As this week sees the release of the beautiful Transformers: Art of Prime hardcover book from IDW Publishing, Seibertron.com was able to sneak a quick Q&A with the author and curator, Jim Sorenson himself! Jim, thanks for agreeing to do this.
Jim - You're welcome!
Va'al - First things first - how did the idea for the Art of Prime book come about?
Jim - Well, it was something that I'd been pitching for quite a while, before the show actually aired. I was living in Los Angeles at the time the Prime show had been announced, and one of the people in my extended circle of friends was Christophe Vacher (Visual Effects Art Director on the series). I knew him, and I knew he was working on Prime. I pitched the idea, he seemed interested, we went back to the studios, and nothing really happened for a while. I kept checking with IDW too, who had expressed a vague interest, and I pitched the idea several times. Then around June of this year I got an email from my editor: we're going ahead with Art of Prime!
I wanted to do a book about Prime but what made me decide it would be an art book was possibly the actual conversations with Christophe. We both realised Prime wouldn't work in the style of an AllSpark Almanac, the tone of the show is very different. So we decided the book would look at the art, at the process. IDW already had a successful product in the Art of Fall of Cybertron book, they were willing to do it again.
What I believe is one of the main points about the show is that the stories, characters, acting, they're all good - but what is really outstanding is the visuals!
Va'al – Very good point, the visual elements of the show have been acknowledged by many, and won awards all over the place! You've worked on The Ark and AllSpark Almanac previously, and you said you knew that Art of Prime would be different – how so?
Jim - Having made the decision that it was going to be an art book focused us, directed us differently. What we were working on with previous books was the story perspective, the characters, the events. With this one, we approached it from a design perspective: in some ways I wanted to get out of the way of the creators. There is very little of my voice in the first half of the book, and that was a conscious decision – I didn't want the readers to read about what I felt about the images. I wanted them to hear from the creators, what they were proud of, what their perspective on the process was. I thought it'd be a lot better to get them to speak.
In the first three sections, I let Jose Lopez (Art Director/Characters and Props) talk as much as possible, something that I didn't want to do with the Almanacs, something I possibly would've done with The Ark if we had access to the creators. As it stands, the Prime creators were more than happy to do it, and it was an extra incentive that they were able to do it in their own office, in their own time and talking about their own work. I think the interviews really help the tone of the book – it makes a big impact.
Va'al – It sounds like you were really engaged in the work around and about the book. What was your favourite part about putting together Art of Prime?
Jim - Definitely getting the chance to work so closely with the creative staff. At this point I've done quite a lot of books, from anthologies to collections, Transformers, G.I. Joe, articles for fan magazines – I find it really exciting to turn raw material into a book. But I've done it before. This time I got a chance to really jump in, go to the studios, see the creators work (they were at work on Predacons Rising at the time). Definitely the highlight of putting it all together.
A secondary pleasure was getting to see the animatics for Predacons Rising about three months before anyone else: I contacted one of the producers, as I had a fair bit of material that I couldn't find on the show at the time, so I wondered if it was for Predacons Rising and if I could get a script or something to set it in context. I'm not sure they understood what I was asking for at first, but once they got it they sent the whole thing, with my name watermarked all over it!
Va'al - Well, some people just have that type of contacts, don't they? Once you placed all the material you had, was there anything taken out, or things you didn't include?
Jim – There was a lot that we just didn't have space for, as it's already a 200-page book. I possibly still have another 20 pages that I wanted to put in, but did not need to get in. I would've liked to have extra pages for Shockwave, the Insecticons, Vehicons. Maybe spend a little bit more time on Silas and Cylas and MECH. I had an extra page for Knockout - no, Breakdown. Knockout was one of the last pages to get finalized, as we only had black and white artwork for the car mode. So I contacted Mathias Dougherty (Production Manager) for a color image, I told him 'It's Knockout, man! He'll kill me if he doesn't look his best!'; he laughed, and set off to look for the gorgeous artwork you now see in the book.
So yes, a lot more little things, but nothing that the book can't live without. I'm really quite proud of this one.
