Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Been swamped with school and prepping another film as Post Sound continues on THE DEFILED. Am back in Canada for Xmas from Dec. 21 - 28 where we will mix the picture and have it read for a sneak preview in January 2010. Right now I'm working on the festival and marketing strategy (87 film festivals identified) and getting all of our ducks in a row. I'm using Without A Box (http://www.withoutabox.com) to submit materials to a number of festivals and just clearing up paperwork in anticipation of the film's release. There's lots of paper that accompanies a film's screening - press kits, posters, ads and write-ups not to mention interviews and critical papers. I'm working with a number of my colleagues at CCC to provide full documentation of the film from a critical perspective and will conduct a sit-down interview to discuss what the film is really about. All of that good stuff will be then be posted here in early February, 2010.
We'll spend about 2 years promoting the film to festivals as prestigious as Cannes, Sitges, Berlin, Edinburgh, South By Southwest, Fantasia and many, many more and making digital downloads and hard copies available through ITunes worldwide and on Netflicks. So, promoting (and selling) the film is a lot of work too! Already have small distributors circling the project asking for screening copies and have a list of genre celebrities (Clive Barker, Rob Zombie, George Romero) I will be sending a copy to for their comments and endorsement. A big celebrity blurb can go a long way!!! I have fifty film blogs and reviewers lined up to receive copies and the Horror Writer's of America membership for soliciting as well. I will send out a total of 200 DVDs including cast, crew and the above mentioned celebs, press and festivals, before we even get going!! Keep watching this space for fast breaking news and I promise to update in a more timely manner from Canada. HAppy Holidays everyone!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Am working all through the weekend to complete the fine cut on the film. All is swell and it is just a matter of fine tuning al of the work and making it the very best it can be. Had a chance to screen it for Brian Shaw and he was instrumental in pointing out small things that worked - and didn't work - for him. This is one of the reasons why you screen works-in-progress. It's not a question of doubting oneself - it is really all about getting a 2nd or 3rd opinion. Julie has been instrumental in keeping the cut in line and has spent many hours watching, revising and reviewing the material. She is the best producer I have ever worked with - and it shows in the work. We will mix in Canada in December and have an ADVANCE SCREENING in January for cast and crew and friends-of-the-film. Alden Moore is in the UK so I will send her a DVD in PAL format so she can watch the film when we do. As this portion of the edit comes to a close (and we begin 6 weeks of Sound Editing), I am thrilled by what we achieved.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Am entering into the CGI (computer generated imagery) phase of the production - as I alternate between the fine cut (now on Reel #10) and the needs of the show. Here is a look at the head credit as the city of Frankfurt, Germany stands in for a desolated and destroyed cityscape. WIll refine and rework all composites over the next month as the sound department begins work on the music and key sd. fx.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Composer David Findlay and I are starting to chat about original score and our needs. Am 100 minutes in and the end is in sight. Will complete my rough cut by Next Sunday and begin the tweaking process. Have 1 hr. of baby inserts to cull through and assorted fine edits to make. Oct. 31st is the Producer's Screening and reels will be sent out to the sound editors in Canada as they are locked. All is going gangbusters!!
Monday, September 7, 2009
At Wm Powers Park, Kathleen Lawlor (Janice) must fed Roger for the first time. As the film evolves and I look at running time, this is a moment that may find its way to DVD Extra Land (we shall see). My producers will be a good sounding board and give me some solid advice.
Am over the 80 minutes mark now and have to return to teaching. Am responsible for the D2 Directing Class showing students how to work with actors and camera - and a new course on VFX Supervision. I'll keep to my schedule of a rough cut for my producers by October 31st and continue to look at Xmas or sooner for the fine cut.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Am pleased to announce I am 40 minutes through the rough cut. Just finished the Ghouls Picnic and it worked a treat. As a treat to myself, I allowed myself a rare glance at color in the work I have at hand. Here's the Gary Church after futzing a little with paint programs and the like. Seeing the world in color is so strange after being so immersed in black and white. Perhaps I don't see the world the same way most people do.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Our last day of filming was on location at KL's place in the western suburbs of Chicago. Cast and crew were treated to BBQ and all the amenities of home - but were a little perplexed at how I was going to film the 'puke-athon' in the woods. There were houses everywhere you looked and it seemed almost unavoidable that a house or 'something' would get in the way of the shot. No matter where you looked, there was a house, a garage or a road in either direction. One thing I learned a long time ago was how to work in tight spaces and find the shot. We only see on-screen what the camera sees. For my film students working alongside me, it was a nice chance for them to see how selective framing can really pay off. Here's Yar in the woods losing his lunch after drinking tainted water.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
One of the things that is vitally important to me as a filmmaker is the look of the film. As the cinematographer as well as the director, I was determined to shoot a film that reflected my fine art photography background with work as beautiful as it was disgusting. Here is an image that will be adapted for the final poster. Shot on location outside our principal location in Cranberry Lakes, IN, Yar and Janice walk the long, lonely road.
