Superhero Shorts: Forrest Fire Films
Welcome back once again to another edition of Superhero Shorts where I feature a superhero themed short film and ask a few brief questions with the filmmaker. Today I’m talking with Forrest Whaley from Forrest Fire Films who is probably best known for his many stop motion Lego animated videos featuring several different superheroes with a Robot Chicken level of violence, language, and humor, and he has also done the animated viral video the Duck Song and its various sequels. As usual, you can watch one of his films below, or you can visit his YouTube channel to see many more videos from him.
It was actually a little tough trying to decide which of his videos to feature here, there are so many great ones to choose from. I picked this one because it was relatively recent, it came out this past summer, it’s pretty short at only a couple minutes in length, and it features Captain America who has a new movie coming out in a couple months or so. I think this is a great showcase of stop motion animation. The movements are very fluid, there is some great editing work, the fight choreography is just as good as a live action fight, only it’s done in Lego. Even the added effects blend into the real Legos quite well. It’s actually kind of funny that in some places, the movements in this fully stop motion Lego animation feels more fluid than the computer animated simulated stop motion Lego from the Lego movie, and all this is done by just one guy, though he does occasionally collaborate with other animators out there. But enough from me, let’s hear from the animator and voice actor himself, Forrest Whaley.
Bubbawheat: How did your love of Legos start, and do you remember the first set you ever got?
Forest Whaley: I’ve loved Legos as long as I can remember. I think that’s true for a lot of people. I don’t remember my first set, but I’ll never forget receiving the Lego Batcave for Christmas in 2006. I still use that set in my videos to this day.
BW: How much of your videos are straight up stop motion, and how much are after effects, would you say?
FW: It’s mostly all stop motion. I do add a lot of visual effects on top of the animation for things like muzzle flashes or explosions, but I like to keep things as grounded in reality as possible. I’d rather soak my Legos in stage blood then add it digitally. Even if that means replacing the Legos, which I’ve had to do on many an occasion, haha!
BW: Did you see the Lego Movie? Do you think that movie’s expected success will bring more people to your videos and other brick motion videos?
FW: I did see it and it was fantastic! Most fun I’ve had in a theater in a long time. For sure I think the movie will bring more attention to brickfilmers, which I think is crucial right now, since the medium has seen a decline in recent years.
BW: What’s been the most difficult video to produce?
FW: Definitely my 2012 short film Zombie Universe 2. I think there’s a misconception that stop motion is more taxing than other forms of filmmaking, but this is just not true. For me, live action videos require far more work and dedication. With Lego you can build and do anything you want, whereas live action is all about compromises. Having these limits really encouraged me to be more creative, which I enjoyed.
BW: Aside from the Lego videos, you’ve also done some live action and animation, like the Duck Song, which kind of videos do you most enjoy, or do you prefer having the ability to do a wider variety?
FW: I have to go with live action. You get to be out in the thick of it, you get to socialize with other people, and at the end of the day you have a product that’s completely original and yours. There’s nothing better than that. The Lego videos are still a lot of fun, but I mainly do them to pay the bills.
BW: And finally, what’s your favorite superhero movie?
FW: Wow, that’s a tough one. Probably Spider-man 2 or the first X-men. I’m really looking forward to Days of Future Past!
A lot of people like X2 better, but I’m with you on liking the first one the best, and I’m looking forward to DoFP too. Thanks again for talking with me.