Monday, December 21, 2009

"Give Her What She Desires....."

Just a weird, experimental short film inspired by the Oscar Wilde play meant for independent film festivals, story/experimentation challenge, and editing practice.

Watch "Salome" HERE. Feel free to rate and comment.

Some beautiful behind-the-scenes photos by Anna Tzyna are HERE.

About "Salome":

After, literally, years of not wanting to touch this project because of tech issues and editing issues and all kinds of other bullcrap, my experimental short film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play "Salome" is finished and up on Youtube (and I'll enter it into fests throughout 2010, obviously).

I like how it came out. If I could go back and change a lot of things, I would but it's too late now....Gotta let it go.

I read the play, fell in love with it, thought that I saw something in it that nobody's seen yet, was haunted by the story, and decided that I should do my own take on it.

It was shot to be an experimental film and edited as such. It's what it was supposed to be. This is a really strange little film but understand that it's about belief, perception (and falseness), dreams, and hidden thoughts/feelings/motives. And the aesthetic reflects this which is why parts of the film are made of paper (the stuff of written words, both true and false) and even most of the characters look like they're made of paper--brittle, bendable, fragile.

This Salome is not the fire-breathing temptress that she's usually portrayed as because, when I read the play, I did not see her that way at all. And one of the objectives of this project was to stay as close to the spirit of the Wilde play as possible. To me, Salome is a character who is trapped, desperate, and between a rock and a hard place emotionally. Her tragic flaw was not that she demanded the head of Jokanaan; it was that she fell in love with the wrong person. She has no where else to turn to and, the one person that she desires, believing him to be a lifeforce (a genuine source of thought, compassion, naturalism) leads her into a fall of faith in love. Salome's actions, after she is rejected by the prophet, stem from heartbreak more than lust.

"Salome" is a story of despair, regret, and lost possibilities.

And, for whatever reason, my version has cartoon snakes in it. Go figure.

Although Aubrey Beardsley is most commonly associated with Oscar Wilde's "Salome", my main influence for this project was another artist: the 16th Century Dutch painter, Hieronymus Bosch whose aesthetic, I thought, matched perfectly to the sinister, moonlit Wilde interpretation of this biblical legend.

In the painting below, entitled "Temptation", there is the figure of a woman in the middle. Her skin is the same color as her clothing (white on white on white on white), possibly Lot's wife (?) after she became a pillar of salt--the ultimate "Curiosity Killed The Cat" warning fable. Any way, this figure in the painting is aggressively menacing due to her inverted, bleached-out parody of purity. This figure was the core of the aesthetic for this project.

White on white on white. Bloodlessness. Shrouded. Drawn. Fragile.

Who is the only character in the film who looks like he has life in him? Who is the character that is the story's center of attraction? Exactly. Vampirism is also a metaphor in this project. What is it that Salome is drawn to.......?

Other influences on this project:

"Nosferatu" (1922)

"The Passion of Joan of Arc" (1928) (almost nonexistant, minimalist sets)

"La Belle et La Bete" (1946) (yes, I realize that it's Cocteau in this pic,not a still from the film, but I like it and I think it's cool)

"Haxan" (1922)
"Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992)

It certainly is Oscar Wilde's "Salome" but there are other meanings, images, and subtexts that I've included in the short film, that tie into the story as well. Enjoy.

Questions? Write me: --Derek

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Guerilla Tactics

Why do things guerilla? be honest with you, when you're able to get away with it, it's A LOT of fun and creates a kind of immediacy that doesn't happen any other way. I usually love doing things guerilla.

"Danse Macabre" was kind of an exception (because things got out of control at some points and I thought that the police were going to shut us down and/or people would really think that the coffin contained some unfortunate person/former-person in a bad situation) but, otherwise, I've had only good experiences filming, guerilla-style, on my other projects.

I've tried following the rules and getting permits. From my experience, a lot of times people act like assholes OR my low-budget project gets pushed to the wayside OR, depending on the location, the permit and insurance is so high that it would completely wipe out the budget of the project and then some. Which would defeat the purpose.

