Artifact: a micro-documentary about action figures (Proof of Concept) from Thomas Edward Seymour Videos! on Vimeo.
I recently created a micro-doc entitled Artifact that explores the strange overlap between action figures and religious statuettes. I believe it went well so I may working on a another project this year. The jury is out on whether this will be feature length or not. I always tend to lean that way because it is typically a more valuable property that can be formerly distributed on venues like Amazon Prime, Netflix and such. There is something to be said for creating a short film and entering the film festival circuit. For one thing, the entry fees are cheaper, secondly some film festivals like to play more shorts than features and I can understand why. For instance I entered some festivals last week and I’m already a semi-finalist at the San Mauro Film Festival in Italy. Playing a feature film is a much larger commitment for a festival because typically their time is limited. In most cases they are paying for the venue or they are doing it as a hobby. Making a short version could be a great way to test the waters. I’m planing to do a lot of experimenting this year by entering different awards shows, contests and film festivals. I have always been fascinated by what a person can do without a manager, producers rep or P.R. company. Finding the cracks in the system is interesting to me. As a matter of fact I’ve entered the Telly’s and Webby Awards with two different projects. So I’m excited to see if I can win!
What I can’t stand to admit is that the entertainment business is in fact a BUSINESS. Although I’ve had producers reps and distributors throughout my career I don’t believe I’ve made a ton of money for anyone in particular with my own films. I’ve made the films that I wanted to make and I’ve helped friends create them as well but the days of a low-budget movies killing at the box-office are incredibly rare. The films of Neil Breen or Tommy Wisaeu come to mind. So the point is, that if you can’t make a studio a lot of money with a film, it may be hard to move up the ladder. Collectively I’ve spent years at places like CBS, NBC, Fisher Price, IGN, College Humor using my creative energy to make their content and I was good at it, I made them money but I was also left creatively exhausted with little energy for my own stuff. So it took a while to actually work with a film studio on a feature film and a series (VHS Massacre, Monster Kill) and that studio was Troma Entertainment. They let me do what I wanted but again I seriously don’t think those projects will make them any money. I’m incredible proud of working with Troma. Some people wouldn’t be but they are the longest running Independent film studio in history, even longer running than Roger Corman’s current company. So again, a personal victory but not much of a path to something else.
The web seems to have devolved into a place where trashing a film is the only way to talk about it. So I sometimes wonder if it’s even a good move to make another film, of course that’s never stopped me in the past. So on the fringes of American independent cinema many of the films are passion projects with people like me vying for recognition in the artist community and there is great value in that but little money and we can’t seem to help tearing each other down.
VHS Massacre makes the top list of most popular Documentaries featuring sci-fi subjects on IMDB! Also updates on Mark of the Beast and some new great VHS Massacre Movie reviews. TES director of such films as the Amazon Prime documentary VHS Massacre, Troma’s Monster Kill Original Series, Mark of the Beast, tells us what he’s up to. Tom has been called a top underground filmmaker in the U.S. and is known among other things for his work on the Emmy Nominated Hulu web series net_work.
Listen to the podcast here!
A Word of Dream Movie Review!
I attended the premiere of Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 2 at the Museum of Moving Image this weekend. I was a teacher/extra somewhere in that film. Twas a great time! Being a part of any film directed by Lloyd Kaufman is a real honor. I really loved going to the premiere because it made me feel like I had a connection to the film industry and to the films I grew up with. Lloyd Kaufman, George Romero and Ridley Scott are some of my favorite directors of all time which is why when I heard the news that Romero had passed it knocked the wind out of me. George was truly an Independent filmmaker who’s films were more subversive than most remember.
I recorded my Filmmaker Diary #3 before the news of George Romero came in. Not two weeks ago I sent a package out to George Romero. It was a fan letter from me stating how much his films have effected my life. Dawn of the Dead is the greatest horror film ever made and I just wanted to thank him for making it. I was hoping to get his autograph and I included a few of my films Mark of the Beast and VHS Massacre. I thought to myself even if he just looks at the covers of the films it would be meaningful to me. The thing is, Dawn of the Dead is a lot like Blade Runner to me (Blade Runner being the best Sci-fi movie ever made). They came out with a director’s cut of both films during the VHS era. Everyone knows that cool art work with the gas mask on the side of DOD director’s cut.
