History Of The Movie
Behind The Scenes
The "Special Edition"
Premiere On The Queen Mary
In 1982, I made an Indiana Jones fan film in high school. In order to use the new video cameras and VTRs the school just bought, I joined the "Media Class". We had to come up with "educational" movies to make, and since the media class teacher was also the health instructor, it was decided that the movie had to have something to do with health class.
So, we made "Raiders of the Golden Eyeball". Indiana Jones was sent to find the Eyeball that held all sorts of great secrets about eye care. We had a great time making it, and we started a sequel just for fun, that was never completed.
I got lucky with finding Indiana Jones for the film. My friend and fellow Media Class member, Frank Rodriguez was a gymnast,
and he was able to do a lot of cool things. In the first Indy film we did, he did a few rolls, and was dragged behind a car.
In the Indy film we never finished, ("RAIDERS OF THE HOUSE OF DEATH") we had a big fight scene where
Indy was thrown off a 2-story balcony, and had to hold on and hang there.
Frank waited for me to reposition the camera, and re-do the crappy white balance on it.
He even held on with one hand at one point, as his attacker was "stomping" on his hands.
After ALL that, he pulled himself back up and "threw" his attacker over the railing!
Rocco Garcia played several roles in the movie. His biggest was Pepe,
Indy's loyal sidekick in jungles and caves of Peru.
Rocco really pulled out all the stops with playing over the top characters that got a lot of laughs.
He also played Pancho, Pepe's gay brother, and reprised the role in
"RAIDERS OF THE HOUSE OF DEATH"!
David Anderson played "Colonel Bob", of Army Intelligence.
He recruits Dr. Jones to go after the Golden Eyeball before the Nazis get to it.
David was a lot of fun to work with. He was a teacher's assistant that I dragged into the movie,
and he enjoyed himself. He came back for "HOUSE OF DEATH" reprising his Colonel Bob role.
Other roles were played by Bill Lozano, Cindy Bibb, and my health/media teacher, Ric Loya.
Ric Loya let us run wild with our imagination. We had no budget at all; this was something to do in high school other than a extra credit essay on the colon or something! EVERYTHING was borrowed: Indy's "whip" was a school jump rope. Indy's hat belonged to my father. Indy's "satchel" was an old purse. The gun was a cap gun that we put a firecracker in. The car the evil Nazis used was Mr. Loya's.
The cave where Indy and Pancho search for the Golden Eyeball was made with chicken wire and paper bags. It looked pretty convincing, too! Indy just had to make sure he didn't brush against the "rock" too much. Loya allowed us to commandeer his classroom on the weekend to build the cave and film in it. The Golden Eyeball shrine was actually in Loya's office, right on his desk!
Frank was laying on a skateboard, and underneath it, I taped a smoke pot and lit it just before filming. When it began to smoke, I yelled at the driver to take off. We did it twice, and Frank tried to keep his arms and legs up. However, the knees of his pants were completely ruined, and the toes of his shoes were gone. The car was barely going 5mph! If I had to do it today, the actor would wear BMX kneepads and shin guards, and steel-toe shoes!
While I did go to film school after high school, I never pursued a serious film career. But I still hold a passion for making movies.
In 2004, I took an interest the whole "fan film" genre, marveling at the high quality special effects and techniques that kids and adults alike were accomplishing on home computers. While I never lost the passion for making movies, I hadn't done anything significant in many years. Fan films really reawakened the desire to make movies again, no matter how little spare time I had.
In March of 2004, I bought an editing program (Sony Screenblast Movie Studio) and I needed some video to practice on, so on March 15th, I digitized "Raiders of the Golden Eyeball" from the 22 year old videotape. After rewatching the old film, seeing the terrible edits, the off-cue sound effects, and NO sound effects where they should be, I began tinkering with it as I explored all the cool things Movie Studio could do. I was so pleased with the results, I began thinking about releasing a "special edition" of the movie. Then things started to get really wacky. I began thinking of inserts I could put in to help the movie over its rough spots, using new props to match the ones in the movie, and all I'd need was a faceless arm here, or leg there. I collected foley and action sound effects that I wanted to add to ROTGE. I tried looking up the old cast for a possible "reunion" feature, but I was unsucessful.
In April, I began collecting materials and new props for the movie's new insert shots. I asked many questions on the various movie making message boards. On the 19th of that month, I made the first prop remake. In order to fix an old jump cut scene that didn't work, I needed to insert a hand-off scene of the Golden Eyeball map from Colonel Bob to Indy. The original "map" was a stone tablet reproduction I borrowed from the Anthropology class. We taped a big "eye" to it as a joke.
