Now that "The Hunger Games" has become a certified blockbuster hit, it's never too early to start thinking about the sequel "Catching Fire" -- or even further ahead, to "Mockingjay." We're still a few years away before the third and final book of the series premieres on the big screen, but that hasn't stopped tributes from making their own big-budget fan film.
"The Mockingjay Propo" hit the web this week, depicting a tense action scene from the final book. And this wasn't just a few friends using their dad's camera in the backyard. For producer Jonathan Parris, the project was a mammoth undertaking that required his visual effects, costume, prop and set design skills. Moviefone corresponded over e-mail with Parris to get the skinny on the audacious project.
How long did the production take from start to finish?
I originally started pre-production back in May of 2011. At that point, I was going to do a scene from "The Hunger Games," and I had started by constructing a replica of the silver bow prop that was used in the movie. After a few meetings with a couple of guys I do real video work with, it was ultimately decided that a better route would be [to] shoot a scene from one of the next two books. Otherwise, we would just be duplicating what [Gary] Ross and Lionsgate were doing for the feature film. We picked a scene from "Mockingjay," as it was the most distanced from the first book. Any designs for costumes, props, sets, etc. would be completely different than what would be seen from the first book, so we could take a lot of liberties.
I worked on concept designs between real jobs through October. And then in November, I started focusing intently on this film. I had to take off a lot of time from my day job as a hardware store clerk to put as much work into it as needed. I scheduled the shoot on [actress] Kate [Farrell]'s winter break and flew her down to Tennessee to shoot on December 29-30, 2011. So, from November up until [March 27], this project has been taking up every waking minute.
How did you raise the funding for the project?
I looked at this as an investment in the future of my career, so it all came out of my own savings. I knew it could not make any money back, due to book copyrights, but it seemed to me that it would still not be much different than creating an advertisement. Only, instead of advertising a product to sell, I was hoping to promote the work I do, as well as all the other extremely talented artisans that came in on the project along the way.
Do you have any future "Hunger Games" ideas in the pipeline?
Not as far as personal projects. (It is far too expensive to keep self funding visual effects short films!) But, the ultimate goal would be to get a job working on parts of the visual effects for the next two (or three) Hunger Games movies!
To get more special features on "The Mockingjay Propo," including behind-the-scenes photos of the project, head over to Jonathan's website.
And when she's not busy acting, Katniss herself, Kate Farrell, runs HungerGamesTrilogy.Net, one of the biggest "HG" fansites on the web.