Thursday, July 31, 2008
Where did the idea behind "M O B I U S" come from?
The lead of the film, who was not an actor at that time, wanted to get into acting and asked me to take some head shots of him. Instead of grabbing my Nikon F3 (35mm still camera), I grabbed my Canon XL1 and started filming him. Immediately, I noticed 2 things: A) The camera loved him, and B) There was a depth of emotion that was coming through him which I loved. This went on for over an hour. Afterwards, I sat on the front porch with a cup of coffee and a cigar. The lead actor, Paul E. Respass, my co-writer, Eunice Font, and I started discussing the possibility of a feature narrative film with Paul as the lead. BUT, what if there where 2 leads who are brothers, and one brother is homeless, while the other brother is a professional who wears a suit and tie. What if the homeless guy is shot in black and white, and the professional guy is always seen in color. ...AND what if there is a murder at the beginning of the film with one brother confronting the other...those were the initial elements from which everything else materialized.
You've directed a few projects before. However, none of them were feature length dramatic films. What was the motivation behind going out and doing this particular project?
Actually, my credits as listed on IMDb are purposefully incomplete. The first 2 films which I directed where Psychological Horror films in which I played the lead. After completing those films, I was inspired to make a documentary, "SKINHEAD". It was during the making of that film that I discovered I enjoyed being behind the camera composing images, more than I enjoyed acting in front of it. Although, I still love acting and I played the character of "Ashtaroth" in "M O B I U S".
How did you go about securing financing and what was the approx. budget?
I purchase my own equipment which I use in the making of my films. As such, they are completely self-financed. This allows me to maintain control through the entire filmmaking process. To be intentionally vague, I would say the budget is under $100,000.
What did you shoot on and how long was the shoot?
I shot on a Canon XL1, and the shoot took over 3 years. Due to the budget constraints, you are forced to shoot typically on weekends when your actors are available. We're not talking every week, or even every other week. Sometimes you go 3weeks or more between shoots. Because of this, I try as much as possible, to shoot sequentially for obvious continuity reasons. If you figure that most feature length films have anywhere from 40 - 50 scenes, and your popping off a scene every couple of weeks, you can do the math and see how long it takes to finish a film in this manner.
This is not entirely without advantages, however. When a story is stretched out over such a long period of time, it GROWS! You can continue to add layers to it because you're able to study it in detail. It allows you to return to it with ever more objective eyes, finding places to add another color here or there, and put that finishing touch in at the last minute, like a painting. It becomes ORGANIC and develops a LIFE of its own.
How different was the film from the script?
The script never existed in any kind of COMPLETE format that you could sit down with, look at, and read. ALL the scenes were outlined, and the ORDER in which the story was to unfold was laid out. But, BEYOND THAT...basically it was all IN MY HEAD. It was written, between my co-writer and I, as we went along and as necessity dictated shooting-wise. It was not my intention to do it that way. It just worked out that that is how it transpired. But yes, EVERYTHING that we wrote/wanted to put in the film is there. If you know what you can believably CONVEY given your budget, you don't waste time writing things that you don't have the money to shoot.
Talk about how you got such good actors for a low-budget film and tell us a bit about your directing style.
Paul E. Respass is a WONDERFUL actor! He's one of those actors that you can just turn the camera on and...without dialogue...without direction...he's COMPLETELY COMPELLING! He can just "BE", He doesn't need to "ACT". Not everybody can do that. A lot of actors NEED dialogue, NEED direction, and even still, they're "PERFORMING". You are "AWARE" of the "ACTOR". I think the audience should forget whoever it is that they're watching and become TOTALLY immersed with the character living inside the screen. That's why I tend to use people that I already know in my films. I pick people who already embody the psychological spirit of the character, whether or not they're an "ACTOR". Some ARE actors, and some ARE NOT. To me, it's all about what the camera can CAPTURE in someone. Sometimes issues do arise with non-actors, primarily with regard to line memorization, but I'm willing to sacrifice speed if someone has the right FEEL for the character.
As for style, I don't subscribe to any particular style. Films are like children. They each have their own UNIQUE bent. I listen CLOSELY to each one to discover the path IT wants to take, and try not to impose myself on it. That is IMPOSSIBLE, by the way. A film WILL reflect the individual who made it, like it or not. Believing that, I try not to FORCE anything in there deliberately.
Talk about tackling such a heavy idea on a low-budget.
Well, I've always been attracted to MOODY films. "BLADE RUNNER" is my favorite film, and to this day, I still feel "MillenniuM" was the best TV show ever, PERIOD! I like opposites, contrast, and shadows. I think the silence in between words speaks more LOUDLY than the words themselves. I feel LIGHT is more interesting when it is glimpsed through the veil of DARKNESS. This brings us to what I would call the landscape of the PSYCHOLOGICAL which, for me, is where HORROR truly resides, within our SELF. Fortunately, you can go pretty far on a low budget with Horror, apart from elaborate effects. Then again, often times, less is more with gore. What people can IMAGINE is far worse than ANYTHING that can be put up on screen. Look no further than my favorite Horror film, "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" (1974), where more blood is imagined than is actually shown.
After it was all said and done, what would you have done differently?
When I set out to make a film, I try to create the BEST film POSSIBLE with the tools available to me. So, I can honestly say, I wouldn't have done ANYTHING differently. It was crafted in the manner I wished it to be given what I had to work with. However, if I were to set out to make the film TODAY, I would probably shoot it 16:9 as opposed to 4:3.
What about distribution? Are there any lessons learned that you could pass on to other indie filmmakers.
I presently own all rights, and will entertain any offer from a TASTEFUL distributor, or any VIABLE avenue of distribution. I haven't as yet had the wonderful opportunity of getting SCREWED to be able to share any lessons at this time.
Where can people find out more about "M O B I U S" and, better yet, buy a copy?
"M O B I U S" is CURRENTLY not available to the public. However, you can follow the films journey towards that end here.
What's next? Do you have any more projects in the works?
I'm presently in production on my follow up to "M O B I U S", another Psycho-Spiritual Thriller titled "HOLE" which is being shot in HD with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 using some of the same actors from "M O B I U S". You can view promo pics, production stills, as well as track the films progress here.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
You may or may not have heard about it or read about it, but there's a lot of people talking about the speech that Mark Gill, CEO of The Film Department (and former President of Miramax Films), gave on Saturday at the L.A. Film Festival's Financing Conference. Basically, he went on and on about how "the sky is falling" for indie film. It's a long speech, but I do recommend you read it. It's a great 'State of the Union' of film. You can find the complete prepared remarks in this INDIEWIRE article. If you're lazy or just don't want to read it, he basically describes an incredibly bleak future for indie film and, at first, I thought... wow, what a nightmare. However, the more I thought about it, this really isn't pertinent to low-budget indie filmmakers. In fact, I think the future is quite bright for low-budget indie film, especially horror. Using his list of why things suck so bad as my guide, I'll retort with 10 reasons why he's wrong.
1. Picturehouse, Warner Independent, New Line and Paramount Vantage have all either folded or been sucked up into their mother companies: As I've mentioned many times before, this is not an indication that indies are in less demand, it's just an indication that Hollywood studios and their executives, who are used to 7 figure salaries and reading financial balance sheets, don't know how to make money off them anymore.
