Here We Are Again


It’s been an awfully long time since I used this blog. It’s not because I was deliberately neglecting it. There have been many reasons. First of which was all the things I have been doing. Back in November I embarked on directing my second short film, Terrestrial, starring Bill Oberst Jr. and a few faces from Lepus. The shoot was quite an ordeal. I had such a bad migraine on day one that I began vomiting that morning. The next few days were smooth. Since we shot it there have been some stumbling blocks. The editor’s mom fell ill causing the first pause in completion. Then we started shooting an ill conceived improv web series and put Terrestrial on the back burner yet again. I stepped away from the series after two very stressful shoots. By that time I had accepted the position of Film Festival Coordinator for Phoenix Comicon and it consumed a lot of my time. In what little downtime I had between work and an con duties I was the subject of a short documentary about fathers and sons. It was a very cathartic thing for my father and me. All the while I have been working on writing scripts for a sitcom based loosely on my family and a horror film about demons. The latter is going to be a big collaborative effort between myself and some old and new friends. I’m very excited about it.

So let’s get to talking about each thing individually. First Terrestrial. I have talked about the movie briefly on here before. Bill was fantastic. The rest of the cast was amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys to make this with. Everyone was awesome. Bill’s performance was at times childlike, murderous and evil, funny and creepy. It’s got sides of his talent rarely seen on screen. We will be getting back to finishing this up very soon. I’m excited to get people to see it. As for the rest of the cast what can I say? Willman Vergara Jr. was someone I wanted to work with on Lepus but couldn’t find a good spot for. I’m so glad we found a place for him on this one. Randy Robinson and RJ Markham, who were both in Lepus, came back for more twisted fun and did a wonderful job. Everyone was very well prepared and kept us moving ahead of schedule. They were on point with their characters and delightfully funny.

As for the next bit. It’s a sore subject and I really don’t want to step on anyone’s toes or offend when I speak of it. It was a web series about ghost hunting called Specter Quest. The reason I say it was ill conceived is because we all seemed to have different ideas of what it should be and how to get there we didn’t stick to the plan I laid out. They have decided to continue on without me. And I wish them the best of luck with it.

Phoenix Comicon was a great experience this year. It was my first year as Film Festival Coordinator and it couldn’t have gone better if I actually knew what I was doing. The film selections were better than ever this year. We even had the chance to screen a little seen movie called Moontrap from the 80’s starring Bruce Campbell and Walter Koenig. Campbell was kind enough to come up to the film festival unannounced and do a little introduction to the film, much to the delight of the audience…and the staff. We had some standout movies and shorts this year. Jessica Cameron sent me her directorial debut, Truth Or Dare, to screen at the con. It’s a shame she and the cast and crew couldn’t be there. We had something happen I had never seen with my own eyes before. Two grown men came out of the screening room looking weak and pale. Both nearly threw up at what they had seen. It was incredible. I met some very talented and great people this year working at the con. I have been volunteering for years but this is the first time having this level of responsibility. I can’t wait for next year.

I was anxious to work on another movie. I have wanted to experience what it’s like to work on a documentary so I responded to an ad. I met the director for dinner. We got to talking and he wanted to make something about fathers and sons and estrangement. My father and I have had some serious ups and downs over the years. There were years at a time I refused to talk to him. Other times he was so messed up on drugs he was stealing my belongings and selling them for drug money. He even tried to convince a Mexican former boxer that I was calling him “spick” and “wetback” behind his back just to get this boxer to beat me up. My dad has been sober for more than four years now and was recently married to a great woman. I was his best man. We’ve worked out most of our issues. I asked my dad if he’d be a part of this documentary and he immediately agreed. In fact, he almost started crying before I could even tell him fully what it was all about. He hasn’t seen it yet but I am very proud of it. It was not my project. It belongs to a new friend. I am excited to continue it on. He wants to stretch it into a feature at some point and add in new subjects.

