Would you believe that I had never been to Comic Con before this year? It’s true. The reason? It’s a mad house. I mean, it’s fun, wacky, nerdy beyond your wildest dreams. But it’s a LOT to take in, man, its a lot. And I’m the type of guy who gets a little uneasy in large crowds…
So I decided to wait until the day when I’d have my own project to take there. Perhaps that’s also the superstitious side of me.
Well this year, my opportunity came. Warner arranged a panel discussion for my new series H+. Actually, its official title is *clearing throat* H+: The Digital Series *tight-lipped smile*. No comment.
We showed the trailer twice during the weekend. Once at our own panel and again in Hall H during a discussion on upcoming indie fare (all together about 3000 people saw it!). And even though H+ is a Warner series, this has very much been treated like an indie project from the get go. In studio terms, ours was a micro budget for something of this scope… and so we had to practically pull rabbits out of hats in order to get it made. Very skilled rabbits, actually, that worked art department, operated the cameras, catering etc. This was a lot of magic, aligned stars, and intense, around the clock work from an incredibly talented team of young filmmakers (and rabbits) who just believed so strongly they could pull it off… that they did. So don’t let the Warner name fool you. Warner was certainly generous in the amount of freedom and support they gave our process compared to what you typically hear about in the studio system… but this was and still is a grass roots project that will likely live or die by its word of mouth.
That said, here’s our trailer, if you haven’t already had a chance to see it:
I know. It looks big. It is.
The story of H+ takes place over the span of a decade… sometime in the near future. And I actually wanted to clarify a few things here in this post, the first being the time setting of the series. There are some blogs and news outlets that put the date of the story in 2019. This partly correct… but mostly incorrect. First, there is no one date for the series. It’s not like Lost where everything is either a flashback or flashforward or flashupwards from the present. There is a major event that happens at the beginning of the story that serves as a sort of reference point. But as the story progresses, episodes are more like fragmented puzzle pieces, challenging the audience to actually piece the story together themselves.
2019 was an arbitrary (far, but not too far off) date that Cosimo and I used back in 2007 when we pitched the project to Warner Brothers. And a couple of the press releases that have been circulating or plucked from old sources, unfortunately, have information in them that hasn’t been updated in a while. In some cases, not since we even started writing the script. Is it likely that our timeline passes through 2019? As I said, the story is near future and spans a decade. So it’s safe to say that 2019 is on our timeline somewhere, even though we’ve tried to keep dates out of this chapter of the story.
We like to say that a major character in the story is the world itself. In fact, for large portions, it’s the main unifier between many of the character and storylines. H+ takes place in over 11 different countries and 6 continents, some with multiple scenes in vastly different regions. Which is a huge testament to the skills of our director Stewart Hendler who was able to do all that using various locations in only ONE country (well two if you count the day of pick-ups he did in his living room in LA… the dude is an arch-mage). It also speaks volumes for the country we used, its people, its diverse landscapes, its insanely talented film crews and producers.
We shot in Chile (around Santiago) for 30 days. The series is over 3 hours long.
Second thing I want to clarify are the story’s themes… and this is only because a few loud blogs and commenters I’ve read since the trailers premiere seem worried that the series is some sort of anti-technology propaganda. First of all, that trailer was commissioned by the studio to do exactly what trailers are supposed to: get your blood pumping. To make you want to check it out. Trailers use a spattering of lines and images designed to introduce you to the general themes (technology, sure), obstacles, and characters. But they often do this by cutting together ideas and images out of context.
A YouTube user named Rincewindshat66 has this to say about the trailer:
“SCIENCE IS EVIL! FEAR CHANGE! TECHNOLOGY WILL DOOM US ALL! Man, I’m really getting tired of all this sci-fi doom-saying. Doesn’t anyone remember Star Trek and the idea of a hopeful future based on technological advancement? If everyone thinks we should go back to eating raw meat and living in mud houses, they can do that. I’ll take the future of robots, nanomachines, genetics-based cures for all diseases, and intergalactic travel, thank you very much.”
This comment started a small debate on the video which was eclipsed by an even larger one on Machinima’s version of the trailer… which we all found pretty exciting, actually. I’m glad people are talking about it at all. That discussion put the trailer into the top discussed entertainment videos on YouTube that day.
But Rince, I’m right there with you, bro. And there are plenty of characters in the story who are with you too. The thing is, all of the pro technology knights out there seem to be basing their entire arguement not just on a trailer, but on one line in the trailer spoken by this guy here:
“Science has failed this world.”
If this guy doesn’t totally scream antagonist to you on first watch of the trailer, then man we did something wrong. I mean look at him. Doesn’t he just make you angry? Sick to your stomach? Ugh! I can’t even look at him anymore. Sorry.
Bottom line, this series is anything but a rail against technology. Or a doomsday prophesy. Or an ode to Intelligent Design. It’s sci-fi. And sure, there are big scary events that take place? That’s storytelling. But to any of you out there worried that this is a one sided discussion about the dangers of technology, I promise, the series is much more than that.
Here’s a post panel interview I did at Comic Con where I talk a bit about what I think the series really deals with. Which, if we did our job right may not necessarily be what you think the series deals with.
Anyway, now that the series has been officially announced, I can share more details. I wish we had had an opportunity to take questions from the Comic Con audience, but our panel was tight on time. So if any of you were there (or even if you weren’t) and wanted to ask a question, you can do so here in the comments. I’ll try my best to answer what I can.
Coming up soon: Some insights and tales from our process.