Saturday, December 30, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I get more and more pumped as time moves on and I get more of the edit done. The movie is looking pretty sweet so far, and it's just my first pass.
2006 is definitely shaping up to be a year that doesn't suck (for the most part). Thanks to everyone that helped it not suck - from my wife, to my crew, to my lawyers, to my favorite bands/musicians, to my colleagues and fellow movie makers. Hopefully 2007 will tear the door off the hinges.
This evening I noticed that Arrow In The Head ran a piece on the poster as well. They also went to the website and grabbed a pic of Danielle, who is slowly becoming our unofficial mascot.
I find that funny in a lot of ways, especially since she was a last-minute replacement because of some stupid bullshit that was left over from the last project I did. Long story, but it worked out for the better. Things happen for a reason, I guess...it should suffice to say that I'm glad that we found her...and I need to find a way to have Monica return in Closet Space 2. Twin sister, maybe. Or maybe the "Earth-616" version of Monica.
Wow...I'm a huge nerd.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
We've confimred our appearances at the San Jose and Chicago Fangoria Weekend of Horrors shows - at the very least, myself, Melanie and Marcus will be at both, with other cast and crew joining us as schedules permit.
Here's the final poster if you haven't seen it - feel free to make it your desktop background.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
We also confirmed our presence at the San Jose and Chicago Weekend Of Horrors dates. That also should be fun.
I'll be unveiling the new Closet Space poster shortly, so keep an eye out for that. On the edit front, I've got a little over a third of the movie in rough-assembly edit mode. By the end of next week I should have most if not all of it done, and then the fine tuning begins. Hopefully, I'll be able to cut another trailer before Christmas.
Just watched Superman Returns again for inspiration. I love the class and majesty of that film.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
We also saw Evil Dead: The Musical, which was pretty damn entertaining. It took place in the coolest theatre space that I have ever seen.
Bad ass bands, support for the arts...yep, more reasons that I should have taken the chance and gone to college in New York. Ah, the folly of youth.
Here's a video from Saturday night's show. You can see my ever-bobbing head and "rock fist" in there a few times.
Texas is the Reason reunion live Back and to the Left
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Sunday, November 19, 2006
Hmmm...let's see if I can remember all that's transpired. First of all, Witchcraft 13 and all it's related issues are finally a thing of the past. Thankfully, that also means that I am done with all parties involved (both in front of, and behind the camera), and I am legally and (soon to be) financially free of that cinematic tarbaby.
By the way, I can say "tarbaby", because I'm Black.
Great big thanks are due to my cadre of lawyers, as well as the actors and crew that had my back throughout all this nonsense. You know who you are...because you were probably in Closet Space. Or you'll hopefully be in the sequel (ahem...Zoe, Lynn, Cesar...). If you are reading this and feel indignant, then you probably fall in the "thanks for nothing, and I hope you burn in Hell" category. Have a nice life.
So yeah, that movie is finally gone off the hard drives, so I had the latitude to start screwing around with Closet Space in a big way. I've gotten most of the assemble edits done for the bigger kills and setpieces, so the next step is to do a hand off to Visual Oddysee to start optical FX. I'm also still planning on trekking out to Tampa this month to get some more practical FX inserts done. I'm hoping to have a new trailer cut within the next couple of weeks, and I'll also be rolling out the new poster design.
Jonah made a quick trip through Houston to do a show, and we were finally able to talk about some collaborations. Look for at least one Jonah Matranga composition on the soundtrack to Closet Space. We also discussed some plans for next year that are pretty exciting, so I hope those come to fruition.
This weekend we checked out roughly half of the movies that were part of the After Dark Horror Fest. Some okay, some laborious...but The Grave Dancers was one of the best horror movies I've seen in a long while. Go see it if you can.
I'm going to try and get a lot more of the Closet Space assembly edit done before we go off this weekend for this:
Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
First, I had to drive what I hope are the final nails in the coffin for my last project. We'll see where that goes...the producers now have what they want (the complete elements of the movie), and it looks like everyone on this side will get what they want (i.e. payment). Everything is going through escrow, so it will take a week or so. Involved parties will be getting an email with the next step. On a related note, the Project Manager function of Premiere Pro 2.0 is a huge lifesaver. It helped me reassemble and clean up a project that had become pretty unwieldy. It went from about 400 gigabytes to a svelte 70 G's. Nice.
Concurrently with the above, I also had to throw together some Closet Space packets and mini promo DVD's for the American Film Market. We just recently were able to have someone out there to promote and get the word out, so I had to do a rush job, but I think things turned out okay. Hopefully, we can get some sort of response out of that.
Closet Space's own FX guru Marcus Koch is planning his directorial debut next year, and I've been talking to him about coming on as a producer. I definitely have enough experience, but I've never just been a producer, so it should be nice if it all works out.
I've secured tickets for the wife and I to see Evil Dead: The Musical while we are in New York next month. I've heard good things about it, so I'm looking forward to that. This has become our semi-offical anniversary getaway. Evil Dead one day, Texas Is The Reason the next...how could it get any better?
