Live Action Star Wars TV Show Canned

I’ve been very disappointed in the lack of space sci-fi on TV this past decade. It’s like it fell out of fashion. Or something.

So naturally I was expecting the Star Wars live action TV show since 2006, when it was first announced. Originally it was to come out in 2008, then 2009, then 2010, and… now it’s canned.

Apparently, ~2 million dollars per episode is not enough to realize Lucas’ vision. He said he needs 10 times that. I’m not debating that creating an epic TV series requires lots of money. What I can’t understand though is why Lucas can’t see the answer in front of him.

The answer is simple: the fanbase.

If some amazing Star Wars fan films were created for $50 or for $500, then I’m sure that Lucas can do something better with $2mil, by employing the power of the fanbase, for free, or for little compensation. Create “clubs” where fans can sign up and offer their workmanship or resources. For example:

– Use fans to stitch together wardrobes.
– Use fans in simple props construction.
– Use fans’ tracks for moving.
– Use fans’ land for locations.
– Use fans to cook for cast & crew.
– Use fans as extras.
– Use completely unknown, cheaper actors that are good for the role.

I’m pretty sure that the Star Wars fanbase is so huge, that the right people offering their help in batches (e.g. one member working one week, another member is coming next week to replace him etc), can make this work.

If this works for projects like GNU/Linux, or Wikipedia, then why wouldn’t it work for an entertainment project? In fact, exactly because Lucas Films is an indie firm, it makes things much easier in “employing” fans. Not having to have to deal with most strict Hollywood unions & guilds and whatnot, is a huge plus in realizing this project with the power of the community. Plus, they usually shoot outside of USA.

As for the special effects, Lucas can create a smaller company than his ILM, which will charge less. He already has a green screen studio, or if it charges too much too, create a newer one — part of this liter production company that is not directly involved with Lucas Films Ltd (which tends to be very expensive, even if the client is George Lucas himself).

Overall, his vision should be doable with $2mil per episode. Just use the power of the juggernaut you already created George: your fanatics, that would even give their right arm — if it was to be severed with a real lightsaber.


Yanni wrote on August 6th, 2010 at 10:50 PM PST:

This is a great idea. It would totally work and think of the press.

Glenn Thomas wrote on August 7th, 2010 at 1:13 AM PST:

That sucks! This is the first I have heard that it’s been canned.

I think he should set up a company in the Philippines to handle the effects, like he did for the Clone Wars with the animation being done in Singapore. If he shot it here in Sydney like the last couple of films, there are plenty of great locations to use here. Farscape being the perfect example. It wouldn’t be like the Stargate shows where every planet is the same forest.

The fan idea is good, providing the fans are already working in those industries, so can work to deadlines.

William Eggington wrote on August 9th, 2010 at 10:05 AM PST:

The only way it would be great is if George Lucas had nothing to do with it.

Ivan wrote on August 9th, 2010 at 11:16 AM PST:

There is no way the labour unions would allow this fan based project to take off, I think.

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Eugenia wrote on August 9th, 2010 at 11:30 AM PST:

Lucas Arts doesn’t usually shoot in the US, so there might be a way to go around it. Besides, if someone is not allowed to use resources available to him legally and with full consent because of the unions, then the unions shouldn’t exist. Sure, unions are very useful for other reasons (e.g. fair working conditions), but not for something like this.

mark warner wrote on August 14th, 2010 at 2:51 AM PST:

Your idea is the kind of idea that will put indie production companies,music producers and visual fx artist right out of business. I find it lame at best when music or movie companies offer some kinda of contest to milk their very own fan base for free labor or at best a free cd,dvd or poster for their efforts. Imagine the guys who actaully do wardrobe for movie productions being told….”Thanks but some geeky college kids are gonna do it for free.”
Tommy Lee just finished up a project where all his fans contributed musical parts to his songs….bass lines,guitar riffs,drum beats…you name it. Basically so Tommy could record his album for almost nothing and recoup any and all expenses off the FAT profit from the project. He’s loaded…he doesn’t need to milk his fans for backing tracks. You wanna help your fans out…..bring them onboard and pay them.
Most people now can barely pay for cable tv much less spend $50 to go the movies…..$10 a ticket for 2 people and concessions stand crap at $20 a pop not counting if you had to pay for parking.
Milking your fan base for free content is as classy as not tipping your waiter cause in your mind… she really liked serving me!

mark warner wrote on August 14th, 2010 at 3:18 AM PST:

By the way……..have you seen the last couple of Star Wars movies? Long way away from the first 3 releases.

