Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What I learned from the festival circuit

After more than a year and almost 40 festival screenings, Enter the Dark's World Tour 2010 - 2011 is finally at an end.  It's been a great experience and I've learned quite a few things that will help me as I move forward with new projects.  I figured I might as well pass along some of these hard-earned nuggets to anyone who dares venture forth into the world of indie filmmaking.

First, in order to keep track of all the festivals I submitted to, I created a big-ole spreadsheet, including festival name, date of upcoming deadline, cost of entry, dates of the festival, location of festival, date when they would notify filmmakers of their decisions, whether I got in or not, and if we won any awards.

From these magic columns I can extrude the following data:

YES:  40
NO:    42

Almost a 50% batting average - not too bad.  I can tell you this - in the future I would not submit to as many festivals.  Since this was my first time, my main goal was getting as much exposure as possible and finding out which festivals were worth the entry fee.  Having submitted to that many festivals, I now have a pretty good idea which are the good ones, and which are the shady ones.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rhinos' Flight

When I'm not scaring myself silly with new story ideas or ranting about media wackiness, I actually have a real job (sort of) as video editor.

Outside magazine recently posted a short film "Rhinos' Flight" I edited for the series "The New Environmentalists." Check out the story of Raoul du Toit, working to save the last of Africa's black rhinos. To see the whole six-part series, narrated by Robert Redford, check your local PBS listings.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween treats for all!

Happy Halloween! To celebrate the day when the dead walk amongst the living, I've posted my award-winning horror short film, Enter the Dark on YouTube and Vimeo for all to enjoy absolutely free.

Just make sure to watch it fullscreen. At night. With the lights off!
Then, if you liked what you saw, you could help me out tremendously by heading over to our facebook page and "liking" us (I know, that sounds so 8th grade pathetic and needy).  And also bop on over to out IMDB page and give us a great rating (somehow I don't think 6.2 stars quite does the film justice).
...and remember please, please, take out all batteries from children's toys when not in use.  They really can be quite a nuisance when taken over by evil spirits.  You'll thank be later.
Trust me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Enter the Dark's FREE Online Halloween Premiere

It's been a great run.

My little horror film which started out originally as a simple exercise in micro-budget filmmaking has now played in over 30 film festivals worldwide, garnered 6 awards, and introduced me to a whole new family of horror and indie film enthusiasts.

Along the way, I've traveled with the film from it's premiere in Chicago last year, to screenings in Sacramento and San Francisco.  I've made connections with fellow filmmakers and fans that I hope to nurture into collaborators and evangelists for my future work.

As I look back on the past year, it has been much more than I would have hoped.  I am deeply grateful for all the help I received along the way - mostly from my tremendous group of friends that just happened to be my cast and crew, and also from the numerous horror fans, bloggers and festival directors that championed our cause.

Heartfelt thanks to all!

And now, as the festivals wind down, in recognition of the great year we've just had, I'd like to offer you something for free...

Yes, that's right kiddos, Enter the Dark will be going live on the big bad worldwide web this Halloween!

See what all the fuss has been about.  See why folks much smarter than me have been saying things like:

…Enter the Dark, ladies and gentlemen, is what independent film making is all about.
The suspense was built up so finely that it almost started making me have a claustrophobic reaction in my room.  HORROR SOCIETY
Miro's story works like a good horror tale should, suckering us in with one hand while it's preparing to pop up and scare us with the other.  There's a command here that can't be taught, and Miro shows a natural gift for creating tension.  FROM MIDNIGHT, WITH LOVE
…a very surreal, scary and realistic depiction of a universal fear that all of us have…
...a sonic achievement of style and horror, but in a very psychological way.  SCARY FILM REVIEW

…Enter the Dark proves once again a good ghost story simply needs to put emphasis on the story and not flashy effects or big budgets in order to provide some fun and scares … delivers everything I look for in a horror short.   ALL THINGS HORROR

Halloween - Monday night, Oct. 31, 2011 at 5PM Pacific Time, Enter the Dark will me made available for free for the first time ever on YouTube and Vimeo.   And there it shall live - for all to see whenever you dang well please, in the comfort of your very own home.  Copy it - send the link around worldwide - make fun of it - argue about it - I don't care, the more the merrier!

