Making of a movie

About me

I love creative processes, I like the dynamics of diversity and I like to connect things.

It pleases me from an apparent chaos to link things together so that piece by piece something new is formed. The birth of something not existent until then. The combination of atoms, formed into something never seen. Making a film seems to be exactly that!

I just...

    ...doing my part!


Preparation phase

A Helmet

The preparation of the movie was starting long before I even knew that I will make a movie. It started with a helmet. It was around 2013 as I remembered that I did 30 years before stuff like making motorcycle helmets out of fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) and I was wondering if I would be able to do similar stuff nowadays. I could not remember about the right process anymore, therefore a discovery of the actual methods and materials was necessary. And I need some goal what I could create. For sure no motorcycle helmet. And at this moment was anyhow Starship Troopers in my head. I have seen it 1997 in Munich in cinema. I even don't know why the helmet  exactly, but it was anyhow connected that I started trail running through the woods. By doing that it was in my mind how that would be for a trooper wearing armor, helmet, has to carry a weapon and ammunition and from that moment it was clear for me, that I should make such a military helmet from Starship Troopers. So why not the M3 Helmet of Starship Troopers? It needs a while, months, over a year to bring that thing to the ground. A lot of research was necessary, how to build a model, how to get the sizing, how to make a mold and so on. A lot of fails were on my way, not only once I trashed a several hundred Euro mold due to a mistake. However, end of 2013 I was able to make the first pieces, the first prototypes. One of my goals was to improve them, to make them better and to make them usable in reality. For that reason we started to do some testing under real conditions, e.g. to wear it in ice water and other crazy scenarios. At this moment it was already clear to use such helmets during an obstacle race.

Obstacle races

This was the first time in 2014 during the "No Guts No Glory" race. 5 km through dirt, mud and ice water in February. It was common sense to wear some kind the helmet NGNG of crazy costume during that kind of races and therefore the idea fits well, to do that as a "Starship Trooper". It was the beginning to become familiar with a lot of crazy people and the starting point to create a team. Furthermore, it was the trigger for a lot of things: to create a team, to create "the rest of the costume" such like the armor, and it was the beginning of making video clips and to composite them to document our crazy hobby. We repeated this kind of events over the years and during it, we completed our equipment, and we improved it.

Movie making

First shooting

End of 2016 we got the whole team equipped with helmet and armor. I was talking with an event organizer about an impressive location which we meet during the helmet NGNG our crusade through countless events, how cool it would be to make a movie in it. It was at this time a lost place called the Reichsschwefelwerk in Haßmersheim, an old industrial ruin with a scary and dark, half destroyed interior. All was ready, no need to build a set, just use it. In October 2016 I got from this event organizer the information, that if I want the helmet NGNG to make that dream true I should hurry up, because at the end of the year the building will be sold, and we would have no longer access to it. That information hit me at a point as I was completely not prepared for it. There was no script for a movie, no camera, no weapons for the troopers, no plan at all. Just the goal - we make a movie. It was about one and a half month to close all these gaps and to get a plan. I cannot tell anymore how it was done, but on 10th of December 2016 it was done, and we did this damn shooting. Read more

The void

After this event in 2016 I was just flashed and flooded by to many impressions. I started to deal with cutting and composition and began very slowly to understand how huge the gaps are and how long the way will be to get a real movie. I was falling deeply, and I was lost in space at this time. That was also the reason why there was no progress in movie making of 2017, it was just a gap in the timeline. However, our sport events and my teammates got me back on the track to make a restart with this project.

The restart

The year 2018 became very busy. The gaps were analyzed, a long learning phase about compositing, VFX, cutting and green screen filming followed. But now there was a plan how to fill gaps, I was able to see the path how to reach the target. the helmet NGNG I collected all the former actors to make a new shooting to create footage to fill the gaps. And there were a lot of gaps! Because in 2016 a lot of errors and fails has happened, like to less light, not right handled camera, several other accidents. All this issues made it impossible to create a seamless story with the existing footage. In July 2018 we made a shooting in a studio, our second location the rooms of the "Martial Arts Academy" in Munich. The plan was to make that all based on green screen footage. During a fun shooting some months before we did a test run, where I was able to learn how to handle green screen footage. the M3 helmetTriggered by this success, we did even a second shooting in August 2018 in Munich, which was a combination of real shooting in a public garage as "military base" and again some green screen material, which was done in a normal flat swapped into a green screen studio. Or third and fourth locations both in Munich. At this time the team was already grown by a lot of new people, who has an important influence on development of the project simply by showing me which opportunities we have. Jim Martin, the former Art Designer of the original movie Starship Troopers helped us with consulting, creating matte paintings, and designing props for us. A time for me also to dive in deeper in the topic of prop making. New on board Martin with his family, who is a genius organizer and Phelan, our new Sky Marshal. And of course Scotty our Commander who trained the troops. In 2018 the project got a crazy acceleration. And the months between 2018 and 2019 I was sitting over months each day in the post-production driven by visible and obvious progress.

