Just shoot me

Okay, no, the photo shoot wasn’t that bad. In fact, largely thanks to knowing what to expect, it wasn’t bad at all. Good tuneage on the sound system at CSE, an expert photog on the lens, and fast recycling equipment enabled us to knock out everything we needed in less than four hours.

While we (of course) didn’t need the extra shirts we bought or all the stuff we lugged up to Tampa, we still got a helluva lot accomplished without me walking face first into a hot umbrella, so that was a good thing. We got all the shots we wanted for the media kits and film festival packages, which was the goal, and I did a little biz with Russ after the shoot over dinner, before we headed back home.

Now, the ball’s in Tracie’s court (our publicist). The folders should be back from the printer this week, several festival packages will be going out, and an announcement is forthcoming about a fest I’ll be attending. Things’re movin’ right along, which is what I’ve been hoping for ever since scheduling the final reshoot necessary to wrap The Bunker. Thursday, I have a call set up with Metropolis Records, about another one of their bands whose music I’d like to use in the film. When Eric returns from Cinequest (an Oscar-qualifying fest where his latest film, The Dive, has two screenings), we’ll have the final sound mix in place and then the whole shebang goes over to Adam for the credits and film look. My distrib’s very happy about how fast progress has gone. While we haven’t set a drop date for The Bunker, by the end of March we’ll be able to jump on any opportunity that presents itself. I’d love a Fall release, you know, right around Halloween? but we’ll see what offers us the best options.

And now? What else. Back to work, of course.
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Currently listening to: Halo by Depeche Mode

Home stretch

First off, thanks to all who hit me up via FB or MySpace or e-mail w/birthday wishes. Much as I hate to mark another trip around the sun, it’s still better than the alternative.

On to what’s happening around here. Eric is working on The Bunker final sound mix, and an alternate version which removes a bit of female naughty bits from the edit. This coming Saturday, Pam and I are driving up to Tampa for a photo shoot for the media & festival press kits. Yes, a photo shoot. Why anybody wants a pic of me I don’t know, but hey, I’ve done my own PR for years. Now, I have a pro working with me and the distributor, so as far as I’m concerned? Whatever she says, goes.

Last night, Pam began uploading a couple hundred megs of files for the kit, including revised DVD box cover art, the poster graphics, information about the bands we’ve locked up for the film, production notes, high-res pics from the shoot, stuff like that. Today, the distribution company’s designer is getting it all together and putting the finishing touches on, then dropping it off at the printer. Once the photo shoot is in the can, the kits will be assembled, and away we go.

Been a long road leading here, but the finish line’s just ahead. Next week, we’ll probably be announcing my first festival appearance, the official Bunker web site will be launched, and we’ll be selecting other festivals to approach with the completed film. The distributor and publicist are targeting some pretty big ones, so hopefully we’ll be able to hit a few.

And now, it’s back to the grind. Got a new freelance gig to bang out, still got work to do on my story for the fantasy anthology I’ve been asked to contribute to, and I have another writing project I’ve been itching to get on for quite a while. On both the fiction and film front, there are a whole lot of irons in the fire. For a workaholic like me? that’s Nothing new, but I’m digging it anyway.

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Currently listening to: Hey Boy, Hey Girl by The Chemical Brothers

LOCKED

I’m going on 22 and a half hours straight, but hadda sit down before shutting off the computer to put out a quick update. Eric and I worked our asses off today, and locked the edit on The Bunker, my first feature film, about ten minutes ago. L-o-o-o-n-g day, but unbelievably productive.

Working with stage actor Robert Feigenblatt on his voiceover role for The Bunker.

Robert came over around 5, knocked out his voiceover in three takes. Thing fit into the final scene in the film seamlessly. We even got to work in a product placement, which was way cool. Eric was a cuttin’ fiend, doing both sound and picture, and the footage we shot two weeks ago in Los Angeles required some careful editing, but save for some color correction that’ll be handled by Skrubahl, Inc. when Adam puts on the film look, the new shots work perfectly with the existing footage. Shout outs to R-Dogg and Jim Powers for helping make that a reality.

And, the track I just secured from an Atlanta-based punk band (with a well-known lead singer, announcement coming soon about that signing), dropped into the opening scene like it was written specifically for the movie. It blows away the Tattooed Millionaires song we ditched way-back-when, and both lyrically and musically, it fit like a glove. I am so glad I stumbled across these guys, and was able to get in touch with them about their music. Definitely, an upgrade.