Va'al – It definitely looks comprehensive, and stunning. But do you think it'll appeal to all fans of the franchise? How would you sell it to a new reader?
Jim - Even if you're not interested in art books, the focus for this one is on process. Any Transformers fan, any fan of animation in general will find the process that goes into the creation of a cartoon extremely fascinating, I believe.
And it's very rare to have an art book like this for a TV show, you usually only get them for movies. As I said, I'm really proud of the result.
Va'al – I've been reading through it, you definitely should be. Thanks again Jim, this was a great quick chat! Any last words?
Jim - Thanks for the interest! I really hope you all enjoy the book.
Transformers: Art of Prime is out this Wednesday with IDW Publishing. You can find a preview for it here!
Di Bonaventura mentions the connection between the military officials and government members in Beijing to the attack taking place in Hong Kong, as well as the presence of a factory in mainland China that will play a major role. He also confirmed that most of the film is set in both mainland China and Hong Kong, making it easier to work with the Chinese actors during shooting.
Bay and Wahlberg talk about the appeal of the Asian setting and reveals that Li Bingbing's character is the owner of the special factory and the addition of a scene to make the most of her fighting skills. There is also an Autobot character who speaks only in Mandarin. They also mention how Wahlberg's character Cade Yaeger and Optimus Prime really connect, as they both have to rise to an occasion bigger than themselves. Cade must make a choice to save his and his daughter's lives, similar to a scenario Optimus finds himself in.
Reynor mentions the relation between his character Shane, an Irish racecar driver (who does a lot of his own stunts), Nicola Peltz's character Tessa and Mark Wahlberg's character Cade: they are secretely dating, as Cade's wife has died and a 'no dating rule' exists in the Yaeger house - which Tessa disagrees with. He saves both characters' lives very early on in the movie, and the dynamics change throughout the film.
Courtesy of an interview on /Film.com, we now know that Transformers: Age of Extinction will be filmed in full 3D IMAX, the first movie to feature the new type of shooting. Check out the whole interview with IMAX executives here, and check out the relevant robot snippet below!
Up until now, every feature film shot in full IMAX (of which there have been only a handful – The Dark Knight, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Dark Knight Rises, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, Star Trek Into Darkness and now The Hunger Games Catching Fire) has filmed with a 65mm 2D IMAX film camera. IMAX has a 3D film camera available, but most filmmakers find it too big and loud to actually use. (Star Trek Into Darkness is the only of those films to be exhibited in IMAX 3D, but it was post-converted.) It wasn’t until recently that IMAX created a 3D digital camera, which will allow 3D capture in full IMAX. The first filmmaker to use that is Michael Bay on Transformers: Age of Extinction. That camera is much smaller and lighter than the other IMAX 3D cameras and will be used quite a bit in the future. There is no 2D digital IMAX camera, but one is being developed.
With the end of the IDW Transformers: Prime - Beast Hunters comic series upon us, Seibertron.com has decided to sit down and talk to one of its creative team members, and in some ways, the face of it all: read on below for a full exclusive interview with cover, storyboard, videogame and concept artist Ken Christiansen!
Va'al - Ken, thanks for agreeing to do this. We've featured some of your work before on Seibertron.com, it's about time we got to meet the mind and man behind the artwork! Before we get into the nitty-gritty of your work with Transformers though, I need to ask: where did it all begin for you? How did you first encounter our favourite transforming robots?
KC - Well, thanks for having me! I really appreciate it when you guys post anything about my work, I've been a follower of the site for years.
The show was everything. It was the first episode which sucked me right in - I don't even remember the first figure I had, but I know it was the show that put me all in. I was 10 years old at the time of the launch, and I had slowed down on Star Wars, and was really into GI Joe toys and comics, with He-Man in the mix as well. But Transformers really took over, and knocked even the mighty Joes back a step.
Va'al - Ah, you're one of those! I admit, I like knowing that the current creators all started as fans, brings a lot more to the experience. I was going to ask which figure was your first, but you pre-empted me - so how about this: which was your favourite character or episode from the animated series?
