We’ve been a big fan of the work of Ron Newcomb for some time. We loved his adventure movie, Rise of the Fellowship; which was a perfect homage to the Lord of the Rings films and Tolkien. When we heard that his next film, The Rangers, would be taking him deep into Middle Earth; we knew we’d have to get on board. Newcomb is currently filming this ambitious project, but he took some time away from the armor and the elves to give us an update on the project and what we’re going to expect. Check out our interview below!
Ron: This was a whole new animal. The mechanics were the same, but although it was to be a “shorter” project in length the scope was so much bigger. Getting the logistics of all of the wardrobe, costuming, and make-up took a tremendous amount of thinking through and still was not enough. If you want to do fantasy right, I’ve learned there are no “small” projects.
DFAT: How long has The Rangers been in your head brewing before you got to the point of doing a Kickstarter?
Ron: It was about four years that I started to envision what my next project would be. I knew I wanted to do a fantasy, and I knew I wanted Wolf J. Sherrill in it! It was about two years ago that I really took the many small and various notes and brought them together to start to formulate a story. Once I had the skeleton, I brought on my many writing partners into the mix to begin to capture the magic of the world of “The Rangers” known as “Adrasil”.
DFAT: How do you think the crowd-funding process has gone? What’s it like compared to money raising by conventional means?
Ron: Crowd-funding is not the faint of heart. You can have an amazing project and there is no guarantee for success. It’s also not a sustainable business model that you can just do over and over again. However, what I love about it is not the funding part, which is great, but the fan part. They are no longer just fans, they truly become a part of the project. Us indies know that without our fans we are nothing. It was extremely important for me to invite them on this journey with us, and crowd-funding gives that opportunity. They are in the trenches with you…they are just as nervous as you are – why? Because it is no longer a me and them – it’s an “us” – and that means everything!
DFAT: I know we talked about doing Rise and you said you had a lot of friends and family helping you out throughout it, I think you even mentioned your dad doing Kraft Services. I think it’s awesome to have so many people you trust participating to get your dream off the ground. Is it going to be the same this time around?
Ron: No doubt it’s a family affair. Again, that’s the day in the life of the indie filmmaker. One of my brothers, Gary, did not get to do much for Rise so this go around he’s taken off the entire week from work and for that one week – he’ll be a filmmaker with me, jumping in how/where he can. But, it’s not just my family – many many of the crews’ family members jump in and give a hand – again that’s the only way us indies can truly make it happen.
Ron: We absolutely recognize this truth. I listen to more scores as my regular musical enjoyment option, so I know the power of a great score. Our #1 request has been for actors but not far behind our #2 request has been people wanting to score this. We have some amazing talent that want to help with this. I do have a point person for this, Dan Rebiez who is helming this but we’ll be exploring many options to ensure we get this right. I’m also pleased to announce our post production sound house, Capital Audio Post is going to ensure we squeeze every nectar of sound out of this!
DFAT: One thing that I love about The Rangers is that you’ve created an entire world and rich background for your characters and their surroundings, you even went as far as to create a card game based off this world. Can you tell us a bit about the game and what went into that?
Ron: I’m also thinking of ways to invite fans into the story. Fan engagement is crucial. We created the card game as a way for fans to be a part of The Rangers and have their own stories to tell. We are all fans of the genre so fellow producers Skip Lipman, Jerry Mosemak and I worked on coming up with the rules of how the game play would be. We then tested it out and tweaked it until we got it right. We only see this as the initial game as we know fans will want things tweaked along the way and we’ve kept it just loose enough to be able to adjust to their needs. The artwork being done by Jerry Mosemak has been fun to see come to life – it’s going to be top notch!
DFAT: You’ll be shooting in your backyard of Virginia, what are the benefits and challenges of shooting locally?
Ron: There are so many benefits to shooting local. I am from Virginia and much like Peter Jackson, want to show off my hometown. We have some many gorgeous landscapes. The community with the help of locals Lynn Sullivan and Nina May have really embraced us in Rappahannock, VA. They do not get films there often and are so inviting and appreciate what we are trying to do for the local businesses. We are lucky as well as our state does support filmmaking and that does include financial incentives. I hope people will see the beauty of Virginia as Adrasil and will want to visit the fantasy world we’ve created in the hills of Virginia.
DFAT: Tell me a bit about the convention circuit if you can. What conventions will you do next year, what is the experience like, and what’s your visions for a Rangers Cosplay Army?
Ron: It’s hard to say which ones will hit and when as the post-production is like a dragon that is extremely difficult to conquer. We also are not sure of what the final distribution method will be yet and will need to leverage it.
But we have visions of grandeur as far as Cosplay goes! We’ve partnered with Medieval Collectibles, which have been awesome! They will be able to help our fans Cosplay as many of the Ranger Characters. Of which there are plenty to choose from like, Rangers, Shadow Elves, Wood Elves, Orcs and Bounty Hunters. We plan to offer some nice “rewards” for those that Cosplay and make it over to our booth.
DFAT: We have a lot of readers who are interested in film-making and getting their stories seen, what sort of advice can you give them?
Ron: A film will fight you every step of the way. It will not want to be made. It will resist you in many forms. Have the perseverance to push through. Filmmaking is not a solo sport and there is no need to go at it alone. Understand film is not just art, but must have a business element to it if you want to do it again. Lastly, production will be the most tiring, confusing, chaotic thing you’ll do and you’ll never have more fun…go for it!
Thanks again for talking to me about The Rangers. I promise that when you’re done filming we can chat on a podcast and you can tell me about the production. I’m going to see what I can do about getting down there for shooting and possibly the after party because I’d love to see what you do in person. I’m really excited to see how this turns out and if there’s anything I can do to promote it or help out let me know!