Perrin Spychala creates films, fan films - with a distinct Bond flavour! MI6 catches up with the writer/director about his work...

Fan Films - Perrin Spychala
7th October 2003

Aptly named Perrin Spychala creates Fan Films, but not just any type of fan film, for the Alexander Wellington character has a certain familiarity to it. Based loosely on James Bond and other elements from the spy film genre, his work boast original scripts, music and special effects.

"Another Tomorrow" is the third film from Spychala, and for the first time, you can take a glimpse into his world online. The teaser sequence for "Another Tomorrow" can be found on the website.
"Another Tomorrow" Teaser Trailer

MI6 caught up with Perrin Spychala to talk about his fan films and his Bond devotion.

What are the biggest influences with in your Fan Films?
Bond movies. My character, who has now taken on a life of his own. People who tell me they love my films. My need to be creative. Anything cool that I can get access to... lately the news.

Which Bond film has had the biggest influence on your Fan Films?
My first film had a lot of references to Daylights. My character made an escape by breaking a flute case in half and skiing away with one half on each foot. I also try to get a bird popping out in all my films too, which is a tip of the hat to John Glen. I even hid inside a three foot wire, fur and neoprene "Platapussy" once.

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories from?
A lot of it comes from Bond films. Often I watch a Bond film and think of a one liner that would have been good or a way to twist the scene to be funny, then I write that into what ever it is I'm planning. I get ideas all the time for plots, gags, lines and I write them down. Over time a whole movie emerges. My ideas are not always Bond in-jokes though. I try to work in anything funny that isn't too ridiculous or in poor taste. I also write and perform stand-up comedy, so I have all that material to draw from as well.

How many Fan Films have you worked on or are you currently working on?
I have produced 4 "Bond" fan films each 30-40 minutes in length. I have with a fifth, "Smiles Aren't For Heroes" in the works.

How long does it take to deliver a short Fan Film from pre-production/filming/post-production?
Usually about a year. My first took a year and a half. I finished two in about 9 months each. My last one took 2 and a half years to finish due to a wait for new equipment.

Most major directors and producers feel that with small budgets the imagination has to be used to get around the cost limitation, what do you think?
I agree, but I have managed to pull off a lot of cool stuff with very modest budgets. People are always offering me the use of something. I try very hard to make fun movies and people are very willing to help when they like what you do. I met a guy who owns a limousine who recently offered its use at no charge. A friend just bought a 77 Lotus that I may use in my current project. Another time a guy lifted me off the ground with a huge fork lift to simulate a jetpack take off at no charge. I have a cousin with an airplane, another who scuba dives and has an underwater camera. When I want something I ask around and can usually find what I want. I have been very lucky.

With George Lucas 'Star Wars' being a very open to Fan Films makers and EON being very closed how do you feel and get around these issues?
My character is not James Bond. I have rights to use most of the music I use and when I don't, the music is only used for my personal film copy. I always create a second version of each film with all music use permission covered. Also, I have never attempted to sell my films. They are video calling cards created in part to get the attention of producers.

What type of recording and editing equipment do you us when making a Fan Films?
I have worked with almost every video format there is. My first film was shot with a consumer VHS camera. I then went to Hi-8 and now a prosumer Canon GL2 MNI DV cam. Most of my films were edited on a Video Toaster, but I now have access to a professional digital non-linier editor.

How do you achieve the special effects in your films if they are required?
I have done some green and blue screen stuff. Sometimes because it is funny, other times because I have no option. I have filmed small explosions at night then "keyed" out the black and superimposed that video over my object to be destroyed. I also use 5th of a cup sized measurements of gun powder and set that off in (outdoor) scenes. It makes a big cloud, but has no power if not contained. I have gotten some miner burns, so care is required. Short bursts fro a fire extinguisher works well too for explosions. I've built a lot of models. I also have many still photos from a six month college stay in England/Europe. In my IFILM, "Another Tomorrow" viewers will see my character sledding toward a cliff and mountain range. The Mountain range photo added to the top half of the shot was taken at Piz Gloria.

How do you emulate locations that can't be reached?
I film winter scenes to double for other lands all the time. We get a lot of snow in Minnesota. Any time I see an interesting building, I make a mental note. I used to drive past a hospital all the time that had Spanish architecture. I am planning to use it in my current film's "Madrid" scene. A local sand pit made for a great terrorist camp. I have some buy out music CDs with music styles to compliment my locals. I do of course try to film any time I vacation some where interesting, which I did in LA, Chicago, Osaka Japan and exotic Milwaukee, Wisconsin! I make those scenes as simple as possible.

What helpful hits can you offer fellow Fan Films makers?
Write an original script first. Story board your scenes. Use the manual focus and iris functions on your camera. Learn shooting basics (look space, head room, the 180 degree rule) Find people with some natural acting ability who share or respect your passion. Have a backup plan, cast and crew. Know that you have a lot of work ahead of you.

Perrin Spychala Filmography

"LIVE TO TELL" (1992). British Secret Agent Alexander Wellington must discover why a Russian Nuclear Weapons expert is keeping company with a suspected terrorist financier.

"A WORLD OF DANGER" (1994). A Wellington "Movie trailer spoof"

"NOTHING IS FOREVER (1995). A Criminal mastermind known as Falco plots a nuclear blackmail scheme that only British Secret Agent Alexander Wellington can stop. Followed by "The Incredible World of Alexander Wellington."

"ANOTHER TOMORROW" (1998). Secret Agent Alexander Wellington becomes the target of his vengeance-seeking rival, Falco. Followed by "Lights, Camera, Wellington."
"Another Tomorrow" Teaser Trailer

“IN THE SERVICE OF THE CROWN” (2001) In this, the biggest Wellington ever prequel, the super secret agent meets Falco for the very first time.