Instead of reproducing an exact replica, I decided to make something more in tune with the movie itself, that included Indy and Pepe's trek through the jungle, and their excursion through the cave that leads to the Golden Eyeball. It matched the old prop easily, and would only be seen in medium shots.
I tried my hand at learning learning Flash for the animated "travel map" scenes. Ultimately, I asked someone else to do it for me. This was my first internet collaboration with someone, and it opened a whole new resource that I use to this day. I found someone on a fan film message board named "Zamboni" who did an incredible animated map for the SE.
It was around April 25th that I became aware of the "other" Indiana Jones fan film made, or at leaststarted in 1982. That was the "Raiders" adaption made by Chris Strompolos. Chris, along with a few friends made a shot-by-shot recreation of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", that has since became a cult hit.
Briefly, I had a plan to have the special edition finished by November, in time for the annual meeting of "gearheads" at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Gearheads are the folks from Indygear.com who are enthusiasts of all aspects of the character Indiana Jones, but mostly concentrating on the clothing and weapons used. Chris Strompolos was slated to attend that year, and I wanted to hand him a copy of the Golden Eyeball SE. That plan never came to fruition, however. I don't believe Chris made it to that summit.
On May 7th, I began recreating the most important prop of all: the Golden Eyeball itself! The original prop was a styrofoam ball painted yellow. I couldn't make the new prop a shiny gold plated ball since it wouldn't match the old footage. But I did decide to subtley update the styrofoam ball technique. Three days later, the main star, the new Golden Eyeball was complete!
I covered a styrofoam ball with wet clay, then painted it a golden color. The clay dried out more than I thought it would, and cracked all over the ball as it dried. I decided to leave it be, as it looked like an ancient artifact! It was a cheat, as it was a bit too updated from the original prop. But in the film, the Golden Eyeball never had a close-up. I planned to rectify that with this wonderful new prop!
The 1982 altar in Mr. Loya's office, and the 2004 altar, which was set up in my living room
By the 19th, I had already filmed a few test shots, but they needed to be redone. I also completed final replacement prop: the "tile floor trap" that protected the Golden Eyeball! That scene REALLY needed to be replaced, because in the original film, we were in a hurry, and all I had was a orange piece of paper for Indy to step on at the last minute!
On May 28th, I had completed many of the insert shots that I needed. I decided to get a bit radical, and replace an entire cast member with a new one from 2004! Thus, I recruited an actual Martial Arts instructor to recreate one more scene that I felt needed replacing.
On the 31st, I met Matt Ursin and filmed the inserts in a park in Cerritos CA. Matt is a MA instructor from the San Fernando Valley who teaches Hapkido, Taekwondo, Iaido and Nunchaku. Great guy; Matt didn't mind the absurd dialogue or the silly things he had to do in the scene! Check out his website, Ursin.org. My nephew Lawrence helped out with the shoot. He made his first insert appearance that day as Indy, who grabbed the Golden Eyeball from Matt, and then stole his wallet!
On June 9th, Lawrence and I filmed nearly all the insert shots needed. Lawrence stood in for hands and feet, and did an incredible job. In one scene, he was Indiana Jones' foot, and Pepe's hand at the same time! I had also completed the beginning titles, and the first half of the movie was re-cut with the new scenes.
On the 13th, the final live insert shot was completed. Lawrence did a full body replacement of Frank, although his face wasn't seen. Below are comparison shots between Frank and Lawrence:
Production was delayed a while as I started a job on July 20th, but I was still working on a couple miniature sets which were only seen in the final product for a few seconds. When August rolled around, I dropped the idea of making DVDs. This was mostly due to my computer at the time not being up to the task. I was planning on having my friend Brian Young help me make DVDs, (and heeventually did) and also I planned to make a downloadable 352x240 version available. Remember, this was in the days before Youtube! I had no other way to show people my polished over high school masterpiece!
A new ending presented itself at that time as well. It was sort of a cross between the "ROTLA" ending and "X-Files", featuring the return of Col. Bob. I was able to use Col. Bob footage from the ill fated sequel to bring Bob back one last time. Below are a couple production shots of inserts that I completed during that time.
The special edition of "Raiders of the Golden Eyeball" was fully completed September 12, 2004. For a time, it was hosted on my friend Brian Young's server. Later, when Youtube debuted, I moved it there.
Later, I put the fight scene together from the outtakes of "Raiders of the House of Death" and put that on Youtube as well: