I was born in 1974. The year of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Which of course I didn't know at the time.
My first experience with making films came when I was about three years old. My family and some friends of ours spent our holiday in Greece, when the other mother's partner decided we had to make a film. He had a Super-8 camera, and we all got to be killers. I was the harpoon-killer. I don't remember much, but I know I was fascinated.
In the years that followed, my friend Matt and I made more Super-8 films, I just remember some thriller involving an envelope marked with a black cross...
And after I got my grandpa's Super-8 equipment - camera, viewer, cutter - I did some of my own, e.g. "Die Rache der Kuscheltiere", a horror film about the abuse and revenge of my toy pets.
(And much later, when Super-8 had almost completely disappeared from the market, my personal interpretation of "Koyanisquatsi" which I had watched about that time. On acid. Both watching and filming. I'm still a big fan of Godfrey Reggio's film and Philipp Glass' music.)
There was quite a long time when I wanted to have a VHS-(C) video camera, but being a kid I couldn't afford one, and for my parents it seemed a present far too expensive for me.
When I was eighteen, I got my first real job: Zivildienst. (German civil service, instead of military service.) Regular income! I couldn't believe it, the money just came flowing in! Well, at least according to my standards. Living in the place I did my service at, I had almost no expenses, except for immeasurable amounts of beer at the "Liberty" club, which was nearby.
So, now I had money. It didn't take long until I had a Digital-8 videocam.
I had been using Commodore Amiga computers for some years and was a big fan of them (I still am), but I couldn't afford a VLab Motion card, or even a DraCo editing system, and use MovieShop. But I had great fun stitching it all together using various Amiga software, adding music, maybe do some live voiceover, and put it all back together with basic editing using a second video tape recorder or camera. Looking back, I think it's funny I never had a Genlock device, which seemed to be the most natural thing for anyone interested in video production, and/or using Amiga computers.
Watch "rsf - The Temple / waves Inc. (1999)" on YouTube
Along with the toys came the
problems. Computer, harddisc, capture card, wiring, encoding, hardware
drivers, editing software, harddisc space problems, and how to get the
damn thing back to video tape for proper watching?
So I got myself a Miro DC-10 video capture card and a "huge" 20GB harddisc, and tried my best on some nameless, faceless PC computer. Always dreaming of a VLab Motion, Lightwave, VideoToaster, and the legendary DraCo workstation.
It really never worked out. It's surprising how little fun I had with the whole thing. I couldn't afford the stuff of my dreams, I didn't want to invest lots of money into unworthy PC devices, my "huge" harddisc was always full, and that modern PC I had with it's damn useless IDE-harddisc wasn't able to play back a video properly. I was used to butter-smooth SCSI harddisc operation from the Amiga, a far older but obviously far more delicate system, so I was frustrated. And the Amiga stuff I had - albeit two 4000s with 68060 and PPC accelerator board, resp. - was getting really outdated. Video playback, and everything, was smooooooth. But only 320x240px. And 14bit sound. At best. And seperately.
It was about that time that the name "rocketsharkfilms!" was born. But I didn't know. Yet.
Watch "rsf - Alte Freunde / Good Ol' Mates" on YouTube
My good ol' mate (no pun
intended) Sharky, who used to call me Rocket, occasionally urged me to
draw some sketches of maybe a girl and her pet dog, or play some improvised, outrageous scene with him, which I joyfully did. This resulted in some
hilarous, ultra-quick photo shoots and violent horror movies (e.g.
"Xargon - Quelle des Boesen").
I did some more z-grade productions around that time with
my friend Alex Z.: "Execution Ground", "Execution Ground II: Resurrection", "Execution Ground III: Call of the voodoo drums". Especially in "EG II: Resurrection" we had a strong vision...
Watch "Execution Ground" trilogy on YouTube
During the years that followed we all drifted apart. Sharky entered professional video production, Alex went to England. I became a pretty good guitar player, and spent more time making music, and developing computer software.
Computer-wise I had completely switched to Linux (after some short period with Windows). I also became interested in AROS - the open-source reimplementation of AmigaOS 3.1 - and created some presentation videos with my music:
Watch "rsf - AROS alive" video series on YouTube
Some day I saw this really nice video:
Watch "Cinemassacre 200" on YouTube
Up to this point the notion of "rocketsharkfilms!" had been some sort of inside joke to me, but
this video inspired me to a) put some effort (not much
tho... ;-)) into making videos again, and b) to keep and use that name: that's what I've been doing all the time, I am "rocketsharkfilms!" :-)
(It has to be said that I'm still waiting for Sharky to jump on the train - only then "rocketsharkfilms!" will be truly complete. ;-))
I really liked what Cinemassacre did, and I saw lots of what I had done when I was a kid. And I'm still seriously impressed that Cinemassacre was able to do frame-precise cuts with his ordinary VCRs! Hats off!
"Tripod Invasion" is a direct result of watching Cinemassacre's 200th video:
Watch "rsf - Tripod Invasion (2010)" on YouTube
Times had drastically changed, video cameras had become ridiculously cheap, computers easily capable of full-screen-high-resolution video playback, and encoding times just a fraction of what I had been sitting through.
I still make the occasional low-to-no-budget mini-movie, and with the current retro-movement in computers I'm also back to some Amiga stuff.
Watch "rsf - The Sink Incident (2010)" on YouTube
While I appreciate and love a lot of movies, there's one that I had seen when I was about 17yo, and which had a singular, huuuuge impact on me: George A. Romero's "Dawn of the dead" from 1978.
It must have been around 2004 that I started dreaming of, and all the years since I still keep dreaming of - and some time later actually started working on! - a project that was put into my mind by that George A. Romero movie: My personal zombie apocalypse movie, working title "Project: Negative".
It will see the light of day. It will!