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a word from the director

A Word from Jeff Allen

The music video Stuck in a Room with Artoo was not actually what we originally planned to make. The music itself was supposed to be nothing more than the accompanying music of a fan film project, Imperial Dogs. Imperial Dogs was going to be a parody of Quentin Tarantino's 1991 indie-film Reservoir Dogs mixed-up with Star Wars characters.

Unfortunately, the live-action footage never came out as well as the group would have liked. Bad lighting in some key scenes made the project too short for a full-size fan film. One of the saving graces to the project was the fact that Bernadette Johnson had written some very funny, "Weird Al" Yankovic style parody songs, and we had them semi-professionally recorded early in the production. David Burns, Jeremy Smith, Cortez Paschal and Daniel Johnson did an amazing job on the production of those songs.

After about a year of trying to get the video footage to work as a short film in our spare time, we gave up and decided to make a music video out of the footage. Using the best of the two songs, we decided to create animated cartoon clips to fill in the time gaps where there was not enough video. The whole group grew up in the 1980's and we were all big fans of the Dire Straits "Money For Nothing" music video that helped launched MTV into the hearts of millions, hence the cartoon C3PO and R2D2 characters in the music video.

David Burns consulted Kurt Allen and myself in the art of making 3D characters and transferring them into the FLASH animation program. That's right! What you see on the screen is FLASH, not some 3D render program. Kurt built each scene frame-by-frame, hand drawing multiple camera angles of C3PO and R2D2 to make them move the way we needed them to. I created the interior of the Millennium Falcon and exported JPEGs of the interior for Kurt to redraw in Flash. Kurt did some awesome artistic trickery to make it look like C3PO was actually walking down the hall of the Millennium Falcon.

Kudos goes out to the whole Studio Creations team for seeing this project through to the end. Co-Creator Dana Stewart has been sitting online for over two years waiting to see the footage make it's way onto the World Wide Web. He lived too far away to get in on the production of the Imperial Dogs video, and when the project fell into "on the shelf" status, he almost gave up hope that it would see the light of day. The same goes for Visual Effects Director, Chris Colando. He did all this work on laser blasts, and then a year and a half later he was wondering why he did it. Thanks for hanging in there, guys.

Russell Hatfield, Bobby Nash, and Charles Nicolosi get high marks for showing up at the spur of the moment to hold a video camera, move a droid around, play various characters, and wrangle a severed ear. Russell Mattingly is one of the best Assistant Directors out there, hands down. Maggie Borders, Todd Coss, Jay Fawbush, Julie Jenkins and Jon Nail did great jobs acting out their characters. Jon especially. He was REALLY into the Mister Blonde character, straight razor in the boot and all. :-)

On the technical end of things, David Burns and Kurt Allen get all the credit. Without the compositing, rendering and editing that they did, this project would have just sat on the shelf. Kurt wrestled with a 5.5 GIGABYTE working file on a 3-year-old 266MHZ Macintosh computer. He edited the video with Final Cut Pro (one of the finest non-linear editing programs out there) and did all the cartoon animation in FLASH, which is no small task. David Burns captured all the video footage digitally, sound engineered all the music and voiceovers, compressed the final video and just pinch-hit all over the place. Both were key actors in the live action, too. David portrayed Mister White and Kurt Mister Pink.

Last but not least, I'd like to thank the Police Department of Winder, Georgia. They cordoned off two blocks of a side street for the shooting of the "Mister Pink running" scene. Oh, they had a shock when we showed up in trooper gear. They shrugged it off, though, and went about mumbling something about Trekkies. :-)

Now go watch the video. Again.

Jeff Allen

Director, Stuck in a Room with Artoo

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