2. Wall Street money is no longer pouring into Hollywood and it isn't being replaced by anything: Well, if you were Wall Street, would you keep pouring money into the system? Indie's used to make money, now they don't and Wall Street's only interested in one thing, making money. Figure out how to make money on the films and guess what, you'll get the Wall Street money again.
3. 5000 films were made last year, 603 released theatrically. There's no room in the market: There's no room in the THEATRICAL market, find another market... how about VOD, online or just on DVD? These guys are so stuck in the classic Hollywood distribution model, they can't think outside the box. There's a sea of change happening as far as distribution is concerned, ride the wave, don't go against it.
4. Advertising costs have outpaced inflation, making movie companies spend more while being less effective marketers: The answer to this is easy, become a more effective and efficient marketer. Last time I checked, Myspace and Facebook cost nothing. Getting a web presence, while sending out screeners to all the media doesn't cost much either. Here's an idea, do it yourself... or have your assistant do it or something. You don't need to hire a massive PR, marketing or advertising agency. The way they are NOW is inefficient. I've worked with ad agencies on big budget releases, you wouldn't BELIEVE the budgets they have, seriously.
5. Movies are competing with iPods, Xboxes, Tivos, Youtube and cable television: Don't beat them, join them. All of those products and mediums screen, air or sell films. Why can't you use them instead of fighting them? These products are the future of distribution. Why are you trying to compete against them? To put it in perspective, how did the war against the digital revolution work out for the music industry, huh?
6. Studio movies are eating up the growing international marketplace: Once again, this only effects theatrical releases. Cut out the theaters and this isn't an issue... in fact, a growing international marketplace is great for DVD sales. Not to mention, a lot of European and Asian countries are way ahead of us when it comes to digital distribution. Find out what they're doing and adapt.
7. Independent film financiers are exiting the industry: So what? Some of the best movies I saw this year were financed by Visa.
8. The cost of an independent film released theatrically shot up: Okay, what don't you get? Then don't release it theatrically! Find another way to distribute it. There's very little cost in distributing things digitally, there's no packaging, shipping or shelf space used.
9. The sweet spot for independent films is ones budgeted at $15 - $50 Million: I said, I beg your pardon? What? Okay... are we still talking about 'indie' film? There were so many AWESOME indie horror films that were SUCCESSFUL (and I mean that financially), which were budgeted at less than $100K... way less.
10. We need to make fewer movies and we need to make them better: This, I agree with... kind of. I think there's plenty of room for more movies, but we definitely need to insure that what we make, moving forward, is better. The cost of making a movie now is next to nothing, however... that doesn't mean that anyone who can afford to get a camera and pirated copy of Final Cut Pro should be making a movie. We'll never really be able to fully saturate the market in my mind, but let's just make sure we don't flood it with crap.
My Conclusion: Really, what THEY consider to be indie film is not what I consider to be indie film... and I do think what they're talking about IS dying. In classic Hollywood form, they're fighting change, instead of embracing it. Go back and read through that article and tell me if any of what he has to say is pertinent if you DON'T think about a theatrical release and you cut your budget down to next to nothing. By less than nothing, I mean less than $1Million. Because, if you can keep your budget down, you don't need a theatrical release. You can go straight to DVD, VOD, Xbox, whatever... and make a killing. The death of 'indie' film, as far as Hollywood knows it, is coming... yes. However, there's going to be a big rise in world of TRUE indie film. Film that's made independent of Hollywood Studios and their whole system.
"Zombies Anonymous" is one of the best indie horrors of the year and it won various awards to prove it. We can't say enough good things about the film, as it delivers on gore, on humor and on story. Originally called "Last Rites of the Dead", "Zombies Anonymous" comes from writer/director Marc Fratto and Dead Harvey had the chance to discuss the making of the film with him.
Tell us about the idea behind “Zombies Anonymous”.
The idea came up while I was shooting my first movie, Strange Things Happen At Sundown. It was not too long after 9/11, and the U.S., and particularly New York, was still kinda reeling over the whole thing. Middle eastern people had it kinda rough in the U.S., and I remember there was a news story about some guy who shot some poor Arab dude who was just working at some store. I remember commenting to a friend at work about how some people are always looking for a new group to channel their hatred towards, and that's where it started. The original script was far more serious. I wrote a second draft that toned down the 9/11 parallels and added more humor to it to lighten it up... I still wanted to capture some of that post 9/11 angst in the movie, though, with the scenes of decapitations and pro-zombie terrorism.
How did you go about securing financing and what was the approx. budget?
We had a few people throw us some cash for the movie, but the majority of it was financed by my poor visa card.
What did you shoot on and how long was the shoot?
We shot on the Sony Hdr-fx1. The shoot was about 35 days long, but it was shot on weekends over the course of 5 months. We started in Late February 2005 and wrapped principal photography at the end of August.
The gore was fantastic, talk about the special effects.
It's funny, cause a lot of the gore had been cut for the North American release. The overseas version will be even bloodier. There are some really graphic decapitations in that version, including scenes where heads are placed on sticks, with the eyes still moving around. It's really cool stuff. The gore was supplied by Anthony Pepe, who has tons of fake body parts and guts just lying around his workshop. He also did some amazing zombie makeup too. The special effects budget was a large part of the overall budget.
The acting was another high point. How did you go about getting your actors?
Most of the actors had been in my first movie, and a few were newcomers. We found most of our actors through Backstage Magazine, and just auditioned the shit out of them until we found the best actors we could find.
The film was very “big” in idea. Talk about making such a big film and on a low-budget.
Locations and characters usually don't cost as much as you think. Most of our locations were free, and most of the actors worked for little or nothing other than food. On a really low budget, it's usually harder to have fewer locations and fewer actors, because you really need commitments from people. Especially when you're shooting on weekends over the course of 5 months. There's nothing more devastating to a low budget production than relying on one location for the entire shoot, and then having that location fall out from under you during production.
After it was all said and done, what would you have done differently?
There were a bunch of scenes that were trimmed from the last half of the movie, by the distributor. I completely understand why they were cut. In the original hour and 45 minute version, there was a lot of plot exposition to get the characters into play for the big finale. In the 90 minute North American version, the version you saw, most of those scenes are gone so the film moves along really quickly. But there are definitely some questions raised, like why does the Commandants hair change length and color; what happened to Malcolm; and why does Angela turn on the zombie cult in the end? I would have loved the opportunity to have been able to sum up those lost 15 minutes into a 2 minute montage so that the film still moved fast, but those questions were answered. But the good news is that the foreign release version will be the full directors cut, so it will be kinda cool to have those two versions floating around.
Until that version is released, though, I posted up those missing scenes on youtube at http://youtube.com/user/insaneorama since they never made it onto the deleted scenes portion of the dvd.
Talk about the festivals. What was the process like, how did the film do and what did you learn from that experience?
We were in one in New York, and one in Rhode Island, but we didn't get too crazy with festivals. We used those two festivals to get more of an audience reaction and then re-cut the film before looking for distribution.
