One year ago, on March 1, 2007, Ryan and I released RvD2: Ryan vs. Dorkman 2 on YouTube. As of this writing YouTube counts 2,618,867 views of the film, and new people continue to find and comment on it on a daily basis.
Five years ago, March 1 2003, Ryan and I released the original Ryan vs Dorkman, having no idea what it would get us, besides bragging rights on a message board. From its sudden YouTube popularity in March/April 2006, we got industry contacts -- including my manager -- worldwide attention, and the kick in the pants we needed to go make RvD2, which set off a brand new round of fun and attention.
So, with the anniversary of both films -- a year of RvD2, and a full half-decade of RvD -- I thought it was a good opportunity to chat about what we've been up to this year.
Immediately after the release of the film we started taking pre-orders for the Behind-the-Scenes DVDs. We had been running a camera pretty much the whole time we were working on RvD2, and we planned to cut it together, with a few additional features, for fans and others who were interested in what went into producing the film.
What we didn't realize was that the DVDs were going to be a much more difficult project than the film itself. It seems like an obvious thing, really -- we were looking at a good 2 hours of content (it wound up being 5 hours) compared to a 10-minute film. But for some reason the DVD seemed like the "easy part". As such we gave ourselves an unrealistic deadline/shipping date, and wound up completing the project 6 months later than we thought we would. It's only in looking back that I realize that the film was the "easy part", and the DVDs were the "Real Project".
But after many sleepless nights and hair-pulling, the project IS done; we have shipped to our purchasers and are fulfilling our promise to our donors to get them all copies; the demand has exceeded our expectations and we ran out of stock, but we have a huge order coming in from the replicators that will probably carry us through until the world loses interest completely.
So if you're thinking of grabbing one for yourself or a friend, you can get them through the site.
Since starting this blog, and in a few other places I frequent around the web, I've mentioned a fan film that I shot over last summer. I was hired initially as a fight choreographer, but ultimately was choreographer, director of photography, actor, visual effects supervisor, visual effects artist, and editor on the project. And probably other stuff I don't remember.
The project's full title is The Renaissance Chronicles: Sandrima Rising; it's generally referred to by the people involved as Sandrima Rising, or simply Sandrima. Originally the gig was going to be for myself and Ryan both, but Ryan couldn't afford to take the time off of work, so I wound up flying solo.
I'm not going to go too much into it in this post, it's best saved for sometime in the future, but suffice it to say that Sandrima is what really made me realize that making a movie is like fighting a war. And I'll definitely make a post about THAT sometime down the line.
It was a very difficult, trying shoot. But it had its upsides. For one thing, it actually paid, which fan films don't usually do. So well, in fact, that I've been able to get out of the debt I've been in since my failed attempt to shoot my own fan film.
Much like fighting a war, I wound up bonding with some members of my "platoon". Robert, who I mentioned yesterday as the guy who introduced me to the Garfield is Dead meme, was one of the lead actors and we have become very close. They also flew out Travis, cameraman for RvD2 and cohost of (the one episode of) Shooting the Bull, and sharing the experience of shooting Sandrima brought us closer together as well.
Heck, I still get random calls from some of the other actors, and even one of the grips on the film. It really is like veterans who have been through some kind of hell together, and want to stick together because "nobody else understands".
Sandrima Rising also represents my retirement from fan films. I calculated the lightsaber work I've done through my 8-year "career" in the subculture and I'm pretty sure that I have done more lightsaber-related effects work than any other individual in the world, and that includes ILM artists.
I'm not sure because I haven't done a minute-to-minute comparison, but I may have worked on more lightsabers, screen-time-wise, than even the actual films.
So, I'm done with them until a) we do RvD3, or b) Lucasfilm hires me to work on the TV series. And in the case of b), it would still depend on how well they were paying.
Currently, I'm working on the visual effects for Sandrima. With fingers crossed, it will be done on schedule at the end of July; with fingers continuing to be crossed, it will be just in time for...
I'll need to write up a whole post about this, which I'll do when it's a "go picture". But RvD2 led to contact with Dark Horse Entertainment, which looks like it will probably lead to my directing a for-real feature film by year's end. Like I said, this is a topic for its own post and really a series of posts more likely.
My expectation that Descendants was going to get up and running soon was one of the reasons I decided to start this blog in the first place. So hopefully, this will get back on track a bit in that sense fairly soon.
Before I finish up here, Ryan also won an Emmy. That's not directly related to the release of RvD2 but it does bear mentioning as a major career-related event in the last year.
I suppose it also bears mentioning that my friendship with Ryan is as strong as its ever been. It's not just professionally that the RvD films have had a huge positive impact on my life.
So all in all, a busy and productive year. My father thought that 2007 was going to be "my year", but it seems like it was more of a prelude, setting the stage. I'm working full-time on film projects now -- I quit my job to work on Sandrima -- and with any luck, I'll never have to go back.
Over the years a lot of people have contacted us to let us know how much they enjoyed the RvD films. I know I speak for both myself and Ryan when I say it means a lot. We're both very proud of what they are, and what they've done for us. And we can't wait to show you how much more we can do.