Speaking of Texas Is The Reason, I just got lined up to do a phoner interview with Norman Brannon (nee Arenas) tomorrow for inclusion on the Space City Rock website. Look for that soon, hopefully between now and the date of the show. I'll also be writing up a review of the show for SCR afterwards.
Now that I've exorcized my computer, the Closet Space edit is kicking into overdrive. A new trailer should be out before Thanksgiving, along with our new (and official) poster design courtesy of Mr. Jason Beam. We're also getting our ducks in a row for the San Jose and Chicago Fangoria shows. It's going to be another busy holiday season for the House That Never Sleeps.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Here's a good place to start. That's around when we did our cast readings, conceptual designs, and set construction. We began shooting in May, shot heavily through June and July, and wrapped principal photography in August. You can use the monthly list on the right to click around, and note that the older entries are at the bottom of the pages.
I hadn't realized that there was so much to trudge through, as I really didn't expect to write all that much on this thing. It will make my snarky autobiography all the easier, though.
Thanks to Zombo's Closet for conducting it.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
This past weekend the wife and I took advantage of a Best Buy sale to pick up an 32" HDTV for my edit suite. I'm using it as an output monitor, so now I can really dissect picture and contrast during the CS editing process. My goal is to time things pretty dark...but without losing a whole mess of detail, much like...you guessed it...A Nightmare on Elm Street.
I'm also flying out to Tampa sometime soon to do some final 2nd Unit FX shooting for Closet Space - that will happen within the next month or so as well. Thank God I have a OnePass account.
The first weekend of my Screamworld security detail went by without a hitch, and I got the chance to scare the ever living shit out of quite a few people. It's the little things in life...
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
The Weekend of Horrors trip was so successful that we are definitely doing it again for the California show in January, and more than likely the Chicago show in the spring of 2007...and probably a few after that as well. And yes, we will be bringing the door along whenever possible.
On a more personal note, I have successfully secured tickets to the Texas Is The Reason reunion show, so I'll be back in New York on Thanksgiving weekend. I'm really looking forward to that.
I also finally picked up my copy of the Infinifilm Nightmare On Elm Street DVD, and spent my day watching the movie, commentary, and all the extras. Damn, I love that film. I have to admit that a lot of the behind the scenes anecdotes reminded me of shooting Closet Space, which I guess has to be a good thing. If CS turns out to be even one-quarter as effective as NOES then I'll be happy.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Today begins the second (and probably busiest) day of the convention, so we'll be pimping Closet Space super-hard. Tonight I believe we are having another "horror nerd night out". Awesome.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Tonight we're probably going to party/hobnob with some of the other horror luminaries, and then tomorrow night we are setting up an impromptu screening for one of our fellow filmmakers. Sunday is a day of mystery at this point, but I'm sure some of it will involve driving.
The Flesh Keeper completes principal photography tomorrow night...my friend Matt is taking my place there now since I'm in movie-pimping mode. The shoot was fun, yet harrowing, although we got some really really good stuff. I can't wait to see the finished project. The crew was great, as was the cast...I definitely have some casting ideas in mind for Closet Space 2 now.
It will take me a while to recover from the one-two punch of that shoot and this Fango trip, but I have a lot of relaxing editing in front of me. So...next stop - rough cut of Closet Space. Engage.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I go back into crazy Flesh Keeper shoot mode tomorrow for another week of nuttiness and sleep deprivation. I seriously can't wait. There's no sarcasm in that last sentence, or in this one for that matter. The Flesh Keeper is a really fun ride so far, regardless of the toll it's taking on my soon-to-be 30 year old mind and body.
The weekend after that is Fango. Excited about that as well.
Today I plan to read some comic books and vegetate. Maybe even edit a little of Closet Space.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
It's been a wild few days for me.
First off, my last/current project, Closet Space , got some love from my favorite horror press outlets.
. Check out the stories if you have time.
Next, I began work on The Flesh Keeper, which is Gerald Nott's follow-up to The Quick and The Undead (due out on DVD later this year - check it out). The shoot has been extremely tiring, but a blast nonetheless...and it's cool to have Texas moviemaking ideals crash headlong into aspects of the "Hollywood" system.
Finally, one of my favorite bands announced a reunion show that I never thought would happen. I know what I'm doing this Thanksgiving.
Check out the links if you're got a moment. More news on all movie fronts to come shortly, and remember that Closet Space will be at the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in NYC later this month.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Closet Space got some love from my favorite horror press outlets. Check out our news items on:
Look for more exciting CLOSET SPACE news in the near future! In the meantime, Stacy Davidson and I are working with Gerald Nott on The Flesh Keeper (see below) out in the middle of nowhere. I haven't slept in almost two days. It's been a blast.
Friday, September 08, 2006
What's even more interesting is that our Texas movie synchronicity continues...we have three cast members carrying over from Closet Space along with three crew members, and a couple of those cast and crew also worked on Necrophobia. It's like we have our own Texas horror version of the Titanic, Brittanic, and Oceanic now....well, without the hyperbole, I guess. What I'm saying is that it's neat to have sister movies and a solid working core of people from which to draw.
I'm taking the laptop along, so maybe I can steal some moments to finish my long in development scripts. We'll see.
