Project Green Screen: The Robert Rodriguez BlackBerry Film

By Phill Powell

He’s a first-rate action director. His non-stop mayhem action flicks like Desperado, Sin City, El Mariachi, Planet Terror and From Dusk to Dawn have earned studios millions. He’s also a legend in the world of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) cinema; he made his first movie, El Mariachi (1992), when he was only 23. The film’s budget? A mere $7,000. After El Mariachi was purchased and released by Columbia Pictures, the film grossed more than $2 million.

Director Robert Rodriguez made his first film, El Mariachi, for $7,000. It went on to make more than $2 million.

Rodriguez latest project is a crowd-sourced short film for BlackBerry. To make the movie, Rodriguez has been reaching out to fans, actors and filmmakers, to participate in “Project Green Screen.”

Finishing the Puzzle
Project Green Screen” is an interactive, video puzzle. It began with a short action film called Keep Moving that Rodriguez directed. He intentionally left certain holes in the story, which is where the audience-participation comes in.

The project first called for submissions from people interested in acting in the final film. Interested actors sent in clips of themselves acting out a portion of script posted on the project website. Then director Rodriguez sifted through all the performances and will unveil his selection to appear in the movie when the final film is eventually revealed.

Faces of fans and actors will be added to the film digitally. Using green screen, the director is able to erase the background and replace it later.

A second round of submissions called for tweets containing imaginative weapon choices, while a third round requested designs for monsters, with the winning design being turned into an actual CGI monster for the final film.

The different rounds of submissions are now officially finished and Rodriguez is in the Edit Suite, putting the final touches on the movie. BlackBerry will soon unveil the final collaboration between Rodriguez and the many would-be filmmakers taking part in the project. The movie centers around Lola and Lucia, two sisters who operate the Two Scoops ice-cream truck, and also happen to be monster slayers in their spare time. Rodriguez posted the script online for actors and challenged special-effects makers to be creative for the film’s monsterous creatures.

Director Rodriguez requested submissions from actors, as well as suggestions about weapons and monsters that should be included in the Keep Moving film.

Discovering Creative Approaches
Robert Rodriguez made his first movie when he was nine years old, and he hasn’t looked back since. Along the way he’s shown that you can take a non-traditional path to career success in filmmaking. These days it’s even easier to start learning about film and making your own movies. This summer, kids and teens from across the United States will discover digital filmmaking at Digital Media Academy tech camps.

DMA offers a range of filmmaking courses, according to age and areas of interest. For campers age 8 to 12, DMA’s Adventures in Filmmaking & Special Effects camp offers a fun-filled overview of the film-production process. For teens just getting into moviemaking, DMA’s Digital Filmmaking for Teens – Beginner camp shows them the ropes as they learn cinematography and editing techniques under the guidance of pro filmmakers. Or, for a complete and immersive film-camp experience, check out DMA’s Academy for Digital Filmmaking which gives teens two packed weeks of film-camp project work, shot on Canon HD video cameras and edited with Apple’s® Final Cut Pro X®. If film is in your future, DMA tech camps should be in your summer vacation plans.