KC - G1 Soundwave, is...and always will be...my favorite character. And he is an early toy I do remember getting, on a Christmas morning. Of course I loved his voice, and how he was Megatron's dependable commander, but the fact he had Transformers INSIDE of him really captured my imagination. And I really liked that, unlike a lot of the figures, he matched up pretty well to the box art, and animation model. I was a stickler for that kind of thing, even back then. Also, I always thought it was cool how he used Laserbeak and Ravage on the show, so they've become synonymous with any vision of Soundwave I have, I always want to try to figure out a way to include them in a figure pose, or a drawing/design I'm working on. (I figure Rumble and Frenzy can take care of themselves!)
Va'al - I think a lot of fans have a soft spot for Soundwave; he is terribly charismatic after all. You've mentioned your gateway, the toys and what it was that drew you in - but what about the artistic side? Did you read the comics as a kid, or did you start drawing based on box art and cartoons?
KC - I'll admit that I didn't really enjoy the comics, even though I still have the first 60 or so issues to this day - but yes, I did really enjoy the artwork. I loved the show and the toys, but I was always just lukewarm on the comics. That being said, I did probably draw most artistic inspiration from the comics, I remember drawing that cover corner Marvel Optimus Prime a lot. A lot. Another favorite image from those books was the reveal of Predaking, standing in a jungle. I drew that one a lot as well.
The box art images were another inspiration; I didn't have a massive collection by any means, but I did collect the trading cards, so even if I didn't have the toy and/or filecard, I did have nearly every character image from the cards. We had a project in the 4th or 5th Grade, where we wrote a story, and bound it into a book. Mine, of course, was about Autobots fighting Decepticons, carried into battle by the rocket of Omega Supreme. I designed characters back then too, usually military type vehicles, or cars that friends and family drove. I still have that little book, but I'm sure all those other drawings are long gone.
Va'al - That's some great, early KC art there. Must be worth a fortune by now! So if the comics didn't get to you as much back then, what brought you to their world later on? But I suppose, before we get to that, my question is: How did you start working for the franchise in general?
KC - I had been working freelance for about a year after leaving Disney Interactive, and I had just wrapped a series of projects for Activision in late 2005. One of the producers I had been working with asked "Hey, are you into Transformers at all?" I had heard, as did many other fans, that it was being shopped around as a movie, but I didn't know was finally happening, and Activision wanted to go after the franchise. The projects I had just finished were to lock down the Dreamworks games license for the next five or so movies, showing game play, etc. and this was going to be the same thing. Lots of storyboards and game play examples. But it just kept going and going, and it turned into character designs, and in-game production art - I was around for a lot of it, from the very beginning to helping out with marketing images.
The Transformers were a huge part of my childhood, and though I hadn't really followed the franchise overall since then, I did already have the 20th Anniversary MP Optimus Prime, and the Alternator Grimlock Mustang proudly displayed in my studio. Getting the chance to work on the franchise as a professional, really kind of blew my mind. And midway through the production, Hasbro said they were going to make some figures out of my designs... I kind of freaked out.
Va'al - That must be quite the phonecall/email! I've spotted some of the designs that made it into figures on your website - do you have any particular favourites? Which part of working with the new, movieverse, Transformers aesthetics did you enjoy the most?
KC - I was pretty honored that Hasbro/Paramount used the red car drone (AKA Swindle) in the press kits for the film. Of the drones, I think Payload (Armored Truck) and Long Arm (Tow Truck) are my favorites. Long Arm was originally to be an homage to Hoist, colored green and yellow, but was later changed to be the tow truck paint job from the film. I was glad to see the mold reused as a Hoist figure. All of those designs were done based on rough concepts I had seen at the production offices in early 2006. Not until late summer, a bit after I had wrapped on the drone characters, did I start to see marketing images and final movie models start showing up, and that's when I was tasked to do the Shockwave designs. So, that's why he's a little more in line with the film aesthetic - he's not a generic, energon created drone, he was meant to be a Cybertronian, and look more like the movie bots.