Finally, without giving too much away, I want to talk about a new movie I’m working on right now. We have a title. We have the story. We all just need to sit down and put it into proper screenplay format. I will say this – it’s about demons. It’s technically an anthology film but more in the vein of Pulp Fiction or The Signal. Each story carries over characters from previous shorts and they are all connected into one large story. I will only be directing one or two parts. The others are being done by some other new friends, one I met through Phoenix Comicon. He had a great eye when it came to making something visually striking with very little. The short I want him to do may actually be a silent film with a healthy dose of violence, kidnapping and maybe a little sex. Each story deals with a different kind of demon. We have stories ranging from half demon babies to a man everyone believes to be schizophrenic to a crossroads demon story. We’re really looking forward to our first script meeting in a few short days.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll be back soon. I kinda promise.

 

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Blessings And Curses – Lepus At Phoenix Comicon


Last night we premiered Lepus at Phoenix Comicon. We were able to show it twice. The first time was as part of Death By VHS, the anthology DVD it is a part of. The second time was a little later that night at a cast and crew panel we arranged.

The reception was great. People really seemed to get it. They laughed in all the right spots. I’d say they cried but we didn’t make a movie for people to cry. So if they did I wasn’t aware of it nor would I appreciate it. We had a few people in the audience actually catch some of the more subtle religious refrences and everyone loved watching Brian as a creepy Easter Bunny. His first appearence just walking got a laugh.

I feel really happy that everyone liked it. And it is a blessing that we have distribution. But that’s also the curse. Because of distribution we are automatically disqualified from submitting to several film festivals. That makes me sad. I would love to send it out all over the place and see what kind of response we get.

I guess we’ll have to wait until we do Terrestrial for that. Watch for the panel we did to be posted on YouTube in the coming days or weeks or whenever it goes up. Also, listen to The Gorram Nerd Hour on Wednesday for more details.
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We Need A New Iconic Horror Villain!


ImageGrowing up in the 1980’s was awesome. We had great movies genre movies coming out constantly like The Thing and Aliens. But one thing that really made genre movies so special in the 80’s was the glut of iconic horror villains we had to fear. From the 1970’s on through the hayday of the 80’s we had the likes of Leatherface, Freddy, Jason, Michael, Chucky, Pinhead and so many more. To a lesser extent you can include the Predator and the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise. These were characters we rooted for, feared and hated all at once. They were wiping out the sinners. They were sparing the pure while making them strong. This was something I still feel that churches should get behind. 

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In most horror films from the 80’s you had a bunch of immoral types likes druggies, drinkers, fornicators and just all around undesirables, Then you had the heroine of the film – a girl filled with chastity and virtue. Who lived and who died? It’s pretty simple, really. The chaste girl always won out in the end. Why? Because she was pure of heart, mind and soul. This should be something the church recognizes and backs. They should want these films made and should show them in Sunday school. After all, most churches try to instill fear into their children to keep them on the straight and narrow. Catholics, I’m talking to you!

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But I got away from my original point. We don’t have iconic villains being created anymore. At best we get inferior remakes of A Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween. But where are the new guys? Ghostface Killer from Scream? He doesn’t quite fit the bill but he’s close. Jigsaw from Saw? He’s been dead since the third movie. But he’s also a little closer in theme. He did go after sinners, people not living life to their full potential and attempted to purify them. What about the invisible demon from Paranormal Activity? Nope. Although there is the family connection there as there was with so many horror films in the 80’s. Death in Final Destination? Again we never see him. And I always felt they should refer to him as Rube for the elaborate Rube Goldberg style traps we see in each kill. 

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The closest thing we have to 70’s and 80’s style icon is Victor Crawley from Hatchet. He’s one bad mammajamma. But, sadly, the Hatchet films barely get a theatrical release. It’s as if Hollywood doesn’t think we want a new crop of evil baddies…unless they’re remake versions of the originals.

