FAN SPOTLIGHT #2: Batman Beyond: Year One

Greetings HYPE’sters,

Excelsior here with another edition of FAN-Filmmakers Spotlight…

I’ve been a huge Batman fan all the way back to the first time I saw Adam West KA-POW and KA-RUNCH it on TV as a kid in the 60’s (yeah I’m that old). So anything Bat related gets me excited… Enter Aaron Schoenke who is also smitten with the Dark Knight, he’s taken the animated Batman Beyond and fashioned his own live-action tale entitled BATMAN BEYOND: YEAR ONE, as well as the documentary Year One: Beyond the Making. The comparison can be made to Dan Poole’s excellent 1992 Spider-Man flick – The Green Goblin’s Last Stand. Both filmmakers have an unparalleled passion and respect for the characters they have chosen to showcase. Aaron Schoenke’s Year One film shot on digital video and recently released via his web site on DVD is any Bat-fan’s dream come true. The production reflects the care and enthusiasm that many big budget films with a thousand times the budget lack.

The basic plot of BBYO finds Terry McGinnis (Schoenke) dealing with his dark past, Terry as the new Batman in Gotham finds himself caught in the middle of the action and may be forced to jeopardize his secret identity in order to save an old friend all the while battling the electro-charged villain Johnny HotWire, Voodoo and The Jokerz. The final battle between Batman & Voodoo is filled with on the edge of your seat action and shows just how far a hero can be pushed to his mental and physical limit. The action is top notch as the fight scenes are very well choreographed, and feature some very impressive visual effects. Digital filmmaking has opened many doors to young aspiring Spielberg’s… something I wish I had 20 years ago back in the dark-ages of VHS. Aaron’s use of filters enhances the overall “comic book” styled feel of the movie, it’s almost as if the characters have sprung out of the animated series. Flashbacks to the real Batman and a nightmare sequence featuring the Joker are some of the films highlights. As if that weren’t enough as a special bonus, Aaron and his Bat in the Sun production crew have created a documentary chronicling the production of the film, the costumes, editing, music, effects and stunts as well as behind the scenes making of footage.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Aaron Schoenke about his film…

SHH: What inspired you to make Batman Beyond: Year One?

AS: I’ve been a HUGE Batman my whole life and I thought some of the Batman movies should have had more of an edge to them. I wanted to see what I could do in giving it that edge while learning the art of filmmaking.

SHH: What filmmakers do you admire?

AS: I love many, past and present, Tim Burton, Ridley Scott, Darren Aronofsky, and David Fincher. All of them usually have a psychological edge to their movies. Dan Poole’s ‘Spider-Man’, I’ve seen it and the stunt work is very impressive. I can tell from the film that he put a lot of hard work and love for Spider-Man into it. His film has helped to inspire more fan made films. I’ve talked with him a few times, each time he was very encouraging.

SHH: How old are you and do you plan on attending film-school?

AS: I’m 18, but most of the shooting took place when I was 17, and some of the pre-production started when I was 16. I am currently enrolled at The Art Institute of Los Angles in California majoring in film production. I left high school early to go to college to get started on my career. People usually think I’m older.

SHH: What has been the reaction to BBYO so far?

AS: Overall, the reaction has been really positive and supportive. All honest reviews are welcome on our website. I love feedback and I check the board all the time.

SHH: What kinds of equipment did you use for the production of your film (video) and who helped you?

AS: The movie was shot on digital-8 video. The editing and special effects were done on iMovie, After Effects and Final Cut Pro. The sound and musical score was recorded and mixed with Pro Tools and a midi keyboard on a MAC G4. The main person besides myself, (to help) was my father. He did the (original) musical score and sound mixing. He was also the producer and helped co-write the script. Another big contributor to the movie was Michael Teitelbaum. He is a friend of mine and he help co-write and co-produce the movie. There were many other people that contributed to the movie and came through in a big way, such as Jon Mann-Krieger, Tyler Rollins, and Myke Armstrong. Without all of them, the film would not have been possible.

SHH: How was it directing yourself as well as acting in the title roll?

AS:Just when I got into the mind set of being Terry McGinnis, I would sometimes have to break my concentration to check the lighting, or angle of the shot, etc. Both jobs required alot of work, but when you enjoy it so much, it doesn’t seem like work.

SHH: What advice can you give aspiring young filmmakers like yourself?

AS: Just make movies, doesn’t matter what you have or how much your budget is, just go out and make a film. You learn so much from it and it is a great experience. But my advice is, if you haven’t ever made a movie before, start off with short 5-10 minute movie. There is more involved in completing a movie from beginning to end than most young filmmakers realize.

SHH: What’s next?

AS: I have a lot of ideas and scripts floating around, some superhero some original. Like I said, I like psychological stories, so whatever I choose will be centered around that. A lot of fans have been emailing me with ideas and requests and I love hearing from them. But whatever it is, I hope it will be soon because I love doing this.

For more information about Aaron Schoneke and his Bat In The Sun Productions and to learn all about his film, check out his website. And be sure and tell him “Excelsior” from the HYPE sent you!

If you have a Superhero Fan-Film you would like SHH to spotlight, please contact CHRIS “Excelsior” MASON.

Source: Superhero Hype!