We’re still gonna tweak the credits roll, and then Eric’s doing the final sound mix, but locking the edit is like throwing a 400 lb gorilla off my back. My distributor’s gonna be thrilled when I give him the good news tomorrow—that he can begin banging out the media kit and more film festival packages. He and Tracie, our publicist, have targeted some high-profile fests. Not sure if we’ll get into any, but the push is on in a big way. Will post about possible festival screenings when the info becomes available.

All right, that’s it for me. Still gotta get up early and hit it hard, see if we can’t get Eric on the road by the afternoon for a shoot he’s been hired for for Monday. When you work with top-notch people, they’re always in demand.

Keep checkin’ in for news about what’s happening, and thanks again to shoppers who’ve been buying from our online store and those who supported us via Kickstarter. You guys put us over the hump, and I appreciate it greatly.

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Currently listening to: Keelhauled by Alestorm

It’s all about the weekend…

When, if all goes well, we should pretty much wrap up The Bunker festival cut. Sure, the film look is yet to come and Eric will be taking back a drive with him to polish the final sound mix, but those things are entirely out of my hands. I’m also still waiting on word from Metropolis Records about song licensing for a track by one of their bands, but even if I can’t get the song I want, I have several others to choose from, and will have more next week through one of my distributor’s contacts.

Meeting with Tuna and Knuckles, dogs not-quite-ready for still photography.

So, this weekend is pretty simple stuff. Eric’s going to be editing in the footage we shot two weeks back in Los Angeles at Jim Powers’ place, which will transform the original wraparound sequence—which was something totally unrelated—into part of the main story. The whole sequence has been transformed with the new material, all the plot devices have been altered to fit in with the original Bunker screenplay (which didn’t have a wraparound when I first began working on the film), and I’ve replaced the music. The new story now wraps up the feature with a nice, neat bow.

I was happy to get the chance to work with Adam and Charles and Ms. Veronique again, those guys are true pros. And, getting to meet up with Jim (whose work I knew from my previous gig), R Dog and Molly was a blast. Sure, we shot for a couple hours longer than we’d planned, got a bit of a late start, but…it’s moviemaking. When does *anything* ever go off on time? Thanks to those guys for stepping up and really making the reshoot as painless as possible. Believe me, I’d been toying with options that ran the gamut from writing an entirely new framing sequence, to inserting additional scenes with other actors, to simply dumping the wraparound and adding a short and selling the pair together on a self-distributed disc.

But The Bunker had too much going for it. Once we got rid of the crap sound design and film look, I still had a film with a lot of potential, which had gotten exceptional reviews. I had solid performances. I simply needed to figure out a way to make what I had work. That still required shooting additional material, but it was a lot less daunting than the alternatives I’d considered.

This weekend? I’m hoping that as the last few pieces fall into place, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, hand it off to Eric and Adam and Charles for sound and film look, and move on to what’s next.

What’s next for The Bunker is film festival screenings and distribution, both foreign and domestic. What’s next for me as a director? Well, you’ll have to keep checkin’ back for updates on that.

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Currently listening to: What Do I Get? by The Buzzcocks

Latest Bunker update & announcements

Hey gang—the new Sight Unseen INSIDER is up (yeah, yeah, I know, about time). In it, I cover the recent trip to Los Angeles to get the necessary footage reshot to complete The Bunker, my casting choices, the elimination of a wraparound sequence in favor of one (reasonably) linear storyline, and who’s now handling the film look and various post-production details. I’ve got an award-winning filmmaker handling the final sound mix and engineering, a post house that’s also taken home some hardware at award ceremonies for their creative work, my composer is putting the finishing touches on the last ninety seconds of score to round out the flick, and then it’s into the hands of my distributor and off to several festivals—both foreign and domestic.

Thanks to all the folks who pledged and helped out via Kickstarter, or who’ve been buying our merch from the online store. This, folks, is what your money’s been going to, and trust me, every penny’s being well-spent. Check out the latest Sight Unseen INSIDER here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YId5oM632ZE

More announcements comin’!

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Currently listening to: Hang Him Higher by WUMPSCUT

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A brief scare

And luckily, not much of one. Still, gave us a moment or two of concern this morning.

Had to go over to my parents’ today, celebrate my sister’s 40th birthday. It’d been put off from last week ‘cause her kids were sick, and since I was out of town for most of the week, it came down to today to get us all together.