Am now finished with transferring the thirty hours of footage we shot. Have already started editing as I go and am twenty minutes into my rough cut. I am determined to have a cut as soon as possible for festival submission purposes. Screened the second reel for DJ and Mal and they were very gracious and complimentary. EP Julie has been invaluable in her comments and suggestions. I will not post any footage until I am done - but I will post screen grabs and token stills to wet your appetite as we go. Here's a nice one of Yar (Brian Shaw) and Janice (Kathleen Lawlor) at the Gary Post Office.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Have formatted new T1 hard drive and backed up all materials. Have 29 hours of material to cull down to 110 minutes and have 8 days of transfer and logging ahead. I am determined to do 4 hours each day and have a little time to try some sample cuts and constructions. Editing is something that I greatly enjoy as I can cut out all the dodgy bits and concentrate on story and performance. Here the film becomes real.
Monday, August 10, 2009
We are indebted to actor/ production designer/ still photographer and all-around fixer, AM, as we wrap this show. Always ready with an insight or an addition, AM is off to England at the end of this month to start a 2 year residency in higher learning. The photos on this blog are a direct result of her contributions. Many thx. AM for your good spirit, gear-humping, bear-smelling involvement.
As we completed the last shot on "A" camera, the Canon HV20 - our trusty workhorse - shut down. It would not allow me to do any of the manual overrides that I had been doing throughout the show. It simply ceased to function. We were all more than a little spooked as we wrapped the film and hoped to do a "B" camera insert as we were getting the actors cleaned up and could not shoot. Our still camera has also packed it in that day (you did not break it, Alden) and we took it as a sign that we were finishing just in time. After getting some much needed sack time, I examined the HD camera from top-to-bottom and found a switch that I had never noticed in the eight weeks we filmed (nor throughout the testing periods before). After adjusting the camera, was able to coax it back to life and all appears well. With 24 fps shooing in HD available, the Canon Vivia Models (HV20) and above now) are truly fantastic and I recommend them highly. Am thrilled my camera is back online as I already have my next film in mind for Summer 2010.
The normally shy (and photo averse) Kara has been an invaluable associate throughout this film. On the 2nd last day, she saved my bacon big time when after shooting for 16 or 18 hours I forgot a key shot (it happens... I must be getting old). She was learning on the job with this gig and I am thrilled at how thorough and patient she was throughout the production. Thank you for putting up with me and for making this picture all that it is.
We were blessed to have the beautiful and talented stars of "The Defiled" throughout this production. Through thick and thin, cold, wet or burned alive - we are indebted to them for their graciousness and hard work. I have so many memories of making this film work despite the odds. Both Brian Shaw and Kathleen Lawlor attacked the material with gusto and were up for everything I could think of. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD WORK!!!
After 7 weeks, we are wrapped shooting "The Defiled". Am thrilled with the footage, new found friends and all of the work we have created. What a rush to race off into the wilderness (okay, Gary, IN is not the wilderness...but it is barren) and make a film like this. Am only now coming up for air. Bought a new hard drive today and am cleaning up everything for the edit as needed. Lets give everyone a hand for their hard work. It is well deserved.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Here's a look at the fine folks who are the heart and soul of "The Defiled." A swell buncha folks and hard workers all. Leaving Canada and my regular crew and cast members, I feared not being able to duplicate the sense of 'family' that I had back home. I worried needlessly. Here, in Chicago, I have found willing co-conspirators and friends who have joined Julie and I in creating our inaugural film. As the plan is to make a feature EVERY SUMMER (!), it's nice to know that we have such great friends to call upon.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Here's the fine folks that made Week 5 so much fun. We return to Michael Jackson's hometown next week to film on location at the church and the Post Office. If the pluck and vigor on this show was channeled into a turbine, it could light a friggin' city. We are THE DEFILED and we do not stop!
Mal, our Production Coordinator, leaves us this week to go to China for a month to work. We have all enjoyed her stubborn and ferocious good humor on this show. JDG and Mal have become fast friends and "The Ladies", as they are collectively known, are loved - and feared - at the same time. Mal is a great asset of the show and has worked tirelessly on-set and is the only one to have bested JG twice at 'Scattegories' on our Wednesday night 'Brain Trust' dinner at JG Productions. Travel safe, Mal and come back to us in one piece. We got other pictures to make next year.
