Freelancers is set in a world evocative of Dungeons & Dragons and Game Of Thrones. Inspired by fantasy literature, role-playing games and the web series "The Guild", the filmmakers set out to create a show featuring fast-paced, action-packed storytelling that specifically foregoes the fantasy tropes of prophecies, sagas, and saving the world. True to its title, the show features flawed characters with extraordinary talents just trying to survive.
In Season One, two mercenaries stumble across a thief who has stolen an artifact from a powerful sorcerer and quickly find themselves on the run from just about everyone. Eager to turn her in for an extravagant reward, Nick the Bold (swashbuckling warrior, played by Nicholas Givanio) and Ivan Strang [sic] (constantly mind-expanding wizard, played by Ivan Borntrager) fend off rival bounty hunters in order to keep Caitlin Marcks (rapier-wielding cat burglar, played by Caitlin Geier) alive long enough to be able to collect on their “investment”
Produced in the Inland Empire by Witness Pictures, the deceptively small crew shot most of the show off the Ortega Highway west of Lake Elsinore and in Murrieta, with certain sequences shot in Hemet, Palm Springs and Riverside. Utilizing local talent, including live steel fighters, wardrobe designers, actors, Hollywood stunt choreographers, sharp graphic design, concept art and matte painting by co-producer Bimal Gorajia and digital visual effects by co-producer Derek Nickell and the amazing Oregon-based visual effects team at RefugeVFX (Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars The Clone Wars, NBC’s Grimm), the award-winning filmmakers have been able to put on-screen a surprisingly epic world for "a budget in the same range as the cost of a used Volkswagen,"
Four of Season One's five episodes are currently available to watch on the official site via BlipTV and RogueFlix with the fifth episode (season finale) premiering simultaneously May 21 on KVCR and on the web shortly after. The episodes range in running time from five to fifteen minutes, averaging 9 minutes per. The official site also features various behind the scenes videos, production stills, character bios, story synopses and links to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Tumblr. Lacking large studio resources, Fisch (as the director is known on-set) and his team emphasized production value by putting together fantastic costumes, props, specific visual effects and a shooting method that somehow provides the illusion of a different world. The director credits his work on over 40 cinematic book trailers with teaching him how to put just enough detail in a frame to convey a different time and place on an extremely low budget. "Each book trailer, which essentially makes a book look like it's already been turned into a movie, required us to create a totally different time, environment, event in the same basic location. We've made Hemet, CA look like WWII Germany, Afghanistan, Viet Nam, the Old West, prohibition-
Another element the team credits as having a huge impact on the overall production value of the show is Dave Holden’s score. “Dave worked with us on almost all of our book trailers and the guy is simply one of the most amazing composers I’ve ever heard,” says Fischer. “We’re just happy if we can come anywhere close to the epic level of Dave’s music with the visuals,” adds Greenwell. “He really upped our game across the board.” Dave Holden has worked for some of the biggest composers in Hollywood, including James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer, in addition to creating original music with his band Glacier Park. Cassandra Violet, a soul-stirring songstress in her own right, provides haunting vocals for both Glacier Park and the Freelancers soundtrack.
Edited for a web-viewing audience but lensed for the big screen, Freelancers has already received excellent early reviews:
"Light-hearted fantasy comedy/drama with a grim and gritty pulse that beats hard under the surface ... The acting is superb ... characters are fun interpretations of classic fantasy stereotypes."
- Kurt Van Ristell, comedytvisdead.com
"Hallmarks of the project are ... lush locales, pristine cinematography, well-crafted costumes, vivid visual effects, excellent fight choreography and gorgeous musical score."
- Rod T. Falkner, the7thmatrix.com
"Freelancers The Series ... just might be the most entertaining fantasy web series around today."
- John Fuller, techzwn.com
“When KVCR approached us about airing the show after Robin Hood, we were initially shocked,” laughs Fischer. “We’d never entertained the idea that our web series could actually be seen on broadcast television!” The team quickly worked out how to deliver their content for broadcast, which required a frame-rate conversion, creation of four 40-second teasers that run three times per day on the network and arranging close-captioning for the longer episodes. “The fact that we can premiere the season’s finale on broadcast television is flat-out amazing,” adds Dillon. “And it’s a cliff-hanger, no doubt about that. We’re developing Season Two right now, and if you think Season One is epic, wait ’til you see what we have in store for you in Season Two!”
Inland Empire over-the-air, channel 24 (HD)
Los Angeles County over-the-air, channel 24 (HD)
Orange County over-the-air, channel 24 (HD)
Palm Springs over-the-air, channel 9
ATT Uverse, channel 24 (SD)
DirectTV, channel 24 (SD)
DishTV, channel 24 (SD, HD)
Time Warner Palm Springs, channel 9
Verizon FIOS, channel 524 (HD)
Verizon FIOS, channel 24 (SD)
Be sure to check out Freelancers online: