Thursday, April 11, 2019

concrete planning

pic from the Yerkes Observatory when we were shooting the "Galactic" documentary last year; fantastic place!

We're 4 months into the year now so it's perfectly fine to make some etched-in-stone decisions in order to know what the other 8 months are going to look like.  Sometimes it's fun to have pleasant surprises in scheduling but there are other times where it's best to have total, unchanging clarity.

The rest of this year will feature a few more additions to the Addovolt Explorations short documentary series (those will be online and available for viewing) and then, beneath the radar, I'll be shooting the feature length horror/comedy film--project code-named "DRPTN"--that we've been planning for a while now.

I know that the Addovolt Explorations short documentaries aren't exactly lighting the internet on fire but that's okay.  I was hoping that more people would enjoy them but it's not the end of the world if people aren't really feeling that particular project series.  I do them primarily as technical exercises and in order to dig into subject matter that I typically don't get a chance to touch.  I realize that they're hit-or-miss; like everything else in a series, some videos are better than others.

There's been a nice response to the "Murky Path Down Archer Avenue" episode (it's really kind of a super-boosted edition of Addovolt Explorations rather than a typical video in that series) but that's probably because it's relatively similar in tone/look/approach to some past work that I've done that people respond to the strongest (I'm specifically thinking of "Conquistador", "Dance Macabre", "Phantasmal Voice", "Salome").  That type of project is my favorite type of work to do so we're in agreement on that one.  You'll like where things are going and you're really going to enjoy some projects coming down the line but I think it's best that I keep some secrets even when it's tempting to give hints (not this time!).

I'll do a second round of promo for "Murky Path" at the beginning of this fall focusing on regional publications because spooky, historic-paranormal kinds of local interest projects get press towards Halloween but not so much in May (as you can probably guess).

A few still shots from the "DRPTN" project will pop up here on this blog every once in a while, simply as teasers, as production moves along this summer into November.

I also have to create a proper .com website before the end of the year.  I made one last year but I pulled it because I didn't like how it turned out.  Regardless, I have to start from scratch on that one.

Awareness for "DRPTN" will start around New Year's 2020 and that film is projected to be a Valentine's release in 2020 meaning a few indie screenings here and there, plus traditional promo as far as we can reach with a focus on indies/horror/comedy demographics, followed by global online streaming.  So that's what will be going on with that.

I originally wanted to release "DRPTN" for Christmas 2019 but I'm concerned that, as an independent production, I have to be careful that it doesn't get completely lost in the wash of holiday hubbub, all the big studio end-of-the-year hits and award contenders (I can't compete with Disney and Netflix; I'm not completely delu$ional), and the standard December craziness that everyone gets wrapped up in.  I have to do myself some favors here.  January/February/March is the perfect time to stay indoors and amuse yourself with some new, goofy indie horror film; to give a project like that a chance.  Plus there's something totally appropriate about Valentine's Day meshing with the temperament and narrative of the "DRPTN" project.

You'll see what I mean.

Monday, April 1, 2019


Very Special Thanks to Fun Size Horror and All About Paranormal for riding down "A Murky Path....".  We truly appreciate it!  💙💀

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Addovolt Explorations: Cast Of Thousands

For this newest Addovolt Explorations quick doc, we jump over to C2E2 and take a look at the phenomenon of cosplay.

Watch the video right HERE on YouTube.

This is definitely one of the shortest Addovolt Explorations that I've done.  I should've shot a lot more footage than what I did so, if you're going to C2E2, Wizard World, or Comic-Con, etc., make sure that your cameras are fully charged beforehand (just a bit of advice).

Special Thanks to writer Edwin Nieves for doing the narration.  Mr. Nieves runs Geek Food, a blog focusing on restaurants and geek culture here in Chicago which, inevitably, gives him a lot of material to work with!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Ghostly Activity

"A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue" has gotten a lot of really positive support from the paranormal blogging community and I just wanted to say Thank You Very Much! to those who've featured it.

A big, ol' spooky cauldron of appreciation to Paranormal Globe, Paranormal Daily News, That Paranormal Blog, Unearthly News, and Haunt Jaunts.  🖤💀🌹🦇👻

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Addovolt Explorations: Cereal Invaders

Because eating "the most important meal of the day" can take a little bit of convincing from a lot of strange voices.  

Why has that been the case for decades?  For some reason, oddness and breakfast go hand-in-hand better than they should.  Cultural Studies 101.

Get a glimpse at the super-weird world of food mascots in the new Addovolt Explorations video, "Cereal Invaders" right HERE on YouTube.