Where would we be without AM? An actor, a puppeteer, our on-set photographer, the Production Designer.... multiple talents, always a willing smile and a laugh that can be heard for miles. This is a woman that can do everything and is not afraid to take chances. Gutsy, hard-worked, incredibly talented and off to the UK for school at the end of next month. AM, - the Keith Richards of our little band.
After 11 Days at camera, we soldier on to the end. It's close. In the immortal words of Mr. Wolf in "Pulp Fiction", - "Let's not start sucking our own c*cks, gentleman. " We gotta keep our eye on the puck and keep on going. We still got some long days ahead and we just gotta 'get 'er done.' Here, DJ and JG walk home after a hot and windy day at WJP park in Illinois. We shot around fisherman, pick-ups and all matter of impairments. A wonky day for us all as we left the safety of CL and ventured out into the world. Didn't take us long to get our sea-legs and we are now firmly rocking in the new world.
My wife, my partner, my executive producer - Julie Diana Grant. A beautiful, kind and intelligent leader and mother-hen to us all. Working behind-the-scenes and taking care of business, I am blessed by this woman every day. She's loved by the cast and crew, is funny and always has a kind word and smile for us all. Between on-set Raiki adjustments, pats on the back (and the occasional kick in the ass for yours truly), I can honestly say that JDG is the glue that holds this ragtag family of friends together. MUAH XOXOX.
If you are very fortunate, you get to make films with like-minded and hard-working cats like DJ. This guy just goes and goes and goes - never stops. He's the 1st AD , the Associate Producer and my closest ally. What a fella! He's directing his first big 35mm film next month and is a friggin' marvel. I am so proud to have him by my side. As an educator and a filmmaker, I am happy when my skill set proves to be of use to students. DJ was top of my class at CCC in the Asst. Director's Program that I helped establish and has outdone himself here on "The Defiled." You couldn't find a better collaborator or friend anywhere. DJ is The Man!!!
Here's a good look at the style of design I believe the poster should follow. B/W (naturally) with a "La Strada" feel - the road before us and the endless ribbon of asphalt. We'll shoot the actual shot in two weeks at WJP but this picture (By Alden Moore) is a lovely bit of bizness.
Direct from Crestline Ohio, Roger and his twin Sticky Roger are the unsung hereos of the film. They take it all and never a word of complaint. They do like their downtime and here we see a rare moment of Roger in repose. Lovely fella to work with, doesn't eat anything and is found working every scene. Thx. for coming out, buddy!!
The boys at work as they feed the baby and 'pass the puck' to KL as she has to take on the feeding role. Using the $50 steadicam (a great little device), we rocked through the set-ups and ended up in fine form. We wrapped long before sundown (a first) - the crew was shocked - and BL continues to offer up take after take of thoughtful and caring performance. Incredibly consistent and always on-point, BS and I chat about everything. He's taught me a lot about performance and picked up a few tricks on filmmaking from me. Love working with BS as he is fearless and a man with a great sense of humor. I think it serves him (and us) well. What a rush!!!
Leading lady KL continues to amaze with great acting chops, solid 'hit-the-deck' stamina and is a beauty to behold on-screen. Seen here with co-star 'Roger', mother and child enjoy a bucolic moment in the park. Bloody hot at WJP Park as we shot under the shelter of trees (looking remarkably like Cranberry Lakes). It's almost as if we planned it - hmmmm, we did actually. One of the benefits of advance planning.
Week 5 wraps after shooting in WJP Park and the town of Gary, IN. Rolled with full police support in Gary (better safe than sorry) and we found the locals fun and friendly. We nailed up bodys on storefronts and poked around the ruins of a shattered hotel. Saddest thing found was a battered copy of a "Sweet Valley High" book and several Oprah magazines in abandoned room. Will return to photograph the space at another time. Here I am on set (spattered in blood, naturally) as we prepare to put another one in the can.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Joining Crystal and Jessica in On-Set MU is Kristen, another fun member of Cirque du Face FX - the BEST PHYSICAL MAKEUP DEPT in Chicago. Highly recommended, thse gals rock and can do it all! Book them now for your film before they become WAY TOO HOT!!!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Here, BS contemplates the mystery of the world with an egg in hand. I don't know where he gets his brilliance from - I just want it to keep coming!! Funny, friendly, ferocious and fearless - the best co-conspirator a filmmaker could have. In this rare, no-makeup shot, you get a peek at the man who drives the show and has stolen everyone's heart. Thank you, BS for your kindness and generosity.