What about distribution? Are there any lessons that you would pass on to other indie filmmakers who’ve just finished a film?
We had gotten a few offers from distributors that we had sent to early on, but Wellgo's offer was the best, and they seemed to have the biggest reach, which was what really made us want to sign with them. They did an amazing job promoting this movie.
Where can people find out more about “Zombies Anonymous” and, better yet, buy a copy?
Blockbuster, amazon.com, netflix. I'm sure an online search should turn up a number of retailers that have it.
What’s next? Do you have any projects in the works?
I just finished a script not too long ago, and i'm currently working on a second script. Nothing I want to reveal just yet, but we're going to be looking for major funding for the next movie.
For more information on Marc Fratto and Insane-O-Rama Productions, you can go to their site here or his Myspace page here. To buy your copy of "Zombies Anonymous" off Amazon, click here.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
VH1 scares up 'Queens' team on THR.com: I don't know why I find this that interesting or telling, but I do. James Gunn, who came out of the world of Troma to write the new "Dawn of the Dead" and write and direct the kick-ass "Slither", along with actress Shawnee Smith from the "Saw" series, "Repo! The Genetic Opera", among others, and an acting coach, John Homa are going to judge a 'Scream Queens' reality competition on VH1 where the winner will get a shot at winning a "major role" in a Lionsgate film. I guess it's interesting because it seems very mainstream for horror... I mean, horror has its ups and downs - late 80's were a low, late 90's were a high - and I don't mean that from a fans perspective, I mean that from a studio perspective. (Personally, I love the late 80's for horror) Anyhow, seeing something like this could mean horror's headed for a new high, after having a bit of a down period. "Fear Itself" has managed to stay on network TV, which I didn't think would happen. What's next? Anyhow, like I said, it's just kinda interesting.
Time Warner Cable Is FearNet's Latest Haunt on Multichannel.com: To continue where I left off from my last comments on that last article, horror seems to be slowly lurking into new corners. Sort of like a disease... or, maybe more like Brad after a long night/morning of drinking. Anyhow, FearNet inked a VOD distribution deal with Time Warner, which will take its online lineup to 29 million digital cable homes. If they can make a few more strategic moves, they could end up having FearNet become, essentially, its own network. Also, and looking at the big picture, this means that there's a demand for horror, it's just not at the theaters. Something I've been saying for a while.
Alas, the decline of the age of celebrity on Medialifemagazine.com: This article talks about how the public may finally be getting sick of celebrities. May be? I think it's official... sure, there's still a bunch of people out there who love following celebrities, but here's the thing. There's no mystic to them anymore. With the internet, media, blogs, gossip sites, etc... we know everything. We know that they beat their wives/girlfriends/mothers, we know that they get wasted a lot, we know they bang a lot of people. Basically, we know they're idiots. So, when their films come out, we don't care... because we take them personally. So, coming soon, star power won't be worth what it was. People are getting into franchises and brands. That's why they love films like "Transformers" and "Batman" and other projects that don't need stars necessarily, but can still sell merchandise and things besides tickets... that's why I'm always telling filmmakers, think like a brand, not like an individual film.
Horror Movies & Stuff - I haven't had much of a chance to clock many hours on this site, but I hear they have a fairly active forums section. They contacted me and wanted to exchange links, so I said I'd do more than that and mention them in a post. So, there you go... go check them out and let me know what you think.
Dead Harvey had the pleasure of downing some beers with Jacob Cooney, the director of "The Frolic" as he filled us in on how he got his first directing gig roughly three months after receiving his B.A. As the ale flowed, he talked about the process of adapting the short story from the great Tom Ligotti and how he secured the actors and other necessary elements to make such a well executed flick. Cooney is down to earth, well spoken, intelligent and down-right inspiring. The performance he gets out of the villain, (Maury Sterling) will send a brutal chill down your spine. And with the reverence he gives to the author's material, I hope Hollywood gives this guy a shot at a big budget adaptation. Dead Harvey hopes you enjoy the interview as much as we did.
Clip 1 - Adapting A Short Story
Clip 2 - A Supernatural Vibe
Clip 3 - Adapting On A Budget
Clip 4 - Adapting On A Budget II
Clip 5 - Ligotti's Opinion Of Frolic
Clip 6 - How The Frolic Got Financed
Clip 7 - The Road To Directing
Clip 8 - Film School: Yes or No
Clip 9 - Making It
Clip 10 - Film School: Yes or No II
Clip 11 - Shawshank Was The Clincher
Clip 12 - 1st Big Break
Clip 13 - The Casting Process
Clip 14 - A SAG Agreement
Clip 15 - What Was It Shot On?
Clip 16 - The Look
Clip 17 - The Locations
Clip 18 - Directing Style
Clip 19 - Approaching The Actors
For more information on Jacob Cooney and "The Frolic", you go to Myspace page here. To buy a copy of The Frolic, you can get it off the Wonder Entertainment site here.
Monday, July 28, 2008
"Lost Boys: The Tribe" comes out this week and, I haven't seen it, but Brad has and here's Brad's review:
After much anticipation, the long awaited sequel to one of the greatest tounge-in-cheek horror movies of all time arrives on video. I am such a fan of the first one (it's in my top ten of all time favorite movies), I just about pleasured myself without even touching myself when I saw it on the shelf.
So, it is with great sadness, my friends that I report this movie is complete and total S. It's like a bunch of executives just wanted to make a movie with a bunch of pretty, twenty somethings skateboarding and motorcycling. There's nothing new about the story. It's basically just a low remake of the first one with all the good parts taken out.
Gone is the style and spirit of the original. Gone are all the great characters and humor. Haim has a quick cameo, but you have to wait a long time to see it and nothing cool happens. My recommendation, leave it on the shelf and let it do it's time in s-movie jail. You'll be much better off buying the original, which just keeps getting better with time. Next to the sequel, it's f'ing, "Lawrence of Arabia". Thanks, Brad... Personally, I'll leave it be.
"Dimples" comes from writer, director and editor, Dusty DePree and it has not one, but two Beverly Hills 90210 Alums in it! First off, you get Gabrielle Carteris, who was none other than Andrea Zuckerman, and then you have Aaron Spelling's own son, Randy Spelling, who, if you remember, played Ryan Sanders in a few episodes. The only other film to DePree's credit is "Golden Showers", a short comedy with, what I think, is a kick-ass title and I have no idea what it's about... but I hope it's about what I think it's about. Either way, I can tell you what "Dimples" is about. It's about a girl named Frances, who has a terrible dream about a little girl being chased by a monster... and then goes on a road trip with her friends the next day, only to end up at a secluded house where that little girl from her dream lives with a man called 'The Doctor'. Frances finds out all the horrors that the little girl has been subjected to and she tries to save her, while Frances' friends run from the monster from her dream, which 'The Doctor' had created.
"Side Sho" was directed by Michael D'Anna and comes from Lucky Kitty Productions. Lucky Kitty is "the South's leading independent producers of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films" and D'Anna is a partner. This is his feature length directorial debut, as well as the first feature produced by Lucky Kitty. That's not to say that D'Anna isn't a veteran, he's been directing commercials and music videos for close to a decade now. "Side Sho" is about a family that's travelling because of the hot daughter's softball league and they decide to take the 'scenic route', only to end up in the middle of nowhere. They stop at an old abandoned side show in a small town. The show is filled with inbred freaks, who promptly kidnap the half dressed women and leave the young son and father to fend for themselves.
