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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The Phoenix Film Festival


Hello everyone,

I have been awfully busy as of late. Between my podcasts, prepping for the premiere of Death By VHS, and trying to get my next short moving forward after some speed bumps slowed me down I have not had much time to blog. Sorry for that. But, if it’s any consolation, I do miss you.

Here’s what’s going on with me right now. Starting today I am going to be spending some time at the Phoenix Film Festival. We were able to score some press passes to the event thanks in part to the wonderful Andrea Beesly. This festival also includes the annual International Horror and SciFi Festival. This year they have Meg Foster coming by to screen They Live, the John Carpenter classic starring Roddy Piper. I’m hoping I get a chance to interview her for you all. If I do it will be up on the Abnormal Entertainment page soon.

Among other guests I am hoping to chat with are DB Sweeney, Teller, Natalie Imbruglia and one of the producers of the Saw franchise. I will try and update you as soon as I can on what we were able to score from our time at the fest.

Also, we are going to be at Phoenix Comicon next month, C4 (a first year comic convention in Ventura, California) in September and the Rapture Horror Expo in October in Tempe. If you are planning to come to any of those shows make sure you come by and say hello. We always love to meet people who listen to either The Gorram Nerd Hour or From The Underground.

Reviews Are Coming In For Lepus


It would seem that even when people don’t like the full movie of Death By VHS (formerly known as Scream Machine) they still like Lepus. Here are some links to the reviews – 

http://guestars.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/death-by-vhs-from-scarlet-fry-and-some-other-edgy-film-fiends/

http://www.ilikehorrormovies.com/2013/02/death-by-vhs-2013_25.html

http://asouthernlifeinscandaloustimes.blogspot.com/2013/03/my-review-of-death-by-vhs-anthology.html

Those are few of the ones I found so far. I can’t wait to show it in front of a crowd and see how it plays. We’ll keep you posted.

 

Yet Another Production Update


I know I post a lot on here about this stuff. But it’s my blog. I can do what I want. If you don’t like it then start your own blog and make fun of me for all I care. I have a thick skin. I can take it. Just try to be clever. I don’t want a bunch of gay jokes and “your mama” jokes. They’re tired and make feel like I’m still in high school. And, for the record, I hated those kind of jokes even then. In fact, I actually kinda hated high school. Not to get too off topic here but I thought people would be different as adults. Instead I just see the same kind of stupid people with more grey hair.

Anyway, back to what I actually set out to write. Today something hit the net that was a bit of a surprise to me. There is a trailer for Scream Machine, the DVD anthology that Lepus is a part of. It showed up today on YouTube. I linked it to our official Facebook page.

As far as the rest of what I wanted to mention I was giving something some thought. Lepus was a fifteen minute short that is the first of a proposed trilogy. But what if it was just one long movie instead? Could it be stretched? I think so. Add in a few more characters and have A and B stories running simultaneously and the movie could be stretched to 80 minutes. Lepus cost us roughly $1000 and we could still keep the feature at around $100,000 or there about. I’m trying to decide if it should be lengthened or sequelized.

If I was to stretch the feature I could add in the characters we came up with for the sequels, bring in the ideas we started developing for the mythology of the characters, and make it a weird and funny movie. It seems like the type of film that would fit perfectly into the Troma family. It’s worth trying. I think I will try. The money could be raised through Kickstarter or IndieGoGo easily enough, especially since we have a short film to try and sell it already. The actors would all come back for the feature. That much I’m sure of. I’m gonna give writing the script a try. I have nothing to lose by doing so.

Wish me luck.

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.

Voices From The Grave – A New Anthology Movie Coming Soon


I know I have spent a lot of time talking on here about Lepus. In the past I have mentioned that Walter Reuther, the man behind Scream Machine, gave us our first break by including Lepus as part of his anthology DVD. He asked me today if I would be would mention another project he’s been a part of. Written and directed by Laurence Holloway and Richard Stoudt Voices From The Grave is another anthology with three stories. Gary Brandner, author of the novel The Howling, inspired these men to turn his short story entitled Invitation into one of the three pieces in the anthology. The name Gary Brandner is not as well known as it should be. The man deserves to be better known. Maybe this film will remind people of his work and you will go seek out his books. 

