Tuesday, November 13, 2018

wait a second! whoops!


The "A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue" short doc will be online before Christmas but after Thanksgiving.

I realized that there's this one scene that we'll be shooting--a scary moment!--that I don't know how to create the monster's practical makeup effects properly yet.  It's not terribly expensive or anything like that but the inspiration for the scene that I want to do is technically tricky and I have to be able to figure out how they did it.

The visual inspiration for the scene that I'm aiming for is kind of in the realm of the Lucio Fulci zombie movies.  Google some images and you'll see what I mean.  Deeply unpleasant but effective stuff (you'll agree, I'm 100% sure of it).

I'm not sure that I can pull off something to the extent of super-duperness that the Fulci team (Gianetto De Rossi, specifically) created but we're aiming for something along those lines.  We're going to do the best that we can!  I have a couple of weeks to make that happen.  Thankfully the actor who will be playing the ghouls (undead monks, not the kind that you want to bump into) is very calm and agreeable.

In the meantime, here are a few additional images from "A Murky Path" so far:




Tuesday, October 30, 2018

update on "A Murky Path...."


The work continues on the folklore documentary "A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue" (about the infamously haunted street running through Chicago and southward).  We're where we need to be on that as of now so things are looking fine when it comes to deadline goals.

There will be undead monks, white ladies, feral cannibals, occultists in the 80's messing with forces beyond their understanding, crypts, creepy little cartoon segments, and some giant mushrooms.  All the that stuff you need, obviously!  ☠🍂

some stills are below:




Thursday, October 11, 2018

I know, I know.....


sometimes I think about them.....

I'm a nerd and I like statistics.

I like to have an accurate assessment of which of my films get watched, how much, by who, where, and which films don't get watched at all (truth! because that's life sometimes).  It's good to know this kind of stuff.  

That way I can have a general idea of what people are responding to.  Accurate, precise, non-goofy numbers.

A few of my projects get relatively decent view numbers (I'm legit underground indie, no conglomerate ties, no moon-eyed features on Buzzfeed, etc.) but my stuff has never been the type of material that goes viral and that's fine.  My numbers--even on the projects that people like--aren't super-high.  That's just not a thing in my world.

Here's the deal:

I don't use bots.

That's a choice.  

As I mentioned, I traded the "wow!" view counts for on-point, private statistics.  Is that a smart choice?  Ehh….  Hmmm.  Well.....

Has it hurt me?  Probably.  But it's a choice.  No fluffed-up view counts.  I've actually had people tell me:  "Derek, don't forget to buy some views on the day that you launch a new video!  It's very important."

Do I sometimes get tempted?  Of course!  Plump, juicy view counts aren't difficult to purchase (Google it) but I'm okay with accepting the realities associated with going bot-free in exchange for my beloved, dorky, natural numbers.  Do I regret that sometimes?  Absolutely!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Addovolt Explorations: Lovely Labels


nope

Narrated by Melanie Deprest, this newest quick doc in the Addovolt Explorations series gives credit to places trying to scare you away.  Devil's Den in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is a prominent example.

notice the expression on the horse's face when it hears the destination

Reaching beyond quirky names, some locations provided signage featuring possible misfortune while, for others, you needed to talk to the locals.

if a pond is called Death's Dive--or something along those lines--that's an indication that you shouldn't be swimming there

"Lovely Labels", all 3 minutes and 30 seconds of it, is HERE on YouTube.

Special Thanks to Melanie Deprest for doing narration duties.  You're a gem, Melanie!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

there's always some space on the calendar for creepiness



So there's a cool, little (spooky) project coming up called "A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue" (an Addovolt Exploration) that's a documentary exploring the dark folklore of the Archer Avenue area of Chicago.  There are so many ghost stories (creatures, cultists, and phantoms of all sorts) related to this section of town that it's pretty over-the-top....and the stories themselves are, for whatever reason, pretty over-the-top and bizarre in ghoulish, and sometimes humorous, ways.

I was going to put it out right at Halloween but then I thought that maybe it would be okay to release it in November instead and give viewers a little bit of a breather for a moment before diving back into the shadow realms, so to speak.  There will be a geyser of Halloweeny content spurting out at everybody--from all directions--during that last week of October and I kind of don't want this project to drown in that with the rest of us.

