First panel of the day was about fan films and specifically a group doing Dawn Under Heaven which included members: Lee Anderson, Wade Wojcik, David Ishida, and Shawn Doyle.They were here to talk about their experiences and the troubles and joy of doing a fan film. First and foremost though, you need to abide by canon. Not only for the filmmakers’ stakes, but also for the fans. Having an incorrect canon could cause confusion and well anger some of the hardcore fans.
One big question though is, why make fan films? Well as they put it, to become a part of the universe on a much richer and deeper way. However, it isn’t all fun and games as making a fan film might seem. You face a lot of issues and a lot of great films fail all the time. Mainly due to a copyright infringement, lack of money, no time, trying to do visual effects (VFX), and getting the talent and resources together to do it. Also make sure you know and use content usage rules. For Halo you need to follow Microsoft’s Game Content Usage Rules 100%, because if you don’t then there is a good chance they’ll send you a “friendly” email about shutting you down.The provided previous link is the official Microsoft rules so check it out to see the kinds of restrictions these guys face. Now there is a lot of stuff you cannot do, but you can still do plenty of things. Like you can receive donations from friends, family, and others. Depending on the film festival, you may be able to enter it into their competition and you can always upload it to YouTube or Vimeo as long as there aren’t any ads.
The biggest trouble that these guys are facing is creating the armor used in the film. It sounds like it won’t be that difficult, but creating an authentic look and durable product can be a taxing and expensive task. They recommend you use Volpin Props for any kind of stuff you might need along with doing some of your own 3D image software such as Blender to craft your props. For Halo specific assistance try to get in touch with the 405th, which is a group of Halo cosplayers, for tips and such on building the armor and everything. Never be afraid to ask questions either. If you’re curious about something, then just ask nicely and you may find out the answer.
For a real authentic look to how the squad or soldiers maneuver then be sure to ask a friend who is/was in the armed forces. They can provide some very useful tactical information about how a real squad might perform. Of course you need to find a delicate balance between real life soldiers and the in-game soldiers as sometimes they won’t be the same and especially for a sci-fi game like Halo.
So to wrap up, basically plan and plan and plan everything. Nothing works better if you have a plan set and then plans on top of that plan and so forth. Keeping it simple is pretty key as well, going over the top may put you under very quickly. Start out small and take small steps forward toward better production and quality.