Friday, June 23, 2006

Abattoir is a wrap... well... principal photography anyway...

Yep, we wrapped principal last Saturday. Thanks to our new Associate Producer, Mike Scarfo, we got to shoot in the Smiling Moose on the South Side. We had four scenes to get through, two of which we had brought down Zoe Hunter to finish out her role as "Jess". We figured that we'd be there all day and even arranged to hold our wrap party in the newly-modeled upstairs bar around 8pm. We began production at 9:00 am...

Around noon, we had one sequence left to go.

Even stretching things out and getting more coverage than usual, we were still going to finish up around 3pm. Even breaking for lunch and taking LOOONNNG breaks in between. We'd never been that ahead-of-schedule before. We shot some of our best-looking stuff; everything was cool.

Which wasn't how the weekend started off... our hectic Friday culminated in my getting stuck in a gay pride parade in Oakland while trying to pick up Zoe at her hotel. I was gay for about three blocks until I managed to turn left and go straight again. We arrived at my parents' place to shoot a poor-man's-process car scene only to realize that I'd left my XLR cable 50 miles away at Waynesburg. Fortunately, I had our GL-1 and it's crappy external mike (that managed to fuck up High Stakes the last time we used it...), so we actually had to do old-school double-system! (Using the GL and the external mike in the car; shooting the visual with the XL2, synching up with one of the actors clapping their hands as a visual slate... *sigh* Hardcore filmmaking!)

But Saturday went without much of a hitch. We went back and hung out at Zoe's air conditioned hotel for a while then returned to the bar to get rip-roaring... celebratory.

So save for two pick-up days, we're done. Done, done, done. We have a 75 minute assembly right now, figure two minutes of gore to insert, another five minutes to shoot with our "special guest" and three minutes of a title crawl - we'll have an 85 minute movie. Hell yeah!

Now, I'll leave you with these links: Fangoria running our new press release. Complete with new and exclusive pictures!

The Deadpit reviewed our Severe Injuries on their radio show (about 1:40 minutes into the show).

And JimmyO gave a shout-out to our upcoming Genghis Con II: The Wrath of Con. 'Cause he's awesome.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Just taking a break from working to say this...

Genghis Con II: The Wrath of Con is coming soon. We have some really cool guests lined up and some cool vendors to go with them. We're doing the film festival again and this time around, Mike Haushalter and Secret Scroll Digest are running the movie room. It's gonna be big, folks! If you're a vendor and haven't gotten your booth, or a fan and haven't pre-ordered your tickets, seriously, what are you waiting for? Fun shall be had!

We're still struggling with getting our official websites back on line. (Thanks again to our hijackers who succeeded in making our lives difficult these past few weeks.) Look for and .org to be up and running soon. In the meantime, I created an official Myspace for The Resurrection Game. It needs friends. And a distributor, but mostly friends. has been updated. I started going through my output and making a little bibliography of where my work has appeared since 1998. I came to the conclusion, midway through doing this, that I have severely lost track of the places I've written for.

Abattoir is three days from being complete. One full day on location and then two pick-ups (including one day with our "Special Guest"). Our title song, by the way, is called "Dark Sonnet" and was written by Neil Gaiman and performed by Lorraine `a Malena. I can't thank these amazing ladies enough for donating this song to our opening credits.

Finally, Sirens of Cinema #4 just came off the press and is our most amazing-looking issue to date. Interviews with Leslie Easterbrook (The Devil's Rejects), the "Victims of Chainsaw Sally", and a whole lot more. Check it out and buy yours from the official site today!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Nature and the unnatural

Yesterday, I'm in the kitchen, making dinner (steak, coincidentally enough) and I see a large grey animal with a long swishing tail amble past the window. I'm used to seeing deer use our land as expressway, but this was bigger than a deer. So I go outside to investigate and discover a small herd of at least ten cows hanging out in my yard. Yes, we live in cow country. And sheep country. But I own neither and am not used to random stray herds wandering around. One looked at me.

Then the dogs discovered them and moved in, barking their heads off, and the cows took off into the woods. They didn't come back.

Somewhere around here is a very angry dairy farmer.


Abattoir news: This weekend, we wrapped shooting the Bathory House set, much to the relief of the house's owner, Ron and Stacy. We finished up numerous random battle sequences and a great deal of "spackling" (shots meant just to fill holes in the film - some people call these "pick-ups"). Very little blood, but a terrific gore-gag involving Ron's head and a thrown knife. We may go back later in July to shoot Debbie Rochon's extended cameo, if Stacy can bear us for one more day (fewer people this time around, Stac'... and Debbie will probablyn not be throwing herself around in mock battle).

It was a big Sheridan day as well, as there were numerous holes to fill with my character during the battle. I wrote one sequence where someone comes out of nowhere and punches me off my feet. Our good friend, Lee Wildermuth (who you may remember from Were-Grrl) came down for the day, with her partner, Ingrid, to take care of some effects and lend moral support. Lee towers over me (and everyone else), so I thought it would be cool if she were my assailant for the scene. We didn't even need to rehearse. She threw a wild punch and I reacted - by sailing across the room. (Ron and Stacy have amazingly smooth hardwood floors... I zipped right past the camera at one point!) It made for an impressive sequence in the assembly.

