The LIEF Erikson

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Why watch a fan movie?

It's easy for viewers to look at a fan movie and be critical when comparing it to the professional productions.

I like to compare it to amateur theatre. My daughter's in a local production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and she is really excited about it. I've been to some of the rehearsals and the singing is good, I don't know about the acting as yet although they are taking it seriously and working hard on it.

I have to face reality though and say there is no way on Gods green Earth that they will be able to put on a production that will be on the same par as the ones which starred John English or John Farnham. [For our international friends, they are high profile Aussie performers who were in different professional productions of JCS]. So why should I pay good money to see something that I know will not be as good as a professional performance?

I mean besides the fact that Daddie's little girl is in it :P

I suppose different people go for different reasons but I go, knowing that it will be less than perfect, that these will be amateur performances and I judge them on their level. The lead singer might be good for his age and you might think he'd do well professionally, the director might be able to put a slightly different spin to it that you had never thought of. Or the experience might just give you a little resonance, an echo of the heady days when it was on the stage and it was the best thing since sliced bread!

This carries over to Trek fan productions.

I have immense respect for the work that these guys are doing and appreciate it for what it is - artistic self-expression. I tend to watch them to see what they put into it rather than what I can get out of it. For example when I watch James Cawley playing Captain Kirk on New Voyages I don't compare his performance with Shatner, I enjoy it for what it is. I appreciate watching the sheer energy and will power that it needs to put any fan film together. It's not just a pat on the back for their effort though, if you push your "willing sense of disbelief" to a higher level than for a professional work, it is good entertainment!

It's like the old saying goes, those who can act become actors, those who can't become critics.
One of the things that killed ST: Enterprise IMHO was the number of armchair critics who judged, and in many cases pre-judged it.

People who are critical of fan fims should watch one or two then watch an original series episode afterwards. In many ways the only two things that make TOS stand above them are the scripts/plots and the acting, both of which are still a pretty high benchmark to reach. Production-wise, costumes, CGI, sets etc, fan films are right there with them.

Will they become a threat to mainstream media - TV and films? Not a chance in their current form. Perhaps if Paramount allow limited licencing, you might get a new crop of small Indy operators but without a way of recouping their expenses they will remain the domain of the fan who likes to act. Professionals can and will create higher quality productions because they have the money to pay for the best talent in writing, acting, CGI etc.

No. Their biggest impact is in my opinion in the inspiration they are for the next generation of fans. They are saying 'No! You don't have to sit on your duff watching re-runs and waiting for the next season. You can make your own!' It is a role playing game on a grand scale where you pretend you are an actor, a director, a CGI artist or a musician ... And if the end result falls short of professional standards, does it make your enjoyment any less exhilerating?


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  • "Comment Deleted"
    "Comment Deleted"
    "Comment Deleted"
    "Comment Deleted"
    I much for Internet freedom speech. BUT I will press on.
    The reason people take a look at fan videos is because they are curious & often bored. No one in their right mind ever thinks this stuff is Trek. Those videos are right up there with the clever home video featuring the upside down "chin" puppet chewing his words and people's personal travel videos. These Trek videos are not anything to boast about, except when it comes to the desparate video makers & their crews. These people have so little in their real lives that they act like this video stuff should be on Entertaiment Tonight. When there is a slow newsday, fan videos may get the ODD media 'local color' reporter reporting on these home videos much like the prize winning speeling Bee champion. Most times these Trek videos masquarade under the 3 billion dollar ViaCom/CBS owned name of 'Star Trek: fan home video blankkiddy blank'. That is the hook! A built in Trek gullible fan base that has not been legitimately won with pure project watchability. They use all sorts of tricks to gain some 'worth' from the sycophantic fans starved for any self serving Trek video Internet "fix". **I do NOT subscribe to the often professed iditioic fan notion that because there is currently no professional new Trek availible to today's viewers, something (tacky fan videos) is better than nothing. That statement reflects more about those childish fans who are too self-absorbed and want all things to IMMEDIATELY themselves like a baby crying for it's mother. It's just shows a lack of maturity and adult grit.
    Also, these fan video makers call themselves, wrongly,(seeking some approval), "Films". They don't shoot on the film medium at all. They shoot on digital video tape, which increasingly everyone can do with ease. And smart prudent people know that film shooting is more involved, expensive, and less forgiving on lighting, editing, and many other production matters. Amatuers need not try. But by saying 'films', these rookies try to sound like film 'artists'. Speaking of artists, these very rookies steal or 'borrow' countless amounts of stolen digital bits and pieces (without permission) of other artist's property like music, green screen virtual sets, characters, and so on. It's called copyright theft, plain and simple with these Trek pirated drama projects. And piracy is not just from other owner's Trek projects either. They pirate from ANYONE who has what they need to finished their tawdry patchwork stolen video projects.
    And the most ironic part of these fan videos are that many, if not most of these amatuers will crow loudly among their un-thinking unprincipled non-frontational how their little home videos are so much better that people who make their everyday living doing TV and film production. The disengenuousness of their egotistic words are enough to have people falling down in side-ripping laughter. Some ridiculous small time home video makers become Internet trolls to follow & attack the reputation of legitament Trek members of the TV & film production unions, who daily get paid for their project talents. Jealousy is the only reason for that. To make too much positive or seek too much personal fame about several of these Trek fan videos really is tragically self delusional but childishly quaint.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:04 am, June 09, 2007  

  • The "Comments deleted"? Don't you get Blog spam? Or are you *really* interested in downloading pirate movies? Personally I'll have nothing to do with them.

    Don't beat around the bush sir! Do you like them or not?!! Yes, sarcasm, but you're such an easy target. Why, you ask? You are so erudite, so eloquent, I bet you won dozens of speeling Bees in your youth!

    You couldn't perhaps be a failed fan film maker yourself? Methinks I've seen the profile of this attack before but I haven't seen you in ages.

    But enough of personal pleasantries, down to brass tacks.

    If you don't like them, don't watch them. If they are so bad why waste 548 words? They are not taking the bread from starving actors mouths - SAG recognises them as experimental films that can employ members if the right paperwork is filed. They are in fact a breeding ground for actors and crew - a miniscule number of whom will make it into the entertainment industry but it does happen.

    If they were piracy, why would Lucas not only condone but extend his fan film competition? AND have them shown on TV? Why would CBS / Paramount start a studio sanctioned fan fiction competition? The New York Times, Guardian, BBC and NBC do "local colour"? Want to have a small wager on when the studio will license the first fan film?

    And when they do will that make you even more bitter that you backed the wrong horse and failed to make the jump with them from fan film to Indie?

    I think it is logically bankrupt of you to say that if fans watch them and like them then there must be something wrong with the fans. Says who: "anonymous"?

    By Blogger Kirok of L'Stok, at 9:02 pm, June 13, 2007  

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