Thursday, October 30, 2014

Shadows in the Forest

Within the deep dense forest of the Western Woodlands of Mystery strange creatures dwell.  Creatures without substance or form.  Shadow Folk, the essence of evil.  They lurk wherever there is darkness and feed on lost things and wandering travelers.

The elves live near the densest part of the Woodlands and stories have cropped up of elves disappearing if they leave the forest path.  It is not just a tale to scare little children, the Shadow Folk are taking elves from the darkest parts of the forest.

It is said that the Shadow Folk arrived in Midieville soon after the battle against the trees and bears.  Some think that the they are actually the disembodied spirits of the trees themselves, wandering with only the lust of evil to guide them.  They are tricky creatures who make subtle noises just off the paths into the shadows.  The noises entice a curious elf to look for the source, and that's when the shadow folk strike.  As soon as no light is directly cast on their victims, they flood in and bathe the area with darkness, then the elf is no more.

So, be careful if you venture into the Woodlands of Mystery.  Stay on the paths, don't wander out of the sunshine, and don't investigate any curious noises.  If you do, you may never be heard from again.


Monday, October 27, 2014

NINTENDO still has my vote!

Many have said my love for Nintendo is biased, and that they are the gaming company that sits on the sidelines watching as X-box & Sony duke it out for top rank. This seems to be a running joke within certain gaming sections but I’m okay with that and so is Nintendo it seems, and why shouldn’t they be? While my love leans towards, Metroid, Mortal Kombat, & Mario Bros etc., we can always fall back on the statistics.  There are forty games that have sold over 15million dollars in copies, Nintendo  is in the lead (#1 Tetris 143 million,  #2Wii Sports 82 million) with seven of their games being in the top ten and a total of  twenty-two being among the forty.  I truly believe that their unique and somewhat isolated approach in production and design style when put up against their competitors is what has allowed them to thrive all of these years and I don’t think that will change anytime soon.  
~Michael Lude

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Happy Birthday, Weird Al

Today is "Weird Al" Yankovic's birthday, so I thought it fitting to post about one of our parodies. We have one episode of our space show that is a bit of parody of several different space shows. Originally we planned to parody Star Trek, but what we ended up with is much more like Red Dwarf.
Check out episode 1 of Star Fetched
Dont worry, even though Star Fetched went online 5 years ago, we have not abandoned it. We have great plans for the future of this project.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Silver Bullet: A See-Again Movie for Halloween

Photo from Google Images (2014)
It's almost Halloween, and as the holiday approaches, I enjoy seeing a few good horror movies. However, the key word is “good,” because I like to think that I have discriminating taste when it comes to choices in cinematic fare, including horror movies. As a result, I don’t watch just any horror movie. For instance, I do not care for “slasher films” like Halloween (The 1978 film, starring Jamie Lee Curtis, is a different story entirely), Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or other splatter-fests. My idea of a good horror movie is one that meets the following criteria:

  • Suspense that keeps you on edge.

  • Well-developed and likeable characters.

  • Good acting.

  • A tight script.

  • A believable plot. (Yes, I know that horror movies don’t exactly reflect reality, at least the reality I know; nevertheless, their storylines should allow the viewer to enter that state Samuel Taylor Coleridge called “a willing suspension of disbelief.)

  • No gratuitous blood, gore, or profanity.

So, that said, I am going to tell you about my all-time favorite movie for Halloween viewing.

Stephen King's Silver Bullet 

 Circa 1985 and classified as a psychological horror/teen film, Silver Bullet is based upon a Stephen King novella, Cycle of the Werewolf. Directed by Dan Attias, it stars:

  • Gary Busey as the reprobate Uncle Red

  • Corey Haim as Marty Coslaw, Uncle Red’s nephew

  • Megan Follows as Jane Coslaw, Uncle Red’s niece

  • Everett McGill as Reverend Lester Lowe

  • Terry O'Quinn as Sheriff Joe Haller

  • Robin Groves as Nan Coslaw, Marty's mother and Uncle Red’s sister

  • Leon Russom as Bob Coslaw, Nan’s husband and Marty and Jane’s father

  • Other assorted actors and actresses, plus a good many extras

Set appropriately in October, in the small town of Tarker Mill, Maine (Aren’t all King’s stories set in Maine?), Silver Bullet is a superior horror film, mainly because of the relationship between Uncle Red, Marty, and Jane. Plus, the film has heart and even contains moments of humor.

