One of the more interesting Fan Film collaborations that have come around in a while has to be Lund Family Productions consisting of nine home-schooled siblings living happily together somewhere in the state of Michigan. Andrew Lund leads this pack of aspiring talents and shares with us the inquiries the Fan Film Follies has for him.
FAN FILM FOLLIES (through Christopher Moshier): Heh, Andrew. It’s been a while since we did an interview at the FFF so thanks for playing along. This is a standard question, but an important one. What got you into making your own films and fan films specifically?
ANDREW LUND: Well, our background really isn’t too far behind us as we are still a young family just doing what we’ve always done; having fun with cameras! Cheapy, crummy cameras, but still fun. We started with several short stop-motion superhero “fan films”, before we had even heard of the term. Every production was naturally just a little bit more ambitious, and eventually we started a little line of Bible-based comedy short films, which were also fan films in a sense.
To be honest, I think fan films are the “easy way out” when it comes to storytelling through the film medium. It’s just a really fun way for beginners like us to jump right into the action and get our feet wet without having to put too much effort into the actual story and character development. Though, I know that isn’t always the case!
FFF: I find it interesting you and your brothers and sisters are home schooled. How does that play a role in why you make films?
AL: I think it plays a major role! Home schooling has kept our family close and taught us how to work with each other. Filmmaking is just one of many ways that allows us to bring our creativity together in a joint effort. Additionally, I’m sure that if we had been public schooled, peer-pressure would have made it more difficult to work with our sibs, as it is totally uncool by many young people’s standards.
FFF: That’s probably a silly question as I could ask the same to anyone who is public schooled or goes to a private school.
AL: Doesn’t seem silly at all. The environment that we are brought up in certainly shapes our creative endeavors in a major way. I’m not saying one way is better than the other; just different.
FFF: I’m guessing your parents are very supportive of your films. How do they play a role in your productions if any?
AL: Good guess! They are very supportive of anything that sparks our imaginations and drives us to create – though, my Mom isn’t always too thrilled to see her little John being placed in perilous situations all the time! They don’t play too much of a physical role in the films; we actually try to keep them out of the editing room until the rough draft is done, as we value their fresh review of our work. I guess I just contradicted myself. They do play a role. They tell us when it’s good, and are brutally honest when it stinks. Usually we already know it, but are in a state of denial.
FFF: Why Indiana Jones and why a fan film based on the character?
AL: Mostly because we live in the country, and we like action movies. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like we have a whole lot to work with, and the Indiana Jones theme just seemed to fit the bill pretty well. We were also partly inspired by the Linn brother’s 1992 production “Indiana Jed and the Search for the Infinite Power”. We sympathized with them and their clunky analog cameras and the tape-deck editing, and we’re quite amazed at what they pulled off while in high school.
FFF: Walk us through a couple scenes of your latest Indiana Jones offering and tell us how you were able to put everything together?
AL: Well, I’ll start by saying that it is very difficult to write any kind of a script for a six-year-old who doesn’t exactly pronunciation very well. Usually I start by writing what feels natural, and then edit out all of the three-or-more syllable words, replacing them with appropriate and simpler substitutions. Any time there was a questionable word; we would sit him down and practice it over and over again. Hopefully he would remember it when we actually went out to film, or “tape” as was our case with our $200 mini-DV camcorder and a $50 shotgun mic.
Sometimes I try to storyboard our action scenes. Usually, I can play the film very vividly in my head, but a storyboard is so important for conveying your mental image to the actors and for keeping things running smooth during the shoot. I like to sketch, and I’m usually quite proud of my first couple pages of storyboards, and then I get impatient and the artistic quality of my work rapidly decreases.
I would say our most challenging scene and the one that I was most disappointed in was the conversation between Indy and Jerry portrayed by myself in the hall. Our camera couldn’t handle the lighting, and the audio was t-e-r-r-b-l-e through the shotgun mic in the big hall. A couple Lavalier mics are in my wish list. We ended up dubbing almost every line.
