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INTERVIEW: Star Wars Fan Filmmakers and Creators of White Armour

Last month GeekGirl World watched and reviewed White Armour, an edgy Star Wars fan film by James Isacsson and Corie Mills, for Fan Film Friday. Recently, Isacsson (one of the producers and directors) talked with us about the project, the future, and all things Star Wars. Enjoy, and May the 4th be with you!


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Set of White Armour. Photo courtesy of Isacsson.

Geek Girl World: White Armour already has 19,000 views on YouTube! Congratulations! However, for those who haven’t seen it yet, how would you describe the film?
James Isacsson: Generation Kill meets Starship Troopers meets Star Wars. See the side of the Empires Imperial Troops that no one ever told you about.

GGW: We heard that fans and supporters helped bring White Armour to life via Kickstarter. Can you tell us a little bit about your crowd-funding experience?
JI: We operated our Kickstarter for 2 months and had approx 83 backers help fund the film. We spent a lot of our time spreading the word about our film and we funded it 180% over our goal.

GGW: White Armour had a very modern soundtrack. Why did you choose the music that you did? Any favorite songs from the film?
JI: We could not afford to pay composers to write music for our film so we enlisted the help of artists who offered us to use their music for free. We also wanted to do something different compared to all the other fam films we have watched online lately. 1 fav track would be “Fett’s Vette” by MC Chris.

GGW: One of the greatest things about White Armour was the authentic Star Wars wardrobe. Can you describe your relationship with the 501st?
JI: We are in the 501st legion; however, it is to be noted this film is not officially branded as 501st paraphernalia/material. We wanted to include our friends in our film as they showed great interest in the production so that’s what we did!

GGW: Any challenges or interesting stories occur while filming?
JI: We had some last minute location changes from our permit owners which made filming extremely challenging, half the the film was shot in about 3 hours which included setting up equipment, costumes, practical effects etc. The most challenging part of filming was the locations.

DeathtroopersGGW: White Armour ends with a very horrifying and suspenseful cliffhanger. Without spoilers, can you give us an idea of what’s to come? When can viewers expect to see the sequel?
JI: We are working on a sequel for 2016 which takes heavy inspiration from the book Death Troopers. That’s all we can say at the moment.

GGW: Are you working on any other projects that you’d like to talk about?
JI: We are working on White Armour II – Death Troopers.

GGW: It’s an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. Anything in particular that you’re geeking out over? (The new trailer? A comic? A show?) Tell us about it!
JI: Currently reading some EU books and loving them. Also collecting the new Marvel series of Star Wars comics which are great! Enjoying the new fan films that are coming out slowly and helping other people out promote their films now ours is done.

GGW: If you had to describe why you love Star Wars in 10 words or less, what would you say?
JI: There hasn’t been a better story told!

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Fan Film Friday Reviews Scratchtent’s The Avengers

With Avengers: Age of Ultron now playing in cinemas nation wide, we couldn’t help but reminisce over how our favorite Marvel superheroes all came together to save the world! So, this week we watched Scratchtent’s The Avengers, a goofy, low-budget re-telling of 2012’s The Avengers. Watch Scratchtent’s The Avengers here.

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Fan Film Friday Review of White Armour – A Star Wars Fan Film

Still giddy over Star Wars Celebration, we couldn’t resist reviewing another Star Wars fan film! This time, we reviewed White Armour— a hard-R and bloody short about Stormtroopers searching for the dangerous Black Wing Virus and gunning down any “rebel scum” that gets in their way. Watch White Armour here.

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An Inside Look at Star Wars Celebration: Day One

On Wednesday, I made the journey far, far away to Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California. The convention is exactly what it sounds like: it celebrates the movies, shows, books, comics, apparel, toys, actors, and fans of Star Wars, and has done so now 10 times since Phantom Menace in 1999, in countries all over the world. Interestingly, I didn’t truly appreciate Star Wars until I was an adult, and after waiting 18 hours in line for the Thursday panels, one line-mate commented I was now “making up for lost time.”

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Waiting in line was tedious but not terrible. Here are some highlights:

A wife and small child dropped a father off at the line. The child cried and the man tried to comfort her but looked annoyed. I commented, “Well, he’s still a better Dad than Anakin.”