I bought both films it and started watching them. I’m not sure I loved Dawn of the Dead right away but much like Blade Runner I kept coming back to both films over and over. I think that even though my knowledge of filmmaking with limited as a teenager I could detect the quality and profoundness in both films. Dawn of the Dead was an apocalyptic future and Blade Runner was dystopian. The relationship between Peter and Roger in Dead was a wonderful thing and I found it touching somehow. Whether it was when Peter had to kill Roger in DOD or when Deckard watched Roy Batty die on the roof in Blade Runner they both effected me deeply. In Dawn the zombies roaming the mall represented consumerism out of control, where as in Blade Runner the companies controlled so much of society that people or replicants actually became a product.
Romero always pushed boundaries right from the beginning by having a strong African American lead in Night of the Living Dead in 1968 but he didn’t sugar coat things and when the main character is shot in the end, it ends up being a commentary on injustice of American society toward a minority population. This happens again in Dawn of the Dead when innocent people are killed in the projects in the beginning of the film with no accountability. He was pushing boundaries under the guise of a horror film but much like Blade Runner we know they were both great dramas of about the nature of life, equality of life and how people are sometimes worse than monsters or machines. Thanks for everything George!
Tom talks about the VHS Massacre Blu-ray and other news. Listen to the podcast here! Download this episode (right click and save)
“WorldFest is in the business of validating excellence!” Ridley Scott. So great news for all you fans of VHS Massacre! Pre-order the Bluray now on Amazon! The film snagged a win from the Houston International Film Festival otherwise know as WorldFest, more details to come later. This marks the second festival win that includes “A Best Documentary” win from Miami Sci-Fi International Film Festival as well at selections at Manhattan Film Festival, New Haven Doc Fest at Yale University, Norwich Radical FF, Cinedelphia and others! This may be the closest I ever get in my career to being even remotely associated with someone like Ridley Scott but it’s cool to know he received an award at WorldFest some years back and considered it important enough to speak on it. So this is a nice pick-me-up! Thanks for the support everyone! Below is a list if titans that won their first prize at WorldFest, read below!
“Our heartiest “CONGRATULATIONS!” to you on your exceptional production, and we look forward to having you here at the 50th Annual WorldFest-Houston! We gave first honors to Spielberg, George Lucas, Ang Lee, the Coen Brothers, Randal Kleiser, Oliver Stone, Ridley Scott, David Lynch, John Lee Hancock and hundreds more with their very first film! You may well be the next Spielberg or Lucas…!”
Listen to Tom’s sign off on NYCR here!
Some folks may have noticed that we haven’t posted a new New York Cine Radio show in a while. Lucky the Tribbles and Trilobites show has been has started after a long break. We had been posting NYCR shows for over 5 years now. I personally got a lot out of it. With nearly 1,000,000 we were able to I hope help some Indie filmmakers raise some money. I was able to interview some amazing folks and we made the rather successful Amazon Prime documentary VHS Massacre about the decline of physical media! Order your Blu-ray today it’s coming out May 9th! It was called a really fantastic documentary by Aint it Cool News and Indie film king Lloyd Kaufman himself called it brilliant. It’s truly been an honor. I don’t think I’m going to stop the show altogether. I will probably post a show on occasion and I may open the door for others to host there own show on our network. Lately the idea of just talking about the latest piece of shit to come out of Hollywood is really not doing anything. For instance lately I’m fascinated by Tarkofsky films which bare no resemblance to modern films. James Richardson may post his own show and I’m going to use NYCR to give your updates on my films projects or to say something more concise. So the light at New York Cinema Radio are not off but I no longer want to make a show just to make a show. Thanks to everyone who has listened over the years.