We love a good fake trailer. After all, it creates its own broad vision while at the same time distilling it to hilarious specificity. The most recent one to cross our paths, Hewlogram, below, one-ups the fake trailer genre in two ways: 1) It stars David Hewlett, who played Rodney McKay, our favorite snarky scientist on Stargate: Atlantis, and 2) It doubles as a demonstration of some fairly nifty technology.
The special effects software and filmmaking company Red Giant produced Hewlogram and could have created a standard commercial to promote the release of its Red Giant Universe 2.2 tools for filmmakers and visual effects producers. Instead, it gave us a wacky short for a 1980s television show you’ve never seen but recognize in your geeky fiber, a buddy cop show spliced together with Tron and folded into 21st century reality—a self-aware Automan.
Hewlett, who has his own YouTube channel, told SYFY WIRE he was already a fan of Red Giant’s work, specifically the seven-minute film Old/New. “It was the most perfectly brilliant short film.” So he reached out to the company. “I will work for software,” he said.
The more Hewlett got to know Aharon Rabinowitz, Red Giant’s head of marketing, the more he wanted to become involved. “These are people who are [making movies] purely because they love it. I just wanted to be a part of that. It weirdly connected me back to student filmmaking. This is what I used to do with [friend and director of Cube, Splice, American Gods’ “Lemon-Scented You”] Vincenzo Natali when we were 13 years old.”
This reflects Hewlett’s fascination with maker culture (when he’s not acting, he volunteers with his son’s middle school PC club, teaching children how to tinker with Arduino): “You can make amazing sci-fi films if you want to with very, very little money and very advanced technology that can run on your desktop. For a geek like me, it’s a dream come true, to be able to create.”
Participating in this short also speaks to Hewlett’s love of auteurship in filmmaking. “It’s [Rabinowitz’s] baby, it’s his personality coming through in the movie. I’m obsessed with that now, having worked with Guillermo [del Toro, in the upcoming movie The Shape of Water]. He’s a nerd like us, but he’s true to that. He knows what needs to be done. The star of Guillermo’s movies is Guillermo.”
Check out the short below and see what Red Giant has created. And perhaps you can geek out about the fake trailer the same way Hewlett geeks out about Red Giant.