Fan Film, Fan Films

Unmasking Sandy Collora’s Hunter Prey

hunter prey masks

I’ve talked with Sandy Collora—the director behind the legendary fan films Batman: Dead End and World’s Finest—on and off for a few years, and interviewed him extensively for Homemade Hollywood. However, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that we finally got to meet, when he and Trey Stokes (Pink Five; Ark) were Special Guests at an author talk I did at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Talking to Collora in person, it was suddenly easy to see why a cast and crew were willing to follow him into the Mexican desert to make his upcoming sci-fi feature, Hunter Prey: The guy’s charming and it’s obvious that he really loves what he’s doing. It just makes you want to root for him to succeed.

It sounds like that enthusiasm was part of why the guys at Hangar 18 Studios worked with Collora not only on World’s Finest—building Lex Luthor’s cool costume—but on Hunter Prey as well, creating armor, weapons, and props for the retro-futuristic flick. As they note on their website,

“We couldn’t wait to receive his designs for the film. When the artwork arrived we were totally blown away! We worked with Sandy on a daily basis on two different coasts, us East, him West. Through constant communication, we implemented Sandy’s suggestions until his designs were realized, and we were also given a lot of freedom to input our own creative license into certain artifacts. Sandy possesses a great design-sense that we really enjoy; it was a great experience collaborating with him and contributing to the vision of his feature film.”

hunter prey testSome of that vision is on display at their site—go to “Services,” scroll down to the Hunter Prey section, and click on “Samples” for more than a dozen cool shots of the great gear that Scott Paige and his crew created.

The always-fascinating Indie Mogul, which, coincidentally, is usually all about prop building, has a new interview with Collora up on its site, but instead, they focus on how he built his career one step at a time, moving from creature shop work to his famous fan films, to his new flick. Given the range of experience Collora’s amassed over 20 years in Hollywood, one of the most interesting moments comes when they ask his advice for young filmmakers—because the answer isn’t what you might expect:

In some ways, it’s much easier now to physically go and make something, but I think it’s actually harder to “break in” though, as a result of it. Everyone’s got a digital camera now. Everyone’s got editing software and Pro Tools on their laptop. We’re in the midst of a technological revolution of sorts, but what people have a tendency to forget, is that no matter how advanced or affordable the technology becomes, you still need to be talented to make a good movie with all that stuff.
The bottom line here is, I don’t really feel I’m in a position to give advice to anyone. Each person and each situation is different. I can’t predict what a studio, independent investor or production company is going to do, or how they’ll react to a filmmaker’s work or lack thereof. No one can. All you can do is make the best film you can, with the money and resources available to you, and work with good people. Talented people who can help bring your vision to life and make your movie the best it can be. Just remember two things: You’ll never be able to please everybody, and if you try to please everybody, you’ll fail.

That’s humble knowledge learned the hard way, applicable for people helming billion-dollar franchise pictures or a fan film in the backyard. Kinda makes you want to root for him, huh?

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