I'm going to briefly touch on "Salvage" and "Mortuary" and link to their regular DVD's, even though they're both coming out on Blu-Ray this week. Reason being, they've already been released, just not on Blu-Ray... and I don't think that many of our readers have Blu-Ray, so... Anyhow, "Salvage", from the Crook Brothers, was an official selection of the 2006 Sundance Festival and, according to them, was shot for around $25,000. It has a a wicked twist ending and is about a young woman who repeatedly relives the day she was murdered by a knife-wielding maniac. "Mortuary" is a Tobe Hooper film that came out in 2005 that stars Dan Byrd, Alexandra Adi and Denise Crosby. It's about a family that moves to a small town to take over a long abandoned funeral home, which is haunted and the cemetary on the property is the living place of a sadistic monster.
"Hair Extensions (EXTE): Special Edition", which was originally called "Ekusute", is from Sion Sono and it won the horror jury prize at the Austin Fantastic Fest. In classic J-horror form, this film asks the question, "What if hair extensions carried the grudge of the individual to which the hair originally belonged and started attacking people wearing it at random?" This is the extreme, gruesome version that comes from Tokyo Shock.
...and if you're into those massive packs of low-budget horrors, here's a few of these "Advantage" packs to look into. I won't cover the films, as they're all old...ish and there's too many of them.
Advantage: Ultimate Vampire Collection - (Vampire Stakes, Vulture's Eye, Abomination, The Satanic Rites of Dracula, Project Vampire, The Darkness, Lord of the Vampires and The Werewolf Versus Vampire Women)
Advantage: Monsters Gone Wild - (The Screaming Skull, The Monster Walks, She Beast, The Brain that wouldn't Die, The Giant Gila Monster, Attack of the Giant Leeches, The Killer Shrews, The Snow Creature, Beast from Haunted Cave and Human Monster)
EXCLUSIVE DEAD HARVEY INTERVIEW with PAUL CAMPION, writer/director of "Night of the Hell Hamsters" and "Eel Girl"
Brad Paulson - I received two awesome movies from New Zealand director, Paul Campion: "Night of the Hell Hamsters" and "Eel Girl". Since I've received these films I've shown them to numerous friends over beers. I don't want to give any spoilers away, I'll just say that when I see a movie where a hamster gets possessed, talks like a psychotic member of Alvin and the chipmunks and attacks crotches with bloody veracity, I just get all warm and fuzzy and want to share it with the world. And then there's, "Eel Girl". Now that's a movie that stays in your mind after you watch. So, do yourselves a favor and check out Campion's films. Dead Harvey guarantees you will not be disappointed. Enjoy the interview.
DH: "Night of the Hell Hampsters" was awesome. gory and funny. It had the feel of Peter Jackson's older, more ballsy work: aka "Bad Taste" and "Meet The Feebles". What was the inspiration for this film as well as, "Eel Girl"?
PC: Hell Hamsters started out as an idea for the 48hour Film festival in New Zealand. We were brainstorming ideas for different genres, and I came up with the idea of the babysitter and her boyfriend fooling around with the occult and summoning up a demon which possesses the family hamsters, which we were going to do with just socks and red beads for eyes. We didn't get to make the film in the festival so I just developed the idea afterwards. The rest of the story really revolved around that scene where the boyfriend is being viciously attacked by the hamster in his pants. I thought it would be hilarious if the only way to save him was to kick him in the nuts. Those two ideas were the basis of the whole plot, and myself and Mike Roseingrave and Hadyn Green, the other two writers just built the story around that, with the intention of making it as entertaining, gory and fun as possible.
The inspiration for Eel Girl came entirely from the music. Friends of mine own a small record label called Superglider and that was one of the songs on an album of theirs. I was listening to it one day and thought it was quite an interesting track, and just started getting ideas for the eel girl in that weird room from the music. The entire film was always meant to be about those visuals combined with the music.
DH: Who are the filmmakers that have inspired you the most and why?
PC: Well, there are so many, but Ridley Scott first and foremost. His visual style for me is second to none; Sam Raimi and Guillermo Del Toro - I love their comic book style - Hell Hamsters was very much meant to be similar in style to Evil Dead 2 and Blade 2 and I'm particularly a fan of Guillermo Del Toro's use of makeup effects; Peter Jackson of course, particularly for Brain Dead and obviously Lord of the Rings, which I worked on; Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese- possibly the two greatest filmakers of all time - the way they tell the story with the camera is incredible, and Stanley Kubrick, everything about his films is so incredibly meticulous.
DH: How would you describe your individual style?
PC: I've only made two short films so I'm not sure I've found it yet, but for now I'd like to think of it as good visuals, use of practical effects and makeup combined with a bit of CGI here and there, and overall just entertaining storytelling.
DH: What is your particular method of directing? Any tips?
PC: Yes, lots of preparation, and surround yourself with the most experienced cast and crew you can find and just give them the freedom to do what they do best - it makes the directors job so much easier!
DH: When you wrote, "Eel Girl" and "Hell Hampsters" were you always intending to direct them?
PC: Yes, absolutely, they were always ideas that I wanted to put on film, there was never any intention for someone else to direct them.
DH: How different were the two shorts you made from their scripts? Did everything that you intended to get on the screen end up on the screen? If there's anything different, why?
PC: I think they're pretty much exactly what was written and planned. The difference is that before you start making the film you have a perfect vision of what you want the film to be, but because of the limits of budget and time you never really get exactly what you've got in your head, you have a limited budget and you can only make what you can afford. But the thing I find really interesting is through the collaborative process of making a film you end up with something different and better at the end. It's still the directors vision, but it's the directors vision made with the input of a lot of other very talented people
DH: What was the budget for both movies and how did you secure financing?
PC: (I'd prefer not to talk about exact figures if that's ok?) A friendly bank manager and an even friendlier visa card! The only way both films were made was with a lot of support from the cast and crew who all gave up their time for free. Eel Girl probably wouldn't have happened without the incredible support from Richard Taylor and Weta Workshop.
DH: What did you shoot on and how long of a shoot was it for each movie?
PC: Hell Hamsters was shot on Digibeta and the shoot took 3 days, which I now know is a ridiculously short time to shoot a 15 minute film. Ideally you want to be shooting 2-3 pages of script per day, and we were shooting 5 pages plus makeup effects, puppets and visual effects, but in the end I think the energy that went into that insane shooting schedule ended up with what you see in the finished film.
Eel Girl was a slightly easier affair in that we were only shooting 5 pages of script in 3 days and there was only a tiny bit of dialogue. We were also shooting on a set, so we had much more space and control of the whole environment, plus a larger crew. However Eel Girl was shot on 35mm so that generally takes more time than shooting on tape. A huge amount of time was spent prepping the Eel Girl shoot, so on the day although it was still hard work and stressful, but generally the whole thing went very smoothly, and we even finished a few hours early on the last day.
