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Episode Alpha - Progeny Cut

Posted: Mon, 24th Apr 2006, 11:49am

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RudyPicardo

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Several thousand years before Star Wars-Episode one, there existed a world similar to our own...

Shot in the Spring and Summer 2005, this film was my homage to the Star Wars Fan Film Genre. The original version was about 35 minutes, but I had to shorten it to 20-minutes in order to make it eligible for a film festival. Many aspects of the film were early attempts of film-making, including: writing, using a homemade steady cam, and using programs such as Maya, Adobe After Effects, Apple Motion, and Effects Lab.

It is NOT the best film on the FXHome site; there will be sections of the film where members of this community will say, "well that could have done better."

But it is MY best work to date. I'm hoping you'll compare this film to my first submission (The Matrix Rejected), and see how much I've grown. Making movies these past few years has made me appreciate how difficult it is to produce good films. Sadly, I've begun to realize that I lack the resources to make films that are judged by "Hollywood standards" when I'm only working on an "Inglewood budget".

Although I'll be focusing my attention to other interests, this is most likely my first and last film.

I wanted to say thanks to everyone that made the film possible, so my next post will be devoted to those that helped me make Episode Alpha.


More Info
Posted: Mon, 24th Apr 2006, 11:54am

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RudyPicardo

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The movies along with an iPod and hopefully PSP version of the film is located on my official Epsiode Alpha Site

EPISODE ALPHA ~ ORIGINS

WRITTEN BY
James Palk and Rudy Picardo

CAST
Bryant - Bryant Burnett
George Maligant - George Lang
Vincent Lang - Rudy Picardo
Spies - James Dustin and Bryan Hey
Vincent's Co-workers - Caleb Jones and Chris Garrett
Muggers - Mike Royston, Frank Milien, Kirby Culbertson
Pool Player - Ernest Velasquez
Detective Grier - Grier Lee
Detective Steele - Josiah Bogue
Security Officer - Officer Larry Woodell
Voice-Over Narrator - Dar McCauley Lopez

3D ROBOT DESIGN AND POSTER COVER ART
Klaus Shmidheiser

CINEMATOGRAPHY FOR COLISEUM CONFRONTATION
Rudy Picardo and Josh Eckstein

SPECIAL THANKS
Kevin Hicks, Sharon McCloskey, and the Virginia Tech Athletic Video Department
James Dustin and the New Media Center
Sollthar
CX3
Redhawksrymmer
Harvey
Obidean
Ssjaaron
Aculag
... more to come

FXhome users that remember screen-testing this movie and making comments, please send me a PM so you can be respectfully recognized

Last edited Mon, 24th Apr 2006, 8:50pm; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 24th Apr 2006, 2:57pm

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alpha54

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Downloading now! smile
Posted: Mon, 24th Apr 2006, 4:04pm

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Redhawksrymmer

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It totally rocks! And I helped making it! Wohoo! razz
*Redhawksrymmer goes into "funky-happy-jump-mode".

It's really really good and a great improvement over your first submitted movie. It can't be anything other than a 5.
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 12:13am

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J Mijares

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Wow! This was spectacular! I agree with Redhawksrymmer. Can't be anything else but a 5. Good story. Great effects. Brilliant choreography. I think you might want to consider entering the lightsaber fight contest on theforce.net the next time it comes up.
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 1:31am

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RudyPicardo

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Redhawksrymmer wrote:

It can't be anything other than a 5.

J Mijares wrote:

Can't be anything else but a 5. Good story. Great effects. Brilliant choreography. I think you might want to consider entering the lightsaber fight contest on theforce.net the next time it comes up.
Thanks guys for your opinions on the 5s. Although I think that a strong 4 would be more realistic. The light swords are good, but not great. That green screen sequence is poorly keyed and graded (believe me I tried to do better, but ran out of time). And I'm sure that if you keep on looking, you'd find plenty of problems. But I hope the story and effects, which you mentioned were good enough to keep you interested, which was one of my goals.

