Stand Still Again in Fan Film “GORT” from Chris R Notarile

On a distant planet, at the brink of civil war, a new form of peacekeeping has been created. Its name- GORT. Watch the original film that inspired this short: THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL right here!!!…​


One of the most iconic films in sci-fi turns 70 years in 2021, and I wanted to pay tribute to that landmark movie- The Day the Earth Stood Still. I remember seeing it for the first time and being wowed by the ending, and while I didn’t care for the remake, I was also heavily impressed with the visual for GORT.

For my short film, I felt a sequel would sour the ending of the original film. The cliffhanger ending was too perfect to try and add onto, so I decided to go in the opposite direction and instead make a prequel. In the original film, Klaatu made mention of how his world, as well as others, surrendered to the authority of GORT. That concept posed an interesting question- how did that come to pass? What prompted the creation of GORT? So I decided to explore that angle.

I wanted to set the story on GORT’s home world and really try to play up that future 50’s sci-fi style that is synonymous with films from that era. So I basically tried to act like I was a modern day filmmaker, shooting a movie in the 1950’s. From shooting in black and white, to having silver shiny costumes, I really wanted to recapture that classic sci-fi feel.

GORT is also my first green screen heavy outing. I’ve rarely used green screens in the past, and if I have, it was sparingly. But for GORT, I didn’t have the cash on hand to create the sets I needed, and since I barely had a $250.00 budget, my options were extremely limited. Thankfully, I was able to pull off the effects. Are they perfect? No, of course not. But at least the shots are clean and the animation is decent. And that’s good enough for a shoestring budget.

The upside to filming with green screen was being able to shoot my actors separately during these Covid ridden times. Do I enjoy green screen filming? Not really, and if given the opportunity to do it again, I will definitely reserve it as a final option. Thankfully the fight scene was shot practically. I filmed at the abandoned zoo in Hollywood, and it was really cool. The location really lent itself to the alien feel I was going for, rather than filming at a more recognizable location like a warehouse or something like that.

I sculpted the helmet for GORT out of plaster bandages and bought a $2.00 red plastic candy dish from Party City for the visor. Everything else I repurposed from previous films, such as Tom Proprofsky’s wardrobe, which was actually his same outfit from my Silver Surfer short.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)

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