Is it okay to release a spooky project in November?

And, therefore, pop the Holiday Cheer bubble for 10-12 minutes (that's how long this piece will be)?  Maybe that's just fine.

I think that that's okay.

There's nothing directly Halloween about "A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue" even though the flavor of it is sort of......pumpkiny.  But, then again, November is still pumpkiny….

So....some ghost stories for Thanksgiving?

Yeah, let's do that.

Let's give people a break from Halloween nostalgia and pets-wearing-costumes pictures on social media for a couple of weeks and then serve up a side-dish of spooky excitement to ward off the Christmas spirit (because, once the 1st week of November drops, it's all Christmastime all the time straight through to the end of the year; that's how our culture rolls nowadays) for a few merciful minutes.

I love Thanksgiving and I hate that Christmas has been sort of cannibalizing it more and more as it has been over the last couple of decades especially.

Yes, "A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue" will provide a fun, gloomy, autumnal cloud at the end of November and I think that that's just fine and people will okay with that.

Plus......I think that the paranormal/spookster blogs and sites will probably be receiving loads of creepy content tossed at them throughout Halloween week.  Maybe they'd be more interested in featuring this project once they've had a chance to cool down for a little while after the press releases dry up once Halloween flies out of town for the year?  Makes sense.  Does timing matter when it comes to projects and their tones?  Of course; absolutely.

It's good to think this stuff through in advance considering that I'll start shooting "A Murky Path" in a few days.  So, since I'm doing a November release for this, I'm going to skip any kind of direct Halloween imagery (no black-and-orange, no paper bat decorations, etc.) and lean--instead--into fall-time doom vibes, melodic music, tacky 80's goth shit, and some retro Italian horror movie nonsense.  Yep, I think that'll be a nice deviation.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Featured Project



The featured project right now is our newest short film, "Someplace".  Read about it and watch it right HERE

"Someplace" short film



Our newest short film is now online.  Click HERE to watch "Someplace" on YouTube.

This project is an odd composite of different influences: documented incidents from vintage newspapers, community rumor-mongering, and old-world urban myths/explanations for situations that defy complete understanding.  When aspects of our lives suddenly vanish, we have a tendency to fill in the gaps with whatever material we have in our possession.  Truth is sought but not always paramount.  "Someplace" is about how we, collectively, replace lost pieces of puzzles with shapes of our own creation.  It also touches on how the old world can sometimes invade the new world, how the past can interrupt the present, and that, yes, all stories do have endings whether they're satisfying or not.




"Someplace"--experimental in many ways--is a mood piece.  Was it meant to be a crowd-pleaser for everyone?  No, I can't say that it was made with that intent.  Even though there are fantasy elements in the film, the story is extremely straightforward and will inevitably remind you of certain people, moments, and locations drifting through the chambers of your past memories.  In a strange way, maybe "Someplace" was made for everyone because everyone can relate to it on some level.

The narrative, condensed into one sentence, is summed up as:

When a town's kids are baffled by a local woman gone missing, the librarian attempts to provide a possible reason.




"Someplace"
a film by Derek Quint
Addovolt Productions, 2018

cast:

Arlene Arnone Bibbs as the lady
France Jean-Baptiste as the librarian
Michael Marius Massett as the sandman
Jacob Bates as the northern star
Remy Osborne as glas
Jazmine Osborne as rua

The music featured in the film is "Cave Kidz (version 2)" composed and performed by Michael Marius Massett.



Some director's notes and interesting bits of information about this project:

- Although it's a short film, "Someplace" was filmed in over 20 different locations throughout Illinois and Indiana.

- The costume worn by the green man (glas) includes an actual masonic ceremonial robe from the 1800's.  The robe was literally falling to pieces throughout the project but managed to hold it together enough to shoot our scenes.

- Ironically, the very large, heavy book that the lady is shown holding/reading did end up going missing at some point during the shoot and hasn't been found since.

- The 4 enchanted characters that the lady encounters represent the 4 elements and the 4 directions.  The northern star signals the north (obviously) and air, the green man is the west and the earth, the red princess is fire and the south, and the sandman is the east and water.  The sphere on top of his staff is a shiny, watery globe that echoes the world ball shown next to the children's cupcake debris seen in an earlier shot.