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But here’s my question – is it Hollywood or is it us? What do we want to see? More of the same watered down PG-13 ghost stories, torture porn, or do we want a return to old school horror? I vote for old school. I hope I’m not the only one. I also hope it’s not because I was raised on them.   

That’s all I have to say on the subject until Wednesday when the next edition of The Gorram Nerd Hour hits. You can follow me on Twitter here, here and here. Or find us on Facebook.

Evil Dead And Other Remakes


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Over the course of history we have had to suffer through a multitude of remakes with more on the way. It’s a fact of life that Hollywood wants to capitalize on a name. That’s just how it goes. How many times have seen the same Shakespeare story put on film even though there are other equally good Shakespeare plays that never get made? Why? Because people recognize the names of Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet.

Horror films get hit harder than any other genre because, as horror fans, we get excited that someone is actually releasing a horror movie in theaters. So we go and immediately take to the internet whining and complaining about the latest remake or sequel and how much the studio/director/star ruined your memories. But we go. Studios know this. And what do studios care about most? It’s not the fans. It’s profit. So we get remakes and a sequel a year to the likes of Saw or Paranormal Activity not because we demand it but because they know we’ll watch it. Hell, I have seen every Children Of The Corn and Hellraiser movie, not because I like them but because they were there. That’s what studios count on. Being a genre fan is frustrating and rewarding all at once.

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Thirty one years ago an established horror and science fiction filmmaker set out to make his first remake before they became the trendy thing to do in Hollywood. It was one of the only films in that thirty one years to do it right. The movie was The Thing, the filmmaker John Carpenter. He was already moving toward legendary statud thanks to Assault On Precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog and Escape From New York. At the time this seemed like a bad career choice. Why make someone else’s film when you could do something original? But he believed in the movie and felt it had something to say just in the same way that the remake of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers did just a few years earlier. And, like Invasion, he got it right. Since then we have seen nearly all his early masterwork remade. None match what he did with the originals. There have also been a slew of other remakes of famous horror franchises with varying degrees of success – A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday The 13th, Prom Night, The Hills Have Eyes. The list goes on and grows by the day.
One movie that many prayed for a sequel to and feared a remake of was Evil Dead. This was the movie that launched director Sam Raimi, producer Rob Tapert and star Bruce Campbell. It mixed horror and humor seemlessly as well giving us the most innovative low budget look any horror movie ever could. For those reasons fans, myself included, feared that someone would one day ruin the franchise for us with a remake that insulted us all. I’m glad I was wrong.

The movie started in a very different way than the original. It opened with a woman, bloody and beaten, trying to escape through the woods when something bad happens. Then it cuts to introducing us to the the cast twenty-something pretty people that one expects from a horror movie. But that’s where the movie stops being like your typical “Dead Teenager Movie” (if could steal a phrase from the late, great Roger Ebert). Fede Alvarez had a very clear vision of maing a movie that was not only faithful to the Evil Dead fans but also a balls out horror film that was original and gory fun.

It’s hard to get a remake right because people feel all at once beholden to the original material and have a strong desire to explain things. Take Halloween. Rob Zombie felt that he had to keep the genreal story intact while explaining the childhood of Michael Myers. A Nightmare On Elm Street did a similar thing with giving more back story on Freddy right from the start. This used to be something that wasn’t given till you were three sequels deep in the 80’s. And there’s a reason for that. You need to go in to the first film with the intention of scaring the living shit out of your audience. When you begin to explain the evil away the audience begins to sympathize with the killer. That is like putting the nail in the coffin before the movie is even released. Fede Alvarez knew better. He didn’t go into detail about where the Necronomicon came from or how it gained its power. It was just evil and there were people stupid enough to not heed the warnings and read from it anyway.