I submitted my request to show the film on theforce.net yesterday. So I guess its too late for any contests that come up...but I'll talk to them if it comes up again. Thanks for the heads-up regardless.
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 3:31pm

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Oeyvind

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This was awsome! I loved the choreography, the grading was new and refreshing and I liked the story. I think you guys acted pretty well and the editing was very good. However the keying was a bit poor and the lightsabres could after my opinion be better. But the special FX were good and I love the overall of this movie, and I'll give it a strong 4. (Was seriously considering a 5.) Great job guys, I've been waiting for this! wink Congrats!

Oeyvind
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 3:49pm

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Simon K Jones

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I enjoyed this, mainly for the excellent action set pieces, which were handled rather well - always good to see people with genuine martial arts skills, rather than just trying to pretend! Some very inventive shots and action gags too, particularly the bit when he climbs up one guy's knee in order to attack another, plus the gunshots in the climax - very cool.

Overall, I felt the film suffered from being a little fractured, with too many different visual styles never quite blending together into a single movie. This also meant the story was a little over the place, yo-yoing back and forth between extreme sci-fi and the 'filmed in my back yard/dorm room/etc' look.

Very sad if this is to be your last film, though - there's lots of promise here and with a tighter vision and a more restrained hand in editing, I imagine you could turn out some great stuff. Don't give up!
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 4:42pm

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RudyPicardo

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Tarn wrote:

Overall, I felt the film suffered from being a little fractured, with too many different visual styles never quite blending together into a single movie. This also meant the story was a little over the place, yo-yoing back and forth between extreme sci-fi and the 'filmed in my back yard/dorm room/etc' look.
I found problems with this too during editing. Since the place where I shot at really isn't a city (still more of a town), there aren't a lot of high rise buildings, unless you go to a place which takes 45 minutes to get to. Since this was supposed to be shot in the town of Coruscant (before it developed into a city planet) I wanted to explore the issues with population increases. I had my friend write a debate of issues, but I couldn't find visually to make it work.

I agree that there are a lot of inconsistencies with style. Even though I was looking for that problem of a town expanding, those problems have to do with poor directing and editing choices. I personally struggled with transitions between the scenes, as I really couldn't find a good transition to make it less obvious between sci-fi and back-yard.

Nonetheless your criticism is a valid one.

Tarn wrote:

Very sad if this is to be your last film, though - there's lots of promise here and with a tighter vision and a more restrained hand in editing, I imagine you could turn out some great stuff. Don't give up!
Sadly Tarn, I'm done.

Although I'm penning the other two Episodes (Beta and Omega respectively), the sun has set on my days as a FXHome filmmaker. Since I've moved to a new location, I no longer have the school resources (i.e. talents, cameras, friends that work for almost free). I lack the legitimate film school training to become better. The most salient reason is that I don't have the thick skin needed to survive the business - I never wanted to be associated with those selfish aspects anyway.

I will reiterate that the job I have now could not have been obtained without the help of the FXHome community. Now I'm designing/producing industrial medical training videos for the web and DVD. I don't see any light sabers or muzzle flashes in my future, but at least I'm in at a job where I get do things that I love doing.

It was a pretty fun ride, tho.
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 5:10pm

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Garrison

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I liked the film and the story. I do appreciate the martial arts involved, and the application of the special effects in the arena were great.

Tarn wrote:

Very sad if this is to be your last film, though - there's lots of promise here and with a tighter vision and a more restrained hand in editing, I imagine you could turn out some great stuff. Don't give up!
Agreed. Rudy, you definitely have talent, and hope that because of your situation, something will arise that will allow you to pursue your creative ideas.

Rudy wrote:

I will reiterate that the job I have now could not have been obtained without the help of the FXHome community. Now I'm designing/producing industrial medical training videos for the web and DVD. I don't see any light sabers or muzzle flashes in my future, but at least I'm in at a job where I get do things that I love doing.
At leaset you are still some place where you can hone your skills and in a place that will still fill your mind with ideas.

