We’ve individually introduced our principal cast members: Karrie Shirou, Ariel Hancock, Paul Birchard, Lex Quarterman, Veronika Kurshinskaya, and William Roberts, as well as pilot episode guest star Sergei Oleinik. These are joined by a number of other very talented cast members in the pilot episode: Melodee M. Spevack
We found Sergei Oleinik, who is a voice-over artist from Moscow, via an online voice-over casting site. He’s a pretty great guy, and hardly made any fuss over having to do all of this acting in English. In the pilot, of course, he has to speak quite a bit of both Russian and English, which I think he managed very well. Sergei Oleinik is a voice-over artist, currently residing in Moscow, Russian Federation. He has worked as a translator, voiceover artist, and musician. He has been involved in many different projects ranging from international television productions to documentaries, music videos, and commercials.
William Roberts is an excellent and experienced actor, and he does a terrific job with the part of Rob Lerner, the colony leader. In fact, he’s so perfect at it, there’s isn’t much specific to say, except “it’s perfect”. He’s got the right tone, the right mix of inspiration and realism, and just that little touch of worrying charisma. You do feel that if this guy talked you into walking off a cliff, you just might do it. But fortunately for you, his heart’s in the right place.
When we wrote the characters for Lunatics! , we didn’t really give a whole lot of thought to how easy they would be to cast. It was only after that, that we started to seriously consider how hard it might be to find someone to play Anya convincingly. In the story, of course, Anya is a native Russian who speaks English very well. If we cast an American voice-actress who would then play the character with an accent, it would undoubtedly sound noticeably fake. Also, if she ever had to speak Russian, it would mean a real loss in credibility for anyone who understands it.
Lex Quarterman first auditioned for Sergei, because he’s also fluent in Russian, but after listening to his demos, we decided he would be awesome as Tim Farmer (and actually Tim probably would speak Russian). Tim, of course, is the teenage son of Anya Titova and Josh Farmer, who feels dragged along against his will, although we think he might just be enjoying the fame and attention just a little bit.
Update on our Kickstarter Campaign: “Meet Mechanical Modeler Chris Kuhn” – we’re at about 4% of our goal still which may not seem like much, but it’s still $1778. Remember that you won’t lose anything for trying – if we don’t make it, you’ll never be charged. And you won’t be charged anything until Aug 20th in any case. We can still make it if we can let more people know about the project. Link after the fold…
The task of converting the set of modelsheets drawn by Daniel Fu to 3D character models is a pretty tricky one. It requires a definite artistic sense of form in 3D, the ability to follow an inexact pattern, and of course, a great deal of skill with Blender. In addition to modeling the basic form represented by the modelsheets, the modeler also has to create a range of “shape keys” to represent different facial expressions. This is how we generally animate facial expressions. Blender does a kind of “morph” from the neutral position to one or more extreme points of facial expression (this is different from how we animate arm and leg motions, which are based on skeletal deformations of the character mesh).
We knew what we wanted to do with the personalities of the characters for Lunatics! , and we had back-stories, descriptions, and a few personal details. But we didn’t have characters, and I intentionally left some creative room there, because I felt that a real character designer could do a much better job. I had done something similar to this for a game project years back, and my first choice was to contact one of the designers who had worked on that project – Daniel Fu . Of course, years had passed, and he’d gone on to different sorts of work. He’d also done his own online comic series with ” The Retriever “. So I felt pretty lucky when he agreed to do the designs for us.
Two of our major character parts in “Lunatics!” are played by the extremely versatile veteran character actor and voice-over artist, Paul Birchard. We are so lucky to have this guy on the project, and he really breathes life into these two characters: Joshua Farmer and R. Allen Emerson.
Ariel Hancock (who plays “Georgiana Lerner” in “Lunatics!”) asks for your support: