Star Wars Episode VII

Produced, written and directed by Sam Alcott (6). Edited by Todd Alcott. Performers: Sam Alcott and Todd Alcott.

This movie was created under the strict supervision of Sam. The shot list, scene order and camera placement were all his (with occasional input from me). When you hear me say a line of dialog, I am saying only and exactly what Sam has directed me to say. (In certain cases we had to do several takes of a scene because my voice was not right or I improvised too much with Sam’s dialog.) It was shot entirely on a Sony Cybershot, a digital camera designed to take still photos and short movies.

Sam has picked up the lingo of moviemakingvery quickly. He will ask if we’re rolling and understands the commands “Action,” “Cut” and “Pull back,” and soon I’m sure will be saying things like “Okay, now I want a steady tracking shot along this way, then push in close to here, then we’ll cut to a close-up of the girl’s face reacting.” He has an innate, if incomplete, understanding of cutting techniques and carries the whole movie inside his head. On occasions when I left out a scene I thought was confusing or dragged the narrative, he would see the gap immediately and instruct me to put it back in. As a result, I felt it would be best to insert some titles to help explain the action, which might not be immediately apparent to non-aficionados.

PLOT SYNOPSIS: General Grievous is planning some kind of attack on Kashyyyk.  The Clone Army arrive and foil his plans.  Grievous sends his troops to fight the clones but they fail (these scenes were not shot).  Grievous then attacks the Jedi himself, killing several of them.  The Clones then receive “Order 66” from Darth Sidious, which causes them to attack the Jedi.  Yoda and Obi-Wan fight the Clones, and Obi-Wan  kills General Grievous and wipes out the remainder of his forces.  Then, for reasons that elude me, the ending of Episode III is recapitulated.

(I am being disingenuous — I know why the ending of Episode III is recapitulated — it’s Sam’s favorite part of the whole Star Wars saga, specifically the fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin on Mustafar.  The mining apparatus and volcanic surface of Mustafar are here represented by a credenza, a chair and a Disney Princess scooter (belonging to Sam’s little sister).

Sam was disappointed with the final cut only because he hadn’t thought his hands would be so visible in the shot. In his mind, the characters moved and acted the way they do in the movies. He instructed me to digitally remove his hands and body from the shots. When I explained that that is possible but cost-prohibitive, he said “But we could scan the movie into Photoshop and erase all the parts we don’t want.” When I told him that that would involve working on literally thousands of individual still frames, he relented. But I think the boy has a future.

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5 Responses to “Star Wars Episode VII”
  1. jkcarrier says:

    Now that’s cool! Some nice camera work there, especially during the Anakin/Obi-Wan fight. Good job on the voices, too. When I was a little older than Sam, I used to enact epic battle scenes with my Mego superhero figures… no digital cameras back then, alas.

    “But we could scan the movie into Photoshop and erase all the parts we don’t want.” Heh, reminds me of some art clients I’ve had. “What do you mean, the changes will take time and money? Can’t you just ‘Photoshop’ it?”

  2. smithereen says:

    I love all the reactions to the blue-skinned girl and the classic “Noooooo!” and the epic fight on the Princess Scooter, but my absolute favorite part is “I told you not to look.” Heeee. Fantastic.

  3. faroffstar says:

    I particularly enjoyed that the storm troopers arrived with the dreaded “stompy thing”. Hee!
    That was some pretty impressive voice acting at the end there.

    • Todd says:

      I thought I did okay for an actor who was being fed his lines by a six-year-old neophyte — while also operating the camera.