Friday, September 17, 2010

"Salome" short film

Lots of bells and whistles to it. Dream cast to portray these classic characters. I feel so, so grateful to have found the right actors for this project which is a tall order in that regard. I truly think that Emily Gajek was the perfect young woman to play Oscar Wilde's version of this character. Ryan Tiderington is to die for as Jokanaan (a character that is usually NEVER done right for some reason); Jay Disney's Herod is pitch-perfect and unique while Julie Neuberg LaBant is fabulously wicked as Queen Heroidas. The supporting characters brought the weird, sealed-off tomb of the world established in this film to life and stirred up the perfect amount of trouble, shifting the plot into gear. Actors are what make films good, not the director. Some may disagree, but oh well.

A difficult but rewarding and educational film to make. I wanted to nail the desolate, melancholic tone of Wilde's play to the best of my ability which is why this film was structured to feel and look like a performance on a stage as well as a kind of expressionist film.

Watch the film HERE.

Production notes are HERE.

Photos, done by the wonderful Anna Tzyna, are HERE and HERE.

The press release about the project is HERE.

"Salome" premiered online in September 2010.  It has been featured on Film Threat, The Gothic Imagination, The Gothic Society, IOBA, and The DePaulia.

"Salome" revisited

A new re-edited, leave-it-alone version of my short film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's "Salome" is HERE.

It's been polished over in some ways, roughed up in other ways.

I like this version--it's a lot closer to what I had originally envisioned with this project but I know that a few people will still probably like the older version better.

This revamp is definitely a lot spookier and even a bit more uncomfortable than the past one.

Ratings and comments are very much appreciated.

If you enjoy this project, send the link to your friends:)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Around The Edges

I work hard, sometimes, to make my films look like they're from 1991. Or 1985 or 1962 or 1924 depending on the project.

It's all about capturing a certain tone, feeling.
Projecting a sense of time-space distance makes you feel as though you're witnessing something that is not of now, something that isn't of your particular world. It doesn't try to draw you in, hug you, and say "Yes, please love me because I'm just like you."
It is what it is. Like it or lump it.
You're a witness, not a participant. The emotions are there if you're paying attention, if you're willing to focus, if you're willing to reach towards them. Rough films don't act needy or try to give you proverbial jazz hands. That's why I love obscure cinema, old films, and true dirty indies.

I DON'T usually want many of my films to look as polished and precious as the diamond tears of a baby unicorn. No Thanks.

A lot of the work that inspires me is the kind of stuff that you see on TV at 3pm (or 3am) on a Saturday on some weird cable channel. A little ragged, a little bit rough around the edges.

Strange projects, made under strange circumstances, telling strange stories.

I want to continue in a tradition.
I'm a traditional filmmaker when it all boils down to it. I want to carry on with, sometimes, doing projects that aren't as pretty as a Miss America pagent.

The new camera that I'll be getting is very, very nice......if you're making a Crest touthpaste commercial. Polished, extremely modern, lovely, polite. I have to get it for some forthcoming films.

I'll be using it for plenty of projects coming up and, without a doubt, I'll have to tamper with the footage to make it look like shit when the mood calls for it.

And I'll still be using my old, clunky camera too when the feeling strikes me.

Life, and emotion, isn't crystaline and perfect looking, adorably lit and smooth as a baby's rump.


And neither are many of my films.

Some of them will be given the "royal treatment" but many of them will have that touch of darkness to them. No, not pretty darkness--a more natural approach--a look at how that feels sometimes.

The two films that I'm focusing on right now, "Danse Macabre" and "Second Star", are subversive, creepy stories about creepy people. It's only appropriate that they're not going to look like a 2005 romantic comedy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh Rats!

The music video for The Baby Magic's "Rats" is up now for viewing. Click HERE to watch it.
There was ALL SORTS of weird, experimental things that I did on this project.......some of which works well, some of it doesn't work at all, some of it is a "huh?". I used a lot of software, and combinations of software and lighting, etc. in strange ways that maybe I shouldn't have (like a chef in the kitchen who's allowing himself too many liberties) but this song isn't meant to be matched with pretty, fussy imagery.

The Baby Magic allows me to experiment, and try out new things with them, because they themselves are experimental in a lot of ways. That's part of the reason why I love them so much.
This project was very educational in the sense that I learned a lot of what I should and shouldn't do with some things but, overall, I like this project--we were intentionally going for a grungy, earlyish MTV kind of feel for it.

This video screams out "1993!". And, yeah, the song track was taken from a live band practice which gives it extra grit. I was thinking about The Pixies, REM, and Weezer.

The band acting as these characters are fantastic.

This project was a technical painting class--a crash course; some things worked, some not so much. You name it, I fucked with it (motion, frame width, color, contrast) sometimes successfully sometime irrepairably/regretably. Just to do "what if....". But, overall, a decent little indie rock video thanks to the ingenuity of a very imaginative Chicago band.

"Rats!" premiered online in September 2010.