The world of fandom is multifaceted, and one of the most interesting facets of that world is the creativity of a large number of fans, who express their love for a particular tv show, movie, book or comic book in a variety of ways -- in stories, poems, sculptures, paintings, illustrations, comics, or short films, for example. These can range from pretty crude to extremely sophisticated… but the common thread is the love for the source material, and the characters and concepts therein.
I've seen a number of these things over the years, and it's interesting that with the emergence of relatively inexpensive video and video editing hardware and software, the film and animation end of this fan-generated expression has gotten increasingly more… well, professional.
I was reminded of this yesterday when someone asked me a question on my "Ask PL" blog post about two recent fanmade short films, "Fight the Foot" and "Casey Jones". They are both intriguing pieces, but of the two, "Casey Jones", a film by Polaris Banks, is far superior and much more satisfying. It has excellent cinematography, the costumes are great, and much of the acting is very good.
But the thing I liked most about it was the attention to details drawn from the original comics (like the mention of Northampton, Casey's cousin Sid, Casey's mother calling him "Arnold", the fact that Casey throws two bats at the punk running away from him -- just like in the "Raphael One Issue Micro Series" -- and so on).
The inclusion of a yellow jumpsuit-clad April O'Neil, reporter from Channel 6 News, and a brief shot of "Krang" I could have done without -- both elements which I think could be edited out of the film without changing it greatly -- but I must confess that seeing them in there made me smile a couple of times. Seeing those icons from the goofy first TMNT TV series took me out of the gritty, realistic feel established from almost the very first shot (the hockey player colliding with the plexiglass wall and leaving a streak of blood).
The only other real criticism I have of "Casey Jones" is that the lighting during the extended fight scene in the alleyway is often too dark to really be able to see adequately what's happening. But all in all, it is a VERY impressive piece of work, and I think the people behind it could go far.
You can watch the "Casey Jones" film here:
... and "Fight the Foot" can be found on YouTube here:
Another fan work -- this time in the comics realm -- to which I was recently introduced (well, "recently" in this case meaning late last year) is "Donatello; Dark Energy" by Matthew Montelione (writer) and Pedro Lajud (artist), a five-page story featuring my favorite Turtle. It's not quite professional-level work, but the potential is definitely there.
It's a quiet story (or, more accurately, part of a story) with a lot of heart, and a somber mood which I found quite appealing. The two creators plan a second installment of "Donatello: Dark Energy", and I look forward to reading that one as well. You can find the first part here:
It's an amazing thing to see how something you had a hand in creating more than a quarter of a century ago could have had enough of an impact on people that they would do stuff like this. -- PL
P.S. The title of this post -- "FANGA™" -- is just a word I made up to use as "shorthand" identify these types of fan-created works. I was trying to think of something short and punchy, and this word (a variant of "manga", obviously) popped into my head.