Life Outside The Frame is a new 5-part short film web series that focuses on the lives of fringe characters from popular entertainment franchises, who are now struggling to adapt in the "real world."
The pilot episode tells the story of Jarvis, an ex-stormtrooper who is trying to reintegrate back home in what is now a contemporary London, after the destruction of the Death Star. However, it’s a far too progressive place these days for a guy like him.
5 questions with Life Outside The Frame - Star Wars director, Julian Palmer at the half-way mark.
Saturday, August 26th, 2017
1Hi Julian! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make this film? As well as being a filmmaker, I'm a video essayist that goes under the alias "The Discarded Image". My first video essay project was a five part series about the New Hollywood "Movie Brats", and the final episode was on George Lucas and Star Wars. It was during the research and production of this that I had the idea for Life Outside The Frame. It just felt like a silly, somewhat throwaway idea at first - but I always wanted to start producing original content on my channel, and doing a pastiche of a well known franchise seemed like the best angle for YouTube.
2You co-wrote this film with Alan Hawkes. What was that process like, why do you two like working together and what was the biggest challenge writing this script? I've known Alan since university, we both studied film, and lived together. We've worked together to an extent over the years, but this was our first full on script collaboration. I'm capable of developing the scenario and creating story beats, but I often prefer to work with another writer, especially if it's comedy - and Alan is more naturally joke orientated. There was already a script in place before he came on board, but it really improved after he re-wrote much of the dialogue, and suggested fresh ideas (like the Tusken Raider laugh). We also have a "cinematic shorthand" because we have similar film taste, so that always makes the process swift if it involves references. We didn't end up shooting it, but when Jarvis walks through the streets of Brixton after being chucked out of the pub, I wanted extras to give Jarvis a barrage of abuse, and to block and drown it out he puts on his helmet. And I would say to Alan - "you know, like the scuba scene in The Graduate."
I'd say the biggest challenge was trying to ensure the scenes were funny, but to also create a realistic inner life for the Stormtrooper. Even though the concept was ludicrous, I wanted it to feel natural.
3This is a Star Wars fan film. Can you tell me what it is you like about fan films and why you chose to make one? I've seen many fan films, but I can't say I'm a huge fan of them. I just noticed that it was a popular format on the medium (YouTube) we wanted to produce content for, and we could reach a wide audience. I thought it would be a novel approach to use that popular format, but instead explore more substantive ideas and themes. As we were developing the script this fear regarding the rise of the fascist right was growing, which of course has only escalated since. As we kept developing the script those echoes became more prominent, and I became more determined to get the film made.
4Obviously Star Wars must have had a big impact on you. Can you tell me a bit about what it is about the Star Wars universe that you love so much and why do you think it has such a far reaching influence around the world? This is something that I summed up in my Star Wars video essay - it's the universality of the themes. It's an age old story about good versus evil. Lucas was very much influenced by the American mythologist Joseph Campbell, and wanted to create a saga that worked on that broad level. It's also a big original studio franchise, but one that stemmed and was produced from the imagination of one man. That's rare in this day and age. Most franchise films are now made by committee. It also just made a huge impact in the culture immediately. Star Wars came after a troubled period for the Americans (Vietnam, Watergate), and many of the iconic films from that era were cynical and down beat, so Star Wars (like Jaws and Rocky before it) was a breath of fresh air. Audiences could just sit back and enjoy the spectacle.
5What's next? Bond, James Bond. The second episode focuses on an ex-Bond girl trying to adapt to life after a brief romance with 007. I don't really want to give away anymore than that, except that I'm very excited about the concept.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
Share this film
Please share Life Outside The Frame - Star Wars with your friends and help this filmmaker win!