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This is one of the sketches I wrote and directed for “Upload” and this is one of those “how I wish it had been” posts. And now that the episode has aired, and coincidentally this news came out (http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/6/5477472/shaq-fu-sequel-crowdfunding), here’s the scoop.
Originally the sketch wasn’t about the making of a movie, but a video game. In it, Shaq wanted to make a sequel to “Shaq Fu”. He was tired of everyone hating the game, and making fun of it almost 2 decades later. In the sketch he decided to put up his own money to make this happen. The sketch would have been all about the behind the scenes chaos, and it would build up to a reveal of “Shaq Foo Too”. All the insanity behind Shaq trying to make a video game would culminate in some sort of insane, half-broken, mostly awesome game. I wrote it up, the network approved it, and I got to work planning it out.
I wanted to add a bit of legitimacy to the sketch, so I reached out to a few video game companies to see if they would help out, put their name in the sketch, maybe do some light game-play elements in exchange for some airtime with Shaq. One of the first studios to respond was Respawn (the original creators of Call of Duty, and the soon to be released Titanfall).
I met with Vince Zampella, the head of Respawn, and he really liked the idea. And instead of just lending his company’s name, and letting us shoot some B-roll of their studios, he stepped up with an offer that kind of blew me away. If we shot some footage of Shaq on greenscreen, they would create and animate a full Shaq-Titanfall mech-suit around him (!!).
No matter what else we did in the sketch, that would be the crown on top of everything. I re-wrote it a bit, and worked that into the sketch. As with almost everything in this business, getting excited about a project (unless it’s shot, edited, and going on the air right…NOW) is usually a bad idea.
I was pretty excited about this sketch.
We then heard from Shaq’s reps that the “Shaq Foo Too” thing couldn’t happen. Okay, sure, can we change the name of the game? No. Turns out anything videogame-based with Shaq was off limits. Why? Well, Shaq is working on a deal to bring a Shaq Fu sequel to life. Wait. What!?
The odds of a Shaq Fu sketch and an actual Shaq Fu sequel somehow colliding 20 years after the release of the original have to be small. But there it was, and the sketch was dead. Really, I couldn’t even be mad about it, because the timing and coincidence was so unbelieveable.
I emailed Respawn, and thanked them for Vince’s offer and time. But Shaq in a Titanfall suit, and the videogame sketch weren’t meant to be.
I rewrote the sketch again, and removed any reference to video games, generic’d it down a bit to be a movie trailer and pitched it again. In the end, we shot it, it aired, and I’m mostly happy with it. I got to put a bunch of my friends in it, and every news article that’s been released about the actual Shaq Fu sequel has used this still shot from our Upload shoot.
I’m okay if my legacy is putting Shaq in a skintight fake mo-cap suit for no reason and getting it on television.
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The new season Upload with Shaq starts airing tonight on TruTV. Here are some GIFs to honor the occasion
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davidseger asked waderandolph, kelsyabbott, and me if we would spin off the skateboard cop character from Car Jumper. We did, and now you can see the show that everyone is calling “Way better than True Detective”.
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New website, ya’ll. Now you have another place to watch everything I’d just post on Vimeo anyway. http://benpluimer.com/
Alright! We’ve released our manic multi-filmmaker RoboCop remake it it’s entirety online and for free. So here it is. Based on the original 1987 RoboCop, filmmakers remade their individual scenes however they wanted. 108-minutes. 60 little scenes. A great group of filmmakers put some amazing work into this thing, so hope you load it on your Apple TV or XBox or computer, kick back with some kettle corn, and enjoy it.
We remade Robocop, and it’s insane. Best watched in a theater full of drunk friends; 2nd best watched alone, on the floor of your studio apartment on a 4 year old MacBook.
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Well, this explains the nice warm sunlight coming through my window. The apocalypse is here I guess.
Neat poster by David Buceta.
It’s a real movie, Jack.
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