Updated: Jul 28, 2019
This post is mainly for Netflix and film studio's thinking about rebooting the live-action franchise, but also to give hope and closure to fans that someone knows how to treat the show correctly and knows what they are doing.
What Netflix or Film Studios could learn From Our Website:
1) Include fans in the movie writing/making process. be humble enough to take a hint from Our website, Deadpool, and the Lego movie.
Something our website, Deadpool, and The Lego Movie share is partially what makes us unique in the film industry. We include(d) the fans in the making of the project. Yes, fans don't always know what they want or understand the process of film making pre-production to post-production. However, they do have some idea of what they want to see when it comes to their beloved series. They are your target audience, so why don't you just ask them, "Hey! this is what we are thinking, what do you think?" That's what we've done with our"Q&A" section on our website. We pitch our highly specific ideas to the global fan-base and they provide feedback on them. This results in a version of the film that we know fans want to see since they've helped to write it. When they see we've included their ideas, they become enthusiastic and start telling everyone about it. The level of excitement becomes intoxicating for everyone they tell and for Marcel and me to keep working on the project. For a film studio, it has the potential to excite fans so much that they could act as a part of your marketing campaign (more so then they usually do) through social media. That's what happened with Deadpool, according to Polygon.com and an interview between Ryan Reynolds and Jimmy Fallon (view 1-minute clip here). According to Ryan, someone leaked footage of a test trial scene for Deadpool, fans got a hold of it and liked what they saw, then they just "went nuts for it." In Ryan's own words,
"It leaked online and Deadpool fans went nuts for it. So the studio granted us a small amount of money to make a test footage... it [the test footage] leaked accidentally onto the internet. Here's the thing. It, it, well the, the fans freaked out. The Deadpool fans freaked out and it overwhelmed Fox (studios) and Fox basically had to green-light the movie..."
All Netflix and film studios have to do to get fans on their side would be the following: take some fan ideas, refine them and use them in your film, make sure they were close to/identical to what fans wanted and that the ideas looked good, and then leak a few of the ideas so fans could see their idea implemented, then fans would explode on social media with excitement to help promote the film, just like what happened with Deadpool.
Another example depicting the hidden potential behind this strategy is by showing how it shaped and benefited The Lego Movie. A great example of the effect fans have had on the film is a Ted-talk delivered in video format by Vox Media and Alexander Panzer (click here to watch the short video). In short, it talks about how before large film studios even started to make Lego films like Bionicles and Jack Stone, you had fans creating their own stop motion films on YouTube called "brick films." Then larger studios started to attempt to make Lego films as well, the first film being "Jack Stone" from 2001 with other films like the Bionicle, StarWars, and Batman series following later on. At one point Lego tried to squash the fan-made brick films legally but then backed down, and thank goodness they did. It lead to a massive amount of brick films being made by fans and started a community for it online. As the short documentary points out, if you look carefully there are loads of references to fans and the history made by them in the Lego movie. Three of these references include the use of harsh lighting that most fans would use in films rather than the typical soft lighting that studios use. Playful non-stop motion interludes like levitating via fishing line were used as well. Even the breaking reality and meeting a human creator was a direct reference to historical fan films. Finally, there is a brief scene where Emmet says "look at all these things that people built." The clips (at the time) were four recently made "shorts" submitted by fans that were actually put in the film!!
As the documentary closes they state a powerful line that I respectfully hope anyone working for Netflix or a studio, and that reads this article, will ponder and humbly take to heart.
"The Lego Movie embraced the idea that amateur creators matter, and sometimes the way they handle source material is far better than the way major studios are used to doing it."
"...Amateur creators matter, and sometimes the way they handle source material is far better than the way major studios are used to doing it." Since Hollywood's first attempt at the live-action film was terrible, it only makes sense that humbly collaborating with fans on what they want is the only way to ensure the second attempt is not a failure. If they don't get the second attempt right, they will have probably killed off a franchise that had the potential to rival the financial and global influence similar to Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of The Rings. So in this case, I think yes, talking with and drawing inspiration directly from amateur fans would make a huge difference in reviving a seemingly dead franchise.
2) My second suggestion would be to read my "How to Redeem the last Airbender Movie" blog series.
In that series, I talk about the mistakes and my solutions or just opinions on how to fix the film. Topics range from the plot, to character faults, lighting, easter egg ideas, camera angle ideas, making the bending's VFX better, and more. I think it would be very insightful for anyone working for a studio that is considering to try and revive the franchise. I could try to summarize it, but between multiple posts, it would be a novel. Thus, I think I will leave the link here and let anyone seriously considering the project to read it and let it speak for itself.
3) Anyone leading any aspect of the film: Directors, producers, Screenwriters, and so forth, Need to have an obvious passion and in-depth knowledge of the show (which only comes from watching it multiple times).
