About Brothers Barbarian

To say that Brothers Barbarian had an unusual beginning is an understatement, but given who was involved (Ken Whitman and Tim Gooch), it wasn’t too surprising. Here’s how the mother of all late-night conversations gave birth to a couple of middle-aged barbarians.

In the winter of 2010, Ken and Tim were working on a local indie film project. Ken was working as a grip, and Tim was working as the Director of Photography. The shooting schedule was such that they typically wrapped around 2:00 AM each morning, and after breaking down and loading up equipment, they stood around chit-chatting about various ideas for upcoming film projects. Somewhere during the discussion, Ken mentioned that he had several friends in the Fantasy community who were interested in making and producing films and video, but they wanted to have a deeper level of involvement in the story development, the look and feel, and the overall production of a project. Tim suggested that, instead of going out and buying equipment (a risky proposition) and learning to use it (very time-consuming), Ken and his friends partner with someone who already had the necessary gear and had the right expertise.

Ken, having recognized that Tim had most, if not all, of the necessary equipment, and having watched Tim use that equipment on location, dove headfirst into putting some ideas down on paper. In a matter of days, Ken had sent Tim the outlines of six stories, all tied together in traditional episodic form, although he intentionally made the episodes much shorter than a TV show, with an eye toward web delivery. (Although rough, the episodes contained all the primary plot elements and characters that appear in the final versions.)

In a matter of days, Ken incorporated a few suggestions from Tim into the storylines and passed them along to renowned fantasy artist Larry Elmore. In short order, Larry agreed to help out by playing the role of the Old Wizard, fleshing out the stories, and creating storyboards.

With Larry committed to helping, Ken next recruited Margaret Weis to play the role of the Evil Witch. Margaret, having worked with Ken and Larry before, quickly signed on, as long as the filming would coincide with a visit to Louisville, KY for her to attend the Kentucky Derby.

A month later, Ken and Tim sat down with Larry, Robert Hatfield (a Louisville-based branding/marketing expert), and William C. “Doc” Eriksen (an Elizabethtown, KY based chiropractor and businessman) and developed a plan for financing and coordinating the project, as well as a basic timeline. Shortly after that, they put together a production team, a preproduction schedule, and a detailed production (shooting) schedule.

In May 2011, this team and a host of extras and crew (totaling nearly 60 people over the two weeks of shooting) descended on the Doe Run Inn in Brandenburg, KY. Five shooting days (and 42.5 pages of script) later, they walked away with all but a couple of scenes captured. In between, they experienced something between a movie set and a small Ren Fair. They laughed, worked together, stayed up too late listening to Larry’s crazy stories, got overheated in the sun, rehearsed and performed, ate several meals, and learned what the word “community” really means.

The end result is Brothers Barbarian.