Project 88: Back To The Future Too pushes the boundaries of what we can create while still being socially responsible. It’s a full scene-for-scene remake of Back To The Future 2, created in segments by 88 teams around the world. The catch? They had one week and could only use what they had access to in and around their homes. Taylor Morden, the filmmaker who started Project 88, took some time out of launch day to talk about the project.
Project 88 is the brainchild of Taylor Morden, a director with an interesting slate of documentaries and shorts under his belt (including The Last Blockbuster and Sticker Shock). He pulled together the team of volunteer creators, ran herd on them for the week of the project, and edited everything together into a feature-length video which is set to be released tonight.
This project is exactly what we’re about here at The Geekiary: fans coming together to celebrate the things they love and use it as a springboard to their own creativity. We asked Morden to share how this awesome (and incredibly complicated) project came to pass.
Where did this idea of fan-sourcing scenes for Project 88 come from?
My wife was sick, and at the time, they only told people with symptoms to stay home, so I was cooped up for a week or so before the stay at home orders went out. By then, I was already getting a little stir crazy. After having a few film shoots cancelled, I reached out to other filmmakers to see if there was a way we could all work together on a project from our homes and combine it into something bigger.
The idea of doing a fan-made remake of a movie, came from just wanting to make something silly that would be fun to do. Then we opened it up to anyone, because it seemed like a fun creative outlet that might be able to help people forget about all the craziness going on right now.
Why did you choose Back to the Future 2 as your source material?
I’m a big pop-culture nerd. I love so many movies from the 80s and 90s; I would have thought it would be a tough decision.
But it wasn’t. Star Wars has already been done in this style, so that was out. Back to the Future is my second favorite trilogy. The reason we went with Part II instead of the first was was really quite simple….. hoverboards.
It’s also the silliest of the 3 movies and has the widest range of scenes (1985, 2015, alternate 1985, and 1955), so we thought it would be really fun for people to play with.
Did you have any minimum requirements for contributors, or did you just set technical requirements and turn people loose?
We assigned people entire scenes, meaning about a minute of the movie. The only requirements were: you have to do the whole scene, you can’t change the script, you have to adhere to your local stay at home and physical distancing guidelines, and you have one week to finish it.
After that, we let people use their imaginations to come up with the way they would create the scenes. The results range from kids animating with Lego to professional filmmakers with professional actors and everything in between.
Some of the press surrounding the video mention surprise cameos from the original cast. Did you reach out for those, or was it a surprise to you as well?
Some people who were making scenes already knew some of the original actors, so they reached out for cameos.
We, of course, would love to get the project in front of the big stars like Christopher Lloyd, Thomas F. Wilson, Lea Thompson, and Michael J. Fox and hear what they think of it, so if you’re reading this and you cousin’s friend knows someone who does dry cleaning for Michael J. Fox’s nephew, be sure to tell them about it.
We were able to get the trailer over to Robert Zemeckis, and his response was, “Very Cool!”
What was the editing process for Project 88 like? It sounds deeply complicated and also fun.
Most people edited their scenes and sent in completed segments, but I had to edit a few myself from raw camera files. Stitching the scenes together was fairly straightforward since I knew the order and the lengths were pretty close to the original.
Mixing the sound levels was probably the hardest part; they were all over the place. I tried my best not to go in and color grade anything or ‘fix’ anything that might take away from the charm of a given scene.
As a professional director, how do you think this experience will shape your work going forward?
I have always been a proponent of the DIY mentality- using creativity rather than money to get something done. I think that comes from playing in bands and having to do everything ourselves for so many years.
If anything, I think this re-enforces that idea that anything is possible. Even if you don’t have anything to work with besides some cardboard and hot glue, you can make something! And it doesn’t really matter if no one likes it, or if it doesn’t ‘succeed’ (whatever that means), because the joy we get from the act of making films is reason enough to keep doing it.
Thanks to Taylor Morden for speaking with us, and to all the creators who put together the 88 scenes of Project 88: Back To The Future Too!
The film drops at 5 pm PST tonight. You can follow Project 88 on Facebook, and watch it here if you’re finding this after 5 (or just had to finish the Crown of Candy premiere first). Come back and let us know what you think!
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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