I often bitch and complain about when a book, TV show, comic book or graphic novel I like gets adapted into a lackluster film devoid of any soul or passion from the writing team or the director. Do you think that “Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer” was a passion project of Tim Story’s? How about any of those videos he directed for Jagged Edge? Methinks not. We all know that Michael Bay thought "Transformers" was a joke of a property when it was first presented to him. The evidence are the two steaming piles in the guise of films he made belonging to said franchise.
I am so fucking sick of reading some piece of engrossing literature or watching some great show that works on many different levels and resonated with millions of people for different reasons just to have some studio buy the rights to said property and subsequently hire a writer that sucks the very essence and soul out of it *cough!* "Wanted"! *cough!* (because he was never a fan of the source material) so it can be sold to the masses as a diluted version of what it once was. "X-Men" franchise, I'm looking at you!
When directors and writers actually are fans of the source material and are committed to doing a faithful adaptation or translation to the silver screen we end up having an excellent final product as in the case of “V Is For Vendetta”,“Sin City”, “300”, "The "Hellboy" franchise, "Iron Man", "The Dark Knight", "Watchmen", the Harry Potter series of films or J.R.R. Tolkien’s Fellowship Of The Ring trilogy.
There is another case in which the common man (with a computer and a camera) has the opportunity to show up those assholes in Hollywood...the "fan film". Whether it be an original creation (like the internet classic “Hobo With A Shotgun”) or one of Miguel Mesas’ excellent works you can see that these films are passion projects for these directors. Just like producers in the music industry, most writers and directors in Hollywood are simply work for hire (yunno..like hoes) that go from job to job in order to make a living. In some cases, Hollywood directors can get films greenlit off the strength of a fake trailer as well.
When rights to a property are bought, it’s the screenwriter and the director’s job to make an accessible and commercially viable final product so the studio can make back the money on it's investment into said project...not particularly to find out what it is in the source material that draws in it’s original/core audience and to preserve that in the forthcoming film adaptation.
Sometimes fan films can be used as demos to get the directors jobs in Hollywood. In many cases there are people already in the film industry that make these short films to show that can do other things than what role they've been pigeonholed into. Sandy Collora , the director of this now famous fan film called “Batman: Dead End” has used this film as a “demo” that got him noticed for his creative abilities and eventually got him his own project in 2005.
Cyril Raffaelli, a traceur/free runner, fight choreographer, martial artist and stuntman ("Section B 13", "Transporter", "Transporter 2", "Live Free Or Die Hard" & "B13: Ultimatum") used his own short martial arts/action film “Mukiai” as a demo that helped get him work in bigger films during his early career. This fan film is often attributed to getting his foot in the door (that and when "B13" finally hit Netflix & cable). Now he's a world renown action star thanks to a 7 minute film he put together. Don't forget the original demo films Tony Jaa & Prittchai made to get funding for "Ong Bak"!
The director of several excellent fan films Miguel Mesas of Spain is spotlighted in this post (with the exception of his brilliant version of "Batman: The Last Arkham" which Warner Brothers/DC hit him with a cease & desist letter over a while back...bitches!). Some of them are assorted other fan films that show up these Hollywood types that clearly don't care about the source material as much as these people do. The soul is apparent in each one, the care & meticulous eye for detail is obvious. I can't wait to see more of Miguel Mesas' work in the near future (including the 2010 film "Subversive Beauty" which I can't find any information about past May 2008 when it was first greenlit). Just click on the pics to see the trailers. Enjoy!