The origins of Star Wars: Hunt For The Holocron start with two friends: Pittsburgh natives Martin Spitznagel and Luke Clavey. They met in high school, finding common ground in their mutual enjoyment of Star Wars, lightsabers, and filming in general. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was soon to be released, and Star Wars fever was at its peak. Naturally, this led to filming fight sequences in the woods with sticks. Despite no training in fight choreography or special effects, filming began, eventually involving both of their brothers, Mark Spitznagel and Dan Clavey. The action began to require a better understanding of the characters, and the stories behind them.
Unfortunately, Luke moved to Texas, and was not able to contribute full-time to the project. Martin pressed on, buoyed by the fun he’d had playing in the Star Wars universe. He set to writing a script that built on the ideas they had worked on, marking the beginnings of the space opera that you will see on this website. The script complete, Martin turned to his brother, Mark Spitznagel, at the time in college at Point Park University, to find and gather many of the key cast members.
Principal photography started in June 2003, and took place on nights and weekends from 2003-2005.
Early versions of the script were fairly nebulous, and actors and director worked together to come to the best outcome for the day’s shoot. This was murder on the crew, particularly anyone who had to do storyboards, and financial and time restrictions required the tightening of the script. After reworking the story, and armed with a clearer view on what the movie should be, Martin continued additional filming in 2007 to handle gaps. For the most part, the film was fully filmed at this point, and post-production began in earnest.
Horrifyingly, during post-production in 2008, an overheating of a hard drive during editing caused the loss of over 1000 hours of work, including the entirely cut and edited versions of the film. This tragic loss was the hardest part of the journey, as Martin needed to fully redo the film from a jumble of over 36 hours of raw footage. After a few tears and deep breaths, he pressed on, managing to put together a rough version of the film in 2010. Post-production work resumed.
In 2012, Martin’s friends, sensing an opportunity for Martin’s approaching 30th birthday, secretly worked for months to line up theaters, schedules, and particulars to present Martin with a gift – that they had an event premiere, including a theater, with which to show Star Wars: Hunt For The Holocron on the big screen. After initial plans for a holiday release were scrapped to allow the movie to be finished appropriately, the release date was set for 4/20/13.
Post-production work went into overtime. All minature photography, requiring three separate trips to Texas and hundreds of hours of work, was completed in 2012. Special effects work, often painstakingly handled on a frame-by-frame basis, continued into 2013. Musical scores and accompaniment were created to match the mood and final cut of the film.
It has been a long time – but after ten years of work, the dream is finally a reality. Star Wars: Hunt For The Holocron is here.
– Mathew Calland, Story Supervisor