Good Luck in all your endeavors.
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 7:01pm

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alpha54

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Great work mate, it had a few shortcomings but they were more than overshadowed by the movie's general excellence! smile

I'm not sure whether to give it a 4 or a 5 (some aspects, like the greenscreen scene could've been better), but in the end the good just outnumbers the bad and I couldn't see myself give it anything other than a 5! biggrin

Besides, its way better than anything I could do... razz
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 7:31pm

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Janco

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I will go as far as calling this the best movie at FXhome...

The story and idea was really good. And i liked the way it was edited and filmed (camera angles)

Ofcourse, at the visual effect aspect, this movie is nothing compared to some others at this site. So therefore, I do not think this will be the highest ranked movie at this site, becuase people here care more about the quality and the number of effects.

But, from my point of view, GREAT JOB!!!
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 8:42pm

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Harvey

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First off good job Rudy! This turned out to be much better than the previous cuts that I saw.

The Good:
You had a good idea that turned into a well-written story.
The acting was believable, a rarity around here for the most part.
I liked the grading for the most part.
The martial arts were a joy to watch.

The Not So Good:
As mentioned before the effects and greenscreen keying could use some work.
I felt that some parts were rushed and could (and probably should) have been a bit longer.
I agree with Tarn about the visual stsyles not really blending very well. Tarn pretty much said everything there is to say on this so will leave it at that.

Overall it was an enjoyable movie and showed that you have obvious talent. It is saddening to hear that you will not be making any more movies but I wish you the best of luck in your new career and hope that you might come back and make films again one day.
Posted: Tue, 25th Apr 2006, 11:35pm

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Analogica Productions

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I realy enjoyed the movie!

Some nice stuff in it.
A strong 4 from me!

I agree with the pros and cons, but i want to add one of my own.

The sound of the kicks and punches....
Some sounded like you took them from a game or an old chineese action film... i think choosing good quality samples is an important thing when making a film.
This is the only thing that didnt jerk my chain biggrin

To bad i wont see any new stuff from you unsure

Good work overall!

Mic-E
Posted: Wed, 26th Apr 2006, 2:57am

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JUIDAR

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This movie was awesome! Really well done want to give you guys credit on:

STORY: It was very well told and it was easy to follow the movie you didn't get lost or sit there and wonder what the heck was going on or what did this have to do with this.

EFFECTS: Cool effects! There are parts where they were in a green screen room perhaps bluring the background on some shots would have made things a bit better looking since they were far away anyway.

Anyway great flick I got interested right from the start!
Posted: Fri, 28th Apr 2006, 4:53pm

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mavic19

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Great job guys! There are a ton of cool short, short films (in the 4 min or less category), but cool films in the 15 min+ range are harder to find. Mainly because of the time, effort, and resources required to put one together.

While I am not a huge star wars fan, I do appreciate what you've done with this fan film. You took the concept and made it your own. You breathed new life into a fan film genre that has been beaten like a dead horse. That, in itself, is awesome and you guys are to be commended.

Now, as far as the film goes, there were some technical aspects such as the afore mentioned green screening issue, that could have been reworked. But you already know that. Another aspect that I appreciated was your film description in which you were very honest about your film. That is a rarity as most people get very defensive about their art.

As your first project, you guys did an impressive job. It earned a solid 4 out of 5. Your camera angles were good. Your script was good. Your sound needed some work (an issue many films, including my past projects have issues). You have some pretty good potential as well with maya. Keep it up.

