Thursday, February 25, 2010

"IshootRockstars: a look inside"

Addovolt Productions and Arrow Five One present "IshootRockstars: a look inside", a short documentary exploring the brilliantly creative Chicago studio led by photographer Kyle LaMere and makeup artist Elizabeth Neish.

all photography by Kyle LaMere

video by Derek Quint.
In this project:hair--Amber Morrow

sets/costumes/stylizations--David Beaupre, Christopher Provyn, Threadcount LLC.

music--"Radio 91" and "I See You Everywhere" by David Doiel

Special Thanks to: David Beaupre, Emmi Chen, David Doiel, Jason Ewers, Sharon Kung, Angie Ma, Angela McAdrian, Amber Morrow, Poison Love, Eliza Rickman, Traci Snowe, Threadcount LLC.Addovolt Productions and Arrow Five One Media, Chicago.

Watch the documentary HERE.

As usual, feel free to rate and comment.  This documentary premiered online in February 2010.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Spirits of Detroit" so far

[UPDATED 08-05-12]

The documentary "Spirits of Detroit" is going well but there's a lot left to tackle for it.

I have to do A TON of visual concepts and segments to get to still which is why I'll be spending the remainder of this summer and the first parts of fall shooting scenes and more scenes and more scenes for this particular film.

"SOD" is a very traditional ghost documentary a la "Unsolved Mysteries", History Channel material, Biography Channel material, etc.  You get the picture.  It focuses strictly on the paranormal and mythic traditions within Detroit--legends and stories that are rich, plentiful, and distinctively weird.  I was not lacking material to explore.

What this project will NOT be focusing on are the socioeconomic conditions that are truly haunting Detroit.  Of course the history of Detroit is touched upon and, inevitably, the downfall of this once-great US city is explored to a moderate degree within my documentary.  There's no way to avoid that no matter what the main subject may be.  

The vast and devastating decay of the city requires complete dedication to that subject.  There is a new documentary coming out (it's in film festivals now) called "Detropia" (the link to it is HERE) which looks stunning.  I can't wait to see it.  This is a documentary that you need to see if you're an American, you know history, and you care about society and economy.  This is the meat and potatoes.

For people who study Detroit and everything that goes along with it, "The Spirits of Detroit" is a slice of cheesecake on the side.  That's what it's meant to be.

It's one of those projects where other projects have been cutting in front of it in line (like a dorky kid in the school lunch hall) over and over again.  Maybe "SOD" is going to get fed up with that treatment so we'd better watch out!

Other films (additional short documentaries [some for clients, some not], definitely the music videos, surprise short film projects) have popped up over the last few years that have demanded more immediate attention than "Spirits".  That happens a lot with indie film.  Something gets started, another thing comes up, one project gets neglected, and so on.  But I try to not be like that because I think that filmmakers who do that are flaky.

Ugh.  This documentary has been shooting for years now.  Inarguably, it's time to wrap things up.  "The Spirits of Detroit" will be online for Halloween 2012.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Alan Park Live

Last month I had the pleasure of taping some live footage (at Chicago's Bottom Lounge) of the very, very talented industrial rock band, Alan Park. It's possible that we'll collaborate on something further down the line but, in the meantime, here's some performace footage:

"The Dive"
"Vanishing Point"
And here is their Myspace music page:

The footage was shot in January 2010 and premiered online later that month.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

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

I always encourage viewers to read about the film a bit first but if you're impatient and you've got ants in your pants, then watch the video HERE. (Feel free to Rate and Comment.)

Additional stills from this project are HERE.

"Go Ask Alice In Wonderland" premiered online Valentine's Day (what a beautiful valentine.....) 2010.

I wanted to make a very trashy family-special style of a warped (but beloved) story because I like to strip away the sanctity of some things and just to have some fun.

"Alice in Wonderland" was asking for a parody.