"Cereal Invaders" is one of the Addovolt Explorations quick documentaries which are listed HERE.

Special Thanks to my frequent and longtime collaboration buddy, Mary Beth Brennan, for doing the narration.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


That's just the code name for now for this project; that's not going to be the actual title.

"DRPTN" is an independent feature-length horror-comedy film that will be shooting throughout Chicago beginning this summer into fall.

It will be released for international streaming before Valentine's Day 2020.

Genre:  Bubblegum Horror

It's designed to be very fun, silly, gross, and pointed (in a literal, light way rather than in a heavy-handed way).  I wish that I could tell you more about it but I want to hold back on the details for now.  Pics and hints will be forthcoming.  This page will be updated while production is in process.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

featured project

Our featured project right now is "A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue".  It's a short documentary about creepy Chicago stuff.

Addovolt Explorations "A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue" short documentary

The short documentary, "Murky Path Down Archer Avenue", has been uploaded.  This project--an addition to the Addovolt Explorations short documentary series--is a 13-minute long film exploring the very creepy folklore relating to Chicago's infamously haunted street.

And here is the video on YouTube:

Very Special Thanks to Michael Marius Massett for doing narration and music compositions.  And, also, Very Special Thanks to Andre Almaraz for the pitch-perfect original pipe organ main theme music used in variations throughout the film.  Some old music, some new music, some classical and rock and synthpop…..   Lots of good stuff.  After premiering online February 1st, 2019 through Paranormal Globe, "A Murky Path..." has been featured on  Paranormal Daily News, Creepy Americana, Haunt Jaunts, and Fun Size Horror among other publications.

This was a cold shoot and there was plenty of nature involved (expected and unexpected).  No one got pneumonia so that's always a plus.

More still images are below; all pics are via Addovolt Productions.

different poster image (charming)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Addovolt Explorations

Addovolt Explorations is a series of quick, casual, mini-documentaries that we'll be doing on a regular basis between extensive projects (i.e. music videos, films, and longer documentaries).  The Explorations will be focusing on creators, locations, science, and history.  They're kind of like our version of a podcast (sort of, in a way).

The entries so far are (from most recent to oldest):

*"Cereal Invaders" (even when they're not human, they still manage to be really good salesfolk)

*"A Murky Path Down Archer Avenue" (an entertaining and fast-paced ride through the folklore of the Windy City's spookiest street)

*"Lovely Labels" (unnerving locations and their appropriate names)

*"Wishes and Miles" (Route 66 and its reign as the Main Street of America)

* "Nuclear U" (not every school gets the honor of hosting atomic research beneath its campus)

* "micro manor" (1920's movie star Colleen Moore excelled at fine detail)

* "Galactic" (the first journeys away from Earth weren't quick, cheap, or easy)

* "Greenery" (a downtown spot that will make you feel highbrow in a different sort of way.....)

* "(re)Purposeful" (interesting locations that started out for one use and eventually turned into something else entirely)

* "Union Departures" (a quiet graveyard that shouldn't be overlooked)

* "Mystery Masks" (a small neighborhood holds a ton of premium disguises)

* "Well, What?" (an allegedly miraculous water pump in a forest preserve)

* "White City, Emerald City" (Oz Park and the connection between L. Frank Baum and the city of Chicago)

slices of life in bite-sized pieces

An article HERE discusses the idea behind Addovolt Explorations as a series concept.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Upcoming Projects

*occasional Addovolt Explorations additions throughout 2019

*a feature-length indie film, a horror-comedy, project code-named "DRPTN"--our first product in the traditional sense of the word for sale to the public as a production company--will be shooting in summer/fall 2019 for a Valentine's 2020 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 2020--but which projects will come in what order is a big question mark.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Vault Projections Series

Allegories, myths, fairy tales, and histories.

Quests, disasters, triumphs, celebrations, memories, dreams, realities, the sacred, the profane, nihilism, humor, hope. absurdities, metaphors, secrets, and declared truths.  

The Natural and The Magical as collective experience.

Vault Projections is an ongoing project; a series of 17 short films to be created.

So far, the short films within this series are:

- "Salome" (2009)

- "Danse Macabre" (2010)

- "Second Star" (2010)

- "October Sketches" (2016)

- "Someplace" (2018)

Thursday, October 25, 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 a series of quick, casual docs (mostly) under 10 minutes

- "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)


- "Walls" graphic novel concept video (2018) 

- "Forgive Me, Bianca" (2011) web mini-series

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

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

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


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!