Oliver Thompson, writer/director/producer of “Star Wars into the Dune Sea” came all the way from Hong Kong and just happened to randomly talk to us. Literally the day before I had watched his movie and filmed a FFF review. Such a coincidence! Check out our FFF video review today!

James Arnold Taylor, who voices Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Clone Wars and half a dozen D.C. animated characters, went through the line shaking hands, taking pictures, and talking to folks. Me (ever-so-nonchalantly): “So, is Obi-Wan going to be in Rebels Season 2?” Him (jokingly IN HIS OBI-WAN VOICE) “If I told you, I’d have to use a Jedi mind trick to make you forget!”

Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams treated everyone in line to pizza. I can technically say I had dinner with the President of Lucasfilm and a Director of Star Wars. Does this count as a date? It’s totally a date. I will love them always. Even if they didn’t call me back the next morning.

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On Thursday, the event kicked off with “The Force Awakens” panel, which was live streamed and aired online, bringing Star Wars Celebration to fans everywhere. I won’t do a full recap, because it’s available for your viewing pleasure, but here are a few of my favorite moments:

  • Strong female characters. Kathleen Kennedy (President of Lucasfilm), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), and Daisy Ridley (Rey) all discussed the greatness of there being more and more diverse and powerful women in the franchise. GeekGirl World approves.
  • BB8 and Artoo. A real, moving robot version of BB8 rolled onto the stage. About half the size of R2-D2, he’s actually bigger than he looked in the Force Awakens teaser trailer that came out last year. He beeps adorably, much like R2-D2. Rumor has it, the two may have a playful rivalry.
  • The new trio. Daisy Ridley’s Rey, Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, and John Boyega’s Finn will be the film’s new protagonists, and I think it will be a trifecta of greatness. Boyega told a funny story about getting Harrisom Ford’s autograph, and now I think he’s the most adorable guy on the planet.
  • The old gang. Carrie Fisher was saucy. Peter Mayhew did the Chewbacca wave. Anthony Daniels was eloquent. Mark Hamill was sincere, saying, “You’re more than fans— you’re family.”
  • The new trailer, not once but twice. Meme posted a GGW article about the masterpiece. Critics everywhere have already analyzed every millisecond of it. The only thing I will add is that I barely heard it over the cheers and sobs the first time, and was blown away the second time. Also, there is now a Kleenex shortage in Anaheim.

I also caught Pablo Hidalgo and Dave Filoni’s “Untold Clone Wars” panel, which showcased an inside look at the creative process of Star Wars: the Clone Wars, including Filoni’s sketches and work-in-progress animation. Hidalgo and Filoni had lively banter that had the audience rolling:

“Did we get approval to show this?”

“We… didn’t… get disapproval.”

We learned that some art work that was made for but not used in the Clone Wars, will now appear in the show Rebels (including a bike that was intended for Ahsoka that Kanan will now sport). The panel left with us all campaigning for publishers to sell a book of Filoni’s artwork, and hints that Pablo-Jill will reappear in Rebels soon. The most lovely thing was that Filoni was not devastated by the end of Clone Wars. Rather, he appreciated the opportunity given his team to work in the gloriousness that is Rebels. If you haven’t already, watch the show, GeekGirl World! Season 1 finished recently, and it’s a perfect afternoon binge watch. Do it!

The last panel I watched was “The Hero’s Journey & the Power of Myth,” hosted by two StarWars.com writers. Alas, I didn’t catch their full names, but if anyone knows, please forward it on to me. I’d love to read more of their work. Actually, I’d love to buy them coffee and pick their brain for hours. They were brilliant! The panel was mostly one giant Q&A, and focused on how mythology and John Campbell’s work about heroes influenced the story arc in Star Wars. One panelist, Nick, made us all realize Jar Jar Binks was crucial in the grand scheme of things, from a mythological/story telling point of view. Yes, Jar Jar. He argued Jar Jar was supposed to teach us how to value those seemingly less worthy. Jar Jar taught this to Yoda in the prequels, who taught it to Luke on Dagobah in the Empire Strikes back. It was Luke who stopped Han from killing the Ewoks later in Return of the Jedi. Without the Ewoks, the rebels may not have won against the evil Empire and successfully help to return balance to the force. Basically, we have

screengrab credit: scifimoviefilm.com property of LucasFilm
screengrab credit: scifimoviefilm.com
property of LucasFilm

Jar Jar to thank for teaching the lesson years ago. Seriously! There’s a trope in mythology that’s similar, and I plan on geekily and gleefully studying it, post-Celebration. What do you think, GeekGirl World?