So now there's no excuses - you cheappos who won't pony up $1.95 to watch a 30-day stream from IndieFlix.  Or you lazy types who couldn't bother to travel to one of the more than 30 festivals worldwide where it has already screened. No, that's fine - just stay right there.  Yeah, don't move hardly a muscle - just click your little mousy-thingy and flood your computer with 17 minutes of spooky good times.
Be my guest.


Did I mention that it will now be FREEEEE!??!?!?

(good - just checking...)

My gift to you.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Where are the voices of anger?

We are living in turbulent times my friends.  Most of us live under a cloud of uncertainty - an omnipresent gloom that permeates every waking moment.  How will I pay my rent?  Keep my house? Find a job?  What happens if I get sick?  What kind of a world will my kids live in?  How will our country move forward into these uncertain times without fracturing into a million splinter groups of special interests, each with voices raised in hyperbole and hysteria.

And throughout all this upheaval, what has the medium of cinema had to say about all this?

I'm waiting...

In the 60's and 70's, the turmoil of society was reflected in its cinema.
Movies like Easy Rider, Woodstock, Bonnie & Clyde, The Graduate, Dr Strangelove, Straw Dogs, Taxi Driver, Midnight Cowboy, and Night of the Living Dead represented their times with bold, revolutionary statements, new directions, and a cold hard look at societies' issues.

Vietnam had fractured the country, but starting with MASH in 1970, filmmakers were already attempting to deal with the horrors of war and its effects on our country. 
Then came Coppola's brilliant love letter to chaos and darkness, Apocalypse Now, and eventually, more mainstream efforts like The Deer Hunter, Coming Home, Platoon and Born Under the Fourth of July.

In 1976, Paddy Chayefsky and Sidney Lumet seemed to speak for a whole nation with their brilliant satire, Network:
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" 

In the 80's and 90's a new wave if independent cinema burst in the scene.
Movies like Sex, Lies & Videotape, Do The Right Thing, Slackers, Clerks, Drugstore Cowboy, Stranger Than Paradise all reflected the new attitudes of their era.

In 1999 two films, American Beauty and Fight Club presented very different, but uniquely bold, amazing and heartfelt visions of modern-day existential malaise.
They challenged their viewers to take a closer look at their materialistic priorities.

And then, it all seemed to stop.

Since Sept 11, 2001 this country has gone through multiple ongoing traumas, yet through it all, the filmmakers of today have been incredibly absent from engaging in an intelligent discourse with society that should be helping us all process an unprecedented amount of conflict, upheaval and crisis:

- coping in a post 9/11 world: terrorism; 2 wars waging for a decade; the loss of basic rights under the Patriot Act.

- economic collapse: massive unemployment; foreclosures.

- environmental calamity: global climate change; industrial pollution and devastating oil spills.

- major shifts in the workplace: outsourcing; longer hours; lower wages; increased productivity at the cost of leisure time; 24/7 intrusion of work into our private lives.

- runaway development of advancing technology that outpaces our ability to understand its effects.

- non-stop consumption of images, data and trivial information, with little to no time to actually process any of it.

- a completely dysfunctional government.

- inequal wealth distribution and a vanishing middle class.

- corruption by wall street and corporate interests.

- a major national shift away from being the world's superpower to just another player.

- a nation of repeated violence and tragedy - mass killings - rampage killings, murder/suicides.

- a mass media that fans the flames of ignorance and hatred.

- an oppressive, permeating undercurrent of paranoia that a nightmare apocalypse is just around the corner - 2012, Doomsday, The End of Times.

