“There’s a little bit of ‘geek’ and ‘hero’ in all of us.”
Even if I hadn’t heard about Rise of the Fellowship through the grapevine of friends and current and future colleagues, its likely that this film still would have crossed my path. I am a Lord of the Rings fan—both Tolkien’s literary masterwork and Peter Jackson’s cinematic adaptation (which I rambled on about just a few posts ago)—as well as a fan of fantasy and sci-fi in general and an independent filmmaker myself. However, I’m not generally a fan of parodies or spoof-style movies so I had some initial concern that Fellow’s Hip—as it was called then—was going to be something more along those lines; a perfectly pleasant romp that, while clever in its delivery, still just retold the same story with a different setting and vernacular.
I was delighted to find, though, that this was not the case at all. The film is distinct and entirely its own, which, truly, is its biggest strength.
It’s been a hundred years since I’ve given a legitimate update. But here’s the thing: I’ve been fully engulfed in Genre Wars: Resistance Rising.
I want to start off by saying that it is my delight and privilege to be a part of this project. From the start it’s been this intangible, but fascinating concept that we’ve been attempting to really grasp and bring into reality. The process has been amazing for me, personally; the collaboration with Justin and everyone else has been tremendous fun. The amazing part now is seeing it really start to pick up some traction. I can see heads turning as the project gains speed and a whole new level of excitement begins as what we’ve been holding onto for so long, we are now really able to start sharing with others.
The last few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of activity for us. We put a small featurette together (Genre Wars: Resistance Rising FIRST LOOK), we’ve officially cast over half the characters, the sets are beginning to take shape and the scripts, as Justin has mentioned previously, have nearly reached completion.
But the real highlight was last Saturday. Picture this:
A calm, quiet morning.
The sun drapes across the green, empty field in soft, golden sheets.
There’s a crunch of tires over gravel as the first car pulls into the driveway.
A Pirate emerges along with a 1920’s Mobster and a Mech warrior.
Here we go.
Even long after the Genre Wars concept had been introduced and developed, the possibilities seemed endless; how many different culture-clashes we could create and the fun we could have with the mismatches. All great in theory of course, but on June 1st, we really got the chance to see how it would look in reality when we gathered a significant group of willing participants, all in full costume and lined them up next to each other.
As we had hoped and predicted, what we got was magical and transformative. There is no feeling greater than the moment when something you’ve been brainstorming about, developing in your head and obsessing over suddenly takes real shape. No matter how many projects I do, that transition from elusive concept to reality never gets old. And I don’t think it ever will.
Our group consisted of Steampunks, Fantasarians, Mechs, Nenjin (or Kabathan-style ninjas), Mobsters, Pirates, modern-day Mercenaries and Vampians.
It was an all-day affair, but, as the saying goes, time certainly flew by as we were having our fun. Everyone who came out to participate was enthusiastic and committed to being there. The resulting photos and footage are excellent. Our two photographers, KC White and Jenna Miller (of Jenna M. Miller Photography) really stepped up to the plate and produced some amazing work. The photos really shine, and especially because of the make-up artistry of Jessica Mungeon and Felicia Douglas.
This photo/video shoot helped put into perspective what it is we’re trying to do. Several times during the day, people said to me, “I didn’t realize this was going to be such a big deal,” and, “when is the next shoot going to be?” and, “can I read the scripts?” This was all rewarding for me, personally, because it meant that what we’ve been working towards is becoming clear to others and the excitement, the interest that Justin and I have had in this story and these characters and this world is starting to rub off onto others. They can see what we see now. And it’s awesome.
So what’s next?
There will be more shoots, both conceptual ones like this, and of the full cast once the roles have all been officially filled. There will be more interviews; second looks, third looks and a teaser trailer. And a poster. And a full-scale map of Kabathan. And, eventually, t-shirts!
What are we doing? We’re bringing something tangible into the world and we’re at the point now where we can finally start really sharing it with others.
It just doesn’t get better than that.
A lot of people have issues with Deathly Hallows, but most of those issues, I feel, stem from problems that originate with the prose. Hallows is one of my least favorites of the books themselves (though, let’s be clear, I love them ALL) but from a book-to-screen adaptation standpoint, this one just FEELS the most like the source material. It has SO many little nuances from the prose that I was certain would be cut for screen time…but weren’t.
Long story short, it’s my favorite. And I don’t care that I’m alone in that opinion.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
This is, very often, the book that gets forgotten or tossed aside. I love it because it managed to be the second installment in the series and not be completely worthless, the way that most sequels usually are. Rowling came back with a second story that was just as strong as her first. I love seeing how the characters get to simply live in the universe they now know; in Sorcerer’s Stone, they were still marveling at everything. Here, they are more familiar with it and get to inhabit it comfortably. To me, that’s the mark of a great writer. Both the characters and the audience become so accustomed and comfortable with the world that’s been created, we can stretch out, walk around, and simply enjoy being at Hogwarts, in Harry’s world. Plus, it contains some of my favorite quotes of the whole series.