The last Indiana Jones?

Couldn’t imagine someone proudly saying……”I helped digitaly design the 1950’s style fridge so Indiana could escape the nuclear bomb in it.

My name was on the end credits…….if you pause it 5 minutes into the credits crawl you can see it sandwhiched in bewteen the other 60 names under the “Thank You’s” section!!!!!! Now I get to go back to work at Target on Monday and let everyone know I was part of the new Indan Jones movie….they are gonna be so jealous!

Thats great if your expecations for your value as an artist are that low….. but for all the people putting in countless free hours to educate and hone their skills as well as buy their own equipment…. I doubt thats what their main objective is……working for free so Lucas can buy another ungodly sized Ranch!

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Eugenia wrote on August 14th, 2010 at 9:32 AM PST:

>Your idea is the kind of idea that will put indie production companies, music producers and visual fx artist right out of business.

No, it won’t. There are other productions that these companies will be able to work on.

You know, there’s a comment on my other blog post today about how she hated my color grading on my new video. Instead of being angry at her though, I’m more angry at you. Because while she just described a personal like or dislike, you encompass all that is wrong with capitalism.

Let me put a few facts together for you:
– Fans love Star Wars.
– Without this free labor of love there might not be Star Wars for TV.
– The fans LOSE in that case. Yes, Lucas might also lose “another ungodly sized Ranch”, but the fans lose too.
– No one is put to work without their consent.
– Production companies not working on the project because of the fan labor, they will simply have to find another project to work on.
– Lucas Film, or any other film company, should NOT be FORCED to use only professionals just because the unions want them too. If there’s a cheaper way to do the same thing at the same quality, they should go for it.

Do you also have the same ideas about Creative Commons? Should all these artists who release their pictures, music and videos under Creative Commons should be stopped doing so just because it dilutes the market of the professional musicians, and it has practically destroyed the travel photo market?

If your answer is “yes” in the above paragraph, then we have a fundamental difference of opinion, and we will never, EVER, find common ground in our discussion.

mark warner wrote on August 14th, 2010 at 11:07 AM PST:

See if this helps you out?

Lucas dropped his membership in the directors guild when they fined him $250,000 for the fact that Star Wars had no opening credits. He subsequently filmed the remaining Star Wars films primarily outside of the United States, and primarily with non-union crew.

mark warner wrote on August 14th, 2010 at 11:17 AM PST:

So shoot all your music videos for free because you like the band and they are fun to hang out with then!

Tell your husband to go into Google and let them know that since he uses the search engine all the time that they can stop paying him and give his benefits to someone else.

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Eugenia wrote on August 14th, 2010 at 12:03 PM PST:

My husband is not doing the Google work because he’s a hard core fan, he’s doing the work because he’s working there. If Google was to find fans that they were willing to do engineering for free, well, sure, that should be their right! My husband would simply have to move on.

I do the free music videos because I’m a fan too. If that was my real job, I’d ask for money too. And if the band was to find someone else to shoot their video for free, then by all means, they SHOULD use that other person, so they can save the money.

If my profession was to become obsolete by means of technology, or whatever else, it’s not a problem for me. I don’t see this as a curse. I see it as a natural progression of professions, or simply progression of society to something more community-like. I’m all for that.

Honestly, I have a real problem with the way you see the world. You’re free to have your own opinions of course, but it’s people like you who are holding back humanity. People who see things in a very constrictive way: this is this, and this is that, and that’s how it should be.

Fuck that.

mark warner wrote on August 15th, 2010 at 1:48 AM PST:

I know he’s not working there because he is a hard core google fan….that was my whole point!

People love to shop at Walmart everyday for the low prices but no one would ever work there for free!

Just cause you like something and believe in it doesn’t mean you should’nt be compensated to the value you help bring to it.

Okay… show you where I am coming from I’ll let you in on the back story.

2007 I met Bobby Blotzer (drummer for RATT)in Houston Texas.
He had a recording studio there.

He has since moved back to LA.

I made a dance remix of ROUND n ROUND. The groups biggest hit. The next day I sent it to him. He liked it so much he even sent it to the rest of the band. Steven Pearcy the lead singer then forwarded it to Jamie the manager of the group.

He contacted me explaining how the group thought it was a great way to sell and market Ratt to a younger group of fans since they were gearing up to go out on the road with Poison. A tour that would include Japan. He went on to sya how a dance remix would go over really big in Japan.