For those of you in the Houston area, Raymond Gayle will be on KPFT 90.1 tonight at 7:30 to talk about Electric Purgatory, which is a documentary that I helped him with. It's good stuff, and the subject matter is very salient to me. I know I've said that 20 or so times here, but I can't stress it enough.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Hopefully a Closet Space trailer will be done within the next few days. Things are ramping up on the Nott Entertainment movie that I start work on in a couple weeks, so I'm busy getting that stuff together as well. Helping with casting, production managing, equipment...the usual. This weekend, Mrs. House and I are taking the drive up to the location so that I can scope it out and start putting together the general game plan.
I'm really excited about the Nott movie for many reasons...but mainly it marks my first official foray into being a PAID member of a movie crew....like in a Mr. Blonde "job-type job" way. I feel somewhat legitimized. Next stop: unionization!
The Rollins Band show was awesome. Seeing Hank onstage always re-energizes and focuses me.
Monday, August 28, 2006
As such, I get to double rock the f%&k out tonight.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Closet Space is wrapped (save some possible pickups way in the future). The trailer should hopefully be done this week sometime.
We're also ramping up for the shoot on Gerald's movie next month...it looks like I'll be working with a few people again, some for the third or fourth time. I think I've almost locked in my Tarantino-esque cadre of returning faces both in front of and behind the camera.
The relative isolation of the location for Gerald's film will hopefully lend me the opportunity to finish the screenplays that I'm working on so that I can maybe get something else going in the spring of 2007. Then again, I may wait until next fall or winter...shooting movies here in the full-force Southeast Texas heat sucks pretty hard. We'll see what happens, I guess.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Texas Horror Triple Threat
August 26, 2006
Texas studios Odyssee Pictures and Upstart Filmworks (Closet Space) have joined forces with Nott Entertainment (The Quick and the Undead) to film Gerald Nott's next vision of pure terror in Texas. Although the title is still under wraps, we can tell you that it will feature Gerald Nott as writer/director, Odyssee's Stacy Davidson as cinematographer, and Upstart's Mel House as production manager & 2nd unit director. The movie will be shot in HD, and filming is set to begin in September.
According to Stacy: This is one f&@%ed up flick. After I read the script, I had to take a shower. It's sick, it's demented, I think Gerald should be locked up for writing it, and I can't wait to help him put it on screen.
Stay tuned for details!
- So there you have it, sort of. That's the next thing I'll be doing, and it's shaping up to be a pretty cool experience. Closet Space photography is over and done with as of tomorrow evening. I've been working on the trailer all weekend, and I'm excited.
Over the next two days I'm getting my hardcore anger rock on: Gorilla Biscuits tomorrow night, and Rollins Band on Monday. It couldn't have come at a better time. I plan on raging in the pit both nights.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Marcus Koch of Oddtopsy will most likely be joining us for the NYC area Fangoria Weekend of Horrors at the end of September, so I'm really looking forward to that. Hopefully, Chris and Derek can join us as well.
Looks like I will be taking care of security at Screamworld again this year...at least for the last few weekends before Samhain. Should be fun, as always.
Friday, Stacy Davidson and I are meeting up with the writer/director of the flick we will begin work on next month. That too, should be fun. I'm looking forward to the transition into moviemaking as my "job". I'll post info about that movie (which is the infamous "September Project") once we get closer to production.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
I'm working on the trailer a little more today, and now I have several more shots to choose from that don't give away too much of the movie. I'll see if I can't post up some screenshots here soon.
After this weekend, we are done, done, DONE with shooting on Closet Space, and I can go into editing hibernation again...until we start production on the next movie I'm involved with on September 11.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Ahhh, Witchcraft....so much to tell...but that's a blog for another day. Let's just say that many lessons were (and are still) being learned. It will make an interesting chapter in my autobiography, that's for sure.
On a related note...thank Christ for Closet Space. I know I piss and moan here a lot about the recent production, but damned if perspective didn't set in like a motherf&*ker this week. I kind of wish I had just started Closet Space (or even a half-assed Walking Distance) last year instead. Oh well...I guess everyone needs an albatross around their neck to keep them grounded.
Speaking of reshoots for more gore and brutality...that's exactly what we are doing tomorrow. I can't wait.
"Just what we need. Snakes on Crack."
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
This weekend we are doing a lot of FX pickup shots with tentacles, bloody flesh, a latex abomination, and maybe even some fire. That should be fun and dangerous. Well...I guess the fact that it's dangerous lends to the fun factor somewhat.
Closet Space will be at the East Coast Fangoria Weekend of Horrors, so I'm looking forward to that. We're also getting close to crunch time on the 'September Project', so I'm looking forward to that as well.
There are lots of weird and crazy things going on lately....I think I've made my Alien 3, so hopefully Closet Space will be my Se7en. I realize that it's quite a lofty analogy to make, but that's the best way to explain how I feel about CS as it starts to come together. My apologies to David Fincher for the comparison.
By the way, I'm not busting on Alien 3. I actually liked the movie a lot when it came out, and I still do (especially the alternate Alien Quadrilogy work-print edit). I actually plan on rewatching it soon - it's always been a source of inspiration for me, especially considering the constant adversity surrounding the picture.