What have our current filmmakers had to say about these unprecedented turbulent times?  Art can be a crucially important vehicle by which society processes confusing, disruptive and complex new ideas and situations.

While there have been many very good documentaries that have addressed some of these complex issues, I believe that narrative films can do even more to help a society work through its traumas, as cinema works at the subconscious level of myth and archetype. 

I can honestly think of only a couple narrative movies that have attempted to deal with any of these issues: the academy award winning The Hurt Locker and the excellent Up in the Air.
There may be more, but even with these two fine films, neither was really a rallying cry for a generation - neither became a national speaking point, or a prism by which society could direct and clarify its arguments.

I'm still waiting...

I don't necessarily expect Hollywood to be making these kinds of films.  It's just not in their nature (or economic interests) to do so.  But where the hell are the indie voices of indignation, frustration and revolution?

Television seems to have done somewhat better in this regard.  There have been a number of excellent series that have dealt with many of today's pressing issues.
Shows like Rescue Me, Boardwalk Empire, Treme, The Wire, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Louie and Generation Kill represent the times we are living in and the turmoil we all face.
yes, I know Boardwalk Empire is set in the 20's - it is clearly an allegory for today's corrupt political system and economic disparity

But Cinema, that great medium of dream and drama, where are you when we need you the most?  Please prove me wrong - please present me with challenging, revolutionary ideas and visions that reflect our troubled times.  Please shock me with outrageous dramatic representations of war, political corruption, economic upheaval and personal tragedy.

And then please give me stories of hope, compassion and humanities' capacity to do good.

Please tell me it's going to be okay.

So I can sleep at night.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Enter the Dark summer updates

So, it's been a while since I posted about my little bundle of cinematic chills - or about anything for that matter.  Seems like "real life" has been taking most of my time lately. My day job as freelance video editor has finally picked up again and since I've been quite slow the past two years, it's been time to simply bear down and bank some coin.

This is good since it means I can continue to do the little things like pay my mortgage and keep our house.  But it's also quite draining so there's been little time for much else.

However, the 2011 Enter the Dark World Tour continues with or without me!  It's been doing tremendously, making the rounds and picking up awards along the way.  Here's some spots our short film has screened since last we met:

- Seattle True Independent Film Festival
- Fright Night Film Fest - Louisville, KY
- Pittsburgh Horror Film Fest
- Motor City Nightmares - Michigan
- Tumbleweed Film Festival - Washington
- Action On Film International Film Festival - Pasadena

In addition, we will be screening at a number of upcoming festivals:

Tuesday, Aug 23, 4pm - Abington Theater, NYC

Friday, Sept 2,  10pm - Atlanta, Georgia

Sept. 8 -17 - Toronto, Ontario

Thursday, Sept 15, 10:30pm  - Atlanta Georgia

Friday, Sept 23, 11pm - Tulsa, Oklahoma

Saturday, Oct 29 - Baton Rouge, Louisiana

If you're within spittin' distance of any of these events, please come on out and show your support!
We were also fortunate to have won a few awards, so I now have a growing collection of sharp-edged acrylic monoliths and other cool momentos:

Best Horror Short - Indie Spirit Film Festival:

Best Short Thriller - Bare Bones Film Festival:

Best Scare - Famous Monsters of Filmland Imagi-Movies:
Now that's really cool - I got a BANNER for that baby!

Best Paranormal Short - Fear Fete Horror Film Festival:
Now I haven't actually received this lil' shirt-ripping dude yet, but I hope they'll send me one.  How sweet is that!

In June we also screened in my neck of the woods at Another Hole in the Head Film Fest at the Roxie in San Francisco.  This was especially rewarding as I attended film school at S.F. State, so it felt like a homecoming celebration for film finals.  Most of the cast and crew (as well as many friends and family) were able to attend the screenings, and actor Charles Yoakum and I were able to do a Q&A session afterwards.  All in all, a tremendous time and one of those moments that makes it all worthwhile.
Outside the Roxie with Alaina Yoakum (Charles' wife) and hey, there's my dad too on the right!
Yep, that's me with Kristin Nelder - Assistant Camera, Gaffer, and all-around great person.
Charles and I gabbin' it up.

