Progress on the “Monster Kill Movie” Indiegogo campaign

 

cardMonsterKill3

 

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has donated to our Indiegogo campaign for the upcoming feature film Monster Kill. We are 5 days in and over 70 percent of the way there. If we go beyond the $2,000 we are trying to raise we’ll be able to hopefully hire a cool cult icon to host the project. For more info on the film specifically read below. It has been a while since I needed to raise money for a film. For instance the documentary VHS Massacre (coming out next year) Ken Powell and I completed for next to nothing. The idea of doing the film Monster Kill came from watching Roger Corman films. The idea of producing films like Roger sounded like a fun idea. Although I have produced all of my features this is a chance to see what other directors can do. I’m directing one of the segments for Monster Kill but the three shorts are being directed by some talented folks, Ken Powell, Girard Tecson and Orion Brown. So we shall see what happens. For those who haven’t seen the pitch video check it out. It’s B-movie camp at it’s dumbest.

Monster Kill is in the vein of “Tales from the Crypt “or George A. Romero’s “Creep Show”  where you have a host introducing three short films that make up one feature length film. The first film is called “Merminators from Space”. That’s right! They are half mermaid and half cyborg and they are from Space. The second film is Flying Snake Attack! For some reason snakes can fly and they begins to kill people. The third film is called, Groom of Bigfoot. Bigfoot is on the loose and she’s looking to claim her Groom! These films will be a lot of fun to make and hopefully watch.

VHS Massacre Doc is off to be mixed and scored!

VHSbanner

The feature length documentary VHS Massacre has been officially handed off to musician and audio technician Timothy Kulig. He is going to create some great music for the doc and really tie the whole film together. Beyond some minor color correction, grain reduction and possible some minor B-role adjustments the picture is for the most part locked. The running time is just under 78 minutes. I’m proud of what we’ve done. It will probably be a good six months before the film is completely finished but we are making progress.

Recently I stared taking two classes at the same time through CUNY to finish off another degree. It is kicking my ass, but I’m not giving up. I’m stubborn like that. I’m loosing a bit of sleep over it. I can direct a feature film in 9 days for under 6 grand and get it distributed but make me take two college level classes at the same time and that’s when I’m truly challenged. Wish me luck for I shall need it. I have a new project in the works involving a film anthology. It would be a feature film involving three short films, think Creep Show or Tales from the Crypt. It’s gonna be great! More details down the road!

Cheers,

-Tom

10382243_310907562404005_2084730408580688108_oguy2vhsfranken

MARK OF THE BEAST DIGITAL RELEASE, THE STARS OF THE ROOM, VHS MASSACRE

2bw_beastfestivalfinal

Jon Gorman and I were given the opportunity by our distributors at MVD Entertainment to do a digital release for our feature horror film Mark of the Beast.I was able to work on the color grading, and do a little re-cutting for the HD master of the film. So we will be having a Director’s cut of Mark of the Beat available on Amazon on Demand, Google Play and probably paid YouTube. I’m very happy about this mostly because people will finally be able to see the movie at the resolution and quality that was intended. The film has added grain and noise and pretty dynamic color grading going on so that when we created a standard DVD master it really did kill the quality of the visuals and the audio. The film is meant to look like and old horror film from the 70’s, think of a cruder looking Giallo film. When I get more details on the release date I do some more promotion.

TheRoom07

Dave Leute, James Richardson and I also got to interview Robyn Paris (Michelle) and Juliette Danielle (Lisa) from The Room Movie on The New York Cine Radio Show. They had some really cool stories to tell and it was a lot of fun. With James Franco producing The Disaster Artist based about The Room Movie, it was really interesting to get their reactions. Our podcast chugs along currently ranked #3 in the TV/Section of Podbean out of literally thousands of other shows. We’ve had our ups and downs and some shows are better than other but so far we have been sure and steady and it’s still fun to create.

922239_171671459660950_992130707_o

I’m waiting to get notes back from three fellow filmmakers to hopefully do a final pass on the VHS Massacre, from there I’ll hand the doc off to Tim Kulig to do some audio design and the score. Things go.

Updates on VHS Massacre

I have an 84 minute cut of the feature length documentary VHS Massacre: Cult films and the rise and fall of physical media. It’s is a film that I directed with Ken Powell of New York Cine Radio. Last month I had a 95 minute version. It has temp score and no sound design but I think I’m on the right track. After taking feed back from various filmmakers, friends and film critics perhaps about a dozen people I feel I had a reasonable idea what needed to be changed. I added in a scene in and cut out about 11 minutes off the running time. So the film is I hope, “getting there”. When I showed pieces of it to some of my student they seemed to be fascinated, it is my hope that, that continues to be the case. I feel good about it in the sense that however the doc is perceived, it is what it is. What I mean is that the doc is about a cult movie podcast that explores the rise an fall of physical media. We are by no means at all the first VHS doc, there are probably half a dozen that I know about.