DH: After it's all said and done, what would you have done differently on one or both movies?
PC: On Hell Hamsters perhaps a longer shoot time might have been less exhausting, but I'm not sure it would have made the film any better, as all the energy of the crazy shoot ended up in the film. On Eel Girl, I'd have liked to have added a bit more detail into the sets, and shot more coverage so we had more to play with in the edit, but that was just a time and money issue like any film.
DH: How's the distribution going? Any lessons learned there? Anything you can pass on to other indie filmmakers who've just finished a film?
PC: Hell Hamsters has just been picked up for distribution by Canadian company Ouat! Media, and Eel Girl is just starting to hit the festival circuit and has already picked up one award. As far as advice goes, if you want people to see your film, you have promote it and get it into film festivals. It's a huge amount of work but it's just all part of the job of filmmaking. We have websites and myspace pages for both films and we keep them regularly updated.
DH: What's next? Do you have any more projects in the works?
PC: Yes, definitely! Myself and Producer Elisabeth Pinto are currently developing two feature films. The first is called Lore of the Jungle written by UK script writer Paul Finch. I can't reveal much about the story yet but it's set in London and involves black magic and re-animated corpses and it's designed to be a very fun entertaining Evil Dead 2/Dusk Till Dawn style film.
The other project is Terminal, which is a supernatural bank heist thriller, based on the novel by US horror author Brian Keene. We've been writing the script for that ourselves.
We took both projects to the Cannes film festival this year and got a lot of interest so we're currently trying to trying to raise financing for both.
For more information on Night of the Hell Hamsters, you can go to the site here or its Myspace page here. For more information on Eel Girl, you can go to the site here or its Myspace page here.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Australia's biggest genre festival, A Night of Horror International Film Festival, would like you to know that the earlybird deadline for entries is August 1, 2008 (postmarked). ...and if you'd like me to do the math for you, that's less than a week away. If you don't get your film in by then, you're just going to have to pay full price. They're calling for: features, shorts, music videos, H.P. Lovecraft films and, of course, screenplays. If you do have a finished screenplay to submit, check this out... A representative from Lionsgate, the world's leading distributor of horror cinema, will be reading the festival's three finalist feature length screenplays. So, it's a good opportunity to have your script recommended to the industry. Also, there are categories for both feature length and short screenplays.
For more details visit their site here or enter online at http://www.withoutabox.com/.
This isn't really a festival, but it is a pretty cool deal that you can submit your film to... Universal Studios Hollywood is inviting filmmakers to imagine "Where Nightmares Come Alive" for a short film competition that will invade the Entertainment Capital of L.A. Selected films will be judged based on suspense, relevance to theme and overall chill factor. People will then go to their site, which is just below this paragraph, and vote for their favorite of the top 10 selected film shorts. Entry deadline is September 3, 2008 and the winning film will be announced on September 25. Further, the winner will be invited to come to the Halloween Horror Nights opening night "Eyegore Awards" ceremony in the company of celebrities, studio executives and media. The winner will also receive four tickets to Halloween Horror Nights and $1,000.
For more details visit their site here.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Comics-Based Movies Keep on Comin' on Wired.com: This is a pretty cool article from Wired that looks ahead at all the movies coming out soon that are based on comic books. I can't decide if this is troublesome or good news, here's why... A few years ago, Marvel Entertainment was just licensing out their characters for use by the studios and taking a licensing fee. Then, it dawned on Marvel, why don't we make our own films? We own the characters, why take a small cut, when we can take the whole thing and control the whole deal? So, they took out a massive loan ($525Million, if I remember) and set out to make "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk" on their own, both of which were considered huge successes. Now, they've got a huge slate in development and they're off to the races as an indie studio. What they figured out is that things like built in audiences, existing characters and the idea of a franchise is where the money is. There's opportunities to expand beyond just a film and into, well, everything... now, all the comic book companies want in on the action and the studios are chomping at the bit to get involved. Here's why I think it's both troublesome and good news at the same time. It's good because the studios are starting to think and look outside the box for new ideas on new projects, it's bad because with all the recent success, they'll be playing in this sandbox for a while. Having said that, I think it's a matter of time before they start looking under them at all the indie shit being made and start grabbing ideas from that pool... until then, think like the comic book companies do and create characters and franchises. When the time finally rolls around where the studios look down for new ideas, you'll be ready.
Horror-Movie Directors To Make Short Films For Xbox on imdb.com: From out of the box thinking on getting ideas for films, let's look at out of the box ideas on distributing films. As you know, new forms of distribution is one of those things I follow closely... We knew that Microsoft and Sony wanted their respected gaming consoles to be the hubs of your living room by connecting to the internet and being able to stream films, but... guess what? They're looking for short form content now, as well. Side note: I really think short form will be the future of film. I mean, there will always be room for massive films like "Dark Knight", but there's going to be a whole new market for short form soon. Anyhow, a bunch of big name horror directors signed on to make short horror films for Xbox Live. If it's successful, maybe they'll be looking at short horror films from lesser known directors?
ZeeVee Introduces ZvBox PC-To-TV System on twice.com: My voice is hoarse from talking about all the new devices that will connect your PC to your TV. Here's another... this one looks to be doomed, though, as it suffers from the same things that's ailed all it's predecesor's, basically high cost and limited content. However, they way I read it, they're not looking to partner with a distributor. They just want to be able to connect the PC to the TV and let you decide what you watch. So, it must have an interface that allows you to browse your PC through your TV. Hmmm... interesting. I like that, putting the power into the hands of the consumer. Like I've been saying for a while, definitely a category to keep watching.
New Magid Survey: Short-Form Dominates Online Video Consumption and Hurts TV Viewership on videonuze.com: This just in, people are watching short form content online and it's hurting TV viewership. Is that really a surprise? Probably not... note this quote from the article, "short-form (is) a legitimate alternative entertainment format that creatives are embracing and audiences are adopting". Enough said... now, let's all go make some short horror films.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
What I really appreciate and love about the five guys that make up Fewdio is that they have all cut their chops in the industry successfully, having established themselves as screenwriters, directors, actors and producers. Then, one day, they woke up and decided to say "F it" and started Fewdio... and what Fewdio's doing, as far as I'm concerned, is trail-blazing. They're making a collection of horror shorts and are trying new ways of distribution by throwing stuff out there using the web, festivals and networking...
Brad and I had a chance to sit down with three of the five Fewdio members a few weeks ago, have a bunch of beers and shoot the shit... they're an extremely talented bunch of guys and they're really on to something with what they're doing. We'll be sure to keep you posted on all Fewdio activity, but until then... take a listen to what they had to say.
Clip 1 - Introducing Fewdio
Clip 2 - The website
Clip 3 - What we're trying to do
Clip 4 - The movies
Clip 5 - Gore
Clip 6 - Budgets
Clip 7 - How long was the shoot?
