With almost eighty acting credits to his name, and experience in various fields of production and filmmaking, we spoke to Hans Hernke, the producer and co-star of “Another Plan from Outer Space.” The science fiction thriller is an impressive indie about a space crew stranded in a large harsh landscape looking for help. Hernke took time out for an interview to discuss the development for the movie, the upcoming toy line for it, and his new movie which he’s collaborating with “Another Plan” director Lance Polland on.
Where did the idea for “Another Plan from Outer Space” come from?
The idea came from Lance Polland, who pitched it to me one night over dinner at a Comedy Club in Orange County, CA back in December of 2016. I was sold on the idea immediately after I heard the ending and plot twist of the story. Lance told me he wrote the part of Lt. Brooks specifically for me. I was thrilled to be apart of this, a dream come true to play a astronaut in a movie finally!
How long did you develop the idea for “Another Plan from Outer Space”?
From December 2016 until May 2017, so about 5 months of locking down locations, the main cast, raising funds, planning the filming logistics. I was working on “Animal Kingdom” Season 2 at the time, so I was bouncing between working on that and prepping for this movie. I remember the last day of “Animal Kingdom” Season 2, we were in Oceanside, everyone wanted to go out and celebrate wrap, but I’d hit the bed early, and I had to get up at 3:00am the next day to drive up to Twentynine Palms to get there by 6:00am so we could begin shooting “Another Plan From Outer Space”. That was a LONG day!
What was the budget for “Another Plan from Outer Space” and how long did it take to film?
The film took 8 days to shoot in the desert of Twentynine Palms. Plus one additional pick-up shoot day approximately 4 months later, everyone came back out and did another day of filming after the first cut was done. Lance decided we needed more twists in the story, and that is how some of those came to be which you see in the final version. Originally there was one plot twist, now there is a few of them. The budget for the film was in the ballpark range of $15k-$30k once all is said and done.
Are you a fan of classic anthology scifi like “The Outer Limits” and/or “The Twilight Zone”?
I have seen a few Twilight Zone episodes, but I mostly remember the Twilight Zone tied to the ride at Disney California Adventure, The Tower of Terror. I miss that ride! I have seen a few “The Outer Limits” episodes as well.
Was it difficult filming in the desert?
Yes it was challenging, we encountered strong winds which destroyed our easy pop-up tent, also the dry heat got to everyone after a while. I wore a swimsuit and a t-shirt underneath my flight suit the entire movie, which helped. The base camp/ranch house everyone was staying at was close to the mountain, so when we would be done with a scene, everyone would head back to the house to cool off, drink, snack, and talk about the next scene before heading back out to the mountain. The trek back and forth to the mountain everyday made everyone tired, especially those carrying our cooler and medic kit to set. But we managed and everyone was in good spirits during the entire shoot.
Was there discussion about “Another Plan from Outer Space” being black and white as opposed to color?
The movie was meant to be in color and the original title was called “The Doomed.” After Lance and a few of the producers watched the first edit, it was decided the feel of the movie felt like an old fashioned sci-fi film, let’s make it black and white and call it “Another Plan From Outer Space” to give it a retro sounding title. It is in no relation whatsoever to “Plan 9 From Outer Space”.
Do you think with news about UFO’s and space exploration that we’re due for a science fiction renaissance?
I think so, people are definitely waking up to the possibilities that UFO’s and other things are out there. I have seen a few in the Northwoods Wisconsin, Land O’ Lakes specifically. The sky is very clear up there and you can see interesting stuff happening in the night sky up there. A lot of the TV shows and Films over the past few years have been conditioning people to the possibility, no doubt!
Can you tell us about the line of toys based on the characters from “Another Plan from Outer Space”?
The toy line for our movie is something we never dreamed of happening and it did. Thanks to one of our executive producers, Steve Robert Alexander, for introducing us to his friend, Ken Ciak, who owns LOD Toy Enterprises in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He saw the film and became interested in developing figures based on our characters from the movie. His company makes soldier and Christmas figurines that are sold all over the world. I flew to Green Bay, Wisconsin last September and we sealed the deal at Lambeau Field!
It sounds like his customers are getting excited for our set to come out, which is expected to happen this Fall!
Will there be any exclusives or variants for collectors or fans on the “Another Plan from Outer Space” toy line?
I think Ken has several different sets in mind. The first one will be released in the Fall, which introduces our characters battling aliens, and then from there more sets will be released with our characters doing different things. We are planning a special giveaway when the toys are released. LOD Toy Enterprises will give away a few signed Blu-rays for the first customers that order a toy set from his website when they are listed. You can check it out here, they will be up there soon: https://lodtoysoldiers.com/
The finale for “Another Plan from Outer Space” leaves a lot open for more to the story, if you can tell us: are you planning a sequel or spin off?
Lance and I have been talking about a sequel and a spin off for a while, we hope to do one in the near future when we get the funding. There is several ways the ending can be interpreted/edited, and we leave it up to the audience to guess. I am down to return to a sequel/prequel if it comes to the table someday!
What can you tell us about your upcoming Bigfoot film?
“American Bigfoot” is a funny comedy adventure film that Lance had wanted to do for a while. The timing was right for this one and it was amazing how quickly this one came together within a matter of weeks. We wanted to keep this small and simple, and follow the covid-19 safety guidelines while on set. There was less then 10 people on set each day. There was alot of improv and scenes that came up off the top of our heads, which made it more fun. Lance had a lot of it scripted and we used it as a guideline for each scene. We just wrapped our first week and we plan to do another week soon to add more scenes, characters, and plot lines. It will come together, we have the meat and potatoes of the movie done now, so the rest is adding more spice to it!
Special Thank you to Bad Amigo Pictures, Ferrara Media, Six Rivers Entertainment and AVC Media for getting this project greenlit in a short amount of time!
What’s it like filming in Big Bear Lake, California?
Beautiful! Fresh air, the sounds of the woods, reminded me of Up North in Wisconsin. We are in God’s country! It would get chilly at night and very hot during the day. The elevation and heat started affecting everyone after the first day, so we would take a break often to get acclimated to the environment, but other than that, everyone had a blast and got their scenes done. We would have tourists stop and watch us film on the trails too. We also took advantage of the area around the outside of our cabin and filmed scenes out there so it was less traveling back and forth to the trails.
Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring filmmakers interested in creating their own feature or short film?
Of course, surround yourself with the right people who are going to uplift, support, and promote your project! When the project succeeds, everyone on the team succeeds as well. Don’t give up, find creative ways to make your project and raise funds for it if need be. Have fun, enjoy the process and learn from it!
Thanks for your time!