This is another important step I think that for this particular source material, got overlooked the first time. According to Joblo.com, an anonymous employee who worked on the production of the film and was on set every day, stated that the result of the film wasn't entirely M. Night's fault. It was the money hungry executive producers who ruined the show. The anonymous employee said this,
"The actual producers didn't know what they were dealing with and were only interested in a quick buck. Bryke [I think he meant Bryce] and M Night gave up on the film around the same time for same reasons. The other people working on the film were a pain to deal with and Nickelodeon themselves only wanted the final product as quickly as possible and the money it would presumably make them..."
"...what it came down to was M Night really was the only one who knew the show and what he was doing (The first draft of the screenplay? gorgeous. Hence Bryke [Bryce] giving him the okay). The producers, who are actually in charge of at least 80% of production including casting.... not so much. They clearly never bothered to watch the show, nor had the ghostwriter who did the final screenplay."
So M. Night didn't actually ruin the film. It was Nickelodeon, Paramount, and it's executive producers getting greedy and just wanting the money from the show's name. So how do you fix the money hungry problem, the anonymous employee gave us the answer. Get people on the project who have seen and love the show! If everyone has a passion for it, that will be obvious and infectious for fans and everyone will be easier to work with. If they have no clue and have never seen the show, fans won't trust you and won't see the product you make. For the second attempt, whoever does it, needs to have more focus on telling the story and giving it the "justice" it deserves rather than the money. Whether that be season one in one film or maybe each season needs two or three films. If you focus on telling the story the way it needs to be told, taking as much time, money, and effort as needed, the fans will go "nuts for it" and the revenue will follow. If you worry about trying to make revenue rather than giving the story what it needs, you get exactly what happened the first time. One of the worst films ever made and hated by the fans of the show making for a dead franchise.
So if you are producing and working with a director who has seen the show multiple times and knows the show inside and out but you have never seen it, why the h*** are you telling him what should and shouldn't be in the film? Why are you saying who should be cast and who shouldn't, why are you producing at all? If you are going to produce or direct the film, you should have seen the entire show (all three seasons) at least three times.
For the record, at the time of writing this article, I've seen the entire series 11 times. 11 x 21hrs (21 hours comes from going through the series just once with no credits or commercials) = 231 hours of watching the show. 231 hours! I think it's safe to say that whether I was producing, directing, director of cinematography, costume designer, location scout, screen-writing, or whatever for the film, I know the show inside and out and have the knowledge and authority to dictate what should and shouldn't be cut or added. If you are in any leadership position for the film (even just lighting and costumes), you should have spent at least 42-63hours watching the show. which equates to watching the series two to three times through.
By taking the time to get to know what you are molding into a film, you should have developed a clear passion and understanding of the source material. It will be apparent that you know what some of the easter eggs in the show are and where to find them. It also means fans will trust you to make and hide new easter eggs too. You need to know who is vital to the story and who is not, but among those that aren't, which ones are beloved fan favorites and probably shouldn't be cut. You need to also have a good sense of how close to keep to the original source with a given idea but still provide new and fresh content. This would obviously carry over into the film adaptation and be clear that you knew what you were doing. Putting fans at ease and more willing to trust you, leading to a better turn out in box-office sales and opening night.
- Conclusion -
My conclusion consists of two parts. The first is summarizing the article and re-highlighting the main points of how to solve the film's issues. The second is a short 2-minute video clip from the YouTube channel "Just Write" who captures the essence of my feelings about if these steps had of been implemented, the potential the franchise had to literally shake the world.
- Side note - If you guys enjoyed this article, please help a new blogger out by quickly leaving a heart at the bottom of the page before you're done, and sharing it with your avatar friends. Thanks! "Flameo Hotman!"
So in short, you need to 1) include the fans. 2) Be humble and brave enough to pitch out ideas to fans and have them give feedback, helping to shape your film into something they want to see. Thus, ensuring a successive blockbuster hit. Read some advice from fans on how they would fix the previous version and try to implement some of their ideas. 3) If you are worried about VFX cost, do something never heard of and have a collaboration with multiple film studios (More than 2. Share the cost.). Just like Marvel did by bringing its main characters together to make the first Avengers movie. By doing something that has never been done before, it automatically puts it in the history books and everyone wants to see what the new buzz is about. 4) Make sure you read my "How To Redeem The Last Airbender Movie" blog series as it will provide you with plenty of solutions you will run into. It also will give you some inspiration for how to fix and improve other aspects of the film in ways you might not have considered. 5) Most importantly, if you are going to make an adaption of something, watch the dang show enough times that you fall in love with it. You should know it in an out as if it was subconscious and like your daily morning and evening routines. This ensures the fans you know what you are doing and gaining their trust while ensuring them that you are taking time to tell the story correctly, and are not just focused on the financial gain you will make.
" If the 2010 film had succeeded, the franchise would be flourishing right now."
- Just Write YouTube Channel