Clip 8 - Achieving the look
Clip 9 - Distribution
Clip 10 - Tips for indie filmmakers
Fewdio's site can be found here and to check out their first short film, "The Easter Bunny is Eating my Candy", click here. Their site now has a 'go live' date, by the way. Make sure you check it out August 6th!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Saturday, August 9th – 2 pm – Dead and Gone
Harry Shannon (writer), composer Harry Manfredini, Kathryn Bates (Frankie), Yossi Sasson (Director), Gillian Shure (Kate), Dan Crawley (makeup fx) and other guests to be announced.signing the new horror film, Dead and Gone (DVD $26.98). Harry will also be signing the novel, Dead and Gone (TPB $16.95).
All items can be order through our website at http://www.darkdel.com/ under signing/events. This is a secure shopping cart.
Darclight is a division of Arclight and they're devoted to showcasing the best in the horror, thriller and action genres from around the world. Formed in 2004, the Darclight banner encompasses a wide variety of genres including horror, thriller and action feature films, with recent successes being the horror films "Wolf Creek", "Perfect Creature" and "Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror". They tend to deal with bigger budget films that have run or will run the festival circuit, but you never know. If you go to their site there, they have all the contact information you'll need to get in touch with their head of acquisitions.
Brimstone Media Productions specializes in horror and science-fiction films and their latest feature, "Addicted to Murder", was widely distributed through Blockbuster Video and is available for home video rental throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Their movies are distributed worldwide and, to date, they have produced eighteen independent feature films. I can't find a catalogue on there, but I do know that they've distributed indie films from other filmmakers other than themselves... there's even a submissions tab on their site there.
Image Entertainment is a big home entertainment company that acquires, licenses, finances and produces exclusive content for worldwide video distribution through its direct relationships with major North American retailers and foreign sublicensees such as Sony/BMG and Warner Music. Long and short, they're not a little indie company. However, they do distribute little indie films. They've released "Die You Zombie Bastards!", "Day X" and a personal favorite, "Evil Aliens", among many other films. Once again, they don't make it hard to get in touch with their acquisitions department. You can just go to their site there and click on 'contact us' and you'll find the aquisitions email address.
ITN Distribution, according to them, has become a leading film distribution company known to buyers worldwide. They hold offices at the Cannes Film Festival and Market, the American Film Market, Mipcom, Natpe and Mifed, although their head offices are in Las Vegas. They distribute all kinds of films, including a lot of horror. They've recently released such titles as "Rapturious", "The Toybox" and "Chill".
Check out the other distributors that we've profiled on our 'indie horror distributors' page here.
Monday, July 21, 2008
"Brutal Massacre: A Comedy" is actually, in fact, a comdey, but it needs to be mentioned for obvious reasons. It's written and directed by Stevan Mena, whose only other film to date is Malevolence, and it's being released by Anchor Bay. It's a mocumentary about a washed up horror auteur who's putting everything on the line to get his one last film finished. It won the festival prize at the Long Island International Film Expo and, for a horror fan, it's got an unreal cast, including: David Naughton from "An American Werewolf in London", Ken Foree from "Dawn of the Dead", Ellen Sandweiss from "Evil Dead" and Gunnar Hansen, the original Leatherface from "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"... and they're all in comedic roles.
"Pray for Morning" comes from writer/director Cartney Wearn and this is his feature directorial debut, although he has been in the business for a while. He started out writing documentaries (I didn't know they required writers?), as well as freelance writing for magazines and newspapers before he got into screenwriting. During his screenwriting time, he began shooting short films and theater productions... and then came "Pray for Morning", which won the Columbine Award for Film Score at the Moondance International Film Festival. It's about five students who break into an abandoned, haunted hotel.
"Dark Honeymoon" comes from writer/producer/director David O'Malley... but he's going by one of his alternate names, Phillip Leftfield on this one... and I'm not sure why he'd go by an alternate name when everyone knows it's him, but... whatever. So, there's a lot of recognizable names here and the reviews have been fairly good. You've got Lindy Booth and Nick Cormish, with supporting roles from Roy Scheider (one of his last roles), Tia Carrere, Daryl Hannah and Eric Roberts. It's about a guy who gets married to a seductive woman after a short, but intense relationship. During their honeymoon, he uncovers the terrible truth about his new wife...
"Death Valley", which was originally called "Mojave", was written and directed by David Kebo and Rudi Liden. It's about four friends that head into the desert for some fun, but the trip turns to hell when they meet up with a couple of bad locals. It was actually made back in 2004 and screened at the L.A. Film Festival back then to great reviews... so, I'm not sure why it took so long to get released. In any case, it looks really good.
"Evil Behind You" has really cool cover art, sounds good and even has a cool plot - "Abducted couples are victims of medical experiments that mutate their minds with supernatural abilities. As their mental capacities increase, so does the danger from something evil that is not of flesh and blood." However, I couldn't help but notice that it was getting terrible reviews... so, I read through a bunch to find out what was going on. It turns out that the film is a "Christian film" with heavy handed Christian views... now, that's not to say it's bad, that's just to say that a lot of people rented it, bought it or saw it, and were surprised by that. Take that for what it's worth...
Like I've said many times before, I usually don't cover old films, but I'll briefly mention that 1977's "The Campus Corpse" is being rereleased, just because I love the idea behind it. It's about a fraternity hazing where a few guys are confronted with the death of a brother and they must maintain the illusion that he's still alive by hiding the body and taking it on a trip to make it look like a skiing accident. It's like the prequel to "Weekend At Bernie's". I love it...
Oh, yeah... and Masters of Horror: Season Two Box Set is coming out, this is the season with: "The Damned Thing", "The V Word", "Pelts", "The Black Cat" among others... definitely not as good as the first season, but there's some good stuff here.
World Premiere Screening
Tickets & info: www.aoffest.com
Tickets can be purchased through the festivals' websites, or at the box office.
DH: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and what got you into making movies?
RS: I was born in Kansas and raised in McAlester Oklahoma. In high school I became interested in still photography. Soon after that a friend of mine introduced me to the idea of making movies. He gave me the movie True Romance and told me to watch it. I took it home and watched it
three or four times. That movie really made me think, “I have to do this”. Right after that the same friend gave me The Last House On The Left, I went home and watched that film about four times that night. After that I realized, “I can do this”. That summer I made my first
short film and have never stopped.
DH: Film school: yes or no?
RS: I attended the North Carolina School of the Arts. I learned so much at NCSA. It truly is an incredible program. In my opinion it's the best film program in the country.
DH: What was the inspiration behind, "Nobody Loves Alice"?
RS: I had written several screenplays before Nobody Loves Alice but due to budget I couldn’t make any of them. I set out to write a script I could afford to produce. I was waiting tables at the time when my boss received a phone call from a woman that said she had been in that day
and he was so sweet to her that she had to meet him outside of the restaurant. Having to deal with customer satisfaction he told her that he was glad she had a good experience and to come in and have a drink on the restaurant. He then proceeded to tell her that he had a girlfriend. Not two minutes later the phone rings again and it’s his girlfriend, she said that the previous call was her friend and that she just wanted to see if he would cheat on her. In that instant I know what Nobody Loves Alice was going to be about.
DH: Are there any directors or movies that influenced, "Nobody Loves Alice"? If so, how?
