Sign In or Register
Avatar
Not Registered Yet?

Join Now! It's FREE. Get full access and benefit from this site

Reset My password - Forgot username?

Username:
Password:
Remember me

Site Search

Monday, August 21, 2017

Alex Cox goes galactic

Hoylake Community Cinema patron Alex Cox, creator of Repo Man and Sid & Nancy writes about his new feature comedy based on Harry Harrison's classic anti-war science fiction novel:


images-2

‘This is an old-fashioned science fiction film of the technological level of ICARUS XB1: it will use real models, and matte shots.”

BILL, THE GALACTIC HERO is a feature-length science fiction comedy set in the far reaches of our galaxy, as humans wage war against a reptilian alien species, known as Chingers. It is extremely low budget, and relatively high concept. How is a story of space warfare between two high-technology civilizations to be achieved, doing justice to its original, on a super-low budget?

Partially because most of the work will be done by students – ideally my production students at the University of Colorado – under the occasional supervision of professionals from the industry. But mainly because Harry Harrison's original novel – his counterblast to STAR$HIP TROOPERS – has to be made this way. It's told not from the flight deck but from the engine room: or to be more exact, the fusebays, where ranks of expendable Fusetenders Sixth Class wait to replace burned-out fuses, or die.

Harry's story of grunts – and one grunt in particular – in the lowest echelon of the war machine – can readily be recreated in an academic environment. ATLAS, home of the University of Colorado's Film Studies Program, features concrete staircases and windowless basement corridors which already resemble the corridors and fusebays of the Good Ship Fanny Hill. The Visual Arts Complex features asymmetrical hallways and strange machines. Tunnels beneath the campus provide us with the bowels of Helior, the Imperial Planet. The Engineering Dept. has space suits and a mock-up Space Shuttle replacement.

But no one location is essential to the picture! Bill's one trip "above ground" to Helior's Walled Gardens, can be recreated at a venue like the NCAR.

Veniola, the swamp planet, where Bill is sent to a penal colony, will be shot in an appropriately green location.

Some sixty pages of BILL THE GALACTIC HERO will be shot live action, with space-suited actors, on 35mm black and white film. About ten pages will be shot on a stage using front or rear projection.

e060f5e9b38e2b25a264c94d039002e7 large

‘One of the things I try to teach my students is the "impossible triangle of quality": the one whereby any manufactured item – including a film – can be made good, and fast, but not cheap; fast, and cheap, but not good; or good, and cheap, but not fast.’

There are about ten (overlapping) pages of model shots and special effects, including glimpses of the Voids of Space. We will build our own models, under the supervision of visual effects pros from Tippett Studios (ROBOCOP, STARSHIP TROOPERS, MAD GOD) and Collateral Image (who created the visual effects for REPO CHICK and STRAIGHT TO HELL RETURNS). My colleague Victor Jendras will, I hope, supervise the creation of the medals, and the production design.

One of the things I try to teach my students is the "impossible triangle of quality": the one whereby any manufactured item – including a film – can be made good, and fast, but not cheap; fast, and cheap, but not good; or good, and cheap, but not fast.BILL THE GALACTIC HERO begins and ends as an animated cartoon. The anime department, run, I hope, by my colleague Chris Pearce, will also create Eager Chinger, the tiny reptilian spy.

The live action – actors in space suits in staircases, sound stages, and swamps – can be accomplished within twenty days. But the "VFX" part of the project does not unfold quickly. This is an old-fashioned science fiction film of the technological level of ICARUS XB1: it will use real models, and matte shots.

Since we're outputting a digital version of the film – your DVD or BluRay disc, or download - post production will involve some CGI – computer generated images. How else to achieve our ray gun blasts, or interplanetary lasers? But we aim to keep our technology rooted in the mid 1960s, when the greatest of all science fiction films (DR STRANGELOVE, ICARUS, and 2001) were made with three-dimensional analog models, and when Harry Harrison conceived and wrote BILL THE GALACTIC HERO.

