Monday, August 9, 2021

Forsaken Mandalorian and the Drunken Jedi Master Star Wars Fan Film - Q&A with Create Sci-fi's Anthony Ferraro

Star Wars fans are a creative bunch. One of the ways mega fans show their love for the franchise is by making fan films, and Red Dot Diva has just watched one of the most gorgeous Star Wars fan-made production ever. The dialogue was also spot on, and the dramatic storyline left her wishing there was more.

FORSAKEN MANDALORIAN AND THE DRUNKEN JEDI MASTER is about a Mandalorian bounty hunter who tracked down a Hutt courier to recover an asset. He ends up face to face with a lone Jedi Master drowning his pain with booze, and the two find that they have a common purpose.


The fan film is by independent sci-fi film-maker Anthony Ferraro, the owner of a popular Youtube channel called Create Sci-fi. He also appeared as the Drunken Jedi Master in the short film.

Anthony Ferraro is a master sci-fi geek who is brimming with so much knowledge and love for the art of film-making. In his channel, he regularly creates and shares amazing videos about the different aspects of producing films with low or no budget, including art direction, prop-making, costume making as well as pre and post production. His 2019 sci-fi short film AERANGER has garnered more than 1.1 million views, including those generated from the curated Youtube channel DUST. For AERANGER, Anthony wrote, directed, build props and costumes as well as created the visual effects.

Red Dot Diva had to find out more about the making of FORSAKEN MANDALORIAN AND THE DRUNKEN JEDI MASTER. So, she got in touch with Anthony Ferraro to ask him some nosy questions!

Red Dot Diva: Hi Anthony. Love the short fan film! The "Drunken Jedi" character reminds me of the Chinese martial arts movie about a drunken shifu (师父). Did this come into play when you were developing the character?
Anthony: Thank you for saying that means a lot to me to hear that. In fact, that is exactly where it comes from. I really like the idea of the rouge who has just seen too much bad in the world to care anymore. But since there is some good left in them, and it's in their nature to care, to bear it they drown themselves in alcohol and sarcasm.

Red Dot Diva: What is your process like concerning distilling ideas down to script-writing? Do you carry a notebook around with you to record ideas?
Anthony: For me, it's about writing and re-writing. I'll have an idea of a character or a scenario. In this case, it was not my own character but the Mandalorian character. I don't jot anything in a notebook for me it's about thinking and rethinking about something and if it sticks then I think it's worth it to take the time to try and write. If I am struck with an idea during the course of my day I'll text it to myself and incorporate it into my rough draft whenever I sit down to write next. I always start with a freewriting draft. I just sit down and write whatever comes into my head. Not in script format and not worried about grammar or spelling. Then I'll take that idea and keep working on it until it resembles a short story or novel. Then I extract a screenplay from that. To make sure it's a story that will engage an audience I always start with some basic formula. For shorts, it is usually the Dan Harmon Story circle. For features, it is the Hero's journey or sometimes I even use a Mystery Novel chapter template.

Red Dot Diva: How long does it usually take for you to scout for a location, especially for Forsaken Mandalorian and The Drunken Jedi? What were you looking for in particular?
Anthony: Well like anything else it depends on budget. I live in Southern California in the United States. I knew I wanted to shoot in the desert and there is plenty of it. However when you are shooting Sci-Fi or anything stylized you really cannot get away with filming without the proper permits or permission. It gets expensive. I found a perfect location with amazing rock formations and interesting light. But it cost five thousand US dollars a day to rent and I'd also have to bring in RV's and make-up trucks. That was out of the question. You keep trying, one thing always leads to another. The actor Jonathan Castile who lays the Mandalorian and his wife Lisa Marie Wardell who is the Assistant Director were staying at a house in Desert Hot Springs. Near them was BLM land. BLM land is "Bureau of Land Management" basically its government-owned land that is not state park or anything like that, just land the government owns. Turns out you can do whatever you want out there. It worked out perfectly, we did our makeup at the house in the morning and then drove out to the land to film. The only catch was you had to be careful cause there always tended to be someone out there shooting guns. We were careful to shoot mid-week. But the simple answer is I was just looking for a wide-open desert. I knew we'd be adding the Hut and Moisture Vaporator's in post.
Red Dot Diva: The wide open space really adds on to the cinematic effect, that's for sure! 

Red Dot Diva: The pandemic has been tough for everyone. One sector that has been hit badly is the performing arts. How did you work around restrictions (if there were any), and ensuring the team was as safe as possible during your production? Any particular challenges that you faced?
Anthony: The restrictions actually were what inspired me. I was thinking of ways to stay creative during the pandemic. I started making the Mandalorian Costume as a fun project to keep busy. Then one day I was putting the costume on a mannequin and a light bulb went off in my head. I thought you know, this costume is full-body PPE. If I do basic scenes outdoors with just two actors at a time one being the PPE Mando and use a skeleton crew, I can make a Star Wars Fan Film. Up until that moment, I never had any desire to make a Fan Film. What's interesting for me is the entire project was born out of the restrictions of the Pandemic. I made all the costumes and props for the film myself. And I was only able to do that because of lockdown. I just got up every morning like it was my full-time job and made Star Wars props and costumes. It was quite enjoyable if I'm honest.

Red Dot Diva: Ok. I have to know. What did the blue booze taste like?
Anthony: It tasted just like Spotchka :)
Red Dot Diva: Great! *Grabs some bottles for herself.*

Red Dot Diva: You offer so many tips and detailed videos concerning building props, making costumes, and more in your Create Sci-fi channel. Any memorable moments where someone has told you how much you have inspired them to create something themselves?
Anthony: Thank you for asking that question, yes. I get lots of DM's from people sharing pictures of their projects or videos of films they made. One thing I really feel good about is I get quite a few messages from Dads who do some of my projects with their kids. That really makes my day when I get those. And a few times from High School Arts teachers who have incorporated some of my projects into their productions.

Red Dot Diva: What's next after the Forsaken Mandalorian and The Drunken Jedi? Will there be a sequel?? (We want more!)
Anthony: I hope to make more. My team and I really enjoyed this project. I am also working on two other feature scripts at the moment, a Sci-Fi Thriller called "Moon Terminal" and a straight-up 80's style sci-fi post-apocalypse B Horror movie called "Sheriff of Rottingham." The honest answer with Star Wars Fan Film is I paid for this one out of my pocket, no Crowdfunding, Patreon, nothing like that. Just out of pocket cash and donated time, a true passion project. If there is enough of an interest and we are able to crowdsource the budget or get a sponsor for sure I would love to make more. I took a drive to the beach today and I was stuck in traffic and I had a great idea for the next installment. And that's how it starts, now that visual is stuck in my head and I want to see it. I want you all to see it too.
Red Dot Diva: Your passion is very inspiring. I do believe that if you try to crowdfund the next episode, there will be more than enough support! We Have Hope!

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