However...Ellen Ripley's quasi swan song will have to wait until after my Snakes on A Plane engagement tomorrow night.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
My friend Jonah Matranga wrote a song called "Tides" a while back, and I find myself thinking of it often, especially during the watershed moments of my life (which have been quite prevalent in the last three years or so). Very emo of me, I know...but I've shot a lot of guns, bought Slayer albums, and trained in jujitsu, so hopefully that will all balance out in the end. Anyway, to the song:
This time next year
I won't be here
By then I swear
I'll be somewhere
I rely on this
Standing on top of a tall pole
Trapeze, still air, and me there wondering
"Will I jump or won't I?"
Just show up, there is time
Just walk in the light
And all you desire will rise like tides.
So...whenever I get to some sort of crossroads I often reflexively mutter "will I jump, or won't I" to myself. There are lots of weird "Mysteries of Life" that I'm trying to decipher right now....relating to this movie, the next few, and even my non-movie life (yes, there is such a thing).
Will I jump or won't I?
What's funny is that when I did my dream-fulfilling stint of sharing the stage with Jonah earlier this year, we had a lot of time to talk about the vagaries and bugbears of the entertainment industry - especially since he's been through every major-label and band related trial by fire that you can think of. It gave me a lot of food for thought - here's a guy that (to me) "keeps it real" in every sense of the word, still manages to do what he loves to do, and in addition to all that, he makes a living doing it. Plus, he manages to be a great father to his daughter. And he doesn't ever compromise what he believes in...which leads to a lot of head-butting and arguably missed opportunities (plus three disintegrated bands)...but he's still out there, doing his thing, his way. I'm sure he's ostracized a few people along the way, but apparently it's working out for him...I just saw him on MTV a few days ago (he sings on the latest Fort Minor single).
Anyway, it inspires me. Thinking of the conversations I had with him really makes me want to "jump".
Enough waxing poetic - here's the movie status. More shooting this weekend, next weekend, and on the 24th of August, and then we are done with photographing this movie. The official Closet Space website also has a new look, so check it out.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Damn, it looks good.
I'm ramping up the editing process a little bit and doing more and more each day. I'm trying to keep myself from burning out and losing objectivity....but damn...it looks good. Our footage easily blew away anything else on the demo reels. Of course, it could look better, but considering what we shot this movie for and with, it's pretty impressive.
I'm meeting with folks about the "September Project" in a week or so to finalize some things. I think at least one other Closet Space crew alumnus will be involved...but I can't say who just yet.
The two scripts are coming together...one is almost finished, and the other is ftotally finished in my head. Now I need to get to work on leveraging the "swing for the fences" deal. Hopefully, Closet Space will aid me in that regard.
I also am working on a deal to DP another movie...taking it "back to the roots" as my people would say. If things work out on that deal, I'll be shooting that one late September/early October I believe. It's actually not a horror movie (gasp!) but I just read the script, and I connected with a few things in it, so I won't entirely be whoring myself out.
Tomorrow we are rebuilding the CS set...I mentioned that a lot already. Pickup shots begin next week, and I'm looking forward to filling in the little pieces of the puzzle that will complete a compelling whole.
And to adding more gore.
Monday, July 31, 2006
We moved all the material to the duplex so that we can rebuild one or two sets for some pickup shots. This week and weekend I will begin construction on HouseWalker Ranch in earnest. We'll shoot some pickups the following weekend (the 11th and 12th) and after that, all that remains is the school stuff in late August.
I'll have to buy a few things and work a little harder, but the combination of the most convenient location in the world coupled with the minimal involvement of outside parties will probably make these shoots go a lot smoother than previous ones. Maybe I'll actually get my entire shotlist this time. About midway through principal on Closet Space, I seriously considered abandoning the project just out of sheer frustration, but I think I've isolated the issues and hopefully ironed them out. Unless of course, the issues are just endemic to my control-freakiness and short fuse. Maybe I just need to kickbox on a more regular basis.
I've still been working on music ideas here and there, but that's in the background until I can get an edit done. We met with our Digital FX team yesterday, and started that process along. I need to dig in and get some serious work done on CS before the next project rolls around in September....and I also should bang on the screenplays a little to get them ready. Lots to do, and of course, never enough time to do it all. It seems overwhelming, but then I think back to what I was doing in 1998, and I get pretty thankful for the crazy workload.
Friday, July 28, 2006
The discovery of the night was definitely John's old analog synth. I think it will play a prominent role in the compositions, since we got some killer sounds from just screwing with it for an hour or so. I wish I had thought of using the thing during Witchcraft...there were definitely some cool stings and "magic shooty" noises that we found
CS editing and new project(s) scripting proceeds apace. Now if only I could quit my 9-5 and do this full time. Dreaming cant hurt, right?
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Editing on Closet Space continues in earnest. I actually don't really want to commit to the term "editing" too much...mostly I'm roughly assembling scenes to see what I need to reshoot or pickup (not much so far), and to get the 2nd unit practical FX and digital FX processes underway.
While I'm working on that, I'm also mounting plans for not just one, but three follow-up projects. The first is pretty much a definite go, and we are shooting in September. More on that one as it develops...I'll actually be acting in a moderately different capacity than what I'm used to doing...although basically I'll be doing a lot of what I already do on set, if that makes sense. Reading over it, it probably doesn't.