Our model-building, plate-shooting and costume work will be done this fall The main shoot of BILL THE GALACTIC HERO will be in early spring. But post-production will take longer than that!

One of the things I try to teach my students is the "impossible triangle of quality": the one whereby any manufactured item – including a film – can be made good, and fast, but not cheap; fast, and cheap, but not good; or good, and cheap, but not fast.

A quality independent film aims for the last of these three. We will endeavor to post a rough cut – viewable with a unique download key – in the Summer of 2014, and to ship the more important costumes and models when we're sure they aren't needed. BILL THE GALACTIC HERO – its sound design and music under the supervision of Academy Award winner Richard Beggs and film composer Dan Wool – will be finished by December 2014.


Related links:

We are not responsible for the content of external websites

Home town, not a Clone town…

  • Sisterly love
  • Fishie on a dishie
  • Deli-cious
icon 3 Sisters fruit and vegetable shop, so-called because it is run by three sisters, sells a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Newly refurbished by Mary Portas, 'Queen of Shops', in 2009, the shop is bright, spacious and welcoming. Read More
icon Hoylake Fisheries is a long-established shop on Market Street and sells a wide range of fresh fish according to season.  September 2011:   Re-launched following refurbishment.  Try their locally caught fresh fish today. Read More
icon The Little Deli have been busy talking to a wide range of local farmers, bakers and suppliers to source the very best bread, meat, cheese, eggs and preserves from around the region. On their well-stocked shelves you'll also find a wide variety of mouth-watering international flavours, each specifically chosen for you to enjoy.     Read More

Recipes

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
load more / hold SHIFT key to load all load all

Get active!

  • Hoylake Lawn Tennis Club +

    Hoylake Lawn Tennis Club is one of Wirral's premier tennis clubs. Located off Meols Drive, the club is one of the Read More
  • Hoylake Rugby Football Club +

    Great news!   December 2011 and Hoylake RFC have been successful in securing the Sports England "Inspired Facilities" grant for £50,000. Read More
  • Hoylake Sailing Club +

    Hoylake Sailing Club was founded in 1887. On 28 May 1899 the Dock Board granted members permission to erect a Read More
  • Hoylake (Municipal) Golf Club +

    The Hoylake Municipal Golf course is a combined parland and links course with ditches and water hazards for added difficulty. Read More
  • Wirral Sand Yacht Club +

    The club is situated on the sea front, sharing the grounds of the local community centre.  Made up of roughly Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Something for everyone…

  • Sports +

    Hoylake: a village that can boast being home to the world class Royal Liverpool Golf Club; the European Sand Yachting Read More
  • Arts +

    The reputation of Hoylake as an Hub of the Arts is growing rapidly. Home to painters, sculptors, poets, musicians and Read More
  • Environment +

    Hoylake is a seaside village on the northwest corner of the Wirral Peninsula, which boasts forty miles of coastline along the Read More
  • Food & Drink +

    Hoylake has a wide selection of excellent restaurants, pubs, wine bars and cafés, and this level of choice and quality Read More
  • 1

Eating out…

  • The Portrait House +

    Modern British The Portrait House is a former photographic studio that has been completely refurbished to provide an intimate ambience.  Read More
  • Julian’s +

    Modern British Julian’s opened in February 2004 and is owned and run by Julian and Jackie Davies. It is a Read More
  • Lino's +

    Italian Lino's restaurant has been established since 1983 and enjoys a regular and discerning clientele.  Read More
  • Pepper Sauce +

    Thai Friendly, relaxed atmosphere and high -quality food using fresh ingredients. A popular choice in Hoylake. Read More
  • Meat & Mingle +

    Traditional British Traditional Great British food served in relaxed and comfortable surroundings. Extremely reasonable prices for good quality food and service. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Search the website

Enter your search term below or if you would like to view a specific category in the business directory, please select that from the list below.

close