Plot Overview

 Jane Coslaw (Follows) narrates the story, and she sounds rather eerily like the narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird, though I’m sure they aren’t one in the same since the film based on Lee’s novel was released 23 years before Silver Bullet. Anyway, the storyline revolves around Jane’s strained relationship with her brother Marty, who is a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair, and their parents, who Jane feels are overly protective of Marty and treat her unfairly as a result.

Google Images (2014)

The siblings’ often tumultuous relationship changes for the better, however, after a series of gruesome murders occur in Tarker Mill. As the murders continue and the police get no closer to catching the perpetrator, the town establishes a curfew and cancels its annual October Fest, which includes a fireworks show. The event happens to correspond to Marty’s birthday (I think it’s his birthday), so Nan and Bob, not wanting to disappoint Marty, decide to have a cookout and invite Nan's brother (Uncle Red), who, regardless of his black-sheep standing in the family, is Marty’s favorite uncle. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why Red is Marty’s favorite uncle. He certainly isn’t boring. In fact, he’s anything but.  

Google Images (2014)

Uncle Red, obviously mechanically inclined, has made Marty a souped-up wheelchair/motorcycle nicknamed the “Silver Bullet” (probably because it’s silver and fast, but also because it’s an analogy—silver bullets, as you know, kill werewolves). Uncle Red also gives Marty a large bag of fireworks, so Marty, riding in the Silver Bullet, goes zooming off into the night (As if I would go zooming off into the night with a manic on the loose) to shoot his fireworks. Marty stops on a bridge in the middle of the woods, where he lights some fireworks and is having a rousing good time when he’s confronted by—you guessed it—the werewolf. Marty, being resourceful however, launches a rocket, hits the werewolf directly in the eye socket, and high-tails it for home, where he shimmies up the trellis, rolls through the window, climbs into bed, pulls the covers over his head, and shivers until he falls asleep (Could you sleep after seeing a werewolf?).

The next day Marty tells Jane that a werewolf is on the prowl in and around Tarker Mill. She tells her brother that he’s nuts, but Jane later changes her mind when she notes Reverend Lowe’s bandaged eye and finds a bloody baseball bat in the church’s garage. The kids, though, know they can’t handle a werewolf by themselves, so they solicit Uncle Red’s help. Uncle Red, despite his care-free Peter-Pan outlook on life, is a realist, so he doesn’t believe for one moment that a werewolf is terrorizing the town. Wanting to placate the kids, however, he agrees to help them kill the monster. The first step, Marty and Jane decide, is to take Jane’s silver crucifix to a master gunsmith who can melt the crucifix down and turn it into a silver bullet. The next step is to wait for the full moon¸ which appropriately is scheduled to occur on Halloween night.

Okay, that’s all I’m going to tell you about the plot; otherwise, there’ll be no need for you to see the movie.

Silver Bullet Rating 

Although you special-effects aficionados will probably cringe over the werewolf’s appearance (It isn’t exactly up to 2014 standards), Silver Bullet is a see-again movie. It’s suspenseful; it’s entertaining from beginning to end; the characters are likeable; the storyline, though fanciful, is believable; the acting is outstanding; it contains very little if any profanity (none that I can recall); and though it’s rated “R” for violence and gore, that violence and gore are mild compared to what you see in movies today. In fact, though the movie isn’t for very young children, I personally would not rate it R. If anything, Silver Bullet should receive a PG-13 rating or perhaps even a PG. After all, compared to recent horror movies, as well as a great many from earlier years, it’s tame. And, it’s fun to watch.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Interview with, Inc Sr. Vice-President, Steve Surine

Jason Kuder: Tell me a bit about you, who is Steve Surine, Co-Founder and Senior. Vice President of Incorporated?