Thanks guys for sharing your work. I can't wait to see what you are capable of doing in the future as your capabilities mature.
Posted: Fri, 28th Apr 2006, 6:25pm

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RudyPicardo

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Analogica Productions wrote:


The sound of the kicks and punches....
Some sounded like you took them from a game or an old chineese action film... i think choosing good quality samples is an important thing when making a film.

mavic19 wrote:


Your script was good. Your sound needed some work (an issue many films, including my past projects have issues). You have some pretty good potential as well with maya.
I agree with both comments too. I don't have a lot of sound design experience, and that really wasn't my focus as so much the story and special effects.

I think that most people will agree that taking on a project of moderate length, such as this short film, is best done with a group of people; this includes the production process AND the post-production. Having one person try to do it all is extremely difficult to do well.

Ideally I should have done audio EQ and more effective mixing work. Or even better, perform a "foley" recording session. As far as camera work, I also felt that I could have had some longer pauses, push-ins or close-ups of actors. They might have improved transistions between scenes.

I doubt that my next project would see much improvement, however. I forsee the mistakes I made in this one, would be the exact same ones in my next one. Sadly you can add these weakness to the reasons I'm unfit for the business.

Lets hope that people reading the post will learn from my mistakes but also still enjoy the film. biggrin
Posted: Fri, 20th Oct 2006, 2:37am

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SirVancealott

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I saw this in someone's top ten list so I decided to watch it. It was a lot better than I thought it would be, just based on the poster. The camera work and shot variety were really nice. Lots of movement which kept things interesting. The martial arts and athletics were top notch. Nice use of effects and the actors all seem really committed to their parts. The criticisms would be the action sequence cuts seemed jerky sometimes, the audio seemed weak at others. the main actor kind of bothered me too sometimes. It seemed like he was lacking some presence as the main character. Not really playing to actors strengths but more to an action hero type. Beyond that, I really liked the writing. Some definate thought went into the pros. I have to confess I got a little lost about what the overall story and plot were. But I think that is because I was focusing on other things in the movie that caught my attention. I'll have to give it another look. Five Stars.
Posted: Fri, 20th Oct 2006, 3:18pm

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RudyPicardo

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SirVancealott:

First my thanks to anyone who bothered putting this in a top-ten list. I don't think its really that great of a movie, even though I know its my "personal best" due to the scale of effort of everyone invloved. I also experiemented for the first time, with a lot of different things. So if you found something wrong with the movie, you definitely should have.

I'm actually surprised that you didn't mention how bad the green screen shot was. I still cringe when I look at it. But considering it was my first time trying to do a shot of that scope, I have to cut myself some slack.

My original film was 34 minutes, but I had to cut it down so it could be submit it to a film festival. I think that because of this some of editing does appear jerky. Of course if you are refering to my camera work, well I didn't have a lot of dolly shots. I was actually experiementing with my home-made steady cam. So I'll be the first to admit that I could have done a lot better with that. I'm a horrid sound designer, so I agree with you on the sound issues.

None of us are "actors" although I will say that my main actor did some stunt work this past summer at an Amusement park in Maryland. So I sacrificed "great acting" for more a more capable stunt performer. He also choreograhed the majority of the action sequences.

I had a friend help me write the script, so any of the bad acting I hope is buffered by some decent dialog. I did leave some plot lines empty because I noticed it became increasing difficult to create a definitive story arc for 3 characters that had to be explained in 20 minutes.

So if you need a cliff notes version, give this one a try
Bryant Jedi is learning about the Force, but since this takes place several thousand years before Episode I, there really isn't a "Force" or Jedi religion that has been established. I figured the force when its first manifests itself comes in the form of "visions"

Vincent is a R&D scientist that works for George Maligant. His story arc is just about him making the Light Saber. There's a shot of a pink CG crystal near the beginning of the movie which was supposed to be one of the power crystals in a light saber. In the first scene, I'm actually trying to describe an early version of the image communication system used in the Star Wars films.

Maligant is the typical bad guy that takes advantage of anyone and everyone. I pictured him first as the ruthless business man. But Maligant also has the "force" and has progressed a bit more than Bryant has. So he's kinda representing the dark side, although I'm leaning towards the fact that he's realizing what he can do with the power and applying it to business practices.

