Rotor DR1 is now available on DVD and BLU-RAY from Cinema Libre Studio!
By Writer/Creative Producer of Rotor DR1, Megan Ryberg
When Rotor DR1 began, all we had was a concept and an experimental development process: community collaboration. We knew that before we could begin production, we needed to create the universe in which our characters lived. And we were going to build it together with our community.
To learn more about the specific ways that Rotor DR1 utilized community collaboration, see the following article written by Social Times at Ad Week: http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/rotor-dr1/627853
During the first month of community collaboration, we presented our seed community with three ideas as the foundation for building the world: a cataclysmic event had removed half the world’s population, the skies were filled with autonomous drones, and the drone that would become the main character’s companion was different than the other drones.
From those parameters, we developed the Rotorverse together. We created the landscape sparsely populated with humans, yet densely populated with drones. We invented the social hierarchy of the survivors, with those that successfully hoarded supplies and power at the top, and the outcasts of society (called fringers) at the bottom. We developed the potent power source of arcanum pellets, which power the drones delivering vaccines. These “Arc Pellets” became the standard currency used by the survivors. We designed the apocalyptic virus that devastated humanity, and the company Sky Medix that used drones to try to stop the virus.
Our seed community was extraordinarily tech-savvy, so we wanted to ensure the science of the world, and the technology within it, was sound. There were three key expositional setups that required particular attention in this regard: the virus, Arc Pellets, and Sky Medix, the corporation that was supposed to save everyone, but failed.
The virus was suggested early on by the community as the cataclysmic event that caused the apocalypse. It was an ancient, airborne virus inadvertently released through the mining of arcanum. All survivors, with the exception of Kitch, assume they are naturally immune but are carriers of the virus. This poses an inherent threat to any children born after the release of the virus: though babies can’t contract the virus in the womb, they can contract the airborne virus during the natural birth process. For this reason, Dr. Mitchell Scott, CEO of Sky Medix and Kitch’s father, has been searching for a vaccine.
The irony of the virus is that it was caused and spread by the very power source fueling the medical delivery drones that carried the vaccine meant to save humanity. The medical delivery drones were developed by Sky Medix, an innovative corporation that brought three vital industries together: drones, medicine, and power. These drones were powered by Arc Pellets, an extremely efficient, condensed, and highly potent power source that could keep the drones running for years. However, the vaccine failed, and the arc-powered drones caused the virus to spread faster. These drones continue to deliver vaccines, though there is nobody left to use them. The remaining survivors hunt and capture these drones for their coveted Arc Pellets, which is the most valuable form of currency in this post-apocalyptic world.
Locations, Sets, and Continuity
We decided to do a post-apocalyptic setting after a viral outbreak, rather than a war. Initially we thought this would be a little easier. That was not the case. Building sets that appeared to be abandoned was a lot more work than we could have imagined. While we constructed a few sets, the bulk of our scenes were shot on location. We spent a lot of time looking for appropriate locations in order to make our world as real as possible. One location stands out as a perfect post-apocalyptic location: The old Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, OH. Our set photographer, Jim Biss, made the connection and helped us get permission to shoot there. This epic location became the central focal point of the movie. Every storefront window in the mall was shattered and the impressive atrium had an amazingly eerie feel to it.
Stage dressing was a massive group effort. We never had enough help. Darryl Parson, our production designer, was working around the clock to help keep up with the constant evolution of our world. Fortunately, locations like the mall and the old factory were mostly ready to go and required very little set dressing.
In filmmaking, continuity is always a challenge. Adding an entirely new community development process makes it even more difficult. One thing we had on our side was the fact that we were shooting linearly. As our story was being developed, we were shooting. This helped a lot for story continuity, but made it extremely difficult to foreshadow later elements, which was a constant struggle during the production process. For example, in some earlier scenes, we decided to give Maya’s character a bandage on her forehead to imply that she had been beaten by 4C. However, as the characters became fleshed out, 4C had morphed from a violent mob-boss type to a greedy uncle who took Maya for granted. With the shift in 4C’s character, the bandage on Maya’s forehead no longer made sense. With a couple reshoots and some creative editing we were able to achieve acceptable continuity. Although a number of wardrobe, setting, and prop continuity errors made it through to the final film, our highest priority was to ensure the character and story continuity made sense.
The viral science was developed around the need for the setting. We knew we wanted a post- apocalyptic setting. The community chose the reason for the loss of lives. Then we had to be creative about the way that it happened. The virus kept morphing based on the direction the story was going. It became one of our biggest flex-points. We kept changing the way the virus worked based on the direction of each episode. One week the virus was transmitted through the blood, and the next it became airborne. We always had the current state of the story, the community input and the feasibility of the science that eventually narrowed it down to what it was in the final film, which Kitch’s dad explains in the final act.
The drone technology was a little different. We started with the concept that drones will eventually be able to run for years on a single power supply. This concept came from the advancements in the past five years affecting the radio control hobby, notably brushless motors.
Watch The Trailer Here:
Purchase Rotor DR1 from Cinema Libre Studio on Vimeo
DVD BONUS FEATURES
-5.1 & Stereo
BLU-RAY BONUS FEATURES
(25 add’l minutes of bonus materials!*)
-Featurettes (*5 additional featurettes!)
– *Storyboard Timelapse (2 versions)
-5.1 & Stereo
Website: www.rotordr1.com | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rotordr1
Bluray – http://www.cinemalibrestudio.com/clscatalog/2015/rotor_dr1_bluray_600x800_72dpi.jpg
ABOUT CINEMA LIBRE: Cinema Libre Studio is a full-service mini-studio known for producing and distributing high concept feature films and social impact documentaries. Headquartered in the Los Angeles area, the team has released over 200 films including the Sundance Audience Award®‐Winning FUEL, THE END OF POVERTY?, Rachid Bouchareb’s LONDON RIVER and Oliver Stone’s SOUTH OF THE BORDER. This year, the company has released CAN’T STAND LOSING YOU, based on a memoir by Andy Summers, the guitarist of the band The Police, DAYS OF GRACE (DIAS DE GRACIA), an eight-time Ariel Award ®-winning film by Mexican director Everardo Gout and is gearing up for a Fall theatrical run for OLVIDADOS (FORGOTTEN), the Damian Alcazar-starring feature which was Bolivia’s Official Selection as Foreign Language Film at the 87th Oscars ®.
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Beth Portello, info (at) cinemalibrestudio.com, 818-588-3033
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