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The movie got more right than it got wrong. It was smart enough to play with what we expect by keeping us guessing on who would live and who would die. The beats pulled from the previous Evil Dead movies were given a nice twist that kept me guessing. And Jane Levy was truly amazing as Mia. She went from frail to frightened to posessed to all out evil with what seemed to be such effortless ease. For her alone the movie is worth watching. But all the star aligned just right for this film. The cast, the director, the script – everything was spot on. Alvarez took just enough from Raimi’s style to make it feel like an Evil Dead movie while bringing in his own crazy style that fit so well for the movie. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Also, stay after the credits for a little surprise.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars on this one. It is what horror remakes should aspire to – a movie that doesn’t need to be defined by the fact that it’s a remake.

Some Guy Who Kills People


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Some Guy Who Kills People – Written by Ryan Levin, Directed by Jack Perez and starring Kevin Corrigan, Lucy Davis, Karen Black, Barry Bostwick, Leo Fitzpatrick and Ariel Gade.

This was another of the movies I got to watch thanks to my time on the jury for The Bloody Hero International Film Festival in Phoenix, AZ. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this movie. Sure, I loved the cast but that doesn’t always make for a good movie. Thankfully the script and direction were both just as solid. 

The story is about a man who was the type of guy that was picked on all through high school. It had gotten so bad that he attempted suicide and got locked up in a mental institution. Years later he’s out and working at an ice cream parlor and living with his mom. Soon, we discover that the all the people who picked on him in high school are turning up dead. And, to top it off, he has a woman who’s interested in him and starts to form a relationship with his daughter that his ex never let him know. It must be difficult to juggle a relationship with a woman, family, work and murder. But Corrigan does an expert job of creating a character you root for throughout the movie. You consistantly hope throughout that he is not actually the killer. 

The rest of the cast is amazing. I absolutely loved Barry Bostwick and Karen Black. Not only did they both do an amazing job in their solo scenes but they were amazing together. There is a scene toward the end of the film where they’re sitting at the dining table together talking that is among my favorites from this little gem of a film. 

Leo Fitzpatrick and Lucy Davis were also absolutely perfect in their roles in the film. They brought a certain heart to a movie you’d expect to just be a goofy horror comedy. But the real star of this film is Ariel Gade as Corrigan’s daughter. For such a young girl she has a crazy amount of talent. Her performance was blended with sarcastic humor, genuine sadness and a certain joy that even seasoned actors couldn’t pull off. She was a true find. We awarded her Best Supporting Actress at The Bloody Hero International Film Festival because she was better than the rest by a mile.

The movie itself was a bit predictable but I don’t say that as a fault to the film. This is one of those movies where it’s not about the twist, it’s about the journey getting there that really makes you love it. The script was smart and funny. The directing was solid and his decision to use only practical effects really worked for the film. It’s no wonder John Landis agreed to Executive Produce this film.

This movie deserves 4 and 1/2 stars. It’s a smart, well crafted horror comedy that any fan of the genre will love.

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.

Lepus And Terrestrial Updates


ImageI know, I know. I spend a lot of time on here talking about Lepus. Cut me some slack. This is the first time I have officially directed something. It’s like when someone has a baby. Even if the baby is a hideous chud they still want to share pictures on Facebook all the time. Now, I’m not calling Lepus hideous. I’m simply stating that, for all intents and purposes, this is my baby and I want to share it with the world. Is that so wrong? I’m proud of what I created. 

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Last night Brian and I met with David Sabal for a few mintues before he was a guest on The Gorram Nerd Hour. During that time he filled us in on what was happening with distribution. It’s been decided that we are going to be distributed by Worldwide MultiMedia. The other five distributors that were looking to pick us up wanted to wait too long to release the DVD. Worldwide can have it out by June (more details on the exact release date as they come in). They will also have copies available before hand for us to autograph and sell at Phoenix Comicon in May. If you’re gonna be there then come get your copy. You won’t be disappointed…well, I can vouch for Lepus at least, not the other shorts in the Scream Machine DVD. Maybe I should “You hopefully won’t be disappointed as I haven’t seen the other shorts”. Anyway, we will also be selling copies through our Facebook page.

