Posts Tagged ‘Interviews’

Fan Movie Winner Profile: Star Wars: Retold Team | August 4, 2009

As the winner for the George Lucas Selects Award in the Fan Movie Challenge presented by Lucasfilm and Atom at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International, Star Wars: Retold shows what can happen when someone who thinks they remember all the little plot points of Star Wars attempted to retell it, with hilarious results. chats with Texas-based filmmaker Joe Nicolosi Jr.

What is your background in film?

I’ve been making films since the day my father brought home the first family camcorder. My first project was a stop-motion animation feature film done totally with LEGOs. Years later, I studied film at Ithaca College in New York where I continued exploring animation and live-action filmmaking as well as writing and theater.

What prompted you to make a Star Wars fan film?

I made this film because I was inspired by how passionately someone who had never seen Star Wars thought she could tell the story. Star Wars was my favorite film growing up and is a big reason I make films today.

Where did you get your idea for your film?

My friend Amanda hadn’t seen any of the Star Wars films, so I was trying to convince her to watch them with me. She was reluctant and stubborn at first because she’d seen so much of the story in pop culture references, like through Family Guy and Kevin Smith films. She started telling me the story as she knew it and I told her to hold on while I got my video camera.

What are some of the technical aspects of your film?

I recorded Amanda’s retelling using my Panasonic DVX100a and cut the audio track in Apple’s Final Cut Pro. I used Adobe Photoshop to cut out all the characters and background and for the photo manipulation I did. I took all the elements back into Final Cut where I did my very crude animations.


Fan Movie Winner Profile: Star Sports Team | August 3, 2009

Photos/Artwork by Mike LoVerme, Mike Cirelli, and Jeff Capone

As the winner for the Best Parody in the Fan Movie Challenge presented by Lucasfilm and Atom at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International, Star Sports ponders what would happen if your favorite Star Wars characters fought against each other through dodgeball, baseball, hockey, basketball, football, soccer and other high school sports. chats with New Hampshire-based filmmaker Jeff Capone.

What is your background in film? Did you make films as a youngster/teen?

As a teenager I worked in a video store, and while I was in college I managed a movie theater, so I suppose you could say I was involved with “The Industry” at the distribution level for many years. When I was growing up, digital video technology wasn’t as accessible as it is today so I didn’t get my hands on actual movie making equipment until I attended film school at Emerson College.

Appropriately enough, my first short film was a crudely animated, farcical sequel to Return of the Jedi starring my vintage action figure collection entitled Star Wars: Episode VII: The Rebel Empire. After graduating with a B.S. in Communications, I then went on to earn my master’s degree in Education. Shortly thereafter, I landed my first teaching job in Technology Education and Video Production at Merrimack High School in New Hampshire where I’ve been working since 2003 to build and expand the MHS Videography program.

MHS Videography is the television production program at Merrimack High School in southern New Hampshire. Since 2004 we have been creating everything from feature length movies to promotional videos for the high school as well as for Merrimack TV’s Community and Education Channels. Our continuing goal is to help students develop professional communications skills and gain real-world experience in media production at the high school level.

What prompted you to make a Star Wars fan film? How have George Lucas and his films influenced your work?

George Lucas’ vision demonstrated, for me, the power of imagination above all else. Films like American Graffiti and Star Wars tapped in to what younger generations were really feeling and experiencing, then and now. They captured the wonder and the potential for adventure inherent in every apparently “ordinary” life.

Lucas’ filmmaking process also proved that groundbreaking and lasting movie experiences like these can be created with limited resources. Books and documentaries about the making of Star Wars and his other movies instilled me with a mindset for innovation from the moment first I got my hands on a 16mm Bolex camera, to the present with my supercharged MacBook Pro.

His ongoing commitment to technological innovation at the professional level has resulted in the creation of tools I and my students use to make our movies today. His endorsement of fan films and their creators has paved the way for now-classic projects like Troops, Pink Five, and Ryan Vs. Dorkman. These pioneers of fan filmdom showed that amateur filmmakers could also make effective and entertaining movies with a great idea and a minimal budget.