946712_171411773020252_2057116980_n

I didn’t watch them intentionally because I felt that if I did, that I would probably just give up making mine and fall into a depression. From what I understand many of those doc feature mostly on VHS where as we go through the history of Home Movies from Super 8 to streaming. So it’s my hope that this will be something fresh to offer up to the public. It has been a challenging but fulfilling process to make this doc, if the response is even halfway decent I can see trying to make another one down the line. Below is a list of folks featured in the documentary. We have all stars from cult films such as Toxic Avenger,The Room,Birdemic, Troll2,Bikini Bloodbath,Samurai Cop and the show Monster Vision. Hopefully it will be some good fun to watch. My greatest hope is that the film will go big and be seen everywhere but at the very least in doing a feature length documentary (unlike the other 8 narrative films I’ve directed) I hope that it brings me to a different place in my career. I was very thankful to win this year (with co-director Jon Gorman) at the 47th annual Houston International Film Festival for my last feature film Mark of the Beast. It was the first time we directed a dramatic horror film so trying something new can be a good thing. Only time will tell with The VHS Massacre.

Juliette Danielle Herself
Lloyd Kaufman Himself
Greg Sestero Himself
Alan Bagh Himself
Debbie Rochon Herself
James Nguyen Himself
Whitney Moore Herself
Deborah Reed Herself
John Bloom Himself
Eric Swain (archive footage)
Mark Frazer Himself
Troy Bernier (archive footage)
Chris Ferry Himself
Carmine Capobianco Himself
Ron Bonk Himself
Nick Prueher Himself
Thomas Edward Seymour Himself
Phil Hall Himself
Jason West Himself
Jonathan Gorman

Sneak Peek at two minutes of VHS MASSACRE!

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.

-TES

“Return to Nuke ‘Em High is one of the best films of the year!” -New York Cine Radio

“Return to Nuke ‘Em High is one of the best films of the year!” -New York Cine Radio

Listen here!

 

 

Troma

Random rantings and updates…and also Vampire Hookers.

vhsfranken

     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.  

VHS Massacre Documentary hits rough cut phase!

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!

 

946712_171411773020252_2057116980_n

 

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)

Jon Gorman and Thomas Edward Seymour (Me!) win The Platinum Remi Award ( the highest honor) at Worldfest Houston!

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

 

73 10250837_10100691696795980_1128345186_n

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.

Mark of the Beast Wins at Worldfest Houston!

wf-2014-gld-blkbg

 

After he received the WorldFest Remi Award, Ridley Scott commented “WorldFest is in the business of validating excellence!”

This Saturday Worldfest Houston will make the announcement that Rudyard Kipling’s Mark of the Beast, a  feature film that I directed with Jon Gorman will receive a Remi award from Worldfest Houston. For me personally this is a sea change for me as a filmmaker. Many of you may feel like I’m being dramatic but you have to understand where I’m coming from. After years of entering film festivals like Sundance, Slamdance, Tribeca, Worldfest, New York Horror and other large festivals, I finally have cracked it. Don’t get me wrong over the past 15 years I’ve  I accrued 16 film festivals wins, from places like Silk City, Bare Bones International, Connecticut Screening Room, New York B-movie FF, New Haven Underground and other places and I’ve been an official selection at California Indie Fest, New York International, Boston Underground, Hoboken International FF and probably 20 others festivals. However the Remi is important to me mainly because Worldfest Houston is one of the oldest film festivals in the world and it’s alumni is incredible. For instance Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, The Coen Brothers, Ridley Scott, Robert Rodriguez, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ang Lee and David Lynch all won there first awards at Worldfest Houston.

The festival has been around since the 1960’s and I would call it the Roger Corman of film festivals. It’s not Sundance but they can spot talent like no other festival out there. Now I realize just because I won a Remi doesn’t mean that suddenly I’m a big deal or something but to be a part of this legacy means so much to me at this point in my career. Most of those famous filmmakers were probably ten years younger than I am now when they won their awards at Worldfest, but to be honest I don’t care. I realize I’ll never be Ridley Scott but I know now that I am good enough at what I do to be celebrated by one of the longest running film festivals in history that has a tremendous ability for spotting talent.

This win allows me to say fare well to Mark of Beast and lay it to rest knowing that I did everything in my power to push the film. I submitted the film in Blu-ray format and it occurred to me that the folks at Worldfest Houston are the only ones that ever saw my film at the resolution and quality that it was meant to be seen in. Thanks to everyone involved in the making of Mark of the Beast, for anyone who has ever edited and released a film they probably know that the film shoot is the easiest part and it’s not easy at all. It’s good to know it was worth it at least for me.