Amateur Writers, Cosplayers & Actors Combine Talents to Create Surprisingly Professional, Entertaining (and inexpensive) G.I. Joe “Fan Films”

This publicity still from the GIjOE fan-film, Operation: Red Retrieval, shows incredible attention to character and costume details. (Photo: Mark Cheng)

This publicity still from the GIjOE fan-film, Operation: Red Retrieval, reveals incredible care and attention has been given to casting, costuming and prop details. Look at those weapons spittin’ FLAME! And check out that massive .50 cal! Superb work, especially for a “fan film” production. (Photo: Mark Cheng)

Creative use of publicly accessible backgrounds like an aircraft carrier and this snazzy Stingray, help add inexpensive (i.e. FREE) production value to a fan film. (Screeshot:  )

Creative use of publicly accessible backgrounds like this aircraft carrier, help add inexpensive (i.e. FREE) production values to fan films. Here, Joe races towards his snazzy Stingray before heading out on another dangerous mission in a scene from “GIjOE: Special Missions 2” (Photo: IDIC Entertainment)

GIjOE Fan Activity Evolving

As we’ve discussed in previous articles concerning GIjOE-inspired fan activities, many of today’s “Joeheads” are busy creating their own customized action figures, vehicles and dioramas. Others are producing their own artwork, photo stories, and comic books. There are even a select talented few who enjoy creating animated or live-action GIjOE movies. Projects of these types can take many forms and utilize a wide variety of filmmaking techniques.

The use of actual "blank" ammunition in fan films is commonplace as this exciting scene from  "GIjOE: Special Operations 2" clearly reveals. (Photo: IDIC Productions)

The use of actual “blank” ammunition in fan films is commonplace as this exciting scene from “GIjOE: Special Operations 2” clearly reveals. (Photo: IDIC Entertainment)

“Cosplay” GIjOE Fan Films

This category of fan filmmaking activity, utilizes real, 1:1 scale human actors in place of the various toy-incarnations of GIjOE. This type of production relies heavily on individuals who enjoy dressing up in elaborate, homemade costumes (see cosplay article HERE) and are also able to convincingly act out their heroic (or villainous) character in front of a camera. Such “cosplay” productions require a great deal of time, talent and creativity (and some money) to produce. Though typically shot on shoestring budgets, with actors and production crew members working for free, the costumes, fuel, ammunition and other expenses can quickly add up.

Desktop computing has allowed amateurs to edit their own movies at home, as well as adding professional music and graphics, as this exciting title sequence from the fan film, "GIjOE: Initiate" clearly demonstrates. (Photo: Michael Cheng)

Desktop computing has allowed amateurs to edit their own movies at home, as well as adding professional music and graphics, as this exciting title sequence from the fan film, “GIjOE: Initiate” clearly demonstrates. (Photo: Bulletproof Owl)

Spoof, Satire or Tribute?

Surprisingly, most amateur fan films are not bad. In fact, many are actually quite entertaining. Yes, some are more professionally made than others, produced with superior acting talent or greater financial support behind them, but as we all know, big budgets don’t always produce quality. Some may seem like little more than home movies of young men playing out on their paintball course, yelling “Go, JOE!” While others are almost good enough to give Hollywood a run for its money. Here are two exciting fan films we think are worth your time:

Bottom Line: By law, GIjOE cosplay fan films can only be made as non-profit ventures. But that obviously matters little to many wannabe filmmakers. And while most films currently feature characters from the 1980s RAH line, there is clearly a growing interest among fans for a live-action (or animated) film utilizing the 1970s Adventure Team characters. As the Commander would say, “I’ve got a tough assignment for you!

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One thought on “Amateur Writers, Cosplayers & Actors Combine Talents to Create Surprisingly Professional, Entertaining (and inexpensive) G.I. Joe “Fan Films”

  1. kneonknight says:

    With all the hubbub over the Defenders v2.0, I forgot to throw in my two cents here.

    I will say that these films were surprisingly good…heck, give these guys a budget of a couple million dollars to improve the production values, and I’d say they can hold their own against many, many professional efforts. The stories are compelling, well told and don’t devolve into long stretches of boring dialogue.

    Kudos to all involved. Especially to the lovely lass who played the Baroness in “Battle for the Serpent Stone” trailer. Hubba-hubba!

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