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An Interview with Ramon Govea, Director of Incidentals

by Mike Haberfelner

June 2013

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Your upcoming webseries Incidentals - in a few words, what is it about?


Incidentals weaves the stories of several people who witness a pretty major celestial event. The prologue episode, which we just finished. sets up this crazy event and the series will reveal how each of these people deal with the changes it imposes on their lives. What if one day you all of a sudden were gifted with some super power? Would you be good, evil, or a little bit of both? That's what we'll see in this series.


How did the project fall together in the first place, and how did it get off the ground?


Well, like any aspiring director has to realize at some point, you have to be your own backer. I've always wanted to direct and after a few years of producing other companies' commercials, documentaries, shorts and other projects, I made the decision to just do it. It's a genre that I had always wanted to explore, but I had it in my mind that "someday, when I can get the big budget I'll do it." I just got tired of waiting, and since launching my production company, Black Mast Studios, I've been lucky enough to have a great post-production team to collaborate with. The advancement of technology is so incredible, it's an amazing time to be a storyteller. The key for me was watching some very talented pros do it first hand, while producing their material. I didn't go to school for this, so it was important to consider my previous work as on-the-job training. I just knew it was time, and when I pitched the idea to a few people whose opinions I trust, they seemed to want this kind of story too.


With Incidentals being a tale about superheroes - is that a genre you're at all fond of, and do you consider yourself a comicbook guy?


I'm definitely not a pro collector, but I grew up collecting a few titles religiously. I started collecting Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine when I was like 11 and kept going all the way through high school into college.  There were some important Spider-man storylines I couldn't miss and then I became a huge fan of Joe Madureira's work in high school when he started drawing X-Men and branched off into his own fantasy adventure title called Battle Chasers.

In college I collected some Batman - the big arcs and graphic novels like Hush, The Killing Joke & The Long Halloween - but I would say that I was more of a Marvel & Image kid growing up. I definitely have favorite artists and writers more than a favorite title, but I was an X-Men fanatic growing up for sure.


What do you think makes Incidentals stand out among all the superhero films and series of late?


Recently what I've noticed about these tent pole feature films is that we're starting to lose sight of some of the basics in favor of bigger explosions and more massive action sequences. Don't get me wrong, I love that shit too, who doesn't? But what I wanted to explore in this project was the psychological effects that having super abilities can have on a person. I mean, just because you can all of a sudden read minds, you're not invincible. What I love about the classic Marvel and DC heroes is that they are clearly BAD MOTHERF-..., right? We are introduced to them in their full glory, often with a hint at their origin story. Or in Heroes or Misfits we see them at their inception and sometimes it gets a little slow cause we want that BadAss-ness and it's just too early... I want to reveal characters with that balance.


The beauty of a web series is that there are still no rules. You're not confined by a 3 act structure or a 30 minute conflict-resolution arc. And with multiple-platforms you can supplement your story in ways that you just can't while watching a movie in a theatre. The best way to put it is I wanted to take my favorite elements from comics and movies and combine them with what's compelling about superhero TV shows.


How would you describe your directorial approach to your story at hand?


There are a few things critical to my approach for Incidentals. The number one thing I said when I started writing this project is the acting MUST BE GREAT. Number two, visual effects should enhance the story, not distract you from it. And finally, but most equally important, the characters must be compelling and feel real. If the audience can't relate, you've wasted your time and money on a glorified home video.

I've seen so many superhero titles, and movies in general, that just miss the mark on these three elements. That balance between character-driven story and visual effects is rarely there, unless you see something like Chronicle, which I really enjoyed for that reason. The audience is not stupid, and I never assume that. If I catch something that doesn't feel right, I will not do it again, or do my best to fix it before that final cut is released. It takes a lot of planning and preparation, but thankfully filmmaking is a group effort. I love to hear what the crew and actors think, and even though I don't always agree, I like to listen and consider before moving on. As a director you have to see the bigger picture and think about how you're going to cut shots together or enhance a scene with VFX later. Not everyone on set can do that, but I pick my crew for their expertise at their individual job, and I have to adapt as we go.


Superhero stories most of the time involve lots of action and special effects - so how do you go about this in Incidentals?


I'm lucky enough to have an amazing visual effects guy on board to help me strategize how to maximize the effects for a minimal budget. We definitely don't have a huge budget for this, but I still love the action and effects that you get with superhero battles. My motto regarding VFX is definitely that they should enhance the story, not distract from it, so I'm not going over the top with too much CGI. On set we try to shoot as much practically as we can and then make it look better in post production. You can compare it to taking a photo and adding hints of Photoshop for a "wow, cool"-effect, rather than trying to create the whole thing from scratch and risking a disconnect from the audience.


What can you tell us about your cast, and why exactly these people?