With Lucas’ support, fan films have emerged to find larger audiences and a renewed sense of value and legitimacy. It’s become a respectable art form that takes creators who are typically found in the “outer rim territories” of the filmmaking world and suddenly thrusts them into the galactic core of the Star Wars magic. All of these factors were monumental in motivating us to develop our own brand of Star Wars fan film.


Milo Ventimiglia Inducted By 501st Legion Team | July 31, 2009

In addition to the 501st Legion uniting Star Wars fans worldwide, it also likes to recognize those people who contribute their time and talents to the Star Wars community in special way. These people who support of the 501st and Star Wars fandom are called “Friends of the 501st Legion.”

During San Diego Comic-Con International 2009, one such person was recognized by the Southern California Garrison for his continual support of the 501st Legion as well as for his undying love for all things Star WarsHeroes actor Milo Ventimiglia.

Already well-known as a hardcore Star Wars fan as well as a fan of the 501st, Milo also supports real-life troops fighting overseas by working with the military veterans organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

Southern California Garrison XO Lesley Farquhar, who sponsored Milo’s induction, had this to say about their newest Friend of the 501st:

“Milo Ventimiglia has been a great Star Wars fan for years. Not only does he have fun with the lightsaber battles and props, but another similarity we have is our devotion to charity work. The 501st Legion is noted for its charity work for soldiers around the world, and this is something Milo has a passion for as well. Anyone with that kind of passion for charity and love for the genre fits right in! Now we just need to get him in armor!”

Milo was presented a custom plaque, coin and custom name badge commemorating his “Friend of the 501st” relationship with the 501st Legion. Keeping with tradition, the induction was a complete surprise to Milo who was ambushed by the Southern California garrison, and myself, at the end of his Top Cow comics panel at Comic-Con where he was promoting the two new comic titles his production company DiViDe Pictures is supporting — Rest and Berserker.


Fan Movie Winner Profile: Saber Team | July 30, 2009

As the winner for the Best Action and Audience Choice awards for the Fan Movie Challenge presented by Lucasfilm and Atom, Saber depicts a Cantina dream come true for many fanboys and fangirls alike. chats with Los Angeles-based filmmakers and stars of Saber — Clare Grant and Rileah Vanderbilt.

What is your background in film?

Clare: I actually studied theater in college at the University of Memphis, where I met a local director, Craig Brewer who encouraged me to gravitate more towards film by casting me in small roles in his local Memphis indy films.

Rileah: I never studied film in college, but I was very active in plays and sketches when I was younger. I’ve always wanted to be an actor as far back as I can remember!

What prompted you to make a Star Wars fan film? How has George Lucas and his films influenced your work?

Clare: Rileah and I met waiting tables at the Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. We were stunned when we realized we shared a deep love for Star Wars and many other geeky things. We would serve drinks and pasta to folks all night and daydream together about how awesome it would be to actually fight with lightsabers on film. Ya know, just for us, so we could watch it whenever we wanted to make ourselves happy.

George Lucas made the most influential movies for me and Rileah. I’m pretty sure she, like I, walk around narrating our daily lives with Star Wars and Indy theme music.

Rileah: Yes, this is true! Clare and I have always been very much into sci-fi and fantasy. When we first sat down and decided to do an online project together, Los Angeles was in the middle of a writers’ strike, there weren’t any movies or TV shows getting made. Clare and I were very frustrated and fed up with waiting around for people to give us opportunities.

So we decided to produce and act in our own project. Saber was a way for us to not only be in charge of our own destiny, but hopefully also a calling card to lead to other opportunities. When deciding what really spoke to us, Star Wars was a logical choice since we both have such a love for that universe.

Thanks to George Lucas, I’ve been a Star Wars fan ever since the first time I watched the movie back when I was a kid! Movies like Star Wars and Indiana Jones are what really prompted me to want to become an actress. I’ve always wanted to do movies that had the same action, adventure and fantasy that Star Wars had. On a more nerdy level, I named my cat Chewbacca (aka Chewie) after everyone’s favorite Wookiee, and I have a pretty nice replica Princess Leia slave costume.


