Ahhh, the first post of 2007. And has 2007 so far lived up to my expectations? Has it truly cast-off the spectre of 2006? Shall it be the year to end all years?
As of this writing, I have not been run over by a truck. Depending on your point of view, this is either the best or worst thing I can report.
I am but seven days away from my 34th birthday. Or, as I like to refer to it, the negative-sixth anniversary of my 40th birthday (yeah, all you stuck-up linear chronologists can suck it!). We're planning a big bash for the celebratory "Escape from the Womb" event. If you can't make it, please send donations (monetary and physical expressions of your love can be made via our paypal address).
In the meantime, I toil.
Yesterday, after about seven hours, I finished the edit of Retreat, the short film we produced for Melantha Blackthorne's Countess Bathoria's Graveyard Tales. This was the result of a whirlwind single-day shoot, chronicaling the oft-told tale of the beginning of a zombie epidemic. (We at Happy Cloud Pictures just can't escape the zombies, can we?)
The script was designed to be something that could be shot in a single day, minus some expository exteriors. And because it was such a tread-upon story, we decided to take a different approach to it visually and structually. At least for us. Amy, DP Jeff Waltrowski and I decided it would have a documentary feel to it, so we lit it naturally (as opposed to our tried-and-true subjective feel (which also allows us to cheat) we love so much), shot hand-held with the wide-angle lens and did a lot of Homicide: Life on the Streets-style compositions - lots of dialogue delivered off-screen while focussing on the subject of the shot, lots of shoulders and hips dominating the foreground, etc.
The result is a tense, frenetic eight minutes, climaxing with a cool and bloody shoot-out. I also decided, while editing, that I'd forgo music and most editing tricks--except for one instance. Usually, I love to pack my movies with score, slow-mo and dissolves (it provides a nice rhythm and covers compositional mistakes, but it wasn't until Abattoir that I became aware that this was actually a style of mine). In Retreat, these devices are kept to the bare minimum. For the music, there are only four notes used in the whole thing (composed by me in Garage Band, which, in truth, was all I was up for).
So, ultimately, I'm pretty proud of this thing. It's different than other things we've done, which is important to our growth as a company. It also proved that we are bringing a really solid rep company together--we're starting to to develop solid machinery, with everyone chipping in on the production and turning out a pretty solid product in the end.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Melantha incorporates it into the final product. There are, I think, eight or ten filmmakers contributing shorts to this project, including Melantha and JimmyO (in fact, we intended to have JimmyO's daughter, Lilli, who stars in his short, S'mores, cameo in our section, but the weather and our vehicles worked against us when we visited over the first of the year).
Plus, it was good practice for when we come together in the spring for our next production (which I'll announce here soon).
Abattoir has been sent out to the Dead By Dawn Film Festival in Scotland. It was the first time any of our stuff was requested to be submitted to anything (outside of events run by friends, of course). We're taking this to be a very good sign. If it's accepted, I have to figure out how to get the movie transferred to Beta SP PAL without having to sell my body to cover the expense. Fortunately, Scooter McCrae and Scott Simmons both gave me some ideas. Unfortunately, both of them have suggested "selling my organs", which is only a short step from the former. Then we have to figure out how to afford to get over to Scotland. My body is going to be sore and filled with sawdust, I suspect.
Blood Bath: Blood Wrestling Vol. 1 is, if I haven't already mentioned it, NOW AVAILABLE at our site. If you're a fan of sexy women rolling around in fake blood and beating the hell out of each other - and really, who isn't? - you should order at least three copies of this. We shot with five cameras, folks! It took me weeks to edit this! Then it took me another two weeks to figure out why the audio would bounce from front to back speakers without warning. And when I didn't figure out the why, I had to figure out the "what do I do about it"? (It took the Dummies books for both Final Cut and Premiere Pro before I finally found the solution, though I never located the cause.) And, hey, we have a featurette dedicated to the ladies showering after the match! Isn't that enough to keep you warm on those long and lonely winter nights?
2007, as I've said, will be bringing some new developments, including the long-awaited Severe Injuries-in-Wal-Mart deal (hopefully) and something cool involving the 10th Anniversary of The Resurrection Game, which I hope to announce soon. Matt Gilligan just finished a brand new poster for Res, which I'll unveil here and on the site.
We're also planning on updating our computer equipment, as I've nearly burned out our PC and prefer to finish DVDs in Encore. So a new computer will be vastly helpful.
Also look for a new book from me (God, I love talking about me) and the afore-mentioned next feature. If the powers-that-be on our side, there will be other things to announce as well. What will become of Genghis Con III? What's new in store for Sirens of Cinema Magazine? (Issue #6 with Justice Howard cover on sale now!) All these questions and more will be answered when I get around to them.
For now, have a clam: