January 1st, 2019

So that’s it, I guess. 2018’s in the bag. Another trip around the sun completed. A new calendar gets taken out of the shrink wrap…

It’s funny how a new year coming around always makes people look back on the past 12 months and reflect a little. I’ve been doing that a lot these past few days. 2018 was one of the most surreal years of my life. I’ve spent more than half my life working up to being a full-time filmmaker, and 2018 was the year that I was finally able to do it. I’ve had the pleasure of working on a lot of really cool projects this year, and hopefully I can keep that momentum going into 2019 so my wife and I don’t end up homeless. But beyond 2018 being huge for me personally, it was MASSIVE for all of us at Beta Force Carbon. We finished our first feature-length project, The PsyBorgs. We somehow got playtime at GenreBlast in Winchester, FilmQuest in Provo, and Rojo Sangre in Buenos Aires. We learned a lot, we grew a lot, and we had a lot of fun. What more can you ask for, eh? Well, apparently you can ask for lots more BECAUSE 2019 IS BRINGING THE HEAT, BABY!

My friends and family ask me all the time, “hey doof, when’s PsyBorgs dropping, bud?” And the good news is THE WAIT IS ALMOST OVER! We’ll be more specific soon, but you can plan on watching the explosive first season of The PsyBorgs later this spring. But leading up to it there’s gonna be a ton of Psy-Action coming your way! I’m talking new Carbon Footprint episodes, behind the scenes featurettes, Deutsch’s Computer Tips and Tricks - a new show where the lovable Deutsch teaches everyone how to use their hot new Pentium II machines, and some other fun surprises. And you bet your butt there’s gonna be psychic-swag too! You’ll be able to find us at some of your favourite Comic and Entertainment Conventions, like Saskatchewan Entertainment Expo Regina in May, where we’ll be giving out posters and junk and unleashing this sure to be entertainment juggernaut upon the people of the planet earth. And you’ll maybe be able to find us at some other expos as well (wink wink!)

So sit back, relax, grab a Jonesy’s juice pouch, and keep it locked on all of our social media pages to make sure you don’t miss a thing. Thank you all for making 2018 great, and I can’t wait to show you what’s coming next. It’s gonna be nuts.

Happy New Year!
Dave Hiatt
Director, The PsyBorgs

December 1st, 2018

Each of us here in the PsyBorgs camp has been mega-busy with all kinds of stuff. Which is why much of our social media has been quiet (thanks to me - I’m supposed to be running those dang things). But hey, I can only give myself a hard time for so long; I’ve been so committed to WRITING MORE PSYBORGS that I haven’t even paid attention to the PsyBorgs that’s already out in the world! The ‘Borgs have been screened in Virginia at the wonderful GenreBlast Film Festival, in Utah at the monstrously-fantastic FilmQuest, and we’re soon to play on a completely different continent with TWO screenings at the Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre Film Festival next week! Whew, that was a mouthful.

Anyway, back to what’s been keeping us busy. Since early 2018, within a few months of wrapping production on season one of The PsyBorgs, we’ve been thinking of a season two. The ending of season one (for the 99.9% of people who haven’t seen it) sets up a bunch of ridiculous possibilities, plot lines, and misadventures so it’s only natural that we’ve mused about the future of this oddball squad of psychics. Like I said, these talks “officially” started in February of this year, but David, Nick, and I have been riffing ideas since, well, the original short was produced (for those keeping track, that was late 2015/early 2016). There’s a huge world of Psystuff out there, and season one only scratched the surface. Which leads us back to those February talks… While not giving away any spoilers, the dynamics of the team as you may have known them in the short (here’s the link: https://youtu.be/fjlC2LMit4I) have certainly changed by season’s end, but we also mess around with time, Egyptians, and aliens. Yep, you read that correctly: aliens. But what really turned our (or at least MY) crank by February was further exploring John’s characterization of his friends and his ideas of friendship. What does an immature dope think leadership looks like? How does saving the city from T.O.X.I.N. every week affect the friendship he has with Deutsch, Rolling Thunder, Ricky Blaze, and Frank Bladecop? Stuff like that. In the following months since season one wrapped, I wrote two “spec” episodes (one was the first part of a two-parter) to explore those dynamics. These questions have even gone into the NSI Totally Television half-hour pilot script that Dave and I wrote in the summer, but I’ll talk about that one another time.

