Today we interview Buck Stienke and Ken Farmer, writers of the brilliant action thriller novel “Black Eagle Force“. Buck is also the CEO of Timber Creek Productions, eminent company in the movies industry, and Ken is its Chief Operating Officer.
Manuel: Buck, how is to be a producer in 2011? Easier or more difficult than in the previous century?
Buck: Financing is definitely more difficult in the current economy. Many people who had significant real estate holdings in their portfolio are under water. From a technology standpoint, digital film making is probably less than 10% of the costs of film, with far more flexibility. Print, editing & distribution costs are down, of course. Electronic transmission of business plans, video taped auditions and the finished product itself save time and money. Networking provides instantaneous access and exposure to many thousands of potential customers.
Manuel: Ken, considering your actor experience, what changed in acting since the beginnings of your career and todays acting?
Ken: When I began as a professional actor thirty-eight years ago, we had to have hundreds of headshots printed up and demo reels duplicated. These headshots/resumes/demo reels were either hand delivered or mailed to casting directors, producers, directors or agents. Today, we can just hit “send”. It’s far faster and less expensive… Oh, and green. Video taped auditions are becoming the norm as opposed to driving many miles to do the same thing. I can recall having to go to five auditions in one day spread all over LA, what a bitch. One thing that has never changed, however, is Acting is still Storytelling. No getting around that. It’s still a skills business. I have been teaching an organic acting class in Dallas for over 12 years now.
Manuel: Ken and Buck, how you met and how you had the idea to create Timber Creek Productions?
Ken and Buck: We met through mutual friends and Buck bugged me for four months to read some of my scripts. I finally brought him a copy of “Rockabilly Baby“, a script I had adapted from a Leslie Jordan stage play about the birth of rock and roll in the fifties. Leslie and I had been friends since the ’80s and I loved his stage play. After reading the script, Buck asked what it would cost to shoot it. I told him and he just said, “Let’s do it.” It was getting close to the end of the year and he wanted to finish for that year’s taxes. I cast it mostly from my acting class I had been teaching for almost ten years. The lead actor, Denton Everett (Baby Boy Watkins), had been studying with me for 8 years. We prepped for thirty days and started shooting on Dec. 10. I had called a long time friend and DP in LA, Jim Roberson, to come out and shoot for us. We decided to shoot the three camera HD system with P2 cards. We wrapped on Dec. 21.
We did 547 set ups with a total of two hours of overtime and a grand total of one, that’s 1 outtake on a 105 page script. The finished product was edited down to 86 minutes. We also wrote all original rock and roll music.
Manuel: What can you tell us about Black Eagle Force that really makes this novel unique?
Ken and Buck: “Black Eagle Force – Eye of the Storm” is a story/character driven military action novel. The uniqueness comes from the premise that half the action takes place in Texas involving illegal aliens/drug cartels, border incursions with suit case nukes and human trafficking. The Black Eagle Force is a group of former military Special Ops veterans and pilots who contract with the DoD for ultra rapid response interdiction within the US and abroad. They fly a special high speed VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) attack craft equipped with a futuristic electromagnetic, multi-barrel, rapid fire coil gun, air to air and air to ground missiles. The craft is a highly modified stealthy four nacelle Moller Skycar with the speed of a plane (400 mph) and the maneuverability of a helicopter re-designated as the M600/A Black Eagle. They kick ass. The novel will be published by Tate Publishing this summer. Our Fan page on FaceBook is: link
Manuel: What about the screen/teleplays you wrote?
Ken and Buck: Buck and I have written over 25 screen or teleplays over the last four years. We adapted the 690 page novel, “Verdict! In Search of a Crime” by John Eastman, into a 120 page feature screenplay. It’s being reviewed in LA as we speak. Doing the adaptation of John’s novel gave us the inspiration for writing our own novel, ie, “Black Eagle Force – Eye of the Storm”. We have also already adapted BEF into a feature screenplay. In addition, we have written ten episodes of “Rockabilly Baby” as a thirty minute sitcom and a two hour pilot of “Bone”, a sci-fy based cop dramady initiating with the historical space craft crash in Aurora, Texas in 1897 (Google it) with fourteen one hour episodes. “Bone” is currently being reviewed for a possible series.
Manuel: What do you plan to do together in the next months? Any new projects?
Ken and Buck: We are currently working on the sequel to “Black Eagle Force – Eye of the Storm”, entitled, “Black Eagle Force – Sacred Mountain”. BDF – Sacred Mountain will introduce new characters and new futuristic, but realistic weapons. And, of course, we’ll be on a Book Tour when “Black Eagle Force – Eye of the Storm” is released. There will be an E-Book, an audio book as well as the printed version. We also think it would make a great video game.
Manuel: How do you see the future of Entertainment Business?
Ken and Buck: The business is constantly evolving. New ideas will continue to surface but, unfortunately, many of the decision makers in Hollywood have little stomach for risk or innovation, That’s why we see so many remakes of even mediocre films. Perhaps that is the nature of a capital intensive business, but someone has to make the original Rocky, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, SAW first. Independent producers must be flexible and innovative. Costs and incentives have driven much work out of California and the scourge of reality programming will be with us as long as advertisers can find an audience.
We thank Ken and Buck and wish them to have wonderful ideas for new novels!