That wrapped up the first day of Star Wars Celebration. Today is another exciting day of Star Wars. I’m so excited and thrilled to be here, and can’t wait to see what happens next! Stay tuned on the GGW Facebook page, as we bring you photos from Friday’s Carrie Fisher panel, cosplay pictures, and more!

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Fan Film Friday returns with Star Wars Beyond the Dune Sea

This week we watched and reviewed Star Wars Beyond the Dune Sea, a short fan film about infamous Star Wars bounty hunter Boba Fett. Watch Star Wars Beyond the Dune Sea here!

Fun fact: the 501st Legion supplied some of the wardrobe for the film. Learn more about Vader’s First, admire their costumes, check out their charity work, and find a garrison near you here!

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Fan Film Friday revisits Killing Past

the oldIn 2013, GeekGirl World debuted a feature known as Fan Film Friday (or FFF). Though the segment only included 5 episodes, it celebrated the passion behind fan-made short films that were inspired by all things geeky and wonderful, from Batman to Wolverine. Flash forward to present day! We are going to re-share the old Fan Film Friday videos each week, and new episodes will start up NEXT WEEK. If you would like us to review your favorite fan film or perhaps submit a project of your own for consideration, please contact Nicole in the comments section.


the newIt’s funny that we’re revisiting Killing Past, a short film focused on Wolverine, as less than two weeks ago Hugh Jackman announced he’d be playing the iconic X-Men character “one last time.” The timing makes me feel rather sentimental about the character of Wolverine, played by my celebrity crush seven times in the last decade and a half. After re-watching Killing Past, I realized I might have been a little tough on the project. After a second watch, the plot holes that plagued me prior went almost completely unnoticed. I’m apparently growing very forgiving in my old age. Let’s blame/thank nostalgia.

After initially posting our review to Killing Past, the actors who played Wolverine and Al had a lively exchange with GeekGirl World via Youtube:

Wolverine/Nathan Schellerup/natesprojects: I like your video, and I agree with the 4/10. Oh, and I just look young because of my healing ability ;)

GGW/Me/Nicole: With that incredible healing ability (hah!), you could probably pull a Hugh Jackman and play Wolverine for the next decade or so.

Al/Alberto Villa-Sanchez/BrightNightFilms: Although, I gotta say, that guy that played “Al”, was pretty gosh darn adorable :P

Schellerup and Villa-Sanchez’s interaction with fans/critics/viewers/the world was genuine, and their sense of humor was completely charming. With positive attitudes and an openness to constructive criticism, these are the kind of guys you can’t help but root for. I scoured YouTube to see if they’ve been working on any other fan films, but I couldn’t find anything. Still, I’d love to see what they come up with next and wish them all the best.


Watch Killing Past here!

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Interview: Geek Hero Greg Weisman discusses new AudioPlay

Greg Weisman. Even if you don’t know his name, you know his work. He’s been involved on projects with Marvel, DC, and Star Wars (not to name drop or anything). He’s created so many fandoms that I’m pretty sure every GeekGirl needs to have a shrine of him in her closet. But what you might not know is that he has an exciting project in the works: an AudioPlay based on his series Rain of Ghosts. Luckily, GeekGirl World got to interview him about all that— and more, and we have all the gloriously geeky details!


@Greg_Weisman
https://twitter.com/greg_weisman

GeekGirl World: You have had such a wonderful and varied career, and have had a hand in everything that GeekGirl World loves: Spider-Man; Gargoyles; Star Wars; Captain Atom. Is there a character or universe you’ve always wanted to work with but have never had the chance? Any passion projects?
Greg Weisman: Well, I get pretty passionate about anything I work on with any depth.  I’d sure love to get back to Gargoyles or Young Justice or The Spectacular Spider-Man or W.I.T.C.H..  There are literally too many DC and Marvel characters that I’d love to take a crack at for me to list.  I’ve had a blast writing Star Wars Kanan: The Last Padawan, and would love to do similar stuff for Hera, Sabine and Zeb.  Right now, of course, my main passion project is the AudioPlay of my novel Rain of the Ghosts.