With my style of (primarily) digital filmmaking (and, as all those who've worked with me know, I like to move things along in a quick, sufficent fashion which, when you're doing a low-budget indie, what choice do you have?), attacking the location and hopping to it seems to work for me.

But, then again, having a no-rush, all-access location is really fucking nice sometimes.

When you need to go guerilla then just go for it, don't attract a ton of attention, move things along in a quick and sufficent fashion, and do what you gotta do.

"Scrapped Music Video/5 Minutes of Your Life That You Can Never Get Back"

A creative collaboration that just wasn't meant to be. Oh well. Since this project doesn't officially exist there will not be any credits listed in order to avoid confusion; all that you need to know is that it was made by me, Derek Quint, along with another independent director, Dana Von Dana.

This project originally was created to be a music video for a particular musician but he was creeped out by it and the video was tossed in the circular file. I think that the video is a lot of fun, though, and the actors did a great job. After the video got rejected I was just going to erase all the footage and call it a day but then, because we did spend some $ on it and there was time and effort put into it, I've rehashed the music editing so that people can at least watch the video and come to their own conclusions.

The project now known as "Scrapped Music Video/5 Minutes of Your Life That You Can Never Get Back" ended up having a kind of early-90's/Rob-Zombie-goes-to-"Degrassi High" feel to it.

A lot of people really hated this video but there were a good amount that really enjoyed it too. It all made more sense when it had its original song (obviously) but you can still get a sense for the narrative.

Keep an open mind.

This edit of "Scrapped Music Video" premiered online October 29th, 2009.

Watch "Scrapped Music Video/5 Minutes of Your Life That You Can Never Get Back" HERE. Rate it. Leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

View "Remnants"

The project can be watched HERE. Feel free to Rate and Comment. More in-depth information about the projects from which these scenes came is HERE.

"Remnants" is a 4-minute video collage of scenes and images from our past projects, spanning from 1998 to 2004.  It premiered online September 30th, 2009.  Rather than uploading all the old material (some of these past projects are really good; some of them are really not-so-good), I've decided to compile some of my favorite moments into a 4-minute video. Witches, goblins, killers, pagan Barracuda Gods from alternate dimensions, robot ballerinas, Eastern European soap opera stars, drug addicts, cult members, enchanted transexuals, and geeks--all in fast forward.

Thanks to D. Doiel for permission for using his song "Silver on Pink" in this video. Clips are taken from the following short films:

-"The Revenge of Rumplestiltskin" (1998)

-"Rumplestiltskin Rides Again!" (1999-2000)

-"A Saturday Afternoon" (2001)

-"Miregale" (2001)

-"Scrumptious" (2002)

-"A Portrait: Untitled" (2002)

-"Eternity Beach" (2002)

-"A Really Hardcore Documentary About American Society" (2002)

-"Favorite" (2003)

-"The Unmaking of: 'The White Chamber'" (2003)

-"Here and Gone" (2003-2004)

Thanks to all those who participated in these projects throughout the years!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Past Projects: 1995-2004

Here we go........

The History of Addovolt Productions from 1995 through 2004

Addovolt Productions used to be called Catacomb Productions but everyone said that that sounded too gloomy which my projects are often the opposite of. When I was planning on resurrecting the name in 2006 (after I thought that I was going to retire from film after one misfortunate year, 2005), I found out that some kid in England had his own Catacomb Productions, so that was the end of that for Catacomb (for me, not for him).

I decided that I wanted to go with a production company that also sounded like it could be a battery company. That's why it's now and forever Addovolt.

Any way, some of these older projects are great, some of them are not-so-great. I don't really want to post them all for viewing. I'm proud of them for what they are and they were my first projects but I want to move on too. That's why all my favorite moments from these films were mashed together into a short film called "Remnants" (2009).