The second and third are kind of a big deal (at least to me)...and are in no small part motivated by the fact that I've gotten away from my intended "writer/director" path. Don't get me wrong - it's a moderately fun and interesting experience to bring the words and ideas of others to life, but I really miss throwing my personal issues, peccadilloes and bullshit on the page in some foul mockery of therapy. I actually get a lot of negative vibe thrown my way for not having written lately, despite the fact that I wrote my first feature, and did a considerable amount of uncredited on-set rewrites and additions to my subsequent projects. Not that I'm a bitter auteur (well...not entirely bitter), but the minimal flexing I've done makes me want to work those atrophied muscles. So in that regard...I'm retooling and finalizing a long dormant pet project of mine, hopefully to set up for production in the next couple of years. Yes, it's horror. The third one is kind of a "swing for the fences" deal, but I think I actually might stand a decent chance...then again, maybe it's just delusion on my part. At any rate, I'm writing up a treatment for an "established" property that will probably end up being a full script. So far it's turning out pretty well. Hopefully, I can position myself to make a pitch to the "powers that be".
No, it's not a Nightmare script. I'm not that cocksure yet.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Been editing some of the more complicated scenes of the movie together, similar to the approach I took with Witchcraft. My homicidal rage and cynicism quickly gave way to giddy, schoolgirl excitement. Things are looking good.
Saw Criteria, The Appleseed Cast, Russian Circles, and Radio Pioneer last night. All were good. I needed a hot rock injection to rejuvenate me. It also served to further my burgeoning idea of scoring Closet Space myself. We'll see what happens with that.
More set movement this weekend, as we move from Phobia to the inveterate locale of the Tulsa Carport...soon to be known as HouseWalker Ranch. It is there that we will bring the CS shooting to a close by doing the final set of pickups and FX shots.
Friday, July 21, 2006
"Am I going crazy...or is it the world around me?"
There's been some weird shit going on lately...I've felt it in the air since about midway through the Closet Space shoot, and it's a vibe I got a whiff of during Witchcraft, as well as something I had to deal with numerous times during my stint as a producer of public access television.
Hubris is a motherfucker.
I guess the best analogy in this case would be to liken low-budget filmmaking to being in a band. You've got all these people ostensibly coming together for the same goal, and you have to work together under pretty strenuous conditions to acheive said goal. Of course, there's all kinds of similar bullshit to deal with as well...you may not have the best gear (or cameras), your rehearsal room (location) is cramped and hot, the drummer (cinematographer) would rather be off doing his own experimental project, and the guitarist (assistant director) keeps showing up drunk and playing in the wrong key.
Just like in a band situation, when things are firing on all cylinders and you're "in the groove"...nothing can stop you. Problem is, most of the time you're operating at half potential because of ego, or lack of focus, or both. Maybe your bassist doesn't like the composition you're working on, and would rather go off on some Return To Forever trip. Or perhaps your keyboardist keeps trying to send text messages on their Blackberry while you're trying to nail down an arrangement. Better yet, maybe the backing band begins to each develop the dreaded "frontman syndrome" - you know..."why is this guy writing the riffs and lyrics, so derivative, sounds too much like Sabbath, I could do so much better on my own". I guess coming together to make a killer sound/movie isn't enough at that point. It seems so easy to just go off and create your own heartbreaking work of staggering genius. Maybe you take the Megadeth route and spit in the face of your percieved "oppressors" by forming a band with a similar sound and logo and showing them how it's REALLY done. Or, you could pull the classic "you know, this material is beneath me, so I'm going to go off and record my concept album of klezmer music". Either way, the point is that egos flare up, and everyone acrimoniously goes their separate ways, and they eventually find new people to jam with. And the cycle begins anew.
Of course, things usually don't work out too well. You generally can't have a band with four frontmen, or it will turn into a fractured, schizoid mess. There needs to be a Hetfield...and maybe even an Ulrich (I'm talking up to and including the Black Album here) to write the arrangements, and set the groundwork for the other guys to add their parts to. It's not an easy thing to do, either. I think people fail to realize how hard being that guy really is. You're called a control freak if you run a tight ship (movies: Kubrick, music: Jeff Tweedy), and you're criticized for lack of focus if you let everyone run roughshod over you in some approximation of "democracy". Not only that, you probably won't ever get anything done (be it a movie or an album), because you're going to be too busy listening to the production assistant's lighting suggestions.
I know that seems pretty black and white, but there really is no middle ground. Trust me on this one. Maybe in the studio system when you bring unions and clearly-defined job-descriptions into the mix, but not in the indie world. And the biggest death wish that you can make would be to get your friends to help you out. In most cases, this is the absolute worst idea you could possibly have. You can't manage to have a "business" rapport with people that you have baggage with. You'll begin to notice that people start to take things way too seriously and get offended as if you're making a personal attack, when really all you're trying to do is get a shot that looks halfway decent in a reasonable amount of time. That's not to say that you won't find people that are able to switch back and forth between "business" and "pleasure" mode...it's just a rarity. The set of Sweet Thing was a great example of that vibe. My wife manages to pull it off pretty well (and she's probably got it the most difficult, because she has to live with me and listen to the fallout of other people fucking up on a regular basis), as do most of my main grips. And one of the hardest workers on the set is our new sound guy, most likely because initially I didn't know him from Adam, so he's approaching the gig with some seriousness.
