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Star Wars Fan Films for Dummies!
Brian Trenor

The creation of a fan film is a long, laborious, costly, and extremely fun investment. It will take a lot of time, but in the end it's one of the most satisfying things you'll do. Many a prospective film maker has viewed the new, cool fan film, and said, "Cool! I want to make a fan film!" The film that hooked me was PTH Trailer A, in fact. In making Dark Horizon (a href="http://www.darkhorizon.lookscool.com" target="blank">www.darkhorizon.lookscool.com), the other two guys on the crew and I decided we needed a good story. And now, for you struggling Lucas Jr.'s out there, here are some tips from somebody who knows Star Wars:

PREMISE

First off, you have to decide what kind of premise you want; in other words, what is the story basically about? Is it a story of a Jedi Master and his apprentice, or a smuggler who is on the run from Hutt thugs? Warning: Nearly every film has Jedi/Sith in it. If you can do something new, please try! Here are some basic premises to use:

-A Rebel squad has been assigned with capturing an Imperial general.
-Famous space pirate escapes prison and must evade the local authorities and escape.
-Tell the story of a New Republic fighter squadron and their missions.

CHARACTERS

This is an important part of your story, as how your characters come across will enhance or detract from the story. The kinds of characters you will have depend on the story. If your movie is about an Alliance battle, you might have Rebel soldiers, a Sergeant, some pilots, and Imperials. Similarly, if you have a Jedi or criminal theme, you'd have Jedi Masters or thieves, respectively.When you first start out, decide what your character's personality will be like. For instance, a paranoid businessman might have stats like this: Regnav Orez, Used Starship Salesman- Paranoid, and extremely jittery. Very cheap, and protective of his ship lot. Fears bounty hunters and Imperials, but would turn in a known criminal if he knew there was a reward.

SETTING

Next, plan out your settings for the movie. If you have a crew of asteroid miners, plan for space or rock settings. Forests are very overused, so try to minimize their use if possible. Some settings could require the use of computer generated images, and/or blue screening. Search around for indoor/outdoor locations that could be good to use. Check courtyards of corporation buildings, or public parks. A lobby of an art museum, for example, could be an indoor location that would suit you well.

Choose a time frame for your movie. This will vary, again, according to your story. If you plan to have Jedi, either have them at least 10-15 years before ANH, or around the time of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Praxeum and after. Because of the Jedi Purge, not many Jedi were around at the Classic Trilogy timeframe. A planet rebelling against the Empire would happen sometime around 5 years before ANH to ROTJ.

CONTINUITY

Here's the one that'll get you, if you don't watch out. Research everything mentioned above, the events of that time, what technology was available,etc. For instance, don't have Mon Calamari Cruisers and B-Wings before ANH. (They weren't around until after ESB.) Good sources are the Essential Guideseries, and the old West End Game sourcebooks. I am especially good at this part of the story, so I can give you some help if you need it. Here's an example or two:

Story of small time smugglers six months after ESB; Outer Rim regions. For starfighter encounters, you could use X- and Y- wings, Tie Fighters and Bombers. A-Wings and Tie Interceptors are rare at this time. All capital ships from Empire can be used, except Lancer Frigate. Rebels will use limited Mon Cals at this time. System patrols will be geared towards Rebel defense, and smugglers will find it a good time to make runs while the Navy is tied up with the Rebels.

OVERVIEW

There you go! If you follow the above steps, you will have the framework for your new fan film. Flesh out the characters and the situation they will face, and it should have a good deal of depth to it. Of course, the battles your characters will face is up to you. Let's see an example of the above elements combined:

Regnav Orez, a paranoid used-starship salesman from Nar Shaddaa, is on the run from Imperial s because of credit fraud. A Hutt loan shark is also after him, and has dispatched bounty hunters. In his desperation, Regnav turns to the Rebellion for help. He hides out on an asteroid mining facility, but the Hutts soon find him. He escapes in a YT-1300 transport to the jungle worldof Mimban, where his Wookie allies and bounty hunters will clash. In the end, Regnav is saved from his enemies.
Time: 2 years before ANH
Setting: Nar Shaddaa (urban), Mimban (jungle)

That's easier than you thought, isn't it? No? Well, research Star Wars history, or ask someone like me, and pretty soon you can carve out a little bit of your own Star Wars story. If you would like to find out more, ask questions, send threats, etc., then e-mail me at BRIAN007A@aol.com, or reach me in the JC Forums as BrianMan.

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