Friday, October 12, 2012

David Fain talks about his film Choreography for Plastic Army Men

MIFS: Where did the idea for the film come from?
I have a lot of toys and one day while looking at a batch of classic green army men I noticed if you took the time to arrange them in the proper order they formed sequences that described dance moves. Simultaneously a favorite band, Pink Martini, was offering up a number of tracks from their latest album to their fan base in a contest to create music videos. One contest rule stood out in my mind, "No violent imagery, please". Somehow it just seemed the right thing to do, to give these warriors a new lease on life where they didn't have to fight anymore. Being inspired (and unemployed) I took to the garage and started sequencing plastic dancers. And filming them.

MIFS: How much did the project change from concept to final edit?
It was always envisioned as a "Dance" piece with plastic injection modeled figures as the dancers. I tried using Cowboys, Indians, Spacemen, etc. I even did a shot with a bevy of April O'Neil (from TMNT) action figures but it seemed that it was too many different types of characters. I did some stuff with frogmen as well. Non of those made the cut. I also tried doing some overheard shots of the army men ala Busby Berkeley but wasn't satisfied with the results. The opening shot was the first shot animated. Much of the rest of the film was created in the editing process rather than just animated in time with the music, although there are several sections that were produced that way.

MIFS:Where there any challenges during production?
Some of the figures are really, really tiny. Like 2 millimeters. That made lighting fairly easy but manipulating something that small was a bit a little difficult. Also my shooting space is in a garage without any air conditioning so here in Southern California it's simply not possible to work in that environment with the addition of hot movie lights during the day. So a good portion of the film was shot after the sun went down and things had a chance to cool off.

MIFS: With the film completed, what has been the most rewarding thing about the whole experience?
After I put the film online and it got touted by a site called Boing Boing. Then it got picked up by other sites like The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, etc. At it's peak I got something like 50,000 views on my Vimeo page in a 24 hour period. I also get interesting email contacts from all over the world. That is a level of exposure I never thought I would experience.
 Choreography for Plastic Army Men screens Saturday Nov 10th at 3:15pm during the 14th Annual Milwaukee Short Film Festival at the Lubar Auditorium, MAM.

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