Our next featured guest is becoming a force to be reckoned with in modern film making. An actor, writer, director, producer, editor, cinematographer, and visual effects artist, he touches every aspect of movie creation. He’s currently making lots of noise with his superhero series ‘Chosen Kin Origins’. You can watch Season 1 on Amazon Prime. He’s sure to do the same with upcoming Sci-Fi film ‘The X-Species’ about an archaeological expedition turned deadly. Please welcome to LiquidAE.com the founder of iSparked Studios…Neko Sparks!
LiquidAE.com: What was your first project?
Neko Sparks: My first project, oh man this is going back! It’s not even on my IMDB anymore! I did a project called ‘Dark Rain’. We’d seen ‘Scream’ and ‘Scream 2’ came out, and they were big! So we thought what if we got a bunch of us out there and tried to do the same thing but set it at a house party? So we did the project, put it out on home video and it was super successful. I was kind of in from that point.
LiquidAE.com: So you and your friends put this together and took the necessary steps to get it on home video?
Neko Sparks: Absolutely! I was in film school, we had access to equipment, and my buddies and I shot it in Denver. It was at the same time Master P was out with ‘I’m ‘Bout It’. Everyone was kind of doing that thing. So we did it and got it to a distributer, we sold copies ourselves, we did a soundtrack. And the community supported us so it kind of took on a life of its own. We sold it out the trunk, we played the soundtrack and sold it out of the trunk… Yeah, it was hilarious! I can’t even watch it now!
LiquidAE.com: That had to be an awesome time in your life!
Neko Sparks: Yeah, it was our first thing! That’s back when they were doing VHS. We sent it off to a distributer and they said let us see what we can do with it. We just let it go at that because we were making money selling it out the trunk. And then I got a check for $16,000 or $17,000! They were selling them to Blockbuster and Hollywood Video! I did that for a little bit then switch it up and got into different types of projects.
LiquidAE.com: Are any of your friend still working with you?
Neko Sparks: No. I shot a film with my brother in New Mexico that’s going to be distributed hopefully by Sony. We’re negotiating with them. I’ll bring him out to work with me on occasion, but he’s still in Colorado and does his own thing. That’s about it. When I stepped up I went from using my film school buddies to using real production personnel. It was a nice little jump.
LiquidAE.com: How long were you acting before you started doing serious production?
Neko Sparks: Probably about 4 or 5 years. I was doing really well in Colorado. I was doing a lot of commercial gigs and music videos. I came out to L.A. and started from the bottom! You’re a big fish in a small pond back home, but when you come to L.A. you have to start over. So I did background, small supporting roles. The roles got bigger as I was ramping up my production company.
LiquidAE.com: What made you want to start your production company?
Neko Sparks: I went to a film festival when I was in film school and got to hang around some pretty notables. I just watched how they worked. Spike Lee was down there, Vin Diesel was down there back when he was going by a different name. He was doing multiracial movies. I just thought that there was a real void in the market for films that catered to a different audience; different than comedies and urban dramas. We just wanted to think outside the box and do horror and other things like Sci-Fi that just wasn’t being done. I just fell in love with Black cinema at that point.
LiquidAE.com: What made you draw to that besides thinking outside the box?
Neko Sparks: As a kid I loved Sci-Fi. And my degree is actually in Anthropology and Archaeology, so I’ve always had that kind of mindset. I’m curious about other cultures and how other people live. Then I studied over in Mexico. When I was there, just the images I’d seen of us over there was stereotypical. Then I thought why aren’t these great films that we’re doing making it into these other market places? And if they did make it, it was only a certain type of film.
LiquidAE.com: Give us a little background about ‘The X Species’.
Neko Sparks: I wrote a screenplay. And it was a really high budget screen play. So I decided to just go out and do it myself. I hooked up with a fellow producer that worked with Miramax and a bunch of other companies. He got the screenplay, jumped on board and wanted to get it done. We put it out there trying to raise money and it wasn’t going well. Then one guy seen the screenplay, he put up all the money, we shot it in the middle of New Mexico on a 70,000 acre ranch. We rented the property and the owner just let us run on it! Our actors and production staff came down form LA, and the rest is history. It was amazing.
LiquidAE.com: And a little background about ‘Chosen Kin’.
Neko Spark: ‘Chosen Kin’ was one of my writing projects and we got some interest in it to do it. We wanted to build it up. I always wanted to start a comic book division and ‘Chosen Kin’ kind of grew out of that. I wanted to get a diverse group of superheroes from various backgrounds that had different powers, but had more real world issues. There’s drama, there’s sex, there’s violence; all those things in not such a watered down way. We wanted to be a little grittier and write something everyone could identify with.
LiquidAE.com: Your graphic novel… We were looking at some of the images. Is that a depiction of yourself as the superhero?
Neko Sparks: Yeah, yeah! It’s a character I created! As a kid sci-fi, superheroes and comic books, that’s who I was! My son, now, he’s into the same things. He’s like a little me! There are characters that look like us but I think there could be a lot more diverse characters. So we decided to jump in and do it. I’ve been living me dream. I do what I love and I love what I do!|
CREDITS Written by Doug Sims and Jiddoe S’Phatt | Photos – Search Engine Exploration | Neko Sparks – as Himself | Producer – Liquid Arts & Entertainment | Creative Director – The Liquidation Committee | Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Copy Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Site Editor – Doug Sims | Webmaster – Doug Sims | Twitter – @LiquidAEMag | Instagram – @liquidmagazine
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