So, this morning, I’m trying to wrap up some final stuff from the reshoot. Organizing some paperwork, shelving the props, unpacking the final few items from my laptop and camera case, etc. After removing all my tape stock, my various chargers and flotsam, I discover that the actual mini DV tape isn’t where I expected it to be. I’m talking *the* key tape from the reshoot. The main footage.

The good thing, I reminded myself as I scoured my laptop bag, (in case it’d gotten stuck in there instead)—was that after we shot the footage on Tuesday, I had the good sense to have the tape captured, so that Eric and I weren’t transporting the only copy with us. In the event anything went wrong, baggage got lost or destroyed, whatever, it made sense for us to dump the tape to a drive before headin’ home.

Things turned out fine, however. Stuffed between foam layers in the camera case—literally the last possible option for it to have been—was the tape. Well-protected, in fine shape. Eric and I had a good chuckle over that, having spoken earlier in the day about when he’d be coming out to do the editing necessary to insert the footage into the final cut.

So, all ended well. But it did remind me that sometimes (more often than not I’d say), it pays to be a bit of a megalomaniac. I pay attention to detail to the point of being anal about it. But it’s served me well. And I think that’ll be evident when you guys get to see the final product. We’ve done a lot with a little, and the closer we get to release, the happier I am that I always gave myself room to work out of a bind if necessary. Trust me…the wiggle-room? I used every millimeter of it!

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Currently listening to: Crazy Bitch by Buck Cherry

Kickstarter Update: Bunker reshoot

In two words: it’s done. Yep, after multiple reschedulings, the difficulties inherent in getting cast members and necessary crew together at the same time, travel planning nightmares, etc., things worked out as I’d hoped and all hurdles were overcome. I bolted out of town this past Monday to wrap things up, and the trip couldn’t have gone much better.

Despite a not-altogether thrilling travel experience (boy have plane aisles gotten narrower!), and hubbing thru frigid Detroit (which is everything the Kentucky Fried Movie makes it out to be), we got in, got things done, and got ‘em done right. I returned home yesterday morning around 5 a.m., the final footage in hand.

A big chunk o’ the Kickstarter change went toward this key element of production, so everyone who threw a buck or two our way, rest assured, every penny’s being well-spent. I’m targeting mid-February to have the last scenes and pickup shots cut in and lock the edit. After that, we’ll lay in score and Eric’ll knock out the final sound mix. (Him hauling that huge mic and boom pole onto the plane sure was a conversation starter.)

I plan to make some announcements this coming week. About how post-production is going, about some new folks we brought into the fold for the reshoot, about where we stand with our music licensing company, etc. But for right now, I’ve been playing catch-up all day, and just wanted to bang this out so folks would know the reason for the virtual silence the past five days. As soon as the new Sight Unseen INSIDER’s cut, you’ll be privy to the first of the upcoming announcements. ‘Til then…
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Currently listening to: Destroyer by Static-X

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unit ‘Short’ notice

The printer’s spooling pages of the new script, and the smell of hot toner is in the air. Ahhh…

I’ve had this script for a short sitting in a drawer forever, and now that The Bunker should be wrapped up by the middle of February, I e-pulled it out and virtually dusted it off, bringing it up to date and polishing it. Needed to make some changes, but it’s still the same story, mostly the same dialogue and I even found a way to squeeze in another effects shot or two (which oughta make the Fango and Rue Morgue readers happy).

I’ve already confirmed an award-winning F/X artist for the project, and plan to talk to two actors who expressed interest in it when I first brought up the possibility of doing a short last summer. Going to try and hand-deliver one script tomorrow if a friend is around, and the other’s going in the mail. Fortunately, that actress is in-state, so she should have it by Monday and be able to give it a look-see during the week.

And that’s what’s happenin’ on this end. Got another freelance in the pipeline, and been putting in 10+ hours at the keyboard per day for the past five or six days now, so eager to get back to the creative stuff. Probably do some more bloggin’ over the next couple of days, as it looks like The Bunker reshoot is coming together, and I should be able to lock down dates and travel plans soon. More on that when it’s firmed up.

Enjoy your weekends!

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Currently listening to: At The End by 16Volt

Where’d everything go?

Not to worry, whatever you’ve noticed that isn’t present at the moment will be restored shortly. We’re doing some back-end site clean-up, revamping the blog archives, and getting things ready for soon-to-come announcements and upgrades.

