there are sooooooooo many Trek fanfilms is simply because the costumes are simple. Can you imagine trying to put together a half-dozen modern BSG uniforms on a fanfilm budget? Or Earthforce uniforms from Babylon 5?
CHARLIE: Light sabers were made voluntarily by a student on campus. Other props were loaned. Sets were volunteered by folks in the campus community. I think I personally spent about a thousand dollars of my own money over two years in making the movie (but that’s cheaper than buying a convertible like all the other mid-life crisis guys do). In other words, a good producer doesn’t necessarily need a big budget to make his movie. He just needs to know how to find what he needs or find people who will give it.
3.0: That's similar to Robert Rodriguez making El Mariachi by writing a script around stuff he already had ("Let's see, I've got a bus, a building, a lot of guns, and a turtle..."), and then selling his organs to science to get the film stock and developing costs. From what you've seen, is there much crossover between the unbelievably-cheap fringe world of indie films, and the fanfilm community?
CHARLIE: Not the communities per se, but the techniques for sure. Low end film makers are constantly looking into the methods of other low end film makers. Guerrilla movie making is the art through which indie producers can make a career—so everyone wants to hear the stories of “how that was done.”
3.0: The scenery was fairly unusual for this kind of thing - where did you shoot it?
CHARLIE: The outdoor cave sequences were shot at a local state park at the entrances to caves. The indoor sequence for the cave was shot in the college gym. Outdoor shots were in the foothills around the college campus here in eastern Kentucky. Indoor shots were in faculty houses (including mine).
3.0: Whether you intended it to or not, it had a distinctive look. Republibot 2.0 and I were joking about how virtually every SF show on the air now is shot in the Pacific Northwest so nowadays every world in space looks like "Planet Cascadia." All the 60s/70s shows were shot in the desert outside LA so they all looked like "Planet Zabriski Point." And here you come with "Planet Appalachia..." It looked cool. Homey and unlike other films.
CHARLIE: In part we were fortunate, in part we worked hard on the sets—the faculty homes we used had a head start in the fact that two of them had interior design by my wife Becky! She’s good with décor—it didn’t take a lot of reworking to make the rooms look exotic (fun fan trivia moment: in the fire side scene, when Pai stands up, there’s a picture on the wall behind him—it’s been blurred just enough so you can’t tell it’s a King Kong poster).
3.0: You were already a published author when you got involved with this and you co-wrote the script. How did that differ from your normal method of writing? I notice this is one of the very few Fanfilms that has a clear moral center to it...
CHARLIE: The story began with a conversation between me and my good student Adam Bengston in my office where I tossed ideas at him which quickly became the core of the story: a Jedi and a girl in love; he has to decide between her and the Jedi;
3.0: What year was this? Was this before that became the emotional hook of the Star Wars prequels, or your reaction to it?
CHARLIE: It was after episode 2 and before episode 3.
Plot twist: she turns out to be a Sith; plot twist (spoiler alert!): the Jedi master who kills her turns out to be her father. It had all the makings of a classic Greek tragedy.
3.0: I liked the way you offed her! That was so very simple and elegant, yet I didn't see it coming, and I'd never seen that kind of thing before! I was like "ooooooh!" when I watched it the first time...
CHARLIE: I was pretty proud of the writing on that entire final scene. We were fortunate to get the shot of the light saber sticking out of her back and then turning off as we fell to the ground to actually work. Didn’t know if we’d be able to pull it