As Enter the Dark nears the end of it's festival run, I am starting to gather the inspiration for the next short film.  Once I get a little downtime, I'll jump on that baby and hopefully start shooting spring of 2012.  Can't talk much about that one yet, but I'll leave you with this little visual nugget to chew on:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thanks for nothin'!

Remember those halcyon days when the web was abuzz with the idea that a dedicated writer could wax poetic on their blog and actually get paid for it...  The two main sources of income usually presented were Google Adsense and Amazon Associates.

Google Adsense is responsible for some of the ads you see down the right side of my page.  Most times they actually have some relevance to my content.  In the year and a half since I started yammering away on this blog I've had roughly 450,000 pageviews, which I imagine puts me in the upper-middle of traffic for all blogs. Now, I'm not trying to brag here, it's just that the reality is that the vast majority of folks who start a blog never get viewed by anyone other than their friends or family.  And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

So those 450,000 pageviews are way more than I ever had expected, and mostly due to one crazy rant on Hollywood color grading.

Go figure.

Anyway, 42 folks have actually clicked on one of those Google-supplied ads (most of them probably just an accidental mis-click).

So what have I been paid so far from Google?




All those eyeballs, and 42 actual clickthroughs have netted me zero dollars.

Now, that's not to say I will never get paid... Here's the dealio:

Google is keeping $50.78 of my hard-earned money hostage.  Here's how they justify that.  Once you earn $10 for them, you get the privilege of filling out a form to indicate how you'd like to be paid from them.  This sounds very exciting.  Most bloggers will never even get to this point.  However, when you read the fine print at the bottom, a shocking bit of tom-foolery is revealed.

They will not send you any money until you have earned $100 dollars.  Let me state that again.  YOU WILL RECEIVE NO PAYMENTS UNTIL YOU HAVE EARNED $100!  Now, the vast majority of bloggers will never ever, ever in a thousand years reach this point.  And Google knows this.  The corporation that prides itself with the motto "Do No Evil" is doing one of the most reprehensibly slimy accountant moves ever.  How many millions of "virtual" dollars are sitting in accounts that will never come to fruition?  Who knows?  Maybe I'll buy some Google stock and demand the answer.

All I know is I'll probably never get to $100, so my $50.78 is currently being held hostage in some weird accountant's wet-dream limbo state.
So, "Is Amazon any better?" you might ask.  Well, they used to be.  Since I signed up with them, some 18 months ago, they have actually sent me payments totaling $49.23.  Now, that's not something I can pay my mortgage with, but at least they paid me!
However, that all ended a couple of weeks ago thanks to my Governor, Jerry Brown.  He had the incredible gall to actually ask that Amazon start paying their fair share of sales taxes - you know, like what real businesses have done for like, forever.  So how did Amazon respond?  Well, like this:

For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of California residents. Unfortunately, a potential new law that may be signed by Governor Brown compels us to terminate this program for California-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers - including but not limited to those referred by California-based marketing affiliates like you - even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.

Now, I figured this was just a threat to get California to back down, you know typical bull$#!t posturing.  Except the next day I got this email:

Unfortunately, Governor Brown has signed into law the bill that we emailed you about earlier today. As a result of this, contracts with all California residents participating in the Amazon Associates Program are terminated effective today, June 29, 2011. Those California residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to,, MYHABIT.COM or Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned before today will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.
Wow - way to go Amazon.  You really showed Gov'ner Brown.  And you made a total dedicated convert to your anti-sales tax views by one of your hard-working associates.


Oh well, I guess those starry-eyed dreams of being able to rake in the big bucks on the web have finally been put to rest.  Now I can just continue to rant for my own amusement and sanity.
And Google and Amazon...

