Edward Smith and Hunter Russell Nolen continue telling Prodigeek about their hilarious Star Wars Musical. You can read part 1 here.
Prodigeek: How was the initial reaction on the web?
Hunter: We slowly started getting an email here and there. We had these fake write ups about us. We didn’t want to say who we were because we thought George Lucas would get mad or something. For a long time we were just anonymous. But the first time I got an email from Sweden, I was like hey that’s cool, people all over the world like this.
Tim: How often do you get emails?
Hunter: They seem to come in waves. Like I’ll get nothing for months and then I’ll get 3 and an interesting phenomenon in the last year is we’ve gotten some hate mail saying “You all are fags, this is stupid”. And that just started. [laughing]. There’s only been a few of those the whole time. Unfortunately those stand out. It’s like you took the time to write this.
Tim: Another interesting thing is on YouTube, someone took our making of video and put that up. So there’s a video about us that I didn’t put up. That’s weird, who put that up and why.
Prodigeek: When did you make your Making of Video?
Tim: [The One Season More song] was the big part of the video and also the website. After I did that animation I wanted to completely revamp the website and make this really cool. So that was 2005 we made the making of video, the animation [of One Season More], revamped the website.
Prodigeek: What brought about creating the animated version of One Season More?
Tim: We wanted to do a computer video. We wanted to do an easy song with maybe one person. One Season More is a good song to use because there’s one person, but the song wasn’t good enough so we re-wrote the song and made it hopefully better.
I’m into a lot of artistic things and 3D animation is something I dabble in. I hadn’t done a big animation project so I wanted to pick something to do. I thought let’s pick one of the Star Wars Musical songs. Hunter said what song. Let’s rewrite one of them and make it really good, lots more height, quality.
Prodigeek: And it one fan film award?
Tim: Yeah, the Atom Films Star Wars Fan Film Award. Won the best song award.
Hunter: Which as far as I know that’s the only time they’ve awarded a best song.
Tim: We didn’t get the big George Lucas Select Award. Just knowing he saw it is kind of cool.
Prodigeek: Ever heard been in contact with George Lucas?
Tim: For a short period after that we tried to get into touch with Lucas Films and get some information like if could we really get this musical performed. But we just didn’t follow through with it. And they didn’t really get back to us too much. So it just kind of fizzled out.
Hunter: The main reason for that is some schools emailed that want to put it on. It seems popular with schools to do something with this material. I wanted to get some clearance from Lucas Films so these schools can do this. But they just wouldn’t respond. But these schools have still done it, and I hope that since its used for educational purposes they will always allow that to happen.
Tim: It’s been performed by a couple different high schools. Some person wrote us recently and this was weird. They wanted to use the music but not the lyrics. They just wanted to just go off and do their own musical.
Hunter: He was from, I think, the Netherlands. He said I want to use your music, but my lyrics and my story, it’s not Star Wars. Well there’s Star Wars themes woven throughout, but sure, whatever you want.
Prodigeek: Have you seen any of the school productions?
Hunter: Somebody sent us a video of one that they did.
Tim: I found another one on YouTube. These people never contacted me. I don’t know who these people are. I just see another performance of it on YouTube. I’ve seen a couple things like one person doing what we did using the Star Wars figures with our songs to it.
Hunter: The other day I was bored at work and I’m on YouTube and I find somehow this old thing of the Star Wars Christmas Special that came on in the 70s and I found this thing that Princess Leia sings. So of course I have to click on that. And sure enough she sings in that. I never knew that. I saw that when it was on TV when I was little but I don’t remember it. Sure enough she freakin’ sings and it’s really Carrie Fisher and she really sings. I sent Tim that link and we talked about it that night and he’s like, I wonder if in the back of my mind that’s where the whole idea for this came from subconsciously. But yeah everybody check that, it’s amazing that she actually sings in it.
Prodigeek: Any more animations planned?
Tim: Not at the moment. I have ideas but it’s so much work. I’d like to do them but yeah.
Hunter: [Tim] worked pretty much full time on that by himself for 18 months for One Season More so I can certainly understand.
Tim: It’s really nice once you have the finished project but to get there is just a tremendous amount of work. I’m no expert at all at animation or any facet of it so I’m learning it as I’m doing it and that’s what you’re seeing.
Hunter: Tim would calmly just go ugh, this plug-in, I don’t know why it’s doing what it’s doing. It comes with no documentation. I can’t look up why its doing it. So if you watch the One Season More video, watch Luke’s tunic. It’s like waving like its an ocean floor. Why’s it doing that. Tim could never figure out why it was doing that and get it to stop.
Tim: When I started making the video there was no deadline or time crunch in which to get it done. Just for fun. And then we heard about the fan films and we were like, let’s try to get it in that. And then suddenly it was like man now we have no time to finish this thing. The one that won the award is not a complete version of the video which we now have on our website. It was just half the length.
Prodigeek: Have you made any other musical works?
Hunter: Funny you should ask.
Tim: When we finished [Star Wars in] 1999, the next year we wrote another musical called Beyond the Gates which is obviously nothing to do with Star Wars or nothing to do with any other movie spoofs. It was just a new original musical that we wrote for a theater festival in Dallas, Teasx.
Hunter: This theatrical producer I knew, I’d given him the CD and he’s like, I love Star Wars the Musical. I’m in this theater festival and I don’t have a show. Do you guys want to write a musical, and we’re like sure. So that just led to that.
Prodigeek: What was it about?
Hunter: We talked years ago before Star Wars about doing an Oedipus Rex musical because Tim had directed Oedipus Rex in high school and we were like that would make a good musical. So we wanted to do a musical of that. We changed it, based it very loosely on the Oedipus Rex story and set it in this weird sci-fi kind of environment.
Prodigeek: How was the performance?
Tim: It was another issue of having a time crunch where we only had six months. It was only an hour long slot for a show, but the show we came up with is really should be 2 hours so we had to condense it, really compress it and make it run fast. So we only had 6 months to write it and put it up. That was in 2000.
Hunter: Which is insane. A lot of aspects of it we weren’t happy with. We got some very nice write ups in the paper. We had one review that I would call honest. The rest were just too, you know, too praising.
Prodigeek: What do for work?
Tim: I create sound libraries which are that programs people can that write music and do music on computers can use.
Hunter: Yeah he’s had some reviews of his stuff in Electronic Music Magazine and some other places. And I work in the IT industry for my day job. I think of myself as an independent filmmaker and I wish I was doing a whole lot more with that than I am lately.
Prodigeek: Have you seen any of the productions?
Tim: The one I saw was only like a 30 minute version. The thing is close to an hour. [The school] did a 30 minute, they just did excerpts.
Hunter: What they did was pretty good. The drama teacher that contacted me he said I’m going to have to add some sort of narrator to string these numbers together, do you have any pointers. I was like no, we know that’s a problem. He did it really well. His concept was a group of kids in the garage playing Star Wars. This one guy, I think the Obi-Wan character, he’ll just narrate, “now our team is in the Death Star and they bla bla bla. And they just launch into the song. People are always emailing us asking us for a script or for sheet music or for the orchestra parts. There never was any. No one who ever sang on it looked at any music for it.
Tim: Most of the people weren’t musicals who had no voice training so we just, I recorded it myself. I sang all the parts and gave that to everyone else to learn off of. So the parts that are harmonies you know like well this is your part, then I had recorded it previously myself and had given everyone their own part so they could learn it.
Hunter: One thing I’ve always wanted to do is replace all the songs up there with the version Tim did. Tim singing every part, especially him singing the Princess Leia part. It’s just hilarious.
Your can read part 1 of the Star Wars Musical interview here.