When a property is created it has a potential to generate fans. Properties that hit that mark also can create fandoms. Then the relation between fans and creators is always looked at. This relation is looked heavily at in fan-made productions. These include fanfics, art, cosplay, and films. Over the years these activities have gotten more impressive as the technology for higher quality works becomes more accessible. With fan films showing the most growth in quality in recent years.
Let’s start by looking at Deadpool. Before the merc with the mouth got his own movie, most moviegoers only knew of Deadpool as being the final boss in X-men Origins: Wolverine. With Ryan Reynolds being a fan of Deadpool, he was not satisfied with how Wade Wilson was portrayed. This eventually led to a test fight sequence to show Fox what the movie could be, but Fox turned them down. Eventually leading to that footage “accidentally” getting released online. The public reaction led to the eventual green light for the Deadpool movies. Which of course led to other Fan Films being made, like the Deadpool Musical.
The Deadpool Musical was released on March 17, 2017, roughly one year after the Theatrical movie was released. Much to the internet’s enjoyment. The film parodied the song Gaston from Beauty and The Beast, but with the lyrics changed to match the anti-hero. The film was met with a total view count of 7 million views. It was also the recipients of multiple awards. With this success, it was obvious that, like the feature film, they would make a sequel.
There seems to have been a bigger budget, allowing them to make a longer film. We still get the action and comedy from the first, but now they get more ambitious with the production. Instead of just one song, we are now welcomed to five songs from various Disney movies. Along with this includes a very meta moment on Disney owning just about everything. And after one month it has over 600,000 views and growing. And this is not the only fan film to gain popularity as of late. No, for that we have to thank Nathan Fillion.
In the week leading up to Comic-Con San Diego, director Allan Ungar uploaded the only video that exists on his Youtube channel. A near 15-minute fan film of Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. What made this film blow up was a multitude of thing: the high production value, the accurate script that reflects the game, and clever cinematography perfectly reflect what fans want to see in an Uncharted film. Oh, there is also the fact that Nathan Fillion plays Nathan Drake to the T. If you don’t believe me then search the reviews/reactions to the films. This is a film that is so loved having only been out for a month it has over 4 million views. And it’s not just the fans that loved this work.
In an interview with IGN, Allan Ungar mentioned that one Naughty Dog employee loved the work. This employee was the Creative Director and Writer for the Uncharted series Amy Hennig. So far Sony has not said anything yet, as they are working on an official Uncharted movie with Tom Holland cast to play a younger Nathan Drake.
You guys did a fantastic job, Allan! Warms these old cockles to see our baby brought to life like this. Never could've imagined it, when we set off on this journey 13+ years ago. Thank you! ❤️
— Amy Hennig (@amy_hennig) July 18, 2018
These are just a few examples to showcase the growing trend of fan films that are making waves on the internet. But it’s not just fans that making their own films. In recent years we’ve seen a growing number of veterans transitioning to the entertainment market. Whether it’s the 2015 collaborative film Range 15, the online streaming service of Vet TV, or the inclusion of veterans on mainstream television. All of these outlets have been used to showcase veterans in other lights, and show that veterans can be successful and creative after their end of service. Though it may seem like I just took a hard left turn, don’t worry I’m bringing it back with one of the latest fan films to come out.
Jurassic World: Exodus. This is a film that takes place after the events of Jurassic World and follows a team sent on a recovery mission to Isla Nublar. The film is just under 30 minutes, but the time is utilized expertly. While some may criticize the animation of the dinosaurs, I would remind them that on Jurassic World there are hundreds of animators there to work on it. Here there are two.
Jurassic World: Exodus is a film that stars and is made by a mostly veteran cast and crew. With even some active duty units lending a hand and even be a couple of background actors. If you want to know more, We Are The Mighty crafted a beautiful article and interview the Producer and Writer Gregory Wong. We were able to conduct our own interview with the Director and former Navy Corpsman Nic Cornett.
When asked about why making a fan film where no financial would be gained, Mr. Cornett had this to say. “What I tell people that are trying to join the film industry… if you are doing it for the money, you are going to be disappointed. I make movies because I love making movies, and if I can make a Jurassic movie with guns, practical dinos and work with an amazing team? Then who cares if it makes any money.”
With the films that were mentioned above that have high-quality production values, we asked if this was becoming more popular. He replied that these quality films are HARD to make and that he has the deepest respect for these projects. He also brought up the challenges they faced during production. From the scripts going through rewrites to adjust for times, lenses breaking and having only 4 days to shoot 7 days worth of footage. But he was extremely thankful for the professional crew and volunteers that created this project.
We also asked if using a veteran cast and crew was the intent along with what it was like having a veteran stacked crew. To which he said that it was not the initial goal, but it just worked out that way. Because of this, all the crew spoke the same language, and when it came time for work they would put in 200% without asking. Being the Director he felt that Vets made life easier on the set.
To any filmmakers that want to make their own fan film in the future, Mr. Cornett has some words of wisdom. “I suggest doing what makes you happy. I’m happiest on set. If you do decide to make a fan film, do your research, decide who is ultimately in charge, and remember to have fun with it. You are usually working with volunteers and making a movie isn’t easy, so make it a fun experience, for everyone involved.”
For any Veterans that want to out their want to work in the Entertainment Industry, Mr. Cornett has some more words for you. “Make sure to take care of yourself, then do what makes you happy. If you want to do a job in the entertainment industry, just keep trying and learning that job. Eventually, you can do any job you set your mind to, you just have to persevere.”
Mr. Cornett left us with his words on the authority of fan films. This is one of the controversial points in fan productions. He feels that the fans own the characters and that the filmmakers are using these characters to tell a different story. The property of the product however, ultimately lays with those that own the rights to it. As such, credit has to be given where credit is due.
We at The Alpha Nerds Guild want to again thank Mr. Cornett for taking the time to conduct our interview. We look forward to any future projects that he and the rest of the crew are working on.
With these fan films, we can compare and contrast between these small budget projects versus a studio production. We can also see that fan films are becoming more recognized as an accepted medium online. With that, I feel that it’s easy to say that Fan Films do have authority. The Filmmakers care about the source and will be the first critics to look at it. They are not driven by the idea to make money, rather they want to tell stories. But, what do you think? Are there any fan films you know about that you want to share? Then let us know in the comments or over on The Alpha Nerds Guild forums.