For the next few projects I have lined up, I'm hiring the crew for sure. Fortunately, I'm past the point of "eager beats pretty", so I can ensure that they have actual on-set experience as well. To bring this back full circle to the music analogies, Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) hired bad-ass session musicians to record The System Has Failed, and then hired bad-ass touring musicians to play the live dates. The result? Megadeth's best album since Rust In Peace, followed by a critically acclaimed word tour. Sure, Mustaine can be a little much at times, but you can't deny the success of his Machiavellian tactics.
But you know, with all that said...the dissidents will always think that they have a better handle on the way things work than "the powers that be"...whoever that might be at any given time...the director, bandleader, etc. The only way to convice them otherwise is to have them try, and most likely fail...a few times over. Trust me, I speak from experience. Granted, my shit-talking egomania kicked in when I was a boom operator in the middle of my college career, so I was able to learn the hard lessons before I really was in a position to screw up someone else's directorial groove. My first feature Fade To Black, was an experiment and learning tool all in one, and I count myself lucky that a few people dug it...because honestly, I knew nothing about anything back then as far as making movies. Oh sure, I thought I knew it all, from criticizing and aping things I picked up on other sets...but that wasn't the case. Not in the least.
Maybe more on this topic later...I just needed to vent, and now I'm falling asleep at the keyboard.
Requisite movie status update: we are getting more pickup shots tomorrow night, and then I believe we are finished shooting at Phobia. Principal photography on Closet Space is about 98% complete.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Well...it looks like I've pretty much got my next movie gig lined up. And it's coming up pretty soon. So much for time off...I'm starting to notice a disturbing trend in my production schedules. But I couldn't be happier.
More info to come in the next few weeks once things solidify. To head things off at the pass for speculation's sake:
- No, it's not the Nightmare prequel.
- Nope, not Alien 5, either.
- Witchcraft 14?....no.
- and also a big no to Leprechaun Vs. Chucky By Way Of Demonic Toys.
- no, I did not recieve a big windfall from Witchcraft 13 and use it to fund this production.
- Yes, it is horror.
- No, it's not Closet Space 2...although that's probably directly afterward.
Man, the freako numerologists would have a field day with this post. Anyway, more on that later. In the meantime, check out this quasi-review of Electric Purgatory....the documentary I shot for my buddy Raymond. It's lukewarm, but hey, I got my name in Variety magazine.
Before I get into this, let me warn you that this post is only tangentially Closet Space related....if you are here just for news on the movie, here's the Cliff Notes version: things are fine, we have one or two more weekends of pickups left, and then we are done with principal photography. I am already editing footage together, and it looks stellar. The movie is going to be awesome.
Anyway, today I'm really focused on something else. This morning I was informed that my best friend's father passed away last night.
Now, I'm not the emotional type. Anyone that knows me can attest to that fact. I've even been accused of acute sociopathy on numerous occasions. But this is affecting me a little more than usual...for a number of reasons.
First of all, this man (and his wife) are probably the closest thing to what I'd call my godparents...assuming I believed in God. Those that know me know how virtually worthless my birth parents have been throughout my entire life. The Baragans were seemingly always there to fill that gulf. When we were kids, and I wasn't able to hang out, go anywhere, or do anything because my parents didn't want to drive me anywhere, the Baragans came all the way across town to give me a ride. Usually to Astroworld (and once I started driving myself, I discovered how literally out of their way they were going for me) so that Domingo and I could strike out with girls on a regular basis.
Domingo and I kind of drifted apart for a couple of years at the end of high school, but on the couple of occasions I was around, his parents were among the only people to actually congratulate me and tell me how proud they were of my accomplishments. Background on that: I did some stuff that enabled me to get a full ride to UT, plus numerous other scholarships as well. My birth parents never ONCE said anything even remotely scraping praise. The most I got out of my father was disappointment at the fact that I didn't get a football scholarship. Anyway, aside from a few teachers (who I will also be thanking in my Oscar acceptance speech), the Baragans were the only people there for me.
Fast forward to the present time, and the aforementioned movie connection. Just for a little context, my parents and immediate family have never ever seen anything that I've done. No movie screenings, no live shows with bands, nothing. And it's not because they weren't invited (at least until I stopped wasting my time inviting them). Not only did the Baragan family show up at just about every screening; upon my finishing and screening Witchcraft 13, the Baragans believed in me enough to finance a great deal of my follow-up project, which of course you know as Closet Space. I will forever be thankful for that...because once again, they were the first people to come up and actually tell me that they were proud of me. And then they gave me the means to go really nuts with this movie. Throughout all those conversations and interactions, what touches me most to this day is the fact that they would always refer to me as "son". And I feel like they really meant it.
So I spent a lot of the day thinking about all those things and occasionally tearing up because the world totally sucks sometimes. Good people leave us way too soon, it seems.
