Popdose Interview: The Man Behind Green Lantern’s (Fan-Made) Power Ring
If you’re a fan of superhero flicks, fan-made films or comics in general, then chances are you’ve seen the phenomenally well-crafted Green Lantern trailer that recently hit the web. In spite of its highly professional look, it was not made or sanctioned by anyone working at Warner Brothers — it’s a fan-made trailer, cobbled together with well-edited scenes from more than two dozen films, by Jaron Pitts.
Jaron is just a married guy living in Texas with his family, minding his own business…one who happens to be highly talented at putting together trailers that spark a nerve in the collective consciousness. His trailer for Green Lantern has many fans of the hero now convinced that his vision will surpass anything Warner Bros. can come up with for their real flick, which is currently in production. I reached out to Jaron recently to find out how in our world–or on Oa–he came up with such an amazing trailer, and here’s what he had to say…
Tell us about yourself. What do you do for a living, and what are your long term goals?
I’m 26 and live in Dallas, TX with my wife and two little girls. I am a multimedia director and worship leader for a church here in town. My long term goals are somewhat vague, but I would say that if I put them into words it might limit them. Who doesn’t dream to work in the movie industry?
Your Green Lantern trailer has been up for less than a week, and has already garnered more than half a million hits, made fans drool over the possibilities, and received accolades from shows such as G4’s Attack of the Show. How did the buzz on this get started?
I think the big boom started when Nathan Fillion saw it and posted on his Twitter feed about it. I was absolutely stunned by that.
For those seeking to make their own fan films look more professional, what programs did you use for your CGI, editing and other mixing features? How long did it take from actual physical start of the project to finishing it?
I used After Effects for all the cool stuff and Final Cut Pro to edit it all together. Photoshop played a big part as well. I’ve been working with Final Cut for the past nine years, but Andrew Kramer from videocopilot.net taught me everything I know in After Effects, and I am no genius there–just scratching the surface. I had the idea in mid-March and have been tinkering on average about seven hours a week until I posted it last Friday.
You used scenes from more than a dozen movies in your trailer. Give us a small list of a handful of which films you used, and how did you choose your scenes?
The full list of clips is on the YouTube video description. I would be constantly thinking of what would look cool in a real Green Lantern movie and then try and think of scenes that resembled my vision. Looking for reference pics of the comic Green Lanters in action…I would also look at every movie and TV show through the lens of “Could that work?” and “anything there I could use?” I would also just pull a movie (Galaxy Quest) and go through it thinking there HAD to be something in here that would work. But it was also a bunch of Google searching. For example, “blue-skinned alien” that would eventually lead to a character from Star Trek: Enterprise.
Nathan Fillion should probably send you a fruit basket as a thank you, since your trailer has won him a whole new group of fans (including myself). What made you decide to use Fillion as the template for Hal Jordan, and did you have other options to go with? Also, the last scene in your trailer (where Nathan’s friend asks him about his “super power”) is driving people crazy…what film is that from?
A fruit basket is always nice. I didn’t really know who Nathan was until Serenity came to theaters. I really enjoyed his cocky pilot persona and thought he would be great as a superhero. Then I saw Dr. Horrible and I was sold. What I love about that guy is that he isn’t one of those actors that thinks so highly of himself that he wouldn’t do something like that–and to me that is SO important (a la Robert Downey Jr.). I had seen Fillion’s name floated around on various forums–that he would be the perfect Green Lantern, and I happened to agree with them. If there is one thing I KNOW as an editor, it’s to make sure your decisions will be well received. Do whatever you have to do to ensure that people will dig it–so Nathan was an obvious choice for me. I actually didn’t watch the Firefly series until I started working on the trailer, and I have to say I’m glad I did! And now I’m hooked on Castle. Plus you can’t deny the hair. The last scene I dug up from IMDB was White Noise 2: The Light.
You’ve joined a unique pantheon of comic/movie folk who’ve made fan films that work (Batman: Dead End,Star Wars: Revelations, Grayson) because they understand and have a passion for the source material. Has anyone else’s fan films inspired you in the past, or served as inspiration while working on Green Lantern?
Fan trailer wizard Wormy T and I did our own Spider-Man 3 trailers back in 2006 around the same time and when I saw his recent Thundercats trailer, I was blown away and inspired to get back into that game. I will say, however, I think masterpieces like Batman: Dead End and Grayson are in a whole other league and while it’s an honor to be mentioned alongside them, I will never say that what I’ve done is worthy of that.
Hypothetical scenario: Warner Bros. sees your work and calls you for a job on their GL. Would you want only a job as a film editor, or would you accept any position they offered you, as long as it meant you could work on the film?
Family, current job, and money aside, ABSOLUTELY! Anything would be cool. Anything would be cool. Even if I could sit in the room while they cut the trailer.
Besides doing the obvious origin story, what would you put into a GL movie, if you had the power?
Space, space, and more space. Earth has been done to death. It obviously needs to have relevance to Earth, but to me, the magic of Green Lantern is the epic space opera going from world to world and intertwining the fate of the universe with the fate of the hero.
Any other fan flicks coming up that the devoted masses should look out for?
I think I owe it to my wife and kids to spend some free time with them for a little while, but when the inspiration hits I’m sure I will be at it again.
If you had the ability to re-shoot any BAD super-hero film, which one would you choose and why?
I would never…I can’t even begin to imagine the difficulty of adapting a comic to film, and who am I to judge them for their labor? Here’s hoping this Green Lantern is as good as its potential.