JijiColony is a microbudget web series that explores the realities of life on board a colony ship during its multi-year voyage, and what it really means to leave Earth behind and create a new life, both at an individual and a social level.
Season 1 (available to stream free on YouTube) was shot in the form of video journals from colonists, telling the story of a hydroponics engineer (Nova Riley) trying to uncover the reason crops are dying and threatening to starve everyone on the ship, only to discover the actual cause is far worse than she could have imagined.
Season 2 (currently in production) is told in the form of video calls between colonists and gets into some of the politics and conspiracies unfolding within the colony.
(In addition to the main storyline, there’ll also be short films following a different narrative arc but set within the same cinematic universe.)
The show is inspired and influenced by many sci-fi classics, including:
- The Expanse for its character-driven plotlines, emotional intensity, large-scale political intrigue, and foundation of hard science
- Battlestar Galactica for its bold exploration of big ideas, including politics, religion, and the meaning of humanity
- Firefly for its charismatic characters and unique way of sneaking into serious issues with a lighthearted approach
- Red Dwarf for its endless humor and creativity despite an incredibly constrained premise (being a show about the last surviving human)
The show is committed to a “hard science” approach, which included significant research into the ship’s construction, the physical parameters of the planet to which they’re traveling, at least somewhat plausible FTL travel scenarios, etc. There’s also a strong focus on the lore and backstory of the colony, resulting in a more than 80-page production bible that explains how everything ties together.
Ultimately, this show was a personal project to help me stop making excuses and actually get something done, hence its low-budget, stripped-down approach to storytelling. However, carving away all the fluff and reducing it to its most minimal elements helped me really focus on (and learn more about) the core elements of storytelling, acting, editing, and so on. Without a budget for special effects, music, sets, cameras, etc., those core elements had to be exceptionally well executed, and—in my estimation—we pulled that off.
Season 1 cast:
- Alexa Moffo as Nova Riley
- Kale Klein as Porter Stuckey
- Sean Dillingham as Raul Malvilla
- Andrew DeCarlo as Kodiak Pushkin
- Lisa Barnes as Larissa Pavlova
- Ksjusha Povod as Lynne French
- Zane Hampton as Boris Kuzmin
- Umar Saleem as Sharif Sangrasi
- Adam Russell as Omar al-Balawi
- Jim Liu as Li Zong-Wei