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Steampunk Frankenstein: An Indie Film

Looking for a great film to watch? How about trying a recreation of a great classic: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. First Step Cinematics rewrote the story of Victor Frankenstein and his monster invention in a steampunk light. Called “Frankenstein’s Monster,” this indie film combines a fantastic script with stellar acting, to produce an artful masterpiece—all on an extremely low budget.

When asked why turn this classic story into a steampunk movie, Judith B. Shields, the writer and producer, said: “I appreciate the artistic side and creative side of Steampunk. People will have an idea and build their dreams. It’s wonderful that many of the Steampunk community honor inventors and ingenuity. Yes, Steampunk is mostly known for its fashion, but because of its openness and not conformity, individuals are able to freely express themselves.” She went on to say that the setting of the book is sometime in the 1890’s, which is right in the midst of the Age of Steam. Locomotives, steam engines…pretty much everything that moved was powered by steam then, so why not Frankenstein’s monster too? She was attracted to this book specifically because it reflects a strong ideal in the Steampunk world: “respect for life…even though we may live in a modern world of science, we must not forget to respect and value each other.”

Steampunk is all about recreating the industrial past with a futuristic twist, but Steampunkers are also like a close knit family. And with this comes a high respect for one another’s creativity and style. In fact, Shields gave the prop master and costume creator free reign, and they produced objects that are representative of both classic Steampunk and their own style. One example of this that Shields took particular delight in is the wooden steampunk goggles that were made specifically for this film.

Escalating the brilliance of this cinematic masterpiece is the fact that it is an independent film. This means the budget was about the amount of money it would take to buy a motorcycle, says Shields. For a full-length film, including renting out locations, paying actors and actresses, costumes, props, makeup, hair, cameras, lighting, production, and promotion, that is not nearly enough money. But somehow First Step Cinematics pulled it off. That must have required incredible amounts of dedication, teamwork, and motivation! Especially since filming (start to finish) only took 14 days!

Shields says the message she wants people to get out of this production is to follow your dreams and don’t give up. She was able to film a 110-minute film on a minuscule budget on a topic she enjoys and loves. She adds that planning ahead is the best way to achieve your dreams, especially in the movie industry. Plan for all eventualities, and even if they never come to pass, you’re better off than encountering a situation that you don’t know how to handle. Her last piece of advice is to have fun with it! Love it and make it your own—shape it, mold it, build it in a way you can be proud of.

So what are you waiting for? Get creating!

Good luck, bold inventors!

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