Speed up

More and more people are jumping into the project. 2019 meanwhile the gaps become less, but also more topics come on top about which I was not aware before. Slowly I understand that "audio" will become yet a huge topic. The plan was from the beginning to make the movie in two languages, in German and in English. But up to now it was not visible the helmet NGNG how that can be done. The solution for that will come one year later. However, we continued to close gaps and for that we made a new shooting (location #5) on a living demolition site. Additional a new team member jumped in - Marcel, who is since then also responsible for our YouTube channel. This shooting was extremely spontaneous. We spotted on evening this nice our fifth location and asked the worker on it if we can make a shooting on this area, and they said to us okay, but you have to hurry up due to this building will be completely removed until tomorrow noon! BAM. I need 3 actors for the intro scenery, but how to get them? At this time usually all are at work. That was the point as Marcel jumped in and helped here even with his drone to make some nice shoots.

The outbreak

Within the pandemic year 2020 the project speed accelerates even and the "virtual themes" become more important as e.g. 3D design and animation. Again here is Jim a helping hand, but some more smart guys are jumping into the project, like Trolle, Jan and Tim. All with a very specialized know how and skills, which leads finally to pointing out the M3 helmetmore missing things. Meanwhile, nearly all footage gaps are closed, only one huge black hole exists - the final fight scene. It is the longest and the most important scene of our movie which has since grown into a feature film due to its 40 minutes length. The final fight was shot in 2016 but the footage was so bad that it was not usable. Furthermore, there are several technical problems to be solved in advance. And of course over the years there were new ideas and new possibilities which are waiting to be tried. Also, to mention that the professional level increased since 2016 strongly. All what was learned was immediately adapted into the movie creation process. Therefore, for the final shooting exists a very detailed plan as well as screenplay, but also plans for camera, light, sub-scenes, props, even fallback options and so on. A huge problem was yet, that we had not yet the right location to do such a shooting. The interior and the mood should fit to our first location where all was starting, but this one is no longer available... Meanwhile, we continued gap closing. In May 2020 we did a mixture of fun shooting, gap closing and rope training, but all in Starship Troopers outfit of course. It was anywhere near Stuttgart in the woods and old train bridge, where we roped down with some troopers of the GD.

Voice over

In the middle of 2020 I got an inspiration from our organization talent Martin, how to solve the voice-over problem. I tried several till this moment, all without success due to the actors are spread over the whole country, and they have also mostly not the equipment or even the knowledge how to make a qualitative good audio recording. Therefore, I was asking in a forum of people who are doing audiobooks, if there are some "Troopers" or addicted fans of Starship Troopers who is willing to jump into our project. I was surprised about the reaction, In a short time I had a team of about 15 voice over artists ready to make it. From this point a long-running topic over the next months far-reaching into 2021. However, this is the solution and one gap less.

The last stand

For sure not, but nearly in the same time as the voice-over team was established, I got from our location expert Klaus the hint, what we could take as a location for our final the final fight locationfight scene. Since this needs to be carefully planned to avoid any surprises, we did some location scouting beforehand. That was at the beginning of July in 2020 with a team of 11 people. The location was an old bunker in France. We took a lot of equipment with us to test the best way how we can shoot the scene under the given conditions. Light, camera and equipment test. The location was very impressive. After the scouting and very promising tests we contacted the owner to get a shooting permission. And then we did it - the shooting of the final fight in August 2020. An own story, too long to tell it here. However, it was done with a huge team of about 20 people and an enormous preparation. one of the movie props I didThe preparation included this time not only the story book and detailed camera and light plans, but also a lot of props which we did in advance. Finally, that is our seventh location which we needed for our movie - the Bunker 281

Final fight

Since our last shooting I am arrived in the final fight to finish the movie. Post-production, VFX, 3d animation, sound editing, SFX, music and much more as well as such things like this website here. Meanwhile, we have April 2021. Not to forget that the pandemic situation keeps us in its iron grip even stronger than we have seen it in 2020. Not the end of the story, but the release of the movie comes closer.
2021 we made additionally the production of the Music Video Kill the Beast, which had its premiere on 24th of September. The song is a part of the fan film, but with the music video a prerelease ahead to the release of the fan film itself. Lyrics and song performance is made by Amra Mothes, a jazz singer from Frankfurt, Germany. The music composition is done by Zack Bower, Toronto, Canada. Read more


TO BE CONTINUED ...

Stand: 02.10.2021