Monday, January 12, 2009

I, Roger

In 1989 I was getting tired of waiting for Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg to produce a sequel to my favorite movie at the time, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. If it had been YouTube I’d have left comments on their page like "mak more moovis like rojer rabit plez" or “whens ur next muvy bich?!” Sadly no such means of persuasion were available at the time, so a sequel never emerged. I took it upon myself to produce the damn thing in what became the first of many sequels I attempted throughout my childhood.

It was to be called
Roger Rabbit in the Big City. I’d become aware of the developing trend in sequels where a main character is placed in a bustling metropolis (Short Circuit 2 being a notable example) and I thought it would be interesting to see how Roger’s idiosyncrasies played out in a more urban environment, completely ignoring that the original movie takes place in Los Angeles. Also, the “Big City” I had in mind was Paris, Maine, which was neither big nor a city, but it’s where I lived at the time. It would’ve been more accurate to call it Roger Rabbit Stranded in Butt-Fuck Maine, but I stubbornly clung to the original title like in that Monty Python sketch where they attempt to film Scott of the Antarctic in the Sahara desert.

It was a hopeless endeavor. There was simply no way of combining live action with animation in a homemade movie, and plus I was nine. But my brother had taught me a thing or two about how cartoons were made, and we owned a copy of
Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, so I managed to produce a few painted cells, one of which has survived.

More than the movie itself, I’d been inspired by a documentary on the making of
Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and how they’d essentially shot an “invisible man” movie and added the cartoons later. I suppose my plan was to shoot mine the same way and worry about the animation afterward. I ended up shooting more of the “making of” documentary than any of the principle photography. Somewhere in my archives I have footage of my nine-year-old self being interviewed by my dad. I might post some of it here if it's not horribly embarrassing. In a sense I was prepping myself for YouTube, where 90% of the videos are people describing projects that'll never take shape. Okay, I’m being generous.

What truly amazes me (not to mention annoys and disgusts me) is that nowadays it’s actually conceivable that a nine-year-old could produce their own
Roger Rabbit sequel (with a parent’s help, obviously). The end result might be absolute shit, but the technology is readily available. I can’t tell you how seethingly, bitterly jealous I am of younger generations (I’m mainly talking about the early to late teens, who comprise most of the ChurchOfBlow audience at present) who probably don’t know just how spoiled they are. Hell, I suppose I don’t know how spoiled I am. My brother (who’s ten years older then me) went to film school before they had digital editors, and had to physically cut and splice real film. Digital editing became the standard just a few short years after he graduated, and now anybody can do it on their laptop.

So, fine. We’re all spoiled. I guess I’ll shut up and go make something.

Or just vlog about it.


araneus1 said...

I feel for your brother. Back 1970 I edited a 4 minute film on super 8 for my English major project. It took me a week and I needed to take over the dinning room in my parents house. I've still got it somewhere but it is probably in pieces by now.
I'm enjoying your blog. Thanks for taking the time.

spider (araneus1)

Lillie said...

Wow. I feel so sorry for your brother. And your right Teens like me ARE spoilied as hell and we need to get out into the world (that is if we can get off our lazy asses of course).

But you attempting to make a Roger Rabbit film at the age of nine shows alot of promise. You truely are an amazing person.

Love Lillie :)

Jeremiah said...

Ooh, I believe my brother did a bit of splicing on super 8, but I'm not sure how successful it was.

One of these days I'll blog about the early films we made, none of which are still around, sadly.

Lillie said...

Damn. It sucks that they aren't. :/ I bet you were a cute little nine year old. XD

Shawn Dickinson said...

Have you read the Roger Rabbit novel---Who Censored Roger Rabbit? It's the book that the movie was based on. Anyway, it's a completely different murder mystery than the movie, and Roger Rabbit gets killed in the book! Then there was a second book, Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit. Even though the second book was written after Roger Rabbit dies, and Roger is alive in the 2nd book, it's not considered a prequel to Who Censored Roger Rabbit. It's just supposed to be a completely different Roger Rabbit novel, which has no relation to the first episodes of Looney Tunes!