While I agreed with the design philosophy from the first movie, I thought that the bots should have shown a little more alt mode elements, so you can really see the connection between forms. With Shockwave I tried to bring it back a little bit to that, with clear iconic character details, and visible alt mode elements. And that's the design philosophy I took into my next Transformers project, the Revenge of the Fallen game.
Va'al - Those are good designs! And that Shockwave looks intriguing, but it looks like DotM Skyhammer took his mode later down the line. How did you find working with videogames, compared to the work you're currently doing on comic covers? And how did that transition happen?
KC - Maybe. To me, the transformation logic is totally different., around the canopy and fuselage. But I did work a bit on the alt mode of the Skyhammer toy, and was given direction to use a Russian Hind for inspiration, but I didn't work on the robot mode. I did three copter drawings, and when the toy came out, it looked like the designers used elements of all three.
I'm not a gamer, but when I'm into a game I like, I kind of get obsessed with it. I thought Luxoflux did a fantastic job with the gameplay of the Revenge game - especially given the short production time, notorious with movie tie-in games - and was really excited to see how they would build on the engine. Sadly, none of that was meant to be. It was the first time I felt that someone captured the essence of a Transformer, being both things at once. I know some people had issues with holding down the trigger, but I much preferred that, to the 'sit and wait to transform' style of other games. My entire career to that point was in the game industry. But after doing the games for so long, I was looking to expand out a little, I wanted to see if I could work directly with IDW and Hasbro.
I took the designs of Megatron, Optimus, and Starscream, from the DLC content of the Revenge game, and did full illustrations of them in comic cover format. I included Bumblebee, Jazz, and Soundwave designs, and pitched myself to Andy Schmidt at IDW, and for a meet up with Aaron Archer at BotCon 2009.
For IDW, Andy had me do the cover to the much-loved, revered, and indisputably go-to source of information, the Transformers: Continuum. Yikes, that one was a bit of a mess, I guess. I never kept up on the IDW relationship, maybe both sides needed that sting to heal a little. And I just got too busy following that meeting with Aaron to come back to the books. Years later, I met John Barber at BotCon 2012, and that's how I got involved with the Rage of the Dinobots and Beast Hunters covers.
Va'al - Ah, the IDW Aligned comics! As an artist who had worked on the movieverse and videogame aesthetics - though WfC and FoC are also part of the new continuity - how did you find adjusting to the sleeker, more rounded style of the two series? And how much were you involved in the series themselves?
KC - Well, doing a wide range of shape styles for what was then called 'tv show' was that first assignment I had from Archer at Hasbro, in 2009, as they were putting the studio together, and hiring the actual production team. I would call myself a concept artist before anything else, so something like coming up with new character designs/versions is what I like to do best. And then about a year later, I worked on some product ideas for the Prime line. At that point, I was working with final character design models from the production's art department. And, every once and awhile I would do some product development, or I was asked to do some character ideas for HasLabs to use as conversation starters for meetings with the show runners. So before the comics, I had a lot of experience working with the shows' aesthetic. I never was a part of the production of the actual show, with Hasbro Studios, but through Hasbro, Inc., I got to play in that universe a bit.
The Cybertron games, on the other hand, I had no experience with the art style. So that was the learning curve for me. I was asked to 'update' the FoC dinobots into a Prime style, with a heavy lean on the FoC style...visually meaning they didn't 'evolve' as much as Team Prime, for example. So I just eliminated some minor details from the FoC versions, and did a 'wrap metal' pass, in the Prime style, at the main form elements of the bots. John Barber OK'd the sketch of Grimlock I did as an example, and I was off and running.
I had nothing to do with what was inside the books; in most cases, I don't think any of the scripts were even completely written at the time I needed to have the cover done, about three months in advance. I'm sure an overview and series arc were long completed though. Barber, then Carlos Guzman, would give me their idea on what was going on in the book, and what they'd like to see on the cover. I'd do some sketches and we'd go from there. I met Mairghread Scott for the first time at BotCon 2013, and we chatted about what was coming up in #7, we pulled Carlos into the conversation, and I did a sketch of it right there at my table. For number 8, Carlos and I chatted at SDCC, and he told me what he was looking for, and Mike Johnson, through email, pretty much said what he'd like to see on the cover. I did those last sketches for Carlos to approve, and that wrapped the series when I turned in the final.
