Shahin Sean Solimon is the director of the upcoming sequel to the Ed Wood classic Plan 9 from Outer Space. He has put together an Indiegogo campaign for the movie which is now live.
Overview:Can your heart stand the shocking truth of the second coming? About sixty years ago, an inspired director by the name of Ed Wood, made a movie later known as the worst movie of all time, titled: Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). This movie was set in the San Fernando Valley of the 50’s era. We are now making the sequel to that story… using the same passion and energy Ed had… but we need your help to make this picture come alive. So pull the ‘Strink”! … Pull the Strink!!
Shahin stops by The Movie Elite to talk about why he wanted to remake the movie and gives us some information about the campaign.
You’re launching an Indiegogo campaign for a planned sequel to PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. What made you want to do a sequel?
Well this is not a random thing; I have been planning this for probably around a decade. I’m a big fan of Ed Wood firs of all; not necessarily his movies he made although they do have some kind of charm I don’t agree with the lack of quality checks if you will. I saw a lot of his behind the scenes stuff and researched some of that and the guy was plain and simply super enthusiastic and a very passionate guy in a time when they had very little technology to help them. Everything was real tight and I commend him for that. Anyone who has that kind of passion and excitement to make a movie and to get it done one way or the other I just was a fan because I’m the same as far as the passion goes.
Can you tell us a little about the campaign?
We’re doing it as a campaign because I really want the fans to be involved instead of having to go through the long term process of studio heads and smaller distribution companies and so forth. They’re cool people but I will say quite frankly that they are not artists; it’s like a gamble with them and they don’t see the same vision as the fans do actually. The fans are probably smarter about what they want to see obviously because they are the fans. With technology the way it is these days with quick interactions with the fans I just thought it would be a great idea and what other project would be better than this and it’s a great time to do it. I’ve had so much experience over the last ten years making other movies I feel like I wanted to make this movie. So the launch date is tentatively set for the end of August; we don’t have an exact date but we are looking at either the 28th or the 29th. It will most likely be on a Monday I believe. We are constructing it and it’s looking real fancy.
What do you have in mind in terms of perks for fans who contribute?
We’re currently putting the perks together just now but I’d rather not say at the moment but I can say there will be a signed Blu-ray and poster for sure.
What’s been the reaction so far from fans?
Good question and I can give you the exact numbers; 99% super excited and there is the 1% are asking questions like “Why are you doing this?” but they don’t understand what we’re doing yet and I’m not going to say anything until we’ve launched the campaign so that everyone can see what we’re doing. I think that 99% will become 100%.
How do you plan on making it appeal to a modern audience?
We’re going to be something very special which I’m going to talk about when we launch the video and the trailer for this project when we launch the campaign. We are going to make it as if Ed Wood as going to make it using resources available to us rather than just doing what some studios do which is just dump a lot of money on it, then it would become a very non Ed Wood movie. So we’re going this just like Ed Wood would have done if he were alive today. Actually one of my distribution colleagues met the real Ed Wood in person towards the end of his career. So we will be making like Ed Wood however there will be more quality control, and it won’t be a campy movie. To him Ed Wood’s movies were a serious thing; when people saw the UFO’s dangling from fishing lines that wasn’t a joke, those guys had like 3 days to do it and by the time it reached editing they didn’t have a dime left to fix anything. I’ve been in those situations myself where a lot of people don’t understand there is so much stress to deliver on a deadline when you’re making a picture with all these different people doing different things. At the end the distribution companies are looking for their product and if it’s not ready then it gets bypassed until the next month. These guys have to work months in advance so you’re always 3 months behind so if you don’t make deadlines you automatically fall 3 months later.
I’m glad you said the tone is serious as there is some potential there to do something special…
Yeah, the tests we’ve done are really cool and some of those will be in the trailer so I let everyone take a look at it so they can see what’s going on. The plot is very cool and it takes place in the same universe as the Ed Wood film. I love interacting with people on the Official Facebook page and I can’t believe how many people have been giving us their undivided attention even a few weeks back when we launched the first poster. I just fell in love with the character of Ed Wood after the 1994 Tim Burton film; the more I researched the more I saw that the guy was just a filmmaker who had a lot of passion. If he didn’t have this passion we wouldn’t be talking about this project right now. This is a message from the universe and not just me but you may actually suck at what you do but if you have a drive and passion you could be influencing someone a hundred years from now to do something big like save the world. For me movies aren’t just movies, they are essentially influencing the future of our planet and I was talking with one of my colleagues about this very subject. A lot of the people who work at NASA wear Star Trek emblems on their shirts and build ships like The Enterprise and who knows, maybe in hundreds of years we may be living in a Star Wars universe. I just love the fact that we’re taking part in that and I think Ed Wood’s passion should be brought fourth in a good way and I hope that the fans can see that.
It’s funny you’ve got me thinking now; movies can very much influence people or say a lot about the time period they are released. A lot of movies today are dark and gritty because people are angry at their governments or just life in general and the movies tend to portray the mood of the people at the time.
Yes, very much. Movies are almost like books now for this generation who read a lot on their computers or watch movies to get away from reading so there aren’t as many readers as before which is why all these book stores are closed. In my opinion there should be a little bit of responsibility in movies because you are essentially inspiring somebody somewhere and I know because I’ve inspired people even with my little movies. At screenings I’ve had kids come up to me saying how excited they are about what I did so imagine what a Superman movie could do. A lot of people think these things are real and can be influenced in a positive way.
How do you feel about crowdfunding? Do you see it as the future for financing indie features?
I very much do; you’re talking to someone who has talked to people at the highest and lowest levels of the industry. I can tell you that movies are best known by the fans, they know what they want and I love the fans the most. Out of everyone that I’ve come across I would say they are my number 1 because their excitement level is so raw and it’s amazing. When you talk to industry people in these bigger companies every movie is the same and they just see it as a conveyor belt with movies coming in every month and their like “yeah that’s nice… next?” (laughs)
They’re not the people who should be deciding, it should be the fans deciding. For example look at Deadpool, it wasn’t crowdfunded because it had big players like Ryan Reynolds behind it. It made more than any of the X-Men movies and guess how long it took them? It took essentially a decade. That video that was released with him sitting on the bridge was made like 6 years ago. It was worth the wait because of the money it made but what I’m saying is the fans had to wait for almost a decade for that dream to come alive. Crowdfunding is ultimately very very cool and I’ve seen other projects that have used it. If this goes well I am planning on doing several other projects with it and possibly going further with some ideas. I do think this is the future as you are essentially pre-selling the DVD; you’re not asking for handouts, you’re just showing the popularity of the film.