The action is the fun part, and the main reason we do the films in the first place. It’s really just a backdrop to play with special effects! Let me tell ya’ though, it takes an awful lot of patience to get a little kid to throw, much less receive a convincing punch. The end fight sequence took three afternoons to film, and those three afternoons were spaced about two months apart, which made continuity impossible at times. I would just move the camera quick and hope that the rapidly-growing grass didn’t bother anybody!
FFF: I found your story most interesting as you and your siblings are the majority of the talents behind and in front of the camera. How did this dynamic come about?
AL: Hmmm… We’ll, ’cause there’s nobody else who can drop everything and go running out into a field to film an action scene when the inspiration strikes! Seriously though, it is nice working at a relaxed pace, knowing that if you don’t get everything done the talent will still be there tomorrow. It can’t last forever, though. I’ll admit, we’ve all got an itch to take on a ‘big’ project with a bunch of people who share our enthusiasm for filmmaking! Time to expand the ol’ horizons.
FFF: And being siblings – and as we know siblings bicker – how do you keep the rivalry in check while making a film at the same time?
AL: Bicker? Are you kidding me? No way…
…Okay, maybe a little…
…Once in a while…
I wouldn’t say it’s “rivalry” so much as, sometimes the little kids aren’t quite as eager to spend a whole hot afternoon out in the middle of nowhere, repeating lines over and over again while their older sibs get frustrated with cameras and such. Don’t know what’s wrong with them.
FFF: Spotlight the “LUND” team and how they each contribute to your productions.
AL: Well, at the top of the family I am naturally the director and chief bossy guy. I’ve got a couple sisters under me who often offer creative ideas, make costumes and pamper the kids as well as coach them with their lines. Couldn’t do it without them! Then I’ve got a brother who is my idea guy and bouncing board when it comes to these flicks. He’s into photography and has a great eye, so very nice to have an assistant cameraman like that. He might be taking the role over completely in the near future. And then we have actors, actresses and younger actors and actresses. That’s about it!
FFF: What is the ultimate film you would like to make be it a fan film or your own concept? Give us some details on such a project.
AL: Ah yes–we’ve all got one of those, don’t we? Ours would be a funny family feature, preferably with some good food for thought and perhaps even lightly romantic. No, not a Hollywood action-packed explosion-filled eye-candy flick. Though, those are fun to make on the side.
FFF: A question I ask a lot of fan film and independent film makers. The gap between Hollywood and Independent filmmaking continues to shrink. Hollywood is shooting out gimmicks such as 3D for example. What do you think about the economics of home movie making and how that compares to what Hollywood releases on a regular basis?
AL: I think that the creativity of the storyteller is and always has been the most important aspect of a film, and now there is less and less blocking any creative mind from presenting his or her story to the world! So yeah, I think it’s great. I feel very un-hindered, and that if I can dream it, I can create it and show it to everybody, which is totally cool.
FFF: Will you be pursing your filming aspirations?
AL: Yes, I/we sure hope to. We just took the plunge and upgraded to an HD DSLR. Yes, we are about a half-decade behind everyone else. So we are excited about how much better our future projects will look. We just need ideas now! Making any half-decent movie is a lot of work, but when I am really excited about a project, I have no problem finding the energy to complete it. I’ve got my eyes peeled for something that gets me excited. As far as long-term goes, I have no idea. I have no desire to be associated with Hollywood in any way, and I don’t seem to be independently wealthy, so I’ve got a few obstacles ahead if I ever want to crank out something more professional. I’m just gonna play it by ear, and if I get knocked over the head with a great story that I want to tell, I’ll tell it one way or the other!
FFF: Awesome, Andrew. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
AL: Well, that was fun. Really hope you guys enjoy our “Indiana John” flicks. They’re not much, but we made them to entertain, so I hope they do their job. Until the unforeseeable next time!