Steve Surine: I am a husband and new dad, which has pretty much been the coolest experience ever so far. I'm also the youth pastor at Oakwood Bible Church in Kalamazoo, MI. I love the opportunity to work with people and help them on their journey of faith. I also consider myself a writer and storyteller, which is my favorite part of being involved with 3twins.

J: And would you please describe your role at 3twins?

S: I'm one of the cofounders of 3twins, the third twin - which is a story unto itself. In the early days I was about as involved in everything as Jason and Andy. I wrote a lot of the scripts and helped develop the stories for The Adventures of Hatman & Indigo, Midieville, and Star Fetched, and I also did a lot of the artwork and concept drawings. As time went on and my other responsibilities in life increased, though, I had to take a few steps back. So these days I serve as more of an advisor and confidant, weighing in with ideas and being someone Jason and Andy can use as a sounding board. I like to think of myself as the Chief Motivating Officer. At the heart of 3twins we are storytellers and we want to use creative mediums to tell those stories. All along the way that has meant having to learn as we go. How do you make an online comic book? Or a motion comic? And now, how do you make a video game? It's fun blazing new trails, but it can also get discouraging when you hit roadblocks. So I try to be the guy that encourages everyone to keep moving forward.

I also do voice work, including Gidju the Dragon who will be a playable character in Of Mages and Pages and I'm part of the level design team.

J: The main storyline of the game is based on a series of short cartoon scripts you wrote. Can you tell us a bit about that?

S: Wow, that was a long time ago! Let's hope I can remember this correctly! For starters, one thing you have to know about Jason, Andy, and I is that we can never just write a simple story. We always start to fall in love with the characters and want to flesh the story out to the nth degree. You see that start to happen with Midieville if you watch all of the shorts in order on We came up with the Tale of the Spellbook, and Jason wrote a really great story where that would culminate in an epic wizard duel between Marvin and Naaj. The duel ended with the pages of the spell book getting scattered, and that's where I stepped in with an idea for a story where the heroes and villains would be locked in a race to try and gather all of the pages - the villains doing so to gain power, and the heroes doing so to thwart the villains.

In addition to being a cool quest for our main characters, the story was also going to be an opportunity for us to finally explore the land of Midieville beyond Marvin's hut and Anell's castle. We would get to see the various lands, creatures, and races, plus introduce a lot of characters that we'd had in mind all along but hadn't had a chance to incorporate into the story.

J: You mentioned that you are the voice of Gidju, what is your inspiration for that character, how do you prepare to voice him?

S: Gidju was a tough character to come up with a voice for. On one had he's a massive, fire-breathing dragon. On the other hand he's just a big, lovable dunce. So I went through a lot of trial and error trying to find a voice that worked for both. At one point I remember sitting in Jason's recording studio literally with a mouth full of cotton and speaking with a bad cockney accent.

But ultimately I found my inspiration in Pinky of Pinky and the Brain - another lovable dopey character, and one with a big enough personality to fit the size of Gidju. Hopefully my Gidju voice isn't a direct copy of Pinky, but if you listen to it with him in mind I think you'll be able to tell that he's where the inspiration came from.

J: In addition to voicing Gidju, you co-created the first 4 characters for the web-shorts (Marvin, Gidju, Anell, and Black Knight). Can you go into some detail what that creative collaboration was like?

S: As Andy shared in his interview, he initially created the concept for Midieville, and I think he and Jason came up with the initial origin stories for the main characters. I think Andy had even written a pilot script before I got involved. But I did do the artwork that you'll see in the Midieville shorts on It's really interesting how actually seeing a character finally brings them to life. It definitely influences the storytelling, and even helps the actors hone in on a voice.

Midieville was our first attempt at full animation and so there was a steep learning curve. Rather than just drawing characters in static poses, I had to draw the characters in separate, moveable parts so that Andy could animate their movements. For every character I had to draw multiple arms, legs, and even faces. To give a character the ability to turn and walk across the room meant drawing a completely new torso and head. It was difficult to do it in such a way that all of the parts would always line up to make a complete looking character. There were a lot of glitches in the early shorts, but we got better along the way.