- Those 4 fantasy characters were intended to be like paper cutouts.  Children's books of the late 19th/early 20th centuries inspired their cartoony, simple designs.

- The font on the subtitles is one that's commonly used in newspapers (like the town newspaper briefly mentioned in the film).  To an extent, it's like you're reading a newspaper as you're watching the film....black font surrounded by a pale, gray border.



- Certain shots were framed in ways that hid tattoos.

- When it came to the bright, vivid colors displayed in some sequences, they're meant to be relatively limited to simple shades similar to Crayola crayons.

- Aesthetic choices for the red princess (rua) were partially inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's painting, the Mona Lisa.

- Filming in the abandoned house felt extremely safe and comfortable, so much so that I ended up shooting too long in there, messed up the shooting schedule, and had to add another production day.

- "Someplace" was written to be longer but there were scenes that we didn't have time to shoot.  The short ended up being a quicker piece than originally intended.

- I considered plenty of different options of items that could be revealed inside rua's flower box but I decided that what, specifically, is in there should stay a mystery.  Whatever present she's bringing to the lady can be determined by the viewer.

- There are other subversive aspects to this film but you can find those for yourselves.  I shouldn't be giving everything away.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Addovolt Explorations: Wishes and Miles


Whether they were seeking fortune, fame, freedom, or freshness, plenty of folks found what they were searching for.

This quick doc is going to take you on the road again.....

"Addovolt Explorations:  Wishes and Miles"--about the history and meaning of Route 66 (or what was Route 66.....) can be watched on YouTube HERE

The starting point of the former Main Road of America is right outside of the Chicago Art Institute on Adams Street.  For some reason, people have smacked all kinds of random stickers on the designation sign.

Route 66--as we know it--no longer exists as an unbroken road as it used to in the past but you can travel through sections of it all the way to the West Coast.

Projects of the U.S. Highway System are, and always have been, coordinated efforts between federal and local/state governments.

I wanted to use Route 66 as a subject for an Exploration because I never really understood what all the hullaballoo was beyond the buzz term.  Now I understand it and I thought that it was incredibly moving and insightful, especially what it signified in mid-20th Century America.

Very Special Thanks to one of my favorite collaborators, actor Michael Marius Massett for doing the narration.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Upcoming Projects




*2018:

-frequent Addovolt Explorations additions (1 per month typically) 

-...…..including a very special, deluxe one called "A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue" which will feature all sorts of gruesome and spooky hijinks centered around a supposedly cursed road on Chicago's southern end.  This project is being approached as a queasy mixture of fast horror film and cultural documentary focusing on urban myths.  I'm aiming for it to be tacky, ridiculous, delightful, and unnerving (hopefully all of those things!).  An odd little film/doc/whatsit that I think people will enjoy

*as for next year, a feature-length indie film (horror-comedy)--our first product in the traditional sense of the word for sale to the public as a production company--will start shooting in March 2019 for a late summer 2019 release (I'll be editing it while I'm shooting it)

*yes, there are more films that I'm thinking about--stuff that goes beyond 2019--but which projects will come in what order is a big question mark

Friday, August 17, 2018

Addovolt Explorations: Nuclear U


Henry Moore's "Nuclear Energy" sculpture near 56th Street at the University of Chicago

As mentioned before, these Addovolt Explorations quick docs are just like our own version of casual, no-fuss, little podcasts.  Well, for this one, "Nuclear U", Belinda and I recorded it in probably the loudest environment that I've ever recorded at: the airport.  We won't be doing that again, that's for sure!  We were pressed for time and everywhere we went was over-the-top loud as can be so, yes, the audio on this video is not good, my apologies.  Sometimes you get experimental just to try things out to see how it goes and, sometimes, it blows up right in your face.  Oh well.  Despite that, it's still a fun piece with interesting information and features some beautifully-designed, retro footage from vintage television projects.

Just because my naively optimistic voice-recording episodes weren't a homerun this month, doesn't mean that other ChiTown experiments long ago haven't been more successful (luckily).  The city was the chosen location for some very different kinds of potentially explosive experiments--important ones--in the distant past (1942, specifically) which is the main subject of this newest addition to the Explorations.

