With the Spill Convention coming up, and Korey promoting to the site’s members to make their own fan films of the Spill Crew, I thought that it would be a good time to see what other fan films were on the internet. And since I seem to have an Avengers theme going with my last few featured blogs, I figured, what the heck, and looked as some of the best that Youtube had to offer on the founding members of the Superhero team.
First I’ll start off with a good one, the Iron Man trailer. Now despite headlining Iron Man, this is really an Avengers’ trailer; featuring people posing as Nick Fury, and Ms. Marvel as well. Despite having overused music in the background, I found this to be pretty well done, as the people got their own actors for the part, and created their own graphics to come along with it.
Let’s take a look:
THE FOUNDING (MALE) AVENGERS
The next one I found was a cartoon, done in the Animation style of the 60’s television shows. What it devolves into is Aqua Teen Hunger Force with the Avenger’s characters, but I still thought the intro was pretty inspired. Check out the first minute of this at least:
You might have noticed that Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp) doesn’t have any lines. As far as I can tell, no one has played her yet in any fan film. So if there’s any females out there who want to give playing the character a shot, you’ll be known as the first person to represent her onscreen.
Okay, now that we’ve set up our standards of quality, let’s look at some of the not so successful tributes to our heroes.
Nick Fury, sure he wasn’t a founding Avengers, but it’s pretty much guaranteed that he’ll be in the film, so let’s take a look at this two-minute short of our favourite non-pirate eye patch wearer. (Yes, Nick beats out Buffy’s own Xander for the role.)
Okay, bad acting and graphics aside, the dialogue is so vague that it could be used to promote any character. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw these lines in a Jane Austin trailer. (Okay, that’s harsh.) It’s clear that there guys were just playing around with the green screen. So I’ll just accept it for what it is, a fun little experiment, which these people were brave enough to put on the web.
Thor? Well you might be after watching this film. Okay, the film isn’t that bad, and a few moments are genuinely funny. This is one of those cases were the people had next to nothing to work with, yet pulled it off. Some of the funny parts are where they don’t even try, like with Hercules’ voice over.
For those of you thinking this Thor is the Norse Mythology Thor and not the Comic Book Thor, you’re mistaken. The opening picture has the frigging Silver Surfer in the Background. The Hammer is dead on to Marvel’s design, Thor has long blonde hair, not the red he does in mythology, and the shirt has circles on it for some reason, just like Kirby’s designs.
On a side note, I do like the idea of fictional character failing at showing people how to cook. (Hey Korey, are we ever going to get an animated short about how to make something?)
Henry Pym, someone actually took their time to make a video about Henry Pym. Not Ant-Man, but Henry Pym. Holy crap. In my opinion, this is the worst of the videos, bad acting, bad sound, so many references that it’s not welcoming to new people. But the fact that it’s all so bad makes me wonder if that wasn’t what they were going for. There are a few subtle jokes in there I caught the second time through (wait, I watched this more than once? Jeeze.) In the films defence, the writing isn’t bad, and the guy does look like something Kirby drew. If you can get through the first minute, he does explain the early Ant-Man story fairly accurately.
After watching this again, I think the real star of the show is the guy off camera, (the one that plays Scott) not only does his delivery cause me to grin while I cringe at the butchered lines, but for the ten seconds he’s onscreen, the bad posture, and the awful expression make you not help but look. I actually think this guy has a film career ahead of him.
Sadly, this is probably the best version on Pym that exists outside of the comic books. And where is Janet (The Wasp)?
Here is an underwhelming trailer put together by some guys with a budget but no clue what Captain America is about.
Way to balance on that crane and ride that American Motorcycle Captain...wait. This is an actual preview to a real movie! Reb Brown, the famous B-movie actor from the seventies is starring in this?! Why? This guy is famous for yelling. It’s like getting Schwarzenegger to play Spider-Man. Whatever. Someone please make a Captain America fan film, even if it’s just a film of you throwing a Frisbee it will be better than this.
This one I hesitate to even show, because there’s just so much that goes wrong in here. The graphics, the transformation, the acting, the writing, the juvenile humour, the fact the pacing is too slow, and it goes on for WAY to long. But you know what, these guys were putting in some effort and it shows. I get the feeling that this was done by some high school students that were playing around to see what works. And while I applaud them for trying something, I also think we can learn from their mistakes. Plus there are one or two clever lines that are pulled off in here if you’re patient enough for them to show up.
So why am I showing you these? Well, because making a fan film is a lot harder than your may think. Usually working on a budget of nothing, people have to use their limitations to their advantaged. If your film is going to be cheap, make it lack of budget part of its charm, or use the grittiness to its advantage. That way, when something works, it’ll stand out.
Fan films are a lot of peoples’ start, so we’re not expecting professional quality. However, if you’re not careful, a lot of the skits that you prepare could become little more than people standing in front of a camera.
So, what did I learn from these?
-Play it straight, jokes are funnier if the character’s aren’t in on them.
-Try and keep the camera steady. A sturdy hand or a tripod can make a work of difference on what’s being seen.
-If you can, go back to edit the sound.
-Graphics help your film stand out, but if that’s all you have it’s not enough.
-Move around, don’t just talk and give exposition, show something.
-Have fun, chances are people didn’t get paid for this, and none of them will be given a shot to make it big, so enjoy it.
-Create something that you’ll be proud of. Ya, chances are the script won’t hold up a week later when you watch it, but even if it fails, make it a failure that at least tried to accomplish something.
So, why am I making fun of these? Well, I like to think of it as a good natured ribbing. All these people took the time and energy to make these. Then had the courage to post these on the web, where ridicule could easily come from anywhere on the planet. I for one respect that and I hope you do to.
Most the flaws I pointed out are ones that creators themselves would probably proudly point out and learn from. So do yourself a favour and don’t try and bash the clips just for the sake of bashing them; they didn’t ask for your money, or force you to watch them, and if you’re planning on entering a film in the Spill Convention, maybe you can learn something from what these people did right.
With that said, I’m curious on your opinion; excluding the first two videos on this article, which are the best and worst of the fan films? (And yes, I’m counting the actual Captain America trailer as a fan film, because it’s the only way in my head that the thing can keep some integrity.) And do any elements in any of these clips stick out to you?