The First Musketeer

The First Musketeer

Last week saw the long-awaited release of The First Musketeer, an action-adventure web series created by Ren‘s associate casting director, Harriet Sams. Harriet’s show shares several other team members with Ren, including actress/fight performer Dita Tantang (Lyanna), fight choreographer Ronin Traynor, director of photography Neil Oseman and gaffer Richard Roberts. The First Musketeer is a prequel to the famous novels by Alexandre Dumas, telling how Athos (Edward Mitchell), Porthos (Charles Barrett) and Aramis (Ryan Spong) first met and became the heroes we know and love. Filled with swordfights, horses and intricate period costumes, The First Musketeer posed many similar challenges to Ren. Below Harriet shares some of her experiences of making the show. What made you want to tackle these iconic characters? I’ve always loved period movies, along with action/adventure it’s my favourite genre, and The Three Musketeers have it all. Although I would say that the subject matter almost chose me. I was in France with family and my dad commented on the fact that half of the villages look like ready made sets, and that I could make a great Musketeer short film using the locations, and so it kind of evolved from there. It was never really planned to become as big as it did but I tend to have difficulty holding back when a good idea presents itself. Why did you feel that a web series was the best medium for this story? I couldn’t settle on the idea of adapting a story that had so often been done before, and with budgets I couldn’t hope to match. I had recently begun watching a number of web series, and I was struck...
Woodland Warrior: Dita Tantang on playing Lyanna

Woodland Warrior: Dita Tantang on playing Lyanna

Ren’s life will change forever when she crosses paths in the forest with the fearless knife-fighting fugitive, Lyanna. Portraying this all-action woman is Dita Tantang. Tell us a bit about your background in acting and fight performing. I fell into acting all backwards! I actually started with the fight performing and began training on a whim because a friend of mine at drama school was telling me how she learnt to punch people yet no one got hurt – this “stage combat” module sounded intriguing. I was doing a Computing degree at the time and had never heard of it before, so naturally I Googled it, found a course on it, and impulsively blew part of my student loan on it! Unsurprisingly, everyone else in my class were actors so I felt a little out of place with a huge learning curve ahead of me. Nevertheless, I was absolutely loving it. Learning stage combat was like learning something secret, it’s the illusion of violence, fundamentally it’s magic. A year after training, I nabbed my first swordfighting job. That’s when I realised I could actually make something from fight performing. I continued my training in other weapons and became good enough to join fight teams. One of the fight teams I was on was the Independent Drama fight team, which is actually run by Ronin Traynor (action co-ordinator for Ren). A few years ago I was helping him out with fight scenes on a sci-fi series called Chronicles of Syntax, where the writer told me that they were re-casting featured roles and they had to be good fighters. I successfully...
Ren at London Comic Con: Video

Ren at London Comic Con: Video

Last weekend the Kah’Nath invaded London’s Excel Centre as Ren came to the MCM Comic Con. Here’s what the team got up to at the UK’s largest pop culture convention. Director Kate Madison and costume designer Miriam Spring Davies represented Ren on the New British Web Series panel in the VidFest dome, alongside cast and crew from Year of Spies and The First Musketeer. Kate and Miriam explained Ren‘s Caxton studio set-up, and discussed the costumes, the extras and how the series is being promoted. Three videos from Ren were screened: the teaser trailer, the Daily Diaries trailer and an exclusive featurette introducing the key characters. Meanwhile volunteers Ivan Moy, Robert Myles, Edward Morley and Tindi Lewis donned outfits from the series to dish out flyers and show the trailer to as many people as possible. The team were also able to attend an interesting panel session with the makers of fantasy feature Arthur & Merlin, and Kate even got to meet YouTube icon Felicia Day, who was suitably impressed by the Ren trailer. This was the first in what we hope will be a long line of convention appearances for Ren as our audience grows. Keep an eye on our Calendar for future...
Ren Daily Diaries: Social Gifting Offer

Ren Daily Diaries: Social Gifting Offer

Have you checked out the Ren Daily Diaries which went on sale the other week? If not, now’s the time to do it. To celebrate Ren‘s participation in London ComicCon this weekend, until Sunday night every purchase of the Ren Daily Diaries will come with three free rental copies to give to your friends. The Daily Diaries are your chance to go beyond the glimpses in the YouTube ‘making of’ videos and witness the creation of Ren: Season One from the first day of shooting to the last. For a few days only, you can introduce three lucky friends to the world of Ren by gifting them free rentals when you buy. For $35 (about £23 or 31 Euros) you’ll get access to our series of 36 daily behind-the-scenes videos following the making of the web’s most ambitious and exciting new series. To purchase, just click the buy button in the trailer above. Please note: Since many of the videos contain spoilers, you’ll receive the first 7 when you buy, with access to the remaining 29 videos being unlocked the day after Ren: Season One is released. Free rental copies will expire after three...
Talking Torberry with Alan Hay

Talking Torberry with Alan Hay

He may look like a simple potato farmer, but there’s a lot more to Torberry than meets the eye. We caught up with actor Alan Hay to find out what it was like to play this intriguing character. How did you get into acting? After moving to England  (from Scotland), I needed a hobby to help settle into the new place, and joined some local community theatre companies working mainly on musicals. Some 14 years later, I’m now one of the producers of a theatre company and one of the creative directors of a comedy improv group, working on productions in Cambridge, London and Edinburgh. What attracted you to Ren and the role of Torberry? I was a huge fan of Kate’s previous work and had a short cameo as an Orc in one of the early scenes in Born Of Hope. I was hugely excited by the Ren project, and was delighted when I was approached as a potential auditionee. I was sent some script extracts for Torberry and auditioned over Youtube, whilst working on a number of theatre shows at the Edinburgh Festival during casting. From the audition material, Torberry had a wonderful mix of father-figure and intrigue about him, and I was delighted when the offer of the role arrived. What was it like to put on your costume and step onto the village set on your first day? For me, once the costume is put together, the character really finds its home. It affects how you stand, walk and move, and I always find everything comes much more alive once you look the part. Miriam did...