Rain of the Ghosts - Kickstarter RGB prevGGW: Your paranormal series Rain of Ghosts is being turned into an AudioPlay, which is both classic (like the old radio serials) and revolutionary (a step up from audiobooks or podcasts). What inspired you to tell Rain Cacique’s story in this unique format? What can listeners expect from this project?
Weisman: The original inspiration is pretty basic: I just wanted to hear it.  But I never wanted a standard audio book with a single narrator doing all the voices, male and female, old and young, living and dead.  So I went with what I know, and listeners can expect an unabridged full-cast AudioPlay with twenty fantastic actors, a full musical score and sound effects.  It’s a studio-quality production without any studio-level interference.  Like a four hour animated movie with everything except the actual animation.

GGW: Your team is relying on the support of fans via Kickstarter to help fund the post-production of Rain of Ghosts and you’re nearly halfway there! Congratulations! In 10 words or less, what would you tell GeekGirl World readers to inspire them to make a donation?
Weisman: Rain’s taking control of her destiny.  Help us do likewise!  (Ten words is not a lot of words.)

GGW: Kanan is one of the most interesting Star Wars characters in the entire galaxy. You wrote Star Wars: Kanan: The Last Padawan, which focuses on his adventures as a kid. Have you heard the internet rumor that an older Kanan will appear in Episode VII: The Force Awakens? What are your thoughts on this?
Weisman: I haven’t heard that rumor, but it would be pretty darn cool if it’s true!

GGW: You were a writer and executive producer for the first season of Star Wars Rebels, and helped introduce some of the most relatable characters in the Star Wars universe. (One GGW staff member is actually nicknamed Chopper, thanks to the show!) Which character do you identify with most and why?
Weisman: Probably Hera Syndulla, the woman behind the curtain, so to speak.  That reminds me a bit of what I do.

staff pick coverGGW: I saw you at Gallifrey One where there was a panel on Young Justice, a show that everyone agrees ended way too early. One of the things that amused me most were the fan questions. Are you ever bombarded by fans who beg for resolutions to the unfinished storylines? Any strange fan encounters?
Weisman: I’m constantly bombarded with questions, both on my Twitter account (@Greg_Weisman) and on my web page (AskGregWeisman.com).  But most of the time, I don’t mind.  I think it’s more frustrating for folks who want closure that I’m unable (or at times unwilling) to give them.  The thing to keep in mind is that I haven’t given up on getting a chance to tell more stories set in those universes, and I don’t like spoilers.  As for strange fan encounters: why, yes, I’ve had my fair share.  Comes with the territory, I think.  But by far, most of the fans I’ve encountered – particularly in person without the anonymity of the internet – have been quite wonderful.

GGW: You’re a writer, director, and producer. You’ve worked in comics, animation, and AudioPlays. Is there anything you can’t do or that is entirely out of your comfort zone? We think you’re perfect! What can fans expect from you next?
Weisman: LOL.  I’m far from perfect, but I appreciate the sentiment.  My focus now is on Rain and Kanan and a new animated series I’m producing that I’m not allowed to discuss yet.  As for my comfort zone, Kickstarter is WAY OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE.  But I’m plugging away at it and hoping for the best!


