Behind the Mask – GM Finney Productions

The Mask of Loki is an ancient Scandinavian artifact that, when worn at night, brings your deepest desires to life. Stanley Ipkiss used the Mask to gain the things he needed in life, but when his life takes a turn for the worse, he blames the precious green article, throwing it out of his life, and into the hands of failing musician Max Harmon. With his newfound abilities, Max sees the world as he likes – through emerald-tinted specs. His career takes off, and nothing can hold him back…except Stanley Ipkiss.

And so is the plot based on a character not normally seen in the fan film genre. It’s refreshing to see a fan take on this classic comic book. Fan Film Follies talks with GM Finney Productions the makers behind to “The Mask Strikes Back“.

FAN FILM FOLLIES (through Christopher Moshier): What got you into filmmaking more specifically fan filmmaking?

GM FINNEY PRODUCTIONS: I think it was around 2005 after seeing…dare I say it, the “sequel” to ‘The Mask’. I thought it was a complete disaster and a waste of what could have been an incredible franchise. So without delay, I decided to go out and write my own sequel to ‘The Mask’.

FFF: Why “The Mask” fan film opposed to any other character or franchise?

GM: ‘The Mask’ has been my all-time favorite movie and character from a very young age, and since the day I saw the movie, I became obsessed with it! To be honest, I still am to this day (laughs). I think there are many directions to go with ‘The Mask’ and that’s what peaked my interest.

FFF: Son of the Mask? Why? Why would they make such a thing?

GM: Tell me about it. New Line Cinema really confuses me. They make an incredible film in 1994 with a great cast, great story and mind blowing special effects. And ten years later, instead of things improving, they somehow make it ten times worse! I can only say one thing, compare ‘Son of the Mask’ with the original ‘Mask’ comics! But that aside, I would LOVE to see ‘The Mask’ back on screen. Obviously, we would all like to see Jim Carrey back in the role, but I think it’s safe to say that will never happen. So I would like to see a re-imagining of the character, in the same tone as the comic book. That is what I would do and that is what the fans want to see!

FFF: The Mask of Loki that appears in your film – was that a licensed prop or was that fan made? How about the green The Mask’s mask?

GM: Well, before I decided to make this movie, I came across a replica Loki Mask on the internet and I just HAD to have it! Unfortunately, I lost that particular Mask and got another one. This Mask is the one Eric’s character (Stanley Ipkiss) uses in the movie. So again, because that Mask was sent 4,000 miles away to the US, I got my hands on ANOTHER replica and this one was used for the UK scenes.

FFF: How about the green The Mask’s mask?

GM: The green latex mask was basically a new design we came up with and based loosely on ‘The Mask Returns’ comic. We decided to add a false Mohawk onto it (as it was originally bald) to give it a more rock/punk look. The Stanley Ipkiss mask was just an officially licensed 1994 mask that we cut the mouth out of to see the actors mouth move when he talked.

FFF: How does one make a fan film? Give some hints for other people who want to make a fan film.

GM: To begin the film making process, you obviously need a few good ideas; these will then evolve into plot points and storylines. When you have a complex storyline, you can begin writing the script. But one thing that I have noticed fan films lacking is a really great story. Make sure you have a good story to keep your viewers hooked!

Then, after several re-writes (like we had with ‘TMSB’) you can start finding suitable actors to fill the roles (or, like us, use the people around you). When you have gathered a good, committed cast, you can start drawing up storyboards (we skipped this with ‘The Mask’ and we wish we hadn’t…trust me). And if you think your ready, get out there, find some locations, and shoot it!
Believe it or not, this was the most challenging thing for us.

Now, Post-Production is the key to a great movie. Work hard. Take your time. But most importantly, HAVE FUN!

FFF: Good advise! Not really a criticism, but more of an observation. When the actor was wearing the green The Mask mask we see a lot of neck meaning we see a lot of the actor’s neck. Where you conscience of this? I think some kind of green body paint would have worked better.

GM: You mean when Ipkiss was wearing the Mask?

FFF: Exactly.

GM: The licensed mask we had was only a 1/2 head covering mask so it would have been tricky to work around that in such short time. We could have used a bald cap to cover the hair and back of head but again this all uses up time, which then, we didn’t have a lot of. But as for the body paint, the Mask only covers the head. If you notice in the original ‘Mask’ movie, Jim Carrey’s neck was also exposed.

FFF: I didn’t realize that. I’ll have to go back and watch the film again. What was the most difficult aspect in making your film?

GM: The most difficult was actually the production (filming). I think the main reason is that I have never had any directing experience and my actors had no acting experience. Just imagine trying to tell people what to do when you barely know what your doing yourself (laughing). But eventually, we got through it by studying the script and learning a little bit about the story and characters as we went along.

In post, I had a lot of fun editing it together and after several cuts, I worked with what I had and it came out pretty cool.

FFF: What kind of reception has your film gotten?

GM: This actually really surprised me. The film actually received about 95% positive feedback! Most saying around 4 out of 5 stars. Almost everybody saying it came miles ahead of ‘Son of The Mask’ and should have been the REAL Mask sequel. THAT is what I was going for!

FFF: Where do you see the genre of fan film going in the next five or ten years.

GM: In the last few years, there have been many fantastic fan films, more so in the BATMAN category. I can only see it getting much better! But I think categories like ‘The Mask’ for example, need to become more popular! So I encourage people to get out there and make your dreams happen while you still can.
FFF: What else are you working on these days? Promote what’s new!

GM: Actually, after ‘The Mask Strikes Back’ things happened and unfortunately I found myself torn apart from filmmaking, and I don’t think I will ever return to make another movie. But if I were, I would make something original and after some experience, I would make a feature length Mask remake or sequel. Although like I said, it’s very, very unlikely. But never say never.

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