Casting was a tough part of the process, but I was determined to find people who really captured the essence of these characters. I was lucky enough to have casting director Ramani Leah, who has experience on some major TV shows and films, to help me set up the casting process, and I learned a lot from her in that regard. I was very particular about the diversity, because I wanted to capture stories from all walks of life. In my own life I've had some pretty interesting experiences with people from all over the US, and I firmly believe that mainstream stories need just a little more texture, when it comes to characters. Female, Gay, Black, Latino, Chinese... I want to really challenge some of the stereotypes out there right now with these stories and I think I've found some actors who have a fantastic range. I'm not afraid to delve into the gritty reality that many Americans still face without making this a political piece. At the core this is still about people with super powers and that will be my focus, but we'll get to see this through the eyes of a wide range of people, whose perspectives many Americans might not have seen before.


Is it true that you want to branch out into comicbooks with Incidentals as well?


Absolutely. I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I am definitely collaborating with a talented guy, Craig Yeung, who has worked for both Marvel and DC as an inker. When I saw his pencil work, I was blown away and knew he was the guy to bring this story to life. I can't say much more than that yet, but my idea is to supplement all that we see in the web series with a comic book storyline that will enhance the story quite a bit. Who knows what that will lead to ...


The $64 question of course: When and where can Incidentals be seen?


That is the question, but for now I'm obligated to keep my lips sealed on that one. It will be the web for sure, but we are working out the when right now. As we navigate distribution, the important factor for me is keeping creative control. I don't want someone to turn this thing into something else, so you'll just have to wait for now. We will be making some announcements at San Diego Comic Con 2013, and we might even be showing some footage. Wink Wink.


Any future projects beyond Incidentals?


Oh yeah. By the end of the summer, and probably before that, you'll see some more work that crosses over into the comic book realm, but again, we are legally obligated to keep quiet for now.


What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


In truth, it was just the desire to tell stories. I've always been a writer and when I was about seven or eight I used to trace images from Disney books and comic books to enhance my own written stories. Much to my mother's dismay, I would take them to school and give them away. I never went to school to study film, but when I was in college I spent my years sitting in on elective classes that treated film as literature. We would watch classic movies and analyze them like you would a good book. That really helped to solidify my dream of directing. I made the decision when I was in high school, though. When my friends and I were assigned group presentation projects, we'd always ask if we could do a video project instead, but when I read Joseph Campbell in 10th grade, my heart was definitely set on making movies for a living one day.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Incidentals?


I'm pretty new to the filmmaking game. Without any formal training or connections my first year in Hollywood were spent sleeping in my car, couch-surfing and trying to figure out what I was gonna eat next. I won a couple of screenwriting contests early on, which was validating, but I partied a lot in the beginning. The last 3 years I've been writing and producing small projects, some my own and some for other companies. I was finally ready to take the reigns as director on something of my own and that's what brings us to Incidentals. My last big project was an overseas documentary that we shot in South America and Colorado, Ancient Tomorrow, about Nikola Tesla and an adventurer's search for evidence of ancient technology. Took us 3 years to put that together, and I learned so much through that process. It is actually almost finished and we're negotiating distribution on that right now.


Writers, directors, heck, even superheroes who inspire you?


Man, I could talk for ages about this, but off the top of my head, my favorite directors are Darren Aranofsky, Chris Nolan, Tarantino, Tony Scott, and Kubrick. As for writing a series, I think Lost is an example of a great show as far as writing compelling characters. The first two seasons of Misfits and the first season of Heroes inspired Incidentals a great deal too. Anyone who refuses to give in to the easy decision is a hero in my eyes. The majority is often the wrong school to swim with, in my opinion, so anyone who stands up for a belief that promotes compassion, growth and understanding, even in the face of violence inspires me.


Your favourite movies?


That's a really tough one, but The Princess Bride is up there as one of my all time favorites. It has everything, but I still enjoy the action movies of the 80's and really good sci-fi. Anything with a great story and great acting will usually top my list. In this sandbox that we're discussing now, I loved Memento, The Crow, Requiem for a Dream, Pulp Fiction, The Dark Knight, and Unbreakable. Based on the trailer, I am looking forward to seeing Man of Steel. I hope it lives up to its potential.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


I hate to knock other people's work, since I think it's kind of tactless and easy to do, but I will say there's only one movie I've ever walked out of after about 5 minutes - Van Helsing. Oh, I do refuse to watch any more 80's reboots that Michael Bay has a hand in. There I said it and it's forever on the intertubes... for better or worse. Don't get me wrong, I loved his classics like The Rock with Sean Connery, but Optimus Prime is a hero, not a war machine and the Turtles are teenage mutant ninjas. Period. One of my pet peeves is changing canon too much, which is why I'm still not happy with the X-Men movies either. The ideas of - spoiler alert - 'Jean Grey killing Professor X and then Wolverine and Storm crying about it' or 'Beast using the mutant cure on Magneto' make me want to swallow glass and burn my comics.


Your/your webseries' website, Facebook, whatever else?


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x-rated  find Ramon Govea at

We won't have anything official up until we work out our distribution deals, but you can stay updated on my personal twitter and the Black Mast Studios Facebook Page.



Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


We'll be floating around San Diego Comic Con 2013, and you might be able to catch us at one of the booths, but again, it's hush hush until we can make any official announcements, so stay tuned! 

These were some great questions!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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Michael Haberfelner


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