By Rene Thompson, Editor-in-Chief
The web based show Enter the Dojo has brought many viral videos to social network feeds, including ‘100 Ways to Attack the Groin,’ or ‘How to Block a Bitch Slap,’ but there is actually an entire series of Enter the Dojo in its third season, which is filmed right here in Albuquerque.
Creator of the show and owner of Riff Raff New Media, Matt Page sat down with the Chronicle to explain what this show is all about, as well as how he envisioned and brought to life the character Master Ken, who he plays on the YouTube series, he said.
“I felt like there wasn’t a lot out there for this type of thing, and I feel like it addresses what’s funny about the martial arts world,” he said.
Page said that the show is mostly scripted, but at times, especially during the character interviews, that the actors sometimes go completely improv, which he said really adds to each of the characters identities.
The best formula for the show Page said is to write each episode and have them carefully scripted, and then the day they are filming the crew do as many scripted takes as possible.
“Most of the time when we are doing the interviews in the show, we try to see if we can make the crew laugh, then we know we got what was needed,” Page said.
Page, who created Master Ken and Ameri-Do-Te; the fictional martial arts style in the series, said that he has been training in martial arts since he was 17-years-old.
He has also learned many styles, from Okinawan Kenpo and Kobudo, to Brazilian Jujitsu and American Kenpo as well.
In regards to his favorite martial artists he said “Ed Parker was very influential to me, and Bruce Lee’s book ‘Tao of Jeet Kune Do’ was a very important book that I have studied— both of their philosophical views of martial arts and how to apply it to real life helped me in many ways. I was probably the biggest fan of John Claude Van Dam as well at the height of his popularity, and his movies really made me want to learn martial arts, so it’s cool to see that he’s still around doing stuff.”
Page said he was able to create Master Ken because he had traveled a lot and went to many different types of dojos that were for a better term ‘Americanized,’ with instructors that made up their own styles of martial arts from previous trainings.
“After years and years of having trained with people like Master Ken, I wanted to do a web-series because it was becoming popular and I didn’t know what subject matter to do it on, so I thought since I had been training in martial arts off and on for so long, why not just kind of sample my experiences from that,” he said.
Page’s favorite episode of the series so far is from season two titled ‘Thrust of Freedom,’ because he said that particular episode represents what they are striving to do with every episode they produce.
The techniques that are made-up in the show he said the fans seem to really latch onto, and that some actually make their own videos mimicking the fictional Ameri-Do-Te techniques.
“So the ‘Thrust of Freedom’ has been one of most popular techniques to mimic so far. It’s really encouraging when an episode resonates with all of the fans— it’s one we’re really are proud of, and when we see people are actually quoting the show, we are so thrilled,” he said.
Page has been in many other productions as well, including Breaking Bad, In Plain Sight, and The Lone Ranger, as well as many other locally made movies and television shows.
“I’ve had a good year and it’s been fun— I’ve met a lot of really cool people and worked on some big things. Since coming out with Enter the Dojo, people have taken notice of the actors, and we all seem to be going into auditions more often; it might have been happenstance, but it seems more like it’s because of the show,” Page said.
Page is a transplant to New Mexico since 2001 where he graduated from the College of Santa Fe, and said he loves living and working here in Albuquerque because of the great filming community that exists here.
Including on the movie Odd Thomas that Page said is being offered on Netflix this summer, where he plays a corky bad guy in the opening scenes of the movie.
“I got to do some really fun stunts on that one. When people message me and say ‘I just saw you in this film,’ that’s really exciting for me, and the thing that I would say is the coolest realization about it though, is that no matter how big or small a movie is, that ultimately the process is exactly the same, which is kind of reassuring,” he said.
Page said that there really are so many things that he loves about New Mexico, such as the landscape, food, and hiking in the Sandia mountains, but what he loves most is that there is a real filming community that is flourishing here in Albuquerque, which he is grateful for in many ways.
He said he likes the fact that he can work behind and in front of the camera here and that there are jobs available in the city for filming opportunities, which are not really anywhere else besides Los Angeles.
“The fact that I can live here and be able to do all of that is amazing. The timing was really fortuitous, because I graduated in 2005, and that was when things were really just gearing up; ever since I graduated I’ve had work in the industry and been able to enjoy living in a smaller place,” he said.
His advice to students out there that are trying to get in the same field is simple, as he said it is all about following your dreams and creativity right away, and to not wait one more second, but to just go for it.
Page also said that sometimes what a person thinks may give them a break, ends up being nothing, and that experiences that did not seem like much at the time for him, actually shaped the person he is today and changed his life in so many positive ways, so going all into whatever projects are going to make a person happy is what the work should be all about.
“I used to think the most important thing was preparation, but the longer I waited, the more it seemed like I just needed to do more, so my advice would be to not wait in expressing your creativity, because the only way you are going to get better at this stuff is to just to do it; do it often, and to not be afraid to fail,” Page said.
To check out the seasons of the Enter the Dojo local web series, go to youtube.com/enterthedojoshow.