Swords of Insurgency
Nerd Rage News was given a rare opportunity to talk with Michael Neal of Mythology Studios and the creator of Swords of Insurgency, a new web series that seems inspired by the many cyberpunk and Post Apocalyptic films and books of the past three decades. Mr. Neal appears to have created something truly worth seeing but you will have to wait a little longer as all we have right now is a great trailer. I am told that the editing process is 75% complete so we get to chomp at the bit and wait little longer but I am certain from what I have seen, that the wait will be worth every second. If you want to be a part of this check out Kickstarter in the coming weeks as they will soon have one up to help fund future episodes. Let us take a look at what Michael had to say about his project.
Tell me a little about yourself.
I am the owner of Mythology Studios LLC, a photography and motion picture studio in Northern Virginia. I have done a few small documentaries and short films and after some experimentation decided I would take on something larger for the first time with Swords of Insurgency. I have a background in martial arts; Aikido, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which strongly influenced making Swords of Insurgency as an action series.
Although I was never under the tutorage of any of my relatives, I believe that I have creativity in my genes. A cousin of mine was Charles Bonniwell, Jr. an Assistant Director for the Twilight Zone TV series among many other productions. Another cousin, Sean Bonniwell, was one of the fathers of psychedelic, garage and punk rock, singing for The Music Machine (1965–1969). My grandfather, Francis Neal, was a freelance photographer for the Washington Post.
Swords of Insurgency is a web series that takes place 30 years after the world fell apart due to economic breakdown, riots, and the following world wars known as the Apocalyptic Wars. The wars ultimately resulted in the complete breakdown of the electrical grid with limited nuclear and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons. During the Apocalyptic Wars, nations had already ceased to exist due to mass economic breakdown. Warlords took over in their place and laid claims to their pieces of the world. The story of Swords of Insurgency begins in the Taneg Empire. The regime is a cruel dictatorship where Taneg and his son Droll have put together anImperial Army to enforce their conquests and to jail all of their political opponents into Ferulvad Prison. Abi, the main protagonist, is one of the jailed dissidents, who desperately wants to escape to meet up with the resistance.
Decades have passed after the great apocalypse and the world has become a reincarnation of the dark ages with warlords fighting each other for domination. Most of the world’s firearms have been destroyed or hidden and hand to hand warfare has returned as the dominant form of fighting.
Abi is a sword and martial arts prodigy with a stubborn disposition. She was once the Hatan Empire’s most promising officer until she and her father Talos chose the wrong side during a savage coup. Loyalists supported Talos after Emperor Hatan’s suspicious death, but a barbarous general named Taneg ascended to power with his loyal thugs.
Talos escaped and went into hiding but Taneg shackled Abi in his brutal political prison, Ferulvad. She was spared a certain death to become a pet for Taneg’s son Droll, a demented psychopath who has always desired her. Taneg began a reign of terror to seize territory and to discourage rebellion. In the countryside, Talos has been busy plotting against the despotic regime.
How did this project get started?
It started as a really small martial arts film with a few friends in my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class. Once I posted the project on Facebook and local filmmaking sites to try and recruit some talent, I was flooded with interest from actor, writers, stunt people, and experienced filmmakers. The project steadily grew into a project with over 60 members of our cast and crew Facebook group. Members contribute as actors, crew, extras, writers, or other creative services. After the growth we decided to make it a series due to the amount of involvement we had.
The man protagonist Abi is played by Rebecca Hausman who is a veteran stage actress with multiple stage combat certifications. She is also a trained dancer and has appeared in several indie film projects. Jarod Kearney who is playing the main antagonist Droll was in the hit web series “Mario Warfare” among many other film projects. He is a Japanese swordsmith as well. Below are links to the bios for the main cast for the first episode. Members of the DC Stunt Coalition have been providing the stunt people to play some of the imperial guard fighters and supporting characters.
With all good films, there seems to be an underlying message. What is the underlying message in this film?
The most obvious message is the fallout and consequences for the lust of power and revenge. How this lust impacts the character and those around them, physically and psychologically.
What was your budget?
About $3000 for the first episode and trailer, out of pocket expenses over about a year. We hope to raise about 6K per episode with our upcoming Kickstarter campaign this month so we can continue to up the quality of the production.
Swords of Insurgency is both a great action series with serious drama for those who want a good story that sometimes goes somewhere unpredicted. We have a very diverse and talented cast that each bring a different martial skill to the fighting sequences as well as the rich characters.
From the trailer we can see some great set and costume design, tell me a little about it.
Antonia Arcella Perry is the costume designer and she helped put together the look for the resistance members. The goal was not to overdo it with the typical cyberpunk look of most post-apocalyptic characters we see, but instead a more organic look that reflects people going back to a more simple way of life without civilization.
I agonized for a long time over the general uniform for the villains and decided upon grey coveralls and ski mask for the general soldiers, and vintage military looks for the officers. It’s simple, inexpensive for our budget and provides the menacing criminal look to them that I want to portray.
Set design has been mostly about access to great locations. The prison we filmed at provided most of the setting we needed with some added props where appropriate. We definitely can do more to dress the sets, and after our Kickstarter campaign we hope to have a much larger budget for costuming and set design.
Where can people go to see Swords of Insurgency?
It is a web series that will be offered online from our website: http://swordsofinsurgency.com
Are you currently working on your next project?
I am working on the development of another series which will be a modern sci-fi/action thriller. It will be centered on villains with arcane ways of killing people with poison, drones, diseases, chemicals, martial weapons, etc. It’s still in the early stages as I am focusing most of my effort on the continuation of Swords of Insurgency.
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