Saturday, March 23, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

So I put CHTHONIC on hold because a recent Hollywood release was simply too close to my concept and execution. It wasn't exact, but certain major elements were clearly there. Some suggested I just ignore the film and press on with mine. Just let the Hollywood film do its run and it'll be forgotten, most likely, by the time mine is done. Under the old world circumstances I would have done that, but this is the age of films having a life beyond theaters. The Hollywood film in question will likely be out on DVD/BluRay within a few months, and be on cable and streaming, so it won't really go away. And even though I conceived, wrote and started shooting CHTHONIC before I knew this other film had been made and was being released, I'll be accused of copy-catting. As a director -- no, as a producer also -- I know it would drive me nuts and work a number on my enthusiasm to go through all the effort and angst it takes to get a feature film completed knowing that The Industry already beat me to my basic concept. CHTHONIC has a very big difference from the Hollywood film in question, and the script is good, so it will get made. For now, I just can't do it under the circumstances.

So, what to do?

As you know by now, I'm putting together a film festival for one Saturday in November. I'm very excited about this for a variety of reasons. First, it's my type of event. My favorite genres and styles of films, the sort of things I'd like to see in a vendors room, a celebration of nerdy love for classic pulp era style adventure, fantasy and classic horror of the type that doesn't require air sickness bags on hand. I don't know personally of any other film festivals doing what we're doing. Adventure is usually misinterpreted to mean super-ridiculous action thrills, fantasy ends up being an overdone display of production art and CGI ( I long for the days when visual effects are used to enhance the story and action, not bombard them or even be the reason people go see a movie. CGI nuts could take a lesson from the old school use of matte paintings...) and horror has become something so literal I almost advocate a new genre designator for the more gothic and supernatural-themed classic stuff which I prefer. All that is why I'm doing the festival I'm doing. It's coming together and I know will be a lot of work between now and showtime, but it'll be worth it. The question is: Should I do another contemporary supernatural horror film or should I go balls to the wall and just do an adventure movie, something I can put together a trailer for and preview at the festival?

It's tempting because that's the sort of film I want to make. But there all the considerations. Do I make the contemporary thriller/horror film because that would be easier to make "look like a so-called real movie"? The argument for that is that when I distribute it, it'll be taken more 'seriously'. But I don't necessarily make my films for the people who take them 'seriously'. Those people, frankly, can be snarky assholes. The idea is that a 'real' film might get picked up for distribution and then I'm "in". That's simply bullshit. Besides, I'm already "in" as a Canadian company has recently finished an adaptation of a screen story I wrote with my buddy Mike Williamson. My other option is to make the sort of film that festival audiences -- specifically the sort of audience I would be sitting in -- love and talk about. There are so many distribution choices now, too, but the problem of piracy remains and I'm not keen on doing all the work to create something only to have some jack-off with fucked up political perspective on the world think it's OK to spread my movie all over the internet for idiots like him or herself to have for free -- especially when most of these petulant little assholes will likely just trash it with their snarky commentary. Another consideration is where I'm at in life: I've had another career already and am turning 50 this year. While, in spite of what you under 40 rubes think, that is not old, it is out of the range of having time to waste. I would argue my current position along life's journey dictates I should do the film I want to do.

And that's about the time my mind says, "Yes, but you could do two quick horror features in the time it will take you to finish the adventure you want to do" to which my other personality says, "Oh, but one well done adventure movie will represent better than two quickie 'crappy' horror films" and the debate goes on.

The argument for going ahead and doing my own films is clear: a friend recently shared an article that discussed the hard facts about getting an indie film produced right now. Investors/producers are backing away from films primarily because of the piracy issue. Too much money is being lost. Naturally, it's the small indie filmmaker that's taking the hit because producers would rather gamble on the big stuff with a take so potentially large as to offset the loss from the inevitable piracy (I can't tell you how much I hate the people who think intellectual property belongs to the world). Indie filmmakers take creative chances that Hollywood will not. Producers, however, can't be that courageous with their money. The solution is to change the distribution model and I'm resigned to that. I've tried my method and it works. The beauty of it is that the audiences I get are the most likely to appreciate the films I really want to do.

