Well I finished a cut of the VHS Massacre doc with all the elements in place but by no means is it a fine cut. It is however complete enough to start showing it around to some industry folks. With enough cult film icons to kill a horse I hope someone gives a good shit.
It is the time of the year where I can take time off from work. I really only put out a film only once every few years so it is nice on this vacation to have something to show around and catch up with old friends. I shall take my lumps, take notes, and try to enjoy the time off. It has been a challenging year to say the least but really isn’t every year? If you disagree, well aren’t you fucking lucky. In any case I’m just glad to be attempting the grand American dream of being somebody. Hopefully the 93 minute doc is well received but I’m prepared to re-tool the hell out of it.
I’ve been hammering away at the rough-cut of the feature length documentary VHS Massacre. I had a full rough-cut done a few months back but slowly I’ve been going through and trying to get it color corrected and also drop a lot of the B-role into After Effects to make the thing actually watchable. This is my 9th feature and I’ve done mini-docs and news cutting but this is the kind of project that I can’t show in in rough-cut phase. It’s just too ugly that way and people won’t be able to get passed their first impressions. To be able to show this to my usually “test audience” (a group made up of film professionals and friends) I have to get it looking good and sounding good. There’s just no other way. This is a lot of work and I suppose I’m used to it but man it’s kicking my ass. I wanted to have a cut done so when I go on vacation in mid August I can show it around to people. We shall see. So far it has been rewarding and the doc features cast members from many of my favorite Cult films like Toxic Avenger, The Room, Troll 2, Birdemic, Samurai Cop, Monster Vision (TV SHOW), Psychos in Love, She Kills and several others. In the end I don’t really know what will come of this doc but like all other projects, it never keeps me from finishing them and releasing them with vigor.
We’ve already got some interest from foreign distributors so who knows, it may do well. In closing I shall treat you to an image of an elderly man doing aerobic exercise, a still from the VHS Massacre film.
Also check out the awesome interview Ken, Dave and I did over at New York Cine Radio with Mel Johnson Jr. of Total Recall and Star Trek DS9 fame. Mel Johnson Jr. was one of the best interviews we have ever done at New York Cine Radio. Well all grew up with the film Total Recall and the character Benny has some of the most quotable lines in that film “I have five kids to feed.” Mel is a celebrated Broadway actor and it is so rare in this business to meet someone so down to earth and friendly. In any case it meant a lot to all of us to hear his stories. I hope you dig it to.
Can you make an experience on youtube feel like a video game? I don’t know but I did try an experiment. Using several annotations and links to other videos I tried to create a video game within Youtube it’s self. I put the backgrounds and characters together in Photoshop and used Premiere and After Effects to make the “animations” if you want t call them that. This may have been done before I’m not sure. I only know of the “You are in a dark room video” which is awesome but it does make me wonder if someone tries hard enough, could they make a game just using youtube? No programming, no computer languages, no flash? Well I’m not sure but this was fun to try in any case. Navigate King Arthur through the dangerous pathways to get to the Red Knight! Make sure your annotation are turned on or the game won’t work. Mobile users may have to use a desktop version on your browser. Enjoy.
I’ve been working on the cut of the VHS Massacre documentary (A doc about cult films and the decline of physical media). It’s getting to a point where I can see where the rough edges are. It will take some months before I can cut out the fat, get the b-role in place and add in a few last movie clips. So some of VHS tapes that we’ve scavenged NYC to find needed to be transferred and digitized. I had to transfer from VHS, to this old Mini DV camera and then capture via firewire, with a 400 to 800 firewire adapter on an old iMac so I can edit on a new iMac. There are many years of technology represented in this transfer to get this horrible VHS footage but it was worth it? I mean, it was worth it! It was kind of fun actually. I think the doc will come out well. I get a bit of a sinking feeling when I think of doing the deliverables once we distribute the film (Master Copies, Dialogue lists, paper work, M & E mix and so on). I’ve done this on several films throughout the years and it is a horrible process but is is required to put the film out there. First things first, I have to finish the film.
Not much recent news on my last film Rudyard Kipling’s Mark of the Beast but I did stumble across an article on which Phil Hall star of Mark of the Beast speaks briefly on what is was like to be on the set of Best. Read Here.