Interview with Star Wars: The Old Republic Devs Team | June 19, 2009

Here’s a round-up of interviews about the upcoming video game that everyone is all a buzz about: Star Wars: The Old Republic.


Daniel Erickson (Lead Writer on The Old Republic):

Because we did all class-specific stories for The Old Republic, we’ve allowed ourselves to basically make, Knights of the Old Republic: The Smuggler, its own game. Everything in there, when you’re playing a Smuggler, you feel like a Smuggler. The adventures are crazy, and madcap, and you’re flying by the seat of your pants, and there’s romantic stuff, and you’re spouting off crazy one-liners, etc., etc.

Then, when you’re playing as a Sith, it’s a completely different game. Everything is from that perspective, you come from a very dark world, you’re on Korriban, you’re dealing with Sith politics, you’re dealing with some very, very dark people who are allowed to do anything they want. It completely changes the way we do storytelling.

VIDEO: Giant Bomb Interviews Star Wars: The Old Republic Devs

SOURCES: Slashdot,

Update on Patrick Read Johnson’s Film ’77 Team | June 7, 2009

Actor John Francis Daley and the rest of the ’77 cast.

Imagine if you were an amateur teenage filmmaker who stumbled upon Star Wars while visiting the ILM film studios before the film ever hit theaters in 1977. That’s the kind of magic that Patrick Read Johnson’s autobio picture 5-25-77 — recently renamed ’77 — captures.

If you were lucky enough to see a special screening of the film at Star Wars Celebration IV in 2007, you already know how endearing this film is.

It’s been awhile since we heard anything new about the film since it’s preview. So we were delighted to get an update from Starlog magazine when they sat down to have a chat with director-screenwriter Patrick Read Johnson.

STARLOG: What’s the current status of ’77?

PRJ: Though we had two fantastic screenings at the Hamptons Film Festival and won an award (The Heineken Red Star) and got a lot of nice press, Cassian and Phil and I all felt we needed to do some more work in the cutting room, which in turn required us to heavily revise our VFX shot list, choose some different songs from the era for certain sequences AND rework portions of the score by David Russo and Alan Parsons. Meanwhile, various members of the team were being picked off by other jobs, and the big financial meltdown was occurring, and investment dollars were suddenly very hard to come by… So we basically shut down at the end of the year to wait out the turmoil. By the time things started to calm down, my VFX team was off doing other work, my composers were on to other jobs, and I’d taken an offer to direct another film. But, thankfully, I’ll be done with that project right about the time we plan on restarting post on ’77, in order to have it ready for the American Film Market in November.


Star Wars Embroidery

Bonnie Burton | March 30, 2009

(art by Kristen Rupp)

Skip the “Home Sweet Home” art and check out Kristen Rupp’s embroidery tributes to Star Wars. Her Yoda, R2-D2 and lightsaber art is simplistic and impressive. Rupps chats with about her crafty Force-sensitive projects and how fans can make their own threaded masterpieces.

What made you want to create your embroidery tribute to Star Wars?
I learned to cross-stitch from my mom as a kid, but I hadn’t touched it for a really long time. In the last couple years though, I’ve become really interested in embracing traditional crafts in a non-traditional way. The book Subversive Cross Stitch by Julie Jackson was a big influence. Traditional cross-stitch designs are all about hearts and flowers and teddy bears and angels. I wanted to stitch designs with more relevance to my life, and I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember.


Twitter Trench Run Team | March 18, 2009

If you happened to be hanging out on Twitter over the weekend, and follow prominent bloggers like Sean Bonner, Rudy Jahchan, Tara Brown and Veronica Belmont, you may have witnessed a virtual trench run on the Death Star.

The Twitter trench run is the idea of interactive storytelling consultant Jay Bushman who decided to do a social experiment online to see who indeed is strong with the Force. chats with Bushman about #Sxstarwars.

For non-Twitterers, what the heck is SXStarWars all about?

It was like a guerilla improv theater performance, but instead of being done by actors speaking lines in a theater, it was done by people writing lines over a live updating chat room. It was performed during the SXSW Interactive festival; playing on that, all the Twitter posts have the tag #SXStarWars, so you could filter those entries out of the main stream of everything posted

Why did you decided to do SXStarWars on Twitter?

