Sunday, October 29, 2006

Halloween

The movie, not the holiday. It's showing tonight and tomorrow in what I'm told is beautiful 35mm at theaters across the nation. One of them is the theater I shot the end sequence of FOC in.

So tonight(Monday) some of us are going to see it. Man, would it be a kick to see that movie playing in the exact auditorium we shot FOC in, since it was more than a little inspiration for FOC.

If we could only get them to play JC's The Thing afterward, I'd be in horror-geek heaven!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Family Reunion

No, didn't go. I keep telling them they should take a cardboard cutout of me for the family pictures.

It's not that big a deal this time--you know, whatever your great grandparents' name was that's NOT your name--it's THAT name reunion.

My mom sends me an online slideshow of the pics they took, and I got freaked out over two pictures.

The first: A picture of my great grandparents. They died like twenty years ago. I haven't seen a picture of them in probably twenty years.

So when you start your Family Reunion slideshow with a picture of dead people, it can be a little freaky. For a second I actually asked myself: "They are dead, right?"

Then...later on, a picture of my granddad. My grandma died maybe five years ago. He met another lady and got remarried.

You understand, though, that she's not my grandma right? So everytime I see a picture of my granddad with another woman it's just WEIRD. It doesn't look right.

It's an alternate universe where my granddad never married my grandma. I hear she's a nice lady and all, but...she ain't grandma.

Weird.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Shield

I had stayed away from this series for a while--I'd heard good things about it, but it was another one of those things I just didn't have time for.

About a month ago I started ordering them from Netflix. After the first couple of episodes I wasn't sold yet. It was interesting, but not that great.

But after that it really started picking up. There's a TON of interesting characters, and the way they all interact is incredibly fascinating. There's always one big storyline every year that's advanced a little in each episode, while the bulk of the episode is typically taken up by other day-2-day problems in the precinct.

And I gotta tell you--sometimes that bugs me. Like "Lost"--as much as I like it--sometimes blows off the main storyline in favor of a crappy flashback, and those episodes always suck.

But with the Shield almost every little subplot is interesting. Or horrifying. Or funny. Or bizarre. Whatever they pick, it's very watchable.

And I downloaded all of Season 5 because it's not available yet--it was the one with Forest Whittaker. And then final episode drops a BOMBSHELL. I'm not exagerrating--my jaw literally dropped in the last ten minutes. And then I couldn't sleep--I kept thinking about the ramifications of what happened, and then spent more time wondering what was going to happen in the season that's getting ready to start.

Big thumbs up. If you're not watching it, go back to the beginning and start--they're still paying off stuff from that season. Quality writing.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Religion

I thought I'd talk about something other than FOC, and maybe alienate a few people in the process.

I often think about how messed up this country is, and how religion ain't helping. To me, it's telling that I've never met someone who "found" religion when they were at a high point in life.

If you ask a religious person when they found God, you're never gonna hear back, "Right after I won the lottery!"

Case in point: My parents. They found religion when I was around twelve years old. I found out later how close to divorce they were, and that my mom was having suicidal thoughts at the time.

They started making us go to sunday school and church every sunday; all of a sudden I couldn't watch Tarzan or Abbot & Costello on Sunday mornings. Perhaps that's why I always rebelled against the church.

At first I was straight rebel--I paid no attention to what they tried to teach me. But then it occurred to me that I could much better fight their teachings if I could spit their doctrine back at them.

Anyway, back to my point: Every other person I've come across seems to have found religion when they were at their lowest point in life. It was the lifevest when they were drowning in depression.

I don't blame them.

But now look at how many people in this country are religious. Is that saying something? Like, look at HOW MANY people are at their lowest right now. That's not a good thing.

Personally, I don't give a shit if you're religious or not. I'm not. I don't push my atheism on people. I only ask that you don't push your religion on me. And you don't ask my government to fund it. There IS that pesky freedom of religion thing, no matter how Bush tries to rewrite the Constitution.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Clearing the Mind

So I'm taking a break--I've decided to do one more pass. In the meantime I'm logging and importing the Behind-The-Scenes footage because, yes, I edit the dvd extras too.

I'm watching tape after tape(about 35 hours total) and while trying to keep from getting mad(see: Lazy Crew) something became apparent. It's something I've seen with every movie I've done.

When I work with new people--be it actors or crew--a lot of them have this bemused look on their faces as they watch me work. This look of: I thought this would be so much bigger.

I expect they come to the set thinking there's going to be hundreds of crew, mountains of equipment, real craft services, massive 35mm cameras.

And then they see what we have--which is a far cry from the above. So these newbies get this attitude like: I'm wasting my time. This is gonna turn out like crap. You can see it in their eyes.

I've seen it in every movie. From my DP in HH to my cast in FOC to cast and crew in FOC2. And the best part is when I show them the completed film--and they're always amazed at how well it turned out. They've positively incredulous that somehow we turned out a product that looks professional.

