Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Raiders: The Adaptation


Do you remember seeing "Raiders of the Lost Ark" way back in 1981? For me it was a film that galvanized me to want to be a filmmaker. Steven Spielbergs & George Lucas were filmmakers that inspired many young kids to want to become filmmakers, but for three boys living in Mississippi it became a bit of an obsession. These three boys decided to make a shot for shot adaptation of the movie. It took 7 years to complete, and about $5K to finish, but they did it. The $5K is an approximate value of their budget. No detail budget was formed it was pay as they played you could say. The movie the boys made had its local premiere, and then sat on the shelf for several years. It played in some comic conventions, and slowly the video got an underground following through these viewings. Eventually it fell into the hands of Eli Roth who brought it to the attention of Steven Spielberg. Spielberg was impressed, and sent the boys a letter thanking them for their tribute. But the tale does not end there. Now that the boys are all older and do work in the entertainment business in one form or the other there is interest in a film about the making of their film. So we may actually see a film about three boys making a film that they were inspired to emulate.

Now how cool is that. If you go to the Indy Experience a web site devoted to the Raiders trilogy you'll find more info about the films and the adaptation the boys created. After hearing this I had to smile myself. I can remember the days of being in the back-yard or the basement filming the latest Super-8 adventure that I had written in one of my many spiral notebooks. These were the days of magic & fun. I was too young to realize the hard work it takes to make a film. The sheer determination of youth is a refreshing thing, and sometimes it's that thirst for that simplicity that drives us. I still find filmmaking an exhausting, yet exuberating experience. Hearing about these boys brings back fond memories, and should be an example to all of us. Love, and perseverance will do a lot for you. It's only as you get older that life gets a little more complex, and things begin to weigh a bit heavier for us all, but if you REALLY LOVE what you are doing then it will show, and if you stick to it maybe you'll be heard from and you'll have your moment in the sun. For those three boys I can only imagine how they feel, and how still hungry they are to tell more stories. Maybe through this deal they will, and they have every right to take their turn in the limelight. After all they certainly did earn it!

*Special thanks needs to go out to Stefan Avalos for making me aware of The Adaptation. Stefan is another inspiring filmmaker. Thanks Stefan!

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