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The Making Of RPS: Rise of the Fist

The Rock, Paper, Scissors trailer hasn’t been out for long, but I’ve had a bunch of questions I’d like to address.


Why a movie about Rock, Paper, Scissors?

Because some people are really into this game.  And a movie about people who take RPS so seriously that they’d risk their lives for it would be a lot of fun to make.  Actor/co-writer Chad Queen and I originally joked about making a fake action trailer about something stupid like Rock, Paper, Scissors, and it wound up snowballing into this.  As for the idea of a dramatic parody, I think that began a few days after the invention of fire.

I didn’t plan on making it this elaborate, but I discovered that as you start shooting and editing, you think of more shots and jokes to mix in.  If they’re within reason, it’s hard to ignore them when you’ve got the capability and are making your own deadline.  Then it becomes, “hmm, I have access to a garden hose, how about a rain shot?” and “hmm, I have access to a penthouse apartment, how about a helicopter shot?”  Locations and resources are often the starting point for a scene, and then I work backwards and write them in.

How did you make it look like that guy’s head exploded?

With help from one of the greatest websites on the web: VideoCopilot.net.  There’s a free tutorial on how to make it look like a head is exploding, and the assets to build it in After Effects are really affordable.  The products on this site are easily the best things I’ve purchased for filmmaking.  They’re not even paying me to say that.

Keith getting his head smashed with a bat.

He was warned that the stakes were high.

Did you really slap her in the face?

Yes, but she hit me first.  And way harder.  In fact, both of my slaps were sped up to look  harder, and I plugged in some altered SFX to bump it up a notch.  The second slap sound was slowed down a bit to sound like I really hit her hard.   All of the audio and video of her hitting me is 100% unaltered.  Nikki Choluj can really get into character.  Check out the Outtakes and Credits video for a complete compilation of every single slap take.  Just for the record, #18 hurt the most.

Where did you get those bloody wrist stumps?

Those are actually homemade.  Check out my step-by-step tutorial on making them for your own projects.

Did I just hear a Wilhelm scream?

You sure did.  It’s an homage to an old stock footage sound effect used in classic Hollywood cinema.  Kevin was supposed to get blown away with a shotgun, but we didn’t have time to shoot the scene.  Instead, I took the last shot from the original sequence, added the Wilhelm scream, and added some reverb to make it sound like we were in a gritty basement.

Why “Rise of the Fist”?

Lately I feel like every action movie title involves something rising.


Rise of the Machines


The Rise of Cobra


Rise of the Lycans

Poster for Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Rise of the Silver Surfer

Poster for The Dark Knight Rises.

The Dark Knight Rises

Poster for Hitler: The Rise of Evil

Hitler: The Rise of Evil






















I, will, however, will grant impunity to this last title:  Hitler: The Rise of Evil.  The guy gained power and was a huge asshole.  Therefore The Rise of Evil is ok by me.  Otherwise, let’s not compare a Hollywood blockbuster to ancient Rome or the growth of the Nazi party.  Hitler has “rising” street cred.  Apes do not.

They’re all movies that take themselves seriously- and I believe convincing parody needs to be taken seriously.  A movie title followed by a colon and then the “chapter” of the movie shows that it’s the first chapter in this story.  Plus, it insinuates that RPS would have a sequel, which is even crazier than somebody making a movie about this to begin with.  And so, in our first theoretical chapter of the Rock, Paper, Scissors franchise, it is the Fist that Rises.

I’ll go out on a limb and say the sequel would have been named “RPS: The Knuckler’s Revenge”.

RPS: Rise of the First

Never coming to a theater near you.

When’s the movie coming out?

The projected theatrical release is in the Spring of never.  For now, it’s just a trailer.  But someday, if a financier wants to make it happen…well, then, I’m all ears.

I think your movie The Accountant is funnier.

There are tons of movie trailer parodies out there, so I wanted to take a different approach with RPS.  My hope was with a higher production value, the trailer would look more like an actual indie film.  The goal was to bring viewers in with a trailer that seemed serious and absurd at first, and then got progressively sillier.

The buildup of humor has a varied effect throughout the people who have attended screenings.  Some know it’s a parody right away, and others don’t realize it until it’s mostly done.  Some laugh throughout the whole thing–while others not at all.  The goal is always to make everybody laugh, but since that’s just not going to happen, there’s no point in getting upset over the “dislike” clicks.

Who was in RPS?

Since I was making my own bloody wrist stumps, I definitely couldn’t afford to pay for actors.  Everybody who helped out was a friend of mine, either from college or from the Chicago improv/standup comedy scene.  There was a huge amount of support for this project, and I hope the following people (alphabetically) don’t regret it:

Louis Ambrose– Himself

Carlos Avelar– Maximum Security Prison Guard

Michael Barin– Guy Who’s Frighteningly Intense

Nikki Choluj– Rachel

Jim Crowe– Special Effects Advisor

Margaret Crowe– Producer, Camera Operator

Jennifer Curnes– Location Provider

Jordan Curnes– Location Provider

Brian Dooley- The Five-O

Stephen Fabro– Ringleader, Co-Writer, Camera Operator

Elias Garcia– Thug Who Snaps Eric’s Neck

Keith Gercak– Guy Who Loses And Gets His Head Bashed In With A Baseball Bat

Marco Gonzalez– Thug With The Baseball Bat

Kelli Hanlon- Dolly Grip; Craft Services

Eric Kelly– Friend Who Gets His Neck Snapped, Camera Operator

Kevin Leblanc– Wilhelm

Mike Lunde– Underground RPS Referee

Ped Naseri– Thug Who Holds Dustin While Tyler Saws His  Hands Off

Ryan O’Neill–  Tall Sexy Guy In The Back

Dave Price- Guy Who Probably Works Out

Joshua Price– Camera Operator; Best Boy

Chad Queen– Co-Writer, Camera Operator, Guy In Back Who Unfortunately Is Always Out Of Focus

Phil Rowe– Guy Who Thinks This Scene Is Kind Of Hot

Tyler Rowe– Creepy Thug With The Saw

James Sorrels– RPS Player With Five O’Clock Shadow

Joe Strike– The Human Fog Machine

Dustin Thomas– Blake, Producer

Loc Tran– Dirk Halsted

Ashley Weber– Eric’s Daughter, Bet In An RPS Game

Owen Weber- Shane, Director, DP, Editor, Camera Operator, VO

Andrew Wilson– Location Provider, Web Designer

Can I help with your next project?

I’m always open to new people and ideas!  Shoot me a message on my contact page.

Thanks for reading.


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