. He never ceases to amaze me with his wide range of knowledge of obscure 80's T.V. Sci Fi and pop culture. And of course, he is a lifelong Heavy Metal magazine fan and reader and he is a HUGE fan of the amazing new "Battlestar Galactica" series, which makes him 100% okay in my book.

Leon's a co-owner of the top creative audio production house in Southeast Asia — Imaginex Studios — and (with his partner at Imaginex, Mike Bloemendal) my partner in our new company — Tripod Entertainment. More about Mike and the great crew at Imaginex later, but suffice to say that you all will be completely blown away by the full-throated sound and music mix that they are bringing to bear on "War of the Worlds: Goliath".

Imaginex Gang
Here's a shot of the Imaginex gang. Looks like a fun group, eh?

And last, but certainly not least, is my talented and beautiful wife of twenty years — Lisa Marie Pearson. She's been my life partner and strong right hand in every sense of the word and without her steadfast love, support and sacrifice through thick and thin I would never have found the time and space to truly create and dream.

Lisa Marie Pearson

It's no coincidence that I first began to create and build "worlds" in 1987, two years after we hooked up. Before that I was content to be another creative cog in someone else's animation machine and draw a steady paycheck. My relationship with Lisa grounded me and gave me the security and encouragement to begin to think outside of the animation artist trenches and to visualize new worlds and stories and to learn to become a director and producer. An artist in her own right, Lisa is as talented as well as she is lovely. She's a great graphic designer (check out the Tripod logo) and colorist and someone with a cool head for the business of business. When we formed Epoch Ink more then fifteen years ago, she was the one who found us our fantastic studio space and really managed the build-out and setup in there.

Thanks Pepper and remember, the best is yet to come.

Well, that’s it for now. See you all in a few weeks.

Best, JOE
Production Blog