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Last night we did a little foley work on the project and then talked about our next short film, Terrestrial, that we will hopefully be shooting next month. We just have to wait and see when our lead actor is available. He is going to be busy shooting a movie through part of February. Our second largest role, the character of Travis, has a similar issue with the actor. We wanted to shoot a certain week in February and he will be out of town. These are the people we absolutely want for the short and we will wait if that is what it takes. We loved these actors and really want to see what they do with the roles. You can hear the official casting announcements on The Gorram Nerd Hour later tonight when it goes up. Otherwise you can wait a week for us to post it on our Facebook page and Twitter.

#HoldYourBreath – Asylum’s Big Movie


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I have never tried to hide the fact that I think Asylum movies are bad. I’m guessing they would say the same thing. They have to know it. Why else would they make Mockbusters like Transmorphers and Titanic 2? But one thing Asylum has never done was release a movie in theaters. Netflix and Redbox have been their bread and butter. That all changed with #HoldYourBreath. I assume the hashtag was an attempt to get the movie trending on Twitter because it has nothing to do with the movie at all. In fact, nobody is carrying a cellphone let alone a laptop for the whole movie. 

The film begins with a flashback to a deranged killer about to be put to death by way of the electric chair. The onlookers, including the very cool Devanny Pinn as a surviving victim with the scars to prove it, witness the final horrible act of this brutal killer as he kills the warden before they get him strapped in and electrocuted. 

Cut to present day – a group of stereotypical kids are travelling up to a campsite in their SUV when they are about to pass a cemetery. Katrina Bowden (30 Rock, Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil) pleads for everyone to hold their breath as they pass. She finally convinces them all to do so. The problem is the stoner coughs and drops his pipe between the driver’s legs and they nearly crash. 

Because the stoner didn’t hold his breath he becomes possessed by the killer we saw electrocuted at the beginning of the movie. He stays behind as the rest of the pretty people go check out the spooky abandoned mental hospital. A couple of the people go off and have sex while others just explore. Eventually they make it to their campsite and all hell breaks loose. The spirit of the killer can hop from body to body and nobody is safe. 

I will say this about the movie. They tried to do something original with it. Granted, it was still weak but enjoyable. The girls in the movie were all really good. I’m not saying that because it was a low budget horror film and girls tend to be hot and naked. There was plenty of that but that’s not my compliment. When I say they were good it’s because this type of movie is only as successful as the female actors. The whole movie depends on it. Bowden and Erin Marie Hogan were both really good in the movie. At times the script got silly but they tried very hard to sell the idea at all times. I appreciate that. 

Overall, this was the best quality film Asylum has made. It was still weak and could have used a good script re-write before going in front of the camera (an electric chair at a mental hospital, really?) but they did well with what they had. I can appreciate it. This movie is not high art. It never pretended to be. But it’s not exploitation cinema either. Sure there’s boobs and violence but it doesn’t feel like they’re trying to push boundaries. 

I am going to give this 3 out 5 thanks to strong performances from Bowden and Hogan and a director that didn’t make me cringe as I watched the technical aspects of the movie.

Thoughts Of Past And Future


Here we are, just a few short months after I started this blog, and we have one short film nearly ready to show, another starting next month and The Gorram Nerd Hour has recorded nearly 20 episodes. All of that in just a few short months. When I started this blog I was talking about the features Brian Smith and I have been writing. We got detoured…but for good reason. We needed something to showcase our talent. We were a little arrogant to think that two writers with no credits to their names could get someone to give them money to produce and direct a movie of their own. Now we’ll have two things to show.

