This is a very strange time of the year. I love the fall, the changing leaves, horror films on TV, haunted houses and all that good stuff. I’m taking another class to finish off another degree, although at this pace it will take about a decade to finish. I’m continuing to chip away at the VHS Massacre documentary I’m editing, everything is in place but it’s running about 94 minutes and I really want it to be a bit shorter. Also after receiving some great notes last month I’m actually going to try the experiment of re-ordering the entire documentary. As of right now it jumps around from era to era. For instance the origin of Independent film starts about an hour into the doc, that would be put at the beginning of the doc if re-ordered. It’s kind of a massive undertaking and lately I feel like I just don’t have the drive. Of course that usually only lasts a day or two. The podcast I co-host New York Cine Radio keeps roaring along, some of the numbers have been a bit erratic but we remain in the top ten on podbean in the TV/Film section out of thousands of other podcasts, so we’re doing ok. I’m trying to figure out what I want to do next for a feature film. I have a very rough finished script but I’ not sure if it’s what I want to do next. Sometimes when I’m editing and I’m stressed out trying to deal with contracts, waivers and material releases I really begin to question why I do this at all. I suppose it’s a grand distraction that keeps me preoccupied. I wonder if I’m going to keep wanting to do this stuff when I’m older because it’s hard right now. It must be nice to have a large crew on a film set, or a person that handles all the paperwork. In any case, things move along. If you haven’t seen a tiny taste of the rough-cut of the film. There is a two minute clip below which has already been changed in the doc since I posted this last week..ugh will it ever stop? Someone once said that films are never finished, they are abandoned.
It’s been an interesting month. Ken Powell, Dave Leute and I shot an additional scene for the VHS Massacre documentary I’m working on in order to have the film make more sense. So the scene is in place now. I just need to start digging into the notes that my filmmaker friends gave me and see which ones make sense for the film. This week I posted a two minute segment on the VHS Massacre, just a tiny taste of what the film is about. On my podcast New York Cine Radio we had some cool guests lately including the Internet King of Independent film music himself Kevin MacLeod, who has over 1,600 film credits and over 2,000,000 Youtube videos that have used his music. Check out his stuff at Incompetech.com.
We also had Mark Frazer from the cult favorite Samurai Cop on the show. It looks like their Kick-starter campaign for Samurai Cop 2 is going very well with just about 7 grand left to raise. Our numbers have taken a dip lately I think it has something to do with the Stitcher Radio numbers not cycling through to our host Podbean but what can you do? Some things are just out of my control. I’m taking another class about writing for digital media so hopefully I can learn a thing or two and get my writing up to par. I work at a college during the day and it can be very challenging. Someone stole my ipad from work. It was expensive and that makes it very frustrating because money is tight. Lately I’ve been noticing that time flies by very quickly which is good in general because it’s easy to see the progress in things, of course it is a little disturbing because our time on this earth is limited. I’ve noticed this more the older I get. As always I worry about not making progress in my film career and when my podcast numbers dip is disconcerting. In any case, onward and upward! I hope to have a cut finished to give to the sound designer/composer Tim Kulig by the end of the month. We shall see.
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)
THIS IS SO COOL! A feature film that I directed with Jonathan Gorman “Rudyard Kipling’s Mark of the Beast” won the Platinum Remi Award, the festivals highest honor for “Best Independent Video”. Worldfest Houston is one of the largest and oldest film festivals in the world! I’m so excited about this. Below is a picture of when Ang Lee won his first Remi Award. Here’s a link to an article about when Steven Spielberg first won a Remi and Worldfest for “Amblin”. This is so cool! http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2010/04/worldfest_discovered_steven_sp.php
It has truly been an honor to be included in the Worldfest Houston Legacy. To have won a Platinum award and to be named as a winner alongside giants like Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg and the Coen Brothers has been a highlight in my career and I will be forever thankful. Thanks very much to Hunter Todd and the Worldfest Crew! I will work even harder in my film career to live up to this honor.