The Trailer for Volkonir was a 2-1/2-minute-long short film released in February of 2008 for Video II class at Ferris State University. It gave a little of Volkonir's backstory, and helped set the stage for him to have a cohesive main film. This trailer's continuity helped set the stage for the entire Volkonir Universe to exist, one which also somewhat coexisted with Classic Gerosha properties like Grillitan Diner and The Bison. The Blue Face Film Strips existed in the same universe, with the prequel to Volkonir even referencing Marzwhatti the Lirquinwur by name.
Much of Prince Volkonir's backstory is actually elaborated on in detail in this trailer. While his henshin powers are not explicitly stated, they can be inferred from the genre. Prince Volkonir discusses life on Cortascius right up until the Gwirdon uprising. His chief enemies, the Gwirdons, are a re-working of the Gwirkers from The Golden Toad - with this trailer being the first video reference to them. Much of the scenery takes place in or around the throne room.
Volkonir mentions how during the uprising, King Morlikus was turned into a wooden statue and abducted. Volkonir fought off the advancing Gwirdons valiantly with the aid of his magical sword Selshon, but it wasn't enough. He hid Selshon away in quantum storage for only a moment, having grown too confident, while rescuing another Cortascian from Gwirdon fire. This left him open and vulnerable, at which point the evil Gwirdon King, Gwirmalesh, used his magic wand to turn Volkonir into an enchanted stuffed toy. Only the Pool of Healing, accessible from certain portals, would allow him to be changed back. He had a basic idea of where to find the pathway to the Pool of Healing - but no way of getting there except by short-range teleportation.
The Gwirdons had Volkonir exiled to wander Earth, in search of anyone willing to journey with him to the Pool of Healing. But who would listen to a talking stuffed toy? As Cortascius fell, the Gwirdons started making their way towards Earth in order to conquer it. Volkonir desired more than ever to be freed from Toy Mode. From there, his quest to become a prince again began to have Frog Prince parallels. The trailer reveals Volkonir to have finally made his way to Big Rapids, where he has discovered that the pathway to the Pool of Healing is right in front of a pipe inside an industrial building on the campus of Ferris State.
As the trailer ends, Volkonir asks every single member of the audience: "Would you change me back?"
The Volkonir concept was highly inspired by nostalgic memories of watching Saban's Masked Rider back in 1995. The desire to make this piece stemmed largely from that and also from remembering writing The Golden Toad. On top of that, the Dozerfleet founder was enrolled in Video Production II, taught by Nick Kuiper that semester at Ferris State. Virtually every other student in class wanted to make a cheap horror film, often about either zombies or serial killers.
In January of 2003, the Dozerfleet founder was in a similar predicament. His class in FILM 118 at LCC mostly wanted to make fantasy or adventure stories, with him and Chris Fox being the only two that wanted to make a J-horror instead. That J-horror became The Blue Face Film Strips. For 2008, it was decided that the Video II project would keep with tradition by choosing a different genre from everyone else in class. This time, the genre chosen was tokusatsu. Work began immediately to figure out what the cheapest possible method was for making an American Toku film. Ironically, it was decided to make one that existed in the same continuity as Blue Face. True to real life, the story would be set five years after the events in Blue Face. This meant that Volkonir would happen around the same time that the actress who played Katie Averes was 15 years old, all but verifying her real age. Blue Face was shot when she was 9; although she looked to be about 6.
Oddly enough, Video II class proved to be more similar to FILM 118 than Video I in 2007. A documentary was planned on the making of Ciem, but complications required a change of subject. That led to the creation of Farewell Graduate: A Day at the Open House. Therefore, Volkonir as a project as about Dozerfleet Studios getting back to its roots.
Shortly after returning from Christmas break in 2007, the Dozerfleet got together with his friend Kat Piwinska (now Gerke) for a shopping trip to Wal-Mart, the same Wal-Mart in Big Rapids where Mark Gerke worked. The two went through the aisles looking for different items. Kat was looking for more stuff for her dorm room. The Dozerfleet founder, however, was looking for a toy that would suffice as Toy Volkonir. He settled on a New Year's Celebration Smiley Face toy, of the sort that Wal-Mart was selling under its own brand name and in keeping with its own smiley face figure. The New Year's hat was clipped off with a scissors, and other markings were removed to make the toy look more generic.
Later in February, supplies were also purchased at K-Mart and Goodwill stores in Big Rapids to supply John DeBruyn with the necessary accessories to be Prince Volkonir. The Volkonir suit wound up consisting of golden-shiny pants, a green shirt, a black "cape," some boots, and a toy light-up sword standing in as Selshon.
The trailer was set up to be shot in the basement of the Dozerfleet founder's great uncle Denver. Denver's basement became the throne room, and various items in the basement became props to help build Volkonir's world.
Filming and post-production
Tuesday, February 19th marked the beginning of setup for a three-day session of filming and post-production for the Volkonir trailer. Actual filming took place mostly on Wednesday, February 20th of 2008. A Sony DVC 500 camera was utilized for taping sequences. On Thursday, February 21st, filming wrapped up and editing began. It took until the end of classes on Friday, February 22nd, for all elements of the trailer to be completed. It was shown off in class on Monday, February 25th, when trailers for main film ideas were due.
Although the video was available for class view in February, it wasn't until at least March that it was uploaded to YouTube. It remained on the Dozerfleet Channel from early 2008 until November of 2012, when it was sent to Ivan's Vault.
The trailer received mediocre interest on YouTube, hardly enough to justify a continued run. It was sent to Ivan's Vault in November of 2012, to be determined at a later date if-and-when it would ever return to internet distribution. It received considerably better reception in class, where Nick Kuiper at least found the premise intriguing. He showed some concern that nobody in class, nobody in the theater program, and nobody on campus at all, really, would be particularly interested in starring in a tokusatsu film; since many students were "highly insecure about their sexuality, and about how they'd be perceived if they appeared in a movie that looked too much like Power Rangers."
The Dozerfleet founder was insistent that Volkonir was not a Power Rangers spoof; but actually had more similarities with Kamen Rider. However, that wasn't enough to convince most of the campus to see the project differently. While the trailer for Volkonir was otherwise well-received, the project it was a trailer for had to be canceled due to lack of reliability of the cast to show up for filming day. A prequel was made in its place.
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