So I've decided I should start every 1st day of shooting out with the following speech:

"Hello, and thank you for showing up. I realize that, looking around, you are underwhelmed by my crew and by my equipment and by the relaxed attitude I frequently take."

"But if you will simply put your trust in me, right here, right now, I promise you that the completed product will exceed your expectations. Why? Because most importantly...I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING."

"Don't believe me? Look at the fact: Every movie I've made has received national distribution by a well-known company. Even my first film. My second film was picked up by Lionsgate, one of--if not THE--largest distributor of horror. My third film is guaranteed distribution by them if I want it."

"So don't be fooled by how amateur everything looks. By how chaotic things appear to be running. By how small the camera is."

"Just trust me. And it's gonna all work out."

That could be my new speech. And now that I look at it...I think it might even inspire me to believe it all too.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Chop Chop

More editing. I've edited all my movies--under a pseudonym, since I didn't want to see my name under every credit. It's even cracked me up that my alter-ego won an award for editing, and has been nominated a couple of other times.

But as for editing, it's a lot like writing. You finish the first draft. You go through the first draft and cut, revise, cut, revise.

Then clear your head, and go back for more. And the thing that really reminds me of writing is that no matter how many times you've already looked at what you've revised, there's always the feeling that one more fix is in order.

It's dangerous...sometimes you can get too close and will tinker something to death. There has to be a place where you finally say...okay. I'm done.

I'm not there yet, but I'm getting there.

Had one of the producers over to watch the rough cut last week. He's also an editor. Had some good ideas.

But it's always good for me to watch the film with someone else. I'm much more self-conscious of the edit when I've got someone else there watching the cut. Anyway, cut stands at 1:47 right now, but it's getting tighter and tighter.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fango pics

Brandon, Adam's manager, sent these to me. Some are kinda blurry, but they're all I got!

Me signing

Left to right: Ziegler, Adam, Tom, Me and Mark is to my right, off frame

The signing line--for the record, it went left and out the door. Sweet.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fango Weekend of Horrors Wrap Up

Sunday was spent throwing up and then trying to recover from the hangover. Wow, to be young again...

We wandered around some more, but really there wasn't much more to see.

You can, however, see one of the clips we showed at Fango. Be warned, there's some brief nudity in this scene:
FOC Scene 48

So we said later to Tom and Adam and Brandon, and bolted. Made it back in under 3.5 hours, counting the stop at my home-away-from-home Burger King.

Had a good time, all in all, but given that the big show Chiller Theatre takes place at the same hotel about a month later, I think I can see why the attendance wasn't as high as I expected.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fango Weekend of Horrors Day 2.5

After the panel we wandered around a bit. Checked out the dealer's room. We went back to my hotel room and I had Adam loop his audio. Didn't take too long. It was only a few lines that I needed, and some of them you couldn't see his lips so it wasn't hard to match.

I found out that Adam's an early drinker. I did a shot with him, but really needed something to eat before I started drinking. We got a sub and ate it real quick. Hit the liquor store for some more vodka.

That night they were planning on broadcasting the Sirius satellite Fango show live from the ballroom, so we figured we'd attend. We started drinking first though. Fast forward to 10pm.

Show starts. It's interesting. John Saxon gets up and answers some questions, and my first thought is: Damn, he looks old. It makes me feel bad. This guy is an old-time badass. One of my first memories of him is as a barbarian in a really cheesy TV movie called "Prisoners of the Lost Universe"--I own it on VHS 'cause it ain't out on dvd.

Then he played a cop in stuff like Nightmare on Elm Street, Black Christmas, and about 100 others. But now he just looks old. He's got that old-man shuffle when he walks in the room. Time is truly a bitch.

Next up is Kane Hodder, Jason himself. He still looks good. Talks about the new movie Hatchet. Adam Green, the director, answers some questions later.

All of it's a bit blurry. I kept making runs up to the room to make vodka/cranberries or vodka lemonades, and somewhere in there they started catching up to me.

One of those times I came back and my crew has left with the exception of Ziegler. He's there, and there's a cute chick sitting next to him. In my seat.

So I sit on the other side of her. She's chatting with Ziegler, so I figure they know each other. Turns out they don't; she's one of the finalists in the Scream Queen contest, and is there to compete live on-air for the winner, who gets to be in some future movie for Fango.

She tells me she's from Maryland. I look at her a little incredulous. I say: You know, I've shot three movies in Maryland, and have never so much as received a headshot from her. She seems surprised to hear who I am, and is then impressed when we point out Shivers on the banner up behind Dee.

Anyway, the contest starts. Her name is Erin, and she's up against a girl who's method-acting as a zombie nurse, and another girl who's a little chunky. To me it seems a no-brainer.

She wins. Watch her winning audition here:
LINK HERE

She seems pretty good. Natural in front of the six cameras that were videotaping for the Fango television show.

