Credit Sequence

6 February, 2011 at 7:04 pm (benjamin, film, imdblr)

Well, I’ve done this twice before, and I think it’s officially becoming a trend. That is, in so much as if I’m going to keep contributing financially to fly-by-night DVD releases so that my name ends up in the credits, there will eventually be a string of these on the blog. Until I get my own IMDB page, at which point tooting my own horn in this fashion will become slightly redundant.

Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins title card Hello to Jason Isaacs... and Benjamin Russell ...and Fizzlebang Wonderpop.

This year’s DVD credit comes from the bizarre fan-film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins. Unlike most of the fan films of the nerd spectrum, from Troops to Browncoats: Redemption, this is based not based on a film, but on a film review. BBC film reviewer Mark Kermode said, whilst castigating Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, that the plot was such an identikit punchcard knock-off of Harry Potter that it might as well be called “Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins”. This made me laugh uproariously, and I did what most people do when they find something delirious: I made the comment into my Facebook status for the moment.

But Jeremy Dylan wasn’t most people, and instead of just parroting someone else’s punchline, he took it and ran with it. After getting a sufficiently buoyant response to a list of fake Benjamin Sniddlegrass book titles, he set up a blog, creating fake synopses and script excerpts and poster art for this fake movie based on an off-hand comment about a third-rate series created due to the financial success of a second-rate publishing phenomenon. Which, in turn, led him to think that, just maybe, he should actually make the fake film based on his fake scripts based on the off-hand comment.

The erstwhile fake film, now a real film — clocking in at just under 71 minutes — has had its world premiere, and is available for digital download and will be coming out in DVD. And because I sent the production a small handful of digital cash in order to try and cover the cost of sending Mark Kermode and co-host Simon Mayo to the premiere of the actual film based on the fake film based on the off-hand comment from their radio show, my name is in the credits. Which I was not expecting, and had I known, I would have given more money earlier so that I was listed earlier, rather than in the third out of four sections of the “Hello to…” credits.

I’m not sure I’d recommend the film, as it’s mostly a string of in-jokes for people who are regular listeners to the Kermode and Mayo Film Review programme. It’s hard to imagine that people not in on the joke will enjoy it. On the other hand, Mr. Kermode reviewed it favourably, and I found that I settled down to watch it last night with the particular eagerness that comes from experiencing something totally new and completely unknown. It certainly does a decent job of lampooning the utter flatness of the Harry Potter concept, and has a number of well-timed laughs in it. And It’s also made me discover that there’s something disturbingly compelling about an evil woman’s voice coming from a man in an ape mask. So if I’m discovered in a very compromising gorilla-based latex situation in a sex-club sting at some point in the future, I’m blaming Mr. Dylan. Note to self: delete browser history.

One last comment on the final of the three stills from the credits. Now, I’m very pleased with my new identity as Smart Overcoat. I’m glad that it is sufficiently unique that I can gobble up as much web real estate as I need to without worrying about competition, and I think that deconstruction of the name has sufficient layers that it will serve me as both a handle and an identity for some time. It took me a number of years to arrive at it, and I hope it will wear smoothly and gracefully, like fine tweed. But, all that said: I think that Fizzlebang Wonderpop has me beat in the internet naming department, on verve points alone. Nicely done, sir.

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