The Rebel is what’s emerging beneath the surface. It’s a being, a character you create to replace the old you, the one mired by layers of conditioning and untruth by the world and its media and technology and its ignorant people.
You slowly rebel against the world until you begin to uncover the REAL YOU beneath it all.
Beneath it all…beneath all beliefs and systems of thinking that you subscribe to.
You read things on the net and they make sense. They seem to be true. But do not actually know and they provide comfort where you have none.
When you follow a system to think for you, then you have rules and righteous purpose. You have concepts and ideals, such as “saving the world” or changing it to your own vision of utopia, or being too honest, when honesty is not always a virtue. You become consumed with ego or “respect.”
These things are all only illusions, designed to distract you from trusting your own intuition and true self.
Beneath all the awkward, casual social interactions. Beneath the light, airy, surface world that everyone pretends is real.
Beneath it is the underworld.
It is a red river, a current of distaste.
You are not satisfied with the status quo. You are uncomfortable with your place in it. You want to push the limits.
But to be an effectiverebel, you must have a REASON. It can’t just be for guts and glory.
Those things will never build your soul.
You’ve got to have a selfish reason to push yourself through the barriers of the System. Your goals, the things you really desire, those are enough at first. You take ahold of them and then you FIGHT.
But fighting wears you down after a while, and you run the risk of turning into the enemy.
Deep down, despite all you’ve been told, despite the hard knocks you’ve taken, you aresomething special.
There’s a power in the background, awaiting your total surrender. It calls to you. It tugs at you like a nightmare every damn day and every time you fail to do what you want to do. What you set out to do.
This thing isNOT the thing that you fight.
This thing is the Rebel.
The Rebel is your emerging soul.
Beneath it all, beneath this human shell, you have a heart of rebellion.
You rebel in order to find your soul, the origin of yourself. And then you hold onto that power and don’t let anybody take it from you. And you don’t let imposters like your old self take it either.
I’ve seen many fan films on the net and they almost all suck.
That’s not really surprising, except that the reason they suck is because they all make the same stupid mistakes. Frankly these choices are baffling to me. As a natural director and editor, but most importantly a STORYTELLER, the number one thing all these films do wrong is they TELL instead of SHOW.
That’s really the biggest grife.
My experience is mostly coming from Star Wars fan films here, but I’ve seen plenty of Machinima and films for other movies and they all follow the same detrimental patterns.
Here is an overview of how to not fuck up your fan film:
1) Don’t use (or overuse) narration
ESPECIALLY at the beginning, narration just smacks of shitty storytelling and every other fan film does it. I don’t want to be told about events that happened in your fan fiction, because I don’t care. I want to see a CHARACTER that I can RELATE to. And the way to do that is with characterization and dialog.
Frankly I’ve never cared for narration in ANY film, even blockbusters. The opening crawl of Star Wars bothers me, but at least you can ignore it and just continue watching the movie.
What’s even worse is I’d say the VAST MAJORITY of fan films not only use narration for the beginning, but they make it 1/3 of the entire film, if not more. This is a travesty.
If you have nothing more going for your film than a cheesy fight, then you don’t have a film. And you might as well SKIP the boring narration.
2) Don’t drag out the introduction
This is a fan film. This is not the original film. And even if it was, you don’t want or NEED all those intro logos and cutscenes. It doesn’t make your film unique, it just drags things out and it actually ends up looking very UN-professional.
I know when you’re editing this great film you’ve constructed there is temptation to dress it up as if its a huge movie production, but frankly the only reason anyone tolerates that dressing up is because they’re in a movie theater and their full attention is on the screen and there’s some professional music playing AND there’s the hype factor going for it.
Just start out with a fade-in from black or slap up a title at some point. You can also insert the title after your opening footage, like some TV shows or movies do for emphasis, such as the 2011 Star Trek.
3) Don’t copy the inspiration so much
What I mean by this is when you show a shot of a starship zooming down to a planet, or gratuitous shots of CGI starships just to show that you are copying the brand you’re copying from. Every Star Wars fan film wants to start out with their CGI ship heading down to a planet. To be honest I think these shots are great and they showcase the CGI abilities of the creator. But many of them are the same–a shuttle is heading down to a planet.
Start in the middle of the action.
Start with some dialog!
Start with a dude walking.
Don’t show us his face.
Etc. Just be creative, establish a narrative without the need of “shuttle heads to a planet or crashlands.”
For example, here is the intro of Empire Strikes Back:
In this vid we see a ship, but immediately it starts the story. We can tell something unusual is happening–what are those things leaving the ship? Then they crashland, only to be found by Luke Skywalker. Immediately we are shown the introduction to the narrative–that the Empire is discovering the Rebel Base.
