Bloody Hero Film Festival Recap

The weekend has come and gone. It was a long long one but a lot of fun. Chris Martin, the festival director, was awesome about letting Brian Smith and myself be on the jury and doing our little podcast from the event. We can’t than him enough. As far as the festival itself I have to say I was very impressed with the movies and shorts that were shown there. There were so many talented people that submitted it almost made me think I should get out before I have truly begun. But I won’t. Even if I’m the next Ed Wood I have to stick it out. It’s in my blood.

I am going to start by listing off some of my personal favorite movies I got to see while I was there or got to screen in advance. These will be in no particular order. I really enjoyed Matt’s Chance. I thought it was quite funny and I loved meeting the director and his co-writer/supporting actor over the weekend. They were great guys and I look forward to seeing what they do in the future. American Courtesans, a documentary from Kristen DiAngelo that is a very honest look inside the world of the sex industry. She was a very warm and smart woman and I wish her and her film success. Some Guy Who Kills People, a movie starring Kevin Corrigan and Barry Bostwick. This movie was funny, sweet, bloody, dark and just plain good. It already has distribution and will be available soon on DVD and Blu-Ray. I watched so many movies over the weekend everything is such a blur but I do want to mention some of the great movies from other countries – Agon, Crawl and Beyond The Grave. All of these films are worth looking for. Agon was filled with some amazing performances. 

I also want to take a moment to apologize to Tom Weston, director of The Wind That Blows, for not having a chance to see his documentary. I had a great time talking with him last night. He’s a great guy and I hope he can get distribution soon so I can watch it along with the rest of the world. 

Now let’s take a moment to talk about the short films. There were some really clever and funny ones, wonderfully dark ones, and great animated pieces that came through the festival. The first one I want to mention is a stop motion Lego animation by an eleven year old boy. It was called Parkour Race and it was very impressive. I always like to see when someone find that thing they love to do early in life. Pierre is a very gifted young man and I hope he keeps it up. Some of the other really cool shorts I got to see where Late Lunch, Time Out Of Mind, Whatever Happened To That Weird Kid?, Pride Of Caldwell, Paper People, Him Indoors, Kerry And Angie and Apartment 15. I hope I’m not forgetting anyone there. Several of the short filmmakers were at the festival as well. I loved meeting every single one of them and wish them success in everything they do.

I would like to apologize to Ryan Ondriezek for not having seen his short film before interviewing him yesterday. I hope I get a chance to see it soon.

Now I want to take a quick moment to talk about the people that made this festival so much fun for me. Randy Robinson and Rob Edwards – you guys are awesome. I can wait to get started on Ded Moroz so I can boss you around some more. Chris Martin – Brian and I can’t thank you enough for everything. Thanks for putting on the fest. And if you’re doing it again next year we will be there. Barbara Gresser – Thanks for everything you did all weekend. It seemed like anytime someone needed you there you were before they could even ask. Sylvie and Frank Cohen – You guys were awesome. Sylvie, I really want to see New World Order and I really want to get started on Ded Moroz to finally get to work with you properly and not just a quick gag on the podcast. Jai Yunae – thank you for coming out to do the podcast with us. You were awesome as always. Sorry we didn’t get to say goodbye before you left. Kevin Moyers – thanks for coming out, watching podcast, hanging out for lunch and just letting us do whatever we want on your network. Brian Smtih and David Sabal – I know you guys didn’t to spend as much time there as you would have liked but you were there when needed and did what had to be done. That’s why we’re friends. Kristen DiAngelo – It was a pleasure talking to you. Sorry we went to a gluten filled restaurant. If there’s ever a next time we know now. And last but not least Mr. Brian Burroughs – You made the long weekend so much easier. You were a lot of fun to talk to and I really loved your short film Shotrocity. 

Everyone go listen to The Gorram Nerd Hour on Wednesday for our show from the Festival.


Writing Ded Moroz

Brian and I were fairly ambitious with our first short film, Lepus. We had 13 speaking parts, 9 deaths, multiple scenes and set ups. Before we shot it I pitched to him the idea of making it a trilogy.

In Lepus we had a man dressed as the Easter bunny killing people on Halloween. In Ded Moroz we will have a man dressed as Santa killing people at Easter. We are still trying to decide what the third killer will be but it is going to be set during Christmas.

Brian and I sat down for a while tonight to write about 10 pages. This will be longer than Lepus and the final installment will be the longest. The hope is that when it is all finished we have something that is roughly feature length.

All the surviving characters are returning. Some will live. Some will die. All we know for sure is that we are only half way there. We made each other laugh several times tonight while writing Ded Moroz. It was probably the most fun we’ve had writing together since writing Lepus. We love the characters. We love the nonsense. We love that we are making each one bloody and weird.