Watch "Addovolt Explorations:  Nuclear U" right HERE

physicist Enrico Fermi led a team of scientist towards discovering ways to harness the power potentialities of nuclear fission.  

What I learned from the reading-up that I did for this quick doc is that atomic research is complicated (surprise, surprise) and that nuclear fission can be like driving on the freeway:  watch your speed or bad stuff can happen!

Other videos from the Addovolt Explorations can be viewed right HERE

a small scale model of Pile 1, an underground development room that used to be beneath the University of Chicago (this model is on display at the Museum of Science and Industry)

It's incredible the kinds of risks that were done in the past for the sake of technical research (some people knew that they were at risk.....and a lot of people had no idea whatsoever!) and, it goes without saying, that other sorts of experiments are constantly taking place unbeknownst to us.  But, hopefully, whatever THEY're working on won't blow us up to smithereens.

Pile 1 was located directly under what is now Stagg Field

It's always a good time to learn a few nuggets regarding history, science, and the history of science along with a couple of chuckles to help put everything in perspective.  But that's because we're looking at things from the privilege perch of 2018.  With all due respect to Dr. Fermi and his team for fulfilling their assignment, let's hope that nuclear explosions will stay a thing of the past.

Special Thanks to Belinda Stamps for doing the narration and, also, for staying close to this emergency phone just in case you got sick of listening to me 💚

Friday, July 27, 2018

Addovolt Explorations: micro manor


minimalism is for chumps:  one of the largest of the small rooms in Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle

Let's lighten up a little bit, alright?

Another Addovolt Exploration has emerged out of the ether (not really) and this one takes us for a visit to the world's most elaborate dollhouse (probably?).  A wild piece of creative indulgence, dreamed up by a 1920's cinema icon, is housed in a side room within Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.  Our video about it is right HERE

big star:  Ms. Moore spares no expense (archival photograph)

Special Thanks to Lauren Hearter for doing the narration for this quick doc.

a feat unto itself:  the Museum of Science and Industry, near the University of Chicago, utilizes one of the original buildings from the notorious World's Columbian Exposition, aka the White City, from 1893 

Even wrapping my mind around the idea of doing the kind of tiny detail work featured in/on the Fairy Castle gives me a headache but it sure is incredible to look at.  Check it out when you get a chance.  The Museum of Science and Industry is open every day, year-round, except for Christmas and Thanksgiving.

don't call it a comeback:  a poster from a recent screening at the Music Box Theater proves that Colleen Moore is still relevant and continues to sell tickets

The other Addovolt Explorations are HERE

Yes, the Fairy Castle is a feast for the eyes but I would also recommend watching some of Colleen Moore's films.  You can find material online (on YouTube, for example).  Sometimes old movies don't always hold their narrative appeal (comedy, especially, can age strangely) but Colleen Moore's talent is timeless, she's very funny, and it's clear why she was one of the greatest--and most celebrated--artists of her era.  It's easy to imagine that she would be an award-winning comedian today, too, if her birthdate had been different.   Google her and see for yourself.  Colleen Moore was (is!) unique, badass, and truly exceptional.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Complete List of Films



Vault Projections short films:

- "Someplace" (2018)

- "October Sketches" (2016)

- "Second Star" (2010)

- "Danse Macabre" (2010)

- "Salome" (2010)

short documentaries:

- Addovolt Explorations quick, casual docs under 10 minutes
  "Wishes and Miles (2018)
  "Nuclear U (2018)
  "micro manor" (2018) 
  "Galactic" (2018)
  "Greenery" (2017)
  "(re)Purposeful" (2017)
  "Union Departures" (2017)
  "Mystery Masks" (2017)
  "Well, What?" (2017)
  "White City, Emerald City" (2017)

- "moments from Chances Dances:  Summoning A New Queer Reality (MCA, 12-06-13)" documentary footage (2013)

"Buckles and Bread Bowls" (2013)

"The Spirits of Detroit" (2012)

- "Always Be The One On Top: Spending Time with The Baby Magic" (2011)