J: So, I have teased several new characters for the upcoming game. Are you going to be voicing any of those, if so, what ones?

S: Officially, no. But hopefully, yes! Of Mages and Pages is going to drastically expand the Midieville Universe and introduce numerous new characters, many of whom have only just been created as the game has been developing. So there's actually going to be a tryout among the 3twins crew and a few other friends to cast voice actors for these characters. I have ideas for at least two of them, George the Brown Wizard and Peter the White Wizard, and so I plan on throwing my hat into the ring. We'll see if I land any new parts!

J: I'm going to shift gears here a bit and discuss the lost Hatman story: Beakman. Would you like to discuss that story and what happened to it? Will we see it again? Will it ever be completed?

S: The Beakman saga was actually one of the first Hatman stories I ever wrote. But getting it into print has been a very difficult process. To make a long story short, two different artists took up the mantle of drawing it, and both left 3twins before finishing it. The first two parts of the story were on at one point, but we removed them when it became uncertain when the comic would ever be finished. I'm not content to let the story die, though, even if it means one day drawing the rest of it myself, especially since there are a few more scripts in our archive for future Beakman stories. They include some really funny and exciting moments that we can't wait to publish.

J: That's exciting! One of the mantra's of 3twins is "never, never, never give up" would you like to expound on a brief highlight of this "never say die" attitude and your direct role in it over the years?

S: At our heart we're storytellers. Over the years we've gone from two brothers and a friend who liked making goofy videos, to pursuing making a full length movie, writing a novel, making a comic book, ultimately creating, and now making a video game. Obviously some of those things I mentioned never came to fruition, others didn't quite work out the way we originally intended, and others that are still on the back burner. It's been a long process and it's been very difficult at times. Not only have we lost partners along the way, but I think it would be fair to say that at various points Jason, Andy, and myself have all felt like quitting. But that's probably the blessing of being in this together. With three people at the core of this, there's always someone to pick the others up and encourage things to keep moving. There's a fairly well known verse in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 4:12, and at the end it says, "A three-fold cord is not quickly broken." That about sums up 3twins - we've been down before but we've never been broken.

J: That's an excellent verse, and I think a great place to stop the interview. We all look forward to hearing you as Gidju again very soon.

S: Thanks

Monday, October 13, 2014

Take a chance on your art

Every artist, musician, writer, creator was inspired as some point by someone else. Did you ever stop to think that sometimes the "pros" are inspired by the "amateurs"
When designing the new title logo for the new season of Doctor Who, the producers at the BBC came across a fan-made title sequence they like so much they based theirs on that one.
Here's the fan version that they adapted:
Compare it to the one in use and you'll see very little was changed.

So if you've got a creative impulse, go online and show your work! People might hate it, they might ignore it, or they might love it!

You never know until you risk the critics in search of your own fans

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Interview with, Inc President, Andy Kuder

Steve: For starters, just tell us a little about yourself.

Andy: I am the First Twin in "3twins." I live in Indiana with my family where I am a full-time Associate Minister. At church I get to work with many different groups of people from preschool, to youth, and even the older adults. My main goal in ministry as well as life is to meet people where they are. I feel that 3twins is a great avenue to do that. We like to meet people with our entertainment at whatever walk of life they are in.

S: What is your role in 3twins specifically?

A: I am the President/Chief Operations Officer. Basically I am responsible for making sure the CEO, Jason, remains sane, and that all his plates keep spinning. I wear so many different hats from Animation Director, to Voice Actor, to Writer and script editor, as well as more tedious administrative jobs.

S: Jason already explained how the Of Mages and Pages game came about, but can you tell us more about the origins of Midieville itself?

A: Midieville was actually inspired from a medieval story I was working on that originally retold the tale of King David from the Bible. I had too many personal concerns with my own story that I abandoned that idea. However, I was still intrigued by the medieval aspects. Goliath was going to be a dragon in my story, and Jonathan, King Saul's son and David's best friend, was an elf.  I took the ideas of a dragon and elf as well as my thoughts of Samuel being a wizard, and translated them into the characters of Xilva the elf, Gidju the dragon, and Marvin the Blue Wizard...

Read the full interview here.