Now, these specs - even specs that I’ve written as one of the writers of PsyBorgs - are a far cry from ever being made, especially in the condition that you’re about to see. For me, these first two screenplays are an exercise in finding the tone and character of the show - or what the show could grow into. Finding a groove, I guess. Anywho, here’s a few pages from an early draft of an episode I called “Thief of the Dreamer”, which is aworking title I swear to gosh. The only context I’ll give is that John Carbon’s best friend, Ricky Blaze, is now a mental patient at a place called Happy Daze, and his doctor has trained him as a master cribbage player. The goal of this episode was to explore Carbon’s distress when faced with his friend losing his memories. So, it’s about flashbacks and war stories and dreams and stuff. Obviously.

Also, feel free to make note of some bad writing throughout. There’s stinky prose, unclear descriptions, and some soggy/uncrisp action lines. These really are first writes with some revisions and a spell check. But, you know, that’s alright! I find that the more one shares their writing, flaws and all, the more comfortable one becomes with their writing. Many a night I’ve sat at my computer, banging myself over the head over what a shitty sentence I just wrote. Then you just don’t get anything done. At least if you air out your pages, even months/years later, you as a writer can take a step back and see those words for what they are, which is really just keystrokes that can be edited, expanded upon, deleted, revised, crossed out, italicized. Whatever! That’s the beauty of writing! Like I always say: don’t leave your sweaty gym towel in the bag for six months and expect it to be dry and pleasant. But back to Thief of the Dreamer. Sound cool? Alrighty!

The Thief of the Dreamer:

Flashback central.

Flashback central.

Note the overt world-building here. I’ve gone and added a crazy fictional war that precipitated why telekinetics live in this universe and that a “Dark Comet” gave a bunch of people on Earth telekinetic powers. Fun, right? Definitely not ridiculous. Not at all. Keen viewers of the original short will also recognize that “bunker” line - yep, the one about Ting Gong Tza. This scene anchored this script as the first time John Carbon uses his fantastic powers of the mind to open a door to save himself, a teenage Ricky Blaze, and a crying Burmese family(?). This is also the first page of the script and of course it’s a flashback. But what better way to start off a subsequent season of a series than with a cold, hard BLAST FROM THE PAST? I betcha CSI did it tons of times. Between Dave, Nick, and I, the PsyBorgs’ backstory, especially John’s, has been a hilarious sandbox to play in. And since the show is an exercise in the absurdity of G.I. Joe and Power Rangers it’s really just been a case of throwing al dente noodles at the wall and seeing what sticks. (Sidebar: Al Dente is another villain we’ve thought of writing into the show - but I’ll just let that one simmer…) ((SidesideBar: I’m sorry about that one, I truly am))

(beats)s for lunch and (beat)s for dinner.

(beats)s for lunch and (beat)s for dinner.

Here’s the page in the script that introduces the episode’s villain, an ingenious (if not a teensy bit lazy) play on the name of the 1980’s spookiest baddie: Freddy Krueger. Honestly, we all know where I went with this guy, Dr. Eddie Lüger, right? A generous helping of Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark (a film I will never, ever get tired of emulating/ripping off), a sprinkling of Craven’s striped dream-creeper, and a smidge of that Nazi doctor in Brain Dead. Oh! And definitely Mikkelson’s Le Chiffre from Casino Royale (I’m contractually obligated to reference Bond when Nick Haywood is around, FYI), especially in this introductory situation. Who doesn’t love that seatless-chair/knot scene, amirite? But Lüger, yeah, he’s a real bad egg, and just the type of personality that evil terrorists like Blight attract. More importantly than Lüger here, however, is the series introduction of Dr. Psyrus Borgosian. He’s the Charlie to their Angels, the Giovanni to their Jesse and Ja— alright, more of the Professor Oak to their Ash, Misty, and Brock. Now, a bit of history lesson regarding Psyrus: In March of 2016, on the eve of Storyhive’s release of the original short, a bunch of us got together and put on a show called LIVEBORGS. It was this rad premiere thing we hosted at the Plaza in Calgary that featured improv, live music, a couple PsyBorgs sketches, and, of course, the short film. One of the sketches that we did was of a scientist named Dr. Psyrus Borgosian (played by the immutable Jesse Collin), pitching the audience of how great it is to be a PsyBorg. It was framed as a TEDTalk-type of presentation that was then rudely interrupted by General Blight and some T.O.X.I.N. mercenaries - which resulted in John Carbon and Deutsch showing up to save the show just in the nick of time. Ever since that LIVEBORGS event, Dr. Psyrus Borgosian, the bumbling brainiac who saved John’s life after being shot by some criminals, has been part of the PsyBorgs mythos. Come to think of it, there is actually a discarded script for season one that actually features Borgosian; maybe I should discuss those at some point too!

Okay, but this is the FINAL flashback.

Okay, but this is the FINAL flashback.

