Monday, October 26, 2009

Black Canary Fan Film Project - Blog 003: conceiving parimeters

((Black Canary and art is copyright DC comics.))


I've done a number of short films over the years--- which doesn't mean that you should automatically like what I can put together- but... it means that I've actually completed projects and have some actual experience. Does it mean I'm a pro?
No. But-- it means that hopefully I'm getting better, as I see each short I've done as being a great lesson over the one previous.

Now, I'm not crazy about filmmakers that try to pretend to be bigger than they are, because...well, who's fooling who? On one hand, it could be argued that the final product is all that counts.... or it could be argued: sometimes the battle for the film is part of the whole story. I certainly know that I tend to learn more from others who have similiar budgets and somehow miss the mark, but are willing to share what might have gone wrong---

And in that spirit.... I humbly hope that the WHOLE experience- the final product and what it took to try to get there- turns out to be a worthwhile one for others, and not just for those directly involved.

So, this blog is to share the journey, and hope the destination turns out as great as it seems in my head.
If it doesn't, then maybe- just maybe- the gist of what was in my head can still come out to be enjoyed, in the bts stuff.

Hopefully. In any case, hope you enjoy. ;)
So, with that very long intro.... here I go:

Things I thought/think about in tackling BLACK CANARY:

In tackling Black Canary, there were/are concerns right away, that at least I knew we should be conscious of:
#1: Who would/should play Black Canary?
#2: What is the story we want to tell/ experience we want to create?
#3: What are the best things about the character that should be shown/attempted in a fan film?

History of the Black Canary can be best found here:

With multiple versions of the Black Canary in existence---the question came up: which one to pick to adapt?
The Silver Age one with the mask? The Bronze Age one where Black Canary came from "Earth Two" to join the Justice League?
The reboot Age where Black Canary has a daughter named Dinah Lance and wears a leather leotard?

Just like the "Spiderman" and "Superman" films had to choose an amalgam of the different versions, choosing a particular view was important. I get more now what they were talking about in first needing a singular creative view of a character, from many interpretations.

Also--- I didn't want to do this:

((This is Black Canary. According to CW's "Smallville", which has moments of brilliance- but unfortunately many more moments of creative laziness))

(photo by the cw)
I guess I can only say: uhh.... this is NOT what I see in my mind when I think of the comic character "Black Canary".
Is this what you see? I honestly don't know what the hell this is supposed to be, but it doesn't look like Black Canary to me.

Now- if this was part of a fan film, I'd give it some creative latitude, because most of us fans don't have... uh... money, and I'm sure that the catering bill for a CW show is probably more than what any of us makes in years. So.

Besides--- fan films to me are in a different category.
It may be self-serving to say so, but to me, anyone who at least tries to create/finish a project with no money and all heart deserves to at least not be picked on for putting themselves out there. So, you won't ever hear me bash another fan film (unless the star or director is a complete ass, but that's somewhat rare...) ;p

Having said that--- On the flip side, if we're not learning from one another to improve projects, and just kiss each others' butts, that's a mistake in the other direction.

So, going in, I can say I made a list going in on what I DON'T care for in projects that are based on comics (pro or not) that don't quite pass the mark (creatively) for me:

#1: THE COSTUME (Lack of, or too different from the comics).

The look/costume is far too important imo when it's comics.
Why? Because the image and the symbolism is what makes the particular medium memorable.

Believe me when I say that me and Ashley went through great discussions on hair, that still aren't over yet.
I had no idea before starting how important hair is to generating a look of a character. As you can see from the photos, we didn't go with the Silver Age look of BC's Farrah Fawcett hair, though not for lack of trying. Anyways--- maybe more on the hair issue later on. (Or not. Just know we paid a lot of attention to it)

#2: THE ACTION (Too cheesy when it's not supposed to be cheesy)

Having grown up on Hong Kong kung fu films, it's hard to look at any tv or film projects that aren't on the same level.
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" did a smart job in mixing/matching real martial artists in sequences with wire-fu and/or often, there was more going on than just the martial arts showcase.

Even in "The Matrix", the kungfu looked...ok. But that's with professionals and months of training.

So.... the challenge is: how to make the action in a BC fan film look good without martial artists who've trained since birth nor
the money and time of those who do films for a living. So....yeah.... the work is cut out for us, for sure. Check back on this blog for more later on that...


This goes hand in hand with the writing. A lot of my short films were campy on purpose, for many reasons I won't go into right here. But.... the acting and the writing will definitely go in hand. I've seen projects where the actor seems fine- but there's no way to tell because there's not much of a story. Which leads to the next issue...


This is/was tricky. There's not a lot of money available for this project, so the key thing is: For no money, can enough be produced to make the end result something that I would think is worth taking the time to see and enjoy? Ideally, we'd have crazy motorcycle stunts/etc.- but choosing what scale the production will be on will help determine the story. Kind of the size of the chicken affecting the size of the egg.

Been paying to all these all along.
Wish us luck as we go forward. Until next time...

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