Exclusive Interview: Filmmaker Mac Schonher shares details on his new Instagram Web Series, " Hero Named Rush"
To get a taste of all the web series the world has to offer, we checked out, the newest Instagram addition "Hero Named Rush" and were so impressed by the series that we just had to sit down a speak with the series creator Mac Schonher .
Here's a snippet from our conversation with the young filmmaker:
What have been some of your biggest challenges as a filmmaker and web creator?
As a filmmaker and web creator, one of the biggest challenges has been finding a way to
create and write content that not only will draw in an audience, but also stand out from
the other content that is being created and released daily. In the digital age, everyone has
the opportunity to make their own work, so the internet has become oversaturated with
webseries, digital shorts, and features. With this over abundance of content, a large
majority of productions tend to blur into each other, often with similar stories being told
in similar ways. As a filmmaker, and with this project specifically, it was very important
to me to find a new way to tell this story. While the idea of a superhero in NYC is not an
original idea, what is original is the way in which it was crafted – this idea of having the
hero be an average person and how an average person would react to getting super speed.
Additionally, the platform in which it was released was also a new frontier that not a lot
of creators are exploring. Instagram is one of (if not the most) widely used and trafficked
social media platform today, and yet no other creators are doing what Hero Named Rush
is doing and utilizing social media as a means of episodic storytelling. For this project, I
wanted to capture an audience not only through the story itself but also through the way
that this story would be told, thus allowing the series to stand out to it’s maximum
The loss of net neutrality may be the biggest web story of 2017. What’s a creator to do?
I think that creators are going to have to get very creative with how they begin to share
their stories. Someone could have the best film or series ever written, but if they are
unable to get the finished product seen then it won’t matter. Unfortunately under the
current legislation regarding net neutrality, there will be an unfair advantage given to
certain content while other content is discriminated against. This will definitely affect the
overall outreach and impressions that a creator may have in upcoming months and years.
However, with that said, I am of the belief that necessity breeds creativity. If creators are
still motivated to release their content and get their work seen, then net neutrality law
aside, they will find a way to do so. In theory, the only thing that should change under the
new legislation should be the avenues in which creators take to release their work and
promote their stories.
How was producing a web series different than your previous projects?
In regards to other projects, Hero Named Rush (HNR) was really the first project where I
have been in charge of everything. Not only was I the writer/creator, but also the director,
lead actor, and then editor. HNR has given me the opportunity to branch out just from
acting, and explore other aspects of filmmaking that I found I actually enjoy and have
talents in. With the other projects I have ben involved with – whether it be tv, film, or
theater – I was solely an actor, so I would not have to worry about any of the behind the
scenes or post-production processes. HNR is the first project that I have been able to see
the entire trajectory of; from conception and pre-production all the way through to
editing, release, and marketing.
What drew you to this particular story?
There are two things that drew me to this story. The first is that I have always loved the
fantasy/action genre, especially related to superheroes. So I wanted to pay homage to
those films, but do it in a way that didn’t feel like a direct copy of a story that’s already
been told. It was really important to me that this story be about a new type of superhero,
one who is relatable to a wide range of audiences because he is more of an everyman
rather than a billionaire, or a scientist, or a soldier, etc. I feel that audiences can relate to
Arthur Kang in a lot of ways because he feels more real in his response to these new
powers he’s acquired. Without giving the plot of season 1 away, Arthur doesn’t respond
how a hero typically would, instead he takes his own path to becoming a hero. My hope
is that audiences see that while yes, this is a show about a superhero and there are a lot of
special effects; at it’s core this is a story of a guy who had something unbelievable and
life changing happen to him, and he’s just trying to make the best of it.
The second thing that drew me to this story was the idea of having a Korean-American
superhero. Originally when I wrote the script Arthur didn’t have a last name and this role
wasn’t written specifically for me. But as I kept doing revisions and falling more in love
with this character, I thought to myself “why can’t I be Arthur?” All too often in
American film and tv, Asian-Americans are only small supporting roles and never the
leads. I think the most interesting thing about this story is that because I didn’t write
Arthur as an ethnic character, but rather just had myself (an Asian actor) as him in the
series, it exposes this idea that Asian-Americans could play leading roles without it being
atypical or off-putting. On Instagram, Hero Named Rush has had hundreds of thousands
of impressions, interactions, reach, and views combined since its release in early April,
and not a single comment or critique has come up suggesting that a Korean-American is
an unbelievable leading character. Arthur is so widely relatable because his story
resonates within audiences in such an authentic way, so his cultural heritage, race, and
even physical appearance all become secondary, if not an unimportant subplot, when
telling this story. Because Asian-Americans are most often overlooked in mainstream
film and tv, it was particularly meaningful to me to tell this story and be the first Korean-
American superhero in an episodic series!
When did your love of comic book heroes begin?
A few years ago, I was reading some Hulk comics and this character Amadeus Cho was
featured. I kept following that storyline and Amadeus became a more prominent
character in the Hulk stories. In current issues of Totally Awesome Hulk, he has even
become the new Hulk and the first Korean-American character to be a major hero in
comic books. Amadeus Cho is actually what got me hooked on comics because I thought
if he could become the Hulk as a Korean-American, then I can do anything in my life as
well. As fate would have it, I was able to work on a project where Greg Pak – writer of
Planet Hulk and Totally Awesome Hulk; and the creator of Amadeus Cho – was the
director. This was an eye-opening experience for me because I was able to work with a
writer of major comic books, get direction from him, and find the connection between
acting and comic book heroes. Working with Greg allowed me to see that while comic
book heroes have powers – their emotions and feelings are still rooted in truth and
authenticity. With that project, I was able to solidify my love of comic book heroes and
gain a deeper understanding of their stories.
Parting words for someone starting out as a web creator.
Probably the best advice I ever got was just to jump in and do it. Whatever you want to
do – whether it’s music videos, scripted series or short films – just go for it and make it
happen! Don’t let your insecurities or fears hold you back from creating and putting
content out there. Will it be perfect? Probably not. But just like practicing anything else,
the more you write, the more you film, the more you edit, the easier it’ll get because
you’ll get more of an understanding of how to execute your vision. For Hero Named
Rush, I spent hours and hours and hours teaching myself how to do special effects editing
for fight scenes, super speed montages, car crashes, etc., but the more I did it the more
comfortable I became with doing it. Ultimately I knew that I wanted to act and release a
superhero series, and have it look, sound, and feel a certain way, so I made the choice to
create it and not wait for permission for me to begin working on it. I made the choice to
not wait for anyone else to hand me this opportunity and instead took it for myself. As a
web creator, you also have the power to make that choice.
"Hero Named Rush" is streaming now at Instagram !