With all that said, I extend my heartfelt thanks to Domingo Baragan II for being there when I needed him, and most of all believing in me. On behalf of the cast and crew, we dedicate Closet Space in your honor.
Rest in peace,
(Your third son)
Friday, July 07, 2006
It seems that our incestuous little circle is becoming even more incest-y. I shot 2nd camera on Necrophobia a while back, then a great deal of the Necrophobia gang became part of the Closet Space cast and crew, and now this.
This past week my wife (and Closet Space lead) Melanie was cast as a last minute replacement lead in Rejected Films' latest mission-to-offend, entitled Sway. I've been around for one night of shooting so far, and I think it's going to send people screaming for the hills.
Eve Blaack from The Hacker's Source was also on hand to do an interview with Josh, the director. Most people don't know that we have a pretty classy genre publication right in our own backyard. Of course, I took the opportunity to slide in some Closet Space and Witchcraft 13 references, of course. I also gave her a screener of Witchcraft 13 so we'll see how that goes.
So now we have at least four (Sway, Necrophobia, Witchcraft 13, and Closet Space) indie horror movies primed to burst out of our fair city in the next year or so. And when I say indie, I f*%king mean it. Blood, sweat, and more blood...big budget sensibilities be damned. And as a result, we have a pretty tight-knit group of individuals to collaborate on more sick stuff going forward.
Be on the lookout for screenings and announcements in the coming months - I assure you that Houston's streets will run red with blood.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Friday night began an ordeal which continues to this day - I'm upgrading to a new system drive on my editing suite before getting started on the Closet Space post, and transferring everything over has proven to be a pain in the ass. I think most of it is due to the proprietary and unstable nature of most of the software configuration. Next time I upgrade, I'm definitely going with a Macintosh editing solution, even if I decide to run Windows apps on it. I think I've figured out a workaround of sorts, so hopefully tonight I can finalize that process.
Saturday a few of us went up to Phobia and reconstructed some sets for the pickups that we have to start getting next week. We built a cliff, a tunnel (with walls on both ends), and a short hallway. It was arduous at times, but mostly fun....and we all still have our fingers. Once again, big thanks go out to Phobia for letting us do this up there.
Sunday I basically caught up on my comic book habit. My thoughts on this weeks haul:
- Squadron Supreme is killer, although it definitely is a lot like "JLA meets Rising Stars".
- Astonishing X-Men is still astonishing, even when it veers towards Cheese City, which is an accomplishment. Bravo, Joss. You really should have gotten the X3 gig.
- the Marvel "Civil War" crossover actually has me interested in characters that I've never given a crap about.
- Chris Claremont is leaving Uncanny X-Men, which is a good thing, considering his last two runs.
- Peter Milligan's run on X-Men is over, and I just feel kind of...."eh" about it. He started off with some interesting ideas, but ended more on a whimper than a bang, I think. Especially with the 'Gambit as Death' thing. The new creative teams have me excited, so we'll see what happens.
- As always, The Walking Dead is one of the best comics out there. Maybe I can direct the inevitable adaptation.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
And my belief that there are writers and directors out there capable of pulling off comic book movies with depth and seriousness is also reinstated. Of course, I never once doubted you, Bryan. Yes, the mutants should have waited you out. I know that the attention deficit and mildly retarded masses will cry foul at your 2 and a half hour epic. Forgive them, for they have suckled from the teat of Michael Bay for far too long.
Of course I'm talking about Superman Returns, which was everything I wanted it to be. And the fact that the Spider Man 3 trailer kicks ass is just icing on the cake.
Monday, June 26, 2006
To begin - Thursday and Friday I spent cleaning up after the FX shoots last week. Basically putting my carport, house, and equipment in order, and moving the tentacles and monster into climate-controlled storage until we need to pull them out for insert shots in a few weeks.
Thursday night I started to feel a little weird. Friday...a little worse. Then Saturday came around, and I had full-blown food poisoning (the lack of blood in my explosive diarrhea led me to believe that it was of the staph variety). Now, I am the Food Poisoning King. I've probably been hit with this stuff 15-20 times in my life (both E.Coli and Staph), and this was the absolute worst that I've ever felt because of it. I wanted to curl up and die.
Unfortunately, we had a pretty heavy shoot scheduled at Phobia on Saturday, and try though I did....there was no way in hell that I was going to make it out for that. We couldn't cancel for various reasons (actors coming in from out of town, schedules not permitting reshoots, etc.) so the show had to go on, somehow. I eventually decided to make Will my 2nd Unit Director (which is the industry term for pinch-hitter), and gave him a detailed outline of what to shoot - along with briefing Melanie and Domingo on what needed to be done and how. I somehow managed to do all this between my frequent trips to the bathroom. So I laid on the couch, delusional and feverish, while the cast and crew tried to approximate my ideas of what should be shot. I recieved a few calls throughout the day and fielded some questions and that was about the extent of my "directing" for that day.
So I view the footage after they wrap that night, and of course there's some of it that I'm unsure of...but I think that I can make it work. In hindsight, I probably should have completely rescheduled the entire day...then again maybe I'm being nitpicky. I'm just worried about continuity, visual flow, and in some cases, character beats for some of the sequences. You know...all the things that are a director's job....when he's not puking his guts out. Overall though, I think we made the utmost of a bad situation, and a few things look really cool, so it goes down as a success. I know that there seemed to be a dawning realization that my job isn't as easy as some might think. For that, I am thankful. Well, as thankful as you can be with nothing solid in your stomach.
