I recently had the chance to have a conversation with the creator of the ‘A Finger Slip’ project, Naomi Javor, about the production, motivation behind the proposed film, and fan made media’s place in the world of queer representation. The project is a fan made film based on the extraordinarily popular AU (Alternate Universe) Sherlock fanfiction of the same name by Pawtal. Javor hopes to raise $10,000 through Kickstarter in the next 53 days to produce the film. As of the time of this writing they’ve raised over $8,000 so it’s looking likely that they will succeed. When I’d first heard about the film through Tumblr it sounded interesting, but after having a chat with the creator I’ve become very excited and eager to see what the finished product will be.
1) What motivated you to take this particular fanfiction and adapt it into a film?
I’ve always wanted to be a director. Breaking into the industry is hard. I’ve been a set production assistant for several years, but it’s hard working on crap projects when you want to make better ones, you know? It’s always been my dream to make film adaptations of books. The right way. So, I needed a unique idea. Something that hadn’t been done before but that I could still do on a tiny budget. A friend of mine sent me A Finger Slip by Pawtal and I instantly fell in love. She and I made screencaps of the fic on our iPhones, and Pawtal saw them and messaged me. We got to talking and a month or so later I had the idea for Fan Films. What better way to break into film than to use the power of fandoms? Pawtal has been intimately involved and so many people love the original fic (over 240,000 views on Archive of our Own) – the plot of two people loving each other without physically meeting is so near and dear to so many of us – that it just felt right. I wanted to start with A Finger Slip because it just felt like the right choice.
I have written the entire first season’s worth of episodes, and I am currently writing the season finale. We have about half of our main cast, still working on the adult roles and a few extras. I have a fully fleshed crew, ready to go, and equipment – though we could always upgrade if the kickstarter goes well – and locations nailed down. I’ve bought props, wardrobe and figured out hair/make up, craft services. Basically everything is ready to go. Once we’re finished casting this show will be ready to hit the road.
3) Do you feel fan produced media offers a unique opportunity for queer representation? How do you feel it might differ from mainstream media’s representation?
I love this question. Yes, absolutely. It seems like there are a lot of shows that want two characters to be together in a homosexual relationship but the networks refrain from allowing it. We live in a time where, for some reason, being gay or queer is taboo and “wrong” which is a load of crap. There’s a lot of stigma attached to the LGBTQ community. Luckily, we’re fighting to change that. It’s definitely my goal with this series to live up to the representation there is in the fanfiction itself. To show how true love works. To quote the author. “You don’t need to be gay to like someone the same sex as you. [You must be] In love.” This is the message that spoke to me and inspired me. It’s also another reason why I chose to adapt A Finger Slip into a webseries. I truly hope it will be powerful enough to change and inspire some stubborn minds. I also want the viewers to feel like it gives [sexual] minorities an opportunity to be represented as well. It differs from mainstream media because I don’t need to worry that my network will shut me down. I can post whatever I want- it’s on Youtube! And my target audience are wonderful allies. I’m so excited to see what this project might be able to do for the LGBTQ community.
4) What type of experience do you and members of your crew have with fan projects? Have you ever worked on something of this size before?
Personally, I haven’t worked on anything you’d have heard of. Most of them were dead end projects or things I’d be ashamed to share with you. B-movies and such. However, they paid and they got my name out you know? I know some people now. I was stage manager at our towns film festival which basically meant handing Michael Moore his microphone. I’ve met and am friends with Larry Brand (writer of Halloween H20) and Lee Ving (Mr. Body in the movie Clue) – who were both absolute joys to speak with and its an honor to know. But for the most part, my career hasn’t started yet. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t be good at what I do, I promise. My crew are all film students in our town’s career tech center. My DP has worked on several local projects as well, including the upcoming music video for The Accidentals – the group whose song we use in our teaser.
This was the first short film I ever worked on. I designed this trailer.
And speaking of B-movies, I actually was on the set of this film this past Fall. Every day. I got paid for this. That’s what matters.
You can watch the first Dogman on Netflix I believe. DM2: WOTL isn’t out yet.
Definitely a wider audience. Fandoms in general really. While marketing towards the Sherlock fandom is a great place to start – it is their characters, after all and they’re the ones who so badly want to see Johnlock (the portmanteau for John and Sherlock) happen – it’s about more than Holmes and Watson. The story of two people who grow to love each other through SMS messages is, as I said before, something I think we all know on a very personal level. Something we can relate to in the 21st century. The story of A Finger Slip is unique and personal and I think we’d all love it. You don’t have to watch Sherlock to like it. It’s good enough on its own, I think. It’s just a matter of getting other fandoms, other people, to tune in.
Thanks for letting us chat with you Naomi.
The project appears to be on the path towards success and I’m excited to see the final product. I’m also looking forward to seeing what effect the final project will have on both the Sherlock fandom and other fandoms. Will this inspire a new wave of fan created films? Will other fandoms start work on their own projects? Will an intrepid Supernatural fan turn Redemption Road or Twist and Shout into a film or series of films? Furthermore, will the success of fan projects show larger studios that there is an eager audience for queer representation in the media? Fans got together, raised money, and produced a quality film. If it resonates with the audience and gains popularity it will send a powerful message to studio executives.
There’s a lot of potential here and I’m eager to see how it goes.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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