Echo Station Interview with Warren Duxbury

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Echo Station Interview with Warren Duxbury
Interviewer: Dave Phillips
Interviewee: Warren Duxbury
Date(s): September 1, 1999
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Star Wars
External Links: It's Not Wise to Upset a Wookiee: LFL and Internet Copyright Issues, page 2, Archived version
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Echo Station Interview with Warren Duxbury is a 1999 interview with Warren Duxbury. It was conducted by Dave Phillips for the website Echo Station.

The topic of the interview was the Duxbury's fan film, The Dark Redemption, and its recent take down/cease and desist by LucasFilm.

The interview is embedded in the article It's Not Wise to Upset a Wookiee: LFL and Internet Copyright Issues.

The Interviewer's Wrap-up Comments

Now, as I mentioned before, we may well get a chance to see the full-length feature of this film... but for how long? Will LucasFilm react swiftly and pull the plug on something that they’ve already come down on once before... or will it slide under their radar screen in the way of TROOPS? Only time will tell, I suppose... but we’ll all be keeping a close eye on things -- both LFL and the fan sites watching for LFL’s reaction. Fan fiction has long been a sore spot for people like LucasFilm. Sites emerge every day that contain everything from fairly low-key stories revolving around obscure characters, to things like the well known fake script for "Episode 3: The Fall of the New Republic" which has been online for years now, all the way up to faked pictures and racy stories containing their characters involved in inappropriate or "adult-oriented" content. We contacted the owner of one such website, who indicated that his domain (no, we won’t be giving out the URL for it <g>) that contains admittedly "faked" images of various celebrities from Science Fiction genres in adult context generates approximately 1,000 hits per day. He classifies these images as "artwork" by fans of the various Sci-Fi realms included on his site, and says that yes, he (and the former site operator before him) received emails from the original copyright and trademark holders regarding the characters depicted in these images, but nothing serious has ever come of it. Why not? Simple -- his domain information on record contains falsified data, and so the registered letters they attempt to send him ultimately wind up being returned to sender. Ethical? Perhaps not... but the domain is still live, so you have to give him credit for forethought if nothing else.

The Interview

Dave Phillips: You weren't exactly *quiet* about the production of this film...I knew about the site for quite some time, and I'm sure folks at LFL did as well... why do you think they waited so long to do anything about it?

Warren Duxbury: I am pretty sure that they tolerated what we were doing only for the course of the Melbourne competition.

DP: Don't you feel sort of stifled? I mean, this *was*, after all, a production that you put no small amount of time into. There was an interesting discussion on our boards for a few days about LFL's reaction to your film, particularly among those interested in and writing fan fiction. Your work was, essentially, a larger-scale version of a fan fiction based piece of writing... yours just made it onto a different kind of medium... and the action taken by LFL is seen by some as being a direct action taken against fan fiction in general. Any thoughts?

WD: Like I have said to many people, we were happy to comply with LucasFilm’s request to shut down the site... it is their property, after all, that they are protecting and I totally respect that.

DP: What is The Dark Redemption?

WD: The Dark Redemption is a 20-minute short film based on the Star Wars universe created by George Lucas. It was intended primarily for a competition run by a Melbourne based Australian Star Wars fan club. The film was designed to delight the hard core fans of Star Wars and also to appeal to the major audience who just love Star Wars for what it is.

DP: What was the purpose behind making it?

WD: It all started after I approached several workmates at Foxtel in Sydney, Australia, after hearing about the Star Wars Fan Film Festival being held at a Star Wars Convention in Melbourne. The original people involved were people who I knew were big Star Wars fans. After the script was finished we started meeting a lot of other enthusiastic Star Wars fans who worked in the Media Industry. It suddenly became clear to me that it was actually going to be possible to make a fan film like TDR.

DP: How long did it take to make it?

WD: Approximately 20 months from the original idea to the finished product.

DP: How much did it cost to make it?

WD: I personally put several thousand dollars into the project. Most of the money was spent on the replica costumes.

DP: Where did all the cast members come from?

