With one more week before submissions close for the Star Wars Fan Awards 2018, brothers and stop-motion animators Jordan and Cody Gustafson tell StarWars.com about their unique buddy comedy.
To celebrate the Star Wars Fan Awards 2018, we asked some of the previous (and incredibly talented) winners of the Star Wars Fan Film Awards to take us behind the scenes on their own projects and offer some helpful advice for this year’s hopefuls.
Star Wars is full of important mentors and their eager students, so naturally even the most wretched scum are sometimes recruited to teach a new bounty hunter the ropes. Before Greedo confronted Han Solo in the dimly lit cantina at Mos Eisley, that mentor was…Boba Fett?
That unlikely pairing is the premise of Bounty Buddies, an unofficial and delightfully silly retelling of how Greedo ended up a smoking Rodian mess on the wrong end of Han Solo’s blaster that fateful day. The stop-motion animation, using a handful of highly-articulated action figures from the Hasbro Black Series, won Best Comedy at the Star Wars Fan Film Awards in 2015. Today, bounty brothers Jordan and Cody Gustafson are doing their own bit of teaching – sharing their story with StarWars.com in the hopes of helping this year’s Star Wars Fan Awards entrants, and talking about how their collaboration (and the award) led to bigger things.
“We've always loved the Star Wars films so much, and we're always quoting lines or joking around impersonating the characters,” says Cody. “The idea came out of us joking about how it would be funny to hear Greedo rehearsing his threatening lines before confronting Han Solo.” The shtick was also inspired by the short stories and comics that have become known as the Legends imprint. “We tried to tie in as many references and nods as we could.”
Telling stories through play...
Originally, the brothers envisioned a larger story using much smaller LEGO figures as their stop-motion puppets, but “it turned out that the sets were too complex with the timeframe we were working with,” Jordans says. Accepting realistic limitations, they turned to the larger-scale action figures. “Hasbro had recently released Black Series figures of Greedo and Boba Fett, and we were excited to try them out.”
The figures had the right amount of articulation for a wide range of motion and emotive posing, plus the larger scale was more detailed and easier to see on camera. “Since the figures were larger, animating with them allowed for more subtle movements and gestures that were a little bit more difficult with smaller figures,” Cody says. And with the help of some talented friends and prop-makers who created the cantina interior design, “we knew that we were headed in a good direction,” Jordan says. “We could focus more on storytelling and the animation, and not worry quite as much about props and sets during production.”