"Remnants" features snippets from the following projects:

"Slumber Party Massacre on Kolb Avenue" (1995) live-action short comedy film--horror film parody with explosions, geeks, cool kids, and amatuer S&M. Filmed on cheapo VHS. Slumber party friends resurrect the phantom of a serial killer from years ago (via a seance, of course). So the ghost/zombie/whatever kills some of the kids but the nerd saves the day. Fun to film, came out fine. No, there is no "Slumber Party Massacre on Kolb Avenue 2". Actually funny with decent comedic timing.

"Sweet Surrender" (1996) live-action music video. Another VHS masterpiece (not really). Yes, this is my music video interpretation of the Sarah McLachlan song. It was the 90's and this was a student project, so give me a break. Since everything I do (even back then) is a narrative in some way or another, my story to the song is about a young girl flirting with suicide who gets sent on a journey with (and eventually succumbs to) Death. I thought that the project turned out kind of dark and gritty but most of those who viewed it felt as miserable as the girl in the video. My first flop.

"The Revenge of Rumplestiltskin" (1998) stop-motion animation short fantasy film--also shot on VHS. The grouchy gnome destroys a royal household after the queen stiffs him on her pledge to donate her first born child. Overly-influenced by Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas". Title character modeled on Marilyn Manson and Tucan Sam. Boring to make, fun to watch. As gothed-out as a cauldron full of bats. Won Best Experimental Short Film 1998 award from D.A.F.T. (used to be Detroit Area Film and Television but is now Digital Arts Film and Television) which I thought was pretty neat.

"Antonio the Triumphant" (1998) live-action feature length comedy. More like a run-on sentence than an actual feature length indie film project. 1 hour and 20 minutes of dumb. Again, VHS. A boy sells his soul in order to become a Mediterranean dictator and media whore. As awkward as it sounds. Gang riots, transexual android spies, musical funerals, and polygamy. A big hit throughout the Metro Detroit living room circuit from 1998-1999. The project featured over 60 actors which, to us, was a cast of thousands, so at least half of the neighborhood was involved somehow. The one and only copy vanished long ago.  No one knows where it is.

"Rumplestiltskin Rides Again!" (2000) stop-motion animation short fantasy film; a 40-minute DV sequel to "The Revenge of Rumplestiltskin". An epic! Rumplstiltskin is still gloating over his last massacre and gets wrapped up in a plot to assassinate Cinderella and Prince Charming. Rapunzel helps him. Too much talking at first and then the set gets lit on fire during an atomic explosion, so that added a bit of spice. When people at school would watch it without me while they got stoned, I knew that I was onto something. I tried to use this film to get a scholarship to Columbia College but, for whatever mysterious reason, that never materialized. I guess another disappointing sequel in that long, long line of disappointing sequels.....

One of the sets of "Rumplestiltskin Rides Again!"

"A Saturday Afternoon" (2001) live-action short comedy film--16 mm black and white. A human sacrifice in a park is aided by a young couple; a dark joke inspired by Charles Addams cartoons. People are never what they seem, I guess. Came out well. The actors did a terrific job.  The female lead is Mary Beth Brennan, future lead singer of The Baby Magic and Baggy Time.  Many years later, we went on to do multiple music video projects together.

The young, devious couple in "A Saturday Afternoon".

"Miregale" (2001) experimental short fantasy film--16 mm black and white. The inner workings of a corrupt sorceress are explored as she watches another woman steal her heart's desire. A gothic fever dream of angelic demons, sexual tension, aging, black magic, gray magic, and emotional isolation. Very cool. One of the projects that I'm most proud of from that period.

The title character, an elderly witch, watches her true love get taken away by a beautiful, young enchantress in "Miregale".

"Scrumptious" (2002) experimental short comedy film--16 mm color. A vicious retelling of the "Hansel and Gretal" story. I was not a happy person when I did this project. Inspired by 120 Days of Sodom, "The Brady Bunch", and "Caligula", this was the one that everyone enjoyed watching  (naturally). I wanted to make something awful, impolite, mean-spirited, and visually beautiful/hideous.  I was able to accomplish that goal with the assistance of 27 extras having a pansexual CandyLand orgy. The main characters get beaten to death with a baseball bat after they get fucked. Yes, it's one of "those". Culty, off-center, and genuinely creepy, this film won me an audience award and a complimentary roll of 16 mm film on which I shot extra footage for "Eternity Beach"(2002). Lots of people are in this film from my past and I have mixed feelings about this project because I felt like I had exploited my friends. Not a pleasant film but it was a true expression from that time.