Oh yeah... Thanks for nothin'!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Hubris of Apple

I woke up last week to a brand new world.  The business I had grown and nurtured for more than a decade was changed overnight.  Steve Jobs decided that I no longer mattered.

I've been editing for most of my life.  I started out on a CMX 3600, cutting videos on BetaSP and D2 tape.  Actually, strike that... I really started out splicing Super8 film in my bedroom, then moved on to VHS tape to tape assemble editing, then 16mm Steenbecks, then came the CMX 3600.  From there I jumped into the futuristic world of "non-linear" computer-based editing.  First on Avid, then to a Media 100 and finally to Apple's Final Cut Pro.

I've been cutting primarily on Final Cut for the last decade, which makes it my longest running platform so far.  Since I started off editing with film, the concepts of film editing always made the most sense to me - things like having clips in bins and sequences running from left to right, and multiple tracks stacked on each other.  These were things first introduced by Avid, and then carried on by every editing program thereafter.  My jumps from Avid to Media100 to Final Cut were never really huge ones as all had common elements that they borrowed from each other and that ultimately led back to the days of film editing.

But now, Steve Jobs has decreed that all this shall end.  He is determined to drag editors kicking and screaming into the future that he has decided is best for all of us.  With the advent of Final Cut Pro X, he has obliterated many of the useful ways that we go about our business of editing.  And he could care less how we feel about it.

This actually goes against the very reason that Final Cut was so good to begin with. After I had made the switch to Apple's editing tool around 2000, I kept encouraging others to follow - whether they were familiar with Avid, or Media100 made no difference.  The strength of Final Cut to me, was the fact that you could use the tool in many different ways.  In other words, if you liked traditional 3-point editing performed in source and record windows like an Avid, Final Cut could do that.  Or, if you preferred making edit decisions in the timeline, like a Media100, Final Cut could do that too.  If you were a keyboard guy and liked to control the software through keyboard commands - no problem.  Prefer to mouse-around and drag things - no problem there either.  In fact, for most functions, there were usually two or three ways to do the same thing.  Whenever I watched another editor use the software I always learned something new because the toolset was so rich, it seemed almost like an entirely different animal, depending on who was operating it.

Apple's approach was obvious - learn from other successful programs what works well, and instead of dictating one way to do things, offer as many as possible, ultimately allowing the editor to determine how they should work.

But Apple is a very different company today than it was back in 2000.  Back then, they were still known as Apple Computer - and they actually cared about their higher-end customer base.  The decision for Apple to enter the video editing market themselves made perfect sense.  Most editing platforms ran not only on Macs, but on suped-up high-end Mac systems with two monitors, fast drives and lots of RAM.  They needed the fastest processors and the biggest chassis to handle additional PCI cards to run everything.  This high-end market was always on the bleeding edge of technology, constantly upgrading, always searching for faster, bigger better.  Not only that, but it was a very prestigious, and sexy market - one that could drive customers to see Apple as a player in all things media-related.

So, it made perfect sense for Apple to want to play in this market not just on the hardware side, but on the software side, and use Final Cut to continue to drive hardware revenue.  They did very well in this market - expanding into DVD production, sound editing, motion graphics, color correction and bundling it all into a new product called Final Cut Studio.  They were kicking Avid's ass and climbing up the ladder of credibility - eventually edging into the ultimate territory of Avid's domain - motion picture editing.  It seemed they were about to own the whole market... and then a funny thing happened.

They no longer wanted it.  Just when it seemed Avid was dead, Apple took their foot off the pedal.  They let up.  They stopped upgrading their software.   They started doing random things like buying up Shake (a market leading software compositing tool used by folks like ILM), releasing one version and then abandoning it completely.  They stopped attending NAB (the National Association of Broadcasters convention) and then even stranger, stopped attending MacWorld.  They changed their name to just Apple.  No Computer.  A change was coming.

