opening scene from star wars uncut
starwarsuncut.com
It's not every day I get to ask questions of an Emmy winner, so I'm excited that the folks behind Star Wars Uncut agreed to do an interview with Urlesque. In case you're not familiar, Star Wars Uncut is a crowdsourced video project where individual directors recreate Star Wars in 15 second chunks, and the whole thing can be combined every which-way into a totally new take on the original film.

The concept is cool, and the execution is even cooler, which is why Star Wars Uncut just won an Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media and got covered in the NY Times. You can watch the hundreds of individual clips -- animated, live action, Lego and more -- online for free, and a fully-edited and soundtracked official version is coming out soon.

One of the primary brains behind the project, Casey Pugh, answered our burning questions about Uncut.

Do you have a favorite Star Wars Uncut clip or clips? Who are your favorite directors on the site?

There are so many amazing contributions to the project. There are over 900 submissions! If I had to choose I would have to say Malcolm Sutherland would be my favorite director. He made three amazingly well illustrated and animated scenes. Not only are they visually amazing and have a creative interpretation of the original SW scene, but he also did all the sound design for each of his scenes.

What's your favorite scene from the original movie?

Unfortunately, this is an impossible question to answer. Every scene is nostalgic and memorable to me.

Do you think this project would have worked as well with another movie? What other Uncut projects are in the works?

There are plenty of other films the Uncut idea could work for, but Star Wars is the most globally well-known movie to date, in my opinion. It's the Michael Jackson of movies. I haven't officially started another Uncut film, but I do have a couple personal favorites, besides Empire Strikes Back, that I think would be amazing to recreate; Back to the Future and Total Recall!

How long did it take to cut up the movie and get the site up and running so people could submit?

After figuring out all the logistics on how the site would work, I was able to get the site up and running in a little over a week. Of course, I had to constantly make fixes and enhancements over time to make sure everything was in working order.

How does a live screening of Star Wars Uncut work?

We aren't officially screening Star Wars Uncut, yet. When we do, we will be using a fully produced version of Star Wars Uncut that has been edited together by Aaron Valdez and sound design and mixing by Bryan Pugh. It truly makes the disjointed 15 second scenes as cohesive as possible and amazing to watch. To really bring home the Star Wars experience, Bryan mixed in the original John Williams score on top.
Malcom Sutherland

Have George Lucas or any of the Star Wars cast seen this project? What did they think?

I don't know if they have. I do know the team at Lucasfilm are huge fans of the project.

Do you run into copyright trouble doing a project like this? What was that process like?

I ran into trouble as soon as I bought StarWarsUncut.com! Thankfully, Lucasfilm is in full support of SWU and is treating it as a fan-film which grants me freedom to keep the project alive.

Did you get burnt out on Star Wars after working on this project?

I did get burnt out, but not from Star Wars. Star Wars Uncut is a labor of love for myself and the team. I had a full-time job working at Boxee. It was stressful to spend my days and nights going back and forth between two massive projects. Over a month ago I left Boxee to focus myself on my personal projects and SWU.

How big a Star Wars fan were you before you started? Do you know the movie by heart? (And, if you were a serious fan, what's the most impressive way you've expressed your fandom? -- other than this very impressive project, of course!)

I'm a huge fan! If I didn't know the movie by heart before, I definitely know it now since I've watched every Uncut scene submission at least twice.

A long time ago, during a summer in high school, I played a game called Star Wars Galaxies. It's a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game). Very similar to World of Warcraft. I played the game every single day through the whole summer. In the game you can choose a set of skills; Jedi, Marksman, Businessman, Architect, etc. I decided to become an architect so I could build houses and eventually started making furniture for the houses. I was very successful at selling the furniture.

Towards the end of the summer I questioned my Star Wars fandom because I realized instead of becoming a Jedi, I chose to be a furniture salesman. Also, the game actually labeled me as an "Interior Decorator".

And, because I have to ask, which of the original three Star Wars films is your favorite?

I'm 26, so the first three movies tend to blend together for me, but I would probably choose Empire Strikes Back. It's definitely well-written and has a story that stands out amongst the three.