Catwoman: The Diamond Exchange + Catwoman: Principles + Fan Films = Chris .R. Notarile.
FAN FILM FOLLIES (through Christopher Moshier): What made you get yourself into making so many fan related films?
CHRIS R. NOTARILE: Well, I went to school for animation, but only to become a filmmaker. I figured being an animator would be the best way to be anything in film only because you do everything yourself. By senior year I had done three fan films and had a total of ten films under my belt that I personally wrote, directed, shot, edited (basicallyI did everything) where as most students only had a maximum of four films. I think being an animator gave me the work ethic I needed to continually keep working and after college, I just kept doing what i did best
FFF:: Where those college films the Friday the 13th ones and Halloween.
CN: Yes. Nightmare Ends On Halloween, Friday the 31st, and Action Man if you count it as Superman parody.
FFF:: I figured as you looked a lot younger there.
FFF:: In those films.
CN: I wasn’t Action Man. He’s black.
FFF:: I meant specifically the Friday the 31st.
CN: I suppose I look a tad older. Lost some unwanted weight.
FFF:: I was reading your IMDB page and you had several credits involving the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
CN: I was an intern at 4 Kids Productions and I worked in TMNT. I did remedial crap. Hated it! But I got to see the shows before they happened which was cool and I got informed about THE BATMAN two years before it came out. Unfortuntately, I’m not a fan of the show.
FFF:: Me neither. Stinky Poo Poo. So what do you do now professionally set apart from your fan film works?
CN: I make movies. I’m a freelance filmmaker. I just shot something for that Fast Food Nation film today. There was some press meeting and I covered it.
FFF:: So you’re hired to shoot events and such.
CN: Yep, weddings, other people’s films, events.
FFF:: I kind of wanted to do something different with this interview as I get sick of asking the same silly questions. I want to discuss an anatomy of a fan film.
CN: Ok. Hit me.
FFF:: Specifically, because this month I am spotlighting Catwoman, let’s do this with the “Diamond Exchange”. I want to go through the process of making such a film. Let’s start out with how the hell did you get Niki in that costume?
CN: I got her excited about the idea. We saw the preview for Copy Cat and then Nine Lives lives and she got upset. We both felt Amber was too graceful to be catwoman and whats the other chicks name?
FFF:: Meredith. The dancer.
CN: Yeah, Meridith. We felt she was miss cast. Niki had been training in Kung Fu for over two years at the time and we both liked the purple suit. I told her what was going to be expected of her and she was down with it. But really, had we not seen Copycat and Nine Lives, we might have not done the movie. That and the 2004 Warner Brothers disaster.
FFF:: you made a few movies together already and clearly you guys were into each other personally at that time. How does the process build from there?
CN: Well 1st, Niki and I were already engaged at the time so its not like she was sleeping with the director, but she technically was. Principles was our 1st catmovie. I got the idea based off my favorite cat comic, issue 54. The diamond that wouldn’t stay stolen. Remember that one?
CN: It was the one with Catwoman hanging on her whip with red lasers on the cover. Anyhoo, the story is about her stealing the same diamond over and over again because she is bored with her day life and she ends up berrating the security guards for sucking. I thought that was a great approach and felt it was the best interperation of Catwoman I’ve ever seen. So I took the premise and applied it to Principles which is the layout for Diamond Exchange. Catwoman yells at some ammature thugs for sucking and kicks their asses. TDE was more subtle and not about the birrating, but more about her vendictive side. Episode 1 had no script, but when I hit episode 2 I began writing. Also, this is really important to know, TDE was a commission. I was hired to make it which is why it was in that format.
FFF:: Really? By whom and why?
CN: vmix.com. They loved Principles and Powergirl and hired me to make something else. So I made TDE.
FFF:: You had an Asian cast on Diamonds. How does casting work?
CN: They are all my friends. We know a lot of Asian people so that’s why they were Asian. I reuse people all the time. 3/4 of that cast was in Action Man.
FFF:: What was the time factor from you watching other fan film previews with Nicki – to coming up with the idea – to casting and actually shooting?
CN: We saw Copycat and Nine Lives in the summer of ’05. TDE was made in Februaruy 2006. Actually it took two months to do only because VMIX asked. Each episode took two hours to shoot, but they wouldn’t want another one for a couple of weeks at a time and I got paid per episode so I wasn’t going to make another till I got my check. But each episode took litterally twenty-four hours.
FFF:: What do you shoot with and what program do you edit with?
CN: I currently shoot in a sony hd fx1. But TDE was canon xl1. I edit on Final Cut Pro.
FFF:: How has the whole Catwoman movies been reaction wise?
CN: I was just recently an invited guest at the Florida Supercon specifically for Catwoman and Powergirl. I sat next to Billy West. So I think I’m heading in the right direction. Niki even signed some autographs.
FFF:: Are you familair with the Star Trek fan films coming out with a lot of the actors from the shows in them.
CN: The trekkies and the Star Wars fans have it together. I’m impressed with them. Lucas has given carblanch to starwars. So kids can do what ever the hell they want. Why would lucas do that? Because he’s making software for them.
FFF:: My personal thinking is with these Trek movies coming online and all these great fan films the studios are going to become lax and maybe start financing some smaller films.
CN: Perhaps. Too bad comic properties haven’t caught on. Right now, my goal is to out do Hollywood. Once I do that, they will come knocking.
FFF:: How many people at cons as you are getting known want you to turn their properties into a short films?
CN: Everyone. But no one has money. Everyone at these shows either has a movie already or an idea, but they cant afford to pay me to make their films or they made the dumb choice of having someone else make it and its crap. Trust me. I’ve seen some real crap. But I’ve been approached.
Also, a lot of the people I’ve met are all talk. That’s a big problem because that involves me wasting my time. Man I hate that. You waste my time, and I’ll waste you.
FFF:: What films are you currently working on? You have a feature you are making in 2007 that I read about and I see a prequel to “The Protector”. Personally, as someone who spends to much time watching fan films and the genre that has been your best work to date. I really want to see you break away from licensed characters and do your own thing and I think that is a beautiful step.
CN: Thanks. The Protector is my stepping stone out of fan films. I love them and I won’t give up on them, but I’m going to do some original work when I can and come back to fan films when I have a few million in my pocket and make a real feature out of it.
The Protector is very Watchman and as studios will turn that concept into twenty years of development hell I beat them to it!
I am writing a Catwoman feature script actually with the help of Jim Balent. Once it’s done I’m going to try and pitch it to the WB since they already know my stand point on the last film. I’m just going to make more movies. That’s it.
FFF:: It sucked, but I am sure it will take years before they will decide to get over that lemon unless Nolan will have her in the third film.
CN: Screw that. Niki is Catwoman. Unless she’s in the movie, then it’s not Catwoman. This is my message to Hollywood. I’M COMING FOR THAT ASS!!!
FFF:: And a perfect ending quote.