Volkonir Journals: Attempt #43 is a 2008 short film made for the TVPR 243: Video Production Part 2 class held in the spring semester of 2008 at Ferris State University and taught by Nick Kuiper of 9&10 News in Cadillac. It was made for a grade, and was the replacement for the shelved 2008 short film production of Volkonir.
As a demonstration of what an episode could look like for Volkonir Journals, a crude production was made of Volkonir's 43rd attempt to recruit a woman to aid him in his quest to become a prince again. Volkonir Journals was canceled in December of 2018, as flashbacks of Volkonir's time as a toy are better served as clips to episodes of Volkonir: The Series.
The title is a take on the phrase "attempt 42," from the online Heroes parody Zeroes, where Cindy the Cheerleader fits her entire fist in her mouth for the 42nd time. This, in turn, is a parody on "Attempt #6," which is a line from the first episode of Heroes in which Claire Bennet tries for the sixth time on camera to commit suicide unsuccessfully.
This film is a prequel to the film simply titled Volkonir, and discusses the toy's 43rd attempt to find a girl whom he can recruit in an effort to change him back into a prince. It begins with the prince in his monologues on his way towards Katie's room, has occasional cutaways depicting Katie's new lifestyle, and ends in a confrontation between the two.
The result of the confrontation is that an outraged Katie, not wishing to hear another word about Marzwhatti from anyone, angrily tosses Volkonir out the window. Volkonir plans his next move, while fantasizing about getting his sword back.
Shooting and production
The entire movie was shot on a Sony DV-500 camera over the weekend of April 18th-20th of 2008 at the Grand Ledge House, the same house that was used to film The Blue Face Film Strips five years and one month prior. The RS, the small child in the first movie, reprised her role as Katie Averes for this piece, depicting how Katie's experiences with the death of Kelina at the clutches of Marzwhatti had changed her in her angst-ridden teen years.
For the part, the actress was simply advised:
"Just act as completely, stereotypically emo as you possibly can; short of actually cutting yourself."
Two versions of this film were made, with video footage being edited on four different computers. Three of the stations used an Avid control deck and had Avid Pro HD installed on them. The fourth was a laptop with Adobe Premiere 1.5 and Windows Movie Maker installed on it. The Avids were all tested on until one of them proved a suitable system on which to make the two versions of the movie: regular and closed-captioned. These were then printed to a mini-DV tape and exported as AVI files. The AVI files were then transferred via USB drive to the laptop, where Windows Movie Maker was used to create WMV variations for upload to YouTube.
Of the 16 minutes or so of footage shot for the production, only about half of it was used, due to equipment issues resulting in inconsistency in light readings and camera exposures. Three batteries were used in the camera for the making of the short, and two of them were completely drained at the end of the production schedule.
The captions are technically not "closed" in the same sense as used by the FCC, since the captions in the captioned version are hard-wired into the video. However, they are "closed" in the sense that you can choose to watch the captioned version or the regular version, making it unnecessary to watch with captions.
After several edits, a version of the video hit YouTube on May 2nd of 2008. It was soon followed by a captioned version. In November of 2012, every version of Volkonir Journals was sent into Ivan's Vault.
Both versions were received with mixed reviews. The story was generally well-received by the test audience in the video class. However, the softness of the audio made it difficult at times to understand what Volkonir was saying, prompting some to lose interest in paying attention.
This audio issue is what prompted the release of a version with "closed" captions. (see below)
Overall, interest in this project by the test audience remained low; due to the tremendous popularity of a competing project titled The Sherpa Sheriff, produced by another student in class.