It was a lot of fun to do those covers. I loved the Fall of Cybertron game, so it was a real treat to get to draw those characters, and get reconnected with IDW.
Va'al - I always enjoy hearing stories of how creators come to join the IDW team, they never seem to be the same! So you were working on the comics covers, but still had quite a bit of involvement in other aspects of the Transformers universe. I've seen some designs for characters that never made it on the show, too. What were you doing between the comics? How were you being kept busy?
KC - Relatively, I'm a newbie to comics, with only 13 IDW covers to date. Concept art is my main source of income, since graduating from art school in 1997. Happily, now at least half my workload comes from Hasbro, covering many different brands. Mainly in that first year, it started off with early re-imaginings of core Transformers characters, mixed with some work on Dark of the Moon ideas, and then going back to work on designs for the 13 Primes, and filling out the brand bible, which had used a lot of that earlier character design work, done by myself and other great artists.
After that, HasLabs expanded into a lot of other brands and concepts, that kept me really busy, MASK, Inhumanoids, Micronauts, to name a few. Some of those ideas were teased in that NYCC giveaway comic, Unit:E, if you remember it. And as other designers move to other brands within Hasbro, I've been able to 'travel' with them, and do lot of work on stuff like Star Wars, etc. Always though, I try to stay connected to the big bots, with doing some Hasbro Inc. commissioned work, movie/tv show stuff or product design for example, or licensed work with IDW, and other publishers.
Va'al - So what you're telling us is.. you're everywhere! And we know that some of your art features in the upcoming Covenant of Primus - the result of all the concept work for the Aligned continuity - due early December. Anything you can tell us about that?
KC - Now everyone finally can see it! After years of working with Hasbro off and on, I've only been able to release a grand total of 8 Transformers images. Including Prima, of the 13, which was published previously in the Transformers: Vault. I'm so excited to see the rest of the designs coming out, along with some new art I was asked to contribute, alongside some other great Transformers artists.
Binder of Revelation - Art by Emiliano Santalucia
After working six or so months with Hasbro, they booked me to do four of the 13 Primes. By then I had a pretty good feel of what Aaron Archer was looking for from me, and I had gotten pretty tight with Eric Siebenaler who acted as my art director on previous projects. I was also then introduced to Rik Alvarez, who had sent me a giant document to work from, that he was putting together. A compiled history from the comics and games, and new stuff he had written - basically the bones of the Aligned Continuity. So, under those guys, I went to work. 4 became 6, then 8, then Eric asked if I wanted to do all 13. Of course! But then Takara chimed in, and they wanted to do some images, and they took over the designs of Micronus and Alpha Trion. So I ended up doing 11...and a second version of one of them.
I had never really heard much about it since then, other than Aaron and Rik teased some images at a couple of BotCons, but I really thought they would remain in the vault, the Brand Bible. Last November, I got an email from Tyler Freidenrich from Becker&Mayer, asking if I could do some illustrations for what would be the Covenant. I jumped at the chance, and got to contribute 7 illustrations, a new character design for Unicron, and the cover. And that's about all I can tell you about it. I know what I did, but I've only seen the same trailer for it as everyone else. I was asked to upload every Hasbro image I did related to the Aligned Continuity, beyond just the Primes, but I don't what, if anything more, was included in the book.
So, I'm just as excited as any other fan to see what's in there!
Va'al - I can assure you, a lot of us are really, really excited for this book. I'm not sure what else could hype it up more.. do you have any ideas?
KC - That's great to hear! Hmm...how about a contest for a free copy of the book? On my Facebook page, the Art of Ken Christiansen, I'll be running a 'Like Drive' contest. Participants enter their names into a drawing by making a comment in the page's Cover Photo comments section, saying they shared the page to at least five people. That Cover Photo, (containing all the contest info) signaling the beginning of the contest, will be posted on Monday, November 25th, at 9 AM PST, and ending Sunday, December 8th at midnight PST.
