Caped Crusader: The Dark Hours Now what lengths would you actually go through to see the next new Batman film? Would you stand on your head and sing the Flemish national anthem, perhaps? Or would you punch yourself in the face with a stick of sh*t? Or better yet, would you read the following interview I did with my great mate Ramsey, who's made a new film about... about... about, eh? What was his name again? I forgot it. Dammit. 

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Lego Batman1) What are your own origins, Ramsey? Plus what path did you take in life prior to getting to where you are today?   I started out as a little kid who couldn't stop playing make-believe with friends, action-figures, drawings, etc... Some of my earliest filmmaking memories involve storyboarding film adaptations of video games I would watch my brother play at age five or six. By age nine I was really into using my dad's camcorder to make films with actions figures. Later on I got into re-making films that I loved, which really helped me explore what filmmaking involves and how to use an image (or series of images) to evoke a feeling in the viewer.

As a teenager I began doing a lot of stop-motion animation which was huge for me as a filmmaker. I would spend hours on a 20-25 second shot, moving lego figures millimeters at a time for every frame. This forced me to scrutinize my work and learn how to appreciate the value of one frame, a lesson I still use today. Stop-motion animation and live-action projects were my primary hobby, and by High school I was playing with green screens, color correction, after effects, and basically any technical filmmaking tool I could get my hands on and study until I knew how to use it. 

At age sixteen I was able to put together a crew of my peers to act in a feature film, "Cinder", which I wrote, shot, and edited on weekends and holidays, and even managed to screen in local theaters, filling a large theater to over-capacity on our first showing. After seeing the audience react with wonder and amazement at what we were able to do with a few friends, a camera, and some cheap props from Amazon.com, I was hooked. It was that same day I decided I needed to do this forever, and I've been writing, shooting, editing, and making my own films non-stop since then, always finding ways to expand my horizons.

Batman in Flashpoint
Along the way, I've met some great people like the Executive Producer of 'Caped Crusader' (& also playing Batman), Tom Mariano, who's been an endless source of encouragement, networking, and hard work for me. As I'm improving my craft and working on new ways to be creative, my producers Tom and Lisa are able to put together massive productions filled with talented cast & crew, as well as hold down the fort logistically while I try to translate my vision to screen in directing, lighting, and personally operating camera and pulling my own focus for every shot in the film.

2) What inspired the creation of ‘The Caped Crusader’?   I, like many others, have always been a tremendous fan of the Batman Mythos and super-heroes in general. I've done several Batman films in lego form using stop-motion animation, but it had never occurred to me that it would be possible to make a live-action Batman film on a low, independent budget without it being just silly compared to what the Warner Brothers' films and a lot of existing fan films on YouTube have been able to do.

About a year ago today, Tom sent me a few pictures of a completely film-accurate replica of the bat-suit from The Dark Knight and asked if I would be interested in making a Batman movie, because he had just bought the suit. After I figured out he wasn't joking, I decided I couldn't pass up this opportunity and began writing a treatment for a 15-20 minute Batman story which quickly ballooned into the script for a feature film. Tom was really liking the script and we slowly moved forward, putting a crew together and auditioning over 200 applicants to find the necessary talent.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
3) In your own words how would you describe this story?   Essentially, "Caped Crusader: The Darks Hours" is a fusion of elements from Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" and Geoff Johns's "Flashpoint" with a good bit of original storytelling mixed in. We aim for it to be an energetic story which manages to strike a balance between darkness and fun, with a tone clearly inspired by the Nolan films. I really-really-really think we've accomplished that and can only hope audiences agree.

4) If this film omitted a collective odour, what would it smell like and why?   Fresh rainwater with a puff of Boston smog.

5) What song would you say best represents your wares and why?   It may be a bit unusual, but during the writing process and in editing I used (potentially over-used) Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" to the point where I associate the essence of "Caped Crusader", and the character of Bruce Wayne, with that song. 

Kevin Smit
6) If you could get a known celebrity – either living or dead – to promote this flick, who would you chose, and why would you want this particular person?   Ever since I started working on this project, I've wanted to reach out to filmmaker Kevin Smith -- known lover of the caped crusader and comic books alike -- but I'm waiting until we have a finished product, or at least a full-length trailer to even try. I choose Kevin not only because he's a huge inspiration to me, but because if he were to promote something Batman-related, people would listen because Kevin knows his sh*t when it comes to Batman.

7) What were the main obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   The majority of our obstacles came during the purgatory between pre-production and production -- figuring out how to actually do the film without obtaining the rights to the Batman character or getting sued. And in the first couple days of production we really had to figure out who was a necessary part of this massive crew of volunteers and who was kind of just hanging out and getting in the way. Though we have a nice little budget for locations, catering, equipment, etc. we don't have money to pay cast or crew for their time, so we have to take their word and hope they show up and rise to the occasion because they love Batman as much as we do.

To my surprise, most of the people who were there from the beginning have stuck with us 'til the end and given us 100%. But, with a film of this stature, there's always those few people who get fired along the way.

Batman means business
8) If ‘Caped Crusader' had a motto, what do you think it would be?    We've had a lot of running jokes and gags throughout production, but if I were to choose one thing as our motto, I'd say the most optimistic would be: "one take!". A phrase we would chant victoriously after completing some of the most lengthy & complicated shots in only one take, which would happen surprisingly often.

So there you have it, Bat fans. My pal Ramsey plus On Edge Productions new film, 'Caped Crusader'. When you have the time please feel free to check out their youtube, facebook, and twitter pages for more details on this great project. Go on. What are you waiting for? A signed invitation by the Joker?

CAPED CRUSADER: THE DARK HOURS CAPED CRUSADER: THE DARK HOURS Reviewed by David Andrews on September 26, 2014 Rating: 5
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