In Ded Moroz we are upping the body count. With nine kills in Lepus we wanted to go for at least twelve this time. We have plenty of fun ideas for how we kill people in this. We have already written six. We have plotted death #7 and know where we are ending the story. We just don’t know who else dies along the way.

We also know that Sheriff Cristos will be dressed as Jesus again. A slightly different looking Jesus from the first one. You’ll just have to wait and see what I mean. We also have people in drag, people dressed like reindeer, people speaking French, and God knows what else before we finish.

There are going to be more locations, more scope. We don’t want to rest on our laurels. We really want to deliver with this thing. Editing on Lepus begins in a couple days. During that time Brian and I will be sequestered in the editing bay with our friend and partner in crime, David Sabal. We may try and work some writing into our schedule during the week. Stay tuned for more.

In the meantime you can click here to see photos taken during the Lepus shoot. Enjoy.

Casting Lepus Part 2

Tonight we are going to review our tapes of the auditions and make our final decisions on who gets cast in Lepus. We had a lot of talented people show up and had a lot of fun with the casting process.

It is going to make for some hard choices but the good thing is we are planning on this being a trilogy. If the response to Lepus is good we will move ahead with Ded Moroz quickly. What I am hoping is that even the people we are unable to cast in this time would be available for the next one we do. We deliberately didn’t write Ded Moroz yet to ensure that we could write for the actors we cast and the ones who may not be right for the roles in this one.

I was overjoyed with the amount of talent we saw last night and couldn’t be now grateful to them for taking time out of their busy schedules to come and try out for our quirky little short film. I know the decisions we make may be hard but we will have this short stuffed to the gills with some of the most talented actors in Arizona.

I would also like to thank Ciara Starr for helping us out last night. She was a big help in keeping us organized and doing off camera line reads with the actors. Thanks to Samurai Comics for lending us the space for the audition, David Sabal for helping us get the ball rolling, Brian Smith for handling the camera duties since David was tied up at a meeting, and one more big thanks to the talented actors who came out last night.

Go to our Facebook page for regular updates.

A Quick Update On Lepus

It seems that we will he shooting Lepus, our first short film, in the third week of October. As we are shooting this with little to no money we wanted to take advantage of the Halloween season and shoot when people have already decorated for it.

So far I have been able to secure actors for many of the major roles. I have already shown the picture of Brian Smith to you all. He is playing the Lepus in our film. The rest of the cast is listed below with question marks next to the open roles –

Sheriff Cristos (aka Jesus) – ?
Lepus – Brian Smith
Jamie – Kelsee Benson
Victim #1 – Tracie Knittel
Mary – ?
Zelda – Cherith Pruitt
Ruth – ?
Farmer – ?
Deputy Beckett – ?
Coroner – ?
Tommy – Brennen Benson
Kid On Tricycle – Sierra Benson
Two Dead Boys – Kyle Benson, Corbin Benson
Sexy Nurse – ?

You may have noticed several names in the cast are Benson. They are family, all nieces and nephews. Strangely, I didn’t write it for them but happened to notice that it just worked out that way. Kelsee is the perfect age for Jamie. The other kids are more featured extras than anything else. The boys get killed without ever speaking. Sierra just rides around on a tricycle singing a weird nursery rhyme about the Lepus. And Brennen plays a 10 year old who is throwing a party for high schoolers while sneaking into the bedroom with a sexy nurse old enough to be his mom.

We have a few people who are local that we want to fill the roles of Sheriff Cristos, Deputy Beckett, the coroner, and the sexy nurse. I hope we are able to get them to agree to make the short.

We are trying to sweeten the pot to get our Sheriff Cristos by offering the role of three short films. We already have Ded Moroz planned out. There will be a third story, one that ends the madness once and for all. Once all is said and done we should have about an hour long trilogy.

In other Lepus related news – we have been guaranteed a spot on the DVD that is being planned to showcase local shorts. It will have worldwide distribution and a huge push at Phoenix Comicon. We here at Robot Vampire Productions are very excited. The man putting the DVD together has read the script and really liked it. Now we just need to make sure that he likes the finished product just as much.

Ded Moroz – A Sequel To Lepus

I was kicking around ideas of writing a sequel to something mainly just to see what we could do with it. After having a fun experience writing Lepus and Terrestrial Brian and I wanted to have another short film we could make. I had an idea for a sequel to Lepus.

Given that Lepus takes place on Halloween and has to do with the Easter Bunny I thought it would be fun to make the sequel set at Easter with a copycat killer dressed as Santa Claus. It would afford us the opportunity to still have the town sheriff dressed as Jesus fighting these killers. This time the sheriff has the role of Jesus in his church’s Easter Pagent when he’s called upon to fight Santa.

The tone will still be the same where we shoot it like an experimental German art film and fill it with weird jokes and homages to previous horror films. When Brian and I discussed it last night we both saw a lot of potential in continuing the story in this way. Plus we both wanted to experiment with writing a sequel, even if it is just a short film.