South Bend, IN September 2006 — It’s “One spoof to rule them all! according to Peter Lyon who designed and created the hero swords for Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy.
The ambitious parody movie “The Dork of the Rings”, which was produced in the Michiana area and is being heralded internationally, will be shown on the I.U.S.B. campus in Wiekamp Hall, Room 1001 on Saturday, September 23 – 4:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, September 24 – 2:00 p.m.; Friday, October 6 – 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, October 7 – 4:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, October 8 – 2:00 p.m. Admission is $5.00 at the door.
The 100-minute film was produced in Indiana and Michigan over the last two and a half years by director Tim Richardson and his company Richardson Productions LLC in conjunction with Somehow Cinema. Richardson grew up in Granger, Indiana, is a current resident of Edwardsburg, Michigan and an I.U.S.B. alumnus. The screenings are sponsored by the I.U.S.B. Alumni Association. More information about the film can be found at www.dorkoftherings.com.
The story revolves around a young Throbbit, Frudo Buggins, who must stop the insidious Dork-mart corporation from taking over Muddle-earth with its endless franchises. The only way to do this is to deliver the One Ring of Circular Credit to Bank Boom to close Lord Mauron’s account and stop the evil empire from spreading. Pursued by Nosedrools and Sporks, Frudo is joined by his plump companion Ham, Randolf the Wizard, Gimpi the Dweeb, Legoblocks the Elfis, Arogant the Rangler, Princess Femowen and the annoying creature Scrottum.
The film held its World Premiere and two other screenings this August at the enormous GenCon convention in Indianapolis to packed audiences and a few weeks later it graced the big screen at the IMAX in Indianapolis, which was organized by Woodworks films. “The film is huge in its scope,” says filmmaker Gary Wood. “It’s not your normal low-budget, independent movie. It’s the perfect example of what you can accomplish if you don’t limit your vision to what you think you can accomplish and, rather, just go about accomplishing your vision–and limitations be damned!”
Over half the film was shot against a giant green screen sound stage Richardson’s crew constructed themselves. The post-production art team consisted of around 30 artists including digital artists, matte painters, sculptors, graphic designers, illustrators, animators and costume designers.
Michael Kouroubetes who co-wrote, produced, and acted in the film says, “It was kinda’ like a bonsai tree: looks great, but it takes a lot of patience to grow. We owe so much to ever evolving consumer level technology. Without the advent of terrific software and faster PC’s, this movie would’ve cost hundred’s of thousands more to make.”
Art Coordinator Ian Strandberg created many of the digital backgrounds and offered input to the wide variety of artists working on the project. “The task of making FX for ‘The Dork of the Rings’ is not about fooling the audience. Most audiences are too sophisticated to be hornswoggled by the likes of us. Rather, I look at the dork FX first as a matter of entertainment and second as a matter of suggesting that no matter how crazy something seems, it can be sold as a stylistic choice and not an anomaly of artistic temperament.”
The scriptwriting process began in January 2004 and the 18 days of principle photography followed that summer and fall. During the long post-production process, which included not only the digital effects but also re-dubbing all the actors’ voices and creating foley and sound effects, the cast and crew were also busy marketing the film.
The Dorks first traveled to TolCon in Seattle in 2005 where they previewed the film and also met Elijah Wood’s scale and stunt double from the trilogy, Kiran Shah, who they were able to recruit to do a comical introduction for the movie where he claims he auditioned for “Dork” but was rejected as the lead actor’s stunt double because he was “too tall.” Shah has been in many films and was seen most recently as the White Queen’s sleigh driver in “The Chronicles of Narnia.”
Since Tolcon, they’ve previewed behind the scenes footage and clips from the film at GenCon, Ring*Con in Germany, Dragon*Con in Atlanta, The Fellowship Festival in Toronto, ELF I & II in Orlando and New York and The One Ring Celebration in Pasadena just to name a few. At these conventions they’ve met with sword maker Peter Lyon and actors Sean Astin, John Rhys-Davies and Elijah Wood and talked up their dorky movie. Lyon gladly agreed to send copies of the movie directly to Weta Workshop head honcho Richard Taylor and hopefully director Peter Jackson himself.
Speaking of directors, in order to assist with the promoting of “Dork” the film’s “co-director” Jack Peterson (with his large girth, fuzzy beard and huge round glasses) has been making the rounds at these events interviewing stars such as Justin Long (“Accepted”), David Prowse (“Star Wars”) and Doc Hammer (“Venture Bros.”) for his online video reports. By shear brute force, he has pushed his way into semi-celebritydom, even appearing as a special guest on a Tolkien panel with Shah. ” You simply can’t miss me, ” say Peterson. “Elijah Wood told me I was awesome, and at over 300 pounds, he’s quite right.”
“The Dork of the Rings” was recently one of only three feature films to be selected for Dragon*Con in Atlanta, the country’s largest Sci-fi/fantasy/horror/pop culture convention held over Labor Day weekend. The film’s own Randolf the Wizard was a huge attraction at the event, garnering the actor numerous television and print interviews during his visit.
Now that he’s famous, actor David Kiefer who plays the doddering wizard Randolf says: “I can’t even eat a ham sandwich without someone coming up to me.” He’s been a big hit at all the conventions and his costume won him and his Indianapolis-based designer Janice Bennett the Staff Choice Award at GenCon 2005 in the costume competition.
Over 150 actors and crew came from all over to help on the film: Chicago, Peoria, Indianapolis, Louisville and all around South Bend. “Everyone was very excited about this project and I think they all had an awesome time on the set. It was cool to not have to worry about whether anyone was going to show up or not, as can be the cast in making indie movies where folks work for free, but everyone was very dedicated so I feel very blessed,” says Richardson.
Their original soundtrack was created by veteran film composer Mark D’Errico from Colorado whose score definitely captures the “Rings” flavor. They also recruited The Great Luke Ski to do a theme song for the movie. Ski is a Wisconsin-based comedy song performer who has been Dr. Demento’s most requested artist since 2000 and is best known for his hit song “Stealing Like a Hobbit,” a parody of Eminem’s “Cleanin’ Out My Closet.”
Pre-orders for the DVD have been pouring in at studio-style pace. The Dorks plan to enter the film in festivals and screen it at as many conventions as possible worldwide and their first scheduled international engagement is in Germany this November.
Just what Europe needs: More American Dorks.