RS: So many films and directors have influenced me. My biggest influence at the time of making Nobody Loves Alice were Asian horror films, especially films by Takashi Miike. I enjoy the slower evolution of the story. After all it’s about the story and characters, not the splatter
and gore. Don’t get me wrong that is part of it, but it’s not the reason I sit down to watch something.
DH: Describe your directing style.
RS: My style is very loose. I give my actors a lot of freedom to meld the character and make them their own. If I like what they do I let them run with it, but I have no problem letting them know something isn’t working. However some of the greatest moments in Nobody Loves Alice
come from the actors being able to just play with the lines and emotions.
DH: "Nobody Loves Alice" was impressively made on such a small budget. How did you pull it off?
It was challenging but we were very strategic where we spent money. The majority of the money had to go to converting Alice’s room and the blood effects. I had a very talented and resourceful crew that was able to make things look great with very little. We only had twelve
days to shoot the film so that also cut down budget.
DH: The performances in the film are outstanding. Describe your casting process and how you selected the leads.
RS: I worked with Nitzan Mager (ALICE) on a short film entitle Motherhood, you can see that film on my myspace. I actually wrote the part of Alice for her. So, knowing what she was capable of I was able to create a great character that I knew she would be great playing. Philip Ward (ALEX) acted in a film that I was Cinematographer on. I also knew his abilities and created that part for him. Phillip was enrolled in the acting program at Elon University at the time so he was able to bring me a lot of the cast from people he had worked with previously. He was sort of the casting director. He had actually been scene partners with Amanda Taylor (Abigail) in school so they already had a relation ship they could play off and bring to the film.
DH: What did you shoot on and how long of a shoot was it?
RS: We shot on the Canon XL2. In my opinion Canon blows it’s competition out of the water. The image the XL2 produces is a big part of why the film looks so good. It’s build to be lit like you’re working with film. It’s competitors at the time were point and shoot idiot proof cameras and their image quality suffered. We shot for twelve days over our winter break from NCSA. We never went over 12 hours during production except for the last day. That was the final fight scene and Dave Martin, the cinematographer and I had to stage the fight scene. That took about 18 hours.
DH: What obstacles did you overcome to get your film made?
RS: There were several obstacles that could have presented themselves. However, the production went very smooth. We planned everything out so meticulously in preproduction that we had very few problems. It was so smooth that on one particular day I was able to get 48 different camera setups.
DH: How did you secure distribution? Any tips for people trying to get their movie out there?
Distribution is a painful process, especially when you don’t have a named star. There are a lot of sharks out there and all they want to do is steal your film. I had a couple of different offers on the table and when I asked around I found out that they all had tricky ways of accounting for income, ways in which they hide profits from filmmakers. In fact I talked to about 100 people all of which have never seen a penny from these companies. Indie-Pictures is a new company that is changing the face of distribution. I have a substantial voice in all the decisions made regarding the distribution of my film from what festivals we enter to designing the artwork to how we spend money on advertising. My advice for those filmmakers seeking distribution is to ask around about the companies interested in your film. Try to put a named actor in your film even if it’s a small part. Get even a C list actor if you can. But, if I knew then what I know, the most important piece of advice I would give to you is skip the sharks and contact Todd Taylor, CEO of Indie-Pictures he is revolutionizing the distribution process for filmmakers. www.indie-pictures.com
DH: What's next? And, last but not least, any plans for a sequel?
RS: I have several projects I am trying to get off the ground in all different budget ranges and genres. As far as a sequel, there are two more installments of Nobody Loves Alice. We are currently working on the scripts and have investors interested. So keep your eyes open for the sequel to Nobody Loves Alice, Somebody Loves Alice.
Roger A. Scheck
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I'm not drunk yet but I'm working on it. I've got some ale in me and I'm about to crack open this over sized flavored malt beverage that's 9.0. Wired and drunk: two great things that go great together.
Today, I had a great interview where I heard yet more tales of trials and tribulations from an indie filmmaker. The process is certainly a pain in the ass from start to finish. You hit your head against the wall while writing the script, you somehow find some way to get everyone together at the same time, then it's all out f'ing war as the shooting begins. Sometime, the casualties are enormous, sometimes manageable. But, after hearing horror story after horror story: aka, the shit they don't tell you in film school: aka, the truth, I can't help but wonder why anyone makes movies (myself included). Why does the indie filmmaker keep getting their asses beat down and getting back up for more?
I believe the answer is because, like my interview confirmed today: it's in the blood. If, after finishing a movie you tell yourself, "Fuck making movies! It's not worth all the bullshit1" Then, when the morning rolls around, you tell yourself, "I can't wait to get started on the next movie." If this is you, you should stop at nothing to make your movie. If not, you should save yourself a lot of misery and disappointment and do one of those jobs people go to school to get paid for.
In short, keep the faith, indie filmmakers! Life is painful, but short. Movies will be around a lot longer than we will, and we'll always regret not making more of them. Bring on the obstacles: divas, a-holes, acts of nature, drug addicts, those shitty jobs we have to put up with while we spend all our free time on the movies, the list goes on forever. We will overcome!
Film Fest Updates... Phoenix Fear Fest, Horrorfind Weekend and Scare Fest Horror & Paranormal Convention
Phoenix Fear Festival - which is sponsored by Trash City Entertainment and Brain Damage Films, takes place on August 30th this year. The winners get a distribution contract from Brain Damage, by the way, and awards are given in all categories. This year they have the world premiere of 'Death Factory: Bloodletting', from the director of 'Great American Snuff Film', and the Arizona premiere of 'Shut-Eye Hotel', a short by Oscar-winning animator Bill Plympton. You'll find full details on the site, where you can also see the trailer for 'Death Factory'.
Horrorfind Weekend 10 in Maryland, Aug 15 - 17 at UMUC Marriott Inn & Conference Center in Adelphi, MD could be the spookiest show on earth. Well, that's what the site says. It's coming up and it looks pretty damn cool. There's no films, so to speak, it's basically a giant horror convention that features horror movie celebrities, horror writers, halloween seminars and supernatural speakers as well as a giant dealers room , horror movies and many special events. Go check out their site, though... they're getting some great guests, including: Sex Machine himself, Tom Savini; The one and only Kyle Reese, Michael Biehn; Dawn of the Dead's Ken Foree; owner of best fight scene if film history in "They Live", Roddy Pipper; "House of 1,000 Corpses'" Otis Driftwood, Bill Moseley and The Candy Man hiself, Tony Todd... who's at every horror convention... ever.
Scare Fest Horror & Paranormal Convention takes place September 12-14 in Lexington, Kentucky and it's the largest horror and paranormal convention in the southeast, where you'll be able to experience three horror- filled- days at the Lexington Center in Lexington, Kentucky. You can still submit your film to be in the festival, but they've announced some of the films that they'll be screening already. First off, they're showing some of the FEWDIO films, including the kick-f'ing-ass "The Easter Bunny is Eating My Candy". (We met up with the FEWDIO guys a while back and we have a great inteview with them coming up soon!) If you'd like to submit your film, send them an email at email@example.com and get the mailing instructions.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Yes, it comes to us all. I’m not talking about death here, although that does come to us all at least once in our life. I’m talking about failure. And it’s not just any old failure, its failure of something you’ve put your heart and soul into as well as your time and hard earned cash.