So the story is somewhat of my version of the origin story. The origin of the Force, Jedi Religion, and the light saber. I also had a short montage sequence describing the difficulties of city-life, but I had to cut it. I should put that up sometime. I'm sure its not "historically" accurate for you Star Wars die hard fans, but I wanted to make a film that could take place in the present time - I didn't want go shoot a film where my characters had to wear costumes

------------
As far as your impressions of the story, although short I wanted to avoid a lot of exposition and let the audience sort it out for themselves. The disadvantage is that without a solid audience screening, you don't know which parts need to be explained more or which parts are "good enough"

For example, I know the power crystal is supposed to come from another planet, but I figured I'd let the viewer come up with their own ideas on how a R&D facility got their hands on one. In the last fight scene, I felt that you didn't need to know why George killed Vincent. I didn't want to go into that area where the bad guy explains what hes doing before he tries to kill of the protagonist - I think in real life most people don't explain these things, they would just do it.

My thanks for giving it 5 stars. Although when you compare it to some other great films on this site, I think a solid 3 or 4 would have been more accurate. As I've probably said before, if you stayed with the movie long enough to watch the whole thing, then I've done my part.

My thanks regardless.
Posted: Wed, 20th Dec 2006, 12:21am

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imagination studios

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awesome! smile
Posted: Wed, 20th Dec 2006, 12:27am

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imagination studios

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i agree that long films like that are hard to find, but starting next month i'm gonna make an hour-long Kingdom Hearts movie. it won't be a spoof, and i don't wanna call it a fan film. it's just a movie based on the game.
Posted: Wed, 20th Dec 2006, 5:13pm

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pyronfilms

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brilliant, just brilliant
Posted: Wed, 11th Jun 2008, 3:06pm

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May the Force be with you

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Wow. Amazing. One word to describe the movie: Epic. It's hard to find a video on Fxhome which has a deep story line to it. Most are short, shallow, or just badly employed. Professional quality, I must say. I am not easy to impress, but that one overwhelmed me. Totally worth the effort put into it.
Posted: Fri, 13th Jun 2008, 3:07am

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Jabooza

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May the Force be with you wrote:

It's hard to find a video on Fxhome which has a deep story line to it. Most are short, shallow, or just badly employed.
Perhaps (this is jut a guess) the reason you haven't found a lot of great films on FXhome is simply because you're not searching right. The reason I think this is because you've comment on a lot of older (and not always so great) movies from the cinema, and while there's nothing wrong with that (I believe it's fine to "bump" cinema threads, given that the reason for bumping them is always to comment on a movie from the cinema), there might be better ways of finding movies in the cinema. I'm not sure what method you could be using to find movies, but Practically everything on the first cinema archive page is brilliant, and of course the farther you go after that, the lower the quality usually gets. I would also recommend checking out movies from Tinyworld Productions, martinbrice, Atomic Productions, and De-Evolution Studios. I also encourage you checking out Avenged. smile
Not trying to 'criticize your movie searching methods' or anything, smile just saying that there might be more good movies in the cinema that you don't know of.


-Jabooza

If this post seems wonky in any way, it's probably because I wrote it late at night and am tired. Jabooza cannot be held responsible for any weird posts made by himself........ well, it's off to bed for me.
Posted: Sat, 14th Jun 2008, 6:21pm

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jawajohnny

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May the Force be with you wrote:

It's hard to find a video on Fxhome which has a deep story line to it. Most are short, shallow, or just badly employed.
You aren't looking very hard are you? As Jabooza said, plenty of good movies can be found on the first pages of the Cinema archive. You seem to be watching a lot of movies from the last pages, which are mostly full of bad movies. smile

Also, you seem to be commenting on a lot of very old movies, created by people who don't even come to this site anymore. So your comments are really irrelevant. My point is that you don't have to keep bumping old threads, because there are plenty of recent, high-quality videos to comment on.
Posted: Mon, 16th Jun 2008, 10:00pm

