The internet, or at least the geekier corners of it, have been ablaze since the blood-soaked and brutal fan film Fallout: Lanius hit YouTube. We spoke with writer and director, Wade K. Savage, about the phenomenon.
We can’t refer to Wade K. Savage as an emerging filmmaker; he’s emerged. Recently, the Perth-based director achieved both critical and cult acclaim; the former when The Owl, which he made with Peter Gurbiel, won Best Short Film at the 2013 Western Australian Screen Awards; the latter, when his post-apocalyptic action drama, Fallout: Lanius, got the seal of approval from the gaming community.
Set in the world of the smash hit Fallout video game series, Lanius traces the acension of a brutal tribal warrior (Johnny Domino) as he fights his way up the ranks of The Legion, a fascist post-nuclear military power. For Savage, making the film allowed him to combine his two biggest passions.
“I’d say I’m a pretty huge avid gamer,” he tells us. “And I’d say it makes up a lot of my creative DNA. It plays a huge part of everything that I like, everything that I’m into. Gaming is as important to me as filmmaking, really.”
Lanius draws on elements from Fallout: New Vegas, the sixth in the increasingly popular game franchise. “The film is heavily inspired by Honest Hearts, which is a DLC for Fallout: New Vegas and I thought that, considering it dealt with the Legion characters primarily, the Legion guys, whilst kinda funny looking, aren’t really funny guys and as the make-up of their civilisation is primarily slavery based and how awfully they treat women and children and everybody, I thought it would be kind of stupid to do something comedic about a character that gets absorbed by this society.”
As such, the tone of the piece was something Savage considered carefully. Although the game series can switch from the hilarious to the horrifying at the drop of a hat, he knew a film – particularly a short film – would have a hard time pulling off the same trick. “We went for a heavy, sombre tone, kind of action/drama as opposed to comedy. And the comedy’s played out, too. The Nuka Break guys did it and I wanted to do something a bit more dramatic effect.”
For funding, Savage tuned to existing fans of the Fallout universe. “The film was crowd-funded through Indiegogo and we raised 19 grand. That was primarily through support from Fallout fans and the gaming press. It’s a hell of a lot of work but it’s a good way to go if you want to work hard, because even though the product’s finished, you still need to give people their rewards. People are not giving you money for nothing. They’re expecting you to give them a product at the end. It’s a good process but a lot of work.”
The work paid off, with the film getting rave reviews from gamers film fans alike, and both industries paying attention to Savage and his collaborators. “It’s pretty exciting to have the kind of numbers we have and the kind of response. It put us on the map, it made people talk about Perth, which is kind of cool, and made people talk about Perth filmmakers making something that people really wanted to see and now they’re really excited to see what we do next.”
_ TRAVIS JOHNSON