Now, my experience comes from the music side of things, but I’m guessing a lot of people reading this will have suffered failure in other forms. Maybe your movie was knocked back from a festival, your script wasn’t received favourably or your acting was criticised.
There’s always going to be people out there who really don’t like what you do, but for every one of them there’s going to be a whole lot more who really dig your stuff.
We kind of focus on the negative. It’s difficult to ignore that one comment or review that says you suck, even though there’s another 10 saying you don’t.
After years of being really irritated by the people who don’t like what I do, I now manage to subconsciously blank those naysayers & focus on the people who dig what I do.
It’s all really down to belief & confidence in what you’re doing. If you’ve got the belief that your project is good & the confidence to actually do it, then who gives a damn about some dude who has taken a personal dislike to your thing? Who gives a damn if your movie isn’t played at a certain film festival? Who gives a damn if you’re turned down for a role?
Take the positive, ignore the negative. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down & carry on regardless.
I recently had a bit of a failure with one project I was working on. It was a short vampire movie, the director was looking for a composer & I got in touch letting him hear a selection of my past work. He was impressed & asked me to compose the soundtrack to which I did over the course of about a month.
The finished soundtrack consisted of 6 different pieces of music, I was really happy with what I had created & the director was equally happy.
Unfortunately, unbeknownst to both the director & myself, the people who actually funded the short movie where looking round for a ‘named’ composer at the same time as I was writing the soundtrack.
When I submitted my music to the director, he let his investors listen to it & they turned around & said “yeah, it’s cool, but we want to use this other composer because he’s worked on big movies” – you can imagine how disappointed I was. Not only had I spent all that time composing the soundtrack, I also really want to be part of the project & work with that particular director.
I spent several days feeling really pissed off with the whole thing. I was kicked off the project for a guy who’d worked in the music department on Lord of the Rings. Could he write a better soundtrack than me? Maybe, maybe not. But that wasn’t the point.
Soon after that, I got a chance to work on another movie & it slowly dawned on me that I hadn’t wasted my time because the music I’d written was good & it could easily be tweaked & morphed to be used in a different project. That’s exactly what I did & I got something positive out of a failed project.
So, the moral of this story is; no matter what you do & no matter what happens to your music / script / movie or whatever, remember that you’re not wasting you time. You’re actually honing your craft, gaining experience, collecting knowledge. It’s all good.
It’s a big old world out there & thankfully there’s a lot of different people who like a lot of different things so no matter what type of product you create, there’s bound to be a market for it somewhere.
For more information on Tony Longworth, visit his Myspace page - www.myspace.com/tonylongworth
Here's some info on the course being offered: It's a Raindance Film Course that specializes in special effects for low budget horror and action films... Dan Martin will guide you through a comprehensive list of special effects, tailored for low to no budget horror and action films. Generally special effects have been the domain of the well funded or especially lucky filmmaker, but this need not be the case.
Day 1 - Horror FX; everything gory. Want to achieve a Dr Butcher style arm impaling? A pouring chest wound? We’ll show you how.
Day 2 – Action FX; the Woo side of things. How to modify that prop gun to fire a six-inch muzzle flash. How to make ricochets without hiring an expensive pyrotechnician.
If you’re the film maker who balked when told their low budget film could not contain any special effects, or if you yearn for the salad-days of 70’s and 80’s horror and crime cinema, when inconceivable violence was entirely justified just as long as you had a Euro-funk soundtrack, this course is for you.
For more information on the festival and the course, you can go to the Raindance site here.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
News recently broke about the script for Tarantino's long talked about WWII epic, "Inglorious Bastards" ...and I got so excited, I had to sit down. Here's a couple articles - Doubt Quentin Tarantino All You Want - But INGLORIOUS BASTARDS Will Carve Its Mark Into Your Skull When It Is Done! - on Aint in Cool News & We’ve Got Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglorious Bastards’ Script. I'm not going to lie, I'll be honest. I'm not a Tarantino fan... and I'll leave it at that. I've been in many a debate over it and I wouldn't shy away from another one, but that's for another day. Brad, on the other hand, is. So, this link is for him. I only ask one thing, check out that second article, what's with that handwritten title page? Is he a complete invalid? Not only does he write like a 2 year old, he spells "bastard" B A S T E R D. Anyhow, like him or hate him, "Inglorious Bassturds" is coming...
Michael Bay talks 'Transformers 2' and 'Friday the 13th' remake on EW.com: This is fairly fluff, but Entertainment Weekly talked with Michael Bay about 'Transformers 2' and 'Friday the 13th'. It's a fairly short interview and the bulk of it is actually about 'Friday the 13th'. If you're like me and don't want to see this remade and think that Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes are just money grubbing trolls for remaking it, you'll find it interesting to see how he tries to sell it. "We're fans ourselves!", "We try to be faithful", "You're just not going to believe the first 12 minutes!". If you're excited about the film and have nothing against Bay, the interview will reveal nothing, it's exactly what you thought it would be.
Now, on to some cool industry shit... PLAYSTATION Network's Video Delivery Service to Offer Movies and TV Shows for Purchase and Rental Through PLAYSTATION 3 and PSP - on iStockAnalyst.com: Here's the thing, if you're a regular reader, you'll probably remember the post about the Sony Bravia being able to connect to the internet and act as a segue, right? Well, Sony's making sure they own this space, they're pulling out all the stops. Basically, they want the PS3 to be the center-piece of the family room. They want it to be the portal where you watch movies, play video games, cruise the internet, everything... they're not alone, though. Microsoft is trying to do the same thing with XBox and then there's my underdog in the arean, Roku and Netflix, who are trying, as well. However, my underdog may REALLY be a crippled underdog, as they probably won't be capable of cruising the internet, let alone playing video games on. Whatever... either way, the way we watch movies and consume media is going to change, my friends!
Lionsgate, YouTube strike ad-share deal - on THR.com: Uh oh... what's going on out there? First... Sony, Microsoft and Roku are fighting to get a device in your living room that connects to the internet, now Lionsgate strikes a deal with Youtube? WTF? Don't take this lightly, by the way... studios used to be so arogant, they thought they could control how, when and where you saw films. Now, they're reeling. Not only that, they're trying everything to squeeze more money out of their catalogue of films. This is actually monumentary. Lionsgate is now working with a website that's known for showing pirated content. Basically, Lionsgate is getting its own Youtube channel, where they show their content, run ads and split revenue with Youtube.
TV Trends:Consumers Demand Control - on eMarketer.com: If you're willing to pay $695.00, you can actually buy the full 24 page report with all 58 charts, however if you click on the link there, you get 1 graph and a short blurb... which was enough for me. These guys do studies for the industry, then sell the studies and this time they did a study on TV Trends. Here's what they found... "Video-on-demand (VOD), digital video recorders (DVRs), the broadband Web, and 3G mobile phones are giving TV consumers new ways to access and watch TV (and they) estimate that by 2012 nearly 25% of all TV content watched each day will be time-shifted, on-demand, on the Web or on a mobile device." Better get that indie horror ready for VOD, DVR's, the web and 3G mobile phones...