- "Baptized In Weirdness: an unauthorized journey through The House On The Rock" (2010)

- "IShootrockStars: a look inside" (2010)

music videos:

- Pale Horseman "Phantasmal Voice" (2018)

- The Baby Magic "Don't Mess With Me" (2017)

- Deepspacepilots "Nebulizer" (2016)

- The Baby Magic "Huts" (2015)

- Pale Horseman "Conquistador" (2015)

- The Baby Magic "Take It From Me" (2014)

- The Baby Magic "See Means Yes" (2012)

- Where The Embers Fall "Fleeting Moments" (2012)

- The Baby Magic "Rats!" (2010)

- The Baby Magic "It's Hard Pissing With A Boner" (2010)

- Alan Park performance footage (2010)

- "Scrapped Music Video/Five Minutes of Your Life That You Can Never Get Back" (2009)

miscellaneous:

- "Walls" graphic novel concept video (2018) 

- "Forgive Me, Bianca" (2011)

- "Go Ask Alice In Wonderland (Cliff Notes edit)" (2009)

- "Remnants: Addovolt Productions early years, 1998-2004" (2009) a montage of some early projects

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

map



My films aren't dark for the sake of being dark.

I have my beliefs.

There's a sliver in modern culture that pushes us to deny or ignore the shadow part of nature--human and otherwise--so that we can supposedly coast along on some kind of light/blissful/sugary river of perception.

If you turn away from acknowledging/accepting death and wickedness (everyone/thing has these grains surging through their cells, some more/less than others.....), you're somehow supposedly safe.

No. 

If anything, I think that's the most dangerous way to look at things.

Only angels have halos.

You and I?  Not so much.  Don't kid yourself, don't believe the hype.

Everyone should have at least a little bit of playful familiarity with the evil side of things.

It helps us, strangely, to be the best that we can be, to be able to recognize the poisons within ourselves and others.  None of us are ever completely good.  Complete goodness is for the angels, not for you and I.

But we can improve ourselves and still be good and know how to be so without tiptoeing towards destruction in the process.  But I'm no martyr and certainly no saint.  I'll leave that role for others to try if they choose so.  It's not for me.

And probably not for you either.  Just a wild guess.

Everyone needs to have at least some kind of general understanding of shadows and shadow nature--some kind of flimsy, scribbled, frustratingly undetailed map is better than no guide at all--so that we're not constantly stumbling.  We all need to be able to play around, without being shocked and terrified, when the sun sets.  

It's simply a matter of self-preservation.  If you're into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Closing In



I'm going to hold off on posting anything brand new for a few days until the "Walls" graphic novel Kickstarter has concluded its run.

The link to that is HERE.


Conceived and written by Zachary Anderson, featuring art by Joshua Mitchell-Taylor, the story takes us into the dark heart of plague-riddled England.  The illustrations are terrific and the storyline is pure nightmare fuel!  Very cool, original project.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

"Walls" graphic novel concept video



A sinister glimpse at medieval England, shrouded in smoke, grief, and superstition......

In an upcoming graphic novel project created by writer Zachary Anderson and artist Joshua Mitchell-Taylor, a monk must fight for his soul during the Black Plague.


This video, commissioned by Anderson and Mitchell-Taylor, quickly tells us a little bit about the tone and narrative of the graphic novel.  It's sort of like a live-action preview commercial in a sense; I've seen a few of these for other books recently on TV and it's fun that I've now ended up doing one as well.  Although I didn't want to give away too much about the plot--I'm one of very few people who knows the storyline and, let me tell you, it's good, very original, and deeply intriguing--it's clear that the main character is going to be dealing with some shadowy circumstances and unexpected visitors......

That's all that I'm going to say. 



To get the full scoop, we'll all have to get the "Walls" graphic novel once it becomes available for purchase.

The Kickstarter for this project is HERE

The "Walls" graphic novel concept video is HERE



The narration was written by Zachary Anderson.  Actor Michael Moody portrays the tormented monk and Christine Thompson provides the closing v.o. work at the end of the video.  The music featured is by Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.  All photographs from this video were done by me (Derek Quint, Addovolt Productions) and the wonderful illustrations here are from the "Walls" graphic novel, done by Joshua Mitchell-Taylor.