Law5on Studio's

One of the many things that I love about doing the Fan Film Boyz Podcast, and fan films in general is when I see fan film makers start to become successful because of their films. Over the last year I have seen this a few times, however, one of the best examples is that of filmmaker Steven Lawson of Law5on Studios based in England. I first came across Steven's films when the Fan Film Boyz sponsored the 2017 Fanfilm Awards in which Steven had entered one of his fan films 'Freddy's Nightmare'.

As the title probably gave away, 'Freddy's Nightmare' is a short film based on the iconic Freddy Kruger, the villain from the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Steven did everything for this film, he wrote the screenplay and script, he directed it and edited it together, and he did a really amazing job. 'Freddy's Nightmare' and Steven were nominated in the Best Director category, and even though he did not win, the film did achieve an Award of Merit at a different festival, the IndieFest Film Awards.

The Freddy film is not Steven's only fan film, his YouTube Channel Law5on Studio's has other films that he has done, his first film 'a NIGHT for a KILL' was published in 2016 and was his first attempt at an animated comic book series. This film also received an Award for Merit, this time at the Best Shorts Competition. This then brings me to his latest film, and personally this one is my favorite, 'Man-At-Arms'.

'Man-At-Arms' was released on July 22, 2017 and is based on the hugely successful children's program He-Man. This particular story takes place well before the epic battles between He-Man and Skelator, it is sort of a origin story for an often overlooked character. At just under 10 minutes it is short and sweet an to the point! 

As I mentioned I got to know Steven because of our sponsorship of the 2017 Fanfilm Awards, I spoke with a lot of the entrant, some of them were even on some of our earlier shows. Steven and I became Facebook friends and we have been trying to organize a show to record. When 'Man-At-Arms' was released, I emailed Steven to get some more information on the project. Instead of summing up what he said, let me just include his response here.

Well, I grew up in the 80's and was a big HE-MAN fan,from action figures,the TV show and of course the movie.

After my Freddy's Nightmare movie I decided I wanted to do something a little bit different, a different Genre, but I still wanted my new film to be dark. I began working on a number of short story idea's and kept getting drawn back to the idea of a woman running for her life.  At this point I was writing a draft for Visionaries (another 80's TV show I loved), I created some pre-viz animations and was planning another live action shoot...I later decided to go with CGI animation (as I felt I had more control over the project)..I've done a couple of animated shorts before and thought this is definitely the way to go with this project.  Then,that's when it hit me, why do Visionaries? Why not go more Fantasy, there are no limits in CGI animation and I could do almost anything I wanted, create a whole new world with magic and Monsters...Masters of the Universe was the way I wanted to go.

I kept the idea of the woman running for her life, but needed a reason why, then I thought maybe she could be carrying a child and she needs to get it to safety, "wait, the baby could be HE-MAN, this story could take place before he became Master of the Universe, Man-at-Arms always seemed like a Father figure to him in the cartoons so I'll make the story about him and how he ends up raising He-Man as his own son"....I then had to think on how Man-at-Arms comes into the story, "I know,he could be hunting in the forest for his dinner, a portal will open (chasing the deer away), she then gets attacked by a Monster, Beastman (he can live in the forest) and then Man-at-Arms tries to save her"..That's when everything started falling into place..I then went back and thought "How did she end up in the forest, I know she came from a portal but from where?"

Trap Jaw was my favorite villain, I had to put him in the film "I know, Trap Jaw could be hunting the woman at the beginning,,,,,she gets cornered and then uses her magic powers to form a portal into the forest, Wait, this woman could be the sorceress,"...It went on from there, more idea's formed and six months later it's on the screen for people to see.

I used poser animation software and bought Characters (I customized) and set's (which I rendered in element 3d,a plug-in for after effects by video copilot) from daz 3d and renderosity.

Sound was probably the hardest thing to do in this project, I needed to find epic style tracks that would fit the pace of my movie.  I scrolled through what seemed like hundreds of tracks on the AudioJungle website, eventually I found what I was looking for.  Then it was time for sound fx (which also felt like forever)...A friend of mine (Ann Wardle) that I know from a local drama group agreed to do the voice of the Sorceress, I've worked with Ann before on a project and felt that she was right for the part. I did the voice of Man-at-Arms.