Monday, December 9th, (the day before the book is released) I'll draw the winning name, and announce it by 9 AM PST. That winner will receive a free copy of the Covenant of Primus... AND, I'll insert a custom black and white rendered portrait, of any character of their choosing.
Va'al - Hear that, readers? Head over to Ken's page for a chance to win what looks to be an amazing piece of Transformers lore. Ken, thanks again for agreeing to do this interview with us, we're looking forward to more of your amazing work soon! Any last words?
KC - Thank you - I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!
I do have a couple more things to add. I also put together a new website, kenchristiansen.com, which replaces to old site, badflip.com. Finally I have galleries collecting all the Transformers (and more!) work that I've done, in one easy to find place, rather than have to search through months and years of blog posts on the old Bad Flip Blog. I will keep that blog online, but it will go inactive. The new site has a blog built in, so that's how I'll continue, along with the Facebook page, to make announcements, and post new artwork. And once it's ready, there will also be a online store, to purchase original art, make commission inquiries, and get leftover convention prints and sketchbooks. It's coming very soon, but right now the only way to get that stuff is through the Art of Ken Christiansen on Facebook, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There you have it, readers - we hope you enjoyed our voyage into the Christiansen world! Join the competition today, follow Ken's work and keep your eyes tuned for more exclusive content, coming soon, to Seibertron.com.
Thanks to Seibertron.com users sabrblade and Rodimus Prime, we found this article on Entertainment Tonight, in which reporter Rocsi Diaz chats to members of the cast as the shooting takes place on the Detroit set. They also take a closer look at some of the cars featuring in the movie, revealing the identity of the Pagani Huayra (image below) as Stinger. Check out the full video here, and leave your thoughts below!
While fans eagerly await the return of Transformers to the big screen with Age of Extinction, ET takes you to the set of the series' action-packed fourth installment.
Director Michael Bay and his revamped cast took to the streets of Detroit, dressed up to look like Hong Kong, to film a portion of the film, which is where ET's Rocsi Diaz got a special behind-the-scenes look at the explosive action film.
The new cast for the fourth installment of the live-action series, based on the Transformers toy line, includes some familiar Hollywood faces, including Mark Wahlberg as the protagonist (Cade) and Kelsey Grammer (Harold) as the main villain.
As you can see in the featured video, Bay wasn't stingy on the explosives in the Age of Extinction, as cars are being sent airborne like feathers on set.
"It's a lot of explosions all day long, a lot of loud noises, a lot of running," Jack Reynor (Shane) said of a typical day on set.
Watch the video to satiate your Transformers appetite, and check out Transformers: Age of Extinction when it bursts into theaters June 27, 2014.
Seibertron.com user PrymeStriker has spotted an interview with Paramount Executive Producer Rob Moore, done for Chinese website M1905. In the video interview, found at this link, Moore talks about the challenges and rewards of working with the Chinese aspect of the production behind Transformers: Age of Extinction, from location, to acting talent to the accurate portrayal of Chinese culture and increasing communication to avoid incidents like theseones in the future. Also worthy of note is the point copied out below, concerning the potential creation of further movies after the upcoming fourth one. So, who's looking forward to TF4? Leave your thoughts in the Energon Pub!
Well, each time, we've waited until the movie has come out to start the next one. Making sure that we've made a really satisfying movie that was popular, and then starting to figure out where a next adventure should go. But, certainly, our hope is that we can continue to make Transformers movies well into the future.
We don't have the plans yet, but it is certainly my hope that we will have a 5 and a 6.
IDW comics and Transformers Prime animated series writer Mairghread Scott has just pointed us towards a brilliant project involving the women behind the award-winning Transformers: Prime series, in collaboration with HerUniverse.com. The four videos include Nicole Dubuc, Sumalee Montano-Zimmerman, Tania Gunadi, Meredith Rodgers, Therese Trujillo, Austin Block, Meghan Burleson and Scott herself talking about working in animation at different levels. Take a look at the full press release and four videos below!