After the show I'm walking out and some guy walks up to me: "Hey, you're {my name}, director of FOC right?". I say yeah. He gushes how much he liked it, and asks if I want to come up--him and some friends are watching a screener of "Feast"(the project greenlight movie). I've already seen it, but tell him maybe we'll stop by.

Later on we figure we'll swing by and see what's going on. About fifteen people are there in this guy's little hotel room watching it. One of them is Adam Green, the director of Hatchet. Pretty funny.

We head back to the room around 4am and crash.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fango Weekend of Horrors Day 2

Got up crazy early(for me) at about noon. We went downstairs to look for the rest of the crew and ran into Adam and his manager Brandon. Adam plays Hot Rod in FOC2, and did a great job.

No word from Mark(the clown), Johnny or Tom. Hey, at least I know Tom's already there.

Then Mark calls--he's like a mile away. It then took him about 45 minutes to get to us. That's Jersey for you.

The guy up on stage before us has an okay crowd, but it's still pretty sparse by big-con standards. We're fifteen minutes away from our panel, and everybody's finally showed except Johnny. I call and leave him a message.

Finally it's our turn. They give us microphones and introduce us. I'm surprised to find that there's a good-sized crowd now. It also surprises me that once I get up there, I'm not nervous at all.

I'm a guy who used to literally shake when I had to get up in front of a classroom to do a report. I was one of those people who was more afraid of public speaking than going to the dentist.

But once I'm up in front of the people I relax. I introduce my cast and crew(minus Johnny) and then the lights go down, and they show the new trailer and clips I brought to debut.

And people cheer. People clapped during the brutal kills. It was very cool.

Then the lights came back up and I asked: "Any questions?"

In my mind I pictured nobody raising their hand. We'd all sit there for 25 minutes, crickets chirping in the background.

But people raised their hand. I answered some questions, let some of the cast answer some questions, let Tom blow some of the movie's surprise by telling everyone that his character dies--oops, blew it for you too, didn't I?

There ended up being more questions than time--they finally had to cut us off. They gave us pens to sign the banners, and led us around behind the stage where they had set up a table for us to sign stuff.

And then the biggest surprise: The line for us to sign stuff went out the door. We were signing for a solid twenty five minutes--and that was simply signing, not much talking to each person.

As we were walking out, Tony Timpone(Fango head honcho) stopped me to congratulate me. Said "Wow, you guys were the hit of the show today."

Very cool. More to come.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Weekend Recap Part One

Ok, gonna give you the cliff notes version.

Set off to leave for Fango on Thursday afternoon. My car--which I have not had one single problem with since I bought it four years ago--doesn't start. Can't even jumpstart it.

I ignore the omen. Me and Zig(that's Ziegler) head to Enterprise and get a car, and bolt. We get to the hotel without incident. Then, as I'm turning around because I was at the wrong parking lot, I back into a metal pole set into the road. Yep, in my rental car. Scratch it up pretty nice.

Zig is amazed that the convention is being held in the exact same hotel as Chiller a few years back.

We get the room and I start setting up so I can loop my actors that are coming into town. A quick problem: The television is not set up to accept any input other than coaxial. My dvd player(that I need so I can play the video that my actors will loop to) won't work.

So we head out to Wal-mart. Only, in Jersey, that takes about an hour. The Wal-mart is about two miles away.

Anyway, to make a long story short(too late)--we get a doodad(that's the scientific name) to make the dvd player work with the TV. We get Tom Proctor to loop his dialogue. (which is funny--he's screaming at the top of his lungs during the fight scene he's looping; it's like midnight; we're on what's been designated "The Quiet Floor"; I keep waiting for security to show up)

We then head down to see what the main auditorium looks like--it's big. And like I said--seeing Shivers on the banner, as one of the largest icons up there, was very cool.

Had some vodka, tried to get to sleep, but what really happened was I watched the remake of The Blob, then The Dead Zone, and fell asleep somewhere around 5am.

Day 2 to come.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Pics from Fango

Here's some pics from the show, story to follow:

Debbie Rochon and Dee Snider at the live Fango on Sirius show

Kane Hodder interviewed by Dee and Debbie

Two of the Scream Queen nominees


You can almost see John Saxon on the left...

Adam Green, director of "Hatchet"

Adam Ciesielski, one of my actors from FOC2

The panel with Adam Green being interviewed after the Scream Queen awards

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Back From Fango


Had a good time. Will go into more details later. We were, to quote Fango editor Tony Timpone: "The hit of the show" on Friday. We had a line out the door for signatures, which was very unexpected.

And everyone loved the footage we showed--I never know whether to feel good or bad when people start clapping after a gruesome death).

Me, I loved the banner they had on the showroom stage--that's right, Shivers is right below Bruce(the shark in Jaws). Very cool.