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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA grads bring Internet series to Gallagher

    “”Tucson Underground: The Adventures of Nate Grace”” started as a vision.

    UA alumni Jon O’Brien and C.J. Bruce, and former UA student Joe Hirsch made that vision a reality when they created the first action-adventure series specifically made for the Internet.

    The series is a mix of live-action and comic book-style animation that runs through 15 episodes, which are all available for free online and will also be shown at the Gallagher Theater on Saturday.

    The trio came up with the idea for the series in 2004 while attending the UA. O’Brien and Bruce, both media arts majors, and Hirsch had an interest in blending their film knowledge with the Internet.

    Dissatisfied with the lack of experience they were getting from their major courses, O’Brien and Bruce decided to take matters into their own hands.

    “”We weren’t doing productions through media arts,”” Bruce said. “”But we had a drive to create something new.””

    This drive inspired them to venture out on a path never taken before.

    “”There wasn’t anybody in the state doing anything like this,”” Hirsch said. “”No one had a cohesive idea to create Internet media specifically for the Internet.””

    Inspired by comic books, action films and 1940s detective serials, O’Brien and Bruce developed a plot that was set in Tucson and centered on villains and heroes.

    Hirsch helped fund the project through his Internet advertising company, Haignet Media Inc., allowing O’Brien and Bruce to take off with the project.

    This resulted in “”Tucson Underground,”” which they completed in 2007 and made available at

    “”We got a lot of enthusiasm from everybody that participated in the project,”” Hirsch said. “”I think that helped drive us to completion.””

    The trio is now preparing to start another project, “”Sausage Fest,”” and they are also working on GreenRoots Media Inc., a company to improve the quality of Internet entertainment.

    “”Tucson Underground”” helped launch the men’s post-college careers and has opened up a lot of doors for them, O’Brien said.

    “”We were able to use it as leverage,”” O’Brien said. “”It was a huge project on our resumes, and it helped get us jobs.””

    The guys hope “”Tucson Underground”” will inspire others to start their own projects.

    “”If you have an idea, try to accomplish it,”” Bruce said. “”You learn so much more and you meet a lot of people along the way.””

    The screening for “”Tucson Underground”” will be held on Saturday at Gallagher Theater, 1303 E. University Blvd., at 7:30 p.m. Also scheduled is a panel discussion with the creators and a showing of a few other short films they have made. Admission is free.

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