Problem solved, right?

Sort of. I still must decide: low budget creepy atmosphere horror film? Or dynamic adventure film?

The answer may be in the fact that there are SO MANY indie filmmakers doing low budget creepy atmosphere horror films. But there are not many, if any, doing dynamic adventure films. Movies on the indie level are a lot of work. I'd rather know that I'm doing something not every indie filmmaker is doing. That means, old fashioned pulp era adventure.

Well, it looks like I've identified my genre. Now to write a story...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Film Festival!

Check out the festival I am hosting this November!

Pulp Adventure & Fantasy Indie Film Expo

Monday, March 11, 2013


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Big Announcement Coming Soon!

I will have an event announcement to make very soon!

Some business just happened in the past two days that you're gonna find interesting.

More to follow...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Production Report

Well, damn it,  I'm putting CHTHONIC on the shelf for a while. Thanks to a Hollywood movie recently released which contains key elements way too close to my film, I simply can't justify all the work on something that -- regardless what reasonable and understanding people say -- will be considered a copycat by the snarky jerks in society. Honestly, as a director, I like to think I'm doing something that fifteen other guys are not doing at the same time. Another director I know, plus one of my actors, said to do it anyway, and I understand where they're coming from, but once my directorial mind is made up, I pretty much know what I'm going to do. So CHTHONIC gets shelved, for now. It's a really cool script and idea and I want to return to it later, but now is not the time.

So, that's why we always have multiple projects in various stages of development! With CHTHONIC put on the back burner, I simply slide another project forward. A few months ago, I got an idea for a feature and started making notes. With this recent development, I've considered the various ideas I have on file. For the longest time, I've wanted to do a horror film. Usually the best thing a microbudget indie filmmaker can do is a horror film. That's why a lot of microbudget indie horror films are made. That's why I started CHTHONIC. I've come to a new conclusion in the last few weeks that a LOT of microbudget indie horror films are made so it's increasingly difficult to be "original". Don't get me wrong, not much is truly original. Perhaps the better word is 'fresh', as in not like a hundred other projects being made or not done recently. And once Hollywood comes out with the specific type of horror film you're working on, forget it. Doesn't matter that you had no idea or even started yours first (which you didn't, most likely, because their stuff starts way before it's released. You just didn't know about it.), you're gonna be called a copycat by the internet trolls and down your sales potential goes. So what to do?

Not a horror film, I decided.

Originally, I saw CHTHONIC as a film I could enter in Lovecraft festivals, as something that would appeal to HPL fans. In fact, Hell's Bells has been submitted to a Lovecraft festival (keep your fingers crossed). However, I realize that things Lovecraftian are becoming the hip darling of the indie horror world even more lately. Now, as an HPL fan, I'm digging that! I can't wait to see what shows up on screen in San Pedro this year (maybe Hell's Bells among them...?). But as a film producer/director, I realize that things Lovecraftian are becoming the hip darling of the indie horror world even more lately. Upside, downside. Maybe I'm tilting windmills, but I have to at least reasonably think I'm doing something not everyone else is doing. Therefore, I pulled myself away from the Lovecraft draw and have decided to go a different direction. There will be horror elements, naturally, because they fit. But I won't be doing Lovecraft. (I'll be happily attending Lovecraft events as a fan -- and hopefully seeing Hell's Bells on one of their screens!)

So, keep an eye out for an announcement here regarding the new project. I am developing the project further. Finishing the script, bringing the team together, putting the financing in place. Once I have things where they need to be, and a graphic to go with it, I'll announce the title and the basics. I can tell you that it is inspired by a different author and it's more ambitious in certain aspects than what you've seen me do so far.

More to follow...