NEW YORK, NY – November 13th, 2013 -2013 is the “Year of the Fangirl” and to celebrate, Her Universe™ has been spotlighting a different fangirl every day on HerUniverse.com showing their diversity, dreams and interests. Geek Girls are one of the fastest growing and important segments of the sci-fi/fantasy audience and can be found in every walk of life, including the entertainment business. Now, in four exclusive video segments produced in cooperation with Hasbro Studios and available to watch on HerUniverse.com, Ashley Eckstein, Founder of Her Universe, is highlighting and interviewing the amazing “professional fangirls” behind the award winning animated series, Transformers Prime, produced by Hasbro Studios which airs on the HUB network in the U.S. and is seen in over 180 countries. From voice talent to producing, writing, editing and design these women are “prime” examples of how female fans can achieve their dreams and create worlds of imagination for others to enjoy. You can watch the videos here: http://www.heruniverse.com/blog/news/he ... mers-prime
“We kicked off 2013 with the mission to shine the spotlight on amazing fangirls and bring their stories to the masses,” said Eckstein. “We were approached by writer Mairghread Scott and she gave us the opportunity to go behind the scenes and meet many of the incredible women behind Transformers Prime at Hasbro Studios! There are so many fangirls that work tirelessly to bring our beloved franchises to life and it’s been a goal of mine to highlight the integral roles that women play and to expose these roles to younger fangirls with big dreams!”
The Transformers Prime series, which concluded in 2013 with a thrilling Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising animated movie which was broadcast on The Hub network and released on DVD in October, was well-received and won multiple Daytime Emmy Awards during its three season run. In the exclusive videos, Eckstein interviews key female players such as writers Mairghread Scott and Nicole Dubuc, voice actors Sumalee Montano and Tania Gunadi, Animatics Editor Meghan Burleson and Post Production Head Austin Block, Production Coordinator Meredith Rodgers and Animation Producer Therese Trujillo.
“It was a wonderful experience working with Ashley and Her Universe to highlight the fantastic women on Transformers Prime,” said writer Mairghread Scott who was also instrumental in creating these videos. “Her Universe is more than a fabulous fashion company; they are a positive force for women in genre entertainment and geek girls everywhere.”
About Her Universe
Her Universe was launched in 2009 by actress and entrepreneur Ashley Eckstein and The Araca Group, one of the most innovative theatrical production and brand management companies in the world. Ashley and Araca created Her Universe to address the expanding market of female sci-fi and fantasy fans. We entered our first agreement with Lucas Licensing to develop and produce a line of female-centered Star Wars apparel and accessories. The success of that line was followed up with a collection for the Syfy network including Battlestar Galactica BBC America for Doctor Who, and CBS Consumer Products for Star Trek. You can learn more about Her Universe and purchase the current line of fan-girl apparel and accessories by going to http://www.heruniverse.com and by following Eckstein on Facebook (facebook.com/HerUniverse) and Twitter (twitter.com/HerUniverse).
About Hasbro Studios
Hasbro Studios is the Los Angeles-based entertainment division of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS). The studio is responsible for entertainment brand-driven storytelling for the company across television, film, commercial productions and short-form. It develops, produces and distributes TV shows based on Hasbro’s world class brands, including TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, LITTLEST PET SHOP and FAMILY GAME NIGHT. Many of these shows air on the Hub Network, a U.S. television network for kids and their families, that is a joint venture between Hasbro and Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK). Hasbro Studios shows can also be seen on networks in more than 180 territories globally. Since its formation in 2009, the studio has received seven Daytime Emmy wins and 16 nominations. On the film side, the studio is developing and producing a number of features based on Hasbro’s brands, including TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (Paramount), G.I. JOE 3 (Paramount) and CANDY LAND (Sony). The studio team also oversees the production of commercials that feature Hasbro’s brands as well production of short-form content that can be seen on all of the major digital and social media platforms globally.