Here’s the official press release for Voices From The Grave – 

From master horror writer Gary Brandner, author of ‘The Howling’, and filmmakers Richard Stoudt and Laurence Holloway comes a relentlessly harrowing film experience. A trio of horrors that will make your flesh creep and your heart palpitate. 

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Deadly spirits, vengeful and maliciously spiteful give fuel to these tales of supernatural terrors. 
‘Invitation’, based on a short story by Gary Brandner, tells the tale of loser Len Krager, who attends a party he’ll never forget! A vengeful spirit exacts revenge in the tale ‘All Hallows’ Eve’! An exercise in suspense and atmosphere. Robert Mundy doesn’t celebrate Halloween since the accidental death of his brother on Halloween night. But this Halloween night, vengeance will rise and seek retribution. Ghostly road hazards endanger a used car owner in the turbo-charged yarn ‘Repossessed’, a spine tingling ‘vehicle’ for absolute fright. Jeff purchases a killer car for a killer deal….unfortunately, the car really is a killer!

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A true exercise in style and terror, ‘Voices from The Grave’ will thrill and chill even the most jaded horror fan!

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And don’t forget that the official Voices From The Grave teaser trailer is finally here. A new full legnth horror anthology featuring Gary Brandner’s (Howling author) Short story “Invitation”!

Trailer:
 
Also check us on IMDB.
Check us out on Facebook.
 
Well folks, there it is. I have to say that I am curious about this one. I grew up a huge Joe Dante fan. From the original Piranha and The Howling to even his current work on Masters Of Horror. As a boy I looked for the book The Howling was based on because I needed to read it after seeing the movie. For many years I had it wedged in between my Stephen King and Clive Barker collections. That’s how highly I thought of Gary Brandner.  
 

1st Round Of Auditions Are Done For Terrestrial


Another day of auditions completed. We found most of our core cast and they were amazing. The tone for this one is much different and darker than what we did with “Lepus” and the people auditioning just got it. How we’ve been so blessed with the people we’ve had the chance to work with is beyond me. We got really lucky with the “Lepus” cast and many of them came in for the audition tonight and proved they can go beyond playing the broad goofiness to playing darker comedy. 

If you would have asked me a year ago where we’d be right now I would not have expected this. Brian and I were sitting around wondering if our feature script for “Welcome To Deadsville” could even get sold. We didn’t have connections. We had no experience. So we wrote a couple of shorts for me to direct. “Lepus” was picked up for distribution before it was even shot and now we’re making “Terrestrial”. This will show a different style in writing for the both of us and directing for me. 

We had three people who worked on “Lepus” come in to audition for us tonight. Each one of them brought their own special magic to what we wrote. We also had some others whom we want to work with but couldn’t find a good fit for last time around come in. Then there were the new guys. All of them did wonderfully. They are going to make my job very hard. We had about eight people come out for three roles. We didn’t ask too many people as we didn’t want to feel as though we were rejecting very many. I think we found exactly what we need from certain people. I need to review the audition tapes before final decisions are made but I am very happy with everyone I think we may cast. 

Now we get down to real fun – finding locations, working out actor’s schedules, props and transportation. 

A Quick Terrestrial Update


Later tonight we will be holding an open casting call for our next short film entitled Terrestrial. We are really looking forward to it. Several of our actors for Lepus have asked to audition for us again. I guess they enjoyed their time working with us the last time around.

The story is about a man who has lost everything in his life – how wife and kids have left, he’s been fired from his job. He doesn’t even have any furniture left. This is all due to the belief that there is an alien living in his closet. He attends a support group for alien abductees and they laugh him out of the room. It is then that the alien in the closet begins to tell him to kill.

Everyone that has read the script says that it is unique and darkly funny. I just hope we can find the right people to do the script justice. We will find out tonight.