The clash of lightsabers, the sting of a Batarang and the next journey of"The One" are only a camcorder away!
So, do you remember the scene where Darth Maul defeats the Brotherhood of Evil as his first mission for Darth Sidious, or that preview for the Brave and the Bold where Batman and Superman team up to take down Lex Luther? If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then you’ve missed out on some of the latest fan films that have been making their rounds on the Internet.
What is a Fan Film?
Fan films are either a short faux movie or faux preview of a movie created by fans of a particular subject or genre based upon existing material. Fan films are usually associated with the realm of the sci-fi genre, but you can find fan films based on everything from The Matrix to G.I. Joe or even Napoleon Dynamite. What sets apart a good fan film from a bad one is hard to say. Some might have exceptional production value to them, with detailed props, costumes and effects, but just like big budget Hollywood movies, if the storyline is lacking then the film will be too. Even though some have little production value, they can be quite entertaining. The secret is to keep the audience interested, which begins with a good story.
All fan films usually have one thing in common: they are all created for non-profit use. At Lucasfilm, the unofficial stance on Star Wars fan films is that the main man (George Lucas) doesn't mind people "playing" in the Universe he's created, as long as the film is non-profit. In fact, Lucasfilm has teamed up with Atomfilms.com to create awards for the best Star Wars fan films each year.
Funding for fan films usually comes from the filmmakers, their family or friends, and in some cases, by donations. Trey Stokes, the creator of the hilarious Pink Five fan films, sells merchandise based on Pink Five through his Web site to help fund his final installment in his trilogy, The Return of Pink Five. Mark Twitchell at Xpress Entertainment is currently offering different Donation Rewards packages, including producer credits to help fund his upcoming fan film, Episode 3 and a Parsec, the Secrets of the Rebellion.
Whether your fan film is a small project or a large one, funding is mostly out of pocket. So why would you want to do a fan film? Why put in all that time, effort and especially money you most likely will never see again into a fan film? Simple–love of the source material. Colin Blakeston, director and producer of the fan film Catwoman: Copycat (currently in production), answers this very question, "I'm a fan, and I am having a lot of fun putting this together… no money can be made, but it was never about that, just making a cool short film for the Internet."
Find your Muse
Whatever the subject, all of the fan film filmmakers have a special connection to it. It's that connection that drives them to create continuing chapters of The Matrix, further outings to Isla Sonora in search of Jurassic Park dinosaurs, and also brings fourth story after story set in a Galaxy Far Far Away!
Pink Five and Anakin Dynamite
The Art of the Saber, Batman Dead End,
Contract of Evil, Troops and World’s Finest.
Michael Gomez is Videomaker's Circulation Assistant and an avid fan of fan films and all things Star Wars related.