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a word from the director

A Word from Josh Rubinstein
Director of "FAN WARS"

When Fan Wars was first shown at the monthly meeting of the Philadelphia Animation Society, I was rather surprised by the incredible response it received: two loud rounds of cheers - one at the end of the short, and another at the end of the credits - and loud bouts of laughter throughout its entire 2.5 minute length. I thought to myself "Perhaps it's just a fluke." But subsequent showings at conventions garnered the exact same response.

Why was I so surprised? Because Fan Wars is essentially a rush job. It grew from "that strange little idea in the back of your head" to finished product in about a month. Getting together with my friends, we desperately wanted to do something to celebrate the premiere of Episode I. We brainstormed a lot of different ideas, but simplicity won out. The one that we liked the best was doing a shot-for-shot parody of Trailer B with the motif of fans invading a movie theater on opening day.

Working as hard as our busy schedules allowed (most of us have jobs or are in school), we scrutinized Trailer B for framing, cuts, and action. We worked as hard as we could to create a mirror image of that trailer a la Gus Van Sant's Psycho remake. We rigged SFX equipment to create our CG lightsabers, droids, tanks, fortresses, and explosions, improvising everything along the way. It was a true team effort, and we really came together to pull it off.

Everybody in the group was so pleased with the final product and the response that it was getting, that they wanted to expand on it and make it into a feature-length project. I liked it, and began to write up a backstory and character histories for about fifteen different characters. Everybody loved it, and wanted to continue, but circumstances (such as me graduating from college and suddenly needing a real job) prevented us from going into it full-force. Eventually, it began to sit and fester away on a little-publicized website.

Now, as my friends and I regroup, we have all sorts of new and innovative ideas in mind for new projects, and we are so pleased at the opportunity that TF.N has offered us by placing Fan Wars here, where it will not go to waste and be forgotten. And we can now move on to bigger and better goals.

With such a tight production schedule and absolutely no budget to speak of, there are so many people who deserve thanks for their unswerving loyalty and effort to make Fan Wars such a successful project. There is Jimmy Panetta whose CG savvy with all of the droids and tanks added and extra dimension to the project. His efforts can never fully be repaid. Thanks also goes to Jeff Kleist who did a wonderful job building our lightsabers, both in reality and in the computer. He also took the first steps with getting us noticed by TF.N, and for that I am grateful. I must also thank Chris Ryons for his help and loyalty. He played our Darth Maul figure with the right amount of Sith Lord malice, and is still the most talked-about figure from the project. His help with the stunt coordination was unparalleled. He watched the trailer again and again, studying the moves in all of the action shots to make sure that we got them exactly right. There are also Lou Nemphos and Pete Johnson, the two assistant managers at the theater in which we shot. They both went out of their way to make sure that we had space and time in the theater to do what we needed to get our shots. They even agreed to play parts in the project. They were true troopers. I am forever thankful to the entire cast and crew of Fan Wars for their dedication to the project, and I hope that they will come back for the new projects that I hope to make.

And to you, surfer, I hope that you enjoy watching this project as much as we did making it.

May the Force be with you!

Josh Rubinstein

Director, Fan Wars

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