On Set with Neko SparksAmazon Prime's, Chosen Kin Origins
In a world where Marvel and DC Comics rule the superhero realm, there are writers out there hoping to create a new storyline woven with characters that have something to say on a platform that isn’t the norm. That would be Neko Sparks, “Chosen Kin Origins”. A universe created that is now airing on Amazon Prime, showcasing a new cast of super humans that are going against the grain to hopefully save the human race from self-implosion.
Invited to tour the live action set, I watched the scenes unfold, the crew and cast assemble to bring Season 2 to life. With fight scenes, super human strength, unique camera angles, and a fun feel, this risky introduction to a new world makes a statement. The statement? There is room for all kinds of stories, new adventures, interesting concepts, and hopefully the platform to tell them on.
SYNOPSISFriends since childhood, a trio of unsuspecting humans are endowed with alien superpowers and tasked with protecting the earth against powerful foes bent on annihilating the human race. First, however, they must set aside their differences and learn to use the powers that lay dormant within them.
When you talk to the crew, there is one common thread and sentiment that every single person mentions: Working with Neko is empowering and familial. Creating an environment where everyone lends a hand, everyone looks out for one another, and no voice is silenced, it’s a rather optimistic working environment (especially in Hollywood). Making the impossible possible, Sparks assembled a team that has the mindset of a unified vision. Maybe it’s his own human version of assembling a creative superhero crew.
Meeting Neko for the first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I already appreciated the willingness to share his set with the press. Neko is a very interesting man. He is devoted to the craft of filmmaking and making statements about the world through easily translated portals such as Amazon Prime. His show consists of a very diverse cast including a crew that is one of the few to say is made up of women AND men.
“Neko has a way of getting the best out of actors and his attitude of positivity transcends to the whole cast and crew.” Johnny Markham, Executive Producer/Actor
Neko Sparks didn’t always work in film. In fact he holds a degree in anthropology. His studies of human cultures and societies led him down a path of discovery. As time went on, his fascination with science and humanity inspired him to explore the connection of our planetary system and the fundamentals of human existence. That was the birth of “Chosen Kin Origins”. Once Sparks wrote the storyline for, he made a conscious decision to put together a cast and crew that represented the world and as a result, there are men, women and diversity well represented both in front and behind the camera.
“Neko is a director that makes everyone feel totally at home. Each crew member works together .. and that’s a testament to him.” – Anthony Young Evip, Producer
On the day I’m on set I have an opportunity to meet the crew and a few cast members, including Neko himself. A presence that really is one of joy and encouragement, it was a look at the challenges and flow of filming an episodic series. As I enter onto the hot set, Mitch McDowell is behind the camera wrapping up the final scenes with Willow, played by Andrea Thompson. The set is simple for this scene with only Andrea and a green screen (which can be challenging) but as I watch the crew, everyone rallies together to check lighting, angles, and have clear communication. The scene wraps and we move from the large, cold, yet ideal room into another just around the corner. The location (located in the heard of K-Town) is, in and of itself, a place that lends itself to one’s imagination. The textures, the mediums from woods to concrete gives feelings of cold isolation to warm romance (it motivates the storyteller to picture their creative landscapes).
The final scenes of the day for Season 2 were shot inside a room with concrete and worn brick walls giving us an industrial vibe. The camera is situated on a clever homemade track and as I watch the crew, including female grip, Mary Russell, they are fast and at the ready. Andrea is in a scene with Sparks and Gichi Gamba and I watch as they setup, run through their lines, and inevitably shoot. Final scene for me before heading out.
I applaud Sparks for taking a chance and coming up with a new storyline for super humans living among us. I also applaud that the cast and crew are comprised of a diverse group of men and women. You can watch Seasons 1 and 2 on Amazon Prime.