The featured project right now is our newest short film, "Someplace". Read about it and watch it right HERE
Monday, September 3, 2018
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.
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.
a film by Derek Quint
Addovolt Productions, 2018
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.
- 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.
- 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
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
-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
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
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
Vault Projections short films:
- "Someplace" (2018)
- "October Sketches" (2016)
- "Second Star" (2010)
- "Danse Macabre" (2010)
- "Salome" (2010)
- Addovolt Explorations quick, casual docs under 10 minutes
"Wishes and Miles (2018)
"Nuclear U (2018)
"micro manor" (2018)
"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)
- 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)
- "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
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.
If anything, I think that's the most dangerous way to look at things.
Only angels have halos.
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
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
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.
The Kickstarter for this project is HERE
The "Walls" graphic novel concept video is HERE
Saturday, March 24, 2018
the super-sized telescope at Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin
This addition to Addovolt Explorations is for history nerds and space cadets.
The newest video, "Galactic", is right HERE
the trippy, vintage Atwood Sphere in Chicago
narrator Michael Moody outside of the Yerkes Observatory
Narrated by actor Michael Moody, we explore a little bit about how the first journeys away from Earth weren't quick, cheap, or easy.
a beautifully designed way to star-gaze at Adler Planetarium
And there are some other Addovolt Explorations HERE if you're feeling ambitious. Addovolt Explorations is a series of quick, casual mini-documentaries focusing on creators, locations, science, and history.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Februaries aren't supposed to be busy but this one was.
Working on a few fun, very interesting, short projects that will be rolling out in March. Nothing was put online this month (because I've shooting the material over these last few weeks) but there will be an abbreviated flood of things in March and April. A thaw, so to speak.
This spring and summer will be all about quick, casual pieces and then things will be getting fancier and more complicated--which seems to be a pattern!--once autumn rolls in; I'll talk about that stuff later on......
Friday, January 26, 2018
I just spent about 2 months building a new website for Addovolt films and, to be honest with you.......
....I actually like this blog better.
It's simple to use. It gets the job done. So I'm just going to go ahead and kill Addovolt.com or whatever it was.
This Addovolt blog works as is. No one really gives a shit about elaborate website situations when it comes to what I do. As long as the information is there--and the films are easily accessible--we're good to go. When people want to see some of my work, they just pop over to this blog or to my YouTube page. They explore the Addovolt stuff to watch my projects as films, not to be shunted over to some other website.
There will be some updates on here; I'm going to clean up the design somewhat and that'll be just fine. What's the point of making things more complicated? No one needs that.
Saturday, January 20, 2018
These days, it's difficult to escape politics. Lines have been drawn in the sand and everybody asks everyone else questions on record. I'm tired of it too (I think that I can hear your eyes rolling just reading this page and mine were rolling while I was writing it so I can completely sympathize).
Projects created by Addovolt Productions often explore the darker corners of human experience and imagination. The types of films that we make--the ideas that we explore (dreams, realities, and nightmares, essentially)--exist on their own wavelength. The ways in which we operate, as creators and craftspeople, exist on a separate, very different, wavelength.
Addovolt Productions is my company and I work very hard to keep things running. I love clear, straightforward approaches and I'm comfortable with making statements.
I draw my own lines in the sand and I'm not particularly interested in following contours appointed by others.
What I, and my work, stand for:
-absolute equality, inclusion, and diversity from A to Z
-total empowerment for all children, women, and men and those who reject gender binaries
-unexclusive humor and satire
-civil, challenging, and nuanced discussions and debates
What I do not and will not support:
-groupthink and mob behaviors
-groveling or ring-kissing
-harassment or abuse of any kind
-fear, intolerance, or cruelty towards those of other races, philosophies, political beliefs, socioeconomic backgrounds, and/or religions
I don't think that I could be any more direct than that. Questions, comments, concerns? Contact me.
Saturday, January 13, 2018
The video is HERE. It premiered on No Clean Singing on January 10th, 2018. This project has also been featured on Metal Underground, Shoot Me Again, Rockness.EU, and Daily Heavy Metal News.
Bouncing and zipping around like an infernal pinball machine, this project takes us into a rough episode for a coin devil (he's one of many devils, no one special) who tried to buy love and it doesn't go as well as he had intended.
His was a bad idea to begin with, a ridiculous little wish that didn't work out. He thought that his cheri would be help him out, perhaps she'd even begin to enjoy tasking.....?.....
He really didn't think it through.
None of them suspect a thing. People--not too many, just a few here and there in order to retain the value of scarcity--vanish all the time.