The "Go Ask Alice in Wonderland" short film is a narritive mashup of the Lewis Carroll classic and the teen drug panic spectacular "Go Ask Alice" (as in the Jefferson Airplane song....inspired by the Lewis Carroll book) written by Anonymous (aka someone's mom). I've read it and it's obviously a book about moral outrages (sex, drugs, rock n' roll, boys) clearly written by an adult writing what they imagine a teenager would write like if they were on a downward spiral away from home, church, and family. It's ridiculous and I love it.
Making "Go Ask Alice in Wonderland" was like experiencing a grocery check-off list of indie filmmaker phobia's:

-a budget that tripled itself (nice)

-a flood (watch for it in the background where the White Rabbit wallops Alice in the maze garden)

-camera malfunctions

-sound problems

-security issues (for Alice's house, we managed to brake into the monestary grounds without a hitch but got kicked out of the Hilton. Go figure.)

-swarms of mosquitos

and (definitely worst of all)

-a damaged DV tape that didn't reveal it was damaged until after we shot (fucking up the visuals in many parts and wiping out the sound completely in other parts).

"Go Ask Alice in Wonderland" is a trainwreck. A mess. A small disaster.

But my actors are a riot so it was worth it. And I know that the end result will be appreciated by people of a certain temperment. It's just for internet viewing; it's fun but it's obviously damaged (notice all the digital artifacting with some parts i.e. the ruined DV tape) and not suited for film festivals. No thanks.

With the production is tatters, I just figured that I'd go ahead with the mess that it is and just encourage those rough edges. The characters in the story are a mess, the story is about being a mess, and so (maybe) the production elements themselves decided to join in on the theme?

So I just decided to go ahead and have fun with it, drinking Mountain Dew while editing, praying to St. John (Waters), and dreaming of "Little Britain" the entire time.
The title of the film is not "Go Ask Alice in Wonderland". It's "Go Ask Alice in Wonderland" (Cliff Notes edit). It was originally intended to be an hour and a half-long web series but, because of the damaged DV tape, I've decided that it's best as an edited, get-to-the-best-parts "Cliff Notes" version (since both sources for the narrative ques are based on well known books; wink, wink). So, in a way, it's an abbreviation of a television show that doesn't exist. And even though it says at the end "Coming Soon on VHS", I'm obviously just kidding and it's a play on the bizarro, bargain-basement tonality of the project--the kinds of things that you stumble across as a value movie at Family Dollar. There's some really obscure, strange shit that you discover at these stores. Who knows when or where these creepy productions were created but, nonetheless, I love that kind of stuff! Hence......."Go Ask Alice in Wonderland" (Cliff Notes edit) which is an homage to movies best left forgotten (especially random Canadian and British television literary adaptations from the 70's and 80's; for some reason there's a lot of those).

Anyway, Britney Collins as Alice is fantastic and, of course, I consider her "one of the team" and she's in many of my projects. Same goes for Michael Marius Massett as the White Rabbit, Adam Roker as The Caterpillar, and Emily Gajek as The Red Queen (quite a changeup from the ethereal, tragic heroine of "Salome"), everyone I manage to force into my projects in one way or another:) (thanks guys, I love you).

On a serious note, I feel EXTREMELY LUCKY to have such amazing actors to work with. Beautiful, talented people who work hard and are definite troopers through all the challenges that indie filmmaking, especially, presents sometimes.

With all the craziness that happend while making this project, my mom said that it was the ghost of Lewis Carroll trying to sabatoge the project because I was making fun of his Alice. And when Nancy says stuff like that, you know that she's serious.

I was a little bit freaked out/stressed/broke ass after completing this project which is why I only worked on casual documentaries for a year and stopped doing indie narratives for a while. For my friends and collaborators who wondered what the hell happened and why I disappeared for a while (in a way), there's your answer: I needed a rest because "Alice" wore me out!

Luckily, the project that I did right after this, with all it's expenses, bells, and whistles, was the "Danse Macabre" short film which came out.......exactly like what it was supposed to:)

So maybe the ghost of Lewis Carroll was pissed off at me but, apparently, Bram Stoker gives me the thumbs-up! Very good! I finally did something right.

Enjoy "Go Ask Alice in Wonderland" in all of it's cheap, trashy, drug-fueled, hot mess glory. A bedtime story for stoners, methheads, sugar fiends, and Michigan resale store shoppers (which is like a rolecall of many of my friends and myself growing up outside Detroit). Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure that I found the idea for this project while shopping at the Salvation Army.....

Say it 4 time and you'll win a big surprise:





Oh, Alice......