Local web-series creators, Clockwork Ninja Films took a moment to indulge me with an interview about themselves and their web series Henchmen. I’m always inspired by fellow Arizonans gathering up an idea along with whatever resources they have, and making something – whether silly or serious.
I think you’ll be able to tell which one Clockwork Ninja is.
Why do you call yourselves Clockwork Ninja Films?
When we were thinking of names to give ourselves we wanted to do something that sounded geeky and fun so anyone watching us would know not to take anything we do or say seriously. Originally, we were going for Cyborg Clockwork Ninja Pirate Productions, but it was too long for YouTube, so we settled for the shorter Clockwork Ninja Films opting for our love of everything steampunk and anime. It wasn’t until later we realized a Clockwork Ninja was an actual mythological creature.
Who came up with the idea for Henchmen, and where did it come from?
I (Richard Wilcox) first thought of the idea for a movie based around a newly hired henchman’s perspective back in 2004 as a combination from my love of action movies, comic books and Hagar the Horrible (the comic strip), but knowing next to nothing about the film industry I left the the idea as a few notes jotted down on paper and gave up on the movie.
It wasn’t until 2009 when I was watching the first annual Streamys that the idea of making a web series came up. I went to my wife and presented her the idea. It went something like this:
“Honey, look at this! I could become world famous by making a web series!”
“This is great, all I need is a story.”
“How about that silly movie idea you had about the bad guys?”
Surprisingly, it was that very week I met co-creator Andrew Nelson through a series of events that may or may not involve a church gathering, Dungeons and Dragons and a miniature pirate ship game. He ultimately became the mind behind the prop building, CGI effects and miniatures used.
Thus Henchmen was born.
Where did the helmet/costume designs come from?
We wanted the henchmen to have a familiar yet unique look. Though there was much collaboration Andrew designed and built the helmets while I designed and built the costumes for Dr. Xull and Puppet. We were inspired by various areas from old movies, steampunk, table-top games to comic books and cartoons.
The helmets are built from cardboard, foam, split peas and plumbing parts. The armor consists of fabric, cardboard, window blinds, random plastic parts and duct tape. Dr. Xull’s mask was made from a plastic ice cream tub and a recycled set of 3D glasses.
Puppet’s head is made from an oatmeal container and a cereal bowl.
Where do you shoot Henchmen?
Henchmen is shot on a green screen at Andrew’s house… Mainly because I have small children that make a lot of noise at my place.
What’s your favorite thing about making the show?
Everything! One of our favorite parts after all of the hard work and late night building props and sets, of re-writing lines and setting up special effects is seeing it all come together in the end result.
Where did Malicorns come from?
Andrew is an art teacher and during a lesson on drawing horses which evolved into a lesson on drawing unicorns, pegasus, and alicorns. Natural progression led him to teach the children to create evil variations such as the Pirate Unicorn, Ninja Unicorn and Zombie Unicorn finally leading into the Malicorn!
What do you see in Clockwork Ninjas’ future?
Surprisingly, we never anticipated on where we are heading, but rather we’ve been focused on having fun and doing what makes us laugh on the way.
How can fans get involved?
All we ask is that people tell their friends and spread the word about Henchmen. If there are enough people out there that like what they see, we’ll try to make DVD’s and t-shirts, but for now all we ask is people sit back, enjoy, give us feedback (Yes, we’ll even accept negative feedback so long as it is constructive. Flamers will be used for target practice), and most importantly subscribe!
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