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SilverDragon7

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Maybe also because he seems to only post in lightsaber movies?
Posted: Tue, 17th Jun 2008, 8:18pm

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jawajohnny

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SilverDragon7 wrote:

Maybe also because he seems to only post in lightsaber movies?
May the Force be with you, you should really expand your viewing (and creative) mind outside the world of Star Wars, because usually, SW fanfilms aren't very good. smile
Posted: Wed, 18th Jun 2008, 10:32am

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Atom

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jawajohnny wrote:

SilverDragon7 wrote:

Maybe also because he seems to only post in lightsaber movies?
May the Force be with you, you should really expand your viewing (and creative) mind outside the world of Star Wars, because usually, SW fanfilms aren't very good. smile
But seemingly according to you, neither is any movie not made by George Lucas. smile
Posted: Wed, 18th Jun 2008, 4:15pm

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Mellifluous

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/off topic
Posted: Wed, 18th Jun 2008, 9:34pm

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Atom

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/slash before words
Posted: Wed, 18th Jun 2008, 9:49pm

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jawajohnny

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Atom wrote:

jawajohnny wrote:

SilverDragon7 wrote:

Maybe also because he seems to only post in lightsaber movies?
May the Force be with you, you should really expand your viewing (and creative) mind outside the world of Star Wars, because usually, SW fanfilms aren't very good. smile
But seemingly according to you, neither is any movie not made by George Lucas. smile
I'm not that much of a Lucas fanboy. smile

And Lucas has made some bad movies:

More American Graffiti

Howard the Duck
Posted: Thu, 19th Jun 2008, 2:36pm

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Jabooza

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jawajohnny wrote:


And Lucas has made some bad movies:

More American Graffiti
I haven't actually seen that, but it got 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Posted: Thu, 19th Jun 2008, 10:51pm

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jawajohnny

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Jabooza wrote:

jawajohnny wrote:


And Lucas has made some bad movies:

More American Graffiti
I haven't actually seen that, but it got 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
That would be the original American Graffiti. smile

I was talking about the horrible sequel, More American Graffiti sad
Posted: Thu, 19th Jun 2008, 11:03pm

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Jabooza

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jawajohnny wrote:

Jabooza wrote:

jawajohnny wrote:


And Lucas has made some bad movies:

More American Graffiti
I haven't actually seen that, but it got 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
That would be the original American Graffiti. smile

I was talking about the horrible sequel, More American Graffiti sad
That's very strange, I could've sworn you said American Graffiti when I quoted you. unsure
Posted: Thu, 19th Jun 2008, 11:24pm

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jawajohnny

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Jabooza wrote:

That's very strange, I could've sworn you said American Graffiti when I quoted you. unsure
Nope. smile

I doubt many people have seen have seen it, but this is probably the best example of a bad Lucas movie.
Posted: Fri, 20th Jun 2008, 3:16pm

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Atom

Force: 4300 | Joined: 9th May 2004 | Posts: 7014

EffectsLab Lite User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

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jawajohnny wrote:

but this is probably the best example of a bad Lucas movie.
I'd say Episode 2 is the best example of a bad Lucas movie. smile
Posted: Fri, 20th Jun 2008, 3:19pm

Post 37 of 38

Travis Kunze

Force: 1077 | Joined: 11th Dec 2007 | Posts: 500

VisionLab User Windows User

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I've seen a few of the Lucas Movies, mostly just the star wars though... i've ssen willow and tucker before, not huge fans of either one of those, but what can i say im a SCIFI freak.
Posted: Mon, 30th Jun 2008, 8:53pm

Post 38 of 38

futurefilmmaker

Force: 571 | Joined: 11th Feb 2008 | Posts: 113

EffectsLab Pro User FXpreset Maker Windows User MacOS User

Gold Member

Too much language unsure but otherwise good in effects