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.
Continue reading

Advertisements

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.

More Podcasting Is More Better


Hello everyone,

 

Sorry it’s been a few days since I posted anything. It’s been a busy time. I have been working like crazy. As some may or may not know I’m a cab driver and you can hear a story about that on the latest episode of The Gorram Nerd Hour. Besides working I have been trying to find time to sleep. That hasn’t been happening so instead I’m just throwing myself head first into more podcasts. Besides The Gorram Nerd Hour I have been doing a limited series under the Gorram banner called Holodeck Malfunction with my good friend Isaac Hulke. It’s a show about Star Trek if you couldn’t guess that from the title. 

In each episode of Holodeck Malfunction we pick a series or movie and talk about it for an hour, sometimes two topics. It just depends. We have recorded eight episodes so far and just started putting them up. So, you will be able to hear me twice a week on the Gorram page. You can also hear me and some free music on a new show I’ve started with my friend Ryan Ford. It’s called From The Underground and it will focus on indie bands of all genres. You can read more about it by following the hyperlink above. 

Lastly, I want to talk about the Abnormal Entertainment crew as a whole. These folks are awesome. I love each and every one of them…even Taylor Made from Bank On Action. He may not realize it since I do nothing but make fun of him all the time but I do appreciate him. David Hayes, one of the hosts of Cinema Head Cheese has a new book out. Follow the link on the other pages I’ve already hyperlinked and you’ll find it. It’s called American Guiginol. 

Thanks to everyone at Abnormal Entertainment. I’ve had a blast working with you all and can’t wait to see nearly everyone in one place for Phoenix Comicon.

Notes From The Underground – Some Podcast Updates


I’ve been busy lately. Not only am I prepping my next short film that will be shooting next month after a few delays but I’ve also been doing a lot of stuff in the world of podcasts. I recently talked to a co-worker who happens to be a music promoter here in Arizona. I’ve been wanting to do a music podcast for a while now. It’s something that’s been sorely missing from the Abnormal Entertainment lineup. Well, we found a way to do it. Big thanks to Ryan Ford for helping us get it done. 

The first episode was recorded about a week ago and had been turned in to the big guy at Abnormal. We’ll keep you posted for the date it’s released. The other podcast news is that one of the shows I’ve been sitting on for a while is finally going to see the light of day. My fellow nerd Isaac Hulke and I have secretly been recording a limited series of Star Trek podcasts. The first episode is all about Star Trek: The Original Series. That has also been handed in. You may be hearing a lot from me in the coming weeks. 

If you have a band and you want us to showcase your work on From The Underground send me an email and a sample MP3 and we will see what we can do. If you’re local to Arizona we would love to set something up at our studio for a live acoustic set as well.

American Courtesans


Image

 

Over the past weekend at The Bloody Hero International Film Festival I had the opportunity to see some films that weren’t part of what I had to watch on the jury. American Courtesans was the first one I sat down to watch on Friday. It’s a documentary about the sex industry from insiders in the trade. It was something Kristen DiAngelo, the film’s star, writer and producer, felt very passionately about. She wanted to show what the mainstream media sensationalize with honesty, good or bad. She wanted to interview men and women and let them just talk without fear.

When I first sat down to watch the film I got the distinct impression this was a movie made to sensationalize the sex trade and push for it’s legalization. In fact, that impression stuck with for a while during the film. It really wasn’t until a day later as I reflected on the film that I came to the realization that it wasn’t a propaganda film about legalizing prostitution. It was just a simply a film where these people in the business could open up and share their feelings about the business they’d chosen for themselves, good or bad. 

The film shows women in the industry from all walks of life. One woman who was a real estate agent in Florida and chose this life after the market collapsed and she could no longer support herself in the trade she had originally chosen. Another woman ended up in the life after her husband had introduced her to it. One woman did it in order to support her son. The son was also interviewed. It was an incredibly moving moment watching this man talk about his love for his mother and the sacrifices she made in order to raise him. 

Whether you agree with the lifestyle or not doesn’t matter when watching this film. It’s all about getting caught up in watching these women telling their stories, many of which are heartbreaking. It is definitely worth seeing. It is a more honest look at women in this trade than anything else I have ever seen. 

This movie is a sold 4 out of 5 stars. The women are at times funny, sad and always engaging. 

For more on this film you can see my interview with Kristen DiAngelo soon on YouTube and hear the audio interview later today on my podcast – The Gorram Nerd Hour.

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. 

Image

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.

Image

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.

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.

 

Let’s Get Drunk And Watch Twilight!


Recently Brian and I invited my friend Steve over for a little experiment. We wanted to record a commentary track to a movie we all hate. We just couldn’t sit through it sober. So we decided to watch Twilight and record the whole thing for the listening audience. 