Since I was a boy I have loved movies. I would sit and watch an action movie like any little would. I loved Commando, Lethal Weapon and Die Hard. I also had an affection for every other type of film. I didn’t care. If someone made I wanted to see it. Science Fiction, Horror, Romantic Comedy, Sappy Melodrama, Musicals. I just loved movies. What I took away from all of that was that it was what I wanted to do. I wanted to make movies of my own. At first I thought I wanted to be an actor until I took a drama class in High School and my teacher had me direct something for the first time. That’s when my passion made itself crystal clear. I loved the behind the scenes aspect of things. 

I always enjoyed writing. It has been a passion of mine for as long as I remember. What I wrote was always weird. I would go off and write a sequel to Romeo & Juliet in iambic pentameter or a western about aliens hiding among the townsfolk and planning on destroying the town with radioactive lima beans. So when Brian and I sat down to write Lepus I suggested we write the whole thing in Klingon save for the killer’s one line which would be in German. 

Sometimes I need to be reigned in.

We decided not to go with Klingon. But we kept Brian’s line in German. There is not one good reason for it other than it made us laugh. Lepus is a comedy, after all. We started off goofy with our next short film and decided to go darker once we started writing. Terrestrial will be a different side of our writing. It’s tone is more serious while still being quirky. 

As I write this we are only a couple days away from the open casting call for Terrestrial. I couldn’t be more excited about who we have coming in to read. a couple of our Lepus cast members are coming in for it – Jai Yunae and Randy Robinson. I loved working with them on Lepus. I can’t wait to see what they bring to this audition. We also have some other really talented people we didn’t cast for Lepus coming in for another go. Wilman Vergara II was someone I was really impressed with and just couldn’t find a good place to put him last time. This time he’s coming in to read for the lead in Terrestrial and I think he’s got a great shot at it. Adam Boggs is another up and comer I really liked and he’s coming in to read for us again. I was impressed with both of them so much. I’m glad they want to come in and try for this one. 

We’re still not at a point where we’ve been able to pay anyone for their work. It’s all just copy and credit basically. I’m amazed by the talent that has been willing to work with us for nothing. Hopefully by the time we get started on the next two parts of Lepus we have a budget…something to pay these amazing people for their time. 

Back to Lepus for a moment – The rough cut I saw a while back is good. I was really happy with how it turned out. It was a very rough cut with no score, no effects, no foley. But it was great, great enough for Walter Reuther (aka Scarlet Fry) to tell me it was his favorite in the anthology horror DVD we will be included on. And he directed all the other shorts. 

David Sabal, our wonderful renaissance man (DP, producer, editor) just got the score back from the composer. I asked for something similar to a score from the 80’s scifi and horror movies I loved so much. I wanted something like an old John Carpenter score. From what I hear the composer delivered. Hopefully I will hear it in the next few days. 

Now on to The Gorram Nerd Hour. We have been having a lot of fun recording our show every week. Brian and I love working on it. We are talking about re-tooling the show a little. The first twenty or so weeks have been about finding out what works and what doesn’t. We’re gonna be trying a few new things in upcoming episodes that could prove to be a lot of fun. We are also going to be spending the weekend of February 8-10th at the Bloody Hero International Film Festival at the Phoenix Convention Center. We will be recording our podcast, conducting interviews and serving on the jury. This is a big deal for us. I know I’m really excited about it. We may have another fun surprise for our listeners that weekend too. This will be a part of the re-tool of the show. Let us know what you think.

One last thing before I wrap this up. We had a friend from our Abnormal Entertainment family in town last weekend. Camm Harston, co-host of Raise Your Spirits with Camm and Kevin. While he was here Brian and I both guested on their show. We had a lot of fun and everyone should go listen.

Here;s hoping 2013 proves even better for Robot Vampire Productions than 2012. We’re already off to a great start.

 

Shooting Lepus: Day Four


Well, we did it. We wrapped our ambitious little short film at about 2:30 this morning. It was our biggest day on set. We had multiple cast members and several extras, each with their own timetables we had to consider.

