26. November 2013
TAP is not dead.
What happened to TAP 2 and what is going to happen next
It has been four months since I had been at the cessation of the production of the Magic: the Gathering independent film, TAP 2: Game of Honor. There had been a lot of e-mails coming my way about the matter, and after four months, I am still getting messages from TAP 2 fans about what happened.
At first, I was hesitating to publicly announce what had happened, and believed that I first need to get some time off, so I’d be able to see what happened from a better perspective, before going public with the news. In the meantime, I had responded to the e-mails I got in the best way I possible could at the moment; it also was one of the e-mails that I got today (31. 10. 2013 by the time of the writing) that convinced me that it is the right time to tell the story publicly.
First of all, I wanted to thank the TAP fanbase for their undying support. Be it the tens of e-mails I got, the increasing number of downloads or the number of views on youtube. Speaking of which, I am very grateful for is the number of likes the film gained there. As I am writing this, the number had reached around 125 likes, which makes for about 12:1 likes/dislikes ratio. What amazes me and makes me happy to this day is that after the initial welcome, the movie still finds its viewers.
It was July 13th and we were well into the shooting of the film. Suddenly, I got a message from the four leading actors of Karel, Thomas, Joe and Martin stating that I should step down as a Director to the position of Executive Producer and find a new Screenwriter and Director, or else they will not continue their work on the film. This attempt to change the course of the film came without no previous warnings or tries to negotiate better terms of cooperation.
Some of the arguments presented were along the lines that I have been treating the actors like a unpaid workforce, and personally did not have a good grasp on making of the film. That I would not take advice ( even though I was basically dependent on the crew members to provide their expertise) and that I didn’t have the neccessary perspective to make the film good (even though I dedicated my free time between the films to improve and educate myself to avoid making the same mistakes all of us did in TAP 1). There must have been something else, which I never found out.
I was shocked – it was a day before a big graveyard shoot with about 20 extras, a prepaid shooting location and many staff members coordinated into a working whole after much preparation. One of the first things I had decided to was to contact the staff members about what had happened; and they were shocked as well. They had tried to console me and understand more about the matter, but they were as much in the dark as I was.
There was a little I could do, as this was a rude awakening to the future of the film. Seeing the main intention was to knock me off the movie and that I wouldn’t be able to make TAP 2 without the main actors, I had decided not to meddle in the things further. I had stepped down from my position in the film, announcing it in the facebook group ( wishing much luck to the existing crew and actors if they decided to continue on TAP 2) and saying goodbye to each and every staff member, appreciating their unique contribution to the film with some praise they truly deserved. While I was in the process of the parting, a message came to me from one of the actors, saying something like: „You should totally see what we have sent you and think about it!“
Well, I did. My last message was that I forgave the actors and I disconnected from the chat. I really wanted to consider these people friends after we’d make it, such as me and Mikoláš Adlof (Max) became friends.
Anybody who had kept a close eye on TAP 1 and 2 during their production knows that the films were a result of honest work and collaboration on the final project, which might not have been of a high-budget quality, but included other qualities of an independent film made with hard work and dedication of many artists. I got only hints or what could have occured; a Magic playing friend of mine had told me that maybe the actors’ heads got full and awaited Holywood quality of the sequel; when they saw they were „stuck“ with an independent film, they decided to part ways. Another interpretation that came to mind was that because of the same reason, they didn’t see me as a prospective leader that would get them to this level of quality.
And that might have been true; I never knew of a „prospective“ sponsor that would invest largely into the film or had contacts with big producers that would be willing to give a lot of money. I even turned down a producer offer once because the independent quality of the film would simply not be there. It might have been shot with RED cameras and the people could be paid, but it wouldn’t be an honest TAP 2, just like it’s predecesor was, anymore. I am not saying we would be stuck in the same mud as with the first film; all of us had learned important lessons and dedicated our time to improve on our mistakes. But, something that had caught the hearts of people in TAP 1 would just not be there; the same message would not come across again.
To this day, I never fully understood what had happened on that day, who had staged this decision and what result did the actors expect. What I know, however, is that nobody resumed the work on Game of Honor and made the story of the Fireball gang come full circle once again.
There is a high level of responsibility and respect that I hold to our fans from the first movie and I still want to express it through the sequel. Even with the parting with the movie as the medium to express TAP 2 through, I have decided to start writing two novels telling the story of the Fireball gang. The novels will be accompanied by photos, notes, and stories from the shooting of both films, along with a comic displaying the events that took place in both screenplays. I have neither forgotten or abandoned the whole idea; I only needed some time to recuperate and continue working on the TAP related works again.
I will inform our fans on the progress on the novels on the same pages as I did with the film (www.maxovahra.com, and of course our facebook/twitter pages). The audiences of the first movie will still be able to hear the dramatic story that was prepared for the Fireball gang in the sequel and enjoy the ventures of the group once again. It’s time to finish the story you have been waiting for!
31. 10. 2013
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