It has been very challenging at my job the last few months. I used to like that fact that I didn’t take too much home with me, mental baggage I mean. I could leave work and not think about it but it’s wearing on me lately very heavy. In any case I’m able to take a few days off and in that time I’ll be shooting some close-ups of some VHS tapes that my friend and fellow artist Bruce Brooks gave to me to have more B-role for my documentary VHS Massacre that I’m working on with Ken Powell and Dave Leute. Cool titles like Satan’s Cheerleaders and Vampire Hookers. I always knew the doc would be a heavy commitment. Shooting the doc was simple, easy, it’s the editing that has taken up the most time. I just have to push through and finish this thing. Eh, New York has been getting to me lately, my rent keeps going up, work has been difficult and there is never quite enough money. Some days I wake up and wonder what the hell I’m doing here in NYC but then I visit CT (where I’m from) and it’s fun for a day or two but pretty much after that I want to get back to New York. The podcast New York Cine Radio is going strong with over 40,000 listens a month.
Some days I just don’t feel like I’m making progress. I watched Rocky I-V over the last week or so and I hope one day I’ll get some kind of great opportunity like Rocky did in the first film when he got the chance to fight Apollo. I’ve never really believed in luck and I don’t feel like I’ve had an abundance of it per say however lately as I look at things, some kind of huge thing would have to happen for me get to the success that I dream of and I’m not getting any younger. My biggest fear is that I’ll be like Richard Dreyfuss in Mr. Holland Opus. I’ve always tried to work hard and push through and finish things. VHS Massacre is my 9th feature film. I’ll try my best to make some magic happen with it. I don’t know why I’m so cynical, almost every song I hear I dislike, almost every TV show or commercial wears on me. Facebook has become this thing that I do as a ritual without out any joy in it. I heard a tune by a band called The Information and I was amazed that I actually felt something emotionally when I heard the song “I Lose Control” and then I realized the song was 9 years old and I honestly wondered if a song that has come out in the last ten years has really effected my life. Maybe the time off will clear my mind. Maybe that should be my mission this week, to find new music that I actually connect with. Grand National is one the only bands I’m not sick of but lately I’m even getting tired of them. But really in general things are good. I just really felt the need to write something today even though I don’t have any real news. Onward and upward. Thanks for listening to my rants.
So I just now I plunked the last scene into what is a completed rough-cut of the Documentary VHS Massacre. I need to add a lot of B-role and some movie clips but the film is there at a running time of 98 minutes without credits. My hope is to map out the doc, scene by scene and see what can be boiled down, chopped off or reduced in order to get it to 90 minutes and to have a clearer story. I already have a feeling I’m going to be combining some scenes as well. In general I think the doc will be very much of interest to lovers of cult films. We have folks from Troll 2, The Room, Birdemic, Toxic Avenger, Samurai Cop, Monstervision, Galactic Gigolo, Bikini Bloodbath and many others. There is so much work to do to bring a film from rough-cut to a “fine cut” but I think it’s safe to say this should be a fun watch. It will probably be about 6 months before I have a fine cut but I’m happy in the sense that I believe the doc is fun to watch, relevant and has a good story to tell. Below is a list of folks featured in the doc. Thanks to those involved!
Joe Bob Briggs (Monster Vision)
Greg Sestero (The Room)
Deborah Reed (Troll2)
Mark Frazer (Samurai Cop)
Alan Bagh and Whitney Moore (Birdemic)
Lloyd Kaufman (Film Legend)
Nick Prueher (Found Footage Film Festival) Debbie Rochon (Film Legend) James Nguyen (Director of Birdemic) Juliette Danielle (Lisa from The Room) Ron Bonk (Owner of SRS Video) Carmine Capobiano (Psychos in Love, Galactic Gigolo) Jason West (Vultra entertainment) Phil Hall (Writer/Film Critic) Jon Gorman (director of Bikini Bloodbath 1-3) Josh Schafer (VHS Lunchmeat Magazine) Dr. James Richardson (New Media Technology Expert) Bruce Seymour (Owner of the Fun Stuff Video Store Chain) Ken Powell (filmmaker) Thomas Edward Seymour (Filmmaker) Greg Kissner (Filmmaker) Aaron Syler (Filmmaker) Dave Leute (Owner of Mamas Place studio, producer of New York Cine Radio) Chris Ferry (Credits include Story Pirates on Sirius Radio and Salvage a selection at Sundance FF)