To put it simply, Apple is no longer a computer company.  They are a mobile device company.  They are a media-absorption company. They sell iPads, and iPhones and Apps, and Clouds and IOs.  They barely continue to upgrade their desktop Macs (the workhorse of video-editing).  The strategy of pandering to the technological vanguard of content creators no longer fits with their business model.  They don't want to sell high-end $1000 software to drive hardware sales, they want to sell a million downloads of a $2.99 app.

I get all this - I really do.  It makes perfect sense.  They no longer need me.

But did Steve really have to completely thumb his nose at the business I've built over the last ten years, using his software and his computers?

How am I supposed to tell my clients that, "I'm sorry, I can't open up that project we did last year - Final Cut Pro X can't read it."  Or, "No, I can't send an OMF file to the audio post house to work on your sound mix, Final Cut Pro X can't do that."  Or, "Gee, I'd love to be able to read in that list you generated from your rough-cut edit you did on your Avid, but Final Cut Pro X can no longer import an EDL."

Now look - I understand that it's really just version 1 of a brand new piece of software.  And I know that they'll work out some of the bugs, and add back some of the functionality.  And I know that 3rd party developers are already scrambling to full in the holes where Apple no longer cares.

But let's really call it what it is - iMovie X.  A glitzy, cool new piece of software to edit fun videos for web and social media.  It is in no way a professional tool that I can use with my existing clients, and not something I can use to edit feature films, or broadcast documentaries.

So, like a scorned lover, I must wait.  Wait and see if Steve ever decides to play with me again - to bless me with the pure light of his affections.

I'll give it a year.  I'll continue to run Final Cut Pro 7.0.3 on my existing system.  Continue to bill my clients on an edit suite that fulfills their needs and mine.  I'll check out and download Adobe and Avid's latest products and figure out which will better suite my needs.  Maybe, just maybe, Steve will come to his senses and like the New Coke fiasco, or the Apple Cube, this will all just be a blip in product development stupidity history, and some day soon, shiny new Final Cut Pro 8 will be made available.

If not, I'll soldier along just fine.  In the end, the toolset is never what matters most.  It's always been and will always be about telling a story in an effective and compelling way.

But damn Steve - did you really need to be such a dick about it?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Everything is Possible but Nothing is Real

So I was in Vegas recently, and while I was there I was stopped not once, but twice by strangers who wanted to comment on the shirt I was wearing.  I happened to be sporting my Black Country Communion t-shirt.

Who are Black Country Communion you say?

Shame... Shame on you for not knowing.  Well, actually it's not that surprising.
Black Country Communion are a super-group of sorts, fronted by Joe Bonamassa, who just happens to be the best blues-rock guitarist on the planet.  It also includes industry stalwarts Jason Bonham (yes, son of the GREAT John Bonham, Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath), and Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater).  Not that you should actually care or anything, but they happen to be making the best true rock sounds since Bad Company and Led Zeppelin.

But that's not the point.

The point is that while talking with one of the folks who felt the need to comment on my shirt (a drummer who supposedly knew Joe B. when he was just a wee lad), he made the comment, "Man, it's too bad he can't make it in the music scene today..."  I said, "What do you mean - he HAS made it."

The rules of success in the music industry have just radically changed from where they were twenty years ago or so.

Joe Bonamassa has a loyal following who buy all his records.  He tours all over the world.  He even got to play with Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall. That's success in today's music biz.  Is he a household name?  No, but he's not a 15-year old pop star kid either.  The music biz is now even more divided between the 5 or 6 mega stars who are heavily marketed (Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Justin Bieber, etc.), and everyone else.  It used to be you made money off sales of your CDs, but that's long gone.  Now the CD (er... digital download I mean) is a loss-leader just to get people excited about your live shows.  Cashflow is based mostly on ticket sales and merchandising revenue.

The time when an artist could make a living off the intellectual property of their art may be coming to an end.  And it's all your fault.

