A little while back you may remember me giving my appreciation for slathering like an idiot over an internet series called Sockbaby. To make a long story short, my page view count went from 5 readers to 6, and that unfortunate individual that clicked on my blog? John Soares, the man himself: Ronnie Cordova.
He’s here to talk to us today about his new internet series The Danger Element, which is already making waves around the indie community. Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce via computer screen, Mr. John Allen Soares!
So John, almond farmer to action star, that’s a pretty big transition. How did it all start?
I guess it started with my parents showing me the movie GHOSTBUSTERS when I was like 4 or something. I’ve wanted to make films for as long as I can remember so its really hard to pin down exactly where it started, but GHOSTBUSTERS is definitely the earliest influence that I can remember. We watched a lot of movies at my house, so I have to say it started there.
Hello? What’s with no hello!?
We’re UN-hello now.
As demonstrated in “The Tyrants of Nazca” you’re clearly a fan of Indiana Jones, but what other movies have influenced you in a major way?
TYRANTS OF NAZCA was actually made by Ben Beames. I just acted in it. I do really love the Indiana Jones films though and they have a huge, HUGE influence on me every day. I think all of Spielberg’s films influence me in a big way. He really knows how to do this stuff. Otherwise, I love a wide variety of movies. My favorite film at the moment is THE FOUNTAIN. I love Guillermo Del Toro’s stuff too. I’m also a fan of what Michael Bay has done with things like THE ISLAND and TRANSFORMERS. There is a film called FRANKLYN that I totally adore. All of Christopher Nolan’s work is so good that it almost makes me want to stop trying. It would take a list far too long to name all the different sorts of films I like.
What was the first movie you ever made, and what did you do with it when it was done?
My first film was called OASIS. It was a 12 minute psychological, horror/suspense short that I did as a student. I entered it in one film festival and it received the biggest ovation of anything I remember seeing that day. It was really exciting. I don’t know, maybe I will make it available for the public to see someday…
You’ve said before that you “want to make the movies I like to watch.” Following this guideline you’ve broken the norm of boring, artsy indie film. What is your advice to people that want to make really cool action and suspense movies, but aren’t sure how to make it cool and exciting?
I think you kind of said it already. Make what you like to watch. Just look at what you enjoy in a film and focus on recreating those things. More than anything, you just have to make stuff. Don’t make up excuses for why You can’t. Just do it. It takes a long time to get really good at this and it won‘t ever happen if you aren‘t doing it. I’ve been at it since the age of 12 and still don’t consider myself to be anywhere near as good at it as I want to be at the age of 29.
Alright now fuzzy little man-peach, ever drunk baileys from a shoe? Ever gone to a club where people wee on each other?
I’ve never drunk Bailey’s. If I do, I’ll make sure its from a shoe.
So, you just wrapped up episode 3 of The Danger Element, that’s quite an achievement! How long are you expecting this series to be?
I’m looking at at least 12 to 13 episodes total. I’m also writing a feature that would come after the series.
You haven’t really been shirtless yet in the series. Fix that.
For you, Griffin. Just for you.
There’s a lot of Steampunk influence in The Danger Element, whose idea was it to integrate it into the universe?
When I created the character, I don’t think the term ‘Steampunk’ had been invented yet. I really just wanted to make him kind of look like he was a fighter pilot. This was also the reason I wanted the car to be the way it is. I really wanted him to look like he was piloting this open cockpit fighter plane while he was driving. I had always kind of had that notion of injecting a little old aesthetic in with my modern story. I was really introduced to Steampunk as a style and a movement when I met Kato, the founder of SteampunkCouture.com . I actually met her in person for the first time in a spectacular underground steampunk night club in LA, so you can imagine the impact the whole idea had on me. She’s a really brilliant designer and her style kind of suggests practicality and use more than it suggests dressing up like you are living in 1906. It really fit the idea of what I was doing with Battle J, so I thought maybe I could integrate that into the design of all the things that have anything to do with him. Like maybe his order is just independent enough of society that everything has its own look and its own aesthetic evolution. Kato already designed Enki’s costume and its brilliant. The whole idea kind of spills over into the props as well, like Enki’s gun, which was built by Ben Page.
As far as Doctor Elymas’ goes, he is actually supposed to have been alive since the 1800s. He’s used his twisted science and magic to keep himself alive since then and so it makes sense for him to have one foot in the old and one foot in the new. And its great because I just kind of like the way it looks.
Do you have The Danger Element fully written yet, or do you write each episode as you come to it?
There is an outline that is in various stages of completion. Each episode exists as either an outline or a completed script. As I move along I will often edit or rewrite things. So I guess the answer is yes. For the most part. It existed originally as a feature film script, but a lot of it changes somewhat in the adaptation. I really wanted it to work as a series and not just as a feature that is chopped up into sections.
And finally, what piece of filmmaking wisdom do you personally use most often?
‘Don’t be lazy.’
I really had to think about this question and I think this is the best answer. Its really easy to cut corners or to say, “well, I don’t have the resources to do this right. Maybe someday.’ But the truth is, when you put everything you’ve got into what you are doing, it may still not turn out just the way you hoped, but it will be a step closer every time. So don’t be lazy. Take the extra steps. Set up that last light, black out that window, get out the right microphone, reshoot that shot on Friday that didn’t look right when you shot it on Monday. Do everything you can. Don’t cheat yourself.
When I started thinking this way, it changed everything.
John Soares spends his days being professional badass and doing other gentlemanly things. He occasionally enjoys going to clubs where people wee on each other.