Superhero Shorts: Hero Story
Welcome to another edition of Superhero Shorts, where I take a look at a superhero themed short film and have a brief talk with the creator. This time I’m talking with Kaylon Hunt, writer, director, and actor in his superhero short Hero Story that’s not actually a fan film, it’s an original superhero story with a bit of action, humor, and special effects. The full version has been taken down, but you can watch the trailer below, visit the official site at HeroStoryFilm.com and check here to see if the video has been made public again.
I rather enjoyed this short film, after being disappointed by the super speed effects in The Photon Effect, I was happily impressed with the super speed effects in this short. They were simple, but very effective. I also enjoyed the comic book style flourishes like the danger beacon, and the bit during the fight with Neuro. I thought that fitting it in with the environment made it less campy than back when it was used in the Adam West Batman series. And while the whole “revealing your superhero identity to your girlfriend” is a little cliche, I really enjoyed the meat of the story between White Bolt and Neuro, I only wish that the story with Rose was handled better. She was a great actress, but just wasn’t given that much to work with. I also enjoyed Kaylon’s portrayal of Neuro, with all the little tics and everything. Overall, the relationship was a minor complaint, and it was an interesting and fun story, worth checking out. But enough from me, let’s hear from Kaylon himself.
Bubbawheat: With so many fan films out there taking known properties and giving them new stories, what was the biggest reason that made you go with original superheroes?
Kaylon Hunt: The biggest motivator for going with original characters was the flexibility of what could be done with those characters. I didn’t want to limit myself in what I was allowed to do with them – both in terms of the representation of the characters and how I could promote the finished product in the end. I think there is also less pressure for original material as no one really has any preset expectations of how things should or shouldn’t be done. There’s no wrong way to be original.
BW: What were some of your inspirations for the White Bolt and Neuro? There’s obviously references to Superman, though we never actually see any of his abilities besides his super speed.
KH: Inspiration came down to what we could actually achieve visually. The initial frame of mind I had, going in, was that I wanted to keep things simple. We did this whole thing for about five grand, so I wanted to keep the visual effects to a minimum. White Bolt only has two main abilities, super strength and superspeed, though as you said, only superspeed is really showcased in this film. Superspeed can be a relatively simple effect to achieve via editing tricks and sound design. We only really needed to establish it clearly in the beginning, then the audience gets it from that point on. Or at least that is the hope, haha. Anyway, given those motivations we ironically ended up with more vfx than anticipated! They turned out cheaper in the end as I was able to offload some of the work myself. As for Neuro, I really wanted to speak to the tendency that many of us have, as human beings, to need validation from others. I think what is interesting about Neuro is that his storyline is so interwoven with the crux of the story’s message, as well as White Bolt’s. At the end of the day, who really defines you? You? Or what someone else thinks you should be?
BW: There are a lot more fan films and superhero short films in recent years, what is it about your film do you think that makes it stand out from the rest?
KH: As you’ve mentioned before, I think Hero Story’s original characters give it a unique quality compared to other films of the genre. Likewise, the tone and humor is something I haven’t seen much before. Much of the inspiration for that stemmed from the Superman and Batman serials of the 1950s and 60s, just in a more modern context. And the inherent message embedded in the story…I really wanted Hero Story to have a clear message and firm point of view – that is, we all have the power to be our own “hero.”
BW: Aside from a couple punches, there weren’t any action scenes in this short, but there were plenty of special effects showcasing the superpowers and gadgets, was there any consideration to having some sort of action scene?
KH: The main thing with action sequences is that we were very limited timewise for production. It was actually cheaper to go the VFX route over adding more production days. We only had 2 days to shoot the whole thing and that zoomed by faster than I could ever imagine. That was the biggest lesson I took from this as a first time director. Time just disappears! More than half of my shot list went out the window. My original vision was more akin to shooting and editing the film ‘comic-book’ style with split-screen panels and all, ala Scott Pilgrim. I’m certainly happy with what we could achieve in the final product though. If the opportunity arises to continue the story further, it would of course be our aim to include more action oriented sequences where feasible.
BW: With quick references to (Nick) Fury, Wonder Woman, and S-(uper)Man, do you feel that White Bolt and Neuro fit in more with the DC Universe, or the Marvel Universe?
KH: From a character perspective, I’m inclined to say White Bolt and Neuro fit more with the Marvel Universe though they’re not quite as ‘edgy’ in their representation in Hero Story as Marvel characters tend to be. Each character is inherently flawed and struggles with their identities or abilities, and there is not quite a distinct line drawn between good and evil here. Neuro is not necessarily “evil,” just frustrated in his quest for acceptance. Moving forward, Neuro’s moral compass would be an interesting character trait to explore. Whereas, generally speaking, characters in the DC Universe tend to possess an underlying ‘noble’ quality about them and God-like abilities. I don’t think that applies to Neuro or White Bolt…or the other Hero Story universe characters you’ve yet to meet!
BW: And finally, what’s your favorite superhero movie?
KH: I’m really bad picking favorites. Like, really really bad. There have been so many great superhero films in the past few years. The direction they’ve been heading is very exciting to see, as they’re actually being taken seriously and are much more human and character focused than in the past – rather than all out visual effects showcases. X-Men: First Class is a great example of this in my opinion, though I can’t really claim it as my favorite. If I did have to crown one superhero movie as my favorite though, I think Pixar’s The Incredibles would be my pick. I was floored with that movie when I first saw it. Original. Fun. Great writing and awesome storytelling. It was a great take on the genre.
That’s one of my favorites as well, I totally agree that the strongest superhero films have been focusing more on character rather than just mindless action, and I hope the trend continues. Hopefully I’ll have my review of the Keanu Reeves picture Constantine up in the next few days, keep an eye out. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.