Sci-Fi lovers! Get ready! Zhon Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmidt has arrived in the World Wide Web. And yes, that's the name of the mysterious character who claims himself to be an alien, and he's the star of the original sci-fi dramedy webseries called ZHON: The Alien Interviews, a production by RobEric Media, LLC
ZHON has a character-driven story fueled with a dramatic plot, smart comedy, memorable script, and a cast of talented actors whose engaging performances make the show a blast of fun to watch.
Here is an epic preview of Zhon: The Alien Interviews:Interview with Eric Schumacher, Co-Executive Producer (Agent David Killjoy in the show) :
Fantascize.com: So how did your team come up with this awesome project?
Schumacher: A little over three years ago actor/fight choreographer Robert Linden and I met on a movie set for a film in which I had the lead, and he was a the fight choreographer. We hit it off and formed a strong friendship. On our way back from the set Rob suggested we should write a movie together and I agreed, thinking he'd probably forget about it in a week or so. He called me the next week and reminded me about our conversation then we started. After spending some time on another project which we will eventually produce, we realized that what we really ought to do is produce a web show, in our favorite genre, science fiction. We also realized that with the combination of our skills and resources we could put together a team that could make something huge and would give us the opportunity to help promote the careers of other great artists and draw attention to our local film industry.
Fantascize.com: Is it challenging for your team the special effects you wanted to show with the given budget?
Schumacher: Everything was challenging on our given budget. Some really good planning and a level of hard work that really, you should never ask of anyone, made it possible. We shot the show on a little less than 5% of the projected total budget. That was necessary because the projected budget was well out of our reach. We had to get creative in order to make a show of quality. In general, we believe in a minimalist approach to special effects. The audience really shouldn't be thinking about the special effects except "hey that was cool". Some of our special effects were done as "practical effects". That means that no digital effects were used in those cases.
For example, the scene in season one episode one were Zhon first disappears was done using excellent timing, many takes, and a complicated series of weights and pullies, or at least some really strong string. (Laughs). Many of our “floating” effects were also practical and I should add that it's a good thing that Rob has really good upper body strength. Other effects were done in post-production by our brilliant editor, Chris Valentine. I'm really glad you like the special effects. It means we did our job well. We spent less and money than you would believe on the effects, probably a lot more in time and effort then was reasonable however.
Fantascize.com: A scene from your series made me laugh. How did your team find comedic talent? Did you have to audition a lot of actors for their roles?
Schumacher: I'm glad you think the show is funny. That was really important to us. The show is really a dramedy. Life is funny you know and as Peter Ustinov once said, “Good comedy is just drama that's funny”. Our show is character driven and is funny at times and very dramatic at others. We held extensive auditions over several weeks. Rob of course with precast as Zhon and the role was written for him. I was precast as Agent David Killjoy and that role was written for me. Stephen Rosanelli and Gary McGaha who played agents blue and gray respectively walked in and unquestionably nailed their auditions. We have worked with both of them before and expected no less. The same with Jeff Scotland who played Section Chief Robert Killjoy. Amanda and Mindy were far more challenging. There were several contenders for the roles of Amanda Bella and for Mindy. Alida Gunn worked really hard to get the role of Amanda Bella. We loved her but really wanted to see more possibilities since the role was so critical to the show. After her second audition she wanted the role desperately and after he third audition which took about an hour and a half, there was no question in our minds that she was Amanda. She owned it. We actually shot several scenes with a different Mindy a wonderful actress by the name of Kristina Moser. Unfortunately, there was a major change in Kristina's availability that was beyond her control and we had to recast. Michele Holland had been unable to come to the original additions for Mindy although we had really wanted to audition her having worked with her before also. Her schedule changed right about the time we were looking for a replacement Mindy and we offered her the role immediately. She walked onto the set with about two day's preparation and nailed it. Many of our guest cast nailed it in the first audition such as Steve McKee, who played the security guard in episode one (a fan favorite character) but others took quite a while to find, and in some cases we were casting right up to the day of the shoot.
Check out Zhon's official website at - www.whoiszhon.com