And it’s done ALL without narration or dialog.
Now of course SOME copying of the original narrative is needed to establish the fan film as belonging to that inspiration or franchise. BUT if the sole purpose of your fan film is to say “IT’S A MIMIC OF THE REAL THING” then chances are you will NOT have a real story to tell and the entire production will suffer.
4) Don’t use forests
9/10 of the fan films I see, not just Star Wars, involve the HEAVY use of forests.
Of course, this makes sense. Nobody making a fan film who isn’t serious about it wants to design a real set. But when your entire film is set in a forest, it looks fake and it looks like shit.
Many fans will be disappointed by my opinion, but I honestly believe movies are better off adapting rather than directly pulling from the novel. I do think many movies go wrong by totally ignoring their concept, and changing too many elements. But at the same time, fan films suffer in particular from directly quoting dialog.
If you’re making a fan film from a source with lots of dialog, cut the dialog down into snippy, witty movie dialog.
That’s just how a movie works. You don’t want to bog down people with heavy exposition (including narration).
This film is the BEST fan film I’ve ever seen on the net and it even breaks this rule with a horribly boring intro scene where the characters just go ON and ON about something from the novel that they’re trying to imitate.
Which brings me to my next point:
6) Your film should stand on its own
Though many people cry about movies ruining their novel inspirations, a movie should still stand on its own without heavy narrative or explanation. That is because it is a MOVIE and people do not want to sit and watch a 6-hour movie for a reason.
The ENTIRE PURPOSE of the moving picture medium is to SHOW things that you no longer have to TELL. Which is why most fan films fail–they fail to grasp the medium that they’re using and why it’s important.
There is a wealth and depth of information that can be told through pictures alone. An entire gripping story can be told even without any dialog:
But perhaps the worst offender is the last item:
7) Your fight scene should not take up half the movie
If all you’ve got is a lightsaber battle in a forest, then a movie you do not have. Just skip the boring forests, the narration, and cut to the battle.
OR actually make a good story.
But if all you’ve got is a (probably badly) choreographed lightsaber to showcase the fact that you can make a lightsaber, then your film doesn’t have much to offer.
It’s a cute thing to do as an amateur or indie moviemaker, and I get that everybody wants to upload their lightsaber battle to show their family and friends.
It’s like when people make their first video game mods. They will take a texture and recolor it and then upload it and nobody will download it because it’s so simple and dirty and sleazy.
But that’s life.
8) No gratuitous fight scenes
There is a very verbal dissention between people on the lightsaber battles of Star Wars.
Many people hate the prequels for their highly choreographed, lifeless lightsaber battles. I especially hate them because they are not realistic.
People have this idea that swordfighting a delicate art when in reality most swordfights in history are over very quickly [link] because the combatants are trying to kill each other as quickly as possible. It’s not about form or trying to hit the other person’s sword [link]. It’s about aggression and dominance and DEATH.
For this bullet point, I will just let Plinkett from RedLetterMedia explain it for me:
Most notably, this quote from the video:
I gotta really stress this point that lightsaber duels have less to do with the fight itself, but moreso with the internalization of the characters.
In all these fan films I am not very invested in characters which then, of course, are supposed to launch into highly choreographed fights.
Again, for a good reference of a fan film with a memorable fight check out this video:
9) During fight scenes make sure we can tell what’s going on
A big mistake I see during fan films (and many blockbusters) is that the fighting is nonsensical.
When we see a fight, we don’t just want to see ACTION. We want to see cause and effects.
This means that if you show a character shooting an arrow, show it flying, and then show it hit, and make sure we can tell who’s getting hit.
Do it in slow motion if you have to.
[link to arrow video]
10) It’s not over when everybody dies
Many films tend to end with a death or two (or several).
But when a film ends we want CLOSURE and we want to know the EFFECT.
In other words, there was a PURPOSE to the fight. One guy decided to kill the other guy for a REASON. Show us the AFTERMATH. And not just an epilogue.
11) Gratutious credit sequences
I’ve done this too. It’s fun when you’re showing your friends.
But it’s not professional for a brief fan film.
But it’s especially telling when a third of your video is credits.
Or when a third of your video is exposition or narration, another third is a fight, and then the last third is credits.
If you want to make a memorable film, open it quickly with a memorable image, in medias res as they say, and end it with something that provokes thought.
A fan film is a fan film, it tells a story. It’s not a cheap imitation of the movie (unless that’s what you’re going for).
Have a style, have creativity. Be out to tell a story, not just copy the inspiration.