They wanted to use my remix to help sell tickets and downloads and t-shirts but at the same time didn’t wanna pay me for the remix.

I had been doing remixes for local groups in Houston who would pay $300 a pop.

So… here is this world famous rock group who has the very same song I remixed out on the very popular Guitar Hero video game and they want my help to sell tickets but for zero compensation.

I told them I wasn’t inetrested and refused to send them the master files.

2 Years later…..2 years has gone by and Jamie contacts me back explaining how Atlantic Records wants to do a 25th anniversary re-release of OUT OF THE CELLAR the album that spawned the hit ROUND N ROUND. They want to include my remix
on it as part of some bonus tracks.

I ask him once again about compensation for it and he tells me I should just be lucky they want it and give it to them.

Needless to say I still have the master files!

That experience was a great look into the workings of the greedy music industry and how the rich wanted to stay richer and not compensate for something they obviously saw as having value to their project.

I was barely making rent at the time struggling to keep projects coming thru the door on a consistent basis and here is Atlantic Records asking not once but twice for something for free!

Giving in would just help put me and other remixers out of future work.

Same thing goes for graphic artist……A couple of years ago PEPSI had a design your own PEPSI can contest. The prize would be having your art on cans all over the world.

The main goal behind the conteset was that they would get tons of free marketing content for future use since what ever you submitted became the property of PEPSI.

All the people that went to school for graphic design and adverstising are now out of a job because why would PEPSI pay them when they can rip some high school kid off, who by the way ,thinks one day his phone will ring because he is talented and PEPSI saw something in him.

In reality his phone will never ring cause no one will want to pay for his talent when they can just get another high school kid with stars in his eyes to do it all over again for free.

It’s the fleecing of creative artist content that I am standing up for. But at the same time if artist keep providing free content in exchange for free PEPSI or downloads then how can anyone make a living doing what they truly love to do!

Getting paid to do what you love for a living is pretty amazing.

By the way…what do you do for a LIVING?

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Eugenia wrote on August 15th, 2010 at 9:08 AM PST:

Mark, you don’t get it.

I never said that you should give for free something that your daily life depends on. In your case, if you’re a musician and your family depends on these remixes, then you should not give them out for free. And if this band finds a fan doing another remix for free, they should use that fan. Bad luck for you, but that’s how it is. Get a different job.

However, this case is different. This case is about “either fans come and help out, or there CAN’T be a Star Wars show AT ALL”. In this case, the fans LOSE. And the rest of the *professional* crew of ~500 lose AS WELL, because the production can’t go ahead. So coming to work for free for a day, or for few days overall, it’s just not a big deal. The fans will get a show at the end of the day. That’s their compensation. And the rest of the crew will actually HAVE A JOB by having the fans helping out!!!

As for the other side of the story, about companies not getting the work that the fans will do for free, well, bad luck. Find another project, or another job. And don’t forget about these 500 people I mentioned above. Yes, some companies won’t get the job that fans will do, but these 500 people will have a job! So it balances out!!!

The creators of the project, be it Lucas, or PEPSI, they should have the RIGHT to use all the resources available to them — be it free or not. It really should be a personal and professional right to use resources available to you — resources that don’t destroy the planet of course (e.g. killing animals to do a shot). If Lucas Film, or Pepsi, can save $10k, or $500k by using volunteers, why the heck not?

Next thing you’ll tell us is that Open Source is evil, because it puts out software companies that write similar software! It’s not the case. And if it is, bad luck! Being a volunteer, doing something you love or towards a result for something you love, it’s a GOOD thing.

mark warner wrote on August 15th, 2010 at 1:21 PM PST:

You never answered my final question.

What do you do for a living?

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Eugenia wrote on August 15th, 2010 at 2:22 PM PST:

I used to be a full time software developer, and these days I work part time as a filmmaker, occasionally. I have a long-standing health issue that doesn’t allow me to work full time anymore.

But this has nothing to do with my ideas about helping out people. Even if I was working full time, I’d still have the same ideas, and I’d still work on music videos on the weekends.

mark warner wrote on August 15th, 2010 at 6:55 PM PST:

I truly believe in helping people out……I lived in downtown Houston a city that has homeless people on every corner 24/7. I gave even when I ony had $10 to my name in between paychecks!

Helping people out is awesome but helping people out who can more than help themselves out is what I have a problem with!

George doesn’t need to ride on the backs of his fans to get a tv show made!

That would be like loaning Oprah gas money so she could have her limo take her to the airport to go to Paris for lunch!

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