Just for the heck of it, I thought today I'd mention my own experiences in the Fan Film biz, for what little that's worth.
My first experience - maybe - was a short film called "Terra Of The Fin," which was being made at our local cable access studio, back when such things still existed. This kid had written a script that was explained to me as "A parody cross between Doctor Who and Blake's Seven" (Though not by the kid himself.) To be honest, I'm not sure if this counts. If it was what I was told it was, then it probably does, but I honestly never saw anything of a Whovian or Blakian nature in my one grueling day on the shoot, so for all I *really* know, it might have been original.
I'm also told it was supposed to be funny. I didn't see that. Not even accidentally ironically "That guy is talking to a birdbath which we're supposed to believe is an alien" funny. If it was a comedy, the kid was playing up British tropes that I just didn't get. It might have been, though. Atomic bombs are easy. Humor is difficult. Pancakes, too. I've never managed to cook a pancake well. I've made scads of A-bombs. Go figure.
Anyway, the kid enlisted a large cast, and a large crew - impressive for a lad of his age - and we set about shooting it. Unfortunately, it was his first time in a studio, and he just didn't understand production. His script was fine, from what I saw of it, but you're kind of supposed to arrange your scenes so everything on one set can be shot in one block, then you strike it, build your next set, shoot all the scenes that take place there, strike it, lather, rinse, repeat. Then you edit the scenes into their proper narrative order.
He didn't know this. No one had ever told him, so he was attempting to shoot it linearly like a play. Shoot scene A on set 1, strike it, build set 2, shoot scene B, strike it, rebuild set 1, shoot scene C and so on. Amazingly tedious, and with the normal flubbed lines and technical errors, well, it didn't go well. He booked eight hours of studio time, and after about two hours, the crew started bailing.
I started out as a cameraman, graduated to floor director a few hours later, and by the end of the day I was the director. Attrition. Eventually, I got exasperated, explained to the kid how you shoot stuff, and then left myself. We'd shot six or seven hours by that time, I'd be surprised if we had 20 minutes in the can. Poor guy. To his credit, he captained a bridge-burning disaster for everyone involved, but he kept his head, handled it well, and took correction. I hope he turned out well. He had potential. Not a boat-load of TV knowledge, but definite potential just the same.
Eventually, a year later, I saw some of the footage on Public Access ("The Ramada Inn Channel" as we called it at the time, since every other show appeared to be some band playing in a cheap hotel lounge), so he got something out of it, but I'm pretty darn sure he only got that one day's worth of shooting in.
THE NEXT ONE I was involved in was a James Bond Parody. I got the part of Bond because I do a passably fake English accent, and coincidentally, I look just like Sean Connery, but with blue eyes, and (At the time) long hair. Also, I had my own dinner jacket and gun, which simplified costuming quite a bit.
We shot one day's worth of "Beach Scenes" at a nice lake in the area, lots of girls in Bikinis, some footage on a Jet Ski, which was pretty cool, though it did nothing for the dinner jacket, let me tell you. Basically your 'schmoozing at the party and baiting the villain' scenes. I only had a partial script, there was lots of improv, most of the shots didn't seem to connect together directly, but it was fun. Cary, the director/writer later told me he wasn't really happy with any of the stuff we'd shot, and he'd probably re-do all of it later. It mean more hot chicks in not a lot of clothes fawning over me, so I was totally up for it.
The next weekend, we drove to Lincoln to shoot some "Bond gets