Make sure the things you are doing advance the STORY and the CHARACTERS (the most interesting thing).
The irony of this is that a fan film with great and memorable characters and story and dialog, but with poor effects or setpieces is far more interesting than a film that showcases the CGI work, and shits on everything else.
You can have both, but your primary interest should be in the STORY.
Fight Club is not the reason I wear a leather jacket.
In fact, it’s not even the reason I became a ladies’ man or a rebel. All of those things were in place before I discovered this movie.
The real reason Fight Club changed me is because it introduced me to life-altering concepts that go entirely against the grain. We don’t ever talk about them, but they’re true. Here are just some of the ways the movie inspired me.
1.) “Self-improvement is masturbation. Now, self-destruction…”
When I first heard this line I felt a pang of anxiety. I was guilty, like so many others. We read and we study and seek approval but we don’t change.
And that’s because the key to getting good at anything is NOT to improve the current self.
It’s to DESTROY the current self and let out the Rebel from within.
This is a little advanced for most people, and that’s ok.
Those of you who don’t get it are still trapped in the bubble of playing the same character on the stage.
You have to realize that what you are/who you are is just a character.
If you’re weak and frail, like Cornelius, it’s just a character. But if you’re strong and determined, like Tyler Durden, then that’s just another character.
The entire plot of the movie actually revolves around this concept.
2.) Hitting rock bottom
To get to where we want to be in life, we have to hit the bottom.
The bottom is where we have nothing left to lose.
After seeing this movie I realized how pathetic I was for collecting so many possessions. I angrily threw out a bunch of sentimental shit I had just lying around.
Tyler says, “The things you own, end up owning you.” And then Cornelius’ apartment blows up and he loses all of his “flaming little shit.” And because of that he’s better off.
I even stopped showering every day, I stopped grooming so much. I focused INSTEAD on my CHARACTER, and what a difference it made.
I went out and hit on a bunch of girls and didn’t stop until I found a new girlfriend. I was wearing this shitty flanel shirt that was years old and my hair was long and unkempt. But she thought I was “hot.”
Let no one tell you that it’s all about “looks.”
You can be one ugly motherfucker but people will “like” you if you display a dominant attitude. Even if you look great, if you aren’t projecting the right attitude, things are going to be much for difficult for you.
Anyone who thinks I’m full of shit is just delusional.
LOOKS AND STYLE ARE ARE NOT AS POWERFUL AS WHAT YOU’RE PROJECTING.
Your look and your style must match your image, and your energy. Otherwise they are not going to be effective.
Now the good news is that by getting familiar with a new look or image you will FEEL different. You can actually force yourself to act differently by looking differently.
But don’t think that being 100% handsome is a requirement. I’m really good looking but I was treated like shit way back in high school because I was a pussy.
And the movie demonstrates this as well, as you’ll see.
3.) Male aggression
This movie perfectly captures the inner, repressed male rage that many men in our society are experiencing as a result of the feminist and materialist movements.
Since this movie was constructed in the 80s, things have only gotten worse since then. This movie is more relevant now than ever.
We are so reluctant to get into fights these days, you almost never see it.
I certainly have never had anyone besides women even TOUCH me in an aggressive manner, let alone start a fight.
I’ve had people yell at me, but nobody wants to go all the way.
In the movie Tyler gives people an “assignment” to get into a fight and “lose.”
This falls right in line with the other two concepts.
By no means is the movie suggesting you ought to be a loser. It takes REAL strength to take the hits.
Just as any fighter will tell you–and trust me, I can tell you from my own experience–when you’re in a fight, it’s not the physical blows that are hard to take.
It’s the mental idea that you’re “going to get hit.” That you’re going to “break yourself.”
Losing a fight not only risks mental breakage but physical breakage as well. It takes true strength to let yourself lose and face the consequences of that.
But once you have nothing left to lose…
4.) “Tomorrow will be the greatest day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life…”
Threatened with death, one man decides he will start doing his dream job, or else he will be killed.
This is in the movie.
Once you have faced your fear of death, what can possibly be worse? You’ve hit rock bottom, now you have nothing left to fear.
Anytime I see this movie I think back to the near-death experiences I’ve had and it reminds me that I’ve already been through the worst.
Even if things never get better, I am capable of handling them.
The movie can teach you this too. But only if you act on it.
Obviously this movie ain’t for everyone. I know some people hate it but the movie itself on its own merits taught me remarkable lessons. I think it’s foolish to only take it on surface value–a bunch of rebellious men who fight and take down society.
This movie is about finding yourself in the corporate wasteland of material America.
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