With so much to shoot and so little time, JG had to bring in B-Unit to do catch up and super-star insert work. Here DJ reviews his 'big splat' with Alden Moore, Kara Continuity, Almir Limaj, Tim J (not seen) as JG looks on. DJ did such a great job that he ended up shooting with principal cast members BS and KL on an extended dolly shot sequence in the woods. JG better watch out - these young filmmakers are gonna take over the world sooner than he thinks.
In the film world, we had a 9 light which is 9 lights in a grid - old school but effective. For this film, we have a 10 light - 10 mechanic lights bought on Ebay for $35. "Brando" Comerford, a fellow fan of John Alton and his seminal book, "Painting With Light" proves he as good as the real thing as he lights and creates black and white magic with the simplest of tools. Way to go, B. Keep it up!!
New to set this week are Charles Gardner (not pictured - see him in "Screw The Pepperoni" or "Milk Run" by Julian), Jessica Thigpen, Zo Zozack, and Kyle Dones as a group of 'non-infected' cast. What a pleasure to have - Zo had worked with Julian on "Maidenhead" and both Kyle and Jessica had been in the Conservatory Class at Act One with JG. We'll meet up with them again in Gary, IN later this month. Thanks to everyone for a job well done.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
KL joins us on set this weekend. What a fabulous leading lady. Beautiful and great acting chops. A blessing. We shot out the Ghouls and Sally (aka Tongueless Lady) - although Almir will return for chase scene with BS on Aug. 8. Tired and happy with everything. Am at Act One all week teaching the Intensive Film Workshop so we can afford to make the film. Am happy to be able to do so. Much hysteria as I fall ass-over-heels on wrap night wrapped in my space-age skirt. All is well and everyone in GREAT shape. Alden M once again proves to be a Jill-of-all-Trades and a magnificent help in Set Dec and Props. Will be giving her the Production Designer credit under Elizabeth Alden so as not to confuse the punters! We are almost halfway through (how time flies).
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
It's official. We exist (according to Variety). Our production office contact info is as below and our dates are listed. So... film production in the Midwest continues unabated.
Monday, July 6, 2009
BS continues to amaze and delight as we venture forward. We are 5 days in and 1/3rd of the way through the film. All of the cast are super - but BS adds the heart and soul to Yar and Son. As I watch the dailys with my producer, she is amazed and delighted by what we've captured. You feel for Yar and believe the interplay between father and son. I'm very proud to work with BS and look forward to our continued collaboration as we bring the film to life.
Puppet Master AM has a lot to contend with. A rubber and a silicone baby c/o RK and his Creature Shop. We're getting ready to add some lovely additions to the weeks following (all hush, hush and super-secret). Just know it involves lots of fun manipulations and contortions. We learned that both babies are actually very flexible and squeezable.
More fun and sun at Cranberry Lakes. Hot and sticky all around as we washed up as best we could. Going through gallons of blood and ultraslime. All in all a good time had by all. Heres, Assoc Prod. and 1st AD DJ washes up after a particuliarly sticky event.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
EP Julie and Prod. Coord. Mal work on set filling the intestines with marshmallow fluff - for the 'ero-gro' scenes sucking on the guts of a dinner found in the woods. Lots of laughter and fun had by both as they rolled, pushed and manipulated the ropey goo.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
We have 10 Gallons of Blood for the film. 5 edible. 5 Non-Edible. Here Assoc Prod/ AD DJ and AD Brando prep on of the blood bottles we fill constantly on set. The birth gusher scene is a real standout. Absolutely disgusting - and lots of fun. When I look at our Shanty set, I am reminded of "Cannibal Ferox" (the Italian inspiration) and all the great savage Mondo films from the 60's and 70's. In a lot of ways this film is a chance for me to go back and pay homage to the film greats that influenced me. A tip of the hat to Deodato and the boys.
Just started looking at the shoot. Holy crap! It's good - cinema, good! Am reading a book on Sex and Eros in Hell about Japanese cinema and our world is as visceral, as cruel and as damning as the worlds they created. As my inspiration for this has always been the Japanese cinema (Kurosawa), the French New Wave (Goddard) and the nightmare realms of the Bros. Quay, David Lynch, Jodorowsky, et al, I am thrilled by our output.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Weekend @ CL was really an eye opener. For a lot of my people this is their first time on set and I think all of them were a little overwhelmed by the amount of sheer work required to make a feature film. My cast and crew rose above all expectations and delivered again and again. Props to all involved. Here's a shot of yours truly just before his power nap during lunch. The T shirt seems very apt.