(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Movie: Grayson
Where You Can Stream It: YouTube
The Pitch: The year is 2002. An aspiring filmmaker named John Fiorella has written a script for a feature film called Grayson, which explores what happens to an adult version of Robin (A.K.A. Dick Grayson) in the aftermath of Batman’s death. The script features a ton of significant characters from the world of DC Comics, but the filmmaker knows it’s an incredibly long shot that WB would ever be interested in actually making the movie. So Fiorella decides to shoot a trailer for the project himself, and thus was born one of the greatest fan films ever made.
Why It’s Essential Viewing: I’m generally not a big admirer of fan films, but what Fiorella was able to accomplish in this one is pretty stunning – especially when you think about it in the proper context. When the Grayson trailer/fan film was completed in 2004, YouTube didn’t even exist yet. Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins had not come out, so the most recent Batman-related movie to come out was 1997’s Batman and Robin.
Cool, right? There are definitely some early 2000s things about it (the camera’s ogling of Catwoman stands out), but for the most part, this feels pretty timeless. Now that superhero teams and massive crossover events are becoming more frequent in the modern cinematic landscape, I thought it was worth shining some light on this project, which did something similar long before it was mainstream.
In total, the trailer took 18 months to complete: three months of pre-production, ten months of shooting only on weekends, and five months of editing. The whole project was shot on film, but Fiorella was only able to afford to develop and transfer the footage every three months, so much of the shoot was done with fingers crossed that they’d gotten the shots they needed. There’s a lengthy behind the scenes documentary about the making of the project that gets into granular detail about how certain effects were achieved, what equipment was used, and how Fiorella and his team were able to pull this off. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, there are some lessons here that are applicable even if you’re not making superhero-related content.
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