He uses a specific concoction made from beast fat (you liquidize it) plus juice from dirgefruit growing in the backyard. No big deal if you know the recipe but! once it's injested by humans, that's when the porridge becomes useful. Extract it, shape it, allow it to dry. Good stuff, solid, rare, alchemical. Currency for the people and of the people.
This coin devil enjoys music though (he likes a diverse range in case you're wondering). He can treat himself to live entertainment in order to soothe his moods so that's nice. As long as the bands keep things private. They can assume that their client is just an eccentric human with a taste for darkness, they'll never know; they play their music for a while and then they leave. If they feel that something seems "off" about this youthfully bizarre gentleman in this nasty, crumbling place, it doesn't really matter. Perhaps they're consumed by their own inner concerns.
At the end of the story, the coin devil lets cheri run away. No curse, no revenge, he never sees her again, and never learns anything more about her. It's one of the few decent things that he's done in about 6000 years. A moment of self-restraint. He listens to his music and then tomorrow, I'm sure, he'll go back to being horrible.
No one on Earth, in Heaven, or in Hell is perfect. We're all possessed by awful secrets, frustrations, and disappointments so have a little bit of sympathy, will you?
from their album "The Fourth Seal"
Black Bow Records
music video by Derek Quint
coin devil...........Remy Osborne
people of the world.......
Steve Bernstein, Melanie Deprest, Lauren Hearter, Daniel Hochberg, Eva Karakostas, Dr. Roberto Marquez, Edwin Nieves, Jazmine Osborne, Belinda Stamps, Jack Syron
Special Thanks to:
The City of Gary, IN
The City of Chicago, IL
The City of Highland Park, IL
Fontini Karakostas Makeup
Pequod's, St. Peter's, Bab's,
Mt. Olive, The HIP,
Espectral, and MarkedIt
The inspirations for the "Phantasmal Voice" video are meant to be clear. I believe that it's best to get specific--to honor your inspirations because anyone who makes anything is inspired--rather than to be coy and vague about it.
I wanted people to be able to see the "Hellraiser" influence in the coin devil character's design. He's a red-eyed ghoul but he's not 100% wretched looking. I wanted there to be a slight sliver of a chance that cheri's beauty could possibly find something to gravitate towards when it came to the coin devil's beastliness. As far as monsters go, the coin devil has a savage, subversive charm to him and that's the point. Could cheri maybe, possibly, grow to like her awful bridegroom as something of a guilty pleasure? Stranger things have happened in fairytales like this; opposites attract, as they say. But when she finds out about one of the ingredients in his work recipe, all granular chances of enchantment are erased.
"Let's combine 70's grime horror with urban legends and 90's mall culture", I said to myself--as everyone does--when project preplanning. "Pop culture games and gothic fright stories" (they go together like peanut butter and jelly).
Money makes the world go 'round + "Soylent Green" + the medieval concept of the Ship of Fools
But not green, purple. Purple is different; it can be sinister but there's a sense of humor to it.
"Nosferatu" didn't dissolve in sunlight, he just turned into a "School House Rock" cartoon.
Part of the deadly $ idea comes from an ancient legend about mellified men. Healthy.
"Texas Chainsaw" ugliness. There's gotta be some grossness.....offset by some pleasant aesthetics. You never know what's going to come up next.
The main storyline came from Charles Perrault's and Angela Carter's iterations of "Bluebeard" plus an added scoop of "Rumplestiltskin".
The cheri character is a take on the damsel archetype who goes from one distressing scenario to the next, a Cinderella whose fairy godmother never shows up. She's a more of a Hole person than a whole person, like she escaped out of Courtney Love's violet era and wasn't able to find her way back. Her stepmother comes from "The Grapes of Wrath" (notice the grape vines on the wall behind her in the beginning of the video); she's a makeshift saleswoman dealing with a tragic economy.
The structure of the video is meant to be like a kind of 19th century penny dreadful, a quick, fun freakout, a "morality fable" that makes you feel like you need to take a hot shower afterwards. Scrub extra hard. A self-contained, heavy metal horror adventure story that you can run through in 8 1/2 minutes. In, out, done.
Making this project was a trip; a long, filthy process. Lots of goo made of unexpected stuff (for example the coin-ready entrails soup was paint mixed with olive oil mixed with marshmallow fluff), complicated costumes, makeup mayhem, odd environments, weather doing what it does, delays.
Pale Horseman, the band, are always a delight to work with (good guys, terrific musicians) and all the actors that pulled through to work on this were saints that I look forward to working with again on upcoming films. Remy Osborne and Courtney Beals--the two leads--are champs who put up with a lot of crazy weather/locations/costumes/makeup in order to move this project to completion. A great big extra Thank You to everybody who participated.