What announcements and upgrades? you ask. Well, one of them will be the announcement concerning the distribution deal for The Bunker. I did an interview on Friday with a film magazine reporter, and since one of the topics we tackled in the piece was the deal, upcoming festival appearances, and our plans for my next feature, well, they’ll appear in the article first, then there’ll be a follow-up press release. But of course, we’ll be announcing it here, as well, so we’re prepping for that, getting graphics ready, proofing the PR, readying the media kit, etc.

We’re also installing a video player that will allow you to view our videos–including Sight Unseen INSIDER, The Bunker movie trailer (featuring music by The Cruxshadows), and my various wacky vids, such as the one in which I sword fight, or bull ride—right here on the site, through our own servers.

What else? Since I know you were about to ask, we’ll also be putting up updates once we get the Bunker reshoot scheduled; posting new clips from the completed film (featuring Robert Feigenblatt’s kick-ass new score), and more.

But…all that stuff requires testing, server space, new software, you know the drill. So, be patient. Blog archives will be back up shortly, new pics, new videos, and much more as we begin filling in the gaps.

Finally, my distributor and publicist are working on a site devoted entirely to The Bunker. I’ll be pointing you over there as soon as the site goes live, so check back regularly.
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Currently listening to: Dollhouse (Razed In Black mix) by Switchblade Symphony

New Year Picks Up Where the Old One Left Off…

Which is all good. For my film’s growing list of supporting producers & Kickstarter pledgees, here’s the latest update regarding The Bunker.

Spent the first couple hundred bucks of the funds raised on fixing sound issues. I mean really fixing them, not simply covering up bad audio with ridiculous nature sounds or making the background music louder, garbage shortcuts like that. We did several ADR sessions, we reworked some foley, we got some new sound F/X recorded specifically for one scene, etc. Three days of work, long hours, but great results. Wouldn’t have been possible without the money we raised at the end of 2010, so thanks again, folks.

Next was fully updating the credits. Since screeners began going out to interested distributors last year, a bunch of folks have come on board. A new composer. Two new voiceover actors. A sound engineer. Several new bands, including The Cruxshadows. So the old credits have been junked. and, the new ones will be a heck of a lot nicer, not the garish, blocky, bad ‘70s looking creds that were stuck to my film like bubblegum on the sole of your sneaker on a hot day. The new creds’ll have some style, and not remind anyone of the old Wonder Woman TV show.

We’ve decided to rework a prop for a close-up which we’ll be shooting up in New York shortly, and I was on the blower today with the still photographer who’s taking care of what we need to pull that off. My graphic designer, Mabel, has already laid out the prop template, and just like the work she did on our faux newspapers (which are virtual replicas of the NY dailies), the work she did on this was top-notch. In much the same way the sound mix does (cell phone calls sounding like cell phone calls, car stereos having the slightly tinny sound of a car radio through glass, the bass-heavy thrum of dance club music pounding through brick walls), it’s little things like what Mabel’s done with the newspaper clippings, IDs, badges, etc., that really make a difference. Production value you might not necessarily take notice of, but which really keeps you wrapped up in the story, not turning to your buddy or girlfriend and saying, “Did you see that? That looked like crap. They couldn’t even fake a Want Ad?”

There’s good news coming out of my distributor about our first 2011 film festival. And, it isn’t the only fest the company’s going after, either. That list is growing, and I’m pretty jazzed about the pedigree of the fests being discussed.

Now, it’s just a matter of getting out of town to do the bit of shooting we have left, and then I can hand off the video to our post production house, and the audio to my new sound engineer, whose latest film, Zombie Driftwood, recently screened offshore in the Bahamas. Not sure on release dates for it here in the ‘States, but check it out when it hits NetFlix, the concept’s quite amusing.

There’s more, but this is what I can talk about now. Should be able to give details concerning the company I’ve hired to handle the music licensing, add another band to our list of signed acts providing songs for the flick, update the full cast & crew credits, etc., soon. I’m lookin’ forward to that.

Enuff for now. Hit me up with a follow on Twitter for quickie news about the film, as well as the various flotsam and jetsam I comment about. Find me at:

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And check back here regularly. I don’t blog every day, but there’s lots going on, so I’m gonna try and be more proactive in yakking about it all.
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Currently listening to: Better Things by The Kinks