How far would you go for your fandom? Do you enjoy cosplaying, dressing up like StormTrooper, or a Jedi Knight and raising money for worthy causes like the 501st and the Rebel Legion. Do you instead love going to conventions, visiting the different booths and panels, maybe waiting in line to get a autograph of your favorite start from TV or film. Maybe you go further still and writer fanfiction, writing stories based on characters and worlds that already exist, but that someone else created. Fan films are a little bit of each of these things, and the people who create fan films LOVE their fandom.
Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with two amazing women fan film makers based out of Utah, Amanda and Kailee of Apple Juice Productions. Apple Juice Productions are an all female group of talented writers, actresses, filmmakers and directors (they really do it all) that love to create female centric stories on film. Some of their earlier work includes ‘Stoneybrook Revisited’ which is a Baby-Sitters Club fan film and ‘The Cate Morland Chronicles’ based on Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Apple Juice’s latest work is the ‘Lily Evan’s Series’ based on the mother (way before he was born of course) of J.K Rowling’s most famous Wizard Harry Potter.
I would like to start with a little bit more of an introduction. Amanda Taylor is the founder and Creative Director of Apple Juice Productions, she also plays the pivotal role of Lily Evans in the series. Amanda is not shy to take the directors chair if needed, and is also a very talented writer having written almost all of the Apple Juice films, but also she writes for Working with Lemons which is another Utah based group who make viral YouTube parody videos. Kailee Brown is Apple Juice Technical Wizard (pun intended) and oversees all of the technical team through both the production and post production stages. Kailee is also an amazing artist and illustrator who designed all of the groups logos.
(I would like to add a little disclaimer here. I am not going to be able to cover the entire interview with Amanda and Kailee here in this article, so to get the complete interview please listen to the Fan Film Boyz Podcast Show 38 – When Life Gives you Apples!)
One of the first questions that I always ask anyone involved in a fan film is Why? Why use your own money, time and resources but use someone else’s creations when you cannot use them to make money. Kailee told me that one of the main reasons that they do fan films is because it helps to ‘garner a much larger audience’ when you use already established characters and worlds and this makes a lot of sense. By making the Lily Evans Series they already have a hungry base of loyal Harry Potter fans who want more then what Warner Brothers and Rowling has already provided. To further pivot off of this as well almost everything already created (including fan films) are focused on a male view, and Apple Juice is unique and really wanted to instead focus on the female aspect of the Harry Potter world.
We spoke a lot about the Harry Potter setting and what sort of research and work needed to be done before the camera’s could even roll, but one of the other things that we talked about was the actual sets use in the series (sets and props are usually one of the most often underused aspects of a fan film). It turns out this is a interesting story because almost the entire first film ‘Lily Evans and the 11th Hour’ was filmed in the same spot, a local Medieval themed restaurant (used with permission of course) called ‘The Five Alls’. This restaurant was the perfect setting and substitute for Hogwarts, later in the series a lot more locations and sets were used, however The Five Alls stayed a favorite and if you are in Salt Lake City why not visit them to check it out!
One of the biggest things that Amanda and Kailee wanted to talk about is the future, and in particularly their plans for the huge Lily and James Wedding. To accomplish this they need some help, so up until May 18, 2018 Apple Juice Productions is looking to raise $5000 to cover the costs of making the biggest and best Wedding ever done for a fan film! I know that there is not a lot of time left, but please consider helping out, as of the writing of this article they were at almost $4000 with 146 donors!
Amanda and Kailee are two of the most amazing people that I have had the pleasure of talking fan films with. They love what they do, and they are very good at it as well, and with a little bit of help they plan on doing it for a long time. I want to thank them for taking the time to talk with me, check out the Lily Evans Series at their website www.applejuicepro.com/projects or on YouTube, Like and Share their socials, www.facebook.com/applejuicepro and follow on Twitter and Instagram just search for @AppleJuicePro.
Robert is one of the hosts of the Fan Film Boyz Podcast, a podcast that discusses, reviews and helps promote fan films. For more in-depth discussion and interviews with directors, writers, actors and actresses, give the podcast a listen.