The concept art came close to the finished piece for "Scrumptious".

"A Portrait: Untitled" (2002) mocumentary short film--16 mm color. A pretentious film student wrecks havoc throughout his dorm and school. Guess who this is based on? Self-parody but also a few cheap shots aimed at my fellow art schoolers. Poorly-edited but a few funny moments.

Tyoki, the videographer character in the film, lends some style to "A Portrait: Untitled".

"Eternity Beach" (2002) live-action short film--16 mm color. An Eastern European soap opera star gets taken into a very bizarre parallel world. Drag queens, fish humanoids, and some very beautiful actors and actresses acting weird. Kind of 60's. We made up a "unique" language called Wachzychian which is a mixture of Polish, Spanish, French, and gibberish. Subtitled in English. Beaches, limos, seedy hotels, and fur coats from the thrift store. Won an audience award. Out of all of the old projects, this one is the best. The one film that the old gang still enjoys talking about and, yes, that does mean something to me.

A Wachzychian soap opera star gets zipped away to another dimension in "Eternity Beach".

"A Really Hardcore Documentary About American Society" (2002) short documentary--DV. The title says it all about my "hard-hitting" insight regarding the downfall of the American...... American what? It's never defined in my thoughtless attempt at being Micheal Moore. I think that I was just disappointed that no monsters or hooker nuns popped up in this project.

"Favorite" (2003) live-action short fantasy film--DV. A callous young man purchases a robot ballerina which he simply replaces once she runs out of electricity. Now I'm back in the right territory! A strangely poignant commentary on replaceable lovers. A project that came out much better than expected.

A human boy buys a mechanical girl in "Favorite".

"The Unmaking of: 'The White Chamber'" (2003) documentary short film--DV. A narrated journey through the cancellation of an elaborate, short fantasy film that was supposed to be made earlier that year. That's what happens when your run out of time and money and your production book disappears somewhere on a train from Chicago to Detroit. It was all my fault, definitely. The documentary isn't bad once the interviewees (the scheduled-then-cancelled crew and actors) get to throw in their two cents.

The "White Chamber" film originally revolved around a maid character and a collection of cursed relics but we never ended up making it. So, for the "Unmaking" documentary we did a test shoot just for the hell of it.

"Here and Gone" (2003) stop-motion animation fantasy short film--DV and 16 mm color film. A little boy escapes a war-torn city through a magic museum. Depressed over the cancelled project and personal affairs, I got jacked up on Diet Mountain Dew and leftover Christmas candy, and completed this project in Detroit, in the basement, in the middle of January. The finished film has a lot of technical flaws but still came out beautifully. "Here and Gone" was seen by less than 10 people but it's a cool little film that was a launchpad for other films.  A good learning experience.

Scenes and aftermath from "Here and Gone".

2004 was spent on projects that eventually got scrapped. For the next few years, I only worked on other people's films (art department, usually) and did illustration work.

A video collage, called "Remnants", featuring clips of projects made before 2004 can be viewed at the Addovolt Youtube channel:

Why a blog?

For months, I've been trying to figure out what kind of a website to have for Addovolt Productions.

I just want something that is strictly informational, no fancy features. Just text, images, and some links--who we are, a brief history, past projects, whatever the latest project available for viewing is, what's next, etc.

Extremely simple and clear.

So doing it as just a blog is the way that I want to approach it. It comes the closest to what I would like to communicate, structure-wise.

Doing updates is easy, no high-tech maintainance, just type and publish.  Perfect! Just what I want.

So here it is: the Addovolt Blog--your official resource for all things Addovolt.