Interview:  Twenty Questions with.......

Today’s Twenty Questions takes us back to a previous personality.  Previously dubbed Matchflick’s Resident Zombie Expert for this work on NO TOMORROW, we talk to Frank T. Ziede on his latest project, the action web series, BLACK.

Frank, it’s great to catch up with you again.

You as well Mike!
BLACK Creator Frank T. Ziede

Frank, this new project, BLACK, can you give us any specifics?

You bet. BLACK is a high action web series that combines elements of the record breaking “Call of Duty Modern Warfare” video game franchise, the live action film ACT OF VALOR and the successful FOX television show “24.”

What's your storyline?

We tell the story of Agent Carnahan, an ex-Navy SEAL, now part of a top secret CIA team created to deal with a terrorist act on American soil that targets the CIA directly.

What gave you the inspiration for this project?

I’ve always been a big fan of action on film. I also have an immense amount of respect for people in our armed forces whether past, present and future. My grandfather is one of the original Merrill’s Marauders, a group of soldier that was sent of a suicide mission and ended up becoming the foundation for the first Army Rangers. He’s my inspiration for not only doing a series that is entertaining for action fans but one that also brings a sense of military realism and respect for what it is soldiers do.

What reference material are you drawing from?

Tons. I’ve done extensive online research, read lots of books on the subject matter, watched other film projects in the genre, but most of all it’s about working together with real military veterans.

Why a web series?  What the attraction?

I’ve worked on a number of award-winning short films and found that film festivals are not the friendliest places for “action” content. What seems to shine in that forum are comedies or dramas and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I directed a comedy called ROBBED, which stars current “Saturday Night Live” cast member Tim Robinson. In fact, it was an official selection of 2011 LA Shorts Fest. This is a top-level festival and we were honored to be a part of it. But action projects don’t really have a strong festival draw. YouTube, on the other hand is a prime outlet for action content. Several other content creators have had massive success in the world of YouTube, and they have been a real inspiration for me during this process.

Are there any technical adjustments needed to make BLACK Web-friendly?

Not any major ones. It’s like shooting any other project. Make it as great as it can be and the work will speak for itself.

How’s your progress?  Can you give me any of the principal characters?

We are in the early stages of pre-production. We have an amazing cast already locked in. Playing the lead role of Carnahan is Mikal Vega. Mikal has appeared in such blockbusters as TRANSFORMERS, DARK of the MOON, G.I. JOE - RETALIATION and the upcoming Michael Bay television series “The Last Ship.”  Not only is he a great actor, he’s also a decorated ex-Navy SEAL with over twenty years of combat experience. Our lead villain for the series is Welsey John. Wesley has appeared in THE SCORPION KING and CONSTANTINE as well as the television series “Common Law” and “The Unit.”  They both are top-flight actors ready to put on a great show. We’ve also reached out to some well-known military vets to be a part of the show such as James Yeager of and Mad Max Mullen of We’ve even signed on the world-class martial arts instructor Waysun Johnny Tsai, an eight degree black sash in Kung-Fu.

Will this be an ongoing series, or will you test the waters first?

That’s what this first run is all about. We are going to air a six parts mini-series to launch the project. This will be a completed storyline with an ending that hints at what’s coming next. If we have the success we are hoping for then we will continue the series for sure.

This being an independent project, how is funding going?

We turned to the Kickstarter community for help. We heavily utilized Facebook as a great marketing tool and even shot a trailer for the project to give people an idea of what they’d be supporting. We set a thirty-day goal of $7,500.00. When the deadline came we ended up with over $10,000.00 in support!

We tell the story of
Agent Carnahan
, an ex-Navy SEAL, now part of a top secret CIA team created to deal with a terrorist act on American soil that targets the CIA directly. - Frank T. Ziede - BLACK Creator

What is your expected budget for this series?

We have the Kickstarter funding to help make the series a reality. Most of our crew is working for little to no money because they believe in the project.

What are you finding toughest to put together, I mean besides funding?

Hand’s down the toughest part of this has been people’s schedules. We have actors coming in from LA, Atlanta and Tennessee. Crew coming in from all over the Midwest. Getting everyone’s schedules to line up has been an exercise in patience to say the least.

Are you getting any outside support?

We have had a tremendous amount of support from sponsors in addition to the generous funding from our Kickstarter backers. BLACKHAWK! a worldwide military/ law enforcement gear provider has agreed to provide us with gear. Additionally we have had several other companies such as, Dark Angel Medical, Webtechgear, Combat Swag and many other provide us with either financial support of goods and services.

How about technical advice?

That’s what so great about our cast. They’ve lived this stuff. I don’t have to guess what’s working or not. I just go to them and say “Is this on point?” And you can be sure that they don’t hold back.

Is there a tentative release for this project?

We are shooting the six part series in Jan. 2013. We have no official launch date yet but I’d like to say that this summer is a good possibility.

Aside from the Facebook page, are there any other sites promoting the project?

Right now we are using that as our main point of contact with our fan base. We are working on a dedicated website in the near future, but we have been very pleased with using Facebook as a way to keep our fans engaged.

Will there be a dedicated website for this project, or will this be posted on your Power Forward site?

As for screening the project we already have a dedicated YouTube page and even though we haven’t shown one episode yet, we already have hundreds of subscribers.

What is your endgame for this project?

I am a student of film. I want to learn as much as I can in the short time I have on this earth and I think this series will really challenge me to become a better filmmaker. As for an “endgame?” I’d love to see it turned into a television series of some kind. I know I’d watch it.

Aside from BLACK, what other projects are on the burner?

I’m currently pitching the full-length feature script I wrote for a zombie project called NO
TOMORROW. The logline read as follows: In a zombie-infested world, a loner seeks refuge in the wilderness, but is forced to become a savior to a group of survivors. After completing the script I realized that this is not a low budget project. It has a large-scale story and would need a large scale budget. So I’m trying to get into the hands of people that have that level of support. I’ve also got a dark comedy indie level feature that I’m trying to get off the ground called HEADSHOT. It’s a story about out of work actors who work as criminals to pay the bills.

How is juggling your Power Forward projects with your day job?

Juggling is a good way to put it. As a husband and father who has a pretty busy day job, making movies is a bit of a challenge. But people struggle everyday with making their dreams come true. I’m just another guy on that long list of dreamers.

And finally, what will be your “hook” for BLACK?

We are hoping that the blend of high action and military realism at an indie level will attract a solid following. I think it’s been said that there are no original stories left to tell, only your original way of telling them.


Frank will release BLACK when all the stars are in alignment.  Stay tuned the Matchflick News Page for updates, as well as the BLACK Facebook page.