What Happened To Fan Films?


I was finally cleaning up the Fan Film Follies site today and it occurred to me that the renaissance of the Fan Film is over. I guess it’s been over for a couple years. It may be the very reason I don’t spend as much time on the website as I used to. There just aren’t that many exciting fan films being made anymore. There are certainly many being made, but not in the scope of Sandy Collora’s Dead End or Shane Felux’s Revelations just to name a couple. In my eyes those where really ambitious, anticipated films that had something new to say. I couldn’t tell you one film being made today that is either coming out or has recently been released that even remotely reaches that level of richness and quality. That may piss off a lot of people who still send me films. Just keep in mind I’ve been watching these things for close to twenty years.

The websites that used to cover these films have also all but evaporated into the wind. Clive Young’s Fan Film Cinema (that has gone from Website to Twitter feed), The Force.net (the Fan Film section anyways) and Fanboy Will McKenzie’s Fanboy Theatre haven’t updated in years. Anyone remember the Fan Film Forum? That’s loooong gone. Even the new kid on the block Love Fan Film seems to be withering on the vine. It seems the Fan Film Follies is pretty much the only site that tries to remain active. And even I lack the time and excitement to make updates on a regular basis.

Another reason I don’t update the site much is I do this alone. I used to have some great writers who hung their hat here running their own columns. They’re all doing their own thing now which is awesome. There was also more sense of fun and community five years ago when other people shared the common interest of Fan Films. Fanboy Will and myself had our own Podcast where we talked to these Fan Film makers. Now it all just seemed to die out. Perhaps if some new blood came along excited about Fan Films it would rekindle the old spark in me and the site.

There are a few other things over the past couple years that explain the reasons I don’t post a lot of these newer Fan Films. I’ll give you some examples.

First off, a lot of these newer films are small on plot. It seems the people behind this new breed of Fan Film only want to show you how cool their fight choreography can be. That’s all well and good, but that doesn’t set you apart from the other dozen Fan Films being sprayed all over YouTube doing the exact same thing. I just watch them in boredom. If I’m bored viewing them then I’m pretty sure the people that come to this site feel the same way so I just don’t post them.

Case in point – Star Wars Fan Films. How many more times do we have to see the same Lightsaber battle over and over and over again? Little on plot – Big on Lightsaber. There are tons of them out there. They visually look great. They look very pretty. But how many of these things can people watch? If you’re going to make a Star Wars Fan Film bring something new to the table. It can be frustrating to watch a well produced film do the same thing a hundred other well produced Star Wars Fan Films are doing.

Another big pet peeve of mine is the Heath Ledger Joker. These films are still being made and a crazy amount of them are posted all over the internet. Great! You can do a Heath Ledger Joker impression. So can three million other people. Make a film with your own interpretation of the Clown Prince of Crime.

And I get the lack of high production fan films today. People want to spend the money to make films based on their own ideas instead of someone else’s intellectual properties. That’s quality. You should. If they’re in the genre of what I cover on this site I’ll gladly post them even to the fact they’re technically not a Fan Film. The only problem with me seeking them out is there’s probably one really good one out of a hundred stinkers. Finding that good one is a whole other issue.

If you’re going to take the time to make a Fan Film do something innovation and creative. Don’t rehash the same old tired format that someone has already done. Be fresh. I don’t even care if the production values aren’t up to snuff. If you’re doing something I haven’t seen before then call me interested.

Please don’t get me wrong. I never want to diminish anyone’s efforts. I’ve been involved in enough smaller produced films to understand how much work they are. Just look at it this way. It’s not any different than Hollywood movies. If a Hollywood movie has nothing new to give us and is using the same old, tired formula fifteen other movies already used it just bores the hell out of me. I’m sure it does for anyone. Fan Films are no different.

That’s my rant. Some thoughts I had when standing back and giving a deep look into this website I’ve been running for over a decade now. Is the site going anywhere? Not until I die. I won’t post as much as I used to, but if I see a quality fan film out there among the so-so efforts I will certainly spotlight it here among the other golden gems of old.

With that all said. I’m out to go fishing for a new Fan Film to post!

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