So now, with this weekend out of the way, we only have four days left. I realize I've been saying that for a while. It seems like we always have four days left. Things kept coming up - Thursday is our last spackling day for Aaron Bernard, Stacy and Alyssa Heron. Then we have a day at a local bar (the Smiling Moose, owned and run by Reggie Bannister's band-mate, Mike Scarfo), a day of gore pick-ups in front of a green screen (as we didn't want to just spray blood all over Stacy's house), and the Debbie day.

Then we can concentrate on editing, scoring and color-correction. (Still looking for a copy of After Effects for Mac... if anyone knows a guy...) I'm still shooting for a completion date of early August here.

In all the chaos and despair of last week, I forgot to mention the one cool thing that happened: I got to interview Jon Voight. (Fucking Jon Voight!) He was in New York, in a limo, driving to the premiere of his new movie, The Legend of Simon Conjurer .

At one point, we were discussing his career as a whole, and how he rarely repeated characters. I came up with one similarity and it was a cool one. His title character in the goofy, 1967 superhero spoof, Fearless Frank, was a precursor to his iconic turn as "Joe Buck" in Midnight Cowboy. Voight seemed amazed that I'd heard of Fearless Frank. "Thats funny, isnt it? It IS funny that the silly character, Fearless Frank, would be prophetic and that Id go on to play that guy in earnest later. I was just doing a silly thing and then all of a sudden we go and do it seriously. Wow. That proves that you really do know my career and that you're a dangerous man. Any man who knows Fearless Frank is a dangerous man!

So that made me happy. Read the rest of the review here.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

With regards to identity theft

Over the weekend, Amy and I discovered that we'd been the victims of identity theft. After we spent months updating our sites, including an update on Saturday, wrestled with our email host changing hands, notifying people about email address changes, doing countless work to update all of our records, we missed that our happycloudpictures and amylynnbest domains had apparently expired.

And two vultures came in and snatched them up.

This is nothing new, of course. Pretty/ used to be a .com, before the company that the domain was registered through decided to hold it hostage after a dispute with its co-founder. For no reason other than they could. There are plenty of conscience-free, amoral people out there. Let me tell you about the ones we just discovered.

Our domains couldn't possibly do these two "men" any good. The traffic they generated was modest and was comprised solely of our fans and supporters. We worked hard on both sites, not to mention the companies they represented, and have owned these domains for five years. These two "men" claim that their "robots" found them available and bought them on "online auction". The one who bought HCP claimed he spent $400 for it, because it was such a hot name. (I went through this trying to buy Mike a few months back. That "gentleman" wanted to extort $1100 out of me for my own name - thinking I was the bass player, I imagine.) He'd gladly part with it and "give" it back to me for the modest price of $500, due to all the time and effort he put into it. Not to mention the expense.

His name is Sergey. Hey, Sergey: what about all the time and expense we put into it? That doesn't matter to you, does it? Because you saw an opportunity for extortion. And you took it. And you were rude about it in all the email messages we exchanged.

Amy's thief, Jason, is even lower, as far as I'm concerned, because amylynnbest is OBVIOUSLY SOMEONE'S NAME! And he's now holding it hostage and won't even return a phone call or an email to tell us what his outrageous price would be to buy it back.

To sum up: Amy and I have killed ourselves to create something that didn't exist before us. Whether you like our movies or think them enormous wastes of time, we worked to build up Happy Cloud Pictures and Amy Lynn Best. We did it because we believe in ourselves, our friends and our productions. We created. These two guys stole.

I'm sorry. There was technically no "theft". They bought the domains, for whatever price, fair and square. But you can't tell me they were unaware that they were owned and operated by people. I'm sure they didn't care what we went through over the years, nor could they care LESS who we are, what we achieved or what the domains meant to us.

They didn't "steal" the domains.

They tried, however, to steal who we are.

The fact that both Amy's name and Happy Cloud Pictures are both trademarks BELONGING to Happy Cloud Pictures doesn't seem to be an issue that they can concern themselves with. Copyright Law is beneath them. Extortion, now that's the name of the game! They claim (well, Sergey is claiming; still haven't heard from Jason) that the domains will make their companies a lot of money because of the traffic they generate.

Well that traffic, again, is generated by our friends, our fans, our supporters. And people who support independent film and artists.

So I would like to ask that everyone, until further notice, ONLY go to or .org, and once they're set up. Don't even go to the previous .com sites out of curiosity. I'm sure they'll be Adult Friend Finders or porn gateways in no time flat. But please, don't sate your curiosity. Don't let Sergey and Jason win. (This plea won't hurt their profits, trust me. I'm sure they've done this to countless souls in the past. Their children won't go hungry by my call for principal.) Rather, allow your curiosity be served by visiting and

Check out who Sergey and Jason are. Their information is public record. No harm would be done by dropping them a quick note, or a phone call, and congratulating them on their victories over people like Amy and myself. I mean, what were we thinking anyway, having dreams and working our asses off to achieve something? What a long way to go! When you can just wait for someone else to do all the hard work and then buy it out from under them? Thank you, Sergey. Thank you, Jason.

Thank you for the lesson.