The South China Morning Post newspaper posted an interview with film director Michael Bay about his filming experience in Hong Kong, including the recently reported accidents and protests on set. He claims that there was a lot of embarrassment, especially on behalf of the local crew and extras, that he would love to return to Hong Kong soon for more shooting. Bay and the filming crew are moving away from the area, headed for Wulong in Chongqing and on the Great Wall in Beijing. You can read the whole interview, which includes two videos, here.
Two alleged blackmail attempts – including an attack by a man wielding something that just night have been a Decepticon – and an explosion scene at government headquarters that almost clashed with mass protests over the awarding of television licences.
Experiences like these helped make up an eventful 10 days for Hollywood director Michael Bay who has just finished filming the Hong Kong sequences for the latest Transformers movie, Age of Extinction.
But Bay said overall it was a pleasant experience and he plans to return for at least one film or possibly more.
Comics and entertainment news website Comic Book Resources has posted a fairly lengthy interview with the two creators of the Dark Cybertron event, MTMTE author James Roberts and RID writer and overall editor John Barber. They touch upon the artists involved, what this means for the two books and how the series might continue after this. Take a look at some snippets, including some page art, below, and read the full interview here!
Say you've never read IDW's "Transformers" comics before. What do you need to know to jump right in for "Dark Cybertron?"
Barber: If we do it right -- "Dark Cybertron" #1 will get you what you need to know. But the gist of the background material: after a few million years of constant warfare, the war between Autobots and Decepticons is over. Bumblebee tried to set up a new government on Cybertron, but failed... letting Starscream grab control of the planet and banishing anybody who still has allegiance to the Autobot or Decepticon causes into the wilderness. Meanwhile, Rodimus leads a group of Autobots (well, mostly Autobots) into space to find the ancient and legendary Knights of Cybertron... and they've gotten a little distracted along the way.
Roberts: Yeah, Bumblebee did the responsible thing and stayed on Cybertron to forge a better future, while Rodimus jumped on a spaceship with likeminded adventure-seekers and disappeared. For a long time, Bumblebee's team thought that Rodimus and Co. had been killed. "Dark Cybertron" takes place shortly after Rodimus has re-established contact with Cybertron.
What's the tension like between the Autobots and the Decepticons at the moment?
Barber: "Robots in Disguise" has been about that tension -- the story of the first 16 issues was Bumblebee trying to set up a government, dealing with the captured Decepticons from the end of the war. In the story, Megatron showed up -- he'd been missing somewhere on Cybertron -- and got the Decepticons to come back and try to take over the planet. Megatron failed, but the brief flare-up was enough to convince the civilians that these guys wouldn't be putting away their animosities any time soon. That gave Starscream the opportunity to seize control and kick both factions out.
Roberts: "More than Meets the Eye" has an all-Autobot cast, with the exception of Cyclonus, who is non-affiliated (though that doesn't stop everyone presuming he's a Decepticon). While on their quest Rodimus and his crew have had run-ins with rogue pockets of Decepticons, but for them -- away from Cybertron -- the war really has faded into the background. They live dangerous, hectic lives, and they've got a rapidly expanding rogues' gallery of their own, but the Decepticon threat isn't an ongoing concern anymore. Everyone is just relieved that the war's over.
Barber: So, at the start of "Dark Cybertron," the Autobots and Decepticons on Cybertron are both in the wilderness. They could just start shooting again, but nobody really has it in them at this point -- both sides are sort of feeling like they've lost, and lost in such a way that they can't really recover.
And neither side knows what Shockwave is up to -- Soundwave (who's leading the Decepticons) considers Shockwave a traitor to the cause, and Bumblebee knows he's bad news, but neither know what he's up to. Will they side with each other against Shockwave, or will the Decepticons see Shockwave as a chance to reestablish their superiority?
Our Australian friends at Madman Entertainment have let us know about a new video they uploaded to their YouTube channel, featuring an interview with G1 voice actor Gregg Berger, the man behind Grimlock, Skyfire, Long Haul and Outback. Check out his replies to both the company's and fans' questions below, and if you're in the Melbourne area this weekend, make sure you attend Armaggedon Expo for a chance to chat to him in person!
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