Sunday...so Sunday I had to get up after the intestinal hell of Saturday, and get a U-Haul and head out to Ledbetter to dismantle the set at the Farmhouse. Domingo, Oliver, Dwayne, Melanie, and Curtis (Melanie's dad) went along to help out. We (mostly they) broke down the closet hallway, replaced the fixtures and original door, and cleaned up all the trash. A lot of crap to do, but we were done pretty quickly, considering. After loading up, we took the set back down to Phobia, where we will rebuild it and shoot some more in the coming weeks. Jason (Soundwave) and Marissa showed up and helped our tired asses out with that. It was a long and arduous process, but it got done...mostly due to everyone else's hard work (since I was sapped of strength and energy, much like Superman 2).
This coming weekend we reassemble the set and build new permutations of it, then the next weekend we shoot some more. Principal photography on Closet Space should be completed by late July.
My thanks go out to everyone that helped pick up slack this weekend - be it mine or anyone else's.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Monday, June 19, 2006
Screenwriter Jason Stewart was on hand for most of the proceedings. Wisely, he kept to himself and let me work my magic. Just kidding Jason. But not really.Melanie as Nancy - about to f**k up some extra-dimensional parasite ass.
Marcus of Oddtopsy FX with Morgan as Kristen.
I was going to include a picture of Tim, but he had to split. ba DUMP bum.
Danielle as Monica, after recieving an axe to the neck.
Assistant Director Dave Gabriel, with Marcus and Derek from Oddtopsy FX, preparing the "roadmap of abomination".
Me modeling the first "official" Closet Space t-shirt, which will be available soon on the website. (Front says "Got Tentacles", back has the www.closetspacemovie.com URL).
Don't ask me what I'm holding down around my crotch. It's a secret.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I've been very frustrated lately movie-wise....maybe even more so than on Witchcraft (probably due to the fact that Closet Space is more my "baby", whereas WC13 was the adopted kid). There are lots of things on this production that I'm unhappy with - thankfully, none of them are on the screen this time. The performances and images are still awesome....it's just getting there that's the infuriating part.
I know it sounds like I'm just complaining like I did back when we were shooting Witchcraft...but I assure you that this is different, mainly due to the fact that the production of Closet Space was forged with the understanding that we wouldn't have a repeat of Witchcraft, and I'd actually have an easier time getting things done and some sort of support. I'm starting to think that I've hung myself with the rope that I've doled out.
I'm starting to see it in sexual terms, actually. You've never tried oral, so you try it. It's okay for a while, but then you realize that you don't really like the taste of someone's dick in your mouth. Similarly...hey, this anal stuff sounds interesting. Okay, that's a different sensation...strange....getting uncomfortable....yeah, I really don't like this thing in my ass one bit.
Now that I fully realize that I don't really like foreign objects in my mouth or ass, I kind of have a better idea of where to go from here. I thought that I changed things enough from the previous debacle, and I did, but I've created entirely new problems that I shouldn't have to be dealing with, along with some old issues that I didn't see in sharp enough relief until now.
Thankfully, we are in the home stretch on the movie...and as I said, it looks pretty damn good despite my unhappiness with some of the "back room" processes. Actually, the movie looks phenomenal so far...so much so that I can't wait to start editing.
Hmmm...now that I think of it, maybe I should keep creating movies in a tense environment. It seems to bear pretty good fruit. I just have to keep from turning into Charles Whitman.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Monday, June 12, 2006
Tensions ran pretty high, but we got everything that we needed to, knocking a day off of the schedule in the process. This will allow me more time to do some FX detail shots to really up the gore, grue and kill quotient. I only wish that I had more time with our esteemed FX crew - the guys are bad-ass and consistently come up with stuff that looks awesome on camera without fail.
I did get a little bummed out before this weekend's shoot, mainly because I watched The Descent last week, and some of the similarities between it and Closet Space kind of psyched me out. I'm kind of past it now, but it did make me seriously think about re-tooling the movie in a big way. Even though CS has existed in its basic form since at least 2000, people will probably still think that we're ripping off The Descent, especially since it's the golden child of horror movies right now. Nothing I can really do about that at this point, I guess. It happens all the time with me. Dot The I is pretty much exactly like Fade to Black (my first feature), and when I was prepping Walking Distance I kept getting thrown by the new-wave of zombie movies (28 Days Later, Shaun, the Dawn remake, Resident Evil), so much so that I've shelved that one indefinitely. I'm sure some out there will even say that Witchcraft 13 bites off The Omen because of the 666 birthmark. I call bullshit...Damien Thorn doesn't get nearly as much ass as Will Spanner. Anyway, here are some pics from this weekend.
Part of Laurie's death scene. She should really get that goiter checked out, don't you think?
Monica showing off her "roadmap of abomination" state.
This coming weekend we kill one character in a most interesting way, as well as shoot a bunch of FX shots to pump up some sequences. By "pump up" I mean "finish", of course.