Yep, it's your dang fault for having an insatiable need to consume music and movies and not want to pay anything for them.  Once something can be digitized and transmitted as zeroes and ones on the net, it inevitably spirals down to a value of zero.  Folks just don't wanna pay if they don't have to.

And this is the sad future for filmmakers as well.

Thanks to Netflix, the assumption is that at any time I can click on a box and instantly watch great entertainment in the comfort of my home.  For free.  Or nearly free. As a consumer, this is amazing.  As a film buff I can now watch all sorts of titles I never would have been exposed to before.  I know so many more directors and their visions.  But are those filmmakers, really being compensated for all this?

Not really.

The indie film I edited and co-produced, The Commune, was offered a deal by Netflix for their Watch Instantly streaming service.  Do you know what they offered us?


And that was before the distributor took their 30% cut.

So, let's see, our meager budget was under $100,000.  Hardly anyone got paid.  And now, Netflix wants to own it and allow anyone in the world to watch it for free in the comfort of their own home.  And for all that, we'll be compensated around $5000.

Now I'm not knocking 5 grand.  Hey, that's better than nothing.  Many filmmakers would love to be offered a Netflix deal.

But, do the math.  It's not rocket science.  There is no sustainable business model there.

Now, musicians have a way to get around this dilemma.  They no longer expect to make money off their art.  They can make money off their live performances.  And so now they are always on the road - like a hamster on a treadmill - keeping the machine running.
Live to rock and rock to live!

But filmmakers don't have this revenue stream.  We don't get paid for live performances.  Our films are our live performances.  Unless you're Kevin Smith, no one really gives a s#!+ about hearing or seeing the director - they just wanna see the movie.

So how will the indie filmmaker survive in this climate?

I don't know.  I really can't see it.

The only business model I can see working is to crowd-source the funding of your film.  Spread the risk.  Let your true fans feel like they are part of the process. Set up a kickstarter campaign and raise just enough money to hopefully cover costs.  Maybe pad it a little so you can actually pay your rent while making the film.  Then at least any scraps of revenue that are generated will be profit.

Do not go into debt and take out a mortgage on your home to make your next indie feature film kiddos.  It ain't worth it.

Welcome to the future.  Everything is possible but nothing is real.*

*(Living Colour - Type)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Another Hole in the Head

... you know, like, "San Francisco needs another film festival like it needs another hole in the head."
Except in this case, San Francisco really needs this festival, because this is the only bay area film fest that celebrates horror, sci-fi, exploitation and general wackiness.

And y'all are invited to attend two weeks of mayhem from June 3 to June 16 at the Roxie Theater in the happening Mission District, S.F.

Highlights include:

- Helldriver, by Yoshihiro Nishimura (opening night)
- The Victim, Directed by and Starring Michael Biehn (who will be at the screening!)
- Absentia, by Mike Flanagan
- Red Ice, by Ralph Hyver (San Francisco Filmmaker)
- The Bleeding House, by Philip Gelatt
- Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, by Jalmari Helander
- Apocrypha, by Michael Fredianelli (Bay Area Filmmaker)
- I am Nancy (cool doc about actress Heather Langenkamp, "Nancy" from Nightmare on Elm Street)

 Enter the Dark!  by yours truly, which will screen twice:

Thursday, June 3 at 5:20 pm (We actually open up the festival, supporting the feature film, Haunted Changi!)

Friday, June 9 at 7:20 pm 

I will be attending both screenings, along with some of my cast and crew, so if you're in the Bay Area and want to catch some cool films, drop on by.

Tickets can be purchased here:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Exclusive Interview with Chauntal Lewis, Star of Toolbox Murders 2

You probably haven't heard of Chauntal Lewis yet.  Hopefully, that will soon change. I was lucky enough to work with her on the indie film, The Commune. She recently took some time off her busy schedule to do this interview with me for Horror Society.  Take a sec to read about her inspirational story: