FIVE QUESTIONS: KEVIN TANCHAROEN
Kevin Tancharoen has the Internet sensation of the moment with his faux trailer for “Mortal Kombat,” a film he would like to make but has no deal in place for. Tancharoen is the director of “Fame,” which might not sound like the perfect fit for a “Mortal Kombat” reboot, but fans are going ga-ga for the finished product, which stars Michael Jai White, Jeri Ryan, Lateef Crowder, Ian Anthony Dale and Matt Mullins. We caught up with Tancharoen for five questions.
GB: The trailer is a sensation and one reason is it’s extremely polished. Tell us about the making of the video and the resources you used.
KT: Well, I have been thinking about a reboot of “Mortal Kombat” for some time now and I saw this as an opportunity to showcase that I could handle a genre picture. The technology is so available now that I feel like not picking up the camera and carrying out your passion is a mistake. So I called up all my friends and gave them the pitch to shoot this in two days … and luckily they agreed. We did this on a shoestring budget — my own $7,500 — in two days at Lacy Street Studios with everyone donating their time. It was such a good environment on set since everyone was there for the passion … not the money. It took me about two and a half weeks from inception to get everyone in line and all the pieces organized. We shot it on a Saturday and Sunday, and I took a month to edit it. All the visual FX were also done by a group of amazing people who understood what I was trying to do. I was really fortunate that everyone was willing to run and gun this project with me.
GB: What’s your fanboy background? How many times have you played Mortal Kombat in your life?
KT: I played Mortal Kombat 1, 2 and 3 more times then I could count. I used to go to a local arcade and just wait in line to try and beat the big kids. At the time, the Internet wasn’t around to learn the fatalities … so you had to kind of had to be in this special club to learn certain moves. I grew up a fanboy who was obsessed with Mortal Kombat, Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers and Spawn. I’ve always been immersed in that world, and I even got a black belt in karate because of it. Making fanboy movies is what I have always wanted to do. When I was 13, I enrolled in creature-making class with Jordu Schell because I dreamed of being the next Stan Winston. Then I got into the dance and choreography world when I was 16, and that kind of took off. Since I was a technical guy I ended up doing some remixes, video editing and stage direction for world tours with artists like Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, Madonna, Jessica Simpson and Christina Aguilera. That kind of crash-course training made me learn a lot of programs like Pro Tools, Avid, Logic, Final Cut Pro and an MPC. All of those skills eventually helped me on my path to seeking out a directing career.
GB: What’s your great hope as far as the opportunities that this massive audience might present for you?
KT: Well, I knew that since most of my professional background comes from music and performance, I was going to quickly be put into a box. In order for me to make the kind of movies I wanted … I had to do it myself first. So I am hoping that this proves that I am capable of handling this type of material.
GB: Trailers like this and comic books seem to be the best way for creators outside of the Hollywood circuitry to catch the attention of decision-makers. Do you think we might see a point where these new-form auditions actually become part of the studio process?
KT: Absolutely. I am a huge fan of social networking and taking advantage of technology. We live in a world where anyone is able to showcase his or her work directly to the consumer. The possibilities are endless. However, there are risks to that approach as well. The fans could absolutely hate what you have to offer. It’s something that I was very nervous about since fanboys are very tough critics. It was a risk I knew I had to take, and I’m glad I did. The feedback has been so positive, and I am thrilled.
Here’s the trailer, but be warned that it’s a bit bloody and intense …
– Geoff Boucher
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