Here at Film 14, we specialize in only the best cinematic book trailers — but every once in a while comes a project that knocks our socks off.
USA Bestseller May Sage’s bombastic STRANDS OF STARFIRE series really blew us away with an intergalactic tale combining the powerful forces of love, SciFi, and… mages?
A few of the folks on our team were particularly ecstatic about this latest trailer, due to its SciFi theme and its Star Warsesque potential.
This genre-bending “Space Fantasy Romance” takes place in a galaxy where being born with magical abilities carries a death sentence. The book follows its protagonists since youth, and is particularly noted for Sage’s fantastic and truly in-depth worldbuilding.
For trailer director Max Rosen, that presented a unique set of challenges.
Based in the heart of Brooklyn, NY, Max is far, far away from the space and magic of Strands of Starfire – but what he does have up his sleeve is ample amounts of, dare I say…
Dad jokes aside, we chatted with Max to pick his brain about his work on Strands of Starfire – and how he brought May Sage’s beautifully crafted world to life.
AW: What steps did you take to re-create a SciFi world here on Earth? Any particularly fun production challenges?
MR: Living in Brooklyn, it’s definitely not especially easy to recreate anything other than current day Earth. Before I moved to New York, I lived in Springfield, Missouri and I would hafta say it was way easier to film there. Because there are open fields, lush forest areas, weird abandoned-looking industrial areas and plenty of town and city stuff if ya need it.
But there is a location in Brooklyn that I’m almost hesitant to reveal because sometimes I feel like it’s my secret, but it looks and feels nothing like New York City and it’s not far from the JFK airport. I had been there to film last summer and thought it might also possibly work for this project. When I went to scout it for this shoot, it looked completely different from before, because now it was winter. I was initially bummed as hell, but quickly realized it was actually better. Because instead of tall Great Plains-looking grass, it looked desolate and barren – a little bit alien. Which made it perfect for a faraway planet.
The rest comes down to details. I scoured eBay, Etsy and other online retail shops for futuristic clothing for hours at a time. The simpler the better when matching disparate wardrobe pieces. Luckily May Sage’s characters like to wear black! And the digital effects come courtesy of my college friend and fellow filmmaker Garret Layman. He’s helped me out with five of these book trailers now and he’s just great. I give him some visual references, shoot some test shots for him and the rest is just tweaking. He gets it big time and often adds stuff I didn’t even think about which really lifts the shots to another level.
AW: Strands of Starfire comes with its own original score which I found especially interesting. What was the process behind that?
Composer Alec Lambert and I have worked together on eight Film 14 trailers now. He’s a Brooklyn-based musician who leads a great band called White Rope and he really caught my ear with a soundtrack he did for an indie videogame called We Know the Devil. It’s kind of like an even cooler, more dynamic It Follows score. I can give him a temp track or even just a reference and he’ll come back with something crazy good. For this, I definitely thought we needed something sparse and big-sounding. I’ve been a freak for movie trailers since I was a kid and I’m very into the outsized emotion they can provide. A lot of that weight is carried by the music, especially with a limited budget, so I’m lucky to work with Alec. I have a constantly updated list of favorite movie trailers going in my head and for this one, the trailer score I referenced was The Rover. Specifically the teaser trailer. The music in it sounds heartfelt but momentous and rides that strange line between ominous and hopeful, which is where I love to be and where I think May Sage’s Strands of Starfire lands.
This interview was edited for brevity.
This trailer was Produced by Max Rosen and Film 14
Directed & Edited by Max Rosen
Shot by Max Rosen
Music by Alec Lambert
Digital Effects by Garret Layman
Make-Up Effects by Max Rosen and Peter Smith
Starring Francesca Anderson, Angelo Balassone, Peter Smith and Max Rosen
Made with help from John Ambrosio, Andrew Heilman and Sandy Honig
Title trailer by A.N. Wijaya
Questions, comments, or just want to chat? Tweet us at @Film14Tweets or hit us up at film-14.com for more insights into our author services, trailer making, and the trailer creator process. For more of Max’s art, check out his Vimeo and store.