I really enjoyed working on this project so much that I've decided to do a sequel.This time the story will take place years later and follow HE-MAN into battle against Skeletor.

I really enjoyed this film, first of all because it is so completely different from a lot of fan films that I usually watch and review (and I have seen a lot for this podcast). It is entirely CGI animation, which is something I personally have never seen done before in a fan film, and secondly it is about a character that is not one that is usually focused on, and gives him a backstory that really shows that he is just as important to the entire saga as He-Man himself! I am planning on keeping this post spoiler free because I want you all to go watch it and experience it for yourselves, trust me you will not be disappointed. There is so much happening and it is so visually stunning to watch. There is still parts that could be improved, but for a first attempt at CGI, Steven did an amazing job.

Since the email from Steven, he has put the idea of a sequel on hold and is currently working on other fan film ideas both using CGI as well as traditional techniques. When you get a chance, visit and subscribe to Law5on Studios on YouTube so that you can stay aware of any new films that he releases. As usual feel free to comment below with what you think of Steven's films, I am sure that he would love to hear what you have to say!

Till next time, stay safe gang! 

Mike Horn and Deathstar over San Francisco

All the way back in Dec, 2016 when we launched Show 2 - Star Wars Fan Films Michael and I talked about the film Deathstar over San Francisco (oh how time has flown since then!).  I was recently looking through some old interviews I did when I was writing for a Star Wars Fan Film Blog called Crossedsabers Reviews and I found this little gem.  I had contacted Mike Horn the film’s creator and he emailed me back.  Here is his email about the film.


Back in 2007, I used to live on Telegraph Hill in SF, which has some amazing views of the city, and one night the moon was sitting really big and low over the skyline, and the thought just popped in my head: wouldn't it be cool if that was the Death Star instead of the moon. I was just starting to learn motion tracking with After Effects, so the next night I went out and shot the moon, motion tracked it, and replaced it with a still photo of the Death Star. I was just going to post a video of that one shot, but I kept shooting more scenes over the course of the next year.

I didn't know 3D at the time, my skills were limited to just 2D compositing in After Effects and Photoshop, so all of my shots were conceived with what I could pull from the films. I would frame-by-frame mask out whatever vehicles I wanted to use from the actually movie footage, then re-time it and composite it into the SF footage I shot. It took me a year working on and off a few hours at a time (each shot took on average 10 hours to complete), but I finally put together 2 and half mins worth of FX shots and posted it to Current.com in August 2008. (Current was where I worked at the time). It got a million views overnight on Current. A few weeks later I put it up on YouTube, and it got a million views there after a few days.

In 2009, I submitted the video to the official Star Wars Fan Festival, which was hosted by Atom.com at the time. It became a finalist, and I got to go to Comic Con for the award ceremony, but didn't win any awards. I thought it was a sure bet to win best VFX, but they got rid of that category that year  A lot of people ask about the parrots in the video. They are wild parrots that live on Telegraph Hill, most likely because of the abundance of trees. It's believed the parrots were escaped pets that started off as a few birds that have bred over the past 30 years to become a colony of over 500 birds. They've also cross-bred with another species to create a new species unique to San Francisco.
The protest scene in the video was a protest of the Olympic torch run through SF, protesting against the Olympics being held in China (for China's human rights abuses). There was a guy holding a really clever sign depicting the Tienanmen square incident with a stick man drawing standing in front of a tank with the Olympics logo for wheels. I erased the tank and replaced it with a stick-drawing of an AT-ST I drew.
Feel free to hit me up with any more questions, and good luck with your site! I look forward to reading about other fan films you've discovered.
- Mike Horn

I really love this film, I think it is very inventive and completely different from all of the other many Star Wars fan films.  I would love to hear what you all think though.  Feel free to comment and let me know!

Until next time gang, goodbye for now.