WD: It only took a few people to say yes for everyone else to jump in head-first. My favourite bit of casting, of course, was the very lovely Channel [V] Australia Hostess, Leah McLeod. Leah was absolutely superb as the character Mara Jade. I still can't believe what a stroke of luck it was having her involved! We were also contacted by an original cast member from Star Wars... Peter Sumner (who played Lt. Pol Treidum)... and he was keen to be involved and of course we jumped at the opportunity to include him. He was great! He is a true professional! It was so nice to have him on the set, as the fans got to hear some interesting stories about his experience on the set of Star Wars and his encounters with George Lucas and Alec Guinness.

DP: Were they volunteers, or paid?

WD: Everyone involved in the production gave their time freely. The enthusiasm was mind-blowing and that helped a lot. Creating that Star Wars look was achieved with the access to many of the authentic prop replica Star Wars costumes, through my good mates Scott Page and Daniel Budd. Many of those involved are full-time professionals donating their time, resources and expertise for free -- doing what we all thought was a worthwhile and challenging project.

DP: What about the camera crew, as well as the lighting/sound people and equipment?

WD: Yep, all professionals just lending their expertise.

DP: Can you give us a quick plot synopsis?

WD: The planet Kessel is an Empire-controlled mining colony indigenous to a telepathy inducing 'Spice.' The Bounty Hunter, Boba Fett, is on a mission to maintain established smuggling links for the notorious crime boss, Jabba the Hutt. A power hungry Imperial Officer, Garrock, strikes a deal with Fett on the guaranteed safe passage of the 'Spice.' He demonstrates his resourcefulness and power by allowing smuggler Han Solo to escape harassment by the strict Kessel security forces. Mara Jade is sentenced to life imprisonment on Kessel. For some reason the Imperials in charge of operations on Kessel have no idea who she really is. She is suspected of holding vital information about the Empire's new top secret Death Star Project. A band of Rebel Alliance renegade fighters (Zev Senesca, Klaus Vanderon and the Aqualish ally Hah'shyyk Baba) make a bold attempt to rescue her... but her loyalties lie elsewhere....

DP: When did you first hear from LucasFilm? Was it before or after the film was finished?... if before, did it have any effect on the production crew?

WD: They contacted us after the production was completed and the competition was over. The whole team have fully supported the decision to shut down the site... however the film is "out there" now... just like other fan films and fan fiction.

DP: Are there any copies of the film remaining, or did LucasFilm require they be turned over to them/destroyed?

WD: Everyone involved has a copy, obviously, and a copy was sent to the U.S. for inclusion in this year's DragonCon Sci-Fi Convention.

DP: How popular did the website get before it was forced to shut down?

WD: Extremely popular. We were receiving several hundred hits a day from both here and overseas.

DP: What is/was the best thing about being involved in this project?

WD: Working with all the people involved was definitely the best part. Surprisingly the whole production went very smoothly and I am happy to add that many strong friendships were made during the course of the production. I think the enthusiasm from everyone involved just had a snowball effect. We were very lucky to have such a great bunch of people all working for a common goal.

DP: What's the worst thing about the project for you?

WD: It was a very demanding project to oversee. It really was like having two jobs for eighteen months! Many times I would have loved to walk away from the whole thing, but there were too many people involved to let down so we all stuck with it!

DP: How did the cast react?

WD: As for the cast reaction... like I said earlier, we pretty much anticipated the move so it was no shock to anyone involved.

DP: I understand that it had (at least) one showing... what was the audience's reaction to the film?

WD: The response to the film in the U.S. at the recent DragonCon Sci-Fi Convention was totally unexpected! The organisers contacted me after the showing to tell me that the audience absolutely love it!

DP: Do you have any other works in progress?

WD: Not at the moment. The role of Executive Producer was extremely demanding, and I can see why George (Lucas) has said that he won't be devoting any more of his life to producing Star Wars films after he completes Episode Three. When something consumes your life that much, as TDR has with mine, you really want to move on and do something different or in my case take some time off and do the things that you have missed out on doing during the course of making the film.

DP: Has this turn of events soured you on Star Wars or LucasFilm in any manner?

WD: Not at all.

DP: Thanks for your time once more... for what it's worth, what I saw on the website looked impressive. I'm sorry I never got the chance to see the full version, as I'm sure I would've been even more blown away.

References