One of my ongoing projects is producing adaptations of classic literature, reconfigured and re-imagined for different forms of web media. I’ve done a sci-fi version of a Melville short story using Twitter,, a contemporary Spoon River Anthology as a group blog and I’m working on a modernized Pride & Prejudice using Facebook. So I’m always thinking of ways to retell familiar stories in new ways, using wide-reaching interactive media tools. I was also involved with a Halloween retelling of War of the Worlds which used Twitter, Google Maps and other web services to allow hundreds of people to recount a Martian invasion, and that got me thinking of how Twitter could be used for live story events.

The specific idea for doing a Star Wars story came from a tweet by Wil Wheaton. One day he wrote, “This is Red 5 standing by,” and was deluged with replies of Star Wars quotes from his followers. In a follow-up, he said that we could mount a serious attack on the Death Star just from people on Twitter, and I instantly thought “Why don’t we go ahead and do just that?”

I offered Wil the role of Han Solo, but unfortunately he had a previous commitment. Actually, I believe what I wrote to him was: “I have a question for you that every man of our generation wishes he’d get asked: How’d you like to be Han Solo?”


Star Wars Lunch Bag Art

Bonnie Burton | March 17, 2009

As a kid, brown bagging your lunch was always a gamble. Would you get an apple or a Twinkie? PB&J on Wonderbread or weird salami sandwich on rye? CapriSun or milk box? But one thing’s for sure, if my dad drew awesome cartoons on my bag I’d be pretty excited.

Derek the dad does just that. Plus he blogs all his lunch bag art that his kids get to see every day. Recently, he drew portraits of a battle droid, a clone trooper and Yoda himself. chats with Derek about his art and why battle droids make decent lunch companions.

What made you decide to decorate lunch bags for your kids?

The markers and crayons were there, and I’d just put their names on the bags. I just got fancier as time passed.

What prompted you to do one of battle droids?

My son thinks the battle droids are funny. I have many questions about them myself. What are their lives like? Do they grieve for fallen friends? Do they know fear? Who builds them? Do they ever feel remorse for the evil they do, or is that an upgrade? Can a battle droid finish a tour of duty and become a different kind of droid? I like to think that R2-D2 was a particularly smart battle droid who earned a new body after he left the military.

What is your favorite bag so far?

I do like the battle droid a lot. Reproducing someone else’s character design is interesting. You appreciate that the droid is goofy, but he’s also a little scary.

I watch The Clone Wars series with my kids. There are strong female characters, which my daughter likes. There’s a lot of mayhem, which my son likes. And I keep wondering, what will become of Ahsoka when Order 66 is given?

Check out Derek’s art here:
Lunch Bag Art Blog

Meet Beer2-D3 Team | March 17, 2009

(Art and photo by Paul Loughridge)

When artist Paul Loughridge (AKA “Lockwasher”) looks at metal scraps, soda cans and abandoned electronics, he sees potential creatures and droids just waiting to come to life. He’s made whimsical robots, insects, people and other metal beings from junk we normally throw away. Most recently, he’s created Beer2-D3, a distant cousin of R2-D2 made from a mini-keg. chats with Paul about his art.

Why did you decide to give R2-D2 a friend?

While rummaging around in my laboratory (garage) for parts I accidentally knocked a tractor headlight directly on top of the beer keg. The diameters of the two match perfectly. That’s when I realized the Force was strong with this one and fabrication commenced. Plus I was exhibiting at a large toy/collectibles show and wanted to have something special for all the Star Wars fans.

What is Beer2-D3 made from?

Beer2′s technical specs:
Head – 1945 chrome BLC utility light shell.
Eye - vintage movie camera lens w/adjustable spring-loaded aluminum casing.
Body – 4.7 liter “adult soda” mini-keg.
Legs – propane tank valve handles, brass spacers, drilled-out washers, pair of aluminum Lady Josephine shoe butler (wall-mounted shoe shine holders).
Feet/base – 3 mini bread loaf pans, lamp hardware and a 1/2″ precision drilled aluminum base plate.
+assorted nuts, bolts, screws and, of course – lockwashers!