“Halo, to me, is about the Spartans. This is the main element of warfare which differentiates Halo from so many other sci-fi franchises…the backbone is and must always be the Spartan”
The screenplay for the curious can be downloaded via this link.
And now enjoy the interview!
For part 3 of this series on grassroots storytelling in the Halo universe, the creator of one of the most ambitious live-action Halo films to date, Jared Pelletier, answers a few questions about his film “Faith”.
But first, sit back and enjoy this brand new official trailer released today, for Halo: Faith!
Can you briefly summarize what Halo: Faith is about?
‘Faith’ is about a group of Spartans sent to defend power generators on the planet Reach as the Covenant begin their first wave of attacks.
What inspired you to take on this particular project?
In early 2010 I was approached to direct a short project based on James Cameron’s “Avatar”. The goal of the film was to showcase unprecedented visual effects for a micro-budget film exhibited exclusively on Youtube. That project never came to be, but the idea of creating something incredibly ambitious and revolutionary was inspiring. I wanted to set the standard in this category. I believe this will be greatly beneficial to the professional careers of everyone involved.
Jake Commons was initially involved with the writing for the story, but early on it underwent a full re-write. Can you describe your process for the writing of Halo: Faith story?
Jake wrote a fantastic screenplay based on a few drafts I had been working on earlier in production. We actually had a total of 17 drafts before the final product. During our first days on set, we shot exactly to the specs of Jake’s script. Unfortunately during the dailies and early edits, the script did not translate to a coherent narrative on screen. I then went back with Erik Tallek to come up with a new script which works as a better picture, while still maintaining Jake’s touches.
Did you have any concerns about what should or shouldn’t be included, how the story might interact with Halo canon, and how fans might react?
This is always something we keep in mind, but not our primary focus. At the end of the day, we have to make our movie. This is a completely independent vision of this universe. Some aspects will be significantly different from the games, other areas will remain exactly the same. We’ve maintained the integrity of Bungie’s work, which was most important for us. I believe that all of the changes made were necessary in adapting this material to the screen. From the very beginning my goal was not to take the games and turn them into a movie, but rather to create a realistic interpretation of what this universe may really be like.
Was Halo: Faith always going to be a free, grassroots production for the Halo community?
Absolutely! The goal of Faith is to deliver an incredible cinematic experience, while furthering the careers of us as filmmakers.
Has your fan community, or the Halo community in general, played a role in the development of your film?
The fan support has been instrumental in bringing key members to our team. Our visual effects are the key aspect and driving force behind this project. We’ve been able to bring major players from ILM, Digital Domain, and Weta to the film – largely in part to the following and buzz around the project.
How did you go about forming the team that would work together to create this film?
This process has been long and involved. We began in September 2010 and to this day we’re bringing new people on board everyday. It’s all about selling ourselves as filmmakers and selling the project as being worthwhile. The response to our requests has been incredible. Some of the most talented people in the world are working on this film on volunteer hours.
I think forming any great team comes down to having a great product and vision people believe in.
It has to be asked: If you could film Halo: Faith as a 3D movie, would you?
I would have loved to shoot ‘Faith’ in 3D. My cinematographer is familiar with the format, and has experience on 3D set ups. I think 3D is a valuable asset if it helps tell your story, and in our case, it definitely would be a great asset. We’ve explored some fantastic 3D conversion techniques, but I can’t confirm that Faith will be getting a 3D release. In any case, this is a medium I plan on exploring with future projects.
What would you say is your favourite moment so far on set?
I think every moment on set during ‘Faith’ was fantastic. We had a great energy from the cast and crew, tons of dedicated people, all with the common goal of making something significant. I think everyone had the feeling that we were doing something very special, not even regarding the end result, but just our process. The challenge of shooting a live action film which ultimately consists of about 95% CG was an amazing experience.
What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in this production?
Continuing my last thought, over 95% of this film is CG. This process is incredibly consuming and involved, especially when just about everything in this Halo world is being created from scratch. Once you start seeing the results, it’s instantly worth the seemingly endless hours of work and late nights.
OST tracks on Youtube:
Both Daniel Ciurlizza and Giancarlo Feltrin are working on the OST. This is an interesting process, as we’re trying to maintain the familiar sounds of Halo while also bringing something very cinematic and fresh. I try to be very flexible with the music. I’ll give an idea as to what I want, and let them work it as they interpret my direction. I think this is important with all creative aspects of the filmmaking process. I don’t believe in limiting the abilities of anyone, as I don’t think that’s the best way to get the very most out of creative individuals.
What is it like working with a team of creative minds, and Halo fans, to bring this film together?
That has been one of my favourite parts of this production. The team is incredibly dedicated, and everyone really believes in the product we’re creating. Without all of these talented people, the film doesn’t happen. A picture like this requires an incredible team, and I’m lucky enough to be working with one.
What are some past projects which you’ve created that have brought you to this point?
I’ve worked on a number of films over the past 3 years. In March 2010 I had my first experience with visual effects on a movie called ‘The Haunted Soldier’. The film went on to win some awards, and I instantly fell in love with the freedom visual effects can give. You’re really only limited by your own imagination. Another more recent film ‘In the Hearts of Men’, a WWII epic, premiered at the AZFAME Film Festival in Arizona this past March. It went on toe win Best Director, Picture, Editing, and Cinematography. That film added a ton of credibility to my name, which has helped in the recruitment of large visual effects studios.
Earlier this year you revealed two other videogame related film projects in the works to follow Halo: Faith. What’s one thing you’ve learned in creating Faith that you can apply to these?
As per request, I can’t discuss any projects at the moment or confirm that any are officially green lit. All I can discuss about my next film is that it’ll be presented in 3D!