Check out the Kickstarter video for Rain of the Ghosts below:

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Fan Film Friday revisits Tell Gordon Hello

the old

In 2013, GeekGirl World debuted a feature known as Fan Film Friday (or FFF). Though the segment only included 5 episodes, it celebrated the passion behind fan-made short films that were inspired by all things geeky and wonderful, from Batman to Wolverine. Flash forward to present day! We are going to re-share the old Fan Film Friday videos each week, and new episodes will start up April 17, 2015. If you would like us to review your favorite fan film or perhaps submit a project of your own for consideration, please contact Nicole in the comments section.


the newTell Gordon Hello was one of the first fan films I reviewed to receive such a high score! You know a fan film is doing something right when the only complaint it received was that it was *too* much like its cinematic inspiration (in this case, The Dark Knight). After we posted our review, Paul Louis Harrell (the Joker) reached out to us with some very kind words! He wrote, “Thank you for the nice write up! There were a lot of things I would go back and change if I could, and it bothered me for sometime, but going into this I made it certain that Tell Gordon Hello was going to be the only Joker film I did… unless of course DC and Warner Bros. twisted my arm. I put it out there, no regrets. Am I a better actor now? Yes. And I will continue to become better until I die.” Maybe if things don’t work out with Jared Leto in Suicide Squad, David Ayer can cast Harrell! Just joking (eh, eh, get it?). But seriously, I would not be disappointed to see him donning the purple suit once more! TGH was the last FFF review that featured the Joker, and I’m thrilled we got to end Joker June with such a brilliant project.


Watch Tell Gordon Hello here!

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Fan Film Friday revisits Sleight of Hand

the oldIn 2013, GeekGirl World debuted a feature known as Fan Film Friday (or FFF). Though the segment only included 5 episodes, it celebrated the passion behind fan-made short films that were inspired by all things geeky and wonderful, from Batman to Wolverine. Flash forward to present day! We are going to re-share the old Fan Film Friday videos each week, and new episodes will start up April 10, 2015. If you would like us to review your favorite fan film or perhaps submit a project of your own for consideration, please contact Nicole in the comments section.


the new

Mega Ultra StudiosBatman: Sleight of Hand was a fan film that left a bad taste in my mouth. After my initial viewing, I criticized it for being cartoony and ruining everything great about Batman: The Animated Series. Even then, some people thought I was too generous. One GGW viewer commented, “I agree w/ you 100% on the review, except for one thing. The score you gave; imo, was too high. I’m a huge fan of the Joker & judge all things he & Batman related harshly.” After re-watching the fan film, I began to wonder, did *I* judge B:SoH too harshly?

Was I being the ultimate music hipster for thinking that Danny Elfman and Shirley Walker’s scores could not be used here? Did my adoration for Arleen Sorkin keep me from being able to appreciate the Batman: Arkham Asylum meets rock star meets live-action cartoon that B:SoH was trying to create with their version of Harley Quinn? Should I have been more accepting and celebrated Mega Ultra Studios’ blend of genres and eras of these ol’ Batman characters? I’m not sure. What do you think, GGW? Was I too tough… or far too generous? Let me know in the comments section!


Watch Sleight of Hand here!

Check out Mega Ultra Studios here!

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Fan Film Friday revisits Patient J

the old

In 2013, GeekGirl World debuted a feature known as Fan Film Friday (or FFF). Though the segment only included 5 episodes, it celebrated the passion behind fan-made short films that were inspired by all things geeky and wonderful, from Batman to Wolverine. Flash forward to present day! We are going to re-share the old Fan Film Friday videos each week, and new episodes will start up April 10, 2015. If you would like us to review your favorite fan film or perhaps submit a project of your own for consideration, please contact Nicole in the comments section.


the new

Patient J is the Shawshank Redemption of fan films… only with Batman characters. Even if you haven’t seen it, its reputation and longevity in the genre are so powerful and mighty, that even the casual fan film watcher or lazy YouTube browser knows of its greatness. Heck, it even has its own IMDB page! That being said, it was a natural pick for the second edition of Fan Film Friday.

After covering the film, two great and unexpected things happened. First, Josh Quevedo Reviews shared it on his YouTube page, and it subsequently received over 10,000 views (more than any other video we’d made to date)! GeekGirl World could not be more thrilled that people were seeing our video, caring about what we had to say, and visiting our site. (Thanks, y’all.)

Second, Paul Molnar (who played the Joker in the film) messaged us on Facebook! I remember trying to play it cool, but I was squeeing with fan girl joy. Molnar was humbled that so many people were still excited about the project, and unlike the Clown Prince of Crime, he was very much a gentleman and thanked us for our feature. (You’re a million times welcome, Mr. Molnar.)


Watch Patient J here!

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