Steve arrived at my house sometime around 8pm and brought me some rum he had left over from a while back. He brought himself some Seagram’s Seven. Then Brian arrived with the Vodka. By the time Brian showed up I was already three drinks in. It seems to take more for me to get drunk so I wanted to get a head start. 

We had some pizza and sat down for two hours of yelling drunken stupidity. It was a blast. I don’t remember a lot of what was said. I did have some videos on my phone which I posted on our Facebook page as well as Youtube. The commentary is not up on our official page yet as Brian is still editing. In the meantime check out the videos. We had a lot of fun that night.

 

My Top 10 Genre Movies Of 2012


I’m going to start off by saying that “genre” in this case is anything from superhero to science fiction to horror. So you will see a mix of them all on the list. You will hear this list on The Gorram Nerd Hour where Brian and I discuss it. Next week I will be giving you my bottom 10. But, for now, here we go – 

Image

 

10) The Dark Knight Rises – Batman Begins was the greatest Batman origin story put on film. The Dark Knight was a great movie with a lot of suspense and an amazing performance by Heath Ledger. The Dark Knight Rises had Bane, Catwoman, Talia Al Goul, a reluctant Batman and no sense of dread…even when the city was being held hostage. But it still managed to be a very good movie. Not the best of the trilogy but a fitting end to the Christopher Nolan era of Batman.

Image

 

9) The Avengers – Joss Whedon did what was nearly impossible. He took all the established Marvel characters from previous movies that Marvel owns the rights to and gave them the chance to shine individually and as a team. The movie itself is both funny and exciting. It’s not the greatest thing Whedon has ever directed. That honor goes to the pilot episode of Firefly. But the man did what few people could ever hope to do in bringing The Avengers to life.

Image

 

8) Chronicle – Josh Trank and Max Landis deserve a lot of credit. Found footage movies are Hollywood’s answer to low budget filmmaking anymore. And they tend to be made by low rent directors who wouldn’t know how to tell a traditional story. Not true with these guys. The made a found footage movie with a twist. This was like watching a polished film but still kept the grittiness of the found footage sub-genre. The script by Landis was great. Trank’s directing was spot on. It was a wonderful debut film from some talented guys who I hope won’t disappoint in the future.

Image

 

7) Silent House – Yes, I admit that the film was very predictable. But I saw the film more as Elizabeth Olson’s journey than the outcome. And what a performance she gave. The movie solid from beginning to end anchored by a powerhouse performance.

Image

 

6) Dredd – I remember seeing the awful Stallone movie based on this character back in the 90’s. When I heard they were rebooting it with Karl Urban I was pleased. Then I found out it was being directed by Pete Travis and written by Alex Garland and I went from pleased to excited. The character stuck closer to the comics while the story itself deviated. Urban’s performance was amazing. That man deserves more love from the geek community. Between Chronicles Of Riddick, Star Trek and Dredd the man is a champion of geek cinema. 

Image

 

5) Prometheus – If I didn’t lose you by putting TDKR and The Avengers so low on the list this one will probably make you think I’ve lost it. I’m sorry but I love Prometheus. It’s smart movie making. Ridley Scott and Damon Lindeloff set out to make a cerebral summer movie and succeeded on all counts. 

Image

 

4) John Dies At The End – I remember when this book came out and I fell in love with its strange, funny and irreverent take on the genre. The movie, written and directed by Don Coscarelli, captured the feeling of the book expertly and got amazing performances from the entire cast. The movie is not for everyone. If you’re a fan of Coscarelli’s Bubba Ho-Tep or the Phantasm series you’ll love it.

Image

 

3) Safety Not Guaranteed – I couldn’t help but find a cute photo of Aubrey Plaza for this part because the movie will make you fall in love with her. The film expertly made with great performances. It’s close to not being considered “genre” but I feel it needs to be included. Mark Duplass was amazing as the man who may be crazy or he may be able to time travel. This movie needs to be seen. 

Image

 

2) Cabin In The Woods – Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard crafted a story that was not only a traditional horror film but something completely different and original. If anyone ever tries to make a sequel I will save up my money, fly to wherever you live and shoot you in the face.

Image

 

1) Looper – I cannot say enough good about this movie. Rian Johnson’s directing was perfect. Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were amazing. The story was smart and engaging. Emily Blunt was great. There was a really cool time travel/action story as well as a wonderful emotional arc for the characters that pays off beautifully at the end. The movie was genre filmmakers on a budget should aspire to. I know it inspired me to keep plugging away at what I do.

 

There you have it, folks – My top 10 genre films of 2012. Don’t forget to tune into The Gorram Nerd Hour to hear me and Brian argue about the list.