Woa-holy man, what the heck was I doing here? I am sorry, Bill Paxton, but I guess I needed to make a joke about Twister there in that line at the top of the page. How else could I pack in three separate films that feature tornadoes though (the other two being The Wizard of Oz and Man of Steel)? What I really love about this page is that sublime image of Ricky letting himself be taken by a tornado. Like some sort of dorky ascension, this is the moment where his subconscious is choosing to let go of his memories completely, so obviously Carbon and Deutsch fly after him. I have no idea how we’d have the budget to pull this crap off, but man-alive does it get the blood pumping.

So what stuck here, even as this “spec exercise” I keep labelling it as? Well, the idea that John Carbon is actually a veteran in an army called the “Commonwealth Coalition” is a nugget of backstory that has stuck around since February. The Telekinetic War itself has become part of PsyBorgs lore - used now as a generator of episodic/two-bit villains with some psychic-themed powers (where do you think Whirl Wind came from, huh?). Most of all, the wartime scene and the ones that accompany it later in the episode introduce the reader to the first time John Carbon saved people with his mind. It was a cool little cranny to shine a light on, and it’s informed how I’ve written the character in subsequent scripts, outlines, and season arcs.

I hope you enjoyed that little tour of one of the many unused PsyBorgs scripts floating around in my hard drive and I’ll be sure to uncover some more in the coming months!

Braden Brickner
Writer/Producer

September 27th, 2018

I was terrified to play The PsyBorgs at GenreBlast. Braden, Nick and I descended on the festival as a trio of hot shots ready to take on the world. But then, as the actual moment drew closer, I kinda lost it. I was freaking out about all the possible technical difficulties that were definitely going to happen, and how I was going to flub the Q&A afterwards, and how the audience was definitely going to hate the movie. But, as luck would have it, there were no technical difficulties, the Q&A went fine, and most importantly, the audience liked it. Some people even loved it.

The night we received the invitation to play at GenreBlast was a total cloud 9 moment for me. All of the stress and struggle and sleepless nights and relationship stress and anxiety about the project washed away the second Braden got the email from Nathan asking for our World Premiere. And how could we say no? It’s a great festival run by some cool people at the Alamo frickin Drafthouse. We went the entire time and met some cool people and saw some great movies and learned first-hand that people like this thing we made. Our very own John Carbon himself, Pat MacEachern, was even awarded Best Hero, and our cast won Best Ensemble. It was a serious honour.

10 days later we played in the Web and New Media Block at FilmQuest in Provo, Utah. Once again, the audience liked the episode we showed. FilmQuest is another dangerously cool festival, taking place at a wicked music venue, Velour. Jonathan runs a tight ship, and has a real way of making filmmakers feel special, even us nobodies from Canada. We were nominated for best web series, but that award went to Michael Krehan for his incredible series, Pushing Skills. If you ever have the opportunity to check it out, you really should. It was terrific. Congrats on your win, Mike!

On behalf of my team and I, I’d like to thank Nathan Ludwig and the team at GenreBlast and Jonathan Martin and the team at FilmQuest for taking a chance on The PsyBorgs. After all the hard work and blood, sweat and tears that went into producing the show, it was unbelievably cathartic to show it to a real audience and hear first-hand that the audience loved it. If our luck continues, we’ll be playing some more festivals over the next couple of months, and then we’ll unleash this beast on the world sometime in the spring. I can’t wait for you all to see it.

Dave Hiatt
Director

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February 2nd, 2018

What a difference a month makes. Last time you heard from us we were pleased as punch from a collective job well done upon completing principal photography on The PsyBorgs. As this was our first major production under the Beta Force Carbon banner, we were fully prepared for Murphy’s Law to visit our set with malicious intent. I personally had my bindle tied and ready to go in case everything fell apart, but it didn’t. We wrapped on time and under budget, grinning from ear to ear at what we all accomplished together.

Today, we released the first official teaser trailer for The PsyBorgs. David, Braden, and our amazing post-production team have worked tirelessly to give you the teaser the people of Gotham deserve and the response has been overwhelming. We’ve been dying to share what we have been working on with you all, while at the same time keeping the biggest surprises in store for when the show is released later this year. We feel this first trailer rides that line in the best possible way, and I hope your thirst for psysmic cybernetic justice is quenched for the time being.

However, not only did we release our first trailer, we also officially launched the Beta Force Carbon website! At betaforcecarbon.com, you can stay in the know with all of our projects (including The PsyBorgs) and connect with us on all of our social media outlets! We wouldn’t have gotten this far without all of the feverish support we’ve received over the last three years, so we intend to keep that relationship thriving with updates on the exploits of John Carbon and beyond, all the way up until the release of the first of The PsyBorgs!

Nighty night and sleep tight. We’ll keep first watch for General Blight.

Nick “The Mink” Haywood
Producer

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