We were going to try and start with my nephew first and get the shot out of the way so we didn’t have to have an eight year old on set all night watching people die. The problem was his scenes were with a woman playing a sexy nurse. We had trouble finding a person for the role. At the last minute we had Victoria Paege come in. We had to wait for her to finish with hair and make up so we tried to shoot as much around her as we could.

Our first shot of the night was Kat Garcia and Kelsee Benson arriving at the Halloween party with a moment of dialogue. We had a Vulcan and a husband and wife pair of Mandalorian Mercs playing Twister. We had Kat in a chicken costume walking and talking with Kelsee who was dressed as sort of schoolgirl.

After that Victoria was ready. She had no dialogue. Her entire part was all about body language and she nailed it. My nephew Brennen was great as the eight year old throwing the party.

Then we were finally ready to knock out the dialogue scenes with RJ Markham, Kat, Kelsee, Tyler Gallant, and Jai Yunae. I can’t express how lucky I feel that we got the cast we did. Every single person did such an amazing job.

I have already talked about Tyler and Kelsee quite a bit in previous posts so I want to take a moment and talk about some of the supporting cast. Jai Yunae was fantastic as the lovelorn woman who desperately seeks the approval of Sheriff Cristos. She took just a few weird pieces of dialogue and turned them into something Brian and I didn’t even see when we wrote it. It took a long time before we got around to shooting her scenes last night so she took decided to become our unofficial still photographer. The pictures she took we incredible. She stuck around late even though she had an 8am call time for another short she was starting immediately after this one, also co-starring Tyler.

RJ Markham was another great find for us. He came in for the day to play Farmer. He not only shot all of his scenes but then stuck around to help is clean up all the blood and guts afterwards. He was a real trooper. And his performance was great. We had a lot of fun having him on set.

I know I have talked a bit about Kat Garcia already but I have to say how amazed I was with her last night. She didn’t want me to know, and I didn’t find out until a half hour after we wrapped, but she had a really bad ear infection during her scenes and was in terrible pain. She soldiered through and you would never be able to tell when watching her performance.

She wasn’t the only sick one on the set last night. David Sabal, our DP and producer, was also sick all night but never once complained. He just did his job and stayed to help clean after. I can’t thank him enough for the work he put into our little baby.

Last, I want to talk about the most awkward part of the night. There is a scene in Lepus where a woman gets killed by having a vibrator jammed into her mouth and out the back of her head. Before we knew we going to have a shot at professional actors we planned on Lepus being nothing but friends and family. Well, the first person we asked to play this role accepted, much to my surprise. My sister said yes to doing it. The reality really sunk in when Cherith was sitting there last night with vibrator in hand and Brian was about to shove it into her mouth. No matter what direction was given it just sounded dirty and wrong. Example – “We’re gonna a couple takes, Cherith. I’m gonna have Brian put it in and pull it out a few times. When he puts it in I want you to look terrified. How’s your gag reflex? Can it go any deeper?” Oh, the joys of being a director shooting a scene where your sister has to put a vibrator in her mouth. What was I thinking when writing the scene? What was I thinking asking my sister to do play this part?

I also wrote a scene for my nephew Brennen where he’s supposed to walk out of a bedroom with a sexy nurse two to three times his age and smack her on the butt and say “thanks babe”. That was awkward. The entire cast and family was sitting there watching as we shot the scene too. Brennen did a great job but he was so nervous about smacking Victoria on the butt. We told him he didn’t have to if he was uncomfortable. We found out after a few takes he was grabbing it. We never knew.

I can’t believe we got away with it. I want to thank everyone involved. Kelsee did great for this being her first time. So did her brothers and sister. All the extras that came out last night were so good. A special thanks to Justin Blair for taking direction so well, dressing like a Vulcan and knocking his one line out of the park.

We are going to have some pictures up on our page soon. Go here and you will see them soon.