Film School Friday – Should I shoot a fan film?

Fan Film Episode Summary

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill are talking about fan films and if you should dedicate time and resources to them or not.

Fan Film Episode Notes

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill are talking about fan films and if you should dedicate time and resources to them or not.

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Fan Film Transcript

Corey Allen  00:05

Welcome to film school Friday. I’m Corey, I’m Bill. And together,

Bill Cornelius  00:09

we host the infocus podcast,

Corey Allen  00:11

film school Friday is our special weekly episode, where we try to pass along all of our knowledge, wisdom, experience, expertise, whatever you want to call it. On to you what you do with it.

Bill Cornelius  00:25

It’s up to you. It’s

Corey Allen  00:26

up to you. Bill, this week’s episode might be a little controversial to some. But I do believe it is a topic worth discussing. Because it obviously comes up a lot, especially for indie filmmakers, or individuals that are getting into maybe short form narrative for the first time. One of the one of the easiest paths into that could seem like a good fan film. So curious on your thoughts on fan films?

Bill Cornelius  01:00

Yeah, so I’ve got a lot of opinions on fan films. And look, if this is offensive to you, because you’ve worked on a fan film or whatever, like, I’m sure that was a great exercise. But that’s really all it is. And I’m coming at this from the business side of film, and also from a resources and budgetary side, fan films, by nature will get you nowhere.

I guess they’re they can be a great show of, you know, the kind of work you can do something fun for YouTube, assuming the company who owns the property doesn’t take your content down. So that’s one thing you have to think about. Because when you make a film, there’s an intent behind it, right.

And a lot of times, especially if you’re spending a lot of money, and using a lot of resources, that intent is to in some way, make back what you put out either monetarily or from, you know, the growth of an audience or, you know, being on one of the big streaming platforms or something like that. Like there’s there’s something you’re you’re looking to get back like nobody, unless you have ridiculous amount of disposable income, nobody is like making a million dollar budget film for themselves to have fun.

I mean, that’s, that’s ridiculous. Especially not in the indie world, there’s always an intent somewhere, right? When it comes to a fan film, the idea that you are creating a film around someone else’s legal property. And a lot of times a larger company’s property, you’re automatically excluding yourself from a lot of these end goals, right? distribution, making money, reaching an audience in a lot of cases.

And so to me, a fan film has always seemed like a really big waste of resources and money, people resources, I see them a lot. And I see really well done well produced beautiful looking fan films pop up every now and then. But I always ask the same question. What are you doing with this? Right? Like, what you can’t you can’t do anything with it.

Corey Allen  03:21

I feel like it’d be really limited to. I mean, like you could show it as here’s something I’m capable of doing. Yeah. If like, if you really need that, and you’re really passionate about whatever that IP is, yeah. But yeah, like you can’t it likely not gonna be able to distribute it. You might not be able to share it to a broad degree, depending on how, depending on the IP, yeah,

Bill Cornelius  03:48

yeah. And so that, I see stuff like that and I see just the amount of resources that are poured into it and I’m just like, you could use these resources towards something that you’re actually going to make back on. And that’s actually going to move the ball for you in a more straightforward way.

I just I don’t I’ve never understood the reasoning. I mean, yeah, we’re all fans of things. Right. I’m a fan of big IPS out there. I would love I’ve talked about for years, one of my secret projects that I would love to take on would be a feature film version of Metroid. Like that’s, that’s an IP that I would be so on fire to make. But I’m only going to do it. If I had backing from the owners, right? Why if

Corey Allen  04:39

he had the approval of

Bill Cornelius  04:42

Yeah, right. And so because that’s the only way you’re going to actually be able to do something with that IP that’s substantial. That has a monetary return that gets out to an audience. You’re not going to be sued. Most importantly,


right You know,

Bill Cornelius  05:01

like, there are some entertainment companies out there. One is represented by a mouse that we all know that is very litigious. So you get yourself into hot water sometimes if you’re putting a lot of resources into somebody else’s IP, and they’re not going to give you permission, they’re not going to say yes, go ahead and make a $20,000 Star Wars film.

Go for it, you know, like, they’re not gonna say that now. And so what, what then are you doing ultimately, it just like I, again, I’ve seen some fan films that are beautiful, that are very well made very well crafted by some very talented people. And I just shake my head and I say, you know, these talented people could be doing something that’s original.

That’s not an IP, they don’t have authorization for and soar with it. do anything with it? sky’s the limit. Why restrict yourself? Why why chop off your hands and feet? Right, you know, with doing somebody else’s IP?

Corey Allen  06:04

Would you agree that maybe fan films definitely have a place like as student films?

Bill Cornelius  06:12

Yeah, absolutely. Because for one thing, student films, just in being student films don’t really, nobody. Student Film is getting optioned at Netflix. Right. You know, so so by nature, they’re a bit of a sandbox. They’re insular. And I think in a case like that, sure, why not, you know, exercise a little bit film schools about exercising your skills. And if if doing that involves, you know, adapting somebody else’s IP Go for it.

Corey Allen  06:43

Yeah, cuz then you have like, at least you have like some fleshed out, characters probably have a little backstory. To your point, you can play in the sandbox a little bit creatively. Yeah. If you’re trying to work out some visual skills,

Bill Cornelius  06:57

but when you’re like out in the world, and you have to pay your bills and have a roof over your head, and fan films money, probably not gonna do that fan films are just gonna drain you. You know, that’s the harsh business side of it. Okay, and it’s the truth.

Corey Allen  07:13

It’s good insight, though. Yeah, we’re definitely not moving forward with that.

Bill Cornelius  07:18

Metroid. Not unless Nintendo approves.

Corey Allen  07:23

A Nintendo if you’re listening, we don’t approve

Bill Cornelius  07:25

of a lot.

Corey Allen  07:26

We have a pitch for you. Yeah. Nice. Alright. Well, once again, Bill, thanks for spreading the little knowledge. Sure. For our listeners, make sure you check us out on Instagram, at @infocuspod or online and And if you liked what you heard today, go ahead and subscribe. Maybe drop a like all those things. You can reshare do all those fun things. And if you’re on Apple podcast, please leave us a rating. It would help us out a ton. And until next time, feed

Bill Cornelius  07:57

your crew. T shirts coming soon. Yes, maybe. Maybe maybe