As anyone who follows The Jurassic Park Podcast team will know – whilst we all love the Jurassic films, we also all have a deep affinity for dinosaurs in general – and love writing about all things to do with them. I’ve been lucky enough to cover a wide breadth of dinosaur-related materials in the past – from museum collections to live arena spectacles and much, much more. But, one of the things to get me most excited, was when I learned that friend of the podcast Jack Ewins was working on an epic new adventure: Dino Defenders Extreme. We sat down with Jack to learn a little more about the piece:
Tom: Hey Jack! So, firstly, for anyone who doesn’t know you (I don’t know how!) – tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do:
Jack: My name is Jack Anthony Ewins, I help run a production company with my friend Tim called Chaos Theorem, some of you out there might know our work from the viral marketing for Jurassic World and JW: Fallen Kingdom.
Tom: Awesome – so obviously, dinosaurs are a big part of life for you then! Was it your affinity for Jurassic Park which led you down the path to work on your latest project?
Jack: Above anything else it was my love of story-telling that led me down the path towards Dino-Defenders. Jurassic Park has inspired the visual canvas for setting, and the basic set up for where the story begins (a group of specialists head to a secret base where dinosaurs have been cloned) but the challenge was how to make it different. Dinosaurs are a fascinating part of Earth’s history and I firmly believe in fiction there’s more we can do with them. I’m hopeful that Dino-Defenders can do that. Also, my wife challenged me to better my artwork of humans, this was back in 2015 not long after Jurassic World was out, she said “you can draw/paint dinosaurs really well but humans are your undoing”. At first I decided to try and tackle this via our web comic Jurassic World: Regenesis but that project was eventually shelved and I didn’t do anything else for a while. Not until the idea for DDEX came along. I’ve figured this project will put me to the test by having humans in many different situations and positions for me to better my art and by having the characters be stylised and cartoony would be a good starting point. So far, I’ve learnt a lot. Thanks wife : ).
Tom: So – Dino Defenders Extreme. What kind of stories can we expect from this project?
Jack: DDEX is one story split into chapters. Like Alien, Jurassic Park and Frankenstein its a story of playing god and exploiting the miracle of life, but it won’t do this by simply having dinosaurs escape to teach the nasty humans a lesson, I want to tell something different with these animals that we haven’t seen in other stories, and I believe that starts with the human characters. We’ve seen people promote dinosaurs for entertainment, we’ve seen them try to use them as weapons, but with Dino-Defenders I’m asking what if someone was using prehistoric lifeforms to search for other ways to play god, and how deep does that go.
Tom: In your announcement, you mention being inspired by modern films like Prometheus, but also by the works of film icons like Ray Harryhausen. How have these inspirations shaped the project so far?
Jack: Ray Harryhasen in particular has inspired the project purely from a motivational stand point. If you’ve ever watched an interview with the late icon its apparent that he never let go of his passion of bringing monsters and dinosaurs to life. It’s his drive and commitment that inspired me to commit to this project and really be passionate about it. As for Prometheus being an inspiration it boils down to two things, I love the ascetic of the character Weyland’s living quarters on the ship, and what we see at the beginning of Alien: Covenant, there’s a sleek, clean Romanesque feel to the way Ridley Scott and crew brought that character to life. I wanted to emulate that certain aspect for the character Rose Ankor who is the mastermind behind the operations in Dino-Defenders. Obviously, the look of this project is heavily inspired by cartoons from the 90’s, but also the Overwatch animated shorts. With those they tell short 7 minute stories that have been very inspirational in lessons of compact story-telling.
Tom: Obviously, you’re still hard at work developing the show – but do you have an estimate for how many episodes you expect the show to be?
Jack: It’ll be released in 6 chapters, each around 15 mins in length. Once they are all finished I’ll edit them together into a feature length video. The goal is to reach at least 1 hour 10 minutes’ worth.
Tom: What has been your biggest challenge you’ve encountered so far?
Jack: The biggest challenge so far has been finding time to work on it. I have the story planned out and the tools to bring it to life but finding the time has been the biggest obstacle. I began work on DDEX in July 2017, and had some time over that summer to get the project off the ground, then life got in the way, and after that we really got stuck in with Fallen Kingdom, I would love to work on it 24/7, which is why I have set up the Patreon to try and find support in order to do this. The show will come out regardless but with support it’ll be with us sooner rather than later. I’ll admit the second challenge is getting the word out there and letting like-minded people know that a project like this exists. So I truly appreciate you guys helping get the word out! Thank you.
Tom: Where can people learn more about the project?
Jack: People can learn more about the project over a the Patreon http://www.Patreon.com/Ewinzilla/Overview … or go to my Terrordome 3000 youtube channel you can catch me live streaming painting frames for the project whenever I can and people can talk directly to me about information on the project. We also look to have a laugh when streaming.
Tom: Can Jurassic Park fans expect fan-favourite dinosaurs to make appearances or should we expect Dino Defenders Extreme to bring all new dinosaurs to the centre stage?
Jack: Oh yes, there’ll be lesser known dinosaurs in this series. I’ve omitted A LOT of the most well known dinosaurs, some examples being Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Triceratops, Spinosaurus, Velociraptor, and Parasaurolophus because I feel there are some really interesting prehistoric creatures that I can use in unique ways that’ll be different to what has been seen previously. The ones I’ve publicly announced being in the show are Megalosaurus, Dimetrodon, Proceratosaurus, and Megaraptor. I’ll admit there is one particular prehistoric creature that has a scene I think people will love. But thats a secret for now.
Tom: Where do you hope Dino Defenders Extreme will go in the future? What’s the end goal?
Jack: The end goal of DDEX is to entertain those like minded folks out there who have longed for a more mature dinosaur story, and those that have been longing for an animated show of Jurassic Park. I’m also framing the shots in a cinematic way, like animated story boards to show how it could work on a larger screen. So who knows what could happen if people really embraced this. I’d love to take it to a animation studio and have it made into a fully animated film, *COUGH* Don Bluth. But I must take baby steps and put the work in to prove its worth.
Tom: Lastly, where can people excited get more involved?
Jack: At this current stage people can get involved via the Patreon: http://www.Patreon.com/Ewinzilla/Overview …. No one has to support it of course but for $1 per MONTH (76p for those in the UK) I think it’s a small price to pay to help with the creation of something that has been missing for the last 25+ years. If people can’t afford to help but still wish to I’d say spread the word!
There you have it – an in-depth look at Dino Defenders Extreme! I am personally incredibly excited to see where this goes. Jack and Tim have shown real talent for expanding story materials through Chaos Theorem in the past – so I am excited to see Jack put that to good use with DDEX. Stay tuned here on The Jurassic Park Podcast – as we hope to continue to cover the project as it grows and expands!
In the meantime, if you are excited, check out the first teaser trailer: